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This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series catches up to this author’s own era as we take a look at 2004-2006. History (or Herstory) is made when a sorority enters both Men’s and Women’s races for the first time. Some unique buggy designs try to hit the course. And PiKA pulls off something as only PiKA can.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 16 at 8:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 17 at 8:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Janice Golenbock (Chair); Carla Geisser (Ass. Chair); Cal Zemelman (Safety)
Men’s Results: (1) PiKA B – Jackal (2:11.74); (2) Spirit A (2:13.29); (3) SigEp A – Genesis (2:13.65); (4) Fringe B – Bandit (2:14.91); (5) Beta A – Thunderstruck (2:15.79); (6) SDC B – Addiction (2:18.63)
Women’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Jackal (2:29.83); (2) Beta A – Thunderstruck (2:39.83);(3) SigNu A (2:45.55); (4) SDC A – Addiction (2:47.48); (5) Fringe A – Blackjack (2:41.38 – DQ); (6) Spirit A (2:41.42 – DQ)
Design Comp: (1) Fringe – Blackjack; (2) SigNu – Skua; (3) Spirit – Seraph
Other Awards: (People’s Choice) Fringe – Blackjack; (Chairman’s Choice) Kappa; (Spirit of Buggy) CIA; (T-Shirt) PhiKap
Weather: Sunny, 47-66 Degrees on Friday; Sunny, 60s on Saturday
Buggy Book: 2004 Buggy Book Link
Raceday Video Playlist: 2004 Race Playlist
Prediction Score: 5/55 Men’s, 13/40 Women’s (Compubookie)
2004 saw a B Team win for just the second time ever, but the bigger story came a little further down the leaderboard, as Kappa Kappa Gamma became the first women’s organization to participate in both Men’s and Women’s races.
- Kappa Breaks Barriers. One of the biggest stories of 2004 was the addition of a new buggy team, Kappa Kappa Gamma (Kappa), to the field. For those who don’t know why this is notable, Kappa is a sorority, making it the first time ever that a women’s organization entered both Men’s and Women’s races under its own banner (only twice before had a women’s organization participated at all; in 1922, when sorority Alpha Kappa Psi entered, but didn’t finish, the race, and in 1979, when the Society of Women Engineers finished 2nd in the inaugural Women’s races). To do so, Kappa obtained the older buggy Spectre from CIA, rebuilt and repainted it, and renamed the new version Ursula. In honor of Kappa breaking barriers, they were awarded the Chairman’s Choice award at the Awards Ceremony.
- AEPi Returns. Kappa wasn’t the only new org to make their way to the course in 2004. AEPi, after 3 individual years of in the 1980s and 1990s, returned the course, this time a little more consistently. The start of their buggy era began by taking their old buggy Barak (formerly SigNu’s Colugo), repainting it red, and renaming it Red Lightning. [Editor’s note: I am an AEPi alum and this is my era, so expect more AEPi details than are probably warranted for an organization that has made it the Finals 1 time (thanks to DQs).]
- Fringe Gets Pissed Off. An unfortunate tale from the 2003-2004 school year comes to us from the Crime & Incident Report in the September 29, 2003 Tartan. On September 22, 2003, at 7:05pm, police were called to the Fringe buggy room to investigate an unlawful entry. There was no sign of force, and nothing was stolen, but the locked door had been opened. How did Fringe know? Because the intruder “urinated all over everything”. “Everything” included Fringe’s buggies, driver’s gear, couch, and computer. The computer’s keyboard was ruined. Fringe told police that this issue had been ongoing for 3 weeks – it just took them that long to realize what was happening. Police asked Fringe for possible suspects, and Fringe pointed out that they had conflicts with both SDC and Beta. Fringe had changed the locks and tried to keep the issue quiet, but at a certain point, they couldn’t hold it in anymore. The police helped place a new lock on the door.
- Sweepstakes Budget. The budget for Sweepstakes rose in 2004, coming in at $33,617.
- Roads Paved. Although there’s no written record of it, a visual inspection of the video footage from Raceday indicate that the Schenley Drive portion of the Freeroll had been repaved for 2004.
- Spring Spin. The March 22, 2004 Tartan includes a Crime & Incident Report about a buggy spin. According to the C&I, on February 28 at 7:57am, an unidentified buggy spun in the Chute, crashing into the haybales. The driver complained of back and neck pain and was transported to the hospital for precautionary reasons. We don’t have information on the buggy.
- New Buggies. 2004 seemed to be the year for new buggies, as most teams seemed to build. Other than Kappa’s rebuilt buggy, Ursula, and AEPi’s renaming/repainting of Red Lightning, there were quite a few new buggies in 2004. Fringe kept things going with their new (though, based on the paintjob, misleading named) buggy, Blackjack. Spirit put together a quality, long-lasting build with Seraph. SigNu built their first new buggy in a while, producing a new KOS-child named Skua. SDC officially established a naming theme with their new blue buggy, Strife. PhiKap switched to a reverse trike with their first (and only) build of the 2000s, Svengali. Beta also put together their last ever build, the aptly named Problem Child. SigEp went to the movies and produced the green buggy, Shrek. And lastly, PiKA tried something really odd for the fraternity – a non-black buggy – when they built Firewater, though Firewater was never able to make it out to a Raceday.
- Predictions. Compubookie had his single worst year of predictions in 2004, deciding that PiKA wouldn’t be able to repeat their recent performances. His score was hurt by several A team DQs, but even if he had guessed that, the predictions weren’t pretty anyway. On the Men’s side, his Top 10 predictions were: (1) Fringe A; (2) PiKA A; (3) Beta A; (4) SDC A; (5) SigNu A; (6) Spirit A; (7) KDR A; (8) PiKA B; (9) CIA A; and (10) Pioneers A. On the Women’s side, he was only slightly closer, with a Top 6 of: (1) Beta A; (2) Fringe A; (3) SDC A; (4) PiKA A; (5) SigNu A; and (6) Pioneers A. The one area where Compubookie had some foresight, however, was the future. He stated that “SDC has shown this year that they have a drive to become a force in this competition, and though this won’t be their year, they will be a team to watch in the near future.”
