Al Kitchen's Baja Race

The Speedometer that the team made for the vehicle

The Speedometer that the team made for the vehicle

From May 19-20, All Kitchens’ team of engineers, welders and machinists, all went down to California to compete in the international Baja race competition. This is a huge deal for the team involved because Olympic College is the only two-year school to compete. They went up against colleges such as Cal Tech, Iowa State, Western Washington and over a hundred others; however, the OC team did not fall under the pressure.

Patrick walking tot eh trailer where the car is located

Patrick walking tot eh trailer where the car is located

The first two days were all about inspection. The team needed to pass engine, brake and overall tech inspection in order to race. This meant constantly working hour after hour to make sure everything would work when it was their turn to present. The nerves were there because this is where the team’s adventure ended last year, but this year they were not ready to do that again and they showed it. They passed every inspection the first time through, which according to other universities, was extremely rare. With this under their belt, they were ready to take on the next day of events.

Hai Ta getting ready to test the vehicle for acceleration

Hai Ta getting ready to test the vehicle for acceleration

Saturday was the hill climb, suspension, maneuverability, and acceleration. The team felt that they were going to do fantastic on hill climb and suspension, but might turn into issues with acceleration and maneuverability. This was due to what the team was going for. They wanted to build a type of car that would last a long time in the endurance run that was Sunday. “If this was a demolition derby, we would win,” said Eric Warner, one of the students to work on the team.

When it came to the hill climb, driver Hai Ta was able to claim over 200 feet until hitting very dry and broken up dirt, but this was still a great number. They ran into some issues with turn radius for maneuverability, but this was not too much for Patrick, a welder on the team, as he still did a good job on the course. Acceleration was also a good spot for the team, and Jacob Tollefson did great on the suspension course the first time through, but the team was not able to make it to the second run. That was not it for the team though.

Stickers representing the progress the team and car has made All Photos By Spencer Peterson

Stickers representing the progress the team and car has made
All Photos By Spencer Peterson

After getting past inspection, the team was able to use their greatly deserved free time to help another university actually pass inspection minutes before it was closed. This was an incredible feat for both teams and the Montana State Bobcats were able to compete in Sunday’s four-hour endurance race.

Lastly, the team got prepared for the four-hour endurance race. Each car had to drive for four hours around the course to see how many laps they could complete. The car proved to be amazing at jumps and big rocks and getting up hills, but in the end, they ran into an issue with the biggest hill of the course. Needing assistance twice to get up the hill, they were disqualified for having three assistants, something that was not arguable. This was a bitter spot in an incredible competition by the team. They proved everyone where they stood as a team, and they were already planning next year’s car before the competition had started. Congratulations on the race guys!