Sorry for the delay, being on the opposite side of the earth, my times are a little messed up. I sadly was also not able to take any pictures this weekend. Anyone who was at rolls with a camera should send me all pictures they took so that I can add them to this report.

This was the first day of Mini-Raceday where I believe there is a second on its way (someone please check me on this). Times have not yet been calculated, but there was still plenty of excitement to go around.

Special thanks goes out to Jakes Reid and Rachel Johnson who were able to get me some fantastic notes for this week’s rolls report since I wasn’t able to take some in person.

In Attendance

Org Saturday
AEPi Kamikaze
Apex Phoenix
CIA Orca, Ascension, Freyja, Firebird, Quasar
Fringe Bissa, Bonsai, Borealis, Banyan
PiKA Raptor
SDC Bane, Avarice, Malice
SigEp Mamba, Peregrine, Barracuda, Pandora
Spirit Zuke, Seraph, Haraka, Fuko
No-Shows DU, KapSig, ROTC, SAE, SigNu

Observations (Saturday Gallery)

  • For Saturday… forecast called for a 10% chance of rain when teams went to sleep, but they woke up to wet roads and a forecast of 60% chance of rain for the rest of the morning… From that, Rachel had her first experience of personally making the call that rolls were off.
  • Apex – With their first buggy finished, Apex rolled for the first time this semester with veteran driver Mallory Hayase. The new buggy bears the name Phoenix which I can only assume is a reflection of how Apex grew out of the ashes that was PiOneers. The shell was that familiar unfinished, carbon fiber black, but they had added a personal touch: It looked like all the members of the team had signed the buggy with a green paint marker, showing that every person on their team had a part in this success. First time around the course, they had four bags, but gave a full shove and still seemed to pick up speed. With such a strong start, it will be fun to see what they can do as the semester goes on!
  • AEPi – Out in their typical Sunday fashion with kamikaze, AEPi made their normal trips around the course. As far as I know, nothing more interesting happened for the small band of brothers in buggy.
  • CIA – With a TON of manpower out, including a horde of at least 15 catchers, CIA was out cheering themselves on to try and squeeze every  last second out for mini-raceday. They had 5 buggies out again, and were giving some good solid shoves on some of their buggies. Freyja was also see with 3 different color wheels on for at least one roll, which begs the question of whether CIA is actually using different compounds, or just messing with different colors.
  • Fringe – Borealis crashed for the second time this year right into the outer haybales. Word on the street is that the driver was unharmed physically, but fairly emotionally shaken, whereas the buggy sustained some potentially heavy damage. We’ll only know for sure if she makes it out again next weekend.
  • PiKA – Only Raptor was rolling for Pike sunday morning and she was out on those itty bitty wheels. On their final go-round, they lost some compound on the back wheels en-route to the outer bales. I for one am wondering how many monkeys were out there collecting the spoils. CORRECTION: PiKA was rolling on new ZE’s for their first roll when the tires exploded.
  • SDC – Only the standard 3 buggies were out in typical fashion for the past champs. For the first couple times, they started avarice up the hill rather than in a lane, so those times won’t count for mini-raceday, but apparently they were just getting the driver warmed up, and after a couple rolls like that, they lined her up in a lane and gave a legit hill two shove.
  • SigEp – As a stark comparison to CIA, SigEp seems to be pretty consistently short on manpower, even having to skip chairman’s, due to only having one person available to take drivers on coursewalks. They may have done at least a half of a hill one a couple times though, and as usual, their pushers were reliably bringing plenty of strength and speed. They had 4 buggies out and were rotating usually 3 at a time. They seem to have settled on an a team driver in barracuda, and are rumored to be training a driver who may be able to drive last year’s build. Maybe we will see her out in it in the spring?
  • Spirit – Zuke spun in the chute on one of its go rounds, but nothing bad. It was out again on the next roll. Spirit was also rolling deep, but for some of their buggies, seemed to be jogging hill two and giving light push-offs. Some are speculating that if you push their buggies TOO fast, they have more of a tendency to spin, because they pick up so much speed in the freeroll… so maybe they are trying to avoid that.

