Rolls Report: March 26 & 27 – Two weeks until Raceday!

Spring was in the air this week and Pittsburgh finally let us have a nice full weekend of rolls. All 10 teams rolled at least one day and what’s more, we are happy to report that although there were a couple controlled stops, there were no spins or other accidents. This always great to see as Raceday rapidly approaches. We had a couple alumni taking times for max Freeroll speed and Chute times. We don’t as of yet have the data for you, but we will be posting the Freeroll speeds Thursday. To tide you over, we can report that the teams with the fastest individual Freerolls this weekend were (in descending order): SDC, Spirit, PiKA, CIA and Fringe. This is none too surprising given last year’s Raceday results.

Speaking of that glorious day that we’ve been looking forward to all year, be sure to check out the planned buggy-related events. You can find an interactive calendar of events here.

In Attendance 

Org Saturday Sunday
AEPi  Kamikaze  Kamikaze
Apex  Phoenix  Phoenix, Ember
CIA  Tempest, Orca, Icarus, Equinox, Impulse  Icarus, Impulse, Equinox, Tempest
Fringe  Balius, Bissa  Balius, Bissa, Bolt, RD16
PiKA  Banshee, RD16  RD16
PhiDelt  Perun  Perun
SAE  Lucy  Lucy
SDC Malice, Havoc, Avarice, Bane  Malice, Havoc, Bane, Avarice
SigEp Pandora, Kraken
Spirit  Inviscid, Fuko, Seraph  Inviscid, Fuko, Seraph, Zuke

Observations (Saturday Gallery | Sunday Gallery)

    • AEPi – We saw AEPi out and rolling with Kamikaze both Saturday and Sunday this week. The team normally abstains from rolls on Saturday, but is likely trying to pack in all the practice they can in these last few rolls before Raceday. The team made several pass attempts before getting it right on Sunday. We don’t have any word on their build rumored from last semester, but our best guess is that it was abandoned in favor of Raceday prep. Hopefully they’ve made some progress that can roll over into the next year.
    • Apex – Both Phoenix and Ember were out and rolling this weekend. Phoenix was still bagged at the start of Saturday, but was bag-free and the team had secured 2 pass tests by the end of the day. Their roll-outs were not particularly impressive, but they have time to put on their good wheels and squeeze out a bit more performance before Raceday.
    • CIA –  CIA was out in full force this weekend, rolling 5 buggies on Saturday and 4 on Sunday.  Tempest, the newest member of the fleet, was still bagged on Saturday, but the driver was making visible progress in controlling the new buggy through the chute. More over, the older members of CIA’s fleet were getting some pretty impressive rollouts likely due to their shiny new yellow-green wheels. Of note, according to BAA timers, CIA has a relatively slow top Freeroll speed but manages to be just as fast or faster through the Chute and into Hill 3. While we don’t offer much explanation for this, we did notice much less variability in the chute lines both within and between drivers.
    • Fringe – Fringe had out the newest member of their fleet this Sunday. The team is getting pumped for Raceday. They have 5 buggies rolling this spring, are in need of just 1 pass test, and are really working on their speed. With were mid-hill staging spot, they have a prime opportunity to work on their Hill 1/Hill2 transitions, and they are capitalizing. Although they are amongst the top 5 fastest teams, their roll outs leave a little to be desired, but there is still time to improve. We can’t wait to see what they will be capable of in two weeks.
    • PiKA – PiKA was also rolling a new, unnamed buggy this weekend. The petite green and black buggy has a forward trike wheel formation and looks a bit like an improved version of Banshee. Over 2 days, RD16 has already amassed 8 rolls and is already demonstrating some serious speed. By the time the driver was going bag free, she was already one of the fastest buggies rolling. The new buggy had one slight mishap on Saturday during her second or third roll and came to a complete stop about half way down the Freeroll. Apparently the wind shield had come loose and the driver calmly slowed to a stop. The buggy was promptly carried back across Flagstaff and did not finish out the roll.
    • PhiDelt – Perun was out and rolling with 3 different drivers between Saturday and Sunday. The team secured 2 pass tests, at least one of which was conducted with Spirit. Having postponed their build, PhiDelt took some time that Perun needed for a proper tune-up and has dropped about 10s off their Freeroll time through better wheel alignment. Word is they plan to start experimenting with extra wheel prep to scratch out as many seconds as they can.
    • SAE – Without seeing them aside from 2 short days in the fall, we were unsure if SAE was going to be participating in this Raceday. We were excited to hear their car radio blaring both days this weekend as Lucy made her way around the course. She’s still sporting her incredible camber, but managed to pick up 7 rolls, which should be enough to qualify. They are just in need of a pass test and a friendly organization to assist. The team appeared to be trying out several different chute lines, but may have worked something out by the end of rolls on Sunday.
    • SDC – SDC was out with their usual show of force with 4 buggies both day of rolls and now has the highest average number of rolls per driver. The team is very clearly gunning to reclaim their top spot status come Raceday. They are completing completing full Hill 1s and Hill 2s and have some of the deepest send offs of any org rolling. Their drivers seemed to have all decided on similar chute lines to execute the turn, but are still a little variable in where they end up in the chute (middle or outside edge). The team is also scrubbing much less speed as they move through the chute as they are no longer skidding nearly as much as previous weekends. Malice is leading the rollout ladder with Avarice and Bane not far behind. All this combined is obviously working, as they had the fastest buggies rolling this weekend.
    • SigEp – Finally making it out to their second weekend of rolls this Spring, SigEp spent their Sunday morning catching up on the days they missed. As a team that just last year placed second with their men’s A, we are amazed to not see them take these practices more seriously. With 2 weekends left (1 of which being truck), they will likely be able to qualify, but many of their pushers will enter Raceday with significantly less practice. Their Hill 2’s are somewhat deep, with new pushers grabbing hold before their shove killing any speed they had.
    • Spirit – Spirit was also amongst the fastest teams rolling this weekend, and were getting some truly great rollouts up Hill 3. Importantly, this is the first week in a while where the team made it through rolls without a single spin. From the top of the hill it appears that the pushers aren’t going as hard as they could and are seemingly holding back on their pace and push. If this is what they need to do to get around the course safely, it’s great they figured it out, but in a spot where speed is key, this may be a step backwards. Regardless, we are glad to see them getting a handle on the issue. Spin-free day aside, the team did have two controlled stops on the Freeroll near the monument. One was for unknown reasons, but the other was because the driver lost track of where she was on the course during a pass test. She very wisely pulled away from the other buggy and slowed to a stop.