- PiKA Women’s Dominance. The big story of the Women’s races was the return of PiKA to the top. A year after losing 15 seconds and finishing 4th, PiKA came back with a vengeance in 2004. Pushing their buggy Jackal, the Women’s team set the clear bar to beat on Friday, and then crushed that time and set a course record on Saturday. That Saturday performance, clocking in at 2:29.83, marked the first time a Women’s team had ever broken the 2:30 barrier. In addition, PiKA A’s Hill 1 pusher, Lauren Schmidt, was named the Queen of the Hill. The time was even more impressive given the circumstances of the race. Going up against Spirit A in the final Women’s heat of the day, the starter’s pistol had initially malfunctioned, causing both teams to need to reset. Spirit, meanwhile, ended up being DQ’d for a loss of mass.
- Other Women’s Finals Back-and-Forths. The two other Women’s Finals heats involved some neck-and-neck racing. In Finals Heat 1, Fringe A won the race up the front hills, but SDC slowly gained in the freerolls, making the back hills close. This became a problem for Fringe A’s Hill 4 pusher. After transitioning the buggy to the Hill 5 pusher, Fringe’s Hill 4 pusher began to walk towards the sidewalk without looking behind her. SDC’s Addiction was coming up the side, and the Fringe pusher was able to jump out of the way of the buggy at the last possible second. But the move resulted in Fringe being DQ’d for interference. In Finals Heat 2, Beta A went up against SigNu A and had the edge as the buggies entered the freeroll, but SigNu had the faster buggy and caught up as they turned into the Chute. The SigNu driver considered passing, but decided not to, tucking behind Beta and waiting for the rollout to finally pass. Beta had the stronger pushers, however, and from the video, it appears that the two buggies may have bumped on Hill 3, at which point Beta separated and won the heat. The April 19, 2004 suggests that SigNu was close to a Hill 1-2 transition violation, but they were not DQ’d and there’s no obvious violation on the cmuTV broadcast.
- Other Women’s Miscellany. The most exciting of the Women’s Prelims heats was Heat 4. SigNu A was well behind KDR A’s Powder going into the freeroll, but SigNu caught and passed KDR between the transition flag and the chute flag. Once they got to the back hills, however, KDR began to gain again, and the two buggies finished simultaneously. Unfortunately for KDR, they had trouble getting to the starting line in time and were DQ’d for a 5 second violation. More excitement came in Women’s Prelims Heat 7. Fringe A went into the freeroll first, but behind them, Pioneers A and Spirit B went into the freeroll at the same time. The Pioneers buggy was ever-so-slightly in front when the two buggies made contact, with the left side of Pioneers A’s Chaos locking up with the right side of Spirit B. This caused the buggies to slow to a crawl. They eventually separated and Spirit passed Pioneers somewhere in the freeroll, with Pioneers passing back on Hill 5. But Sweepstakes determined that the collision was no one’s fault, and both Pioneers A and Spirit B were granted a reroll. Unfortunately for Spirit B, that reroll didn’t go well, as the buggy tried to take too tight of a turn and spun out in the Chute. A couple of other Women’s heats included passes, including Women’s Heat 1 (a double pass with Fringe B leading PiKA C going into the freeroll, PiKA passing Fringe on the Hill 3 rollout, and Fringe passing back once they started pushing), and Heat 6 (a double pass with SigEp A passing Kappa A somewhere around the monument and then Kappa passing back on Hill 5).
- Unlucky #13. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to go last. The final Men’s Prelims heat, Heat 13, matched PiKA A’s Brimstone, Spirit B, and CIA B’s Conquest against each other. After a Hill 2 shove where the pusher appeared to have injured him hamstring, PiKA had a much bigger problem when the buggy suffered a shocking spin. The driver took a wide line and couldn’t quite make it through the Chute cleanly. The buggy, Brimstone, came to a rest while sitting perpendicular on the outer half of the Chute as Spirit B, the second team in the heat, made its turn into the Chute. Spirit’s line was also wide, and the driver saw PiKA’s buggy in her path, which could have resulted in a serious collision. Spirit’s driver wisely did the only thing she could; she stopped turning and made a hard impact directly into the outer haybales. The impact with the bales popped the windshield/front hatch partially off of the buggy, but the haybales absorbed enough of the momentum that Spirit’s buggy stopped before reaching PiKA’s. CIA B’s Conquest, the third buggy in the heat, then followed into the Chute. The buggy took a tighter line and managed to stay inside of both crashed buggies, but Conquest had problems of its own; as the buggy reached Hill 3, the pushbar failed to rise, causing the buggy to come to a stop on Hill 3 before the pusher was able to get the pushbar back up to start pushing. Spirit B was granted a reroll as a result of the incident (it’s unclear if CIA requested a reroll as well or, if they did, whether it was allowed, but they did not end up taking one).
- PiKA’s Roster Manipulation. The good news for PiKA was that even though the A team buggy spun out, the B team had managed to qualify for the Finals, finishing Friday with the 3rd fastest time. The even better news for PiKA is that they had listed their A team pushers as the alternates for their B team. And the best news was that for only the 2nd time in 12 years, the weather was perfect for Raceday 2004 and allowed for 2 full days of racing without any hiccups. PiKA replaced 4 of their 5 B team pushers with their alternates, the pushers from their A team. The change shaved 3 seconds off of the team’s time, and earned PiKA their 3rd consecutive win (and their second career win with a B team, after 1983).
