Day one of Baja SAE Williamsport is a success

Published 05.16.2024

Photos by Alexandra Butler, photographer/photo editor; Rob Hinkal, social media specialist; Cindy D. Meixel, writer/editor - Penn College News

Baja SAE
Baja SAE Competition
Baja SAE teams from across the U.S., Canada and Brazil, settle into their paddocks at Penn College's Heavy Construction Equipment Operations Site on day one of Baja SAE Williamsport. Competition action occurs on Saturday and Sunday and is free and open to the public.

Day one of Baja SAE Williamsport kicked off on Thursday with ideal spring weather and high spirits, as the 100+ teams made their way from Penn College's main campus in Williamsport to the competition venue at the college's Heavy Construction Equipment Training Operations in Brady Township. There, teams registered, settled into their paddocks, socialized with fellow competitors, and took their cars through SAE's tech inspection and engine check stations. Teams also connected with event sponsors, ate lunch and enjoyed the beautiful, green central Pennsylvania scenery. 

Nearby, at Penn College's Schneebeli Earth Science Center, business presentation finals were held for teams engaging in that portion of the SAE competition. The student teams acted as nonprofit groups vying for the opportunity to provide utility task vehicles to government and private utility companies to support their ability to prevent future fires and derailments and for emergency response. Judges for the business presentations were: Sen. Gene Yaw, chair of Penn College's Board of Directors; Davie Jane Gilmour, president emerita of the college; Summer Bukeavich, associate professor of business administration/management & marketing at Penn College; Shannon Massey, senior vice president and general manager, Lycoming Engines; and Michael Marr, director of government relations & compliance, Encina. 

Day two will consist of design judging, brake check and practice track, as well as a meet-and-greet with Baja SAE Williamsport sponsors. The real action gets underway on Saturday with acceleration, hill climb, maneuverability, and suspension and traction events, followed by the four-hour endurance event on Sunday. 

The competition is free and open to the public. Parking is offered at the college's Schneebeli Earth Science Center, with a complimentary shuttle bus transporting visitors to the nearby competition site. The center's address is 302 Allenwood Camp Lane, Montgomery. It is located about 10 miles south of Penn College’s main campus and across from White Deer Golf Course off of Rt. 15. 

More event information is available at the Baja SAE Williamsport site.

Team trailers wind their way into the competition site, surrounded by the beauty of northcentral Pennsylvania.
Making themselves at home ...
... for a weekend of competition and connection.
"I spy" the Penn College trailer across the way!
Rolling out their rig
Recent rains have offered an "extra accessory" to the scene.
Lining up for inspections
Penn College's entry joins the lineup.
That's a thumbs-up from Wisconsin!
Marshall W. Fowler, Penn College's team captain, reviews materials.
Judges for the business presentations, held at the college's Earth Science Center, are (from left): Gilmour, Marr, Bukeavich, Massey and Yaw.
A team from Cornell University makes its case.
Massey poses a question.
The UCLA team greets Sen. Yaw ...
... and shares its business presentation.
At the competition site, Penn College employees, friends and sponsors are all smiles. From left: Anthony J. Pace, associate vice president for enrollment and academic operations; Kimberly R. Cassel, director of college relations; and Kristie Healy, Penn College Baja Room sponsor.
A photo op with team #104: Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Polaris displays some impressive vehicles.
Taking it all in
"O Canada!"
Lunch time!
A Penn College photographer "connects" with another! Behind that lens is Olivia Stuart from Western Michigan University's Bronco Baja. She says she "loves the sense of community" at Baja.
Cornhole for the win
Union College fields #45 car
Lycoming Engines reps (on right) engage with competitors.
Another sponsor, Pneu-Dart Inc., also steps up to the table to network with teams.
A neighbor to our north: University of Manitoba
Back on campus (before the teams departed Thursday morning for the competition site about 15 minutes south), a college a bit closer to home pauses for a photo.
Ready to roll out
Team photo time
Fellow Wildcats! That's Kansas State University's Wildcat Offroad Baja team.
Viewing the designs on the trailers is also a sport!
Signaling their logo: Brazil's Centro Universitário da FEI
Making themselves comfortable: the team from TCNJ School of Engineering, part of The College of New Jersey
A gorgeous setting for a prestigious event
Baja SAE Williamsport is ready to roll!