The 2012 Great Lakes Challenge was held in late August at the club’s Woodville Mall track. The track was recently re-paved, especially for this event. The asphalt was dead smooth, but was so fresh that there wasn’t time to paint the track yet. That will be done in time for next year’s GLC.
The schedule was for practice starting early in the week, whenever people arrived. There was a full day of open practice Wednesday, controlled practice Thursday, and more practice followed by two rounds of qualifying on Friday. Saturday was three rounds of qualifying, with all of Sunday devoted to the Main Events.
People gradually showed up, and by Thursday we had 115 racers at the track. That’s not as many as in past years, but considering the economy, it was more than was expected.
This is the 14th running of the Great Lakes Challenge. Event sponsors (alphabetically listed) included:
ACORN Racing USA,
Kosmic RC Fuel,
Team Shephered USA,
VP Power Master Fuel,
Many of these companies sent various products to the race, to be part of the raffle that’s held every year. Their support is greatly appreciated!
This is the first year we had a separate class for pan cars. If enough cars didn’t show up in pan or GT class, the plan was to run them together, but we had a enough entrants to run separate races. As for the GT class, there was a question as to which set of rules to follow (there currently are several). It was decided that the GT class would run the same rules as used for the Midwest Series races. With the inclusion of the new Pan Car Class, we had the following classes were included this year:
1/8 4WD Masters
GT Class Nitro
The weather was as perfect as r/c racers could ever wish for – Kodak blue skies, no rain in sight, and reasonable temperatures. All the bad weather was concentrating on South Florida it seems. It was very enjoyable at the track, both to run the cars, and to hand out with old friends. (Added later – the Monday after the race this part of the country was drenched – but long after the race had ended!)
Practice went well, as did qualifying. Brian Berry kept the event on schedule, while keeping everyone informed about what was going on. Brian’s announcing was also broadcast “live” on FM radio, so racers working in tents or trailers would be informed. A full list of who did what can be found at the end of this report. Lots of club members contributed to how well things went – and several of them went well beyond the basics, and loaned the club the $20,000 that was needed for the new asphalt!
The Pat Kayser Top Speed awards were given to the fastest racer in each class, based on radar speed taken during the first round of qualifying, as cars came down the back straightaway. Pat passed away several years ago. He had been an enthusiastic club member, and his personal goal was neither lap times or number of laps during a race – Pat wanted Speed, and as much of it as possible Going faster than anyone else was Pat’s goal, and one way the club remembers Pat is to award special towels to each of the fastest drivers in the classes.
After three rounds of qualifying, the heats were re-seeded, based on racer performance. When the qualifying dust settled, we had the following racers getting the TQ trophies:
1/8 GT Joaquin DeSoto Jr.
1/8 Pan Joe Tuttle
1/10 Sedan DJ Apolaro
1/8 Masters Skip Starkey
1/8 Open Paolo Morganti
The qualifying results were sorted out, and the Mains were set up – there would be 12 Mains, ranging in length from 20 minutes for the early Mains, up to 40 minutes for the A-Mains.
The full race results can be found on the JLap Race Manager Website. The A-Main results (qualifying, finishing order, and equipment used) can be found in the equipment-list file, that will be posted shortly on the SGRID and RCTECH forums. The following is a brief summary of the casses, and the A-Main results.
The GT cars seem to improve every year in handling and performance. They’re now capable of being driven around the track as nicely and smoothly as cars in the other classes. The rubber tires limit traction, and the speeds are a bit less, but this class has improved greatly. Joaquin DeSoto Jr. won the A-Main, one lap ahead of Lino Rino. Mark Rodney came in third, eight laps further back.
The 1/8 Pan Car Class is based on the Pan cars that started out the R/C craze, and in fact, Phil Cring was competing with one of the antique Deltas – his car really belongs in a museum, but it was great to see it out on the track. Joe Tuttle took top honors, with Lon Burling four laps back. Thirteen year old Noah Bellville finished on the same lap as Lon, a few seconds back. Lon Burling III was a lap behind Noah. John Schwitzer was very fast for most of the race, but had technical issues that set him back. (If I was going to start actively racing R/C cars again, it would be with one of these pan cars!!) Side note: Thank you to Phil Cring, who brought his RC Museum Collection to the track, along with lots of great photos of many of the current racers, taken in the 1980’s!
