Hello Everyone and Welcome to the Mini Raceday Special rolls report.  This fall semester has flown by, meaning we are getting super close to the 99th raceday this Spring.  And I know what you’re thinking “Wait, Connor you blithering idiot, 2022 was raceday 100!”  Well in 2022 we celebrated 100 years of buggy but raceday 2024 will be the 100th race due to years lost to COVID-19 and WW2.  There is a reason I am spending so much time on this.  We here at BAA headquarters are planning to create a big celebration for the 100th Raceday like we were planning for the 100th year of buggy.  We are looking for you to make this celebration of CMU’s greatest tradition the best it can be.  If you’re an absolute buggy nerd like me (looking at you Bordick) email admin@cmubuggy.org to get involved.

Returning our attention to Last Saturday, the BAA timing team was out in full force to ensure every buggy nerd reading this report and every student got high quality data for how their teams are doing on each and every hill plus the free roll.  Shout out to Molly Browning (SDC), Tishya Girdhar & Gabby (Fringe), Sabrina Wang (CIA), Amanda Vallon (Apex), Emily Rose Durham (non-affiliated) for showing up at the crack of dawn to help our with timing.

On an unseasonably warm morning (It was 60 degrees!  When did Pittsburgh move to Flordia??) the teams struly tretched their legs for the first time this year.  This Fall, Due to construction equipment scattered without care around the course, teams have not run many (if any) hill 1’s or rolls with heated wheels.  In fact, many days have required limited pushoffs or even bags around the pushbar to keep the safety vs risk chart in favors of keeping buggy alive.  Sweepstakes has done a masterful job handling these inconveniences without losing any days of rolls and teams have been able to make great progress in qualifying their drivers for Raceday.  Reminder that 10 rolls is Max Carryover for a new Driver, 5 rolls for a returning driver.  You can take a look at the roll counts below:

TeamBuggyDriverDriver StatusRolls
Blind FaithMansiNew3
Blind FaithKyrstenNew8

Teams made it through the roll order 2 times on the shortest day of the year.  Rolls kicked off promptly at sun-up giving teams just over an hour to get in their mini raceday rolls.  Every team currently Caped (except SAE) came out to compete in one of 3 divisions.  Yes, we now have 3 divisions in buggy: Men’s, Women’s and All Gender!  Over previous years many on the course and in our alumni group have noted a lack of inclusivity for students who don’t define themselves in traditional, binary gender roles.  To ease these concerns and ensure all feel comfortable participating in our favorite sport, Sweepstakes is trialing the all gender division in 2023.  For you as alumni this means MORE BUGGY!  We anticipate at least 2 if not 3 heats will be added on raceday for this division, giving us all a chance to see more competitive racing in the spring.

With that announcement out of the way, let’s get to the results:

Men’s Division:  PiKA
Women’s Division: Spirit
All Gender Division: Apex

King of the Hill: SigEp
Queen of the Hill: Spirit
Monarch of the Hill: Fringe

Men Fastest Freeroll: PiKA
Women Fastest Freeroll: Spirit
All Gender Fastest Freeroll: Apex

Take a look at all the times in the table below:

DivisionBuggyOrgHill 1Hill 2FreerollHill 3Hill 4Hill 5Front HillsBack HillsFull Roll

Apex:  Taking advantage of being one of 2 teams competing in the all-gender division, Apex took home their first mini-raceday title.  While they have had quite good turnout for pushers this year, I heard mini raceday turnout was a bit light leading them to not compete in the women’s division.  Firefly, their fleet leader, was not out this morning, with their head driver Leah opting to watch/train the rest of their drivers instead.  Solaris driven by Maggie was counted on as the lead dog instead.  I’m wondering if this might end up a long-term choice, as Solaris had the fastest free roll of any buggy without heated wheels.  On the surface their best push times aren’t that impressive, with their best roll of 2:37 nearly 16 seconds off PiKA’s winning time of 2:20.1.  But I hear the team was mixing up pushers and never truly “stacked” a roll.  If we take their best times across all teams, we find a slightly more competitive 2:30 time for Apex.  With a best hill 5 of 27 seconds we imagine there is more to come from this team in the spring.

CIA:  The only team rolling 4 buggies on mini raceday, CIA took a unique approach and “raced” their own buggies to give extra motivation to their pushers.  Based on the free-roll times, we don’t think CIA was putting any heat into their wheels this mini raceday.  Their fastest roll was 3.6 seconds off the fastest of the day.  There is a ton of Depth in this team right now, with their Men’s A&B and Women’s A&B teams finishing within a few seconds of each other.  On the men’s side, they’re still lacking a few of those top end pushers to truly compete.  Adding up all of their best times yields a 2:28, much closer to Apex than PiKA.  Over on the women’s side, the story is a lot rosier for the team in yellow.  Their best times add up to a 2:55 which was a full 4 seconds faster than any other team’s theoretical best for the women’s division.

