Metro State students really do know a lot about living life in the fast lane.
For three industrial design students and a couple of their pals, a
little childhood curiosity and loads of technical ingenuity led to
victory in the 2008 Red Bull Soapbox Race last weekend at Red Rocks
Park in Morrison.
The quintet, led by Metro State students Josh McGuckin, Matt Fisher
and Jeremiah Hueske, decided in May that they wanted to conceptualize,
build and race a vehicle in the amateur derby. On Aug. 5, they put in
the first hours of what became a more than 600-hour journey to a
first-place race finish and the People’s Choice Award in a
custom-built, scaled-down version of the flaming red 1961 Ferrari 250GT
California Spyder made famous in the 80s cult classic film “Ferris
Bueller’s Day Off.”
Team Save Ferris, which also included Sandra Hueske (Jeremiah’s
wife) and friend James Olson, decided to dress up on race day and play
the parts of various characters from the film.
“[We] had a lot of spectators coming through [in pit row], which was
really fun,” says McGuckin. “… They’d kind of bunch up around our car.”
Fisher, a professional mountain biker, was chosen as the driver of
the team’s prized craft. The team engineered the car to be driven
backward to simulate the scene in the movie where the two truant teens
are trying to run back the odometer on the sports car. The
team completed the ruse by concealing Fisher, who would drive
lying down, with a cover across the seating compartment to create the
impression that no one was driving the car.
“He popped out of the tonneau cover at the very bottom [of the
quarter-mile course] and everybody cheered,” says McGuckin. “They saw
that he was the character of the parking garage attendant that joyrides
the car in the movie. That was a good little surprise for people.”
The car, which McGuckin estimates cost the team about $1,400 to
engineer (they also had a few in-kind donations), will be on display at
the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver for the next year. It
will also be displayed on campus during the annual industrial design
student show next spring.
Forty-three teams entered the race, but McGuckin says that a Red
Bull representative told them they were the first team ever both to
win the race and to be selected as the favorite by race fans.
McGuckin said the race announcer described the cars as ranging from
“marvels of engineering to ‘hey, dude what do you want to do tomorrow.’”
Their success, McGuckin says, gives the team momentum as they begin prepping for a title defense in next year’s competition.
“We’ll surely be doing something again next year,” says McGuckin. “This is such a fun experience.”
The team’s Web site is at http://www.teamsaveferris.com/.
For an extensive gallery of photos, including concept renderings, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshmcguckin/sets/72157605975075439/.
For more information about the race, visit http://www.redbullsoapboxusa.com/.
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