Making Mayhem at Midnight

For the first time in Northwestern Baja history, the team attended the Midnight Mayhem competition hosted by Louisville Baja in Kentucky, and what a crazy day (and night) it was! Some highlights:

  • The clay that swallowed up one of our arm restraints (which will rest in KY mud forever) and doubled the diameter of our wheels
  • Elbows took 7th in maneuverability out of the 90-ish cars there
  • We got 16 (!) drivers into the seat during the endurance race, a record for the NU Baja archives
  • Elbows' back left wheel, which came off mid-turn and rolled into the depths of the KY woods at the end of endurance

It was an experience that we wouldn't have missed for the world, read on the find out more!

It was only the second weekend of school, and comp is always a great motivator for getting the cars in shipshape working order. So that's exactly what we did, even as our recruitment team was also busy getting our new members acquainted with the team.

Louisville, KY was actually the closest of the competitions that we've been to in the past few years, a mere 7 hour drive away. We arrived Friday night, and spent some time in the pits putting some bright finishing touches on the cars - brake lights (kinda important) and colorful LEDs (very important).

Elbows is ready to rumble.

Saturday dawned with no sign of the promised showers, which was good because the ground was muddy enough as it is (if there is such a thing as enough mud).

Futile mud removal attempts.

After passing Tech, we took Elbows and Knuckles over to brakes check. They both passed, although it took a couple extra tries with Knuckles.

RIP Blue Arm Restraint, which was forever lost into the inscrutable depths of the Kentucky mud. We will never forget you.

From there we moved onto the dynamic events: acceleration, maneuverability, and a motocross-style suspension.

On your marks, get set, go! Elbows (38) in the lead with Knuckles (14) following behind.

Elbows (feat. Isaac) deftly navigated his way into 7th place in the Maneuverability event!

Elbows was the favored contender in the suspension course with its better acceleration and maneuverability, and it did indeed win the first round (although Knuckles going off a small cliff helped with that). But in a bizarre twist of events that included some wooden posts being pulled up and unnecessary direction reversal, Knuckles was able to beat Elbows in the second round thanks to its highly torqued gearbox! Regardless of outcome though, it was thrilling to see two of our own cars race so closely on the track.

Head to head on the Suspension course.

After dinner and walking the track, it was soon time to grid for Endurance and the colorful chaos that involved.

University of Louisville did an awesome job with the track - there's nothing that quite compares to driving over logs and around bends in the dark while knowing there are ravines to fall down and trees to run into. Despite some quick pit stops along the way, the number of people we got to drive far exceeded our expectations. We finished the race with our 15th and 16th drivers in the seat!

Pit repair: A cluster of light and quick thinking.

And so the night ended with 21 muddy, happy Motorcats!