Rally racers

Rally

Ron Erickson, IST’11 (left), and Matt Conte, ME’10, sit on the hood of Conte’s Subaru rally car at the 2012 Rally in the 100-Acre Wood. (Photo by Tim Williams, IST’08)

Reaching speeds upwards of 95 mph, Ron Erickson and Matt Conte raced their Subaru to a third-place finish in the open light class at the Rally in the 100-Acre Wood in February. The national championship performance rally in Salem, Mo., led drivers through the Ozarks wilderness over unpaved county roads.

“We weren’t as quick as we wanted to be,” says Erickson, IST’11, rally co-driver, or navigator, and a business analyst in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s information technology division in St. Louis. “Racing is really close, which makes it really cool. It’s all about skill.”

During a race, Erickson guides the driver, Conte, ME’10, over unfamiliar terrain. Some years, the drivers are plagued with mud. This year, the biggest obstacle was dust. It was unnerving, Erickson says.

“Knowing what’s over the crest is so important,” he says. “We had a lot of problems with dust. We really couldn’t see well.”

Erickson and Conte, best friends since their high school robotics team days, started backroading on weekends during the fall of 2006 when they were S&T freshmen.
“We didn’t know it was a sport,” Erickson says. “We just liked going out to explore Phelps County.”

They began as spectators at a rally race and then volunteered during races. Last fall, the pair raced in the Perryville Farm and Forest Rally in southeast Missouri.

“We came really close to rolling the car,” Erickson says. “We hit a steep ditch at 65 mph and the car came to rest on its side. No one was hurt — safety has come a long way.”

“We had the car prepared again for another event in the snow and ice of Atlanta, Mich., with a new engine, new suspension and the body work completed,” says Conte, who works for Boeing as a structural design engineer on the F-15 fighter jet. “Lots of body panels had to be replaced after that one.”

UPDATE Oct. 16, 2013:  Ron Erickson is competing to be the next Tested Inventern. If he wins, he will get to assist co-host Adam Savage’s assistant on an upcoming project. Check out his video submission at tested.com where he talks about building his own rally car from the wheels up.

Around the Puck

Seeking TBI therapies

By Delia Croessmann, croessmannd@mst.edu Complications from TBI can be life altering. They include post-traumatic seizures and hydrocephalus, as well as serious cognitive and psychological impairments, and the search for treatments to mitigate these neurodegenerative processes is on.

[Read More...]

Understanding the invisible injury

Students advance traumatic brain injury research By Sarah Potter, sarah.potter@mst.edu “Research is creating new knowledge.”–Neil Armstrong  Research keeps professors on the vanguard of knowledge in their fields and allows students to gain a deeper understanding of their area of study. For students and recent graduates researching traumatic brain injury (TBI) at Missouri S&T, the work […]

[Read More...]

Analyzing small molecules for big results

By Delia Croessmann, croessmannd@mst.edu At only 28 years old, Casey Burton, Chem’13, PhD Chem’17, director of medical research at Phelps Health in Rolla and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, is poised to become a prodigious bioanalytical researcher.

[Read More...]

To prevent and protect

By Peter Ehrhard, ehrhardp@mst.edu Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are an unfortunate but all too common occurrence during military training and deployment. Because mild TBIs often present no obvious signs of head trauma or facial lacerations, they are the most difficult to diagnose at the time of the injury, and patients often perceive the impact as […]

[Read More...]

Q&A

Toughest class … ever Some of your classes may have been a breeze, but others kept you up at all hours studying, and some of you struggled just to pass. As part of his research for the S&T 150th anniversary history book, Larry Gragg , Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked […]

[Read More...]

Comments

  1. Emily Amizich says

    So proud of you both. I remember your early days driving robots in the Residential College, building flame bots, and driving cars/vans to their limits. It’s always been a blast.