Cal State L.A.'s Student Team Places First Place in Mini-Baja West


Contact: Laura Carlson-Weiner,
School of Engineering and Technology
Development Director
(323) 343-4494
FAX (323) 343-4555
or Margie Yu,
Public Affairs Assistant
(323) 343-3047

Cal State L.A.'s Student Team Places First Place in Mini-Baja West

Los Angeles, California -- May 8, 1996 -- Cal State L.A.'s Mini-Baja team recently finished first place against a record setting number of more than 70 off-road vehicles from across the United States and Mexico at the Mini-Baja West held in Tempe, Arizona. The competition was sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and all the teams' engines were donated by Briggs and Stratton.

The ten CSLA engineering and technology students who traveled to Tempe to attend the competition were John Chang (Cerritos), Stan Palmer (Pasadena), Mark Fisher (Rowland Heights), Hironao Hashimoto (Los Angeles), Miguel Osorio (Los Angeles), Jose Tlaxca (Gardena), Jose Lopez (Los Angeles), Patrick Alvarado (North Hollywood), Everardo Hernandez (Los Angeles) and Student Team Leader Mark van Dalm (South Pasadena). These students, under the direction of CSLA Mechanical Engineering Professor Lih-Min Hsia (San Marino), have been working since last July to prepare the vehicle for the competition.

The vehicles and teams were judged in several different areas. The static competition took place on Day One. This included: 1) cost analysis and sales presentation and 2) safety, mechanical design and aesthetics competition. At the end of Day One, CSLA had finished 3rd in mechanical design and 4th in aesthetics, capturing a sixth place finish. On Day Two and Day Three, the vehicle competed in several performance events including: 1) acceleration, 2) hill-climb, 3) maneuverability and 4) a four-hour off-road endurance test. Each section of the competition is evaluated based on a point system. The four-hour race is worth 40 percent of the total points. Cal State L.A. came in 2nd in acceleration, 3rd in hill-climb and won first place in the four-hour endurance test to capture a first place finish overall. Cal State L.A. finished ahead of vehicles from Cal Poly Pomona, USC, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

John Chang, one of the Mini-Baja team members, commented, "The Mini-Baja project is a great opportunity to apply what we learn in the classroom to a real 'hands-on' comprehensive project. It was very exciting for me to be part of the project and to be part of the team."

From 1978 to 1984, the CSLA Mini-Baja team actively participated in competitions and entered two vehicles each year. Beginning in 1980, the team was the only team in the history of the competition to finish in first place in the endurance race for four consecutive years. In 1995, after a ten-year hiatus, student members of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) came together to revive the Mini-Baja project. Last year's team finished in sixth place at the Desert Dunesday Classic held in El Paso, Texas.

For more information on the Mini-Baja project, call Mark van Dalm at (818) 799-9639.

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