With the last weekend before Spring Break, mother nature decided to play a cruel trick on teams. Sunday rolls were cancelled early in the week due to expected temperatures in the low 20s, but teams decided to brave the upper 20s on Saturday to get some practice in. Unfortunately, teams couldn’t get as many trips through the roll order as they probably hoped. Scratches, stops, and snow led to a short, cold day of rolls for 8 racing orgs (and 1 robot).

It was a “proper pushing attire is a winter coat” kind of morning.

FringeBlueshift, Brimstone
RobobuggyShort Circuit
SDCAvarice, Bane, Vice
SigNuBungarus Krait
SpiritInviscid, Kingpin, Mapambazuko, Seraph
Pass Test Needed, 1+ Drivers Qualified

Photos: Saturday Gallery (upload)

General Observations:

  • Early Scratches. Things got off to a bit of a rocky start on Saturday. DG, SDC, and Spirit each took their first roll through the roll order, but the other 5 teams each scratched their rolls. Because of the temperature and the quick turnaround leaving teams still not ready, Sweepstakes decided to hit pause and add a 10 minute break into the schedule.

Only 3 of these orgs actually took their first roll.

  • There’s No Business Like Snow Business. Not only did things take a bit to get going, but they also came to an abrupt end. It wasn’t necessarily in the forecast, but snow rolled into Pittsburgh on Saturday morning. This gave Sweepstakes little choice but to end Rolls early, wrapping up at 8:20am.

A brief winter storm swept through and cancelled rolls early.

  • EM(otorcycle)S. It wasn’t just the teams who got off to a slow start on a cold day. CMU EMS didn’t attend Rolls on Saturday, and instead Pittsburgh EMS was on call – and on motorcycle. They arrived “pretty late” for EMS, but far enough before the start of Rolls that this didn’t cause a delay.

Vroom Vroom

  • Full Hill 1s. Sweepstakes did expand the scope of Rolls this week, letting teams know that they were allowed to do full Hill 1s, as well as heat their wheels. We’re not sure how many teams took advantage of this, especially with a number of teams out for the first time this year, but at least one (Spirit) did. But overall, teams weren’t rolling quite as smoothly this weekend as they were on the first weekend of rolls. A number of teams had various controlled stops, mechanical issues, or just slow-moving buggies.  These issues, plus the weather, led to most teams only getting 1-2 rolls on the day.

Just pretend this is Hill 1…

  • New Buggy Rumor Mill. There were no new builds out on the course this weekend, but the rumor mill is abuzz with what’s going on behind the scenes. The only confirmed build belongs to CIA, who caped their new buggy, Goldfinch*, last week. We’ve also heard that Fringe plans to have a new buggy out this year, and SDC has been dropping a number of hints that they’ll have their first new build since 2019’s Vanity. There are varying degrees of rumors about builds from other organizations as well (including Apex, Spirit, and maybe one or two others), but those rumors might not be current.

* Note: Goldfinch isn’t a confirmed name, but it’s what was written on the side of the buggy. CIA, feel free to reach out to us if you want to confirm.

Team Observations:

  • DG. DG is back! After coming out twice in the fall and earning the maximum carryover for veteran driver Inez, Insite picked up another 3 clean rolls on Saturday. They were one of the more well-organized teams on Saturday and didn’t seem to have any issues. Our intrepid observers reported that DG kept good clean lines throughout the day, and while they weren’t flying down the course, by the end of the day they were moving at a solid clip. Qualification Update: With 3 rolls today, Insite and driver Inez are just 2rolls (including a pass test) away from qualifying for Raceday.

Insite travelled quickly down the course in its first rolls of 2024.

  • Fringe. Fringe had another seemingly clean day, with Brimstone getting 3 rolls in and Blueshift getting 2. It’s our standard “no news is good news” rule of thumb for Fringe – we didn’t hear anything about them, so we have to assume things went well. The only notable thing is that continuing the trend from 2 weekends ago, Fringe and SDC were sharing flaggers. Qualification Update: Rookie drivers Arini (in Brimstone) and Freda (in Blueshift) each inched closer to qualifying in their buggies this weekend, with Freda/Blueshift needing just 2 rolls (including a pass test) and Arini/Brimstone needing 4. So it shouldn’t be long before Fringe has a few buggies qualified.

