The 2000 NAMBA  Fast Electric Nationals
By: Chris Harris - hammerheadh20@juno.com 

The 2000 edition of the NAMBA F/E Nationals will be remembered for a lot of things. 

 This race set a new precedence for the level of electric competition.  Not only did we see the largest F/E boat race ever held on U.S. soil at  227 boats. We also saw the most competitive race in North American F/E history. Not ever  has the quest for the Highpoints Champion trophy seen a margin of victory so narrow, only 13points. I feel privileged to have witnessed this historic race.

 Of course we all know events like these don't plan themselves. On behalf of everyone who made it to this race I want to thank Doug Twaits Sr., Andy Kunz, Chris Fine, and Norman Barksdale for their hard work. I too, want to thank all the other guys that were there on Thursday who helped setup tents and build the drivers stand. Your efforts did not go un-noticed.

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 Friday morning brought clear blue skies and cool temperatures. You could feel the excitement in the air as the competitors all made there final adjustments and made sure they had nice, warm, charged batteries for the first heats of the day. Starting the day was the much anticipated M-2 classes. Never having raced 4-cell boats before the NAMBA racers were anxious to see what these little boats could do. What a surprise they proved to be.

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First up was M-2 mono.

Greg Schweers and Doug Twaits Jr. quickly showed they had figured out this 4-cell stuff. If you didn't know better you might have thought their boats were powered by 6-cells NOT FOUR!!! Top contenders in the class Greg, Doug, Barry Janzen, and Brian Vega provided some great racing action. Brian, though very fast was knocked out of the top three with one DNF.  Greg with his rock solid Micro Bullet took top honors in the class. Doug Twaits had the fastest boat of the bunch and not only took second place but Fast Time also with a very impressive 1:28:03. Barry Janzen through consistency found his way to Third. 

Next up was M-2 Hydro.

The battle here would be between Doug Twaits Jr. and Chris Harris.  Both their boats were fast and very equal. This made for some really tight racing.  Doug's experience shined through though and he took the win with a perfect score as well as fast time with a 1:14:00. Chris Harris with three second place finishes was second. Fellow Floridian Eric Johnson raced his BBY rigger to third place.

 The next class up in the day was O-mono 8 cells any motor.

In open water testing on Thursday Dick Crowe showed he was going to be a force to be reckoned with in this class. His Bandit Boats El Lobo 2 with Aveox power and a Shulze ESC was an absolute rocket and was the class of the field. Dick took first while Larry Larson and Jeff Vasquez were left to fight it out for second which went to Larry.

 P-OPC Tunnel hulls were next.

Jeff Vasquez brought back to life his National championship winning Koun's tunnel hull and proved that old technology can still go fast. Going into the third heat it was Chris Harris' class to lose with good finishes in the two previous heats. All he had to do was finish the last heat and he would win the class. Well.... unfortunately his speed control burned up on the third lap and he was dead in the water and knocked back to third in the class. Dennis Whitt sped by to take second and Jeff with "old reliable" grabbed the win.

 I think it's safe to say that the next class got everyone's attention. The class is S-hydro 19-24 cells.

When these boats hit the water the rooster tails fly! In the first heat Chris Harris took the win with his monstrous outrigger he calls the "Sledge Hammer". In the following heat though  he litterly smoked the flex cable in the collet and was out. Doug Twaits Sr. drove his Aveox powered Twister to perfection in the next two heats and won the class closely followed by Doug Jr. for second. Chris Fine with a beautiful Aeromarine cat brought home third.

 New to NAMBA electric racing was the four minute format Offshore class.

The course for the Offshore classes includes two left hand turns which makes the racing a real drivers game. Because the course was the official Offshore course it made it possible to establish records for the three classes of Offshore boats. Records are established on the 10th lap. Who gets the fastest time to 10 laps gets the record. For keeping score competitor's total number of laps accumulated over three heats decides the winners.

 The first class of this format to take to the water was N-2 Offshore.

