Midnight Mayhem pits mini-Baja racers against university foes


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville engineering students will get down and dirty but all in the name of good, clean competition Nov. 8 when they race their mini-Baja vehicles against other universities’ teams in their first Midnight Mayhem.

    The competition will run 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday on a lighted dirt track at Podium1 Motoplex, 2921 Sunset Trail in Charlestown, Ind. Spectator admission is $10, with children under 6 free.

    The UofL student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers, also host of the event, will compete with two vehicles against mini-Baja racers from at least 10 other universities. The four-wheel, offroad vehicles are raced in other competitions regionally and nationally, but this contest – which organizers believe to be the first nighttime event in the 30-plus years of the design series – will be an unsanctioned one that is an endurance race.

    The vehicle completing the most laps wins. Because they use stock engines and fuel tanks, they will have to refuel during the race, and the drivers can switch out when they do. The UofL teams include 17 people total, with four people assigned to each vehicle as drivers and pit crew.

    Students from UofL’s Speed School of Engineering, along with a communication student, raise funds for, manage, design, build, test and race their mini-Baja vehicles, “pretty much A-to-Z,” said team captain Ben Myser, a senior mechanical engineering student from Union, Ky. The resulting adaptations, team members joke, look like “go-carts on steroids.”

    Although the students do not receive course credit for the work, they benefit from applying the knowledge they gain in their classes; the hands-on teamwork can be helpful in gaining their required cooperative work experience and ultimately their jobs after college, he said.

    The university students also are encouraging younger students to attend and consider an engineering career. “This is fun stuff,” Myser said. “You can do a lot of things with an engineering degree, and this is one of them.”

    For more information, call chapter adviser and professor Keith Sharp at 502–852–7280, event coordinator Scott Cambron at 502–219–3279 or team captain Ben Myser at 859–393–4021.

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.