Mini Baja East Competition Coming to Greater Rochester May 5-7

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter Goggles—check. Gloves—check. Mud flaps—check. It’s everything you need just to watch the 2005 Mini Baja East competition. Did we mention it tends to get a little muddy, especially during the four-hour endurance race?

The 30th annual Mini Baja East—a three-day collegiate driving competition featuring all-terrain, dune-buggy-like cars—is coming to Rochester May 5-7, hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology.

Teams from 65 schools in the United States, Canada and South America will compete in scores of thrilling contests for best hill climbing, acceleration, speed, and maneuverability, along with other challenges. A grueling four-hour endurance race climaxes the competition. This year’s 71 registered vehicles make the event the largest-ever Mini Baja East competition.

“Mini-baja races are intensely competitive and incredibly fun to watch—it’ll be a blast!” promises Marty Gordon, event organizer, RIT team advisor, and associate professor of mechanical engineering technology in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology.

In addition to the participants, hundreds of spectators are anticipated on May 5 at RIT and May 6-7 at Hogback Hill Motocross track in Palmyra, Wayne County. (Directions are available at All events are free and open to the public.

RIT’s hosting of the competition—for the first time since 1982—coincides with event sponsor SAE International’s centennial celebration and RIT’s yearlong 175th anniversary commemoration.

The 2005 Mini Baja East concludes with an awards banquet at 6 p.m. on May 7 at the Holiday Inn Henrietta, 1111 Jefferson Road.

2005 Mini Baja East Facts

Rochester Institute of Technology will host the 30th annual Mini Baja East, May 5-7, at RIT and Hogback Hill Motocross track in Palmyra, Wayne County.

  • 8 a.m.-6 p.m. May 5: Static events (design and cost report presentations), Gordon Field House and Activities Center, RIT campus
  • 9 a.m.-6 p.m. May 6 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 7: Dynamic (“action”) events, Hogback Hill Motocross track, Hogback Hill Road, Palmyra, Wayne County (directions available at; four-hour endurance race, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 7
  • 6 p.m. May 7: Awards banquet, Holiday Inn Henrietta, 1111 Jefferson Road
  • Who can attend: Competitive events are free and open to the public. Seventy-one vehicles representing 65 schools in the United States, Canada and South America are registered to compete, making the event the largest-ever Mini Baja East competition. Hundreds of spectators are anticipated.
  • What’s a mini-Baja? Mini-Bajas are single-driver, off-road, “dune-buggy-like” vehicles designed and built by students to withstand “severe punishment” and be “fun to drive” (an official requirement) in annual collegiate competitions featuring contests in acceleration, braking, hill climbing, land maneuverability, water maneuverability, pulling, top speed, traction, four-hour endurance race, and design and cost report presentations. Powered by 10-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engines, mini-Bajas reach top speeds of about 40 miles per hour.
  • History of the Mini Baja East: Began at the University of South Carolina in 1976. RIT competed from 1980 until the early 1990s, capturing first place in 1981 and 1987. RIT rejoined the competition in 1997 and has participated every year since then. RIT is one of few teams to annually compete in all three national competitions and has competed as the only team from the United States in the Mini Baja Brazil and South African Mini Baja. The 2005 Mini Baja East is the 30th annual competition. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of event sponsor, SAE International.
  • Last time RIT hosted the Mini Baja East: 1982
    RIT mini-Baja team advisors: Marty Gordon (event organizer) and Tom Locke
  • Mini Baja East sponsors: SAE International, Briggs & Stratton Corp., American Honda Motor Co. and Polaris Industries Inc. RIT team sponsors include Mahany Welding Supply Co., Metalcenter Rochester Inc., Moog Inc. and Rochester Gear Inc.
  • To become an RIT sponsor: Contact Marty Gordon at 585-475-7712 or
  • Web sites: and