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University of Idaho Wins Second Straight SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge�

Houghton, MI, March 25, 2003 - For the second straight year, the University of Idaho took the top spot at the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge™. Last year, Idaho split top honors with Kettering University, as the two engineering teams finished within two points of each other. This year, Idaho was all by itself, finishing comfortably ahead of host team and second-place finisher Michigan Technological University (MTU), 1,245 points to 982. Kettering slipped to third in 2003, with 963 points. Idaho also won five of eleven category awards overall during the four-day event.

This was Michigan Tech's first year hosting the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, the Society of Automotive Engineers' newest collegiate design competition. A dozen teams of student engineers and their snow machines from across the U.S. and Canada converged on MTU March 19-22 with the goal of reducing emissions and noise while maintaining or improving snowmobile performance.

The competitors braved temperatures in the 30s and heavy rain at the primary test site, the MTU Keweenaw Research Center. However, the snow and the team members held up under the spring-like weather, and all of the scheduled events were completed. The first three Clean Snowmobile Challenges were held in and around Jackson, Wyoming.

Idaho swept the three major components of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge: Emissions, noise, and fuel economy, while performing relatively well in the performance categories: Handling (second), braking (fifth), and acceleration (sixth). The SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge™ point system rewards engineering teams for producing a snowmobile that is quieter, more fuel efficient, and cleaner than current trail models. The engineering challenge lies in the fact that teams are also judged on how well the sleds perform and how much fun they are to ride.

Idaho's faculty advisor, Karen Den Braven, said her championship team never stopped trying. "They're hardworking, dedicated, and they're really learning how to do engineering," she said. "After each competition, they ask what needs to be improved, and they work on it." The Idaho sled was equipped with a BMW K75RT four-stroke motorcycle engine, the same basic powerplant that has spelled success for Idaho for the last two years.

Bernhard Bettig, Michigan Tech faculty advisor, described his team's second-place finish. "Excellent! This is the best we've ever done. I'm very happy with their performance, and hopefully we'll do even better next year, since only four members of the team are graduating."

Other CSC award recipients were University of Wisconsin-Madison for Most Sportsmanlike Conduct, the University of Minnesota at Mankato for Best Braking, The University of Wisconsin at Platteville for Best Acceleration and the University of Wyoming for Best Handling.

Teams participating in the Clean Snowmobile Challenge include Clarkson University in New York, Colorado State University, Idaho State University, Kettering University in Flint, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State University-Mankato, State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Idaho, the University of Waterloo in Ontario, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the University of Wyoming. For a complete rundown on points and order of finish, log onto the SAE Clean Snowmobile web page at ">www.sae.org/students/snow.htm, and at the host Michigan Tech web page, www.mtu.edu/snowmobile.