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SAE Clean Snowmobile ChallengeTM 2002 Features Showdown Between Two- and Four-Stroke Snowmobiles

Warrendale, PA,, Feb. 19, 2002 - The third year of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) Clean Snowmobile ChallengeTM 2002 (CSC2002) will, at least temporarily, produce a dominant powerplant in SAE's annual clean and quiet snowmobile sweepstakes. While a 4-stroke powered snowmobile from the University at Buffalo (NY) captured the inaugural competition in 2000, that year's second place finisher from the University of Waterloo (Ontario) took home the honors in 2001 with a 2-stroke powered sled. An all-time high total of 17 collegiate engineering teams are entered for this year's event.

Evidence of the continued popularity of the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge is in the returning competitors and the presence of four first-time entries in 2002: Idaho State University, University of Maine, Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin-Platteville. Seven collegiate teams entered the event in 2000, while 13 schools fielded teams in the 2001 competition.

Scenic Jackson Hole, Wyoming will host the event March 25-29, 2002 for the third time. Event organizers Dr. Lori Fussell and Bill Paddleford are Jackson Hole residents and understand first-hand the benefits of the snowmobile recreation's economy as well as the environmental impact of the sport. The pair wanted to find a way to demonstrate improvements to snowmobile technology that may potentially make sleds more environmentally friendly, while also preserving the long-term outlook for an important part of their community's economy.

The SAE CSC2002 point system rewards the 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. "It's not easy by any means" says Paddleford, a Teton County Commissioner and outdoorsman. "For college students to build a snowmobile that is clean and quiet, yet still lots of fun in the snow sounds almost impossible without any factory help. I've been amazed at what the teams have been able to produce. Their results have been excellent."

As a former engineering student and member of SAE during her college days, Fussell saw SAE as the perfect partner to help make her dream a reality. "I knew engineering students have a lot of creativity and energy, and they're willing to try new things in order to make a difference. SAE has such a great track record of creating exciting collegiate design events, and I wanted to get them involved in putting on an event that could eventually make a big difference in the environment and to so many communities that depend on snowmobiling as a wintertime economy."

At the 2001 competition, the University of Waterloo applied direct injection and a three-way catalyst system to offset many of the two-stroke's inherent deficiencies. The Waterloo sled turned in very respectable economy and noise measurements on its way to victory. Waterloo finished second in 2000, and for 2002 plans to develop both 2- and 4-stroke entries to accumulate data on which platform provides the most balanced solution. A first-time entry from Kettering University (Michigan) turned in a very strong performance in 2001 with their ultra-clean and quiet four-stroker sled - finishing second by nine points. Many observers think they have a good chance to win in 2002.

Four-stroke engines are inherently cleaner and quieter than two-strokes, but they generally weigh and cost more. Two-stroke engines have traditionally been the "engine of choice" where lightweight powerplants are needed, but they tend to be less environmentally friendly than their counterparts.

Like Dr. Fussell, Bill Paddleford has been moved by the youthful energy of the teams since the competition began in 2000. "There's no substitute for practical experience, and these teams are getting an education in planning and executing a complex project here. I've seen these kids take an absolute mechanical disaster and turn it into something good. The companies that hire these young people are really landing some special talent, and I feel proud that I've had a chance to be a small part of their development."

SAE is dedicated to providing young talent to the automotive, aerospace, off highway, and commercial vehicle industries. Bob Sechler, Manager of SAE's Educational Relations, knows how easy it is to lose sight of the ultimate mission. "The word ‘challenge' in the name is the crux of why we're involved. These teams come out of this event a lot more seasoned in what real-world problem solving is like in the engineering profession. The fact that these students have the potential to develop something revolutionary that benefits the environment and economies of so many areas is a terrific bonus, but we get excited when we see these kids land good jobs after it's all over."

The CSC2002 is just one of 14 annual student design competitions sponsored by SAE as part of the Collegiate Design Series. Other competitions include:

Aero Design® East, Titusville, Florida - April 12-14
Mini Baja® Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brasil - April 11-14
Mini Baja® West, Logan, Utah - April 25-27
Walking Machine ChallengeTM, Golden, Colorado - April 25-27
Mini Baja® East, Morgantown, West Virginia - May 9-11
Formula SAE®, Pontiac, Michigan - May 15-19
Midwest Mini Baja®, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - May 31 -June 2
Supermileage®, Marshall, Michigan - June 7-8
Aero Design® West, Palmdale, California - June 7-9
Formula Student®, Leicester, England - July 1-3
Mini Baja® South Africa, Location TBD - October, 2002
Mini Baja® Korea, Location TBD - October, 2002
Aero Design® Brasil, Location TBD - November, 2002
Formula SAE® Australasia, Location TBD - December, 2002

For more information about SAE's Clean Snowmobile Challenge and other collegiate design competitions, log on to our website at www.sae.org, or contact Lori Pail at 724/772-8534, or via e-mail at lorile@sae.org.