The 1999 Spring Splash

by  Jay  Turner

The Spring Splash fast electric race has been a tradition in the Pacific Northwest  since 1991. Now sponsored by the Puget Sound Fast Electric Model Boat Club under NAMBA sanction, the race has grown from a small club race with a few dozen entries to one of the largest fast electric races in the country. Due to the event’s growth, in 1999 the Enchanted Parks/Wild Waves water park in Federal Way Washington was reserved for the race. It was a good thing too, because this year’s attendance was the largest ever, with 107 boats competing in 13 different classes.   The weather was wonderful, and the racing action was as hot as ever, with seven new NAMBA oval records being set.

As in years past, Concours competition was held for both Crackerbox models and 1/16 Sport Scale hydros. Lots of beautiful boats entered the competition, and the 1/16 Sport Scale winner was Kevin Parson’s rendition of the checkerboard Miss Bardahl.  Tim O’Mahoney’s graphics-laden model was judged the winner in the Crackerbox competition.

Standout  Racing Performances

§         N-1 Mono was a hotly contested event, and it continues to surprise me how fast these ROAR-motor-powered 6-cell boats have become.  Their speeds today are faster than that of some 7-cell modified monos of six years ago.  Why?  Better hull designs, motors and batteries are part of the answer.  Greg Schweers netted the weekend’s first National oval record on Saturday with a heat time of 1:40.02 driving his Maus MicroBullet, which was fitted with a Maxtec motor and x438 Octura prop.  The MicroBullet hull is rather small, but very stable and fast with Greg’s extended surface drive out the back. 

§         1/16th Sport Scale Hydro was an exciting class as always, and the 9 entries were all fast and impressive in their scale-like colors.  This 8-cell class runs three qualifying heats and a  winner-takes-all final, just like the full scale Unlimited hydros do.  The final was brutal this year, with blinding glare in the drivers’ eyes from the bright late-afternoon sun.  A first lap crash took out two boats, then three others ended their heat upside down before the racing was over.  Dick Crowe crossed the finish line first and took the win.  Dick also set a new oval record of 1:08.37 with his Ultra 920-4 motor in his Maus 1/16th scale shovelnose hull sporting Miss Bardahl paint.  This would have been a very good 12-cell hydro time just a couple years ago!

§         P Sport Scale Hydro winners were all driving the ‘oldtimer’ shovelnose designs.  Actually, these models by Maus and Bandit are modern renditions of the full scale boats which raced from the 1950s through the early 1970s.  Their large air-trapping designs provide a lot of lift for high speeds.  They corner well too, but they are prone to lift off and fly if the driver isn’t careful.  Once again Dick Crowe’s skillful driving put his boat in the high points position, and blasted to a new record for the class of 1:08.92.

§         N-2 Mono  was a challenge to drive in the wind on Sunday, but the Maus MicroBullet of Dick Crowe amassed enough points to tie Larry Larson’s similar Micro; Dick was judged the winner based on his fastest time.  Both boats were very similar in setup, although Dick used an Ultra 920-4 and Larry ran a G-Force 05 motor.  Both boats had heat times faster than the old class record, with the new record becoming Dick’s impressive 1:20.84 heat.

§         O Mono winners used rather small hulls for this class, with two MicroBullets and a cut-down Graupner ElectroVee gathering the trophies.  Sunday’s water was a bit rough, but that didn’t stop Greg Schweers from setting a new class record of 1:14.36 and taking the class win to boot.  Dick Crowe’s Micro took second; both Dick and Greg used their same boats for both N-2 and O mono classes, just using different battery packs when switching classes.

§         P Mono was the most impressive class of the weekend to me, as the top boats were unbelievably fast!  Monos can become unstable at high speed in rough water and traffic, and many of these boats were running on the ragged edge all day.  I was most impressed with the way the top boats cornered, as they drifted around the buoys well, seldom flipping or spinning out. The standout boat belonged, again, to Greg Schweers; his 24” Maus Bullet with Aveox power and big ABC prop literally flew over the pond, passing other boats at will yet staying upright to finish all three heats, two of them in first place.  His 1:07.18 record heat was faster than plenty of the P-hydros!