Of the No-Shows, here’s what I know,

  • SAE got caped this last week in the newly repaired Rubicon, but did not make it out to rolls. They’ve got one weekend left to get any rolls in for the fall. Not coming out will only make it harder for them to qualify in the spring.
  • SigNu was not out this weekend, Hopefully they are just saving their strength for spring. But with only one roll each for two different drivers in Krait, like SAE it will be an uphill battle as they try and qualify for Raceday.

Fun Musings

  • For the first time in a very very long time, every single barricader came out! Hooray for safe, closed roads! No cars on the course, only one biker, no crazy hordes of joggers… all in all pretty uneventful, besides a slight snafu with almost having to leave a mini cooper on hill 5. The policemen said they couldn’t tow it since it had a boot on it. Teams were all set to put haybales and a flag up and tell drivers to steer around it, but turns out the tow truck could take the car after all and all was good.
  • It was noticed that a lot of hill 5 pushers not even try to catch the handlebar at the finish line… let’s hope their teams explain to them the error of their ways so we don’t have any DQs on raceday. Or just move them to another hill.
  • With all the crashes and spins some people ask “why do we even still allow zero error wheels on the course, with this many problems? It’s dangerous.”  As it happens, out of the crashes on Sunday, only 1 out of the 3 teams were possibly rolling on ZE’s. PiKA switches between ZE’s and their own wheels and Spirit is doing their own thing and not using the stock ZE wheels. Fringe was using them last raceday which caused an issue with their Women’s A heat where the tread fell off in the chute. That being said, one can only speculate that this happened due to the massive treatments to get every ounce of speed from the wheel, and doesn’t seem to happen with the stock tread. Not allowing a certain type of wheel will only hurt the diversity and competition of Buggy. Teams that use ZE’s and treat them do so with the knowledge that they could fall apart, and that is their risk to take. If you have a different opinion, feel free to comment below.
  • Overall, most teams seem to be solidifying who is driving what. As drivers are becoming more and more comfortable in their lines, it seems like the incidents we see are less driver related and more related to the mechanical problems that tend to arise as we push the limits of buggy top speed. It was a beautiful day, with a slight fog as the sun rose over the hills and created beautiful shadows in the trees-hard to believe it’s November. One more weekend of rolls, then we have the “spring” semester, which will likely be more like an arctic winter, so I was enjoying the nice weather while it’s here.
  • Again, a great deal of thanks goes out to Jake Reid and particularly Rachel Johnson for their help with the rolls report. Assuming my job doesn’t keep me on the other side of the pacific, I will hopefully make it back for the final weekend of rolls and be able to supply you with a live stream from my new phone and pictures.Keep an eye out for mini raceday results as times get calculated

25 thoughts on “Rolls Report: Nov 11 – Mini Raceday #1”

  • Thanks for the report, Matzke. We’re all looking forward to seeing those times. I do believe that was the only mini-raceday though.

  • The Borealis crash seemed odd to some observers because, first, it looked like the buggy just stopped turning after the apex and continued in a straight line towards the haybales, and second, the buggy dug into the haybales and stopped rather abruptly rather than bouncing off or scraping along them like we usually see for shallow crashes. The hatch flew off and landed on the sidewalk, where it got buried under the haybales EMS tossed out of the way and then proceeded to sit upon. My memory is that this buggy has a history of hatches falling off, but also that it nearly meets the protection rules without the hatch in place, so maybe it doesn’t matter?

    The “win or crash trying” teams will always find a way to push the boundaries of failure in search of speed, and as long as they all don’t crash, the gamble will have paid off for one of them. If your competition is willing to take a bigger risk than you, either you have to take the same risk, be more clever than them, or be content with not winning. The only current wheel prohibitions are “no plastic derby wheels” (because they were guaranteed to fail) and “must have at least three”. I don’t really like the last one, because I think there’s more potential for teams to figure out how to make a 2-wheel buggy work than there is in tweaking tire formulas & treatments.

