Skip To Main Content
Skip To Main Content

ONU to Compete in National Baja Competition

bajaThe Ohio Northern University off-road vehicle team will compete against more than 100 universities in the 2010 national Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) Carolina baja competition from April 8-11. To prepare for the event, the Ohio Northern team gave its new car a thorough shakedown at the regional winter competition at Michigan Tech in February, where they placed third overall.

Competing against more than 120 schools, ONU finished 17th overall last year at the national SAE Wisconsin event. The ONU team scored high in the endurance race with a 10th place finish.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team,” said advisor David Mikesell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “I don’t know of any student group that works harder than Baja. Many schools’ teams do this for class credit, but for the ONU team, it’s a pure labor of love.”

Sponsored by the SAE, the Baja competition simulates real-world engineering projects and related challenges. Teams must design and build an off-road vehicle that can survive rough terrain. The competition involves the planning and manufacturing tasks associated with producing a new project for the consumer industry market. Students must work as a team not only to design, build and race the vehicle, but also to generate financial support for the project.

The ONU Baja team comes off a strong third place showing at the regional competition in Michigan last month in a field of 41 other squads and beat out such schools as University of Iowa, Northwestern University and Michigan State University. The squad that traveled to Michigan were Matt Tomasko, a senior construction management major from Valley View, Ohio; Austin Moyer, a junior mechanical engineering major from New Washington, Ohio; Brandon Anspach, a sophomore mechanical enginnering major from Rawson, Ohio; Sean Rutt, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Apple Creek, Ohio; David Cramer, a freshman mechanical engineering major from New Washington, Ohio; Chris Slattery, a junior mechanical engineering major from Mount Pleasant, Pa.; Ryan Lawson, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Toledo, Ohio; Collin Bayman, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Urbana, Ohio; Kyle Hibbard, a sophomore construction management major from Ada, Ohio; and Mike Neal, a senior mechanical engineering major from Shreve, Ohio.

“It was quite a feat to go from a pile of steel tubes to a race-ready car in 10 weeks,” said Moyer. “Many teams are still welding their frame together for the Carolina race, which is only weeks away.”

Team leader Tomasko noted that about six of the ONU team members averaged more than 35 hours per week on the car in the span leading up to the Michigan race.

The regional competition in Michigan was a four-hour endurance race, but when the ONU team travels to South Carolina, they will compete in a number of additional events such as a sled pull and acceleration and maneuverability tests.