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B'ville's electric car places second in race

The first CNY Electrathon Challenge was held Saturday at Durgee Junior High, and tensions were high as students from Baldwinsville, Cazenovia High School and Cazenovia Athletic Associations prepared their electric cars for the allotted one hour race.

From 9 a.m. until noon, each car was inspected and allowed to practice around the racecourse. The inspection requirements were based on 25 points, having to do with brakes, batteries, structure and aspects of that nature. At approximately 1:30 p.m., the first driver of each car prepared last finishing touches and listened to words of advice from their teams.

There were three cars competing in the race, one from Baldwinsville and two from Cazenovia. Two solar cars from Cazenovia were also showcased and exhibited, but did not race.

Mike Baldino, a senior at Baker High School, drove for the first half-hour, and Howie Hotchford, senior, drove the second half for Baldwinsville. The drivers communicated to their teams during the race through radios.

The cars can go up to 50 mph, said Jamie Cuyler, a technology teacher at Baker. But not for the full hour. The cars will probably go about 30 mph today.

An ambitious senior class project, part of the pre-engineering curriculum at Baker, it took from January to June to build the electric car. In addition to the two drivers, Kevin Schueler, Charles Edic, Nick Catalino, Paul Meiser and Mitch Collins also contributed to the undertaking. The students worked during their technology classes, lunches and study halls to complete the project. They also found sponsors in Nami's Engraving, Evan's Chevrolet and others.

The goal was to build teamwork and show how something like this involves math skills, Cuyler said.

Saturday was the first time the team tested out their electric car. Cuyler had offered to hold a race in Baldwinsville, and was pleased when Cazenovia agreed to be a part of it.

With a few technical difficulties, which warranted aid from members of the Baldwinsville team during the race, Baldwinsville's car succeeded in driving 76 laps around the Durgee bus circle in an hour's time. It was a close competition as the Cazenovia 12 car succeeded in 77 laps, and Cazenovia 37 in completing 75 laps.

Jamie Cuyler is hoping to make this an annual tradition, and his goal is to raise enough money in sponsors (between $4,000 and $6,000) to be able to build another car next year.

If interested in sponsoring, contact Cuyler at jcuyler@bville.org.

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