- Other Men’s Prelim DQs and DNFs. PiKA A wasn’t the only spinout of the day. The Men’s races were littered with teams, including several top-tier teams, not making it to the Finals, as a result of either DNFs or DQs. The most egregious of these was the Pioneers D team, who was DQ’d before they even reached the starting line, reportedly as the result of an intoxicated driver (drunk driving is never OK, whether it’s driving a car or a buggy). KDR was DQ’d in Men’s Prelims Heat 7, as they failed to get the buggy down on the starting line on time, earning a 5 second violation (and possibly explaining why the buggy rolled without a back hatch). Two different potential finalists were DQ’d for pushbar violations, with SigNu A (2nd place time) and Fringe C (6th place time) both failing to reach the pushbar as the buggy crossed the finish line. Fringe C’s DQ is particularly notable, as the pusher made a dive to catch the buggy, and cmuTV’s slo-mo replay of the failed dive has been seen over and over again, whereas SigNu was nowhere near the buggy as it crossed the line. And SDC suffered multiple DQ’s/DNFs. SDC D’s Strife was DQ’d for a loss of mass when a rear wheel cover flew off. Meanwhile SDC A’s Psychosis had a much more disappointing result in Prelims Heat 9, as the buggy hit a pothole as it turned into the Chute and broke the back left axle, causing the buggy to spin. The spin tore the back right wheel off of the buggy, which then went rolling separately in the Chute. The two trailing buggies, KDR B and SigEp B, each swerved to avoid the spun-out buggy, with KDR going towards the outside of the Chute and SigEp going inside, essentially skimming the inner haybales. And lastly, in Men’s Heat 12, based on the broadcast, it appears that SigEp A and PhiKap A, who were 2nd and 3rd in the heat, may have briefly gotten locked together at the start of the freeroll. The two buggies had separated by the time they reached Westinghouse Pond, likely causing PhiKap to brake, but as the two trailing buggies in the Heat, it’s difficult to tell for sure on the broadcast.
- Other Men’s Finals Notables. Fringe had a rough Men’s Finals. The Fringe A team, pushing Brazen in the last Finals Heat, easily rolled fast enough to win the Men’s races and snap PiKA’s winning streak, finishing in a 2:09.00. However, much like their C team the day before, Fringe A’s Hill 5 pusher was unable to catch up to the buggy at the finish line, and Fringe A was DQ’d for a Pushbar violation. Meanwhile, Finals Heat 4 added a bunch of excitement to the day. Fringe B’s Bandit and Pioneers A’s Pegasus went into the freeroll at the same time. Because they were neck-and-neck, Fringe’s buggy, coming out of Lane 1, had to stay outside of Pioneers initially, and then had the advantage as the two buggies crossed the street at Westinghouse Pond. However, because of the buggies placements, the drivers were unable to see each other. Pioneers tried to move a little closer to the Flagstaff-side curb than Fringe wanted to, but with Fringe already on that side, the two buggies bumped, with the right side of Pegasus hitting the left side of Bandit. No fault was assigned and Fringe pulled away after the bump, finishing 4th. Pioneers was granted a reroll, but was DQ’d for a transition violation during the reroll (possibly a Hill 4-5 transition, but it’s difficult to see the transition lines on the broadcast).
- The Exhibition Roundup – 2004. Exhibition races don’t enter the official Buggy record books, and often times don’t garner any coverage at all unless there’s something particularly unique or special about it. But beginning in 2004, cmuTV covered (most of) the Exhibition heats and the videos are available online! So we’ve decided to add a bullet at the end of every one of these years, with a brief roundup of all of the Exhibition Heats for the year, including estimated times (based on the on-screen clock).
- Exhibition Heat 1 – Fringe’s Bassketcase (Lane 1) vs. Pioneers’ Hyperion. The teams were close up the front hills, but Fringe took the lead at the top of Hill 2 and stayed in front throughout. But Hill 4-5 transition for Fringe wasn’t the cleanest; the Hill 4 pusher gave the buggy a huge shove and then waived goodbye to it…the Hill 5 pusher raced to catch up, and managed to get to the buggy roughly 10 feet before the finish line.
- Fringe: ~2:45.0
- Pioneers: ~2.49.4
- Exhibition Heat 2 – KDR’s Powder (Lane 2). Final time: ~2.48.1
- Exhibition Heat 3 – SigEp’s Quest (Lane 1), SigNu (Lane 2), SDC’s Rage (Lane 3). SDC led throughout, while SigEp went into the freeroll 2nd, but SigNu caught up in the freeroll, passing on the roll up to Hill 3 (SigEp passed back on the back hills). Rage also appeared to have something flapping on one of the wheels, but it never fell off the buggy.
- SDC: ~2:21.1
- SigEp: ~2:33.7
- SigNu: ~2:46.0
- Exhibition Heat 4 – Fringe’s Insite (Lane 1), KDR’s PiRho (Lane 3). KDR led throughout.
- KDR: ~2:23.1
- Fringe: ~2:33.1
- Exhibition Heat 5 – SDC’s Strife (Lane 1), PhiKap’s Schadenfreude (Lane 2), Pioneers’ Scorpion (Lane 3). Pioneers, with their shirtless pushers, led early, but PhiKap passed on the inside (Phipps side) at the transition flag. PhiKap would go on to win the heat.