Fringe:  This is truly a team in transition right now.  Of all the teams on the course, they felt like the smallest organization in terms of manpower.  Only 1 timed roll was completed for the men’s division and it fell .5 seconds ahead of the time from Apex. This team has the technology needed to get around the course quickly, so we can never rule them out.  It’s even possible that this lack of fall manpower leads to org to run a huge recruitment drive in the spring and an impressive showing for the team.  But right now, we need to see a bit more before we declare them a contender for the win.

PiKA: Well, well, well.  SDC may not be the favorites for raceday after all.  PiKA dominated this mini raceday, throwing up either the fastest or second fastest time on every hill and the fastest free roll time of the day.  Their theoretical best time was a 2:14. That is a mighty impressive time for the spring semester.  While still exhibiting a bit of that “Oh PiKA” chaos, these boys are continuing their movement back towards an organized regiment focused on one thing: Course Domination.  They will still need to find time in the free-roll before raceday (56 seconds) and maybe a second or two on the hills to truly have a chance at toppling SDC, but they’re trending the right direction.

SDC:  This team seems to be hiding their true potential.  As organized and as confident as ever, SDC rolled without drama, provided heat to their wheels and got in 2 seemingly impressive rolls around the course.  But the stopwatch is more accurate than the eye and the numbers on the clock weren’t kind to this team.  Their best time was a 2:25, 5 seconds behind PiKA.  If we add up all of their best hills, it doesn’t get any better as 2:25 is their theoretically fastest time.  And yet, not a single member of this team seems worried.  I have to imagine recruitment has gone well behind the scenes, even if it didn’t show up this weekend.  Additionally they have the most experienced driver on the course (Suzanne in Inferno) and an early contender for rookie of the year (Delaynie in Avarice) driving for them.  I will never count this team out and PiKA shouldn’t get cocky based on these results.

Sig Ep:  Are the boys back?  It surely feels like we are listening to the 1976 rock classic by Thin Lizzy when watching Sig Ep this year.  Sig Ep posted by far the fastest hill 1 time of the day, 16.38 nearly a full second ahead of the next team.  They showed up with both a men’s and women’s team and posted competitive times in both divisions.  The men rolled a 2:26, good for 4th and just .5 of a second behind SDC.  Oh and they didn’t heat their wheels.  For the Women, they finished 3rd behind only Spirit and CIA.  The great news for Sig Ep is their alumni seem re-engaged with the team.  I ran into 1 Jake Mohin at the course a few weekends ago and the vibes out of the Sig Ep house seem good.  While we can’t expect them to compete for a win right away (they could really use a new build and will take time to clean up their rough edges) this team should be circled for comeback of the year honors.

Sig Nu: Not much that we can read from their performance thus far.  Jaeger, their new buggy, is seriously impressive looking, as if it were built by a much more experienced team.  And they had a good crew of guys out and rolling this weekend.  And I mean it when I say group of guys because this team is rolling a male driver!  But they rolled with bags and didn’t run any hill 1’s.  Still this is really a team on the rise, with a true commitment to the sport coming from the house.  They’re attempting to roll 2 buggies and compete in both men’s and women’s divisions this spring.  I fully anticipate a shockingly competitive time from this team and groups like Apex and Fringe might want to circle Sig Nu as their top competition for Day 2

Spirit:  Winning the women’s division was not enough for Spirit.  They want the men’s.  Looking at the top times from last weekend you would think we have time-travelled back to the 1990’s with PiKA and Spirit dominating the top of the leaderboard.  This team always shows up for mini raceday and this year was no exception.  Where they have failed in years past is building on this success and taking that next step in the spring to truly compete.  Their 2:21 roll time is good, and their theoretical best of a 2:18 would’ve been good for top 5 last year.  However, this team is still giving up too much time on transitions and I can’t imagine their pushbars flexing as much as they do helps them on the hills.  It doesn’t sound like a new build is coming for the team so the pushbar issue will continue.  But I have full faith that they will clean up those transitions and turn up with a strong performance come April.  This could be an SDC 2007/08 scenario where old tech lets them down and a new build for the following year sees them dominate the field.

So that’s it for Mini raceday!  There are a few more weeks of rolls scheduled for the fall, but we aren’t anticipating many of them will be utilized.  Now it’s time for teams to buckle down on recruitment, tune up their buggies and finish up those new builds in preparation for the Spring semester.  Keep it tuned to our website for future rolls reports and feel free to reach out to admin@cmubuggy.org with any suggestions or questions.

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