This was DJ Apolaro’s year to dominate in the sedan class, TQing, and coming in first place. Paolo Morganti finished two laps back, a lap ahead of Michael Palazzola. Ralph Burch had worked himself up to second place, but had a problem and lost a lot of ground. He was working through the pack, trying to catch Michael for a place on the podium, but there wasn’t enough time, and Michael knew it, maintaining his pace and finishing six seconds ahead of Ralph.
The Masters Class race turned into a two-way battle between Skip Starkey (TQ), and Joaquin DeSoto. Joaquin. Joaquin took the early lead, and while there were several lead changes during the race, it was Skip out front in his (by now very familiar looking!) bright green car. Rick Davis followed, six laps back. One other note regarding Master’s Class – Lou Przybyla’s run in the B-Main is one of the best runs I’ve seen him make (and I captured a video of most of it!), and all this one day before his 75th Birthday!!! Happy Birthday Lou!!! Lou has been involved in on-road fuel since the very beginnings of r/c competition, and still loves it! Do check the video – it’s pretty exciting stuff!
1/8 Four Wheel Drive
This was the final race of the day, and everyone at the track took a spot around the fencing to watch. Scott Kimbrow had looked incredibly fast during qualifying, but Paolo Morganti was even faster, taking TQ. Ralph Burch had qualified third, but had a disasterous start, getting flipped over on the second turn, and (after luckily not being hit by oncoming traffic) finally got going with the leaders half a lap ahead. I know Ralph is fast, but I’ve never seen him this fast before. The other cars were fast- but Ralphie was faster, slowly making up lost ground. The racers made a tire change half way through the race – Ralph came in a second time to have his tires adjusted. Many of the fast guys had problems, and dropped back, leaving Scott in a position to take the win – Ralph was gaining, but still had a long way to go. Scott had engine problems though, allowing Ralph to take over the lead. With a nice cushion, Ralph backed off the speed to the “cruise” setting, and with no real pressure, just waited for the race to end, taking a comfortable lead with Scott one lap behind. Third place went to Paul Cicarello, twelve seconds behind Scott. Paul drove a fast, comfortable pace for the duration, making no errors. This was certainly the most exciting race of the day, with Ralph doing the improbable, coming from dead last to take over the lead and get the win.
For lots of reasons, this was probably the “best” Great Lakes Challenge I can remember attending. All the “fast guys” were there, just about all the “usual” guys who attend showed up, which made for great socializing, and the weatherman held off the rain until a day AFTER the race, not during! One person who was missed though was Raye Field, who was a very active and helpful member of the club until he recently passed away. A small celebration for Raye was held in front of the Canadian flag, on Sunday Morning. Raye, you will be missed…….
Photos and videos….. To find the photographs and videos about the 2012 Great Lakes Challenge, just go to www.youtube.com
and in the YouTube search box, type in “startinggridmagazine” – you will get a list, with the Starting Grid Channel the third or fourth item down. Click on it, and all the videos will be listed (r/c related, and other videos that I have published). You can select the “R/C” playlist, so all you get to see is the R/C videos. The GLC videos are in 720p “High Definition”, so if your computer and internet connection allow it, select the highest definition you can on the YouTube controls, to see the video at its best.
As this is being written, with me at 30,000 feet above the USA and an oncoming hurricane, everything is posted but for the photographs from Sunday’s Mains. That will hopefully be completed tonight. or tomorrow
One last thing – a huge Thank You goes out to the Toledo 1/8 Racers, who once again put on what I believe to be the finest on-road fuel r/c race in the USA! Here’s a list of who did what at the GLC:
Brian Berry – Scoring and Announcing
Lon Burling – Co-Race Director
Jon Strausbaugh – Co-Race Director
Marvin Davis – Track Repair
Mark Rodney – Tech
Bill McLean – Tech
Mike Richey – Tech
Lou Przybyla – Registration
Gene Greer – Registration
Ted Hammer - Assistant
I’d also like to thank the people who helped me provide the race coverage – the club, for bringing me to the event, Lou Przybyla for taking me everywhere he went for the week, Mike Saputo, for allowing me to turn the kitchen table in his truck/motor-home into my office, and Paul Becattini for bringing his Wi-Fi device to the track, to enable the coverage to be posted much earlier that it would otherwise be uploaded to the ‘net.