- PhiKap: ~2:29.1
- Pioneers: ~2:38.5
- SDC: ~2:45.2
- Exhibition Heat 1 – Fringe’s Bassketcase (Lane 1) vs. Pioneers’ Hyperion. The teams were close up the front hills, but Fringe took the lead at the top of Hill 2 and stayed in front throughout. But Hill 4-5 transition for Fringe wasn’t the cleanest; the Hill 4 pusher gave the buggy a huge shove and then waived goodbye to it…the Hill 5 pusher raced to catch up, and managed to get to the buggy roughly 10 feet before the finish line.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 15 at 8:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 16 at 8:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Sara Player (Chair); Timothy Bowen (Ass. Chair); Arnold Oh (Safety)
Men’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Zeus (2:07.87); (2) Fringe A – Blizzard (2:10.17); (3) SDC A – Psychosis (2:10.88); (4) KDR A – Powder (2:11.37); (5) SigNu A – King of Spades (2:14.91); (6) Fringe B – Blackjack (2:16.38)
Women’s Results: (1) Fringe A – Brazen (2:37.91); (2) KDR A – Powder (2:39.05);(3) Spirit A – Shaka Zulu (2:42.70); (4) PiKA B – Phantom (2:52.84); (5) SigEp A – Number 5 (3:12.54); (6) SigEp B – Genesis (3:15.85)
Design Comp: (1) Fringe – Blizzard; (2) Fringe – Blackjack; (3) Spirit – Seraph
Other Awards: (People’s Choice) Fringe – Blizzard; (Chairman’s Choice) KDR; (Spirit of Buggy) Pioneers; (T-Shirt) CIA
Weather: Sunny, 47-58 Degrees on Friday; Sunny, 47-59 on Saturday
Buggy Book: 2005 Buggy Book Link
Raceday Video Playlist: 2005 Race Playlist
Prediction Score: 19/55 Men’s, 14/40 Women’s (Compubookie)
2005 saw some wild designs and some wild Chute turns, but at the top of the leaderboard was nothing but the usual.
- SDC Backlash. In 2005, SDC faced some backlash for their (now rising) Buggy program. An editorial in the September 21, 2004 Tartan called for SDC Buggy to be separated from the general SDC organization. The editorial repeated a common argument against SDC, that SDC is able to set aside a significant budget from the dorm fees in order to fund their buggy team. It pointed out that back in 2003, SDC spent approximately $6,000 on their buggy program. The editorial argues that the SDC buggy program should instead be set up like their booth program, as a sponsor of entries from different residences. It also called for additional oversight into the SDC buggy budget but student government. But that wasn’t the only issue. A dispute with cmuTV over some funding for cmuTV’s new 24-hour programming operation led to additional calls for oversight due to a lack of transparency and accountability.
- Beta Begins to Waver. 2005 signaled the beginning of the end of Beta’s participation in buggy. Other than 1992, during which Beta’s buggy had suffered a catastrophic failure just before Raceday, Beta had been a constant presence in Buggy since 1920. Even though Beta hadn’t fielded a competitive Men’s team in quite a while, they had still consistently rolled, and their Women’s team was a top contender in 2004. So it came as a bit of surprise that, in 2005, Beta elected not to field a buggy team. The women’s pushers moved over to SigEp, but this was still a big disappointment to the Buggy world. Beta would come back in 2006, but their appearances would become more sporadic until Beta would eventually lose their charter in 2013.
- Bad Weather Puts a Damper on Spring Rolls. We don’t have a ton of info about practice rolls, but we do have one note – the weather in the Spring wasn’t very good, and as a result there was only a limited amount of practice sessions.
- New Buggies. Valkyrie may have been the most unique one, but it wasn’t the only new buggy of 2005. CIA produced the much-beloved Firebird, the last dropping pushbar buggy to be built until CIA decided to bring the unique feature back in 2019. Fringe stuck with their consistency, once again building a new buggy, Blizzard. And for the 2nd year in a row, PiKA’s new buggy, this time Wendigo, failed to ever make it to a Raceday.
- Predictions. Compubookie picked things up a bit from his 2005 disaster. On the Women’s side, he went back to PiKA, while on the Men’s side, he sided with the track team pushing for Fringe. His Top 10 Men’s predictions were: (1) Fringe A; (2) PiKA A; (3) SigEp A; (4) SigNu A; (5) Spirit A; (6) PiKA B; (7) SDC A; (8) Fringe B; (9) CIA A; and (10) KDR B. For the Women’s races, his Top 6 were: (1) PiKA A; (2) SigEp A; (3) Fringe A; (4) SDC A; (5) SigNu A; and (6) Spirit A.
- Pioneers Tries Something New. The talk of Buggy leading up to Raceday was the new buggy built by Pioneers. The buggy, Valkyrie, had a very unique design feature – A curved pushbar! The purpose of the pushbar was supposedly to provide more horizontal force on the buggy, making it so that when the pusher pushed, there would be less wasted energy pushing the buggy down towards the ground. Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure if it was a good idea or not, as Valkyrie never made it to a Raceday.
- Pioneers’ Problems. Valkyrie not making it to Raceday 2005 was a problem for the Pioneers Men’s C and Women’s B teams. It may have also been the result of another issue – according to an unidentified buggy alumnus, the driver for Valkyrie failed to attend a mandatory pre-Raceday driver’s meeting, causing her to be ineligible to race. Therefore, instead of rolling Valkyrie with its usual driver for the Men’s C and Women’s B teams, Pioneers was forced to use Hyperion. Of course, Hyperion had already rolled for the Men’s B team, and was not on the Women’s B roster, and therefore Pioneers was given roster DQs for both teams. And the Pioneers Men’s B team didn’t escape the DQ fate either. The Pioneers B team was DQ’d for failing to have an extraction tool in the Follow Truck, a rare-to-see DQ.
- SDC Shows No Signs of Stopping. SDC had a rough day on the course. Most of the problems came from their buggy Strife. Rolling as the SDC Women’s A team and the SDC Men’s B team, Strife had times that would have put them either in the Finals or very close (it was the 3rd fastest Women’s buggy in Prelims, and just 0.1 seconds out of the top 10 in Men’s). However, neither team advanced, as Strife’s brakes failed to fire during either drop test. An unidentified buggy alum present in 2005 noted that “in neither case did the buggy even slow at the brake line; the brakes were entirely non-functional.” And Strife wasn’t the only SDC buggy with problems. Rage, rolling as the SDC Men’s C team, also failed drops. It was unfortunate for SDC, as it wiped out an impressive roll in Men’s Prelims Heat 3, where Rage made an outside move on SigEp A’s Number 5 in the Chute and passed on the rollout, nearly scraping the outer haybales on the turn (that heat didn’t end well for either team, as SigEp A was also DQ’d for a pushbar violation).
