Auburn's Baja team honored by trustees

Published: Jun 30, 2007 1:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Erin Bock,

Source: Opelika-Auburn News

After besting a multitude of the world's best engineering teams, speaking to the Auburn University Board of Trustees was no sweat for Jeremy Hrdy.

Hrdy and the rest of the AU Baja team were recognized Friday by the board for winning first place overall in the Baja SAE competition in Rapid City, S.D.

Under the guidance of adviser Dr. Peter Jones, the team of 10 students designed, built and raced a Baja car, which is a small all-terrain vehicle.

This year's students competed against 100 schools from the United States and abroad. Although Auburn University teams have competed in Baja SAE competitions for the last 14 years and have frequently appeared in Top 10 and Top 5 rankings, this year marks the first time they've placed first overall.

"I'm jumping up and down thrilled," said Jones, who is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at AU. "This is the pinnacle of achievement."

The Baja team was judged in many areas, including design, endurance and cost analysis, Jones said. He added that the team not only learned more about engineering in developing the car, but also time management and how to work as a team.

"It's terribly educational, but it's also an awful lot of fun," he said.

"It's been a long time coming. We've been so close for so many years," said Hrdy, a four-year member of the AU Baja team and next year's team captain. Hrdy is a geography major, but he joined the team for the racing aspect.

The award for first place is $1,000, but the experience is worth so much more, Hrdy said.

"I can now say that I was part of a top-of-the-line racing team, and the engineering students have something that represents the quality of their program," Hrdy said.

Next year, the team will be competing in four competitions, including one in Great Britain. Hrdy thinks the 2008 team will be just as successful.

"Next year's looking good," he said.