UVM Mini-Baja Returns from Greenville, South Carolina
Release Date: 05-10-2010
UVM students returned this week from the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) Mini-Baja East Race held April 8-11, 2010 in Greenville, South Carolina where 100 teams competed in three events: acceleration, maneuverability, and suspension. After overcoming challenges with tech inspection on the vehicle, the UVM team felt confident. During the main event, a four hour endurance race of 1.3 mile course through a wooded and rocky area, cars were lined up by acceleration times. The UVM team was positioned to start 46th out of the 82 teams that made acceleration runs. Unfortunately, after an hour and fifteen minutes on the track the rear wheels locked and the gearbox cracked, leaving the team unable to continue in the competition.
Blog from Elliott Jenks, team member:
The course was very difficult and technical. Cars were breaking left and right, with carnage everywhere. Many cars simply did not have the suspension to deal with the terrain and could not keep speed through the obstacles. We had four drivers set to race, switching drivers every planned pit stop for fuel, as we calculated that the car could run for about an hour on one tank. I was lined up as the third driver. After the first switch, we were very optimistic. Our first driver said he was gaining several positions every lap, and the car felt great. After about an hour and fifteen minutes on the track, things came to a halt. We spotted our car being dragged off the track by one of the ATV wrecker crews. The rear wheels were locked as it dragged on the ground. It was immediately obvious what had happened. The gearbox was cracked in one place, and blown open on the opposite side. Our race was over.
The SAE hosts a collegiate design series every year known as "Mini Baja." Universities from around the world work each year to design, build, test, and race highly competitive vehicles. Specific rules govern vehicle aspects such as chassis design and engine model (all teams must use an identical 10hp Briggs & Stratton engine) but designs vary greatly from school to school and year to year.
The UVM Mini Baja (AKA: Catamount Racing) became a club in 1999 started by 7 senior mechanical engineering students. Despite limited funds, tools and shop space, an eager team successfully built and raced their first vehicle in the spring of 2000. In addition to faculty support within the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, the team receives a generous budget each year from the UVM Student Government Association. Outside funding through local sponsors, Briggs & Stratton, CEMS, Control Resources, DR Power, Goodrich Corp., Honeywell, Pizzagalli, Polaris and The University of Vermont, allow the team to travel to three national events each year.
To view pictures of the UVM Mini Baja click here.
President – Robert Dzieciol, a junior in mechanical engineering, from Scranton, PA
Vice President - Owen Teetor, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, from Poultney, VT
Treasurer - Elliott Jenks, a junior in mechanical engineering, with a minor in Math, from Gorham, ME
Secretary - Sam Flinkström, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, from South Berwick, ME
Michael Strand, a junior in mechanical engineer, from Roxbury NY
Dominic Ruggieri, a senior in mechanical engineering from Hillsdale, NJ
Pat Brooks, a senior in mechanical engineering, from West Chester, PA
Tyler Arnold, a freshman in mechanical engineering, from Grafton, MA
Phil Foerester, a freshman in mechanical engineering, from Randolph, NJ
Michael Messer, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, from New Rochelle, NY