- SigNu Flips Out. The scariest incident of Raceday 2005 came in Men’s Prelims Heat 8 on Friday. There, SDC A’s Psychosis, CIA C’s Conquest, and SigNu B’s Skua lined up against each other. SDC had no problem winning the heat, but the excitement came with the second buggy. As SigNu B’s Skua turned into the freeroll, the driver lost some control and flipped over. The buggy skidded while on its left side, spinning around and eventually ending up in the outer haybales. Thankfully, the driver was not injured (though we assume she was probably a little dizzy). Unfortunately, the cmuTV broadcast does not show much of the flip, but a buggy alum did manage to catch it on video.
- One Line For Two Buggies. The other main excitement in the Chute came on the Women’s side. Women’s Prelims Heat 4 saw Spirit A’s Shaka Zulu, SigEp B’s Genesis, and SigNu B’s Okapi face off against each other. SigEp actually beat Spirit up Hill 1 and went into the freeroll with a very narrow lead. The distance stayed consistent at first, but Spirit began to gain on SigEp between the transition flag and the Chute flag. As they approached the Chute, Spirit decided to try and pass SigEp on the inside. But Spirit’s line took them a little wider than they had room for, while SigEp’s line tried to stay towards the inner half of the Chute. The result was that the two buggies collided (with the collision audible on the broadcast). They locked together, going in tandem into the Chute. About halfway up the Chute, the buggies separated, but they collided a second time as they turned up Hill 3. In a bit of a controversial decision, Sweepstakes determined that neither driver was at fault (even though Spirit’s driver was behind during the race and never completed a clean pass), and granted SigEp B a reroll without DQing Spirit A. Spirit would go on to finish 3rd.
- More Close Contact for Buggies. Two buggies again found themselves close together in Men’s Finals Heat 1. In that heat, KDR B’s PiRho faced off against SigNu A’s King of Spades. KDR went into the freeroll first, but SigNu was only about 3 buggy lengths behind early. SigNu had a better rolling buggy than KDR did, and as they reached the Stop Sign, SigNu moved outside to pass. They couldn’t quite pass cleanly, however, and King of Spades made contact with KDR as they reached the transition flag. The contact caused KDR to swerve to the right, and SigNu was able to take over the lead. Much like the curious Friday result, Sweepstakes determined that neither team was at fault, so SigNu requested a reroll, which was granted. It was a risky decision for SigNu, who was sitting in 5th, but they improved their time by 1 second, keeping their 5th place finish.
- PiKA Dominates Hill 1. PiKA once again fielded the best Men’s and Women’s Hill 1 pushers. Both Women’s A’s Becky Metler and Men’s A’s Basil Carr were awarded the Queen and King of the Hill honors. Becky’s Hill 1 time was around 20.5 seconds, while Basil’s clocked in around 16.5 seconds.
- Other Notable Women’s Races. Women’s Heat 2 paired Pioneers A’s Chaos against Fringe C’s Bassketcase. And even though it was an A team vs. a C team, the Fringe buggy itself was faster, catching up to Pioneers in the freeroll and then sticking a nose in front on Hill 3, before the Pioneers pushers took over and pulled away. CIA A’s Firebird had pushbar troubles in Women’s Heat 3, as the pushbar didn’t lock into place when it came back up on the back hills and continued to wobble as the pushers pushed. This resulted in a lot of awkward pushing; at one point the Hill 5 pusher tried a bump-and-run, but the shove only pushed the pushbar down, causing the pusher to trip and nearly fall. Women’s Heat 6 offered plenty of excitement with PiKA B’s Phantom going up against SigEp A’s Number 5. With the push team that propelled Beta to a 2nd place finish in 2004, SigEp made it into the freeroll first, but PiKA was gaining in the freeroll and passed by taking an inside line in the Chute. SigEp caught back up on the back hills and took the lead on Hill 5, until the buggy hit a massive patch/pothole, causing the buggy to swerve and giving PiKA the lead back. Women’s Heat 8 saw a pass as well, as Spirit C’s Kingpin beat SigNu A’s Skua up the front hills, but SigNu passed as they reached Westinghouse Pond. And it was a close call for PiKA A on Friday, as the buggy had a massive skid in the Chute in Prelims Heat 11, losing a lot of her speed.
- Other Women’s Miscellany. It was a disappointing year on the Women’s side for PiKA. They managed to get 2 teams into the final 6, where they were paired up in Finals Heat 2. PiKA A’s time was good enough for 2nd, but unfortunately their buggy, Brimstone, was unable to stop in time during drops and was DQ’d. According to the April 18, 2005 Tartan, the brakes squealed and the buggy veered slightly, but it was unable to stop in time. Something also seemed to go wrong for SigEp A’s Number 5 in the Finals. The buggy was sticking pretty close behind KDR A’s Powder in Finals Heat 1 until they reached the stop sign, when SigEp’s buggy slowed to a crawl, resulting in a 17 second slower race from their Prelims time. And AEPi would begin a disappointing trend within the fraternity, improperly planning how long it takes a buggy to be loaded and taken out to the starting line, meaning that the buggy didn’t get out to the line until the gun went off and picking up a 5 second DQ.
- Other Men’s Notable Races. In Men’s Prelims Heat 4, CIA B kept up with Fringe C until the freeroll, when Fringe pulled away. The Fringe Hill 4 pusher got a little close to a Hill 4-5 transition violation, as he faceplanted when he tried to give a final shove to the buggy. PiKA B demonstrated how not to give a Hill 2 shove in Men’s Prelims Heat 9, as the buggy had to swerve to correct the lateral movement that the pusher gave to the buggy.
