2001 NAMBA Fast Electrics Nationals

“The Midnight Sun Nationals” 
Reported by: Brian Vega
Vega1971@cfl.rr.com
   
Race Sponsor: FULLER’S FAST ELECTRICS
Hosting Club: Anchorage Model Boat Club

The NAMBA 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.

Day One.

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.

Day One Results.

M2 Mono
Naylor, R.
Schweers, G.
Whitt, D

M2 Hydro
Naylor, R.
Whitt, D.
Turner, J.

N2 Offshore
Whitt, D.
Naylor, R.
Corpuz, S.

O Sport Hydro
Naylor, R.
Crowe, D.
Bickford, S

S Hydro
Larson, L.
Whitt, D.
Vega, B.

N1 Crackerbox
Bickford, S.
Vega, B.
Crowe, D.

P Sport Hydro
Vega, B.
Whitt, D.
Larson, L.

  

  

Crackerbox Concourse
Steve Corpuz

O Sport Hydro Concourse
Dennis Whitt

P Sport Hydro Concourse
Dennis Whitt

Day One Winner’s Photo.

Day Two.

Another 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.

A picture of some bears on the beach

Here 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.

O-Sport Hydro 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.

Day Two Results.

N1 Mono
Greg Schweers
Colten Crowe
Randy Naylor

N2 Hydro
Brian Vega
Dick Crowe
Scott Bickford

P Hydro
Dick Crowe
Larry Larson
Dennis Whitt

Q Mono
Dennis Whitt
Brian Vega
Dick Crowe

P Offshore
Dick Crowe
Greg Schweers
Larry Larson

O Mono
Dick Crowe
Brian Vega
Scott Bickford

P OPC Tunnel
Randy Naylor
Dan Eames
Dennis Whitt

  

  

Day 3

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.

Randy 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.

Many thanks 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!

See you soon.  Brian Vega

Team 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.

Day Three Results.

N1 Mono
Bickford
Naylor
Whitt

N2 Mono
Vega
Larson
Schweers

P Mono
Schweers
Eames
Whitt

Q Offshore
Crowe
Schweers
Whitt

O Hydro
Vega
Crowe
Naylor

Q Hydro
Crowe
Larson
Whitt

-Dick Crowe. “ 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.”

TEAM ALASKA. The Anchorage Model Boat Club.

Back 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.

-Larry 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.

It was 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.”

The 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.

The 2001 National High Points champs. Shared this year by Dick Crowe and Randy Naylor (Mr. BBY).

Race Sponsor’s. 

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.

Class

Sponsor

Class

Sponsor

M1 Mono

bbylogo1.gif (1767 bytes)
R/C Boat Manufacturer

Q Mono

finelogo.gif (2400 bytes)
Fine Design Manufacturing

M1 Hydro

hillsbanner.gif (2104 bytes)
Hilltop Batteries and R/C boat supplies

P Offshore

hillsbanner.gif (2104 bytes)
Hilltop Batteries and R/C boat supplies

O Sport Scale Hydro


Custom Vinyl Graphics

O Mono

Parkside Assisted Living

S Hydro

banditlogo.gif (2291 bytes)
Model Boat Manufacturers

P OPC Tunnel

Lithia Chrysler Jeep

N2 Offshore

Frontier Travel

N1 Hydro


Radios and accessories

N1 Crackerbox

Rodney P Kinney and associates

N2 Mono

fe-comlogo.gif (1418 bytes)
LM NEO motors and accessories

P Sport Scale Hydro

steelfablogo.gif (1333 bytes)
Alaska's Steel Source

P Mono

VIP Distributing

N1 Mono


Radios and accessories

Q Offshore

Joe's Drafting Service
907-522-1206

N2 Hydro

rumrunnerlogo.gif (1964 bytes)
Rum Runner

O Hydro

hugheylogo.gif (3710 bytes)
(317) 299-3303

P Hydro

steelfablogo.gif (1333 bytes)
Alaska's Steel Source

Q Hydro

finelogo.gif (2400 bytes)
Fine Design Manufacturing

High Points

drc1logo.gif (1658 bytes)
Web design and Marketing

Team High Points

steelfablogo.gif (1333 bytes)
Alaska's Steel Source

 

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