This week, we set the clocks back and the buggies forward, as Saturday was Mini-Raceday! The shortest day of Rolls of the year saw a lot of excitement, as 8 orgs were out doing full Hill 1s and getting some times. Sunday saw a smaller crowd, as several orgs decided to get the extra hour of sleep instead of more Fall rolls, leading to a Rolls session that actually ended early.

Red sky in the morning, Buggy drivers take warning… that it’s Mini-Raceday!

ApexFirefly, SolarisSolaris
CIAEmperor, Equinox, Kingfisher, RoadrunnerEquinox, Roadrunner
FringeBaltic, Blueshift, Brimstone, BurnoutBurnout
Robobuggy——Short Circuit
SDCVanity, ViceVice
SigEpHydra, Kraken——
SpiritInviscid, Kingpin*, MapambazukoInviscid, Mapambazuko

Photos: Saturday Gallery (upload) | Sunday Gallery (upload)

General Observations:

  • Mini-Raceday Results. Let’s start with what you care the most about – the Mini Raceday results! The fastest roll of the day went to CIA’s Kingfisher, with a final Men’s time of 2:28.208. CIA’s Kingfisher also put up the fastest Women’s time of 3:05.092 (though there was only 1 Women’s roll that was not CIA). The All Gender champion this year was Fringe’s Burnout, with a 2:52.948. SDC had the fastest Men’s Hill 1 with a 17.088 second Hill 1 time, and CIA had the fastest All Gender and Women’s Hill 1 times with a 19.11 and 20.383, respectively. The fastest Freeroll time belongs to Spirit’s Inviscid, which put up a 58.054 second freeroll time. SDC also had the fastest backhills times, with a total backhills on Vice of 57.049 seconds for their Men’s team and a 63.242 second backhills for their All Gender team, showing that at least on the pushing side, SDC is still at the top of the game even after a lost year. The full Mini-Raceday times are below.

CIA’s Kingfisher had the fastest Men’s and Women’s times of the day.

  • Mini-Raceday Analysis, Part 1. Going beyond the times, our intrepid reporters/timers on the course had their own takes on how teams fared on Mini-Raceday. There was a consensus that at least visually, PiKA and Spirit had the fastest rolling buggies on the day (one notetaker referring to them as having “wow” speed, at least for November), with CIA close behind. SDC was the next step down, reportedly losing some speed due to less-than-clean line through the Freeroll and Chute (which, when cleaned up, could put them up with the others). Of course, no team was flawless. Spirit seemed to be losing more speed than other buggies through the Chute (which may be a symptom of their builds, as this has been a common element in recent years regardless of the lines taken). PiKA, meanwhile, only had 1 pusher for the backhills, hurting their overall times. CIA, on the other hand, had “a Hill 3 pusher who is the fastest man I’ve ever seen” (according to one note taker), and SDC’s hill times showed that they’re rolling with top tier pushers.

Spirit’s Inviscid put up the fastest Freeroll of Mini-Raceday, with PiKA’s Raptor right on its tail.

  • Mini-Raceday Analysis, Part 2. The other teams had mostly clean rolls, but they were reportedly a cut below the top 4. One reporter noted that both Fringe and SigEp had some “heroically deep” Hill 3 pickups – Kudos to them. But other than that, the others (Apex, Fringe, SigEp and SigNu) were rolling fine, but not quite as fast as the CIA/PiKA/SDC/Spirit tier. But again, this is just a random Saturday in November, and for some of these teams this is their first/second rolls of the year. There’s plenty of time to get up to speed before Raceday, when it actually matters.

Fringe, with Brimstone, was the only org other than CIA to run a full Women’s push team on Saturday

  • Sunday Recap. Sunday wasn’t Mini-Raceday, and even though there was an extra hour of time for Rolls, only 5 teams came out. Most of the teams seemed to be doing full Hill 2s (with a couple even doing Hill 1s), so the buggies were moving pretty quick. Once again, Sweeps added a “break” at the end of each run of the roll order to give teams more rest between rolls. By 7:40, teams were doing rollarounds to get some additional rolls in. And by 8:25, things got so slow that Sweeps decided to call it early.

Spirit was one of the teams practicing full Hill 1s on Sunday.

  • Bike Lane Activity. One thing for everyone to keep their eyes on for upcoming weekends is the new bike lane on Frew Street. Several bikes were seen going down Frew Street (from the Finish Line to Hill 3, opposite the buggy’s path), crossing Frew Street to the outer sidewalk at the start of Hill 3. There didn’t seem to be any interference today, but it’s something to pay attention to in the future (and Robobuggy’s Short Circuit may have tried to take action into its own hands – See Robobuggy below).

Pictured: Spirit’s Zuke on Hill 3. Not pictured: Bikes in the bike lane.

  • Buggy Viewing Area. With the opening of the new Scaife Hall, there’s even a Buggy element! A new “Garden and Buggy Viewpoint”, named in honor of the Browning family – including buggy participants Paul (Beta ’90) and his daughter Molly (SDC ’20), is in the process of being completed as a permanent viewing location for Raceday. There should even be more areas to watch buggy, indoors, from a few of the floors in the new Scaife Hall!

A plaque dedicating the new Browning Family Garden and Buggy Viewpoint, outside of the new Scaife Hall

Team Observations:

  • Apex. Not much to report on Apex this weekend, as they had 2 returning drivers and 2 returning buggies out for Rolls. But as always, no news is often good news when it comes to Rolls Reports, as it means they completed their rolls cleanly.