- AEPi’s Invisible Buggy. Following a vote of the brotherhood, AEPi decided to again rename their ancient buggy. The new name: Camo. The team decided to paint it with an “urban camouflage” design with a blue base (rather than a traditional green-based camouflage). But since the buggy was currently red, they began painting on Wednesday night by putting on a layer of white primer. The primer took a while to dry, and by 3am, a naïve freshman who was painting the buggy had a brilliant idea: why not go to sleep, bring the buggy to Design Comp Thursday morning, and then finish painting afterwards? So he did just that. It wasn’t until he explained this plan to the Buggy Chair as they got the buggy out to Design Competition on Thursday morning that he learned that teams are not allowed to alter their buggies between Design Competition and the races. And so Camo was left to race in white primer. [Ed. Note: That naïve freshman was me.]
- The Exhibition Roundup – 2005. Below is a summary (including notable aspects and unofficial times based on the on-screen clock) of the Exhibition Heats from 2005.
- Exhibition Heat 1 – Spirit’s Seraph (Lane 3). A women’s push team, likely including at least 1 driver (the Hill 1 pusher was wearing a driver’s helmet). Unfortunately, the time doesn’t “count”, as the Hill 5 pusher didn’t catch up to the buggy as it crossed the finish line. Final Time: ~3:20.
- Exhibition Heat 2 – Fringe’s Bassketcase (Lane 1), KDR’s PiRho (Lane 3). BAA Founder Sam Swift pushed Fringe at the start, but fell down after the initial push and a 2nd Hill 1 pusher took over. KDR split each of Hills 1 and 4 into 2 parts, and their Hill 3 was a driver. They also split Hill 5 into 2 parts, but the 1st Hill 5 pusher gave a big enough shove that the 2nd Hill 5 pusher never caught up to it, pulling up due to injury. Instead, a catcher came up to grab the buggy and push it across the Finish Line. Meanwhile, Fringe came from well behind to catch up on Hill 5 and pass just before the Finish Line, making for an exciting finish.
- Fringe: ~2:36
- KDR: ~2:37
- Exhibition Heat 3 – SDC’s Rage (Lane 1), CIA’s Firebird (Lane 3). CIA had a 2nd Hill 1 pusher running alongside the first. SDC’s Hill 1 was approximately 20 seconds…and their Hill 2 pusher stumbled and fell after the Hill 2 shove.
- SDC: ~2:37
- CIA: ~3:05
- Exhibition Heat 4 – Fringe’s Bassketcase (Lane 1), Spirit’s Seraph (Lane 3). Fringe split Hills 1, 4, and 5 into 2 parts. Spirit led most of the way, but the 2nd Fringe Hill 4 pusher (the “4.5” pusher) caught up to and passed Spirit. However, Spirit’s Hill 5 was quicker than Fringe on Hill 5 and Spirit won the race.
- Spirit: ~2:38
- Fringe: ~2:42
- Exhibition Heat 5 – SDC’s Rage (Lane 1), PiKA’s Brimstone (Lane 3). PiKA’s Hill 1, wearing a jacket up the hill, clocked in at 17.5-18 seconds. The driver probably wasn’t expecting that kind of speed in an Exhibition though (or maybe there were mechanical issues); the buggy nearly headed straight for the outer haybales, finishing her turn at the last second.
- PiKA: ~2:23
- SDC: ~2:33
- Exhibition Heat 6 – SigNu (Lane 1), CIA’s Firebird (Lane 3). CIA didn’t get their buggy down to the starting line until the countdown got to 1. SigNu was nice enough to give CIA’s women’s push team a head start, keeping CIA ahead most of the way. But just after the announcer commented that SigNu should feel bad about being beat by a CIA Women’s push team, SigNu came storming back, catching CIA on Hill 5 and winning by 1/4 length.
- SigNu: ~2:48
- CIA: ~2:49
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 21 at 8:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 22 at 8:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Arnold Oh (Chair); Justin Marini (Ass. Chair); Adam McCue (Safety)
Men’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Wyvern (2:07.30); (2) PiKA B – Zeus (2:09.79); (3) SDC A – Psychosis (2:09.94); (4) Fringe A – Bantam (2:10.59); (5) SigNu A – Skua (2:15.80); (6) PiKA C – Brimstone (2:16.29)
Women’s Results: (1) PiKA A – Brimstone (2:38.50); (2) SDC A – Addiction (2:41.10);(3) Spirit A – Shaka Zulu (2:41.75); (4) Fringe A – Blackjack (2:42.19); (5) SigNu A – King of Spades (2:42.30); (6) PiKA B – Zeus (2:42.50)
Design Comp: (1) Fringe – Bantam; (2) Fringe – Blizzard; (3) Pioneers – Quicksilver
Other Awards: (People’s Choice) Fringe – Bantam; (Chairman’s Choice) Beta; (Spirit of Buggy) CIA; (T-Shirt) Spirit
Weather: Cloudy, 64-73 Degrees on Friday; Cloudy with Rain Early, 60-61 on Saturday
Buggy Book: 2006 Buggy Book Link
Raceday Video Playlist: 2006 Race Playlist
Prediction Score: 26/55 Men’s, 24/40 Women’s (Compubookie)
After a 2 year break, the rain returns, which brought out both umbrellas and brooms.
- Sweepstakes Budget. The Sweepstakes budget again rose in 2006, coming in at $38,059.
- Inside The Froom. The April 24, 2006 Tartan ran a spotlight on Fringe, called “Buggy: Life on the Edge.” Most of it was pretty basic, so we’re not reprinting it all here, but there are a couple of fun notes from the article. According to Fringe Head Mechanic John Thornton, the way Fringe comes up with a buggy name is that “we just throw names in a pot and talk about a cool name”. As long as it’s a 2-syllable word starting with a B, it passes the test. And when talking about protecting buggy secrets, first-year student (and future Sweepstakes Chair) Andrew Hundt pointed out that “this is Buggy, not ethics.”
