Hopkins Baja team navigates twists, turns for first-place finish at Rochester event

Team wins maneuverability event at Baja SAE World Challenge

Hopkins Baja

Image credit: Courtesy of Michael Bush

Dirty job, great result.

Hopkins Baja team

Image credit: Courtesy of Andrew Kelly

The Hopkins Baja team won first place in the maneuverability event at the Baja SAE World Challenge competition held this past weekend at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was first first-place trophy in the history of the program.

Johns Hopkins' maneuverability run, on a twisty and muddy track, beat out host Rochester Institute of Technology's car by 1.12 seconds. The team's driver, Alex Robert, an exchange student from Switzerland, drove the car on dirt for the first time the weekend before the competition.

For the event's endurance race challenge, the Johns Hopkins team had to think on its feet. On the second lap, an obstacle snapped the vehicle's front left knuckle, a custom piece for which the team had no replacement. Instead of throwing in the towel, the JHU students managed to fit a factory Polaris ATV part on to the car and got it back on the track.

"It was extraordinary to see the car back out there knowing what had just happened," team leader Andrew Kelly said. "It's a real testament to the great teamwork demonstrated throughout the weekend."

Hopkins Baja finished in sixth place in the acceleration event, and ended up 39th out of 100 cars overall in the competition.

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