Category Archives: Races

Race Summaries

2007 USRA Scale Nats Day 6

Sunday April 15th. 4.5" Stockcar

I had decided not to race 4.5" Stockcar before the nats, so this was to be my day to get my cars built and tested for my favorite part of the nats, the faster cars on the flat track. After the late night before I took the opportunity to sleep in a little, and only got into the raceway at 9am. A late start compared to the 7am every other day.

Brian Saunders had built my GT12 chassis earlier in the week, but I had not had time to assemble it so this was this first job on sunday. He finished off my 32nd Euro chassis on saturday, so that needed assembling as well, while my 24th Euro chassis was still to be built, but I would have that built by Brian by the end of sunday. It was interesting to watch Brian building the chassis. I have done a lot of building of all kinds of chassis over the years, including scratchbuilt and Euro chassis, but Brian knows his chassis so well he is just amazingly quick at putting them together.

With only 7 entries in the Expert 4.5" race it was no surprise to see Duran Trujillo slither his way to a repeat of his 2006 win, congratulations Duaran!

I got my 12 put together and hit the track with it. Being the first time I had run the 2006 BSP chassis I was delighted how well it handled and stuck to the track. I ran through a number of motors, looking for a smooth one, rather than the usual struggle to find horsepower. Brian and I tested various combinations of bodies and chassis setups, and finally agreed that we had some pretty awesome cars for the next days racing.

My 32nd Eurosport also hit the track for the first time in the afternoon, and it too was smooth and handled well. I tested a few motors before settling on racing a motor that Monty Ohren (of Best O The West) and I have been experimenting with. It is a 38 of 27 wound by Monty. It was very smooth and fast, and the same one I had run at the last Euro race I went to at Rhonert Park a few weeks earlier.

2007 USRA Scale Nats Day 5

Saturday was Stockcar day!

Back onto the road course for my final race on that track (I had decided before the nats that I would not be racing 4.5" Stockcar this year) it was time to break out some of the fantastic new Best O The West big diameter armature horsepower. In the past for the Stockcar races I have bought many many motors to the Nats for this class, but this year I only had 5 motors to test, and every one of them was fast. The new arms are so consistent and smooth, and unlike previous arms, they seem to run well on almost any track.

Brian Saunders decided that he was not going to race this class, so I gained myself a dedicated pit man for this class. In last minute practice the track showed signs of being inconsistent and loose again, so this time we were prepared (at least for the semi). Out went the treated tires, and we set the Flexi 5 up for maximum bite and to be as consistent as we could.

The field was a little bigger than the fields had been up until that point as the Port Jeff guys arrived from New York, just for this race. I’m not sure that Erkle, Chubby and Jonathan Sohl were all comfortable on the road course driving Stockcars, but they were all there, and all drove well despite a complete lack of practice and setup time.

Into the Semi finals, and I really cruised along, driving consistently, watching carefully to make sure I remained in a move up position in the 11 man round robin semi, while Brian worked his magic in between heats in the pit. By the end of the semi I was tied with Willam Burnside for the semi win, 5 laps clear of 5th placed John Martin.

Going into the main, Brian and I were confident that I would be competitive, and we though we knew what to do if the track went slippery once again, but unfortunately we were wrong! Starting out i the main things were ok, I was running in the top 4. The pace was fast, and once again mike Bressett opened up a lead and held it. As we got further into the race we could not keep my car hooked up, and I slipped back, finally settling in 6th place at the end of the race. Not the result I was hoping for, but at the same time at least I didn’t have to marshall the main!

With no racing for Brian or I on Sunday, we decided to go out somewhere, so we convinced Fred Hood to come with us and the three of us headed into the old part of Philadelphia to check out some of the nightlife. This time we got the phone number of the taxi that took us, and he agreed to come and pick us up once we were ready to go home. It was an interesting night, seeing some of the old parts of town, cobblestone roads and all was cool. We finally ended up in a part of town  that was party central, and we sampled a number of the local bars, which were all full to overflowing. once closing time arrived at 2am we called our taxi driver, and surprisingly it was only a 10 minute wait until he came and collected us, and delivered us back to the hotel.