Brimstone (right) and Blueshift (left) each travel down the Freeroll on Saturday.

  • Frontier. The long awaited return of Frontier to the course on Saturday was exciting news for everyone! We haven’t seen them on the course since the very first day of Rolls in the Fall, but they were back in action on Saturday, and with a new driver in Barbie to boot! It was a bit of a bumpy return though, as one of their rolls ended in a controlled stop and a short delay, as Frontier had to find the right tools to extract the driver. But the team was unfazed, and did get 1 complete roll on the day. Qualification Update: With 1 roll for their new driver, they’re still a ways away from qualifying for Raceday, but there should be ample opportunity to get those extra rolls (weather permitting, knock on wood).

Barbie takes its 2023 box office success into 2024.

  • PiKA. PiKA was back on the course for the first time this semester, and it was a clean day. They only had Raptor out, but the buggy got 2 rolls in without any issues. Their entire driver roster is made up of rookie drivers, so we’re looking forward to seeing how they distribute their 3 buggies across 4 potential drivers. Qualification Update: With 2 rolls in Raptor on Saturday, rookie driver Su Mae now only needs 5 rolls (including a pass test) to be a qualified driver, and if those 5 remaining rolls come in Banshee, then Su Mae/Banshee will be qualified. These were the first two rolls in Raptor though, so if Su Mae drives Raptor on Raceday, the combination will need another 8 rolls,

Raptor takes Jurassic World Dominion’s 2022 box office success into 2024.

  • Robobuggy. Robobuggy was out again on Saturday morning before the official start of Rolls. They attempted 2 rolls, but only one was successful. The first roll saw the team complete a full lap of the course, though one pusher got quite the workout as they had a hand on the pushbar for the entire freeroll. The second roll, however, had some problems. Short Circuit was shoved into the freeroll without a pusher, but the autonomous driver had a mind of its own. Just past Westinghouse Pond, where human drivers cross from the left side of the street to the right, the autonomous driver decided it would be better to turn left. This was a poor decision, as the buggy crashed into the curb, flipping over onto its side. The buggy sustained some mechanical damage that the team is now working on fixing, while a further investigation is ongoing into why the robotic driver decided to rebel and head for the curb rather than continue down the Freeroll.

01010010 01101111 01100010 01101111 01100010 01110101 01100111 01100111 01111001

  • SDC. SDC was out with 3 buggies this weekend – Vice, Avarice, and…the return of Bane! And they went all out for Bane, installing a new gold windshield for the buggy’s return to the course for the first time since the Spring of 2022. Bane picked up 2 rolls and Vice added 1 to its roll count for the year. Avarice, however, didn’t fare as well. During its first roll, as Avarice reached the Stop Sign, the driver’s helmet slid down over her eyes, causing her to hit the brakes. Buggy and driver came to a stop alongside the curb at the transition flag. Both buggy and driver were fine, but with the limited number of rolls on the day, Avarice didn’t get another roll in. Qualification Update: With 1 more roll in Vice, rookie driver Elizabeth is now just a pass test away from qualifying in that buggy. Rookie driver Ezrin picked up 2 rolls in Bane and now needs just 5 rolls (including a pass test) to be a qualified driver, but will need those 5 in Vanity, or another 8 in Bane, in order to qualify in those buggies.

Bane doesn’t settle for silver.

  • SigEp. SigEp brought Hydra back out this weekend, and was one of the few teams to get 3 rolls in for their buggy. The rolls were smooth, but with a bagged buggy, its final roll of the day struggled to make it all the way through the Chute. We like to think that it was just an effort to give their Hill 3 pusher some extra practice. Qualification Update: Those 3 rolls mean that rookie driver Mia only needs 3 more rolls (including a pass test) in Hydra to qualify.

Hydra taking to the course.