- New Buggies. Only a few new buggies debuted in 2006. Fringe continued their trend of building every year, adding Bantam to the mix. PiKA, after 2 years of failed efforts, finally got a new buggy out to the course with Wyvern. SigEp made a sizable shift in their buggy program, coming up with a strong, long-lasting, and improved buggy in Pandora. Lastly, Kappa made an attempt to build their first buggy from scratch, named Cruella. Unfortunately, Cruella didn’t quite make it to the course, and her lone public appearance was left to Design Competition.
- Predictions. Compubookie finally bought into PiKA on the Men’s side, but didn’t on the Women’s. His Top 6 for the Women’s races were: (1) Fringe A; (2) SDC A; (3) PiKA A; (4) Spirit A; (5) SigNu A; and (6) Kappa A. On the Men’s side, his Top 10 were: (1) PiKA A; (2) Fringe A; (3) SDC A; (4) Beta A; (5) Spirit A; (6) SigNu A; (7) PiKA B; (8) KDR A; (9) Fringe B; and (10) Pioneers A.
- The Rain Returns. After 2 years of good weather for Carnival, the rain returned in 2006. Prelims went off without a hitch, but rain moved in overnight on Friday. Saturday’s races were delayed as Sweepstakes waited for the roads to dry, pushing things back over an hour, with a new scheduled starting time of 9:30am. Unfortunately, as the clock struck 9am, it began to drizzle again, re-wetting the roads. That was enough to erase the gains made with the delay, and Safety Chair Adam McCue cancelled Saturday’s races, making the Prelim times official.
- PiKA’s Good Day. As much as teams hate it when a day of racing is cancelled, the rain worked wonders for PiKA. On the Men’s side, not only had their Men’s A team put up the fastest time on Friday (enough to give PiKA their 5th straight victory), but their Men’s B team, with a time of 2:09.79, had snuck into 2nd place, just edging out SDC A, giving PiKA the top 2 spots. SDC might have earned the 2nd place trophy had they had a second day, as Psychosis’s Chute turn nearly put the buggy into the outer bales, and then the Hill 4 pusher couldn’t catch up to the buggy to give a transition shove at the Hill 4-5 transition. Meanwhile, on the Women’s side, PiKA was able to regain the top spot, besting a crowded field at the top of the leaderboard and earning the racing sweep.
- Kappa Bucks The Trend. The women of Kappa brought Ursula back out in 2006, but in doing so they decided to try something different. Whereas all of the male and co-ed organizations used female drivers, Kappa thought it would be fitting for them to use a male driver. Thus, they drafted Peter Lynch to drive Ursula. According to the April 23, 2006 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Peter Lynch checked in at 5’2” and weighed 83 pounds. Unfortunately for Kappa and Peter, they weren’t able to complete either the Men’s or Women’s race due to mechanical issues. In Women’s Heat 6, the buggy reportedly spun in the Chute, though as the trailing buggy, it wasn’t visible on camera. In Men’s Heat 6, Kappa was the last of the buggies into the freeroll and came to a stop just as the buggy turned into the Chute. The pusher picked it up and started to push, but he quickly slowed to a walk and pushed the buggy up against the haybales, where the team then packed it in.
- Beta’s Miscue. One of the most interesting heats on the Men’s side came from Men’s Prelims Heat 4, featuring Spirit A’s Seraph, SigNu C’s Okapi, and Beta B’s Thunderstruck. Beta actually won the race up the front hills and led throughout the freeroll, with Spirit close behind. However, Beta’s driver waited an extra long time before making her Chute turn, and when she did, the momentum of the buggy caused it to continue sliding down Schenley Drive, rather than turning onto Frew. The buggy eventually started rolling towards Frew, but it did so at a snail’s pace. Spirit’s driver made a risky move to pass on the inside in the Chute, with roughly 1 buggy width of room, but she squeezed through and successfully passed. The Beta buggy continued to crawl up the Chute as SigNu came through and also passed. Thunderstruck came to a stop just after the haybales, but the Beta Hill 3 pusher seemed to be pretty inexperienced, as instead of going down into the Chute to pick up the stopped buggy, he continued to wait at the start of Hill 3. We don’t see what eventually happened on the broadcast, but according to the April 24, 2006 Tartan, a non-team member stepped on to the course and pushed the buggy up to Hill 3, resulting in a Roster DQ for the team (the Tartan reports that the person pushed the buggy “to prevent it from crashing” with Spirit A, but the broadcast shows this to be false, so we assume the correct story was that the person pushed the buggy to Hill 3).
- Lead Truck Driving Is Hard. One of the most underrated skills on the buggy course isn’t something that a team member does. Instead, it’s the ability to drive the Lead Truck. The Lead Truck needs to stay sufficiently close to the buggies so that the judges can see what’s going on, but also far enough away from the buggies so that they don’t run into the truck. It’s a delicate balance, and it’s not always as easy as it seems. In 2006, the Lead Truck driver repeatedly didn’t grasp this balance, keeping the truck very close to the lead buggies. The broadcaster in the lead truck (I believe his name was Alan) repeatedly yelled at the Lead Truck driver to drive faster. Things came to a head in Men’s Heat 1, where SDC C’s Rage actually pulled alongside the Lead Truck as the buggies began the freeroll.
- SDC Takes the Hills. We don’t have the official winner of King and Queen of the Hill. But based on the cmuTV broadcast, the King of the Hill was SDC A Hill 1 pusher Trent Sisson, who ran it in approximately 16.2 seconds. On the Women’s side, SDC A Hill 1 pusher Michelle Wong was named Queen of the Hill, though we don’t have her estimated time.
- Spirit’s Wheel Problems. In 2006, Spirit showed the downside of pneumatic tires, especially in the Xootr Era. Specifically, it was their buggy Shaka Zulu that couldn’t quite handle the pneumatics. In Women’s Heat 7, Shaka Zulu blew its back left wheel on Hill 5 for the Spirit A team, potentially costing them a top 2 finish (the explosion is clear at 2:54 in the video). Not to be outdone, in Men’s Heat 8, Shaka Zulu blew its front tire on Hill 2 for Spirit B and couldn’t continue, resulting in a DNF.