    • I am the driver of Borealis and I want to respond to your comment because I feel as if it gives an accurate depiction of Fringe. Not once has Fringe ever put speed over my safety. Since my first crash (which was my first time ever rolling) they have actually been taking measures to slow me down so I would feel more comfortable. When I rolled on Sunday, Fringe was still cautious and didn’t give me a full shove off Hill 2 or do anything that would make my buggy go faster. The crash was entirely my fault as a driver.

      Fringe has been incredibly encouraging to me throughout the season; they have granted all my requests for new equipment and constantly tell me to inform them of anything that causes a problem for me. I think the fact that I am physically intact after such a dramatic (in regards to speed, the angle I crashed at, and the hatch popping off) crash shows that they are not a team which wants to “win or crash trying”. Otherwise, I might not be in the one piece that I am in now.

      I post this comment as someone who is not looking to start an argument, but as someone who wants to express how incredibly grateful she is to be on a team that supports, respects and genuinely cares about her.

      • I did not read Shafeeq as taking a poke at fringe nor intend my comment as such. The nature of wheels and the chute turn is such that with greater speed comes greater chance of failure. Beyond a goodly push and tight buggy/areo design, the next place to shop for speed in in reducing the rolling resistance of the wheels. The mechanism can be higher tire pressures or more juice, heat, or an intentional characteristic of the tire as designed. I have yet to see a tire that gets stronger when the normal tricks used for lower rolling resistance are applied. Add to this that the side load in the chute goes up with speed and we have the situation where risk of a tire failure increases as the cars are prepped to go faster. The “crash or win” equation I referenced is not really an equation, but rather an expression of this relationship. Invoking speed from the wheels comes with risk. How much risk to take is the key decision in prep. When the 2 leading teams are running very similar wheels, have well trained drivers, and have roughly the same pushers, the difference between winning and coming in 2nd (or not finishing) will be who manages to come the closest to the limit without crossing it.

        There are plenty of examples over the years of buggies that crossed the line on race day. I may be the poster boy for the guy who prepped too hard back in 86 and 87.

        Spirit of late has been an example of a team that worked hard to under stand where the limit was for their buggy and not cross it. They could go faster but the chance of not finishing at those speeds is not high.

        • Oh, I don’t think either of you two were “taking a poke at Fringe”; I honestly just wanted to comment on something that was not true of Fringe (us being a “win or crash trying” team) because I don’t want others to blindly think that simply from reading a comment online. I have absolutely no intentions to start an argument with you or Shafeeq! Again, I just wanted to comment on something that I did not think was very fair.

  • I am not on ZE’s xmass card list. However, I must come to the ZE wheel’s defense. Given the the vast number of fast rolls that that wheel type has racked up by leading orgs over the past 6 + years, and the speed involved, I conclude that wheel is amazingly durable and has a really low rate of failure. For speed, safety and durability they beat the juiced sbd tires of the 70s, the goodyear rubber of the 80s, the pneumatics of the 90s and the pka rubber of the 2000s by a goodly margin. I will agree, given the iffy state of the primer used (or not) you are taking a risk of a tire failure with you on every roll (especially if you juice and over heat). The inverse relationship between speed and durability has applied to tires used here and at derby since the invention of the wheel.

    I suspect that in time, people will figure out ways to sort out the bad eggs so they do not appear on race day. Or, ZE/Aend will figure out how to use a better , more easily applied and checked primer in the construction of the wheel.

    I do support of banning the ZE/AEND wheels but not for safety reasons, It would just be interesting to see Fringe and SDC scramble for new buns as the balance of power is upset for a little while. I, for one, would welcome our new CIA/ SIG Epp overloards.

  • I should mention that of the two ZE tires that have come off on raceday and rolled directly into my waiting arms, neither one was fresh. You could clearly see that both had been used many times before and had been falling off the rim for quite some time. They sorta had growth rings of dirt between the tire and rim as the tire slowly fell off.

