Baja SAE Team In The Far Northwest

DSC_3734_2.jpgAnd we do mean FAR. S&T’s Baja Racing Team is camped in Lynden, Washington, less than ten miles from the Canadian Border and just 45 miles from Vancouver, British Columbia. The Miners are here for a four-day mudfest to see whose off-road car is the best.
It’s chilly and windy but the rain has held off ’til just a few minutes ago, which is good because the morning is devoted to waiting for hours in tech inspection lines. Nearly 100 teams are moving through the many inspection stages before they start dynamic events this afternoon.
The Baja cars here range from the tiny to the monstrous; beautifully manufactured and decorated to the best American (or name your country here) examples of, uh, back-yard engineering. The judges report that almost every team going through tech inspection has done well. There are always things to change and get back in line again, but only one team has really struggled.
The Miners have sailed through tech inspection with two very minor corrections, but egress testing was whole ‘nother story…..
The student designers must plan on getting a buckled-in driver clear of car within five second. A confident and lanky Carl Lacy drew the short straw and really left a really frenzied impression on the judges that simple photographs can’t capture. When he launched himself out backwards, he drove his feet all the through the bottom of the car, leaving the belly pan flat on the floor. When the judges stopped laughing, the Miners pleaded for DSC_3769_2.jpginnovation points because, they claimed, rather tongue-in-cheek, the driver could escape from the top or bottom of the car. As one of the Baja Miners said “well, it looks like a half dozen aluminum rivets won’t work.” Ya think??
The only real damage done was to the team’s collective pride, and it won’t take much to reattach the sheet metal. Carl was kind enough to reenact his little adventure (at right) so our readers can feel like they are “here.” Assuming they get it repaired quickly, they’ll have no problem getting through the first dynamic event, braking. We all know these cars can accelerate; the the question is, can they stop?
Stay tuned. A little later we’ll show you what luxurious accommodations the Miners have scored for themselves.
Updates: The Air Force Academy just pulled to the site. Their car’s front end is so high that it looks poise for take-off. Not sure how the driver can see over the hood, but it should do well in the rock-crawl.
Another team pulls a matching trailer behind their car. The rig has a big honkin’ stereo, their display boards, and enough space for a large cooler.