Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 5, 2000
LOCAL STUDENT ATTENDS FORMULA SAE COMPETITION
Austin Falkingham of Browns Valley was part of an 18 member team from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology that participated in the Formula SAE competition held in Pontiac, Michigan May 17- 21. Falkingham, a mechanical engineering major, is the son of Mike and Eleanor.
The Formula SAE ( Society of Automotive Engineers) Mini Indy competition is for student members of SAE to conceive, design, fabricate, and compete with small formula style race cars. For competition purposes the teams are to assume they are building a prototype car for evaluation as a production item. Their intended market is the weekend autocross enthusiast, thus they must design a high- performance car in terms of acceleration, braking, and handling.
Over the three- day competition, 107 teams from across the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom, competed in static and dynamic events to determine how well the cars perform. Only one team came away with the 1st place trophy, yet all competitors are winners. Students come away with a new understanding of engineering. By competing among more than 100 other schools, everyone involved is helping each other learn more and experience more in a truly unique atmosphere.
The SD Tech team placed 41st overall. They finished 19th in sales and marketing presentation, 58th in cost, 22nd in autocross, 32nd in acceleration, and did not finish the endurance run. Only 23 of the 107 vehicles completed the endurance run. Their placement in presentation, autocross, and acceleration is the best showing SDSM& T has had in those categories since they began competing in 1996.
“ Overall we did pretty well for our resources,” said Dr. Dan Dolan, faculty advisor. “ We had a marvelous car and made a giant step forward. The competition is more demonstration and satisfaction of what the students have learned. It is so different then back home where they are learning and working. This is the test. The only ones that fail are those that don’t make it here.”
The Formula SAE competition gives students the means to take their theoretical knowledge and turn it into practical experience. In addition to the hands- on work of building and racing a formula style racecar, students learn to meet deadlines, work as a team, and learn how to handle unexpected problems. “ We get everything from this,” said Marcus Leggate ( ME, Dickinson, ND). “ There is a lot of excitement in seeing the vehicle work. We saw the process from the ground up, and now to see it work and be competitive is exciting.”
The experience every student on the 107 participating teams gains from the competition is invaluable. Through the scrutinizing of their own vehicle to the many lessons learned while admiring other cars, they are coming away as more knowledgeable engineers and more of a commodity to industry recruiters. As racing guru Carroll Smith commented, “ It is vitally important to get the practical experience the Formula SAE competition offers. The top companies are looking for engineers who have actually built something and worked as part of a team. You don’t get that in school.”
This year’s Mini- Indy team members who traveled to Pontiac including their majors and hometowns are: Ben Short, mechanical engineering, Sturgis; Edvin Kvalvik, mechanical engineering, Norway; Travis Ernst, mechanical engineering, Rapid City; Seth Elkins, mechanical engineering, Taylor, ND; Marcus Leggate, mechanical engineering, Dickinson, ND; Eric Swanson, metallurgical engineering, Gillette, WY; Jason Hornecker, MS mechanical engineering, Lander, WY; Jared Holzwarth, mechanical engineering, Grand Prairie, TX; Chenoa Jensen, MS mechanical engineering, Piedmont; Jake Anderson, mechanical engineering, Buffalo, WY; Roy Reiss, mechanical engineering, Java; Adam McMahon, mechanical engineering, Pierre; Forrest Foster, mechanical engineering, Oral; Todd Jacobs, mechanical engineering, Rapid City; Amber Schmidt, engineering, Aberdeen; Ben Rhode, mechanical engineering, Yankton; Austin Falkingham, mechanical engineering, Browns Valley, MN, and Jared Shilling of Rapid City from Western Dakota Technical Institute. Dan Dolan, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is the faculty advisor.
( I: univrel/ pressrel/ 0500 Mini Indy results local Browns Valley, MN)
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