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Mizzou Baja Racing cracks competition ceiling

The team unloads the trailer while one member works on the car.

After a near miss last year, the Mizzou Baja Racing team competed in its first-ever competition in late May in Pittsburg, Kan. Photo courtesy of Roger Fales.

Tremendous dedication, an influx of new members and a bit of good fortune helped the Mizzou Baja Racing team compete in its first-ever competition in late May in Pittsburg, Kan.

A total of 100 teams took part in the event, and the cars were judged based on acceleration, ability to pull a weighted sled, maneuverability and suspension.

Mizzou Baja Racing is in its fourth year and had been building up to competition level. The team was on the verge of entering competition last year when some unfortunate circumstances kept it from the track.

“Last year, we had the car just about ready, but some last minute stuff — about a week before we were going to head out for competition, we had some parts break that weren’t going to be able to get to town in time, so that was a big disappointment,” team president and mechanical engineering major Brad Dahlman said.

However, the setback only better prepared Mizzou Baja Racing for this year. With renewed drive, a few new members and backup parts at the ready, Mizzou was ready to hit the track.

“It was awesome,” Dahlman said. “It really put our entire year’s worth of work into perspective and what we did it for.

“This year, we ended up getting four or five new members, and they all continuously showed up on a daily basis and wanted to improve the team and keep it going.”

No longer satisfied with just making it to the competition phase, next year’s team already has plans in place to make its 2017-18 car a force to be reckoned with.

“Our car this year was way too heavy and way too long,” Dahlman explained. “We already have our new frame design, and right now, it’s 56 pounds lighter than last year’s car frame. … And then besides that we’re going to try and redo our drive train as well as our suspension. We found some stuff we liked about this year’s setup and also found stuff we didn’t really like. Right now, we have a bunch of plans going to figure out what’s going to be the best overall option for competition next year.”