National Championships have been ‘The Race’ to attend for FE racer’s the
past 10 years or so. The beautiful City of Anchorage, Alaska (USA) was the home
this year to the most watched & anticipated Fast Electric Boat race in the
world. This years contest was held June 29th, 30th and
July 1st, 2001. The most
competitive drivers and newest equipment are generally displayed at this annual
contest. This northern land (home of the famous Mid-Night Sun) offered a
true-life experience for most of the racer’s. Myself included. I was proud to
have the opportunity to attend this great race while representing Team Rum
Runner (RumRunnerRacing.com) and the Florida High Voltage Club. Indeed this
was a very long and expensive trip. It was worth every penny.
I arrived at
the lake @ 7:00am. The sun was up and bright. The race site is nicely protected
from any breeze with a beautiful background setting of mountains. This site was
an ideal location for a national race. The water was perfect, glass smooth. No
wind at all. Things were looking very promising. As the racer’s arrived at the
site and set-up, race officials prepared for the first day. While batteries
charged and boats were prepared, race directors Jay Turner, Larry Larson and Dan
Eames readied for the day.
I am only
running 4 classes today, so that allows me a little more time to peak and tweak
on my boats. And also gives me a chance to get around and socialize with the
fellow event attendees. Everyone seems to be enjoying the weather and the
beautiful race site. The racing is very competitive from the stock classes up to
the higher cell count classes. Everyone
seems to be enjoying the weather and the beautiful race site. The only glitch in the system was the water foul (the local
duck and geese population). Although this could be a problem anywhere you race,
it was a large problem because of long delays waiting for the course to clear.
The one good thing about the wait was I could use the extra minutes to peak the
batteries or fix minor little details. So waiting for the ducks, beavers, geese,
and other animals to clear the course was actually a benefit.
By the time the
second round of the day began, the boats seemed to have gained speed and the
racing was intense. There were some
good crashes and some good (I mean really good) racing. You know the kind of
racing I am talking about? Where you and the next guy are neck and neck the
whole time, changing places back and forth. Then at the finish it’s so close
that anyone could win just by and inch. Wow!
You have just got to love that adrenaline rush, baby. These are the kind of
drivers who can really push you to make a mistake. It’s all about Fast
Electric R/C Boat racing!
The third round
of the day was even better for me. I
raced in Cracker Box side-by-side with my good friend Dick Crowe. Dick and I
were going after each other the whole race right down to the very last turn. I
had just enough speed to get under him for a second place. That was a good race
for sure. And it was special for me to beat Dick in this class. Dick has been
the “Cracker Box Master” for the past 7 years and previously unbeaten.
This was a great defeat for me, due to the fact I have been chasing him
for the last 4 or 5 years. S-hydro
(24 cells) was short one boat to make the class official. So I had no problem
agreeing to join Larry Larson and Dennis Whitt for a racing class that I had
never before attempted. WOW! This class is the most power I have ever run and it
was 100% addicting. No doubt I will run this class in the future. The big cell
classes are a blast! You
have just ‘got to’ try one of these! Mr. Larry ripped the water to set a new
record in S-Hydro of 49.60 seconds with a hydro he built from scratch . Congrats
to Larry for a job well done.
One Winner’s Photo.
beautiful Alaska summer day. Clouds were looming just under the distant
mountaintops as the temperature had fallen. Actually, this was a chilly morning
for a Florida boy. The racing is going a little slower today because we had a
visit from the Fish and Game officer. It seemed that someone had telephone her
office and complained about our race. The racers all seemed to have a level of
frustration as the complainer was making it very touch for us. I was running 5
classes today and doing well in 3 of them. I had very bad luck with my P-Hydro
(12 cell) and my N-1 mono (6 cells/stock 05 motor).
I made up for my
bad luck in N-2 hydro (6 cell), Q-Mono (18 cell), and O-Mono (8 cell). I have
had some really great races in these classes. One that really stood out was
between Larry Larson and myself in O (8 cells) mono. We were pushing each other
the whole race. On the last lap of the final heat we came around turn 4 side by
side. I believe Larry tried to go inside and I went inside at the same time. I
happened to get inside him just enough to pass. Unfortunately for Larry, he
flipped over in my rooster tail. Man talk about feeling bad, I thought I had
taken him out. That was a great race for sure. When it comes to all out racing,
Larry and I have the best races between us.
is a picture of Larry and I in the water retrieving our boats. A couple of local
folks on the beach relaxing between heats. LOL!
