Prep continues for international Baja competition

Published 03.29.2024

Photos by Tom Speicher, writer/video producer

Baja SAE
Baja SAE Competition
Diesel Truck, Heavy Equipment & Power Generation
Automated Manufacturing & Machining
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A Penn College student begins moving earth for Baja SAE Williamsport's eventual hill climb course.

Work continues at Penn College’s Heavy Construction Equipment Operations Site in advance of Baja SAE Williamsport. Some independent-study students and members of the Service Technicians & Operators’ Association have been busy at the Brady Township location, working on essential elements for the competition, scheduled for May 16-19.

Students are constructing jumps for the endurance course and moving earth for the eventual site of the hill climb. Endurance and hill climb are two of several challenges for the competitors, who design, manufacture and build a single-seat, off-road vehicle to survive various tests. One hundred collegiate teams, totaling about 1,000 students, are registered for Baja SAE Williamsport.

The hill climb requires at least a 40-degree slope. The event tests a car’s low-speed traction.

Last week, more than 14,000 tons of shale were excavated, hauled and dispersed on top of three dirt fields (covering 7.42 acres) that will serve as parking areas for the teams and spectators. Penn College students are using heavy equipment to flatten the rocks and build a short entranceway for one of the areas. Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. led the shale excavation project. The company donated its time, expertise and equipment as part of its sponsorship of Baja SAE Williamsport.

On April 1, logging contractor Metzler Forest Products is scheduled to begin clearing trees for the endurance course. Metzler is providing in-kind support for Baja SAE Williamsport, including discounted service and timber mats. 

A week ago, this was a dirt field. Now it’s suitable for use as a parking area, thanks in part …
... to the work of students operating this roller for hours on end.
The new “parking lot” requires an entranceway.
This is one of several jumps under construction. Once finished, this particular jump will be part of the 1.1-mile endurance course.