It was a clean weekend of Rolls for Apex

  • CIA. CIA was putting up the fastest overall times on Saturday, and outside of one Fringe roll, they were the only org with a full Women’s team rolling. They’ve been looking strong this Fall as they seek to avenge their 2023 Men’s DQ and Women’s upset. Through this weekend, CIA currently holds the most rolls for a buggy/driver combo, with 33 rolls so far for Amber in Roadrunner and Julia in Equinox.

CIA was out in full force on Mini-Raceday, and ended up with the fastest times of the day for both Men and Women.

  • Fringe. Fringe had 4 buggies and 5 drivers out for Mini-Raceday, but took it a little easier on Sunday with just 1 buggy/driver. Much like Apex, we didn’t hear much about Fringe this weekend, which is a good sign for them because it means clean rolls as they get their group of 4 new drivers (and 1 veteran driver) up to speed.

Baltic was part of a full fleet of Fringe buggies on Saturday

  • PiKA. PiKA was rolling just Raptor on Saturday, and putting up impressive freeroll times for a buggy that has often been the B/C buggy for the team. They continued their trend of having multiple drivers in Raptor each day, and now have 2 new drivers with a max carryover in the buggy, with a 3rd driver just 2 rolls away. Even more impressively, reports are that these drivers had “beautiful Chute driving and incredible rollouts”, a good sign for the PiKA drivers program. We’d like to think that all these drivers in Raptor is a sign that PiKA might have a new buggy in the works (though we haven’t heard anything to that effect). Sunday didn’t go as well quite as well for PiKA, as the team had planned to come out for rolls, but events conspired to keep them away for the day.

Raptor lights up the leaderboard on Saturday with one of the fastest Freerolls of the day

  • Robobuggy. Robobuggy was out on Sunday, and rolling fully autonomously! It wasn’t without issue though. The buggy made an unexpected turn on the backhills and bumped into one of the new bike bollards on the road. Buggy and robot driver were fine though and continued to be pushed up the backhills. One reminder for Robobuggy though: robotic driver doesn’t mean that you don’t need pushers. The Hill 5 pusher decided to give the buggy a shove deep into Hill 5, leading the buggy to “autonomously” cross the finish line. Good thing there are no Pushbar DQs during Rolls.

Robobuggy tests out its newest feature: Autonomous Pushing

  • SDC. SDC brought out their 3rd buggy of the year, Vice, and immediately had it rolling at full (November) speed, likely as it was piloted by driver Elizabeth, who had been rolling in Avarice each of the past 4 Rolls weekends. During Mini-Raceday, SDC had some fast pushers, but there were a couple of corrections in the Chute that may have sapped a little speed. Those will almost certainly be worked out by Raceday. SDC is also making sure that the rest of their Raceday operation is fully functional, as they were seen practicing a full start line operation on Sunday, including a countdown and using their slings to set the buggies down (though this was being done at the top of Hill 1, rather than the bottom of Hill 1). Also on Sunday, SDC had the one “issue” of the day, when they sent Vice into the Freeroll a few seconds before the Chute was actually clear. It went without trouble though, as CIA was already up to Hill 5 by the time SDC got anywhere close to the Chute.

New hoverpusher technology unlocked.

  • SigEp. SigEp was out with 2 buggies and 2 new drivers, taking the Mini-Raceday opportunity to get some rolls in rather than compete for the top prizes. Both buggies were bagged for all rolls in order to get their drivers used to the course. It didn’t come without hiccups though. During their first roll, Hydra came to a stop at Westinghouse Pond at the beginning of the freeroll. We don’t have the details, but it didn’t seem to be too much of a problem, as both Hydra and Kraken (welcome back Kraken!) were back and rolling later in the day, getting all the way around the course.

Kraken makes its 2023-2024 debut

  • SigNu. It wouldn’t be a Fall 2023 weekend of Rolls without some sort of wildlife update, and this week it comes from SigNu. Making their second appearance of the Fall, SigNu was out with Jaeger, and during the buggy’s first roll, one of the Flagstaff Hill deer started heading towards Phipps. The deer got pretty close to crossing the street, but ended up staying on the Flagstaff side, out of the path of the buggy. The roll went without incident.

SigNu’s newest driver: a blanket!

  • Spirit. While Spirit was moving fast on Saturday, it wasn’t without issue. During their first roll on Saturday, Kingpin spun out in the Chute. It looked like a clean spin and the driver was ok, but it did delay rolls for a bit while they cleared buggy and driver, and Kingpin was not seen again on Saturday. Instead, they swapped their second buggy to Zuke for the remainder of the heats. But outside of that issue, Spirit was rolling fast both days, with Inviscid showing the top speed on Saturday and Spirit doing full Hill 1s on Sunday.

Inviscid was putting up the fastest freeroll times of the weekend

Mini-Raceday Results. The full Mini-Raceday times are below, or if you want the ability to do some data work yourself, you can find it all here.

Roll TimeDivisionOrgTeamBuggyHill 1Hill 2Free RollHill 3Hill 4Hill 5Front HillsBack HillsCross Walk to FinishFull Roll

Lastly, a HUGE thanks to all the alumni (and others) who came out to help us time Mini-Raceday this year. And major thanks to Rob S., Dan B., and Molly B. for providing notes about Rolls this week. Reminder that next week is Homecoming. If you’ll be back, please let us know in the Discord, as we’d love to see you! And make sure to come out to Rolls, where we’ll have coffee and donuts! And if you do find yourself there, and happen to have a camera and/or a brain with you, please make sure to send us your notes and upload your photos to our gallery. We’ll also have a Buggy table at the Homecoming Tailgate prior to the 37th annual Academic Bowl from 5pm-7pm (also known as the CMU vs. CWRU football game – and no, I didn’t make that name up). We’ll see you next week!