Rolls Report: April 8 & 9 – Rapidly approaching Raceday!

Can you believe it, Buggy fans? Raceday 2017 is a mere week away! Much like our buggies, time seems to be speeding up as we approach the pinnacle of buggy-lover activities. Every org but one was out and getting in those last few rolls before Truck Weekend. Though, it seems that several teams are waiting on their duct tape orders to arrive. Ethan G (report writer and radioman extraordinaire) amassed quite the collection of hatches and various buggy bits that came loose in the chute.

If you arrived at rolls before 6:30 on Saturday, you’d have seen about 100 vehicles on the course as EMS borrowed our closed roads to do some training for their drivers. Rolls scheduled to start earlier this weekend were delayed on Saturday by course works and confusion on the roads as we scrambled to get the flaggers to their positions before their buggies were rolling. There was a little chaos and many teams were not prepared as Sweepstakes called for first roll.

Triple Buggy Spin – The major incident on the course this weekend occurred Sunday during a joint PhiDelt and Apex Roll. After passing Panther Hollow bridge and the transition flaggers the driver of the lead PhiDelt buggy felt, or heard something that upset her enough to put on the brakes. After applying the brakes the buggy went into a spin and came to a stop in the middle of the roadway. Unfortunately they were being closely followed by 2 Apex buggies ‘Ember’ and ‘Kyle’. Upon seeing stop flags Ember applied the brakes and pulled left, spinning around and coming to a stop against the sidewalk. ‘Kyle’ seeing this attempted to steer to a wide right of the pileup and applied the brakes as she headed towards the monument. ‘Kyle’ at this point also spun around and came to a stop leaving 3 buggies facing the wrong direction just upstream of the monument. EMS cleared all the drivers for be pushed through but this very unexpected turn of events results in a significant rolls slow-down.

In Attendance 

Org Saturday Sunday
Apex  Phoenix Kyle, Ember
CIA  Orca, Tempest, Emperor Orca, Impulse, Emperor
Fringe  Bolt, Bissa, Beacon, NB17, Boson Boson, Bolt, NB17, Beacon
PhiDelt Emily Emily
PiKA  Banshee, Cliodhna Banshee, Cliodhna, Raptor
SAE  Lucy
SDC  Malice, Havoc, Bane, Avarice, Rage Malice, Havoc, Bane Avarice, Rage
SigEp  Kraken, Barracuda, Beyonce Kraken, Barracuda, Beyonce
Spirit  Inviscid, Zuke, King Pin Inviscid, Zuke, King Pin

Observations (Saturday Gallery | Sunday Gallery)