§         P Hydro is always an exciting class to watch, with a high level of attrition due to these boats’ high speeds and the shaky hands on the racers’ transmitters.  These factors make it difficult to drive really fast, since it is necessary to dodge dead boats and to avoid the large roostertails these powerful boats throw.  Larry Larson managed to steer around dead boats to set a new NAMBA electric oval record ( for P Hydro class as well as for ALL oval classes ) of 1:01.14 on his way to the class win.  Larry’s blue TJ Performance Boats outrigger (featured in a recent issue of RCBM ) with its Aveox power was extremely smooth as it blasted around the course, averaging lap times only a bit over 12 seconds.  As of March 2000 this same boat also holds the NAMBA all-time speed record of over 63 mph running on 18 cells.

High Speed Trends

            The reasons for the large number of new records set at the Spring Splash were varied, but I have an idea what the more important ones were.   First, the water conditions were generally very good, although a few classes were plagued with wind and slightly rough water.  The winners here managed to keep their boats on the water through driver skill, along with a boat setup that allowed stability.  It was tough to dial in the boats to be on the edge of control without going over, but the top drivers managed to do just that.

            Hull setup was a big factor in the 6-cell mono classes.  Surface drives are derigeur,  this to reduce drag from underwater drives and to allow the boats to air out without getting too far out of the water, losing stability.  The ROAR motors in N-1 Mono are good, but in general no better than those available for the last two years.  N-2 Mono winners used “exotic” motors from Aveox, G-Force and Ultra, but some of the winners chose these versatile motors so that they could run them on both 6 and 8 cells without changing anything in the boats but batteries between heats.  

            The two sport scale classes were dominated by the shovelnose designs; these appear to have handling advantages over some of the picklefork designs which were formerly winners in these classes. They have good speed too; few people realize that the straightline speed record for the full-scale Unlimited hydroplanes is held by a shovelnose design.  The large air trapping tunnel provides a lot of lift and thus speed, but they are prone to blow off.  Some racers put small ‘spoilers” in the front of the air traps to reduce lift in the wind.  These vary from ¼” to 3/8” deep, and reduce the lift just enough to keep the hull on the water, but not enough to destroy speed.

            There was definitely a move toward ‘exotic” motors, those not based on the typical 05 car motor, but instead on high-tech airplane or other designs with powerful magnets or brushless designs.  The Plettenberg and Ultra neodymes and the Aveox Brushless motors powered many winners’ boats at the Splash, and they seem to be more and more popular for high-level competition.  They are more costly to purchase, but an advantage is less maintenance over a season, particularly with the brushless motors.  There is still a place for the less exotic 05 car motors however, particularly in the 4-cell and 6-cell classes.

            Hardware is almost totally surface drive, except for the prescribed submerged drive in Crackerbox racing.  A look at the winners’ chart shows that a large number of boats ran hardware by Fullers Fast Electrics; Ray Fuller is a local Washington racer who also supplies excellent lightweight drive systems for the discerning racer.  Octura X-series props dominated as usual, with a trend towards smaller diameters to help reduce torque reactions and thus make the boats more stable in the turns.

All the racers and spectators fully enjoyed the event, and enough cannot be said of the efforts of the many PSFEMBC members who worked to make it a success, including Commodore Bill Blackwell and his chief scorers Sally Crowe and Charlotte Yordy.  Everyone involved with the 1999 Spring Splash would like to thank the following sponsors for their enthusiastic support. The race would not have been such a success without them.  See you all at the 2000 Splash!

SPONSORS:     DPI Leisure Sports, Fullers Fast Electrics, Bandit Boats, Hitec RCD, Allstar Trophy, Larry Kirby and the Puget Sound Fast Electric Model Boat Club.


