NOV 21 1996
Brandon Valley Challenger
Members of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Mini-Baja Team with last year's prototype are, clockwise from driver's seat, Jeff Merritt, Renton, Wash.; Dan Machacek, Platte, S.D.; Zack Thorington, Powell, Wyo.; Chad Gortmaker, Canistota, S.D.; Charles Asp, McHenry, Ill.; Ken Jacobs, Rapid City; Nick Svalstad, Hermosa; Jerry Peters, Oakton, S.D.; Brian Hoff, Bison, S.D.; Randy LaRoche, Rapid City; and Adam Kuper, team leader, Rapid City. One of the team members who is not pictured is Dana Stultz, a Valley Springs native.
Local college student to help school stand up to big competiton
Dana Stultz of Valley Springs of Valley Springs is a member of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Mini-Baja team for 1996-97.
A group of 13 students are collaborating on the project this year, and will take their creation into competition starting April 10 in Chandler, Ariz. against 70 other engineering schools in western United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Sponsored by the Society of Auto Engineers, the three-day collegiate competition isn't just won on the race course where the 96-inch long vehicle is tested against steep gullies, tight turns, hills and straight-aways. Points arc also awarded in the static competition with professional engineers judging vehicles on mechanical design, safety, sales presentation and report, and the team's budget analysis.
Under the rules of competition, the design team must design and build a prototype of a four-wheeled, single seat off-road vehicle intended for sale to the auto enthusiast. The vehicle must be safe, easily transported, easily maintained, and fun 10 drive with a cost of less than $2500 per unit in a 4000 unit per year production volume.
The SDSM&T Mini-Baja team is comprised of six seniors, five juniors and two freshmen led by Adam Kuper of Rapid City, team leader, and Brian Hoff of Bison, S.D., hope to improve on last year's impressive 10th place finish. That result was even sweeter considering the vehicle was built on a limited budget that paled in comparison to larger school competitors.
Kuper said this year's Mini-Baja will be ready for testing in the Black Hills by March I. Along with redesigning and building the Mini-Baja, the learn will be seeking sponsors to offset construction and competition costs.
"I think we have a chance to win the competition. To be number one," Kuper said. "We have a lot of really neat designs this year. I think the only thing that stands in our way is money."
A goal of $7,500 for this year's Mini-Baja project includes car components and travel costs for the team.
Along with Stutz, Kuper and Hoff, other team members include Jerry Peters, Oakton, S.D.; Dan Machacek. Platte, Chad Gortmaker, Canistota, Jeff Merritt, Renton, Wash.; Kent Jacobs, Rapid City; Zach Thorington, Powell, Wyo.; Charles Asp, McHenry, Ill.; Randy LaRoche, Rapid City; Nick Svalstad, Hermosa; and Jeff Nilsen, Sioux Falls.
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Copyright 1996, Brandon Valley Challenger. The original work may be protected by U. S. copyright law (Title 17, United States Code), which governs reproduction, distribution, public display, and other uses of protected works. Some uses may be legal with pe