A team of students at Missouri University of Science and Technology has
designed two off-road vehicles for intercollegiate “baja”
The Missouri S&T Baja Team will be competing May 29-31 at a Caterpillar
Inc. testing facility outside of Peoria, Ill. The team is coming off a
disappointing competition that took place during the first weekend of May in
“We are working on fixing the old vehicle and we have a new one under
construction,” says Wes Thomas, Missouri S&T’s project manager. “We broke a
weld on an A-arm in Tennessee, fixed it, and then a CV joint failed. Both
vehicles will be competing in
The baja competitions, which are sponsored by the Society of Automotive
Engineers, feature events on motocross tracks that have obstacles like mud bogs
and water hazards. The Illinois competition also has a rock crawl
“This is a first-time event for us,” says Thomas, a senior in mechanical
engineering from Independence, Mo. “The rock crawl consists of a short course
filled with large boulders. A path is marked and we have to try to navigate it
without getting outside the lines. Scoring is based on penalties, time, and the
percentage of teams who complete the
Approximately 50 university teams, some with more than one vehicle,
typically participate in the
The baja vehicles, which are powered by 10-horsepower engines, are equipped
with all-terrain tires and are capable of going about 35 mph. The key,
according to Thomas, is to design frames and components that are both flexible
enough and sturdy enough to handle obstacle courses with mud, dirt moguls and
In addition to Thomas, the following are members of Missouri S&T’s 2008
— Tom Baker, a junior in mechanical engineering from Florissant, Mo.
— Casey Boyer, a junior in mechanical engineering from St. Charles, Mo.
— Ed Cooper, a junior in mechanical engineering from Salem, Mo.
— Brandon Leslie, a senior in mechanical engineering from Raytown, Mo.
— David Malawey, a freshman in mechanical engineering from Overland,
— Ben Mazzei, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Maryland Heights,
— Raymon Morehouse, a senior in mechanical engineering from St. Robert,
— Eddie Rose, a senior in mechanical engineering from Lonedell, Mo.
— Mike Warren, a senior in civil engineering from Raytown, Mo.
— Cedrake White, a sophomore in aerospace engineering from Moberly, Mo.