    So there might be some dividends to using fresh wheels, or at least looking at them before raceday.

    It should also be noted that the other recent supplier of quite a few wheels to CMU had a much more spectacular failure mode and failure rate. I usually got mere pieces except for one entire SigEp wheel and spindle assembly, which I generously returned to the giant angry hill 3 pusher who requested same.

    • Giant angry hill 3 pusher checking in. Still very thankful for your willingness to return that wheel, o mighty cook.

  • I’m no fan of ZE either, but as a polymer scientist (#brag!), I can tell you that the chemistry involved in bonding *ANY* polyurethane or natural latex to aluminum or steel rims is highly susceptible to failure after certain wheel treatments. I doubt ZE is doing anything different than the rest of the “field” (of custom racing wheel people) in terms of bonding. However, if a team has been running a *custom-made* wheel for a while, or if they’re running a wheel that was previously treated in a certain way, it’s bound to fail, and spectacularly, at that.

    Industrially-made wheels have slightly better bonding processes, and mildly different chemistry, so they’re less likely to fail after long use or treatment.

    Anyway, I think it’s probably not worth losing sleep over as a driver or mechanic. Wheel failures like the type we’re talking about are rare; I think the PiKA incident here is probably due to an extremely agressive wheel treatment (the details of which I am not privy to, of course). If they’re losing material through the chute, new AND old wheels can’t hold up to that.

  • I can tell you this. Fringe has wheels manufactured by me but all are very old. ALL have been chemically treated. Wheels that are treated with chemicals WILL come apart. Only a dumb-ass would continue on old inventory! All the bullshit said about my company I could give a shit whether I sell any org a wheel! Call someone who effin cares!


    • anonymous FRBRF says:

      Unless I’m mistaken, I’m pretty sure the wheels that caused Bonsai’s Women’s A crash were brand spanking new…at most a few rolls on them, none of which with soupy chemicals. I also don’t actually remember who manufactured that particular set, but yeah. Those wheels weren’t old.

      Or I’m entirely wrong, it’s happened before.

      • That sounds right to me. From rumors I heard, the wheels where brand new for women’s A, but possibly over heated to the point where the bonding agent degraded. Not sure about any soup, but I know the men’s A wheels were heated less to prevent a repeat issue.

    • Another FRBRF says:

      Having old wheels is not the same as using old wheels. As the person who discovered the 12 boxes of old shitty wheels stuck in the way back of the Froom last year, I will be the first to admit that there’s definitely the possibility that we have some of your old wheels. I can GUARANTEE that everything that we currently use is FAR newer than those dusty pieces of crap.

      As another polymer engineer, I will agree with you that wheels treated with chemicals will fall apart….. we aren’t idiots. I will also agree with what has been said before: adhering PU to aluminum or steel – even with a primer – is not always mechanically stable. Particularly when you add a shear component into play. Buggy is not what your wheels are designed for but we appreciate them, we like them, and that is why we still use them.

      If you have any other qualms, I would be more than happy to discuss this offline. CMU Buggy is not the place to make ridiculous accusations.

  • “PiKA was rolling on new ZE’s for their first roll when the tires exploded.”
    This is an incorrect statement. I am not sure who made this correction, but you might want to check your sources.

          • The winners were announced at chairmen’s two weeks ago, and we were told the raw data would be going out to us, but we haven’t received it yet. There were no women’s times because there was no way of knowing for sure which teams were women all the way through, so the top two times in each category were used instead. However, those six buggies and times were the extent of the information we received. Hopefully there will some raw data that comes out soon, because the other times are the really interesting part…

  • I was at the race last year…… I KNOW when and what was manufactured and you are wrong!!! Fringe has not bought wheels from me in a few years. My statement is fact..take it to the bank…my # 724-346-5898 if you would like to discuss this.

    As far as this statement goes:
    If you have any other qualms, I would be more than happy to discuss this offline. CMU Buggy is not the place to make ridiculous accusations

    What about the things said about my company on here? What is ridiculous about telling them to purchase somewhere else?


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