These six cell boats were amazingly fast even though they were set up to run for 4+ minutes. Dennis Whitt showed the way in this class by not only accumulating the most laps throughout the day but also establishing the 10 lap record for N-2 Offshore at 3:37:70. Who would have thought that a 6 cell boat could make 10 laps especially in less than four minutes!!! Dennis certainly showed it can be done. Second place was taken by Team Alaska's Joe Kornegay. Third place went to another Michigan racer Steve McGregor.

 The win in N-1 Crackerbox went to perennial favorite Dick Crowe.

Although given a run for his money by the likes of Brian Vega and Marek Pleskaz, Dick proved to be too tough. Brian took second and Marek placed third.

 P-1/12 Scale Hydro's went next.

Powered by the same power plants as most of the 12-cell riggers these boats are incredible and make for some real high flying action. When all was said and done Doug Twaits Jr. and Dick Crowe had tied in points. These two never faced each other in a heat and both had perfect scores at the end of the day. Doug however had the faster heat time with a 1:04:17 so he received the win while Dick took second. Third place went to Chris Fine with his sweet running and consistent shovelnose hydro.

 Saturday morning also brought cool temperatures but by noon it had warmed up to the mid-80's.  The competition was also hot and yielded more record performances.

 First up was N-1 Mono.

There were so many good boats in this class there wasn't anyone who looked like a favorite to win. When a class is this big and has so many good boats experience seems to become the deciding factor. This is made evident when you look at the top three. Dick Crowe took the win followed by Larry Larson and Greg Schweers 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Team Bandit racer Scott Bickford earned fast time honors with a 1:35:23

 N-2 Hydro was also a large class full of really good boats.

Chris Costanza member of the Morris County EBC in New Jersey came to win this class specifically. Well win he did. His fellow club members weren't that surprised though. They say he's a real terror in this class at their club races too. Doug Twaits Jr. took second while Dick Crowe placed third running Donnie Wollard's Rum Runner rigger. Fast time went to Doug Jr. with a 1:05:05.

Perhaps the most impressive performance of the weekend took place in P-Hydro.

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Last years Nationals saw the first ever sub-one minute heats ever. However this was in the Q class hydro's running up to18 cells. It has long been the quest to break this barrier with 12-cells. Well it finally happened. Jeff Vasquez was first to set the new mark with a sizzling 55:40. Many others also broke the one-minute barrier but no one could better Jeff's time. Jeff went on to win the class with a perfect score. Doug Twaits Jr. followed closely in second. New York racer Kieth Leonard took third place in this highly competitive class at his first Nationals ever. Good Job Kieth!!!

 Q-Mono are the big guns in NAMBA mono racing.

Powered by 13-18 cells these things really scream and make for some really wild racing. Doug Twaits Jr. took the class win and fast time closely followed by Jeff Vasquez in second. Dennis Whitt took third with a new Seaducer boat that was laid up especially for electrics. With no turn fin or trim tabs needed this boat is a real standout.

 P-Offshore was up next.

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This was the second class run under the new Offshore rules running up too 12 cells. Chris Fine showed in the first race of the day that he was there to win this class by establishing the new 10 lap record right off the bat. He kept lowering his own record all day and ended up getting the time down to an impressive 2:57:00. Mark Kennedy another New York racer took second place with Dennis Whitt grabbing third.

 1/16 Scale Hydro is always a tough class.

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Filled with fast boats this class was full of carnage and spectacular blowoffs. Team Bandit's Scott Bickford showed that consistency is the way to win races, taking his first National title. Jerry Pelletier took second place and fast time with a 1:05:55 with a Forrestor hull. Keith Leonard took third place.

 Sunday morning greeted the racers with heavy fog. In early morning practice you could barely see the boats running down the back straight. However the fog lifted before racing started.

N-1 Hydro was first up.

These R.O.A.R. stock motor powered hydro's showed impressive speed and yielded close competition. Doug Twaits Jr. brought home the win with Dennis Whitt nipping at his heels for second. Joe Kornegay was third. Doug Twaits Jr. set fast time with a 1:11:88.

