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College’s Baja team sets pace for full-tilt success

Members of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Baja SAE team hope their performance at the recent Baja Butler Bash is a preview of what’s to come in full-scale competitions next spring.

The college’s two cars dominated the four-hour endurance race at the one-day event hosted by Grove City College. Its car from last spring’s race in Louisville finished 15 laps ahead of the second-place entry – the college’s reassembled car from 2016-18.

Penn College cars (#28 driven by Harrison and #73 piloted by Fowler) are ready to dominate the field.
Penn College cars (#28 driven by Harrison and #73 piloted by Fowler) are ready to dominate the field.

Seven colleges and 14 cars participated in the endurance race.

Fowler is a picture of determination prior to the endurance race.
Fowler is a picture of determination prior to the endurance race.

“We are very pleased with both cars’ performance. Both of our cars made a statement at the event,” said Dakota C. Harrison, of Lewisberry, vice president of Penn College’s Baja SAE team. “It was excellent practice for the spring SAE events. It proved to us as a team that we are more than capable of preparing for and running a good race.”

The Society of Automotive Engineers annually sponsors multiple Baja competitions, usually featuring about 100 colleges and universities. Schools are required to design and build a single-seat, all-terrain sporting vehicle to meet various dynamic challenges before facing the toughest test – a four-hour endurance race over rough terrain.

The Penn College #28 car, driven by Harrison, makes its move to the front of the pack.
The Penn College #28 car, driven by Harrison, makes its move to the front of the pack.

“The Baja Butler Bash allowed us to test out a new concept for our continuously variable transmission and proved that we can run a full race with manageable wear,” said Harrison, a manufacturing engineering technology student. “It also provided good experience for our endurance-race drivers.”

In addition to Harrison, those drivers are Tyler J. Bandle, of Slatington; Dhruv Singh, of Dayton, New Jersey; and Marshall W. Fowler, of Perkasie. Bandle is majoring in automated manufacturing technology, Singh is studying automotive technology management and Fowler is seeking a degree in engineering design technology.

The Penn College team is planning to compete at Baja SAE Tennessee (May 12-15) and Baja SAE Rochester (June 2-5) in 2022.

At Baja SAE Louisville last spring, Penn College finished third out of 78 cars in the endurance race, its 10th top 10 finish since 2011.

Photos by Baja team member Dhruv Singh

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