NMT Team Does Well in Mini Baja West Competition, Dec. 12, 2000

SOCORRO, N.M., December 12, 2000 -- A team of New Mexico Tech mechanical engineering students took first place in the sales competition at Mini Baja West, an annual competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The competition was held in April 2000 on the campus of Kansas State University. Competitors come from colleges and universities throughout North America.

Mini Baja West challenges students to design a four-wheel, single seat, off-road recreational vehicle that is capable of negotiating rough terrain without damage to the vehicle or driver. During the three-day competition, teams compete in events such as design, cost, safety, sales presentation, hill climb, maneuverability, acceleration, and endurance.

New Mexico Tech's team consisted of students Kevin Au, Larry Landon, Jason Kemp, Chris Durand, John Vandercamp, Roni Dees, Sean Danby, and Steven Ball.

Ball, the team leader, said, "The sales presentation is a competition in which you try to convince a professional engineer and a professional marketing person that your car is the one they should mass produce."

Ball explained, "Some other students and I thought this would be a fun project to do for our junior and senior design project in mechanical engineering. We went to Prof. Hal Walling, and he agreed. Then we went to Vice President Herb Fernandez for financial support, and he also thought it was a good idea. Other students in the mechanical engineering department are getting interested, so we hope this project will grow over the years."

New Mexico Tech plans to compete in the next Mini Baja, to be held April 26-28, 2001. Team members are: Javier Lopez, Steven Ball, Jason Kemp, Chris Durand, Hollis
Dinwiddie, Keagan Rowley, and Daniel Martinez.

Tech's participation in this event has been made possible through the generous support of many people throughout New Mexico Tech (vice presidents Herb Fernandez, Peter Gerity, and Van Romero; EMRTC; and Prof. Hal Walling) and Bill Stanage of Valley Welders Supply Co. in Albuquerque.