Midnight Mayhem – By Nathaniel Lightle

         The weekend of September 20th University of Louisville hosted an unofficial competition, Midnight Mayhem, outside of Bedford, Kentucky for Baja teams around the country.  SIU was able to attend, and we brought a team of 19 members and two fully functional cars.

          Midnight Mayhem is possibly the most important time of the year for Baja, since it is a great bonding experience for the team and all the new members.  This is also the first opportunity for new members to get to drive the cars as well as spend two days of camping with the older members to bond the team together.

     The culminating event of Midnight Mayhem is the endurance race, a four-hour race designed to push the cars to their limits.  As the endurance race started I got butterflies in my stomach; not because I was nervous, but because we had new members driving the cars, and I knew that driving the car was what made me want to stay in the club and put in countless hours last year.  When I first joined Baja last year, I was one of the first drivers in the endurance race.  I took the car around a turn and was greeted with several logs I had to maneuver over.  I decided to pin the gas pedal to pass someone and wound up flipping the car on the last log. I was left sitting, upside down in the middle of the track.  I had to wait for at least 30 minutes to get a tow out of the forest, and I was convinced I had ruined the night for everyone.  When I did return to the team I was greeted by our Vice-President Kyle who just laughed and gave me a high five.  At that moment I knew this was the kind of club I wanted to be a part of and ever since I have worked hard to gain the trust of the team. Through countless hours of work, I earned my position as President this year.

     Midnight Mayhem aligned us to have a great year as we were all able to drive the cars before one broken down in the last ten minutes of the race which fueled the passion for racing of several new members to the team. The experience also reminded every one of the returning members why we are here. I can already see the division of new members versus old members starting to fade, and I know that we can become one cohesive team much easier now that we all share that experience.