 N-2 Mono went next Larry Larson drove a clean steady race and won the class. Dennis Whitt  took second with his very fast BBY Oval Master hull. In third was Greg Schweers. Greg also took fast time with a 1:17:22. 

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 P-Mono was another class that was super competitive.

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Every boat entered had a chance. In the face of all this stiff competition Jeff Vasquez showed he's still the man to beat by taking the win. Scott Bickford took a solid second place. Dick Crowe not only took third but also fast time with a 1:06:73.

 Next up was the third class of Offshore (Q-Offshore).

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The class was dominated by the guys from New York. Taking first was Mark Kennedy. Second was Keith Leonard. Chris Fine had the fastest boat in the class but had a blow over in the first race. Going into the third heat him and Chris Harris were tied in total laps for third place so whoever finished ahead would take it. Chris Harris was pushing real hard took keep up to Chris Fine but pushed too hard and flipped his boat. Oh well he had to try! Chris Fine also set a new 10 lap record for the class at 3:11:33.

 Being one the largest classes of the race O-Hydro was an all out war.

Dennis Whitt survived the battle and won the class.  Brian Vega was a close second with his Rum Runner rigger. Doug Twaits Jr. rode out the class in third. Doug also took fast time with a 1:03:14.

 Q-Hydro  was the final class of the event.

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These boats are always impressive with their high power and big speed. Dick Crowe drove a perfect race and took the win. Doug Twaits Jr. took second with Jeff Vasquez taking third. Dick set fast time with a 1:03:08.

 This was an incredible race form the standpoint of the all out level of the competition. I believe 90% of the boats entered were good enough to win their respective classes. My congratulations go to the winners. You  definitely earned it!!!

The real proof that this was the most competitive race ever was the race for the High Points Championship. Four drivers were within 90 points of each other. Greg Schweers, Dick Crowe, Jeff Vasquez, and Doug Twaits Jr. were all called up to the trophy table. Contest Director Doug Twaits Sr. had them all put their hands on the trophy and told them they all deserve the championship but unfortunately it can only go to one. He read off the runners up. The third runner up was Greg Schweers. The second was Dick Crowe. This left Jeff and Doug standing there holding the trophy. As they stood there both with big smiles on their faces Doug Sr. read the name of the first runner up. It was Jeff Vasquez. Doug Jr. stood there stunned for moment. It was truly a special moment in NAMBA Fast Electric history. This is Doug's third championship in five years.

 Another thing that is totally outstanding is that every class except one had a new record set. That means 19 out of 20 classes have new national records. F/E is alive and well!!!

 As we all know we owe the health of our sport to the many sponsors that make races like this one possible. On behalf of Rum Runner Racing and all the participants I would like to thank all the sponsors that supported this race. Remember to support them when building your next project.

AeroMarine Laminates Electric Thunder Marine Kenvil Hobbies
Aveox  fastelectrics.com Lakeland Area Model Boaters
Bandit Boats   Fine Design Mfg. NAMBA District 1
Bill Fulmers Custom Cut Vinyl Florida High Voltage RC-Hydros.com
Chase Motorsports Fuller's Fast Electrics Rogell Marine
Cyclone Model Marine Hill's RC Supplies Rum Runner Racing
Danvo Models  Hitec RCD Inc Team Cyclone
 DRC Web Services Jackson Hobbies Warehouse Hobbies
   

