With Saturday being sub 20 degrees, rolls were cancelled by Friday afternoon, but Sunday warmed right up and made for a surprisingly pleasant last day of rolls. Rolls were delayed early on due to wet roads and some teams were a little more hesitant than that and waited to see how everyone else did before giving it a go.
|CIA||Icarus, Orca, Ascension|
|SDC||Vice, Malice, Rage|
|Spirit||Zuke, Haraka, Seraph|
Because of the wetness of the roads, rolls were delayed over half an hour from their expected start time giving robobuggy a chance to roll in the daylight for once as an early test roll. This was one of the best attended days of rolls all year with everyone but SAE out this weekend. All teams took it a bit slower than normal and seemed to be focusing on lines instead of straight speed. One of the troubles though is that lines will change drastically when speeds go up so the benefit of rolling slower for more experienced drivers is severely less than that for newer drivers.
Many teams seemed to have issues getting their pushers down to hill 3 in time for their buggy leaving many forced to brake or be pushed by other teams. Aside from the apparent unpreparedness from these teams, it was exciting to see them accept the help rather than the fierce opposition that used to happen. Toward the end of the morning, a bike made it onto the course making his way up Schenley drive. Fortunately there were no buggies on the course and a flagger finally caught him and got him up on the sidewalk before any incident.
- Haraka – Even when taking it a bit slower than usual, Haraka had trouble in the chute turn and found herself in the inside bales. It was a soft landing and it reportedly looked about the same as previous spinouts. This seems to make it clear that it’s a traction/weight balance issue more than a control/driver issue.
- Vice – After a successful roll on a bag, Vice tried taking things a bit faster but couldn’t keep it together and pulled a 180 almost hitting the outer bales. She managed to avoid hitting anything though and was allowed to roll up the back hills and continue rolling the rest of the day.
- AEPi – Having kept the team inside for the last several weekends of rolls, AEPi decided to make a showing at the last possible chance. Both of their drivers are carrying over their full compliment of rolls from the fall, so for a team that may be lacking manpower, it was good to see them out again. Kamikaze had 2 drivers for the season totalling up 26 rolls combined, 15 to their veteran Erica and 11 to their rookie Rachel. It’s not a new thought to see AEPi as in a holding pattern, but with 2 drivers in a single buggy, we’re hoping this is a sign that things may be stirring in the background.
- Apex – Very much like AEPi, Apex has been running only a single buggy with multiple drivers all year. Unlike AEPi, Apex has 5 drivers and would have had 2 buggies this year if their last build had survived and they are working on a new one for next year. Current rumors are that Ember will not be recovered which would leave the team with 2 buggies for their 5 drivers. In total, their drivers racked up 42 rolls 17 of which going to their senior veteran driver Rachael Schmitt leaving all others with around 6 rolls each. This tactic is a little strange given that they probably want to be training new drivers that won’t be graduating so soon more. Then again, it could be just a scheduling issue for this semester.
- CIA – In one of the most surprisingly huge improvements so far, CIA is looking to be quite the competitor for this year’s raceday. Probably the biggest change for the team is their new, neon-green wheels that have them streaking around the course. Another change is the return of Ascenion and their previous A-team driver who is back from having taking a year off. Most of the team’s buggies have only had a single driver so far this year, and any doubled up drivers either have very few rolls or will likely be driving in the new buggy that they are expected to build. With so much diversity CIA managed to get 146 rolls with Amy in Icarus and Allison in Ascension claiming the #1 and #2 spots overall with 44 and 43 rolls respectively. Orca carried both Natalie and Annie for 15 and 13 rolls each with Impulse being driven by Rachel and Shannon for 13 and 11 rolls each. Freyja was driven for a total of 7 rolls all semester with Natalie driving for 5 and Ida for 2. As the only team to break triple digits this semester, it’ll be exciting to see how it pays off for them in the spring. As a bit of fun for the end of the year, Orca was sporting a pair of speakers lashed to her tail playing Christmas music all morning long.
- Fringe – As one of only a few teams with as many drivers as they have buggies, Fringe kept their drivers pretty consistent all year long, with only one driver having switched buggies. All of their rolls are looking nice and consistent, but they seem to be having some difficulty with manpower and if they aren’t able to pull enough people together, they may be hurting for teams come raceday. Totaling out at 62 rolls, Gillie claimed their top spot in Bissa with 27, Nina got 17 in Bolt and also 7 in Beacon, and Madison managed to pull off 11 in Beacon. This type of participation in rolls isn’t particularly new for this year, but it was far more common in previous years for them to roll 2 at a time instead of just one.
