Buggy 100: SPIRIT takes women's, SDC takes men's

After Raceday 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic and Raceday 2021 was held in a modified format with a limited number of Buggy teams, many teams were excited for Raceday 2022. Though teams were ready to return to the asphalt to vie for the title of this year’s Buggy champions, one obstacle still stood in their way: the weather.

In an attempt to avoid the forecasted rain, the preliminary races were pushed to 7:30 a.m. on April 8 instead of the planned 8:30 a.m. time. Additionally, gun-to-gun times were shortened to eight minutes instead of 10 to allow more heats to run before it started raining.

The first timed heat of the day was the Joanne Memorial exhibition, named in honor of former Apex driver Joanne Tsai. Tsai passed away in 2020 after losing her battle with leukemia, which she had been fighting for almost a year.

Following the exhibition race, the first women’s heat started with Apex C in Lane 1 and SPIRIT C in Lane 2. A total of 10 heats were run between 7:50 a.m. and 9:10 a.m. In heat 3 of the women’s races, Fringe B had to hit the brakes shortly after the Hill 2 push-off to avoid making a pass. Due to a shortage of spring rolls, Sweepstakes had removed the requirement that drivers must have performed a pass test to drive on Raceday. As a result, drivers were advised to brake rather than to pass. Due to similar up-and-over times, the two Buggies got too close to each other and Fringe B chose to brake.

The rest of the heats went without a hitch. A few teams, however, did receive disqualifications. SDC A violated the 5 Second Rule, meaning someone (other than the Hill 1 pusher) was too close to the Buggy when the countdown reached five seconds left. Their time of 2:34.40 would have earned them first place. CIA A failed the Drop Brake Test and CIA B also broke the 5 Second Rule. SDC B was disqualified due to a roster change. Here are the top six times from the preliminaries:

  1. SPIRIT A - 2:45.18
  2. PiKA A - 2:46.95
  3. Fringe - A 2:49.05
  4. SPIRIT B - 2:55.88
  5. Fringe B - 2:57.18
  6. PiKA B - 2:57.85

Following a short break, the men’s heats began. Starting off in heat 1 was SAE A in lane 1 and PiKA C in lane 2. The ensuing heats went fairly smoothly until after heat 8, when there was a brief delay due to weather. When weather conditions seemed to have improved, Fringe B (women's division) were granted a reroll due to them having braked to avoid a pass during the women's races. Heat 9 was then cleared to start rolling, but during the race, it started to rain heavily. This resulted in a spin from SPIRIT A; SPIRIT A and Apex B were given rerolls later in the day once weather conditions had improved.

Despite getting a reroll, Spirit A was still disqualified with a lane violation. PiKA B was also disqualified due to a lane violation; PiKA C was disqualified for breaking the 5 Second Rule. SDC B once again was disqualified due to a roster change. SigEp A faced disqualification after failing the Drop Break Test and Fringe A was disqualified for loss of mass (this means a part of the buggy came off during the race.) CIA B was disqualified for their Hill 3 to Hill 4 transition occurring outside the transition zone. The top six teams are as follows:

  1. SDC A - 2:08.74
  2. PiKA A - 2:13.59
  3. CIA A - 2:14.13
  4. Apex A - 2:18.64
  5. Spirit B - 2:21.33
  6. SigNu A - 2:22.72

Following the main rolls, a series of exhibition rolls took place. Notably, there was a CIA 50 exhibition team. This year, CIA are celebrating their 50th anniversary of buggy and completed a roll with around 40-50 pushers on the course.

Finals were originally scheduled the following day to begin at 8:30 a.m. with a gun-to-gun time of 10 minutes. However, the start time had to be pushed back due to the course being wet from overnight rain. Buggies cannot race on wet roads due to loss of traction, meaning an increased risk of buggies spinning out or crashing. Despite efforts from the teams, Sweepstakes and the Buggy Alumni Association (BAA) had to wait out the rain, persistent sprinkling, and continually wet roads, as well as predictions of more rain, resulting in Day 2 of Raceday 2022 being canceled at 10:03 a.m. As such, in accordance with the Sweepstakes Bylaws, the times for the preliminary rolls were used to determine the winners of this year’s Raceday.

SPIRIT A claimed first in the women’s division. This is the first time since 1998 that SPIRIT has won (in either men’s and women’s); the last time that SPIRIT were the women’s division champions was in 1997. This also breaks SDC’s four-year winning streak in the women’s division, and marks the first time a team other than SDC and CIA has won the women’s division champions in the past decade. SDC A claimed victory in the men’s division, extending their winning streak across an entire decade, having won the men’s division since 2012. Additionally, SPIRIT A’s Maame Conduah was crowned Queen of the Hill and SDC A’s Clayton Edwards was crowned King of the Hill at the awards ceremony on April 9.

The Design Competition awards were also presented during the ceremony. CIA’s Kingfisher took first, CIA’s Roadrunner took second, and Fringe’s Burnout took third. Burnout also took home the People’s Choice award. Apex took home the Tom Wood Spirit of Buggy award, while DG took home the Anne Witchner Chairman’s Choice award. SigNu earned themselves the title of Most Improved and DG won the T-shirt design contest for buggy this year. Fringe chairman James Wong took home the title of Chair of the Year.

Although Raceday 2022 closed out prematurely due to the weather causing finals to be canceled, teams were finally able to celebrate Buggy 100 with a traditional raceday after two long years. Of course, teams will also look to next year to hopefully fully experience the thrill of a two-day prelims-finals raceday.