RACE  RESULTS 1999 Spring Splash    
Pos./Driver Boat Motor Propeller ESC Hardware
6-Cell Crackerbox       Fast Time - Scott Bickford  -  1:57.66 Entries:  8
Bob Cozart Warehouse Hobbies Fuller Black x435 AstroFlight Fullers
Kevin Parsons DPI Enforcer x432 AstroFlight Fullers
Tim O'Mahoney Warehouse Hobbies Trinity Midnight 2 x432 Novak Tempest DPI
6-Cell N-1 Mono   Fast Time - Greg Schweers  -  1:40.05 Entries:  15
Greg Schweers Maus MicroBullet Maxtek x438 Hughey Fullers
Bill Blackwell Blackwell Skim-o Birdman x637 Tekin 432M Fullers
Larry Kirby Maus MicroBullet Trinity Midnight 2 x438 AstroFlight Fullers
6-Cell N-1 Hydro   Fast Time - Larry Lrson  -  1:46.40 Entries:   4
Ray Fuller Prestwich Step Hydro Fuller Black x637 Astroflight Fullers
Larry Larson Cyclone Trinity X-Star x437/3 Astroflight 212 Octura
Mark Yordy The Boat Trinity Green Machine x435 Tekin Scratch
8-Cell 1/16th Sport Scale Fast Time - Dick Crowe  -  1:08.37 Entries:  9
Dick Crowe Maus 1/16 Shovelnose Ultra 920-4 x632 HiTec Fullers
Kevin Parsons Maus 1/16 Shovelnose Ultra 920-4 x632 HiTec Fullers
Scott Bickford DPI American Dream Ultra 920-4 x432 AstroFlight Fullers
12-Cell P Sport Scale Hydro Fast Time - Dick Crowe  -  1:08.92 Entries:  8
Dick Crowe Maus 1/12 Shovelnose Plettenberg 290-30 x637 AstroFlight Fullers
Larry Kirby Bandit Shovelnose Plettenberg 290-30 x637 AstroFlight Fullers
Scott Bickford Bandit Shovelnose Plettenberg 290-30 x442 AstroFlight Fullers
12-Cell P OPC Tunnel Fast Time - Larry Larson  -  1:35.82 Entries:  4
Larry Larson Starks Scratch Plettenberg 290-30 x438 AstroFlight 207 K&B
Mark Yordy Bandit Killer Graupner 700 BB Turbo x440/3 AstroFlight 207 K&B
Robby Oesch DPI - 3.5 tunnel Plettenberg 6T x645 AstroFlight K&B
6-Cell N-2 Mono   Fast Time - Dick Crowe  -  1:20.84 Entries:  12
Dick Crowe Maus MicroBullet Ultra 920-4 x438 HiTec Fullers
Larry Larson Maus MicroBullet G-Force x437/3 Hughey Schweers
Richard Hernandez GRP Sabre Aveox 1409 ABC - 45 x 55 Aveox Schweers
6-Cell N-2 Hydro   Fast Time - Larry Larson  -  1:20.22 Entries:  6
Larry Larson Cyclone G-Force x637 Astro 212 Octura
Bill Blackwell Blackwell Afterburner Ballistic 13T x432 Tekin 432M MRP
Jay Turner Yellow Jacket Trinity D2 14T x637 Tekin 432M Octura
8-Cell O Mono   Fast Time - Greg Schweers  -  1:14.36 Entries:  10
Greg Schweers Maus MicroBullet Aveox 1409 ABC 45 x 55 Aveox Fullers
Dick Crowe Maus MicroBullet Ultra 920-4 x438 HiTec Fullers
Larry Larson Schweers ElectroVee Aveox 1409 x445 Aveox Schweers
8-Cell O Hydro   Fast Time - Dick Crowe  -  1:16.35 Entries:8
Dick Crowe Maus 1/16 Shovelnose Ultra 920-4 x632 HiTec Fullers
Kevin Parsons Maus 1/16 Shovelnose Ultra 920-4 x632 AstroFlight Fullers
Bob Cozart DPI American Dream Ultra 920-4 x632 AstroFlight Fullers
12-Cell P Mono   Fast Time - Greg Schweers  -  1:07.18 Entries:  11
Greg Schweers Maus Bullet Aveox 1412 - 1.5 x447/3 Aveox Fullers
Mark Yordy Bandit pistolero Plettenberg 290-30 5T x447/3 AstroFlight Fullers
Alen Bankhead SuperJuice AstroFlight 25 5T x445 AstroFlight Graupner
12-Cell P Hydro   Fast Time - Larry Larson  -  1:01.14 Entries:   8
Larry Larson TJ Rigger Aveox 1412 - 1.5 1650 Aveox TJ Performance
Rick Ramus Bandit Shovelnose Plettenberg 930-5 x637 Astro 212 Fullers
Scott Bickford Bandit Shovelnose Graupner 700BB Turbo x440 Astro 212 Fullers
Anything Goes   Fast Time - Dick Crowe  -  1:17.28 Entries:  4
Dick Crowe Maus MicroBullet Ultra 920-4 x438 HiTec Fullers
Tony Treichel DPI T-Plus Plettenberg 5-turn x442 Tekin G-12 Fullers
Robby Oesch DPI American Dream Plettenberg 920-4 x632 HiTec Fullers
 High Point Champion Fast Heat     Entries
Dick Crowe Larry Larson - 1:01.14 107
Concours: Crackerbox   1/16th Sport Hydro  
  Tim O'Mahoney Kevin Parsons  


Pictures from the '99 Spring Splash

Special thanks to Dick Crowe

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


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