2007 USRA Scale Nats Day 4

Friday the 13th!

I’m not all that superstitious, but still, Friday the 13th is Friday the 13th.

Expert GTP was first up for the day, so again it was total chaos as we re-tested everything in final practice, tried to avoid wrecking our cars, ground tires (and more tires, and more tires) and got our race cars ready. I knew from practice we had good cars and would be strong in the race if track conditions remained constant. Jay Kisling had been running some crazy times in practice, and with this being a track he races on regularly I was expecting to be following him around.

The semi finals were pretty un-eventful for both Brian and I, both of us making the main, with Brian, I and Jay all working together in our semi to amke sure we made it through. Although there was 14 plus volts in the track, it appeared to be pretty easy on motors. The motor I ran in the semi was a BOW Magshifter motor with a BOW Super 16C Arm. it was smooth and fast, but I had my 2nd motor (BOW Super 16C Arm in a Kelly setup) sitting in the box, still fresh, and just as fast and smooth so I decided to put that in for the main, keeping the semi motor as a spare.

I started on black lane, with Jay Kisling starting right next to me on Purple. Jay and I did not discuss the start before the race, but I knew I had to beat him into the first corner, otherwise he might get away form me. I am known for my good starts, and known for not backing off at the start, so I was going to go as hard and as fast as I could. I know everyone says the race cannot be won at the first corner, but after losing a number of races by just inches, these days I have adopted the philosophy that if the power is on I will go at 100%, and I will never lay back at the start. This philosophy also comes from many many years of racing back in New Zealand where we used to run (and they still do) mostly 10 lap races. In those if you give up time at the start, you just never get it back.

So it was a fantastic start and I beat Jay into the first corner and then just went as hard and as fast as I could, leading the race form lap one through to the end of heat 7. Going into the last heat I had a few laps on Jay. i was on purple lane, while Jay was down on the other end of the track. For whatever reason purple lane was quite slow, so the last heat turned into a real cliffhanger, with me running around as fast as I could, but making sure I stayed on, while Jay was at the other end of the track going hell for leather, trying to run me down. With 20 seconds to go Jay had closed onto the same lap as me, and I knew if I fell off I was done, so it was a case of stay on and still try to run fast, and by the time the power went off Jay was only 1/2 a lap behind me. Way too close for comfort, but it was my first ever USRA Nats win. This too would have been Jay’s first win, so I felt for him a little as he has been trying for so long, but of course I was absolutely elated to win my first race.

As for what I ran in the main, it was:
Parma Flexi 5
Parma Lola Body
Bow/Kelly setup (BOW Magshifter in the Semi)
Bow Super 16C Armature
BSP (Brian Saunders) Tires
GT1 72P gears 8/43

After the race it took quite some time to calm down, but again I moved on to helping with the Amateur race, then also had to get my final testing done for the Stockcar race next day on the road course.

Brian decided that we should go and celebrate the win, so we decided to go out at 11pm to a local bar, which was ok, but by 2am we were ready to go back to the hotel and called a taxi, but it never arrived, and after several more calls to the taxi company that also ended up with no taxi arriving to pick up up, we were stranded. Finally at 3:30am one of the bouncers at the bar took pity on us and drove us back to the hotel in their company tricked out Hummer, not a bad way to arrive home!

2007 USRA Scale Nats Day 3

Day 3 for me was Thursday April 12th. Finally the race day had arrived. It was time for LMP.

During the test days the Kelly guys form Florida, Danny Zona and Mike Bressett were setting the pace on the road course, with some blistering times. I knew I had nothing for them, but I was confident I would be competitive with everyone else. The interesting thing was that the track had been very fast on tuesday, but had slowly got slower and slipperier as the days went by. In final practice before tech closed several lanes were quite loose, so it was a scramble to find tires that would hook up, and a setup to cope with the constantly changling lanes.

