100 Years of Buggy History – 2014

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Before we start, it’s Carnival Weekend! And even though we can’t all meet in person for Raceday 2020 this year, Sweepstakes and the BAA have put together a VIRTUAL RACEDAY 2020! Virtual Raceday 2020 will run from noon-3:30pm ET, and will include Race Showcases (including some videos that you’ve never seen before), Live Commentary from all of your favorite broadcasters, an Alumni Panel, Live Trivia (with prizes!), Class of 2020 Recognition, Interactive Content, and plenty more! So join us on Saturday at Noon ET in our Zoom webinar here, or in our live simulcast at cmubuggy.org/live. And if history is more your thing (and if you’re reading this, maybe it is), Tom Wood will be giving his annual History of Buggy presentation on Sunday at noon ET as part of Virtual Carnival 2020. You can register for his presentation here, or visit cmu.is/carnival for more information.

One more reminder: Along with these 2010s posts, we’re also doing a Raceday Rewatch, so you can join us at this link on Friday at 5pm ET (or rewatch it on your own later): 2014 Rewatch

This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series focuses on 2014. It’s the 100th anniversary of Carnival! But a scary crash cast a pall over Raceday, while poor road conditions and wet weather led to tons of craziness on the day.

2014

Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 11 at 9:30am*; Finals on Saturday, April 12 at 8:00am

Sweepstakes Committee: Lars Wander (Chair); Melisa Yepes (Ass. Chair); David A. Power (Safety); Connor Hayes (Design)

Men’s Results: (1) SDC A – Malice (2:04.47); (2) SigEp A – Kraken (2:14.61); (3) Fringe A – Bissa (2:17.01); (4) SigEp B – Barracuda (2:17.32); (5) Spirit A – Seraph (2:18.12); (6) PiKA B – Chimera (2:25.47)

Women’s Results: (1) SDC A – Malice (2:33.45); (2) Fringe A – Bissa (2:42.62);(3) SDC B – Vice (2:49.45); (4) CIA A – Icarus (2:50.66); (5) SigEp A – Kraken (2:52.75); (6) PiKA A – Chimera (2:55.46)

Design Comp: (1) CIA – Icarus; (2) Fringe – Bissa; (3) None (No Qualifiers)

Other Awards: (People’s Choice) Spirit – Seraph; (Chairman’s Choice) CIA; (Spirit of Buggy) Fringe; (T-Shirt) Spirit

Weather: Rain, 55-57 Degrees on Friday; Foggy early, then cloudy, 37-64 on Saturday

Raceday Video Playlist: 2014 Race Playlist

Prediction Score: 34/55 Men’s, 27/45 Women’s (Compubookie); 30/55 Men’s, 20/52 Women’s (Ben Matzke)

  • Bad Crash Mars Raceday.  Raceday 2014 had a number of moments that in a normal year could have been the longest lasting legacy for the year.  Unfortunately, a bad crash during the Women’s heats on Saturday overshadowed all of them.  The final Women’s heat of the day was Heat 7, which put SDC A’s Malice, CIA B’s Impulse, and Fringe C’s Banyan against each other.  SDC A was the heavy favorite in the race and they didn’t disappoint, earning the win in 2:33.45.  They were also so far ahead of Fringe C (in 2nd) and CIA B (in 3rd) that the other two buggies could only occasionally be seen in the picture-in-picture on the broadcast.  It also meant that the Chute camera was following SDC up to Hill 3 as Fringe’s Banyan made its turn into the Chute.  Unfortunately, either due to the slightly wet roads, a mechanical failure, or a mistimed turn, the Fringe buggy completely missed the turn into the Chute.  The buggy began to turn, but not until it was already past the entrance to Frew Street.  Haybales, which lined the Chute on both the inside and the outside, did not extend all the way down to the bridge.  But Banyan kept rolling and trying to turn.  The buggy smashed nose-first into the un-haybaled curb at near-full speed.  The windshield came off, the front hatch cracked in half (with the front 5 inches of Banyan absorbing some of the blow and “crumpling”), and worst of all, all three harness attachment points in the buggy failed, throwing the driver forward.  The impact fractured one of the driver’s vertebrae, and she was immediately taken to the hospital.  Thankfully, she was discharged the following day and made a full recovery.  But the crash was one of the scariest moments on the course in the past 30 years, and the incident led to expanded haybales in the Chute, new rules around harnesses, and a SURG-funded study into Buggy safety.
The aftermath of Banyan’s crash, which would ultimately send the driver to the hospital and lead to a new focus on harness safety. (Photo courtesy of Bryan Arsham)
  • 100th Anniversary of Spring Carnival. Spring Carnival, then called Campus Week, began in 1914, making 2014 the 100th Anniversary of the full Spring Carnival event.  Because of that, there was additional pomp and circumstance around Carnival, and some of that carried over to Raceday.  GoDaddy, once of the sponsors of Raceday 2014, brought Danica Patrick’s GoDaddy NASCAR vehicle for display during Raceday, and a ribbon cutting ceremony was added to the start of Raceday.  Accompanied by CMU alum Daniel Gilman (DC ’04), former CMU student and PiKA brother, Mayor Bill Peduto, came to cut the ribbon.  Early rain delayed the opening ceremonies to 9:30am to give the roads a chance to dry.  And the rain held off enough to cut the ribbon!  But almost immediately after Mayor Peduto cut the ribbon, the skies opened up and rain began to fall again, forcing Sweepstakes to cancel the first day of racing, pushing Raceday 2014 to yet another 1 day affair.
  • Saturday Delayed by Weather As Well.  It’s unusual to fog to roll into Pittsburgh after the sun comes up, as it usually burns off early in the morning.  But that wasn’t the case in 2014.  Races were delayed by 30 minutes on Saturday while  Sweepstakes waited for the fog to clear enough to improve driver visibility and help dry the roads from Friday’s rain.
Raceday 2014 was delayed on Saturday by 30 minutes in order to give the fog time to dissipate and improve driver visibility (photo courtesy of Bryan Arsham)
  • Rain Causes Problems Both On and Off the Course.  Rain didn’t only cause problems on Raceday.  A rainstorm in early Fall 2013 caused a pipe to burst in Fringe’s buggy room, flooding the room.  The flood damaged a number of materials, as well as one of the Fringe buggies.  Fringe had to request, and was granted, a special allocation of $2,580 from Student Senate to replace the damaged materials and repair the buggy.
  • Road Conditions Deteriorate.  Wet weather throughout the Spring, resulting in a “Winter that never ends”, limited the number of rolls that teams could get leading up to Raceday.  But thanks to the road conditions, more practice was most definitely needed.  The freeroll, and particularly the lead-in to the Chute, was in about about as bad as a road can be. The road was so dangerous, in fact, that during rolls, Sweepstakes put out cones to warn drivers, essentially making the Buggy course an obstacle course.  Given the conditions that the roads were in, it’s not much of a surprise that (most) times on Raceday were slow, and enough teams earned DNFs and DQs that only 2 buggies actually qualified for Design Competition prizes.
This photo, from rolls on March 1, shows how bad the road conditions in the freeroll had gotten by 2014 (from the BAA Gallery, uploaded by Ben Matzke)
  • Robobuggy Returns.  Due to weather back in 2011, AEPi was unable to get Robobuggy to roll autonomously on Raceday.  And once the brothers who worked on that project left the house, AEPi decided to store Robobuggy in the place where AEPi tends to store some of its buggies – the dumpster.  Thankfully, it was discovered and rescued.  The buggy returned to the CMU Robotics Club, and Roboclub decided to try and finally become the first team to actually roll Robobuggy autonomously on Raceday.  They debuted their new version of the buggy during CMU’s Build18 Engineering Festival.  The buggy that debuted was a remote-controlled version, but the ultimate goal was to make it fully autonomous.
  • Lucy On The Ground With Pushbars.  The Buggy community was excited to see SAE roll out their first new buggy in around 15 years with they brought out Lucy (named for the previous driver of Rubicon).  But the buggy wasn’t perfect.  The wheels on the front of the buggy had a fairly significant negative camber, leading to a number of jokes on the broadcast.  And the pushbar handle the buggy used on Raceday was the 2nd pushbar handle that Lucy had.  The first broke off 2 weeks before Raceday, when one of their pushers tripped while pushing.  The pusher grabbed down to help break his fall, and the force snapped the pushbar handle in half.
SAE decided to build their new buggy, Lucy, so that the front wheels were NOT parallel (from the BAA Gallery; uploaded by Ben Matzke)
  • Bolt’s Configuration.  Bolt was Fringe’s first attempt to shift away from the wheel problems that they had had with Zero Error wheels from 2012.  But after the falling out between Fringe and Zero Error, Fringe was having trouble finding an alternative wheel supplier.  So they ran some tests on an alternative – an inline speed skating wheel – and found that the wheels were comparable to what they were using.  These wheels were smaller, so Fringe built Bolt to roll on the smaller wheels.  But it wasn’t just smaller wheels that made Bolt unique.  The back “wheel” was actually two wheels, in a single row, at slightly different heights, such that only the lower wheel would be on the ground.  Officially, this was done to help with the road conditions; the idea was that if the back of the buggy hit a pothole, there would still be 3 wheels on the ground.  Unofficially, per Connor Hayes (passing along the information from another source), it was designed to move the rear wheel forward or backwards to optimize the weight balance for different drivers.  When the designer realized that two wheels could be put on the back in Fringe decided to troll people.  Then Fringe set it like that at Design Comp and Sweepstakes informed them that  “it has to roll like that or it’s DQ’d as per the bylaws” leaving Fringe to “look stupid”.

Take a look at the back wheels of Fringe’s Bolt in 2004. It is rolling a white wheel on the ground, with a slightly smaller green wheel slightly elevated off the ground (from the BAA Gallery; uploaded by Guillermo Gomez).
  • New Buggies of 2014. Lucy and Bolt weren’t the only new buggies to hit the course. CIA took flight with a new, identifiable shell design, releasing Icarus upon the course. They took their learnings of a standard trike from Impulse in 2013 and tried to improve on it, attempting to reduce surface area to reduce weight. That attempt succeeded, as Icarus is CIA’s lightest buggy to date. In addition, the buggy was built to allow for two different wheel sizes on the back wheels – 6″ and 10″ wheels. Spirit debuted a slightly shorter, slightly less pointy design than their prior builds with Zenith. Lastly, Apex completed its second career build and officially began a naming theme, rolling out their new buggy Ember.
  • Ember’s Away.  Unfortunately, even though Ember was new and had been rolling throughout the semester, it had to be scratched from Raceday at the last minute.  This was due to some unfortunate decisions made during the build process. Per Apex co-founder Connor Hayes, Apex used a pan and shell construction method for Ember, where the bottom of the buggy has a thicker foam core and the rounded upper portion uses a nomex core. Apex used a rohacell core material for the bottom foam core that was very low density, but it was too weak to handle the loads. As Apex was loading the truck for Raceday, the head mechanic noticed the rear wheel of the buggy could move up and down nearly an inch each way. This was caused by the core material around the rear wheel mount/hardpoints failing, which ruined the structural rigidity of the buggy. In an abundance of caution, Apex made the last minute decision not to roll Ember, whcih was the buggy listed on the roster for Apex’s A team. This left Apex with 1 buggy, Phoenix, but 2 push teams. Due to some scheduling conflicts, Apex had not listed their A team pushers as their B team alternates. Because of this, Apex was left with just their Men’s B team, pushing Phoenix.  After a full morning of fighting between Apex and Sweepstakes, Sweepstakes agreed to allow a vote – if the majority of Chairmen voted in favor, Apex would be permitted to scratch their B team and roll their A team in the B team’s heat with Phoenix. Only 1 organization voted against: PiKA. However, since PiKA A was scheduled to run in the same heat as Apex B, Sweepstakes gave PiKA an absolute veto power. Since PiKA was opposed to Apex running its A team, the Apex A team was not permitted to roll, leaving Apex with just their B team on Raceday. To give Apex’s A team pushers a chance to push, Sweepstakes put Apex A in the exhibition timing heat, where they were able to push Phoenix.  Their time was around a 2:20.77, which would have been good for 6th place.
  • Compubookie Trouble.  Compubookie got into major hot water in 2014 with his one-liners called “The Field”.  Always straddling the line between crude and inappropriate, his 2014 comments on AEPi, Fringe, and Spirit easily crossed the line.  This led to a permanent change in the Compubookie process, as the Tartan Editorial Board printed an apology for the comments the following week, and 2014 would be the last year that Compubookie would be printed in the Tartan (it would shift to the cmubuggy.org site for future years).  But the article had more than just offensive one-liners; it also had predictions, and he did pretty well on those.  On the Women’s side, he noted that SDC and Fringe both had fast pushers to back up fast buggies (but SDC was on a different level), while predicting SigEp as the dark horse.  predicted (1) SDC A, (2) Fringe A, (3) CIA A, (4) SDC B, (5) PiKA A, and (6) SigEp A.  On the Men’s side, he felt that this would be the start of CIA’s rise into the A-team level of racing, beating all of the backup B and C teams, but they were still a step behind the top teams. Meanwhile, Spirit had fast pushers, but he expected some driver issues to hold them back.  He went with (1) SDC A, (2) SigEp A, (3) Fringe A, (4) PiKA A, (5) SDC B, (6) Spirit A, (7) CIA A, (8) Fringe B, (9) PiKA B, and (10) SDC C. Ben Matzke also gave his predictions in the Raceday Preview, though he left off letter designations unless it was a second or third team (I have filled in the letters below, but for points purposes above, “PiKA” was given credit when PiKA B was in the Top 6). On the Women’s side, his Top 8 was (1) SDC A, (2) Spirit A, (3) PiKA A, (4) SigEp A, (5) SDC B, (6) Fringe A, (7) CIA A, and (8) SDC C. On the Men’s side, his Top 10 was (1) SDC A, (2) SigEp A, (3) PiKA A, (4) SDC B, (5) Spirit A, (6) Fringe A, (7) Apex A, (8) CIA A, (9) SigNu A, and (10) SAE A.
  • An Unbelieveable Blowout.  By 2014, SDC had already proven that they were a Buggy superpower.  But 2014 was a chance for SDC to prove that they were the only Buggy superpower.  On the Women’s side, with 1 day of racing, SDC had 2 of the only 3 teams to break 2:50, and their 9 second victory over SigEp was the largest margin of victory on the Women’s side since 2004.  But those stats were nothing compared to the Men’s division.  SDC’s Men’s A team rolled a 2:04.47, which at that point was the 3rd fastest race in history.  Meanwhile, second place was SigEp A, who finished in 2:14.61.  That 10.14 second gap was the largest margin of victory on the Men’s side since 1958!  This may have been a combination of a strong year for SDC, a weak year for the field, and poor road conditions that led to a number of DNFs and a focus on safe driving over speed.  But it showed that SDC was officially playing a different game than everyone else, as there were 2 different races going on: SDC A vs. the Course Record, with everyone else battling for 2nd place.
  • A Gap Between the Top and the Bottom.  Unfortunately for SDC, while their A team showed their dominance, the Men’s B and C teams showed that in some years, it’s all or nothing.  SDC Men’s B, pushing Vice, was an unfortunate victim of the poor course conditions, as the buggy clipped a pothole in the Chute that sheared off one of its wheels, and while spinning out a second wheel went flying.  Meanwhile, SDC Men’s C’s Psychosis just slightly oversteered the Chute and couldn’t save her turn, spinning out and landing the team another DNF. 
SDC’s Vice didn’t have the best Raceday in 2014, as poor road conditions lead to the buggy losing both of its back wheels during the Men’s heats (from the BAA Gallery; uploaded by Mizel Djukic)
  • Notable Women’s Heats.  Below are some of the more notable heats from the Women’s racing:
    • Women’s Heat 3.  Thanks to a mechanically-induced 3:26 back in 2012 and a lack of teams comparing Hill 1 times during Heat Selection, Women’s Heat 3 ended up pairing CIA A’s Icarus in Lane 1 against PiKA A’s Chimera in Lane 2, with SDC D’s Avarice rounding out the heat.  PiKA got up the front hills first, but PiKA and CIA were pretty even as they entered the freeroll.  CIA’s driver was forced to swerve at the shove to avoid making contact, but as the two buggies crossed the street, the PiKA buggy squeezed CIA against the curb on the Flagstaff side of the street.  CIA’s back right wheel, and possibly the front right of the buggy, made contact with the curb, slowing Icarus down significantly.  But the PiKA buggy wasn’t rolling all that well, and CIA was able to regain on PiKA later in the freeroll, while SDC was travelling faster than both.  As they turned into the Chute, PiKA led, but took a conservatively wide line in the roll up to Hill 3 and CIA took the inside path, passing PiKA.  CIA then moved outside a bit, cutting off PiKA.  Meanwhile, SDC’s Avarice, which had the most speed of the 3 buggies, was able to pass both PiKA and CIA on the outside on the roll up to Hill 3.  CIA passed SDC back once they got to the pushers (an A team vs. a D team), and PiKA passed SDC when they reached the Hill 3-4 transition, but CIA was able to keep the lead in the Heat and take the win, finishing 4th overall.
    • Women’s Heat 4 – SigEp A’s Kraken in Lane 1 went up against Fringe B’s “4-wheeler” Bolt in Lane 3.  The race itself wasn’t super exciting once the teams hit the freeroll, though Fringe actually had the lead through Hill 1 and was only narrowly behind SigEp going into the freeroll.  But a poor Hill 2 shove didn’t help SigEp, and the race revealed some potential issues with Kraken, as the buggy seemed to be wobbling somewhat significantly throughout the freeroll.  But the race was still enough for SigEp to earn a top 5 finish.
    • Women’s Heat 5 – SDC B’s Vice easily won the heat against Spirit B’s Seraph and Apex B’s Phoenix.  The excitement came from the two trailing buggies. Spirit was second going into the freeroll and made a clean Chute turn, but lost speed somewhere.  Meanwhile, Apex’s Phoenix carried a ton of speed into the Chute and, after taking a very wide line and nearly hitting the outer haybales, Apex caught up and passed Spirit on the roll up to Hill 3.  Apex pulled away from Spirit on Hill 3, but Spirit caught back up on Hill 4 and as they hit the Hill 4-5 transition, the two buggies were even.  Apex had the faster Hill 5 though, and they pulled away to win.
    • Women’s Heat 6 – Fringe A’s Bissa won the race without issue, but the Hill 3 pusher got blown away by the buggy, potentially costing Fringe some time.  Meanwhile, AEPi A’s Kamikaze made it into the freeroll second, ahead of SigEp B’s Barracuda, but Barracuda passed Kamikaze around the Stop Sign and pulled way ahead from there.  Adding further insult, AEPi was DQ’d for a spot safety failure…for the second year in a row.
    • Women’s Heat 7.  As noted above, this heat is most notable for Fringe C’s Banyan crashing in the Chute, though it’s not visible on camera.  But this heat is also notable as it’s the winning heat, with SDC A’s Malice crushing the field.
  • Notable Men’s Heats.  While the Women’s heats only had 1 bad crash, the Men’s heats were marred with significantly more incidents, though none resulted in serious injuries, in what ended up as one of the most exciting years on the Men’s side on a heat-by-heat basis (less so from the leaderboard).
    • Men’s Heat 1.  Spirit B’s Zenith beat SDC C’s Psychosis up the front hills, but this was bad for both teams.  Spirit B’s Hill 1 pusher appears to have been inexperienced (at least coming out of Lane 2), as he kept pushing the buggy to the end of the crosswalk at the intersection of Tech and Frew Streets.  Unfortunately for him, the Hill 1-2 transition zone ends before the start of the crosswalk in Lane 2, and Spirit was DQ’d for a Hill 1-2 Transition Violation.  Meanwhile, SDC’s Psychosis completed a pass of Zenith just before the buggies reached the Stop Sign.  But that effort may have thrown the driver off, because she appeared to overturn slightly in the Chute, causing Psychosis to spin out and earning the team a DNF.
    • Men’s Heat 2.   Andy Bordick predicted a heat of bumper cars between CIA A’s Icarus, SigNu A’s Bungarus Krait, and SigEp B’s Barracuda, and he wasn’t wrong.  CIA went into the freeroll first, but the three buggies were fairly close and CIA was the slowest of the 3 buggies.  SigEp, who was 2nd into the freeroll, had completed its pass of CIA as the two buggies crossed the street at Westinghouse Pond.  Then SigNu came up and passed CIA just before the Stop Sign.  But the drama didn’t end there.  SigEp’s Barracuda kept its lead, but as SigNu turned into the Chute, the buggy spun, doing a 360 before even entering the Chute.  The buggy rolled backwards down the hill, tapping the outer haybales, and CIA was able to avoid the spin, keeping its line inside.
    • Men’s Heat 3.  It was a rough heat for Fringe B’s Bolt, SDC D’s Avance, and SigEp D’s Pandora.  SigEp’s Hill 1 pusher, presumably one of a number of mechanics on the team, wore a mask and hat to push, but after a couple of pushs, he realized they were too much of a hindrance and threw them to the side of the road.  On the front end, Fringe went into the freeroll first, but SDC caught up and the buggies were very close in the freeroll.  SDC stayed particularly wide of Fringe as they reached the Stop Sign, which made for an awkward angle into the Transition Flag where the two buggies were angled towards each other.  Fringe got to the transition flag first, and based on the buggy positioning, Avarice was pinned inside towards the curb.  Just past the transition flag, Avarice’s back left wheel hit the curb, slowing her down briefly.  But SDC’s driver still felt she could catch Bolt, and as they turned into the Chute, SDC took an inside line and successfully passed Fringe, who took a wider line.  Fringe caught back up and the two buggies were neck-and-neck up the back hills, with Fringe pulling away to win at the end.  Unfortunately, Bolt’s brakes weren’t working properly and they failed drops, earning a DQ.
    • Men’s Heat 4.  The heat itself wasn’t all that interesting, but it’s notable because SigEp C’s Mamba continued what, to that point, had become a bit of a SigEp tradition and failed drops, earning a DQ.
    • Men’s Heat 5 – Originally the heat was supposed to have 3 buggies, but Fringe C was forced to scratch due to Banyan’s crash in the Women’s heats.  That left just SDC B’s Vice and SAE B’s Rubicon.  As noted above, the heat didn’t go well for SDC B, as Vice hit a pothole in the Chute and lost a wheel, causing a spin that then peeled off a second wheel.  Rubicon seemed to be having problems of its own though and tricked down to the Chute Flag at tortoise speed, where the driver was given a brake flag and the buggy stopped.  SAE was granted a reroll, where Rubicon continued to roll painfully slow but, ironically, SAE was DQ’d for failing drops.
    • Men’s Heat 6.  More carnage came from Heat 6, as PiKA A’s Banshee took on AEPi A’s Kamikaze and, officially, Apex B’s Phoenix.  But Phoenix never made it out to the starting line for the race, likely due to a timing issue from SDC’s spin in the prior heat (the follow truck wasn’t even down at the starting line until there were 30 seconds left until the race).  Apex was granted a reroll.  AEPi would also receive a reroll, as a result of a PiKA organizational failure.  Banshee was flying down the freeroll with the fastest Stop Sign time to that point.  But as she reached the Chute flagging area, a PiKA flagger was nowhere to be seen.  My assumption is that the PiKA driver then guessed where to turn.  But she started the turn too late and was carrying far too much speed to make it, resulting in the left side of the buggy slamming into the outer haybales.
    • Men’s Heat 7.  SigEp A’s Kraken put together a solid effort, finishing 2nd overall.  But both Spirit C’s Kingpin and SAE A’s Lucy had trouble in the back. SAE went into the freeroll just ahead of Spirit, setting up some excitement in the Chute. Spirit’s driver thought that she would be able to pass, but could never quite get there, and got caught in between passing and settling back in the Chute.  As a result, Spirit spun out, possibly to avoid hitting SAE.  SAE ended up being DQ’d for Pusher Interference somewhere on the course, though I’m not sure exactly where it happened (it’s possible it was after the Hill 2 shove), and Spirit was granted a reroll.
    • Men’s Heat 8 – Once again, Fringe A’s Bissa was the clear winner of the heat with no issues.  The same can’t be said for second place.  CIA B’s Impulse and Spirit D’s Mapambazuko were even as the two buggies went into the freeroll.  The two buggies may have made contact as they were shoved into the freeroll together.  CIA was forced to swerve afterwards, but CIA stayed behind throughout the rest of the freeroll.  CIA B was able to pass Spirit D once they got to Hill 4, showing the difference in push teams.
    • Men’s Heat 9 – Since the other 8 heats were included, we may as well throw this one in the group as well.  The excitement in this race was just in the time, as SDC A’s Malice won Raceday 2014 with the then-third fastest time of all time, going up against PiKA B’s Chimera.  SDC A’s Hill 1 pusher Eric Dissinger also took home King of the Hill.
    • Reroll 2 – CIA Men’s B easily won the heat, but AEPi Men’s A was the disappointing team of the heat, as they were nearly passed by PiKA Women’s A’s Chimera in the Chute.  Thankfully for this writer, the AEPi men stayed ahead of the PiKA women’s team.  However, based on the video, AEPi clearly missed the pushbar as Kamikaze crossed the finish line, and then possibly failed drops, though AEPi was given a second chance at drops and passed.  However, even though it’s obvious from the video that AEPi should have been DQ’d, officially they were not, earning their second best placing ever of 12th.
    • Reroll 3 – The final heat of Raceday 2014 may have been the most exciting of all the heats.  PiKA B’s Chimera was in Lane 1, CIA A’s Icarus was in Lane 2, and Apex B’s Phoenix was in Lane 3.  CIA and PiKA went up the front hills together, and even though it looked like PiKA could have had the lead going into the freeroll, the Hill 2 pusher appeared to hold back a bit in order to give the buggy a larger shove.  In a near carbon copy of these two buggies from Women’s Heat 3, PiKA had a narrow edge on CIA and squeezed CIA against the curb at the start of the freeroll, causing the left side of Icarus to rub against the curb for a somewhat sustained period of time.  This sapped all of CIA’s speed, allowing Apex’s Phoenix to pass Icarus as the two buggies made the Chute turn.  The back hills then got crazy.  Apex started to gain on PiKA, with Apex nipping at PiKA’s heels the entire way from Hill 3 to the finish line.  CIA, after having lost significant speed in the freeroll, continued to close the gap between them and the top 2 teams on Hills 3 and 4, then came absolutely flying on Hill 5 and caught up to Apex, with a photo finish that went to CIA.
  • The Exhibition Roundup – 2014.  The rainout on Friday, plus the delay on Saturday, meant that the only Exhibition Heat was the timing heat.  But to make sure teams got a chance to compete, there were 3 teams in the heat – SDC E pushing Psychosis, Apex A pushing Phoenix (as discussed above), and Fringe D pushing Banyan.  Apex won the heat in a 2:20.77.  Fringe, meanwhile, waiting a few seconds at the start of the race in order to make sure that they were sufficiently separated from SDC.  SDC, whose Hill 1 pusher pushed down instead of out at the start and caused Psychosis to do a pretty significant wheelie, finished in 2:32.77, and Fringe set a 2:49.95 (including the 3 second delay at the start).
  • 2014 Photos. Below are a few photos other than those in the BAA Gallery.
2014 – Robobuggy on display during Build18 (from the 01-20-2014 Tartan)
2014 – Spirit A’s Seraph is transitioned from Hill 3 pusher Isaiah Edmonds to Hill 4 pusher Wesley Jones (from the 04-14-2014 Tartan). Note that the Tartan incorrectly labels this a SigEp buggy.
2014 – Beginning of the Freeroll in Reroll #1, with Spirit Men’s C’s Kingpin leading, SAE Men’s B’s Rubicon 2nd, and CIA Women’s A’s Icarus 3rd (from the 04-14-2014 Tartan)
2014 – SAE Men’s B’s Rubicon is transitioned from Hill 1 pusher Kerolos Mikaeil to Hill 2 pusher Max Queenan (from the 04-14-2014 Tartan).

11 thoughts on “100 Years of Buggy History – 2014”

  • Mostly a question for 2014 sweeps/ Connor-
    If Bolt wasn’t entered in Design Comp (still had 4 wheels on for Buggy Showcase) would it have needed to roll with the 4th on raceday?
    Most teams don’t keep wheels on during Showcase anyway, and I think they’re allowed (at least I allowed SDC) to not put their fairings on for Showcase

    • I’d have to check again, but I recall an exception for wheels in nearly all areas of the rules (design comp, loss of mass, ect.)

  • Design comp was a blur for me, but I remember sweeps giving teams a hard time and SDC swapping an axle on Avarice (Covered by a blanket of course) to ensure they didn’t get a DQ for the buggy changing configurations.

    The mounts, if I recall, were on the bottom of the buggy due to the smaller wheels. Removing the wheel would increase the chance of the mount scraping the ground or catching in a pothole. So to prevent a protest being lodged resulting in a DQ, they chose to leave the mounts in place and install the smaller wheel.

  • The mini traffic cones were ridiculous. I recall seeing an SDC buggy trap one with its axle and drag it along a few yards until the cone got sucked in between the fairing and wheel, resulting in a locked wheel and instant skid, until the fairing disintegrated and released it. Directly into the line the next buggy would take.

    Buggies with multiple wheel mounting positions aren’t that uncommon, but Bolt seems unique in that the alternate positions are usable at the same time. You have to pass safety with the wheel in every position that you intend to use. And get at least one roll in the configuration you intend to race in. So if they hadn’t done a freeroll with 4 wheels on the ground, it’d be a DQ to race that way. But a wheel that never touches the ground is just decoration. Given the number of buggies at design with no wheels (or spindles, or steerings), a lot of teams would be sad if they had to race exactly as they were on display.

  • I was driving Phoenix for that men’s reroll #3 and was so nervous I was miscalculating space for that chute pass!

    • Connor Hayes says:

      Can you give us some more driver insights on what goes through your mind during a pass? For example, at what point in the roll did you realize you were going to pass? or How did you determine which side to pass on and when to pass?

      • Obviously I can only speak for myself, but in this case: Buggies often look closer than they are from my perspective, so if I’m behind a buggy I have to talk myself down from taking action and make more of an effort to just follow the line and see what happens. After the stop sign it actually seemed likely that something could go down. I think I lost sight of her at the turn and took a much wider turn than practiced – that area was more likely to be clear and it also put her back in my vision sooner (mid-turn) so I could have more time to brake if she had spun or something. After that it’s a blur other than bracing myself to potentially side impact the bales. Barely missed them but I think I ran over a single stray piece of hay sticking out. I hovered on the decision to brake or not for all of it. The thing is, if you brake, you can’t tap, you have to BRAKE enough so that the judges see it on the video and are more likely to give you a reroll. So you really want to be sure you’re at the point of no return before you blow the whole roll, and every decision is split second. I was pretty confident I wouldn’t hit Icarus after she didn’t spin, and I took the chance on the haybales because I’ve seen buggies glance off them all the time, and they are there to protect us, so if I misjudged worst case would be a bump because phoenix is a tank and there weren’t any buggies behind me. Not that I advocate hitting the haybales as a bail out plan…
        I need to dig up a better chute video than CMUTV captured to see if it lines up with my adrenaline induced memory.

  • Connor Hayes says:

    Fun Fact: The Ember failure led to the first “Apex Rule” in sweepstakes. All entries on raceday now ask for an alternate buggy and driver. This rule would have added about 2 years to my life had it been in place. I don’t think my blood pressure dropped to a normal level for weeks after that mess.

  • Back in the day, the buggies had to have wheels on them at Design. We used a lot of red leads (unmodified SBD wheels) for this purpose, but didn’t have enough and these looked like shit. So the easier path was to prepare race wheels and the buggies most of the way in time for design, then finish the prep after design for the race. Also in those days design was some draconian time like 9AM-5PM, must be displayed all day. It put a pinch in prep time, but also allowed some much-needed sleep for many of us.
    Design is a lot of bullshit and most judges over the years would not know a good design if it bit them in the face, but I do think it serves a purpose to allow folks to see the buggies up close. I personally do not like the disassembled look (no steering etc), the floor looks more like a junk yard that way.

  • Re: bad crash mars raceday – I’ve seen more than a couple of these “flagger MIA” crashes over the years – would it make sense to put a permanent marker in place, just down stream from the last normal flag position, so that there is something rather than nothing if your flagger fails in their singular duty? A sandwich board with blaze orange would do the trick, just inboard of the curb. Always in the same place. It might not save you from a spin, but should help to avoid the head-on with the outer curb or bridge excursions.

    • A permanent sign would make practice easier for small teams – there’s no need to get someone to stand around all morning when an inanimate object will do. And with only a single buggy, there’s never a reason to need a stop flag.

      I’m pretty sure the flaggers were out for Banyan’s roll, but considering that the buggy looked lost even before the monument, the issue may have been the ability to see the flag (or anything else). The crunch at the end was shocking. We have a rulebook so long nobody bothers to read it, and yet it has no requirement as to how strong harnesses should be.

      I don’t mind the missing wheels, since there’s no telling which wheels end up on the buggy for the race anyway. But missing other bits is a step too far, unless someone’s planning on re-assembling their buggy while they sit through Design. We too had a shortage of spare rims, so used to have some buggies on wooden display wheels, some of which had real rubber (but no bearing). So of course when leaving the gym we get partway back before somebody starts wondering why this buggy is rolling like crap…

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