This guy makes
me get the shakes when he and I are racing together. Any other time or person no
problem - Cool Hand Luke is on the job! This day turned out to be a very good
day for me. I took first place in N-2 Hydro, Second in 0-Mono, and second in
Q-Mono. This was also my
first time running Q-Mono.
P Offshore was a
popular class with lots of excitement. I did not race this class so I had a good
opportunity to watch the action. An
enduro style class, which runs on a special Offshore course. There were many
fast, well set-up boats. Dick Crowe set a new class record of 3:09 and took
first place overall. Dick drove a Larson GS1 Electro hull with an Aveox Marine
12 –Fuller cells, Octura X637 prop, fuller hardware and Hitec radio.
and P-Sport both ran on this day. O-Sport is the 1/16th scale
hydro’s which use 8 cells and any motor you select. Its one of my favorite
classes and surprisingly fast. The big money was on Dick Crowe who has been the
master of this class, for a number of years. This class turned out so close it
came down to a winner takes all final heat. Dick blasted to a huge lead only to
cut a bouy and receive a one lap penalty. This allowed Randy Naylor to edge into
first place. On the final lap Dick has worked his way back to within ¼ lap of
Randy however Randy held on to take the win.
P-Sport Hydro (
12 cells, a minimum scale boat size of 24 inches) was a very competitive class
with a field of fast, well set-up boats. A stand out was Larry Larson driving a
scratch built Oboy Oberto wood hull he built from Dave Frank plans. Larry and I
had some outstanding races together. His boat handled a lot better in the
corners than mine. I would smoke him in the straights and he would catch up in
the corners and challenge my lead. Then I would go again. My boat is a brand new
design by Doug Forrester who also built the hardware. This boat belongs to Don
Wollard and neither of us had time to dial it in prior to race day. It’s
really beautiful. My boat was so fast that I had lifting problems so I called on
my friend Dick Crowe. Dick helped me prepare an ‘air dump’ which disturbed
the airflow into the tunnel. Made all the difference in the world and gave me
the speed to gain first place.
The final day
was very chilly with some wind and overcast sky. Being the last day of racing I
was hoping of doing real well. I will be running 5 classes today and I have a
problem. I am running out of Schultz ESC’s (controllers). I came with 3 and I
am down to one. So I guess it will be the ESC shuffle and this is no fun when
you have back-to-back heats, four times in a row.
The racing was even more intense because this is the last show of the big
event. Everyone is looking fast and unstoppable. There was some very good racing
between a few guys.
Naylor (left) and Dennis Whitt enjoying the moment. Nice shorts Dennis. Is that
a local color?
Dick and I
would go head-to-head several times this day.
The only good race between us was in 0-Hydro. His boat was much faster
than mine. I used an Aveox 1409/1.5y motor and Dick had a brand new Fuller
prepared Hacker BL50 motor. We both were driving our Rum Runner Rigger’s which
are hand built by Don Wollard. Both of us sported Fuller cells and Schultz
ESC’s. In the first heat, Dick and I were battling for position when he caught
a rooster tail and flipped. So that put a damper on a first place finish for
Dick. He then decided to go for a speed record and become the very first driver
break the sub-60 second mark. I have never seen a fast electric hydro go that
fast on 8 cells, he was just ripping. Dick did not just break the record, he
smashed it with a speed of 58.12 seconds in 5 laps.
In Q-hydro I had nothing but bad luck so I had to turn to my counter
part, Dick Crowe to heat up the water. Dick went out and ate up the competition
then broke another speed record with a performance of 54.31 seconds and the
first place finish. Dicks boat was another brand new Rum Runner Rigger which
handled like an absolute dream. There was outstanding racing and driving among
all the competitors in this class. It just gets faster and faster.
N-1 Mono was
just a blast. 4 year old Colton Crowe was the man to beat. Colton raced neck and
neck with Greg Schweers all day for the lead. Greg finally edged out Colton on
time, for first place. Colton was even faster than me. Must have been his secret
snake oil. Maybe we can talk him into bottling that stuff.
I think the
best race of this day was when Larry and Dick presented to me a new kind of
race. This was to be done in the P-mono (12 cell mono hull with no motor
restriction) class due to the fact that all the racers in this heat had at least
one or two DNF. This race included
Ray Fuller, Dick Crowe, Larry Larson
and myself. The race rule was you had to run the whole race with
wide-open throttle. The first racer to let off the throttle was to be the loser.
So imagine, running a 12 cell Mono with 4 of the fastest boats in the USA, wide
open. I jumped the start, which did not matter soon thereafter. Ray Fuller was
the first driver to flip. Then Larry and myself both did a submarine. My boat
torpedoed out of the water because I kept true to the wide-open throttle policy.
