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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer May 18, 2007

RIT Baja team to host worldwide racers this summer (June 7-10)


Phil Hannum is a member of RIT’s Baja team that designed and built all-terrain vehicles for the 2007 Baja SAE Rochester World Challenge June 7-10.

A. Sue Weisler | photographer

Long after most college students have begun their summer vacations, the RIT Baja team will still be pulling all-nighters. And it will have plenty of company.

RIT will host more than 140 other Baja teams from colleges and universities around the world June 7-10 for the 2007 Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Rochester World Challenge—which organizers say will be the largest event of its kind.

And members of the RIT team can’t wait for the event to begin.

“Not only are we there to race, but it’s also just a great time and a great atmosphere,” says Dave Hallbach, a fifth-year mechanical engineering technology student. “We get the opportunity to meet kids from all over the world. It’s just an awesome experience.”

Each team will design and build an all-terrain vehicle capable of holding up under the most adverse conditions. Rain and mud at these events is not uncommon. The competition is divided into two components: static and dynamic events.

The static events will take place in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center during the first two days of the competition as judges evaluate the design and inspect the safety condition of each team’s vehicle. Then, the competition shifts to Hogback Hill Motocross Track in Palmyra, Wayne County, for the dynamic events.

Each team will undergo a series of challenges that includes tests for acceleration, traction and maneuverability. Then the competition’s premier event—the endurance competition—takes place on the final day. The endurance event assesses each vehicle’s ability to operate continuously over a four-hour stretch through rugged terrain. The team that completes the most laps in the four-hour period wins.

“It’s going to be a phenomenal event. You never know what you’re going to see next,” says Marty Gordon, a mechanical engineering technology professor, the RIT Baja team advisor and the event’s organizer. “It has everything—action, drama, teamwork, problem-solving and students from all over the world interacting.”

The event is free and open to the public. For a complete schedule, visit www.rit.edu/news/baja.

John Follaco

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