SA students claim Baja title

2011-10-19 11:46

The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) enjoyed another dominant performance at the SASOL Baja Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2011 event. Boitumelo Ramatsetse and his car No.3 team successfully defending the historic title won by an all-girl TUT in 2010.

The University of Pretoria (TUKS) claimed a second place, whilst the second team from TUT claimed third.

It was a dramatic weekend at the Gerotek Testing Facilities just outside Pretoria, with four teams from India and ten local teams contesting South Africa’s premier inter-university engineering competition. The Baja SAE event. requires students to design, build and race their own vehicles to be used during the event.

STUDENT RACERS: A University of Pretoria competitor competes during the Baja SAE event.

The student racers navigated their four wheel space-frame buggies through off-road hazards around the four hour endurance race at the Gerotek track. Only five of the ten vehicles that started the race made it across the finish line.

The No.3 car from TUT ensured their overall victory by virtue of the 85 laps that they were able to complete, with their TUT compatriots in car No.1 clocking a respectable 79 laps and the No.8 car from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) claiming a third place in the endurance race having completed 77 laps.

The track was shortened for the 2011 race, with event organisers looking to increase the spectacle for onlookers with a quicker and more technically demanding circuit.

Before the event three of Indian teams, as well as the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) team driving car No.5, did not even make it to the Endurance Race starting line due to failing safety and technical checks.

OFF-ROAD CHALLENGE: A student from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University powers thourgh the tough 2km off-road track.

Dumisani Mbokane, Sasol Sponsorship Manager, said: “Yet another closely-fought and exciting SASOL Baja SAE event has underlined the status of the event as a means of highlighting the many career opportunities in engineering.

“For the participants, this event enables them to gain invaluable hands-on engineering experience, whilst spectators are also able to gain insights into the importance and applicability of engineering to our everyday lives”.