The Winners Sheet

M-2 Mono

1 Greg Schweers
2 Doug Twaits Jr.

3 Barry Janzen

Fast Time Doug Twaits Jr. 1:28:03
  

O-Mono

1 Dick Crowe
2 Larry Larson
3 Jeff Vasquez
Fast Time Jeff Nicoll 1:11:50
  

S-Hydro

1 Doug Twaits Sr.
2 Doug Twaits Jr.
3 Chris Fine
Fast Time Doug Twaits Sr. 59:52
  

N-1 Crackerbox

1 Dick Crowe
2 Brian Vega
3 Marek Pleskacz
Fast Time Dick Crowe 1:48:00
   

N-1 Mono

1 Dick Crowe
2 Larry Larson
3 Greg Schweers
Fast Time Scott Bickford 1:35:23
   

P-Hydro

1 Jeff Vasquez
2 Doug Twaits Jr.
3 Kieth Leonard
Fast Time Jeff Vasquez 55:40
   

P-Offshore

1 Chris Fine
2 Mark Kennedy
3 Dennis Whitt
10 Lap Record 2:57:00
  

N-1 Hydro

1 Doug Twaits
2 Dennis Whitt
3 Joe Kornegay
Fast Time Dennis Whitt 1:11:88
   

P-Mono

1 Jeff Vasquez
2 Scott Bickford
3 Dick Crowe
Fast Time Dick Crowe 1:06:73
   

O-Hydro

1 Dennis Whitt
2 Brian Vega
3 Doug Twaits Jr.
Fast Time Doug Twaits Jr. 1:03:14
   

Concourse

Crackerbox/ Brian Vega
1/16 Scale/ Larry Larson
1/12 Scale/ Dennis Whitt
   
Sportsman Award
 Justin Nash

M-2 Hydro

1 Doug Twaits Jr.
2 Chris Harris
3 Eric Johnson
Fast Time Doug Twaits Jr. 1:14:00
  

P-OPC

1 Jeff Vasquez
2 Dennis Whitt
3 Chris Harris
Fast Time Jeff Vasquez 1:17:09
  

N-2 Offshore

1 Dennis Whitt
2 Joe Kornegay
3 Steve Mcgeorge
10 Lap Record  Dennis Whitt
  

1/12 Scale

1 Doug Twaits Jr.
2 Dick Crowe
3 Chris Fine
Fast Time Doug Twaits Jr. 1:04:17
  

N-2 Hydro

1 Chris Costanza
2 Doug Twaits Jr.
3 Dick Crowe
Fast Time Doug Twaits Jr. 1:05:05
  

Q-Mono

1 Doug Twaits Jr.
2 Jeff Vasquez
3 Dennis Whitt
Fast Time Jeff Vasquez 1:05:10
  

1/16 Scale

1 Scott Bickford
2 Jerry Pelleteir
3 Keith Leonard
Fast Time Jerry Peleteir 1:05:55
   

N-2 Mono

1 Larry Larson
2 Dennis Whitt
3 Greg Schweers
Fast Time Greg Schweers 1:17:22
   

Q-Offshore

1 Mark Kennedy
2 Keith Leonard
3 Chris Fine
10-Lap Record Chris Fine 3:11:33
  

Q-Hydro

1 Dick Crowe
2 Doug Twaits Jr.
3 Jeff Vasquez
Fast Time 1:03:08
  

Team High Points

Team Fullers Fast Electrics
  
Hard Luck Award
Brian Leone
 
High Points Champion
Doug Twaits Jr.

  

Pictures From The Race

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The "Big Dogs" Ready to Pounce
   
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Jeff and Greg's table
  
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Dennis's table
  
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Chris Harris's fleet before the carnage
  
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They dont call these boys High-Voltage for nothin'!
  
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Joe Kornagey from Alaska
  
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Marek with one of his riggers.
  
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Looks to be a very fast mono...
  
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The Winners!
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Brian "Cool Hand" Vega
   
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Chris Costanza and Dougie
  
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Dougie with his hydro
  
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Chris's messy pit
  
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The Janzen's
   
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Larry Larson from Alaska (Nice hat Larry!)
  
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Team Michigan's pit
  
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Here they come!
  

Special thanks to Chris Harris for taking the time to take these pictures and write this great story!  

This Article was written by Chris Harris Exclusively for Rum Runner Racing. Use of this article is prohibited without written permission from Rum Runner Racing.

 

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