Mud, sweat and gears and state-of-the-art engineering at the 2014 Sasol Baja SAE
Engineering and motoring enthusiasts will be in for a treat when tertiary institutions from around SA put their carefully-designed vehicles to the test at the 2014 Sasol Baja SAE at the Gerotek Testing Facilities, in Tshwane, on Friday, 24th and Saturday, 25th October.
The Sasol Baja SAE is an annual partnership between Sasol, Gerotek, technical competition specialists ESTEQ and engine suppliers, Briggs and Stratton, which allows engineering faculties of tertiary institutions to showcase their science and technological expertise in producing a Baja vehicle that will not only impress the judging panel, but also master the treacherous Gerotek circuit.
A total of 16 teams have entered for this year’s event – namely University of KwaZulu Natal (2 cars), University of Witwatersrand (2 cars), Vaal University of Technology (2 cars), Central University of Technology (2 cars), Tshwane University of Technology (2 cars), University of Pretoria (2), with the University of Johannesburg, North West University and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University entering one car each.
The international flavor comes by way of India’s KJ Somaiya College of Engineering who will be hoping to follow the successful route of fellow-Indian tertiary institution, Pune University, who won last year’s endurance race and finished third overall on the points standings. Tshwane University of Technology claimed last year’s overall honours, followed by the University of Pretoria.
On Friday, 24th October, the judging panel will inspect the Bajas, and allocate scoring according to different functional aspects including; the braking systems, before the fun and excitement heats up in the afternoon, with further judging at the performance tests, with acceleration, gradient ability, gymkhana and torque tests conducted all adding up to a scoring rating.
Saturday’s programme will include the much-looked-forward-to 4-hour endurance race starting at 13h00.
Sasol Senior Sponsorship Manager Richard Hughes said that Sasol have been the official sponsor of the Sasol Baja SAE for the past 17 years, and have played a key role in seeing the event grow into a much anticipated date on the international Baja calendar.
“Sasol is proud to have been involved in this long journey, and, in-line with the event’s slogan of ‘Mud, Sweat and Gears’, we look forward to raising the bar and seeing this year’s event, growing even further in terms of popularity and engineering and technological efficiency,” said Hughes.
The Baja event started in the USA in 1976 with the first event of its kind held in SA twenty years later.
Chief organiser Piet van der Schyff said: “The Sasol Baja SAE has become synonymous with an action-packed two day fun-filled event for the whole family, and the premier platforms for students to show their many months of hard engineering work to the public. We are grateful to Sasol for their continued support of this event, which has made its mark both locally and internationally.”
As far as the Gerotek circuit is concerned, it’s no place for the faint-hearted.
“The 2km circuit is quite testing, what with a steep ascent and descent and mud pit and I am sure that fans will be in for a super Saturday afternoon of automotive engineering at its best,” added Van der Schyff.