- Other Men’s DQs. Fringe was nailed with one of the more unfortunate DQs in Buggy – a Rank DQ. Added to the rulebook following PiKA’s manipulation of teams in 1983, teams were required to have their A team be their fastest team, followed by their B team, then C team, then D team. If they didn’t finish in that order, the slower team was DQ’d. That fate befell Fringe B, who earned a 2:24.15, one second slower than Fringe C’s 2:23.14 (the 1 second gap may have been caused by a pothole that Fringe B hit at the top of Hill 2, the Fringe B Hill 5 pusher slipping as he began to push, or maybe Fringe just misaligning its two teams). The only other DQ belonged to SigEp D, who was DQ’d for a loss of mass when the back hatch flew off of Quest in Men’s Heat 1 (you don’t see the hatch fly off, but you can clearly see it dangling through the Chute and on the back hills, and then completely missing as the buggy crosses the finish line).
- Men’s Notable Heats.
- Men’s Heat 1 – SigEp wasn’t the only buggy with a problem in Men’s Heat 1 – all 3 buggies suffered. CIA B’s Firebird, who was right behind SDC C’s Rage in the freeroll (and gaining as they entered the Chute), had its pushbar deploy in the Chute but didn’t lock into place, causing the Hill 3 pusher to stop and lock the pushbar in by hand. The bigger issue in that heat, however, belonged to SDC. Rage took a very-“2000s SDC” line entering the Chute, going wide and getting close to the outer haybales. Unfortunately, she got a little too close and one of the bales hooked the back left wheel, grabbing it and spinning the buggy so that the nose of the buggy went into the outer bales.
- Men’s Heat 3 – PiKA B’s Zeus had a near run-in with a photographer. As Zeus entered the freeroll, a woman standing on the grass near Westinghouse Pond was sitting with her legs on the street, presumably taking a photo, when PiKA nearly ran her over.
- Men’s Heat 5 – Pioneers A and CIA C were the trailing two buggies, but CIA’s Conquest caught up to Pioneers A’s Quicksilver at the Chute flag and took an outside line to pass. The two buggies made it through the Chute turn cleanly, but they nearly collided on the entrance to Hill 3. Then, in true CIA fashion, Conquest’s pushbar failed to deploy, ending any chance that CIA had of beating the Pioneers A team.
- Men’s Heat 7 – It was a bad year for Beta Chute turns (maybe they should have checked the positioning of their Chute flagger). Beta A’s Problem Child was the first buggy into the freeroll, followed by PiKA C’s Brimstone, but PiKA gained significantly in the freeroll and took an inside line in the Chute to pass Beta. Beta, meanwhile, scrubbed a ton of speed with another poor Chute turn, and although they gained on PiKA C on the back hills, Beta was never able to pass PiKA. The 3rd buggy in the heat, SigEp B’s Genesis, was officially clocked at 2:25.60, but keeping that time seems to have been generous, as the SigEp Hill 1 pusher didn’t wait for “Ready, Set, Go”, but rather started pushing after the countdown got to “1”. He stopped and hopped on 1 foot to avoid pushing further, but it’s questionable as to whether the buggy was in front of the line to start the race.
- Men’s Heat 11 – Not only was this the winning roll for PiKA A’s Wyvern, but there was some drama in the back with SigNu B’s King of Spades and SigEp A’s Pandora. SigEp was the 2nd buggy into the freeroll, but King of Spades was a faster buggy and gained throughout the freeroll. SigNu caught up to SigEp and passed on the roll up to Hill 3, though with a solid group of A team pushers, SigEp was able to pass back somewhere on the back hills.
- Women’s Notable Heats.
- Women’s Heat 1 – Spirit B’s Seraph clocked in with a 7th place time of 2:46.25, but unfortunately the time didn’t stand, as they were DQ’d. The April 24, 2006 Tartan reports, and our records show, that the DQ was the result of a transition violation. It’s hard to tell on the broadcast where the lines on the Hill 3-4 and Hill 4-5 transitions are, so it’s possible that it was, in fact, a transition violation. But that’s not the only possible reason that Spirit B could have been DQ’d. My own personal opinion is that the DQ wasn’t a transition violation, but rather pusher interference in the transition zone, as Spirit’s Hill 3 pusher bumped into, or at least got in the way of, SDC C’s Hill 4 pusher as the Spirit pusher got off the course after transitioning Seraph to Hill 4. Meanwhile, according to the announcers, Spirit lost a fairing on the back right wheel in the Chute (though I can’t say I saw wheel fairings on the buggy or anything come off in the Chute).
- Women’s Heat 2 – CIA B’s Firebird was behind Fringe C’s Blizzard early, but CIA gained and caught up to Fringe in the roll up to Hill 3. Fringe would pull away on the back hills.
- Women’s Heat 3 – SigNu B’s Skua was third into the freeroll, but caught up to SigEp A’s Shrek and passed as they reached the transition flag, with SigNu making a risky pass on the inside.
- Women’s Heat 5 – The biggest collision on the Women’s side came in this heat between SDC A’s Addiction and PiKA B’s Zeus. But it wasn’t a buggy-buggy collision. SDC led throughout the race, but PiKA had stayed close behind, and was only 1-2 lengths behind SDC on Hills 3 and 4. SDC’s Hill 4 pusher, Andrea Price, transitioned her buggy to Hill 5 and waited, so as to not move out of her line and interfere with PiKA B. However, PiKA, who was close behind, was not expecting SDC’s pusher to stay in place, and didn’t have enough time to react. Zeus plowed right into the back leg of Andrea, slowing PiKA down and possibly costing them a trophy.
- The Exhibition Roundup – 2006. Sadly, no Saturday races means no Exhibitions.
- 2004 Photos. Below are some photos from 2004:
- 2005 Photos. Below are photos from 2005:
- 2006 Photos. Below are photos from 2006: