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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): 2017 Rewatch
This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series dives into 2017. Rain fell early, but not enough to prevent 2 days of racing. And what a 2 days it was, as 2017 ended up as one of the two fastest Racedays of all time, ending with course records (all of which still stand today) in all 3 buggy divisions: Men’s, Women’s, and Autonomous Buggies.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, April 21 at 8:00am; Finals on Saturday, April 22 at 9:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Enosh Shachar (Chair); Ryan Barrett (Ass. Chair); Linna Griffin (Safety); Hannah Lyness (Design)
Men’s Results: (1) SDC A – Malice (2:02.16); (2) PiKA A – Banshee (2:08.42); (3) SigEp A – Kraken (2:09.24); (4) Spirit A – Kingpin (2:09.33); (5) CIA A – Equinox (2:10.66); (6) SDC B – Bane (2:12.40)
Women’s Results: (1) SDC A – Malice (2:23.27); (2) SDC B – Bane (2:32.80);(3) PiKA A – Banshee (2:33.24); (4) CIA A – Equinox (2:34.78); (5) Fringe A – Blueshift (2:38.06); (6) Fringe B – Boson (2:41.82)
Design Comp: (1) Fringe – Blueshift; (2) CIA – Equinox; (3) Spirit – Inviscid; (“Spark”) SigEp – Beyonce
Other Awards: (People’s Choice) Spirit – Inviscid; (Chairman’s Choice) SigEp; (Spirit of Buggy) Fringe; (T-Shirt) SigNu
Weather: Rain early, then overcast, 59-64 Degrees on Friday; Rain early, then overcast, 43-48 Degrees on Saturday
Raceday Video Playlist: 2017 Race Playlist (Full)
Prediction Score: 30/55 Men’s, 20/55 Women’s (Compubookie); 33/55 Men’s, 31/55 Women’s (BAA)
- A New Robotic Overlord. Robobuggy had been participating in Buggy for for 3 years by the time the 2016-2017 school year came around, but they were still somewhat of a novelty. As the only robotic buggy team, they were given the ability to roll once prior to the start of practices ever weekend. But for the 2016-2017, they became a full-fledged buggy organization. Having already built their first new buggy, Robobuggy was added to the roll order during rolls, meaning that they participated just like any other team. And soon, they weren’t even the only robotic team on the course. A group going by the name of Atlas, a sub-group of CIA, decided to start their own robotic team. Outfitting CIA’s Quasar with electronic components, Roboquasar officially became the 3rd robotic buggy to ever hit the buggy course, and Atlas the second robotic buggy team, on Raceday 2017.
- Automonous Rolls. With two different robotic buggy teams now on the course, we had 2 sets of robotic heats, one coming on Friday and one on Saturday. On each day, Robobuggy opened up the racing on the day, with Atlas following (on Friday they raced during the intermission, while on Saturday they immediately followed Robobuggy). On Friday, Robobuggy completed a teleoperated roll in 3:18.91. Atlas’s attempt didn’t go quite as well. They crashed into the curb almost immediately after the shove on Hill 2 and ended up scrapping the rest of their run. Saturday, however, was the more exciting day. Robobuggy lined up and decided to try an autonomous roll for the first time. It wasn’t a flawless roll. The buggy initially turned left towards the outer curb on Hill 1, before correcting. It then hit the curb a couple of times after the Hill 2 shove, but bounced off and kept rolling. After some swerving back and forth, it made it to the transition flag, but then stayed a little too close to the curb and hit the haybale guarding the concrete stairs, getting stuck. The team put the buggy back on the course and kept pushing. Transistor cleared the Chute and made it up the back hills to the finish line. The time wasn’t great – 6:00.82 – but more importantly, Robobuggy became the first team to successfully complete an autonomous roll! Immediately following them, Atlas rolled Roboquasar and also completed the course with just one major crash (at the top of Hill 2 again), being pushed the entire way around. The time was a faster 5:15.48, but the roll was not fully autonomous.
- Women’s Finals Expand. After a year of near-parity in 2016, with 25 Men’s teams and 23 Women’s teams, Sweepstakes decided to finally make the Men’s and Women’s divisions even on the podium as well. The number of Women’s teams in 2017 actually declined slightly, to 22, while the Men’s division expanded to 27 teams (thanks to PiKA rolling 3 teams vs. Fish’s 1). But it had become clear for a number of years that there was no reason to have 10 Men’s finalists and fewer Women’s finalists. So for 2017, Sweepstakes expanded the Women’s Finals field to to 10, matching the Men’s side. Interestingly enough, the Women’s division actually ended up with 12 teams in the Finals. During Women’s Prelims Heat 7, featuring SDC B and SDC C, the starter changed how they were interpreting the clocks at the starting line, resulting in an early countdown that would have resulted in both teams being DQ’d (neither was out at the starting line at the 5 second mark). However, due to the error, Sweepstakes decided to reroll that heat as the first Women’s Finals heat (resulting in 6 total Women’s Finals heats).
- The Tartan’s History of Buggy. In the Carnival Preview edition of The Tartan on April 17, 2017, a writer took a look back at the history of buggy and shared what will call a “very abridged” version of this 100 Years of Buggy History series. Not all of the facts are correct – a Women’s team actually entered in 1922, not 1925. And no, DG did not create the first “fully covered buggy” in 1988 only to have it crash both in practice and while racing; this seems to be suggesting DU’s King Eider (including the fact that it was stolen after it’s last race), but that was neither the first fully covered buggy, nor even the first fully enclosed 2-wheeled buggy (or even the first fully enclosed 2-wheeled buggy built by DU). But a lot of the facts are correct, and I commend the Tartan for trying to provide some of the broader Buggy facts to the general public. Not only that, but they even asked trivia questions (and they were not easy). Here are their questions – see how many you can answer:
- Who broke PiKA’s record of 2:08.67 in 1988?
- Who broke SPIRIT’s record of 2:06.20 in 2008?
- How did the Chute flaggers come into being?
- Racers used to practice clandestinely at night? Some late night altercations led to University-sponsored Sunday freeroll practices. What year did that occur?
- What was the first year of Compubookie?
- Who was the first Safety Chairman and what organization did he represent?
- Queen B(ugg)ey. SigEp did a little better putting together a new buggy in 2017, and managed to get it out on the course a week before Truck Weekend. The buggy debuted in bright pink and was given the name fitting of her stature as queen of SigEp’s buggies: Beyonce. Unfortunately, Beyonce didn’t turn out to be that fast. But what she lacked in speed, she made up for in style. For Raceday, Beyonce debuted in gold paint with a massive portrait of Beyonce painted on the side of the buggy. It was one of the more stunning paintjobs in buggy history. It was so impressive, in fact, that Sweepstakes made up a whole new award called the Design Competition Spark Award, just to bestow upon SigEp’s new buggy.
- PhiDelt’s First Build. After 2 years of rolling Perun, PhiDelt finally took the leap and built their own buggy! The new buggy somewhat resembled Perun to an outsider, including the blue paintjob with white stripes that PhiDelt had initially repainted Perun when they first borrowed it. They also stripped the steering and braking systems out of Perun to put on their new buggy. Although it wasn’t the fastest buggy on the course, it’s always exciting to see a team build for the first time. Named for what we assume is the mythological ship, PhiDelt called their first buggy Argo.
- New Buggies. Beyonce and Argo (and a modified Roboquasar) weren’t the only new buggies to debut in 2017. As usual, Fringe pumped out another new buggy, the speedy Blueshift. Apex finally fulfilled the request of founder Connor Hayes to make “Phoenix But Better” and rolled out the much lighter Firefly. Lastly, after a brief foray back to reverse trikes and some dabbling with larger wheels, CIA decided that one of those was a good idea and one of those was a bad idea. So they produced the standard trike Emperor, aptly named to reflect its large wheels.
- Restrictions on Greek Pushers. From the first days of Buggy, the rules have required team members to be members of the organization for which they are competing. But in the era of independent organizations, fraternities have argued that this puts them at a disadvantage, because independent organizations can find pushers from the entire CMU student body while fraternities are limited to the small pool of fraternity members. In 2017, Sweepstakes held a meeting to discuss whether this rule needed to be changed. While some alums argued that the rule should be lifted in some way to allow fraternities to have non-fraternity pushers, the fraternities themselves didn’t seem all that interested. The basis was that buggy is just one of the activities that the fraternity does, as opposed to a sole focus, so even if the rule were lifted, the fraternities felt it was unlikely that most fraternities would try to take advantage of it.
- Pusher Poaching. Back on the course after a year of going fishing, PiKA may not have needed a rule change, but they did come up with a new strategy. They took a look at SDC’s course record in 2016 and said to themselves “how best can we match that? Let’s use those same pushers!” Already boasting 2 football players on their push team, Kicker Gabe Renna (Hill 3) and RB Rory Hubbard (Hill 5), they added a 3rd from the general population with TE Karl Mark Kumm. Those players (presumably) spent much of the school year trying to convince senior and starting RB Sam Benger, the Hill 1 pusher for the course record setting SDC team in 2016, to defect from SDC and push for PiKA instead. Eventually they succeeded, and Sam joined the PiKA pledge class in the spring semester, becoming their Hill 1 pusher. Interestingly enough, however, this may have backfired, as it ended up opening Hill 1 on SDC’s Men’s A team for a new pusher – Jacob Hoffmann, who would go on to become King of the Hill (and, ironically, would have a similar defection a couple of years later).
- Who Can Stop SDC? One year removed from setting the course record on the Men’s side, SDC had their eyes set on new records for both Men’s and Women’s heats. The road conditions were slightly worse than the year prior when they were paved; some piping had been laid across the Chute and the portion of the road that was dug up to do so had been patched, leaving a bit of a bump for drivers the entire way across the Chute. But that patch was no match for SDC, because as a commenter pointed out last week, “Annie Black is the fastest color”. Friday began with SDC Women’s A obliterating their previous course record. Led by Queen of the Hill Mary Garrett, new Hill 5 pusher Olivia Keller, and an assortment of Women’s basketball players in between, Malice and driver Annie Black blitzed the course and clocked in with a course record 2:23.39, nearly 2 seconds better than the 2009 course record. On the Men’s side, a mostly new A team, including King of the Hill Jacob Hoffmann, pushed Malice and Annie Black to a final time of 2:02.32, narrowly edging the record that they set in the 2016 Prelims. Not to be outdone, both the SDC A Men’s and Women’s teams repeated those performances on Saturday, slightly improving their course records to 2:23.27 for Women’s and 2:02.16 for Men’s, respectively. The Men’s win was SDC’s 6th in a row, tying for the second longest winning streak of all time. And the course record and winning streak weren’t the only goals that SDC had their eyes set on. On the Women’s side, their B team managed to clock in 2nd after a reroll, edging out PiKA A and giving SDC its second 1-2 finish in a row.
- Fast Times at Schenley Drive. SDC may have set a course record on the Men’s side, leaving everyone else to compete for 2nd. But that doesn’t mean that others weren’t fast. In fact, the top 5 Men’s teams all cracked 2:10 in the Prelims, the first time that had ever happened (and only the second time that 5 teams had cracked 2:10 in the same year, following the 2009 Finals). The Women’s side also had one of their fastest years in history, with the top 5 all besting 2:40 in the finals, just the second time in history that had happened (also following the 2009 Finals, when the top 5 all broke 2:35).
- AEPi Taps Out. After stopping and starting a few times during the late 80s-90s, AEPi had finally become a consistent buggy team beginning in 2004. They peaked with 3 teams in 2009-2010 and an 11th place finish in 2009 that, in most other years, would have put them in the Finals. But after some internal issues following the 2010 year, most of the buggy team left the fraternity and interest quickly waned. Finally, after Raceday 2016, interest hit a low point. AEPi no longer had enough people interested in buggy (ironic, because the size of the house had nearly doubled from the 00s) and decided to pack it in, ending their buggy program. But AEPi’s presence on the course wasn’t completely eliminated. Enosh Shachar, who was AEPi’s Buggy Chair in 2016, suddenly found himself with no team, which made him perfectly qualified for a position on Sweepstakes. Thus, he became the new Sweepstakes Chair for the 2016-2017 school year.
- Team Camaraderie. What was once a sport in which teams truly hated each other, in the 2010s the buggy experience became much more of a positive one, with teams often working together and helping each other out (at least where it didn’t involve sharing secrets). 2017 offered several examples of this. At the Chairman’s meeting prior to the 2nd weekend of rolls, October 15, Sweepstakes held a “contest” for the chairmen entitled “Can you name all the chairmen?” Apex and SDC won the challenge, and the two organizations shared a pinata full of candy after rolls on October 15. But other examples were also apparent throughout the year. When PiKA had trouble getting enough pushers to come out, other organizations picked up the buggies on the back hills until a PiKA member could get them. CIA and Apex teamed up for efficiency, with Apex providing “the mother of all follow cars” and CIA providing flaggers, in what would ultimately be referred to the “CIApex” rolls. SigEp and SAE did the same and came to be known as the “Sigma Squad”. Fringe didn’t necessarily pair up with other organizations, but they did pack their follow SUV (with the license plate “BUGGYCMU”) with a bunch of people who were “hooting and hollering” throughout their rolls.
- Don’t Go Against Buggy Traffic. At rolls on November 5, Robobuggy was first up and pushed off of Hill 2. As soon as they were on their way, Fringe left to deliver their flaggers to the flagging area via car, but to do so, they went against the flow of buggy traffic, going down Frew Street. Luckily the buggy on the course was Transistor and not a driver-filled buggy, as the Fringe car and Transistor passed each other in the Chute going opposite directions. No contact was made, but it was a stark reminder to teams, and led to some enforcement by Sweepstakes, that vehicles driving on the buggy course can only travel in the direction of buggies.
- Mini–Raceday. Mini-Raceday was held in perfect buggy weather (sunny and freezing) on November 13. The top 3 teams on Mini-Raceday were: (1) SDC, (2) CIA, and (3) Fringe. Spirit and PiKA were in 4th and 5th. The fastest Chute speeds, according to the BAA timing results, were (1) CIA’s Equinox, and (2-tie) SDC’s Malice and Fringe’s Boson.
- An Indignant Jogger. The week before Truck Weekend, Apex was having a standard day of rolls, as they tried to get their new buggy, Firefly, qualified. But during one of its rolls, Firefly encountered an obstacle you don’t see every day. A jogger had come on to the course during Apex’s roll, and after being shouted at to get out of the road, the jogger stopped in the middle of the road to give an angry stare to those shouting. This took her view down to the Chute. Of course, just as she did that, Firefly began its turn into the Chute behind her, and came within feet of hitting the jogger. No one was hurt, but it’s why barricaders need to be a little more forceful about keeping joggers out of the road.
- Predictions. Once again, Compubookie emailed the BAA and had his predictions posted on the BAA site. And he finally expanded his Women’s selections to a Top 10 (presumably, this was to coincide with the number of teams reaching the Finals, though the predictions didn’t increase to a Top 8 when the Women’s Finals did). His Women’s Top 10 were: (1) SDC A, (2) CIA A, (3) Fringe A, (4) PiKA A, (5) SDC B, (6) Spirit A, (7) CIA B, (8) Apex A, (9) Spirit B, and (10) SDC C. On the Men’s side, his Top 10 were (1) SDC A, (2) CIA A, (3) SDC B, (4) Spirit A, (5) SigEp A, (6) Fringe A, (7) CIA B, (8) PiKA B, (9) SDC C, and (10) Apex A, with PiKA A being DQ’d for a Pushbar violation. The BAA also listed their own predictions in the 2017 Raceday Preview, and even included a set of one-liners about each org. But instead of those one-liners ranging from slightly to significantly offensive stereotypes about the organizations, they focused more on each organization’s performance on the buggy course. On the Women’s side, the BAA predicted (1) SDC A, (2) CIA A, (3) Spirit A, (4) SDC B, (5) Fringe A, (6) PiKA A, (7) SDC C, (8) SigEp A, (9) Apex A, and (10) PhiDelt A. On the Men’s side, the BAA actually got the first 9 teams correct, just in the wrong order. They went with (1) SDC A, (2) PiKA A, (3) CIA A, (4) SDC B, (5) Spirit A, (6) SigEp A, (7) Fringe A, (8) CIA B, (9) PiKA B, and (10) Spirit B. Lastly, Mechajockey returned in the comments of the Compubookie article, leading to multiple comments calling for a replacement robot to predict the races. Of course, Mechajockey’s predictions don’t actually include race results. This year, Mechajockey made two sets of predictions: the “flawless superior machines division” and the “appalling flesh automata division”. On the robot side, his rankings were (1) Singularity [Ed. Note: we think he meant Transistor], (2) Roboquasar, (3) Amazon drone returning to Chipotle for more burritos; (4) Bomb disposal robot. “We preemptively deny everything”; (5) Self-driving Uber, after gas tank refill on Hill 3; (6) Runaway machine learning capstone project; (7) KITT, sans David Hasselhoff; (8) That one foreign student who does too well in class and never speaks (turing test forthcoming); (9) Overly ambitious winner of mobot line-following challenge, in pursuit of greater glory; and (10) Compubookie, as even an obsolete and malfunctioning machine is vastly superior to organic life. On the human side of things, Mechajockey had some unsurprising, and some suprising, takes. His “top 10” were: (1) No one; (2) SDC Buggy, or something interesting for a change; (3) 4-way Estes-Bordick-Nott-Swift Alumni Deathrace; (4) 6” of snow; (5) PiKA buggy, sans pusher; (6) SAE buggy, sans pushbar; (7) SigEp buggy, sans ceramic bearings, wheels, hatches, and dignity; (8) Adam “But I’m” McCue, trying to start more teams; (9) Kiltie Band trombone section (unsupervised); and (10) Entropy [Ed. Note: we believe Mechajockey meant the thermodynamic system, not the convenience store on campus].
- Aerodynamic Designs. The April 24, 2017 Tartan turned its science and technology section’s attention to Buggy…kinda. It noted that many teams sported “interesting paint jobs that conveyed fun messages,” with “equally diverse” technical designs, ranging from forward trikes to reverse trikes. It also noted that buggies were “very aerodynamic this year.” I don’t know if that’s meant to imply that buggies were not aerodynamic in previous years, but then again, I guess if you’re reading the science and technology section of the Tartan, there’s a decent chance that you don’t know what a buggy is.
- Rain Delays Racing. Sweepstakes got 2 full days of racing in for 2017, but it wasn’t on time. Rain fell overnight leading into both Friday and Saturday, forcing Raceday to delay while the roads dried. Friday’s delay lasted roughly 30 minutes until Robobuggy began their timing heat (the first race with drivers came just before 9am). On Saturday, the rain fell a little closer to sunrise and therefore the delay lasted a little longer, causing all of the non-robotic buggy exhibitions to be cancelled. Saturday’s races weren’t scheduled to start until 9am, but they ended up delayed for slightly more than 1 hour, with the first Finals race not rolling until after 10am.
- Superheroes on the Course. Men’s Prelims Heat 5 saw a return of The Flash to the Buggy course. No, not Jordan “The Flash” Kunz or Spirit’s Kingpin in its Flash paintjob. Fringe mechanic Dave Singh dressed as The Flash, and added a cape, as the Hill 1 pusher for Fringe D’s
- The 9th Place Curse. In 2017, having the 9th fastest time of the day was not a position you wanted to be in. On Friday in the Women’s heats, the 9th fastest time of the day belonged to CIA B’s Tempest. In the Men’s heats, the 9th fastest time of the day belonged to SigEp B’s Barracuda. Both of those teams would have made it to the Finals, if it weren’t for those pesky brakes. Both Tempest and Barracuda failed drops, earning DQs. CIA didn’t do a very good job fixing Tempest’s braking problems either. The buggy once again earned the 9th fastest time on Saturday, this time as the Men’s B team buggy, but once again failed drops, resulting in another DQ. Apex A finished 9th in the Women’s heats on Saturday, but luckily the buggy was Firefly, not Ember, and Apex A ended up as the only 9th place time to not be DQ’d.
- Notable Women’s Heats. Below are some of the notable Women’s Heats, but since we haven’t split up the heats yet, you’ll just have to trust us and find it on your own (we’ll update this one the heats are split into their own files).
- Prelims Heat 1. The 5 second rule is in the rulebook, but sometimes its enforcement leaves a lot to be desired. No race is more proof of that than the first race from 2017. SDC D’s Rage, in Lane 2, was DQ’d for a 5 second violation when going up against Fringe B that, even by the letter of the law, is a little questionable.