Monty had arrived late wednesday night, so by thursday morning I finally had all of my boxes and other equipment, making life a lot easier than working out of the small boxes and limited equipment I bought with me earlier in the week.

With the Expert racers up first in almost every class it was early morning thrash and race each day, and the first class was no exception. I got my Parma Flexi 5 into it’s final race configuration and into tech, and wasn’t last for one.

The semi finals were randomly assigned as usual and looking at mine I thought I had a reasonable chance of making the main, however during the race it got so slippery it was almost impossible to drive the car. Orange lane was just impossible for me, it was like the track was cleaned and left wet, with the car fishtailing all the way down the straight and wildly fishtailing through the bank. I changed tires to the widest, stickiest, smallest hub tires I had (which are very sticky!) and it made a little difference, but by then it was too late, I was too far out of the move up positions, so had booked a marshalling spot for the main.

Brian Saunders on the other hand was more on the ball than me. He used choke, and an SMQ magnet motor to squeeze through into the main, where again the conditions were terrible.  Rolling the car between heats on a glue board became mandatory, as did finding the softest and stickiest tires you could find. I thought Brian drove a fantastic race, staying on and managing the slippery conditions well in the main to finish second to Mike Bressett. Mike was in a different race to everyone else in the main, as he managed to hook his car up. His experience on this track, and his experience running in his local series where this happens often just allowed him to run away for a very strong win.

There was much discussion about the track conditions and the cause of the problems. Many people were blaming the Kelly "speed" (gold label) type rubber for unhooking the track, but the interesting thing was that even people running that rubber were not hooking up. The only thing I can put it down to is the mixture of chemicals and rubber on the track. These days we have so many different types of rubber and different chemicals treating the different tires, it seems that  track conditions will change constantly.

After pitting for Brian and marshalling the main, it was time to put my USRA hat back on and help out with the Amateur LMP race, then in between and after that race it was time to do my final GTP testing.

Given a boost by his second placing in the LMP race,  Brians interest in running the GTP race had grown to the point where had had put a car together and hit the flat track to see if he could get down to some competitive times. Of course he did turn some good laps, so suddenly I had a teammate for the GTP race, and we set about re-testing my car, motors and bodies to find a good combination that we could both use. next thing I knew a couple of my Super 16C motors were pulled apart and the arms were finding a new home in a couple of Brians setups. We continued to test our Flexi 5’s getting faster and faster as we made progress on the setups. The final thing we were testing was bodies, and we had settled ont he Parma Storm as being the bodiy we both liked, however as it always goes we decided to test another couple, and included in those was a Parma Lola. We turned the same lap times as the Storm, but the cars were much better balanced, so suddenly we were looking for Lolas, painting them and mounting them.

2007 USRA Scale Nats Day 2

Day 2 for me was Wednesday April 11th.

This was another full day of practice, and the day I needed to get my LMP, GTP and Stockcar pretty much ready to race. After learning the tracks on Tuesday I concentrated on motor testing for all three classes, and fine tuning my cars. I am not a big believer in running practice cars, so as usual I was running around with the cars I had designated as my race cars.

By this time Brian Saunders had started to test his LMP car, so we worked together on trying to find a good setup and body choice for the LMP cars. He had decided to run LMP for fun, but really was not interested in running GTP, however as the day went along and we tested more things his interest in running GTP on the flat track increased.

2007 USRA Scale Nats Day 1

After visiting New York for a few days over Easter weekend, I caught the Amtrak train from New York to Philadelphia. This was the first "long distance" trin I have been on in this country, and the experience was great. The train was comfortable and spacious, and even arrived on time and took no longer than the 1 1/2 hours advertised on the schedule.

