Jumpstarting the Competition

On the Fly: The Ferris State Baja team gets some air at this year’s competition in Houghton/Hancock the weekend of the 19th, jumping their way to first place in the “BIG AIR” competition. Two cars placed in the top ten in the Baja race against 37 other vehicles. The team is in their third year of existence at Ferris. Photo Courtesy of Ben Upham, Automotive Service Technology Department
The FSU Baja team recently competed in the “Big Air” competition and came away victorious for the second year in a row.

The Winter Baja Invitational competition took place at Michigan Technological University. Both of Ferris’ cars finished in the top ten out of around 40 cars representing 18 different schools.

John Bauer, one of the student captains of the team, said, “As a young team we reached our main goal of competing in every event and we made it through all but five minutes of the endurance race with minimal time off track.”

The Baja team is part of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). It is comprised mainly of students from the College of Engineering Technology, yet the team encourages any student to become involved.

They have been competing for the last six years. Bauer said Ferris’ team is relatively new compared to some of the schools they compete against.

The main goal of the team is to design, build and test an off-road vehicle for the SAE Collegiate Design Competition.

Competitions are broken down into two sections. The first is the static events, which test the vehicle’s basic abilities such as maneuverability, tractor pull, acceleration, mud bog, steering, and suspension.

The second part is a dynamic event, which consists of a four-hour long endurance race that tests every part of the vehicle and how well it is built. These tests examine how the off-road vehicle will survive rough terrain and sometimes even the water.

The Baja team will travel next to Rochester, N.Y., where the team will compete for the first time in a water event. For this competition the team’s vehicle must be able to float and power itself through the water.

Last year the team’s main competition was in Burlington, Wis., where they competed against over 120 teams from around the world. They finished in the top half of the competition.

For more information regarding the Baja SAE Collegiate Design Competition, visit their Web site at students.sae.org/competitions/bajasae/. n