  • RoboBuggy – The dystopian buggy future is now. No, we aren’t referring to the current political situation. Transistor successfully completed two full autonomous rolls on Saturday and more on Sunday as the RoboBuggy team starts to iron out the kinks in their navigation systems. Sadly it doesn’t like they will be achieving Raceday speeds anytime soon. The path that Transistor takes is less than ideal and tends to meander back and forth across the road. But it CAN successfully make the turn in the chute and that’s d*mn impressive. This is a positive step for those looking to keep rolls as safe as possible by removing humans. We’ll have to see if the city of Pittsburgh is ready to turn the back-hills into a conveyer belt. In any case good work guys this is a real milestone!! Can’t wait to see where this system goes in a few years. Perhaps one day there will be less hunting for small women among unsuspecting freshmen and more frustration as your  firmware update fails to build. 
  • ApexApex came out with just one buggy on Saturday and scored a number of rolls for Phoenix. The absence of “Kyle” was troubling as these new buggies need every opportunity to roll to be qualified and ready to race. On Sunday the team returned with gusto. No longer inhibited by bags, Kyle is rolling like a quality new build, and is definitely lighter on her wheels than her older brother Phoenix (Re: last week…ouch, guys). Although Apex is still having trouble holding onto their rear hatches, the following more newsworthy story of the day was no fault of the members of Apex. Kyle had a near miss with an indignant runner whom after being told repeatedly (and loudly) to leave the course. She stopped just long enough at the bottom of the Freeroll to give the support teams a dirty look as a buggy passed her within a few feet… at no less than 30 miles an hour. It’s time to get more forceful about blocking these pedestrians. Full contact flagging anyone? (Editor’s note: The following Tuesday while driving to work, I’m fairly certain this same jogger meandered into the crosswalk against the light in front of me. Like on Sunday, she again gave zero fricks.)
  • CIA – On Saturday, Emperor continued to thunder around the course on a questionable set of wheels, although it’s worth noting that they sounded much less like hexagons and more like octagons. For many years orgs have theorized about the benefits of and experimented with larger wheels. But it helps if the wheels are round. On Sunday, Emperor came out much quieter (perhaps new rubber?) and rolling a bit faster. As CIA wraps up qualifying most of their drivers (Shout out to Victoria driving Orca for being the only non-SDC driver coming into this weekend fully qualified) they appear to have added Impulse back into the mix. Impulse has appeared sporadically this Spring, but hasn’t been consistent in the fall roll schedule. If CIA gets all its buggies qualified we’ll be looking at 6 different machines rolling on Raceday. You only get 8 heats guys, leave some drivers for the rest of the teams!
  • Fringe – Fringe rolled four buggies both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. As per Fringe standard, their rolls were fast, quiet, smooth, and uneventful. Here is a list of things that did not happen during Fringe’s rolls: Bolt did not electrocute a squirrel; Beacon did not chase down and take out the indignant jogger from Apex’s roll; Bissa did not blast “Back in Black” as she cruised down the Freeroll; and finally, Bissa, Bolt, Beacon, and NB17 did not morph into a dinosaur-shaped buggies and subsequently come together to form one giant dinosaur-shaped buggy to battle Transistor.
  • PhiDelt – Phi Delta Theta was first colonized at CMU in October of 2013. After starting buggy last year with the KDR loaner ‘Perun’ they rolled a successful 2016 Raceday with a promising finish time. This year they set their sights high: complete their own buggy build and be out to another Raceday. This weekend, PhiDelt took a big step towards their goals and attended their first rolls of the year! They grow up so fast; the new org is now rolling with a buggy all their own. Though they were hesitant to give a name  I’ve been told it is referred to as “Emily”. The first day back out after an extended hiatus left them with some kinks to work on and, rolling double bagged meant significant slow downs through the course. “Emily” with her veteran driver Sarah Deluty was only able to successfully complete one Freeroll on Saturday and also managed to lose some hatch hardware in the chute. Sunday was more eventful, after scratching their first roll PhiDelt managed to nearly complete a Freeroll only to have more hatch trouble when their front windshield came completely off the buggy as they passed over the chute trench. The buggy was stopped and removed from the course but came back to roll alongside Pika and Apex as they hustle to qualify for Raceday.
  • PiKA In addition to Cliodhna and Banshee; Raptor came to rolls this weekend! After collecting a few rolls in October, Raptor was not seen again rolling the course… until this Sunday! Due to severely lacking the roll counts of their entire fleet, PiKA was rolling with other orgs that are struggling to qualify. PiKA’s unique roll style of releasing all their buggies nearly simultaneously shows a high level of confidence in their drivers to react if anything were to go wrong. Most teams try to avoid putting their buggies and drivers in high risk situations before Raceday, but PiKA has always followed the beat of their own drum. Fortunately the drivers of PiKA’s matte black fleet live up to expectations as we’ve seen basically no issues with the speed or control.
  • SAEAs we rush headlong towards Raceday we start to get near full attendance at rolls. SAE, having only been out twice thus far, is looking in good form as Lucy holds her line through the less-than-perfect-pavement of the chute. The consistent quality of their rolls is almost certainly due to the experience of veteran driver Hee Jung Koh who was driving for SAE last year when they put up a solid time of 2:23.928. Not quite enough for day two, but very respectable. A couple of days refining the chute line might be enough to put them in the top 10 come Raceday.
  • SDCSDC came into this weekend with three of their drivers fully qualified and two more only needing only a day of rolls. Only one other organization could have boasted even a single qualified driver. As many alumni look nervously over the roll counts, there can be no question of SDC’s dedication to the sport of buggy. SDC rolled true to form with 5 buggies consistently where they need to be all weekend….with one exception. On Saturday morning SDC was forced to scratch their first roll. Due to confusion with EMS, the SDC support crew set off for their position late. Even though the flaggers ran over Flagstaff in a valiant effort to secure first roll, they weren’t able to get in position before SDC was forced to scratch. Nobody’s perfect…but SDC is a close approximation.  
  • SigEpAfter losing out on their first Saturday roll due to general confusion surrounding the start time, SigEp came out strong with a new neon pink buggy (reportedly named “Beyonce”). The new buggy managed to make it to the chute for a full roll even while sporting two stylish Traders Joe’s bags. The front view-screen on Beyonce looks to be held on with little more then tape and a prayer, and we expect to see an upgrade before design comp. Kraken rolled quickly and consistently for the duration of the weekend. The team is racking up their roll count by getting additional laps around the course by pass testing with SAE. They may be in need those extra rolls as last week SigEp loaded a new (but not inexperienced) driver into Kraken and will now need to hustle to get her qualified for race-day.  Barracuda is looking particularly fast these days; during it’s second roll Saturday it blasted past all of the pushers for a solid 5-window rollout…and then nobody came to get it. The addition of an extra buggy it looked like not enough pushers were allocated. Hill three pushers from other organizations yelled for someone to come pick up the listing Sig-Ep buggies. Everyone made it back to top of hill safely and rolls were not delayed.
  • SpiritSpirit was getting focused this weekend choosing to field just two buggies at a time as they refine their lines and get everyone pass-tested. Unfortunately on Saturday there was an incident involving Zuke, as it took a wide chute line the left outrigger wheel made contact with the bales along the chute and sheared off half of the rear axle. This forced the buggy against the bales as it came to a stop. The driver was checked by EMS and cleared for extraction. The incident seemed not have affected the team as Zuke was back on Sunday with a fresh axle and Spirit could be observed getting everyone up to speed and rolling a number of windows. Provided everyone makes it through the chute they will of course be a force to be reckoned with come Raceday.

