There’s something primal about mud. Did we rise from the mire? To dust shall we return? Don’t know, but mud-caked cars and their grim drivers seem more dramatic than a dust-obscured hunk of pasture.
The Kansas rains held off all day, but when roughly four score and seven Baja prototypes mobbed the circuit trackworkers were soon searching the skies for moisture of any kind. Anything to keep the choking dust down. Mild breezes kept the southern part of the track mostly visible to spectators, but when the mayhem headed into the woods sight lines became all but useless. Race lanes that doubled back on each other reduced the need for more acreage but churned the dirt into an angry cloud from which cars would appear without warning. The three massive mud holes quickly dried up and didn’t slow cars down at all. Knowing when your car might charge into view? Fuggedaboutit!
Before the first lap was done several cars had crashed or flipped over. Twenty minutes into the four-hour chaos most drivers figured out the course and picked up speed, and that’s about the time that ATV wreckers got real busy. Broken ball joints and sheared steering components, often from collisions, sent teams back to the paddock for repairs and most made game efforts to return to the fray. Component failures forced
Missouri S&T’s #26 off the course at least three times for frantic repairs, but it didn’t take the Miners long to return. With about 20 minutes left in the race the Miners were in 34th place in the endurance race, but another suspension break probably dropped then a few more slots as the race wrapped up.
The big question was the custom transmission, but it never missed a beat. Ever. Just flawless! Wayward jumps or off-balance landings might crush the suspension, but that’s what the welder and spare parts are for.
Yes, we know, everyone comes for the race, but this is a design event. Design, build, test. It’s that simple, but one team’s t-shirt summed up the nonpolitically-correct reality with the motto. Design. Race. Wreck. Repeat.
However you say it, a better product eventually comes out of the exercise.
Provided you don’t run out of money and patience first.