May 21, 2014 2:45PM
Days before one of the biggest events of the year, Jason Escobar, a Pittsburg State senior from Olathe, joined his Baja SAE teammates in the Kansas Technology Center to put the finishing touches on their vehicle.
It’s a year-long labor of love for everyone involved, Escobar said, but the best part is what’s coming this weekend.
“Our favorite part of this whole process is the end result,” Escobar said. “We want to put the car on the course and see how it compares with the other teams. We’re ready. We think we’ll perform very well.”
The Baja SAE – Kansas competition returns to Pittsburg State this week, with the official kickoff set for 8 a.m. Friday, May 23. More than 1,100 competitors from nine countries will be on campus and at the Baja course, which is located just east of the Bicknell Sports Complex.
For the Pittsburg State team, being the home team brings excitement and nerves.
“It’s a lot of fun having the competition here in Pitt,” said Jacob Sanders, a sophomore from Erie, Kan., “but it does add a little pressure. Not only do you want to do well, but you also feel a bit responsible for making sure everything goes well. We wouldn’t trade it, though. There’s no better place to have Baja than at here at Pitt.”
Sometimes, the teammates admitted, the stress of preparing for Baja can show its face in the form of conflict and arguments. However, they also acknowledge that it’s all part of the learning process.
“Along with all of the technical skills you learn while doing this, you also learn a lot about patience and teamwork,” Sanders said. “You learn how to resolve conflict and understand that everyone is working toward a common goal.”
Baja SAE – Kansas is set for May 22-25. Teams from across the U.S., Egypt, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, Bangladesh and India are expected to compete.
The Bajas on Broadway Car Show in downtown Pittsburg, at which several of the teams will show off their competition vehicles, begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22.
The official public opening ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. Friday, May 23 on the north side of the Kansas Technology Center. Throughout Friday, teams will participate in a variety of inspections, tests and practice runs.
Various competitive events will take place on Saturday and Sunday, including the four-hour endurance event. This event is held over a one and one half mile course that is intended to test the capabilities of each of the off-road vehicles.
More information, including a full schedule of events, is available at pittstate.edu/baja.