This weekend we finally had the first combo with both Saturday and Sunday rolls. The people around the course also got to see just how bipolar Pittsburgh can be day-to-day. Saturday had temperatures nearing freezing and Sunday was a very pleasantly warm morning.
To follow the weather, the teams decided to match the weather and showed their own version of bipolar. There were no incidents on Saturday and having forgotten my tripod for the stream, I was able to get a lot of different pictures from around the course. The continuous rolling made the frigid morning a bit more bearable. With the warm weather on Sunday, teams seemed to lose their cool and we saw a few crashes and spins.
|CIA||Orca, Ascension, Freyja, Firebird||Orca, Ascension, Firebird, Quasar|
|Fringe||Bonsai, Bedlam, Banyan||Bonsai, Bedlam, Banyan|
|SDC||Bane, Avarice, Malice||Bane, Avarice, Malice|
|SigEp||Mamba, Barracuda, Pandora|
|Spirit||Zuke, Seraph, Haraka, Fuko||Zuke, Seraph, Haraka, Fuko|
|No-Shows||Apex, AEPi, DU, KapSig, PiKA, ROTC, SAE, SigNu||Apex, DU, KapSig, ROTC, SAE, SigEp, SigNu,|
- AEPi – Kamikaze was out again on Sunday as AEPi continues to keep it to one day a weekend. Keeping it simple seems to be working as they had no issues, which on Sunday was apparently no easy feat.
- CIA – Ascension is one of just a handful of buggies on the course that has yet to miss a day of rolls. All around, CIA has the most rolls of any organization where each driver has has over twenty rolls as opposed to a few orgs that have yet to break double digits. Ascension has also picked up some significant speed and rolling several more windows than usual. It looks like those red wheels are more fiery than the previous blue. Firebird was also seen with a red wheel as well, but it’s debatable how much difference that’s making since it’s only one out of 3 wheels.
- Fringe – Bonsai is one of the other buggies that hasn’t missed a day of rolls and is close on the heels of Ascension for total rolls. Her fellow buggies however, aren’t quite keeping pace, as the mechanics are apparently working on some fixes to Bissa. While Bissa gets some TLC, the drivers played some musical buggies and switched up the pairings. Everything has been rolling smoothly, so it seems that Fringe has completely recovered from their first weekend crash.
- PiKA – Raptor has been rolling very well on her tiny wheels while chimera continues to speed up as she feels out the course. PiKA may be following AEPi’s lead (a statement no one expects to say) and keeping it to one day a weekend. I assume this isn’t a standard thing and as soon as they drum up some additional manpower they’ll be out as often as possible. After the issues they had a couple years back, it’s great to see these guys rolling so well, so early in the year. Word is that PiKA held a Matt Tembo Memorial Soccer Tournament in memory of their brother that recently passed away. They raised money to benefit Gateway Rehab.
- SDC – Avarice hasn’t missed a day yet, but after Sunday, I don’t think she’ll be able to keep up that streak. After a so far very smooth year, the SDC buggies fell apart on Sunday, some more literally than others. Near the end of the morning, Malice came into the chute and pulled a 180 at the end of the bales. The driver kept a cool head and hit the brake as she started to roll backwards into the bales. The driver was fine, and was extracted on the course. Not a couple rolls before, Avarice drifted just a bit too far as she entered the chute. Just as she was about to straighten out the rear wheel clipped the outside bale and snapped the axle clean off. A nearby mechanic quickly snatched up the axle and hid it in his jacket until he could deposit it in the follow car. SDC surrounded the fallen buggy and began the birthing process of blankets that is their extraction process. The driver popped out fine without any injuries as far as I’ve heard. As their last roll, SDC had only Bane left and pushed her up 3 and 4 with an orgy of pushers that is normally seen at the end of the fall season.
- SigEp – Much to my surprise, SigEp didn’t make it out Sunday after smoothly rolling on Saturday. They chose instead to keep everyone healthy and safe. Word is that they helped with SAE’s Donut Dash and PiKA’s Matt Tembo soccer tournament, as did many others from the buggy community.