That left Dick with the last wide open boat on the back stretch, all by himself.
However it wasn’t long before Dick’s boat flipped also. Keep in mind this
all happened in 2 laps. It was a blast! Over all, the day brought me victories
in O-Hydro and N2-mono. So it was a decent day and event for me.
I wanted to
mention an observation I had regarding the number of excellent racer’s at this
event. In particular how everyone has improved with driving skills and boat
set-up, over the past few years. One of those guys is Dennis Whitt. Dennis was
racing for the Fine Design Team and has a stable of boats note worthy anywhere
in the world. Dennis really sacrificed to get to the race and home again. He got
bumped off his flight in Seattle on the way to the race and he was stranded. He
had the same thing happen on the return flight home with a delay of an entire
day. Hang in Dennis! It was great racing with you twice in one year. You are one
heck of a competitor.
The hard luck
award (if there was one) should have been slit between Dennis Whitt and Duncan
Blanchard. In O-Hydro (I believe) Dennis was racing along when his boat bounced
right in front of the drivers stand. The boat did a submarine and dove right
into the bottom of the lake. Since the water was crytal clean if was fun to
watch this. His boat then lodged into the bottom of the lake and stay there for
a few minutes before floating back to the surface. Dennis also had some great
crashes. Right Greg? Duncan had some real fast boats but lady luck was not with
him on this trip. I give him lots of credit for hanging in and trying, no matter
what. Better luck next year Duncan.
The 2001 NAMBA
Nationals have now come to a close. What a rush! It was time to collect all of
my hardware (Trophies), pack-up my gear and prepare to leave for home. I have to
get all this stuff into 2 boxes. It took a while because of my beautiful
trophies. They are the best I have ever had the pleasure of receiving.
again to the Anchorage model boat club. You folks are the best! This club put on
one heck of a show and my hat is off to them for a job well done. I also want to
say thanks to all the fine people I met in Alaska for making this trip one of
the best yet. My special thanks to Ray Fuller (Fuller’s Fast Electric’s) for
his generosity supporting this years Nationals. You are GREAT Ray!
soon. Brian Vega
Rum Runner @ the Nats. Brian Vega (left) with his first place-National
Championship Rum Runner N-2 (6 cell) Hydro. Right is Dick Crowe with his
National Championship P/Q (12 – 18 cell) Rum Runner rigger. Dick won first
place in P Hydro and first place Q Hydro with this same boat. Dick also blasted
to a new Q hydro record of 54.31 seconds.
Dick became the first driver ever to go sub 60 seconds (58.12 seconds) on 8
cells, with another Rum Runner Rigger. A BIG accomplishment. The TEAM won
every class entered with 4 first places, two-second places and two new National
Speed Record. As a side note, Dick was racing under the Fuller’s Fast
Electrics banner even when he driving his Rum Runner rigger’s.
“ In my 14 years of racing this was by far the best event I have had the
pleasure of attending. I will always treasure the memory.”
ALASKA. The Anchorage Model Boat Club.
row, Left to Right. Michelle Ames, Dan Ames, Eric Eames, Jay Turner, Karen
Turner, Jim Raffuse, Barb Larson, Larry Larson. Front Row, Left to Right. Steve
Corpus, Kris Kenyon.
Larson. “Just putting on this event was special for me. We worked real
hard to produce a quality event and I believe everyone who attended was pleased.
We were blessed with near perfect weather and water conditions. My special
thanks to our ladies who did all of the events scoring. Priceless thanks to
Karen Turner, Barb Larson, Carrie Larson and Elizabeth Larson for all there
help. My special moment was being the first to break the 50-second barrier.
great to see Randy Naylor back on top. Brian Vega’s performance was fantastic.
He is truly one of the top racers in the country, a gentlemen and a real asset
to Fast Electric Boat Racing. Last I must mention how Dick Crowe came back from
a dismal first day to tie a High Points Champion. His coach, master Colton Crowe
is destined to someday be one of the country’s best.”
Team Championship went to Fullers Fast Electrics. The Fullers Team consisted of,
(left to right) Greg Schweers, Dick Crowe, Larry Larson and Scott Bickford. Mr.
Colton Crowe( 4 years old) is in front.
2001 National High Points champs. Shared this year by Dick Crowe and Randy
Naylor (Mr. BBY).
Ray Fuller of
Fuller’s Fast Electrics was key to making this race happen. Thanks Ray!
You’re the Man. The class sponsor’s and raffle donor are the ones who make a
race GREAT by providing the club with the funds to recognized the racers for
their accomplishments. A great big THANK YOU to all the class sponsors.