- Prelims Heat 6. It was a rough heat for Spirit A’s Kingpin, in Lane 1, and Apex B’s Ember, in Lane 2. Apex hung tough early, but Spirit went into the freeroll in the lead, and started to pull away. Things changed in the Chute, however, as the driver of Kingpin took too tight a turn and couldn’t hold her line, spinning out and coming to rest against the outer bales. Ember was too close behind for a brake flag but made it through the Chute cleanly. It’s probably a good thing that no stop flag was thrown, however. Once Ember crossed the finish line, it was carried over to drops, where the buggy never even slowed down, resulting in a Drops DQ. So 0% of the teams in Heat 6 earned an official placing.
- Prelims Heat 7. As noted above, a timing issue at the starting line caused SDC B’s Bane and SDC C’s Avarice to be late to the line. They both got rerolls as a result, but if you’ve ever wanted to see what happens when SDC’s clockwork carryout process gets messed with, here’s your chance.
- Prelims Heat 8. Fringe A’s Blueshift got a bad start and actually trailed SigEp B’s Beyonce and Apex C’s Phoenix up Hill 1, but got back ahead on Hill 2 and went into the freeroll with a narrow lead. Thankfully for them, Blueshift was the best buggy in the heat and put plenty of space between them and the other two, finishing with the 5th fastest time of the day. The excitement came from the others. Apex went into the freeroll just behind Fringe, with SigEp right on their tail. Apex got the shove first and coming out of Lane 3, they had the inside track to the curb. But SigEp’s driver immediately felt like she was going to pass, and so she kept a very wide line as they prepared to cross the street at Westinghouse Pond. As Phoenix crossed over, the driver of Beyonce was put in a bind, as she found herself soon to be trapped between Phoenix and the curb. Therefore, the driver hit the brakes, causing the reverse trike buggy to spin. But because the driver hit the brakes for a perceived safety issue, SigEp B was granted a reroll on Saturday morning.
- Prelims Heat 10. The heat itself, between SDC A’s Malice, SAE A’s Lucy, and PhiDelt A’s Argo, wasn’t all that exciting. Something may have gone wrong for SAE’s buggy somewhere in the Chute, because it was close behind PhiDelt’s Argo early in the freeroll, and then suddenly fell off significantly between the flags. Of course, we’ll never really know, because we were too focused on SDC blitzing the course record up ahead.
- Finals Heat 5. Not to be outdone in the Prelims, SDC A’s Malice came back and broke their 24 hour old course record, going up in the final Women’s heat of the day against Fringe B’s Boson.
- Reroll Heat 1. What was supposed to be a mixed-gender reroll between PiKA Men’s C’s Raptor and SigEp Women’s B’s Beyonce ended up as just a Women’s reroll after PiKA never made it out to the starting line. Raptor was carried out, but only got as close as the follow truck before the race began. Meanwhile, SigEp’s race didn’t end well for the team. The Hill 5 pusher gave Beyonce a little too big of a shove and then couldn’t catch up as the buggy crossed the finish line. The Hill 5 pusher dove, but came up short of the buggy, resulting in a pushbar DQ.
- Other DQs. Spirit B’s Mapambazuko never made it to the starting line in Women’s Heat 2, resulting in a DNS. And as noted above, CIA B’s Tempest failed drops.
- Notable Men’s Heats. Below are some of the notable Men’s Heats, but since we haven’t split up the heats yet, you’ll just have to trust us and find it on your own (we’ll update this one the heats are split into their own files).
- Prelims Heat 3. The Men’s heats had their first intraheat excitement in Heat 3, between Spirit B’s Mapambazuko and SDC D’s Havoc. It wasn’t a particularly close race at first, but the first hair-raising moment came when a woman decided to cross the street at the transition flag right after Spirit passed it. Of course, SDC was only 2-3 seconds behind Spirit, and the driver of Havoc was forced to swerve to avoid hitting the woman. Spirit then lost a ton of speed in the Chute, allowing SDC to catch up, and the two teams pulled even as they reached the Hill 4-5 transition. Spirit grabbed a very narrow lead on Hill 5, all the more impressive after the Hill 5 pusher pulled something in his leg while chasing the buggy. He caught up to the buggy before the finish line though, and Spirit finished about ½ buggy length ahead of SDC.
