Patience and perseverance lead Louisville Baja Team to victory
On Saturday 9/25 most of the registered Baja SAE teams were enjoying the outstanding weather while watching the motocross bikes run on Podium1's track during their race festivities for most of the morning and afternoon. Louisville SAE, host team for the soon-to-begin Midnight Mayhem 2010 race, didn't have that luxury this year. Earlier in the week during some test hours preparing for the race their hydraulic brake systems failed, potentially putting the car out of the running for even making it into the race lineup. The UL-SAE teams (Formula & Baja) pulled together as a unit and worked throughout the week and that last long day to finally pass their brake test and complete the safety inspection, with only about an hour to spare before the start of the race!
This year's race lineup was expanded to 35 cars from 21 outstanding engineering schools from the region including Tennessee Tech, Auburn University, Case Western, Purdue University, Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Miami of Ohio, and Ohio State, to name a few. All of these schools have been consistent Top 10 finishers in at least one Baja SAE competition over the past several years. Needless to say, the competition was demanding.
The land rush start went off without any hitches, with the help of Dr. Roger Bradshaw (the interim chair of the ME Department) dropping the gate lever. All 35 cars hit the track with a full head of steam. The track was dry and extremely fast this year, allowing the cars and drivers to be tested to their limits. Within the first hour of the 4 hour endurance race approximately 1/3 of the field had been knocked out of the race either by vehicle failure or inexperienced drivers pushing the vehicles too hard. Louisville SAE car #88 was still moving, keeping a steady pace, staying on the lead lap and avoiding troublesome cars that might cause any unwanted accident or collision. As the race progressed, more and more cars began falling out due to failure while Louisville SAE maintained their pace and stayed alive.
At midnight with the checkered flag waving, Louisville's Car #88, "The Trooper", crossed the finish line with a total of 61 laps, with 2nd place Case Western 3 laps down, and 3rd place Tennessee Tech 6 laps down. By the end of a demanding 4 hour endurance race there were only 8 cars still racing. Out of the three Midnight Mayhem races that U of L has hosted, this one was by far the most exciting, the fastest, the driest and carnage filled race yet. There were about 100 spectators, 350 collegiate team members representing 21 schools and 50 or so volunteers making sure all the cars were safe for - and during - the event. The numbers keep growing and growing! Who can wait until next year?
Thanks again for all of the support from:
Dean Wilhelm and The Speed School of Engineering
Roger Bradshaw and the Mechanical Engineering Department
Sarah Schwab and the SAE Dayton Section
University of Louisville Club Programming Committee
Bryan Stumler and Podium1 Motoplex
Red Bull for the finish line arch
Without your help this race would not be a possibility.