Clarkson University driver Ryan Whitehouse at the finish of the 2013 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge Endurance Run
The SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge kicked off on March 5 with six snowmobiles out of ten participants finishing the Endurance Run, according to Michigan Tech News.
Ten snowmobiles began the 100-mile competition, which starts with a series of laps around a track at the Keweenaw Research Center. The surviving snowmobiles head north to Copper Harbor.
This year's winners were Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.), Kettering University (Flint), Michigan Tech, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Idaho and the École de Technologie Supérieure (Montreal).
The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is a design competition of the Society of Automotive Engineers for engineering students from participating schools.
The students take a stock snowmobile and upgrade it to reduce emissions and noise and increase fuel efficiency.
The École de Technologie Supérieure group made it through the Endurance Run for the first time in 10 years.
Conditions for the run were nearly ideal, with plenty of packed snow on the trails. “It was really smooth,” said Michigan Tech’s Chad Kromrey.
Several machines had to pull out. The University of Buffalo’s diesel-powered sled returned to the shop after bearings unseated on its belt drive, and the University of Waterloo’s snowmobile lost oil pressure. North Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville also had to withdraw.
Break downs during the Endurance Run are not uncommon.
In the Challenge’s zero emissions category, two sleds competed in the range test. McGill University (Montreal) won the event, with the University of Alaska Fairbanks placing second.
The Challenge continues through the first week of March. The teams will have their sleds on display from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at the Copper Country Mall. Everyone is invited to view the entries and talk with the participants about their design strategies.