I had planned to take another train from the 30th street station in Philadelphia where the Amtrak train stopped, to the airport, then catch the Ramada Inn shuttle to the hotel, however catching a late train out of New York meant I arrived after the last train for the night had left, which left me with a long taxi ride from the train station to the hotel. Arriving at the hotel at almost 1am Tuesday morning, I only had time to check in and get settled into the room I was sharing for the whole event with Fred Hood. Fred had arrived earlier in the day from Fresno.

Most of the day Tuesday was spent testing and working on car setups for the first few classes, and catching up with everyone. Fred and I shared a pit table for the week, and pitted right next to us was Brian Saunders of BSP from England, which was great as I would be running Brians chassis in GT12, 32nd Eurosport and 24th Eurosport, plus helping him out with whatever he needed for the flexi car classes.

My first impressions of the tracks were that they both were impressive. It was great to have a "banked" track that was a. not a King, and b. had some more interesting corners and features than most other banked tracks we have raced on in the last few years at the nats. The track looked fast and smooth, with a recent re-surface carried out by Gary Gerding. The flat track also looked awesome. It was quite short, but looked very fast, smooth and quite flowing.

Monty Ohren form Best O The West was driving across county form Los Angeles, so I had him bring most of my slotcar gear with him, so all I had was a small box with a few cars, motors, and bodies for the first few races to test. I set about assembling my LMP and GTP cars, putting my Parma Flexi 5 cars together. I then spent most of the day just turning laps on the road course (banked track) with the LMP car and with the GTP car on the flat track, getting down to some pretty competitive times.

Once the raceway closed at midnight it was off to the bar with Fred and Brian for a quick beer, then off to speer for a few hours, waking in time to be back in the raceway by 7am. Pretty much the story of the week.

2007 USRA Nats 24th Eurosport – 1 Lap Short

The 24th Eurosport race at the 2007 USRA Nats is the race that led to the unique name of this website, 1 Lap Short. I led the race almost all the way, and appeared to be on the way to being the first racer not named Paul to win the 24th Eurosport race at the nats for a number of years, but it wasn’t to be, instead Greg Gilbert slipped past me in the final heat, leaving me 1 Lap Short of the win, in second place. Oh well, maybe next year….

2007 Scale Nats Results

2007 Scale Nats held at Ramada Inn, Philadelphia.
Hosted by Mark Greene and Lou Cicconi.
April 8-19 2007

Raced at the Nats

LMP – Lous Roadcourse – Thursday April 12th

7th in A Semi. Not able to get any traction. 8 laps out of the move.

GTP – Marks Gerding Flat Track – Friday April 13th

1st Place 🙂 First USRA Class win

GTP Main
1 Chris Radisich 446
2 Jay Kisling 445
3 Jonathan Forsyth 427
4 Brian Saunders 421
5 Steve Koepp 418
6 Jason Burnside 411
7 Duran Trujillo 403
8 Dale Granger 391

B Semi
1. Chris Radisich 299
2. Brian Saunders 298
3. Jay Kisling 297
4. Jonathan Forsyth 292
5. William Burnside 292
6. Jerry Herbert 287
7. Matt Bruce 222

4" Stockcar – Lous Roadcourse – Saturday April 14th

Made the main. Equal first in A Semi with William Burnside
Struggled with traction in the main. Finished 6th.

GT12 – Marks Gerding Flat Track – Monday April 16th

5th in Semi B did not make the main

F1 32 – Marks Gerding Flat Track – Tuesday April 17th

Qualified 11th 3.61
Raced in the B main Finished 4th overall

32nd Eurosport – Marks Gerding Flat Track – Tuesday April 17th

Qualified 8th 2.81
Raced in the B main
Finished 6th overall. Lost 1 gear.

24th Eurosport – Marks Gerding Flat Track – Wednesday April 18th

Qualified 6th 2.438
Raced in A main.
Finished 2nd place 1 lap behind Greg Gilbert.