  • SigNu. SigNu brought Bungarus Krait out to the course for the first time this school year, and got 2 rolls in the buggy. The rolls themselves went well; the end of one of the rolls was a little more chaotic. During one of their rolls, there seems to have been some sort of miscommunication, and no catchers were on the course to stop the buggy. Thankfully, the driver was paying attention and hit the brakes, while Sweepstakes and other orgs helped stop the buggy before anything bad could happen. Qualification Update: It was the first 2 rolls for rookie driver Alyssa and Krait, and with just 7 rolls for Jaeger in the fall, SigNu is still a couple of weekends away from qualifying. But they’re on their way to getting 2 different buggies to Raceday.

The warmest place to be on a sub-freezing day is inside a buggy*

*Not true

  • Spirit. We saved the most eventful for last with Spirit. Spirit had 4 buggies and 5 drivers out on Saturday, with the three rookie drivers each getting 2 rolls in Kingpin, Zuke, and Seraph, and the two veterans getting 1 each in Inviscid and Seraph. In addition, the team was doing full hill 1s, and appeared to be the fastest team on the day, unsurprising for a team that has been getting a lot of rolls in every weekend. But they did have a couple of issues on the day. Inviscid completed the course fine during its first roll, but as it crossed the finish line, something happened and the buggy lost its back left wheel. The buggy came to a screeching halt, and caused Seraph (which came up behind Inviscid as the next buggy to roll) to stop short as well. Inviscid’s driver seemed fine, but the buggy didn’t roll again on the day. Meanwhile, later in the day in one of Spirit’s other rolls, a pedestrian decided that “fast buggy rolling down the street right towards me” would be a good time to walk out on to that street.  A lot of shouting got the pedestrian to move out of the way just in time, but it was almost a very bad day for that pedestrian. Qualification Update: Inviscid and Kingpin made their Spring debut, so veteran driver Melina in Inviscid and rookie driver Ivania in Kingpin need 4 and 5 rolls (including a pass test), respectively, to qualify in their respective buggies. Rookie driver Emily picked up their first two rolls in Seraph, but as a rookie they’ll still need 13 to go. They’ll have plenty of time to get those though, because veteran driver Natalie has the minimum number of rolls needed in Seraph, and now only needs the pass test to be qualified. The same goes for rookie driver Nanz in Zuke, who only needs the pass test.

Spirit brought their full fleet out on Saturday

Huge shout-out, as always, to Lewis, Su Mae, Delaynie, and Rob S. for their help with notes and photos from Rolls. And a reminder that if you’re out at Rolls, whether as a student, an alum, or just a random person who found their way to our website (welcome!), we always need your help to put this together. You can sign up to take notes/photos here: https://cmubuggy.org/rollsreporters, or just message me on Discord (if you’re a current student and not in the cmubuggy discord, I’m also in the Sweepstakes discord so you can find me there).

The next two weeks are Spring Break, so the next possible Rolls are March 16-17. Because of that, we’re down to just 4 remaining weekends (including Truck Weekend) before Raceday. Some teams are in great shape to get their buggies qualified and some still have some work to do, but there’s still enough time for everyone to get all their teams ready. Plus, Spring Break is a chance to give those new buggies a last polish before they make their debut on the other end.  We’ll see what happens then!

PS: Want to get this and other BAA news directly to your inbox? All you need to do is subscribe to the baa-news list.

3 thoughts on “Rolls Report: February 24 – There Must Be Some Buggies in the Atmosphere”

  • Steve Garand says:

    Where can I find a complete 2024 schedule of road closures for the buggy practice and races?


    • Bryan Arsham says:

      I don’t have the official dates/times, but it’s roughly as follows:
      Tech Street, Frew Street, Circuit Road, and Schenley Drive are closed every Saturday and Sunday from 5am-9am until after April 14.
      Frew Street is closed every Sunday Night-Thursday Night from 11pm-1am until April 11.
      Tech Street, Frew Street, Circuit Drive, and Schenley Drive are closed on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 from 4am-2pm (they may also be closed on Sunday, April 14 at the same time).

Comments are closed.