- PiKA – With only 2 buggies out for the year so far, it seems that PiKA has shelved their other buggies rather than rolling them for their new drivers. That combined with waiting until the 5th weekend of rolls to bring out Banshee makes us wonder just how hard it is now that the team is working out of off-campus housing. Fall rolls aren’t necessarily indicative of anything, but for the once dominant team they definitely don’t look like they are able to compete at the same level of a few years ago. With a total of 42 rolls, Anna in Banshee came out on top with 16 just barely ahead of Lena in Raptor with 15. Interestingly, both of these drivers have tried eachother’s buggies with Anna racking up 4 in Raptor and Lena getting 1 in Banshee. Their third driver Alicia only drove Raptor for 6 rolls. Pike still had some of the top speeds of the semester, but that gap will likely close as we move into the spring.
- SDC – After last year’s scary raceday of spins, SDC has been trying to reign in their issue to little success. Avarice had a crash early on from which she hasn’t since been seen. Vice has seemed to have at least one spin each weekend, some of them into the bales, others clean enough that she could continue rolling for the rest of the day. Rage only had one spin later on in the season, leaving Malice as the only one to have not spun. SDC managed to just barely miss 3 digits with 99 rolls total between all of their buggies. If Avarice had been able to roll, they clearly would have broken that mark, but instead Elizabeth in Rage and Anna in Vice topped out at 33 rolls each despite any spins. Jing in Malice only pulled off 30 rolls and before she was retired for the semester, Nikita managed 3 rolls in Avarice. Unless SDC is working on a new buggy, this could be a trying year for the top team from the last few years, with Vice’s spins and only 3 buggies, this could be the first year in recent history where they do not have multiple teams in the top 10 assuming they all make it around the course. In the confusion of the stopped Vice halfway through the day, Rage was left up at the transition flag and waited there for the follow car to return since it had passed to reach the spun Vice ahead of her. Unfortunately, there were some communication issues and the follow car followed Vice back up the hill before coming around again to meet up with the Rage to allow her to complete her roll.
- SigEp – For a team that always seems to save everything for the last possible weekend, they definitely seem to be taking that to the extreme this season. With only 38 rolls among their 6 drivers and 3 buggies, only Emily and Krystina seem to stand out with 11 and 9 rolls respectively, both in Barracuda. From there, things get a little splattered. Shushma managed 4 rolls in Pandora and Kraken each, Coleen nabbed 3 in Barracuda, Nazil with 2 and Maddie with 1 in Pandora. In addition to her rolls in Barracuda, Emily also got 4 rolls in Pandora at the same time. With only a couple clear drivers, it’s a real mystery as to what will happen come the spring. They have more buggies to place their drivers in, but so far seem oddly hesitant to do so.
- SigNu – As sort of a late bloomer this year, SigNu seems to be on a track to rebuild their team a bit after an abrupt fall off a couple years back with the loss of their house. While Bungarus Krait has been their primary work horse, we got to see them return Skua to their fleet this season. While neither driver are veterans, they showed no major issues through the days that they came out collecting a total of 14 rolls, 9 of which going to Renee in Krait, and the remaining 5 for Raisa in Skua.
- Spirit – Seemingly competing for most spins this year, Spirit had several issues in the chute this year much like SDC. That didn’t hold them back though as they were able to find 90 total rolls for their all veteran team over this season. Shaleena topped their list and also claims the #3 overall spot with 39 rolls in Seraph. Feyi in Zuke squeaked out 1 more roll than Sussy in Haraka with 21 and 20 rolls respectively. Before her terrifying crash in the end of October, Alyssa had pulled together 7 rolls in Kingpin II and 3 rolls in Haraka earlier in the season. Even though they didn’t have the most rolls, Spirit seemed to pull together their manpower whenever they needed it and always had enough pushers for when they needed them.
- Roboclub – With probably their biggest showing on the course to date, Roboclub was able to put forth a consistent showing each day of rolls. At this point, they have yet to do a fully autonomous run, but with 8 teleoperated runs under their belt, they hopefully will have enough data to start testing out their autonomy in the spring in time for a real raceday showing. With most previous exhibitions being called off due to scheduling issues, Sweepstakes should be trying harder now that one of their own is a roboclub personnel.
As anyone may have expected, even the little bit of weather that we have gotten this year has started to take its toll on the bike lane bollards that are removed and replaced each morning. Many of them still function fine, but some have come loose or can be pulled out completely leaving just a hole in the asphalt. No word yet from the city as to how this will affect their future use for us and around the city.