Rolls Report Contributors:
Ethan G. (Writer)
Natalie M. (Editor)

12 thoughts on “Rolls Report: April 8 & 9 – Rapidly approaching Raceday!”

  • Why bother having brakes if you’re more likely to crash when you use them?
    And why keep cranking out new buggies with a brake configuration that repeatedly demonstrates itself as unfit for purpose as plexiglas windshields and plastic wheels?

  • If reverse trike rear bike brakes were banned, how many teams could actually field buggies though???

    Maybe in a time when more than a small handful of teams were dedicated to building quality buggies such rule changes could’ve been made.

  • CMU Students are supposed to be the top of the top when it comes to talent. I think they can figure out how to convert their buggies to more stable braking systems. Fringe seems to have no problems braking and not spinning with their reverse trikes. While the focus does need to be on getting more teams into buggy, forcing teams to build or redesign critical, inadequate safety features should not be ruled out because of a fear of losing teams or buggies. That kind of thinking will get somebody hurt

  • If front wheel braking was mandated with a grandfather clause to allow older buggies to stay on the course, eventually front wheel brake methods would become common knowledge. Every team wants to be safe but figuring out how Fringe does it isn’t as easy as it sounds

  • I agree that too many teams would be affected for a ban on current buggies to be feasible, but they can at least stop making more of them with the same problem. Meanwhile, the risks can reduced by not putting such a buggy in a position where it may have to stop for another buggy – i.e, only one rear wheel braked buggy on the freeroll at a time.

    Back when the brake rules were introduced, the less serious teams built standard trikes and single bike brakes were easy and just worked. Then reverse trikes became fashionable and less serious teams started building them, but without the extra engineering required to stop them sanely.

  • Grumpy old Bordick says:

    This is nonsense. We’ve built both standard and reverse trikes. There are many ways to stop a buggy. Pick a different one if your buggy spins when you hit the brakes. Geez. Wonder what the rules say about that? Oh right, that is the safety chairman’s purview.

    And are all those hatch ejections being logged as accidents per the rules? It’s pretty clear about that.

  • I have to agree with Andy. There are already good solutions and good rules for this. Speaking of rules. Rather than add some, how about we get rid of the stupid ones such as:

    the plastic bag rule(s) (which were/was added at some point after the big rules change in the 80s)
    follow cars (an accident waiting to happen)
    pass tests (proves very little, wastes time and increases the overall risk)

  • “CIA: (Shout out to Victoria driving Orca for being the only non-SDC driver coming into this weekend fully qualified) ”
    “SDC: Only one other organization could have boasted even a single qualified driver.”

    Would just like to point out that Fringe came into the weekend with two fully qualified drivers and only needed pass tests for two drivers and two more rolls for the fifth.. all of which happened by the end of the weekend.

    • According to the Rolls report from Sweepstakes fringe drivers had completed:

      Boson/Madison – 8 rolls and a pass test
      Beacon/ Helen – 8 rolls and a pass test
      NB17/Amy – 8 Rolls and a Pass Test
      Bolt/Vicky – 8 Rolls
      Bissa/Nina – 8 Rolls

      I’m sorry if my info is wrong but…all I have to work with is the information that Sweepstakes provides me.

  • It is also a distinct possibility that I cannot read this document properly. Looking back now I’m not sure that at the time “Roll Count” was adding the fall rolls that carried over. I saved a version of the rolls report to my computer that has the above numbers but apparently are just the Spring roll counts as of 4/2.

    My bad. Ya get what you pay for.

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