- Prelims Heat 5. PhiDelt A’s Argo made its Men’s debut against Fringe D’s Beacon, but the difference in buggy technology was very apparent in this heat. PhiDelt was narrowly ahead on Hill 1, even with “The Flash” (Fringe mechanic Dave Singh dressed as the Flash, with an added cape for style points). Dave Singh points out that he was told by Fringe chair Preetam Amancharla, who was pushing Hill 2, not to burn him at the Hill 1-2 transition, resulting in a lighter-than-normal transition shove. That helped PhiDelt win the race up the front hills, not surprising for an A team against a D team. But Beacon was rolling much faster than Argo in the freeroll, and Beacon cleanly passed Argo between the flags, going into the Chute first. But on the back hills, the A team pushers took back over, and PhiDelt re-passed Fringe on Hill 5.
- Prelims Heat 12. CIA A’s Equinox went up against Spirit C’s Inviscid in the second to last heat of the day. In a sign of trouble to come, Spirit’s C team actually beat CIA’s A team up Hill 1 (Spirit got a really good jump at the start…maybe too good?), though CIA caught back up on Hill 2 and went into the freeroll with a very narrow lead. The Spirit driver decided to draft behind Equinox throughout the freeroll, which seemed like a good idea at first, but backfired as they approached the stop sign. The driver of Equinox, staying tight to the curb, made her right turn at the stop sign to head for the transition flagger. Possibly thrown off by seeing CIA start to turn right, the driver of Inviscid also started to turn slightly right. But she wasn’t yet fully into the intersection, and the back right wheel hit the curb. Invsicid rubbed against the curb for a little while, drastically slowing down the buggy and leading to the Hill 3 pusher badly overestimating the pickup spot.
- Prelims Heat 13. SDC A’s Malice went up against the organization (but not the team) that “stole” their Hill 1 pusher Sam Benger, PiKA B’s Cleona, and proved that it didn’t matter. SDC raced around the course faster than anyone ever had before, setting the course record.
- Finals Heat 3. In what might be one of the most exciting heats in modern Buggy history, Prelims 3rd place finisher, CIA A’s Equinox, went up against Prelims 8th place finisher, PiKA B’s Cleona. But much like Day 1, CIA’s Hill 1 pusher was a step slow, and PiKA B won the race up Hill 1. Unlike Day 1, however, PiKA’s pushers and buggy were faster than Spirit C’s, and PiKA went into the freeroll first, forcing CIA’s Equinox to ride on PiKA’s tail for the entire freeroll. But it wasn’t just the freeroll. PiKA held the lead on Hills 3 and opened up on Hill 4. But there was a big difference in Hill 5 pushers between CIA and PiKA, and CIA closed the gap on Hill 5, hitting the finish line a split second before PiKA. CIA’s time was only 2:14.29 (just .07 ahead of PiKA), but the driver of Equinox reportedly had to brake during the freeroll, and Sweepstakes granted CIA’s reroll request. The reroll ended in a 2:10.66, moving CIA A up from a trophy-less 7th to a trophy-full 5th.
- Finals Heat 5. Another SDC A roll means another SDC A record. This one, a slight improvement over the previous day’s time from 2:02.32 to 2:02.16, is the time that still stands as the course record today. Spirit A’s Kingpin was impressive as well, clocking in with a 4th place time of 2:09.33, Spirit’s fastest race in 25 years (back to 1992), but it was overshadowed by the record performance in front of them.
- Other DQs. It was a very clean year on the Men’s side. The only 2 DQs/DNFs were SigEp B’s and CIA B’s failed drop tests in the Prelims and Finals, respectively.
- The Exhibition Roundup – 2017. Four exhibition heats were scheduled for Saturday morning. The first was a battle between SDC and Fringe, presumably with drivers/mechanics pushing. The second was a battle of the sexes from Spirit, as a team of Spirit men was to take on a team of Spirit women. The third heat featured an assortment of CMU faculty who were former members of CIA (or possibly friends of former members of CIA), going up against a 2nd CIA alumni team and an Apex alumni team. Lastly, an alumni grudge match (with the grudge year likely being either 2010 or 2014) between SDC, Fringe, and SigEp was scheduled to end the exhibition heats. Unfortunately, due to the rain delay, all of these heats were cancelled. That left just the robotic exhibitions, which are detailed above.