- Spirit – Zuke was looking great on Saturday, but she just couldn’t find her footing on Sunday. Having the closest thing to an incident on Saturday, Zuke got close the the bales and decided to hit the brakes and stop. the follow car driver jumped out and after realizing that she was fine, pushed her off to the hill 3 pusher and kept going. Sunday was a very different story as Zuke wasn’t able to complete either of her two rolls as she spun in the chute both times. The first was clean and she didn’t hit any bales, being the second buggy meant that the first was able to roll without impedance. The second was not so clean as she spun into the inside bales. The impressive part was the second buggy, she got the stop flag at the transition and came to a long, slow, beautifully clean stop before the chute flag.
There’s even more exciting news about teams getting back into the fray. If you have heard anything else or know more about things that I’ve mentioned, please add to the discussion and comment blow. Here’s what I’ve heard:
- Apex – The new shell is complete and getting a good sanding. Hatches are scheduled to be cut soon and then the young members of Apex will learn the joy that is mold excavation. From the sounds of things, Apex has begun the process of creating the internal components, so we may yet see them out this fall.
- DU – I haven’t heard much from this new greek, but I hope they are still interested and on the prowl for help to add yet another organization to our growing roster. DU last raced in 2001 (according to our history page) where they started rolling back in ’47. This would be a return after an 11 year hiatus which, if I remember correctly, began with a suspension.
- KapSig – Apache is still getting some repairs done and so far I haven’t heard a date when they might be back out on the course. KapSig last raced two years ago when the buggy was first rolled. KapSig previously rolled up until ’98 snagging several trophies in their early years.
- SAE – Rubicon was out at the cape line again as SAE continues to get closer and closer to rolling. Unfortunately there was a small failure and she wasn’t able to pass and make it out this weekend. After a drastic retrofit last year making Rubicon into a reverse trike on Xooters from her previous forward trike on pneumatics, it’s no surprise that they have some kinks to work out. This weekend the brothers hosted CMU’s Donut dash to raise money to benefit the Children’s hospital of Pittsburgh part of UPMC. They were able to raise around $15,000 for the hospital. SAE returned to the course for raceday 2009 after a rocky few years in the early 2000’s. Previously, SAE rolled as early as 1922 but had their primary streak starting in ’61, running through 2000.
- SigNu – Krait didn’t make it out this weekend and I didn’t hear anything new. Hopefully Skua is getting some good repairs and will be course worthy soon. I’m sure every organization would love to see them out again soon. Assuming the talk of them building is more than just a rumor, it’ll be very interesting to see what they come out with after being out of the game a bit since 2009.
- ROTC – Insite will likely see the course again this year as Fringe and the ROTC finish up and finalize their loaner contract. Apex used the buggy last year to great success, so it is great to see another team getting the chance to use a great starter buggy and get their organization off on the right foot. ROTC previously rolled as the AFROTC back in the late 80’s and are known for their clear buggy Stratofortress which showed all the gory details of the buggy’s inner workings and driver shenanigans.
Other Observations and Happenings on the Course
Trying out a new hairstyle in the frigid weather, the bales got some frosted tips, sadly a bit more literal than was comfortable that early in the morning. The most exciting event on Saturday was for those of us in the chute where a truck started to pull onto the course through the Phipps entrance. Luckily he was just pulling out enough to back into the driveway to make his delivery. There were no buggies rolling and he never got close to any normal buggy lines. With a little freedom due to the lack of stream and other people on Saturday, the pushers got a little more attention and many pictures were taken of the backhills.
Aside from the excitement from buggies in the chute, the chute barricader got to deal with several cars that went past the cop on the other side of of the bridge and were confused why they couldn’t drive up Schenley. The cop was seen a few times driving up to the car at the inner barricades and wondering how they got past and why they were there and didn’t stop before. One unlucky Motorcyclist may have even gotten a ticket after trying to go around behind phipps to stay off the course.
With the pushers getting a bit more love this weekend, I was able to see how the teams were working through the colder and colder weekends. From what I can tell, no one seems to be sad, and some teams are so excited that they are passing each other on the back hills.
The live stream was also up again this Sunday where we were joined by only a few viewers and alumni from the chute. I hope to have the stream up every Sunday at the least and possibly some Saturdays. Special thanks to Zach Waldman who lent his phone to upload at a bit better quality and took the time to be by the stream and follow the buggies around the corner. Also thanks to Shafeeq who allowed us to zip-tie his radio to the camera so we could hear the radio chatter.