Rolls Report Contributors:
Ben M.
Shafeeq S


8 thoughts on “Rolls Report: March 26 & 27 – Two weeks until Raceday!”

  • Spirit rolling fast and making the chute at the same time is the biggest news in this report. That could make for a very interesting raceday.

  • Continuing the topic of spirit what classifies an impressive rollout, how many windows and where did they fall in line compared to other teams?

    • There’s a series of pictures from Sunday showing the first time the pusher touches the buggy on hill 3, might help show how the rollouts are shaping up.

    • I was more impressed with them showing up 2nd on the list of who was the fastest than by the roll out description. It has been a long time since Spirit was listed among the fastest rollers. They were 5 to 10 seconds off the pace (depending on how you measure) only a few years ago.

      • The trap is measuring instantaneous speed just before the chute flag, so overall freeroll time could show something very different.

      • Even in last year’s finals, Spirit A held off CIA A … until the turn. I didn’t record all the chute flag to hill 3 times this weekend, but Spirit is still taking 1-2 seconds longer than the other contenders. So they’ve improved over last year but still have a bit to go. I wonder if they’ve figured out something new, or if they held back last year out of fear of not making it through the chute? If so, how much do they want to gamble now?

        • My take on spirit,. There are too many possibilities to really be sure but I sill speculate as follows. I believe they have never stopped trying to get back on top since the end of the pneumatic era. They have sported an ever changing array of different colored urethane wheels over the past few years. My guess is that they, much like CIA did last year, may have found something that is quick. I also recall that it was not that long ago that they were not shoving off on hill 2 on raceday to try to make the chute. If they have improved their stability, then some of this could be down to a stronger shove and nothing more. I also noticed that last year in late spring, they were dabbling with smaller-than-xootr sized wheels on at least one buggy. As I recall, the little guys were on the buggy that ran women’s A and spun on the wet course on race day last year (don’t get me started about the stupid decision to start with a wet track). So, that might also be the source of the new-found speed. It would make sense if these did not roll out as well as bigger wheels, which may be the root of the slower overall roll (or, more likely, it could be due to sliding in the chute). It is not clear from this coast which of their buggies is the fast one but I see what looks like small wheels and a few differently colored tires in the photos. Looking back at the 2014 preview, I see that they have picked up at least 2 mph over truck weekend speeds. That suggests an improvement that would take a few seconds off their free roll times which might be enough to put them in the hunt. It will be an interesting race day.

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