Billed as "The Race of the Century", the 1999 NAMBA
Fast Electric Nationals proved to be much more. How about, "the fastest -
fast electric race ever held". 7 new North American speed records were set.
The five lap, sub- one minute barrier was broken. History was made.
Over 3 days in November, the Central Florida town of
Kissimmee became home to a hardy group of anxious racers. Originally scheduled
for mid September the race was delayed for two months at the hand of Hurricane
Floyd. Balmy tropical Florida fall weather lead the way for fast, slightly
choppy water. Old friends and new raced hot boats powered by 05 and exotic
motors to new records. New boat designs and innovative set-ups streaked across
the water leaving shimmering roostertails and sighs of relief when one actually
finished. Even though the water was fast, a brisk north breeze sent most drivers
(and there boats) into ‘never-never land’ while a few lucky drivers captured
Before you read any further about this race, please take a
moment to visit the sponsors page at the end of this article. Our race sponsors
are the people who made this race happen. Without there support, Fast Electric
Racing would be without notice. Thank you sponsors for your support. Hope to see
you at the Spring Splash and the 2000 NAMBA Nationals.
The Central Florida High Voltage Club hosted the 1999
NAMBA Nationals. Club honcho’s, prez Tony Colorusso and district director
Chris Harris oversaw the festivities. These two guys handled a huge job
specially when they were surprised at the last minute when a local gas club who
were booked to officiate the race failed to show up. Chris and Tony sacrificed
most of there own racing opportunities so the race could go on. Many hats are
off to you guys. You are the best!
|Donnie presenting Tony and Chris their special Thank You
Day One. At race time it was 60 degrees with a breeze
gusting up to 20 MPH. The lake was choppy so the race course was set-up on the
north side. The side with the least chop. 6 cell Crackerbox Class mono’s were
first to race. In this class, the inexperienced and experienced racers compete
on equal footing. The boat hulls follow strict design parameters as do the stock
motors. Racing was 6 time National Champion Dick Crowe who battled side by side
with 14 year old Daniel Wollard and other competitors including motor magician
|The Crackerbox's lined up for Concorse Judging
The Cracker Box is a scale class and each boat must
include scale drivers and other features similar to the full size boats. The
Cracker Boxes are not the fastest boats on the pond however it takes a lot of
skill to drive. Specially in a chop. At race time, boats went left, boats went
right. Others went upside down. Dick Crowe once again prevailed and took top
honors with 14 year old Rum Runner Team driver Daniel Wollard in second place
followed closely by his brother Donnie. Daniel and Donnie both drove home made
wooden boats. You can get a copy of the same plans they used from R/C Boat
Modeler Magazine. Build your own Cracker Box and join in the fun. Joe Kornegay
won the Concours Trophy for his expertly prepared boat. Joe traveled from Alaska
for the race. Rob Micheals took fast time at, 1:23:12. Central Florida High
Voltage sponsored this class.
|Daniel Wollard with his 2nd Place Crackerbox
N-1 Mono (Stock motor-any mono hull with 6 cells) was
next. This is a very popular class nationwide and sported the second most
entries at the race. Anyone can be competitive with a very inexpensive set-up
and a little driving instruction. Ready to race, an N-1 Mono can be set-up for
around $100 including motor and hardware. You can build a similar boat in wood
from plans, purchase a plastic kit, or acquire an epoxy race boat like a Fuller’s
Fast Electric RTR Maus Micro-Bullet. Regardless of your choice and budget, the
prevailing boat is the one that is carefully prepared. At the race, that was
most all of the boats. Fast, fun to drive and even more fun to race. There was
just enough chop to make these boats perform like there full size brothers. Dick
Crowe, driving for the Fuller’s Four Corners Team edged out ‘mono-master’
Greg Schweers to take first place. Dick also won fast time at, 1:23:47. Dick’s
boat is a Fuller’s prepared Maus Micro Bullet powered by a Fuller’s Stock
Motor. Central Florida High Voltage sponsored this class.
|At almost dusk, the final heat of N-1 Mono began!
(Stock motor-hydroplane hull with 6 cells),
followed and proved to have a lot of interest. 6 cell stock motors don’t offer
a lot of power for a hydro. So how do you go fast? Ask Rob Micheals (Rob is the
owner of Superior Hobbies in Orlando and is linked from Rum Runners Links page).
For the second year in a row, Rob displayed his stock motor skills and smoked
the field with his super light Hammer Head rigger. Rob lapped everyone he
challenged and took top honors with a fast time of 1:05:50. Way-to-go Rob! Hey
Dougie! Was Rob’s motor really stock? Rum Runner Racing sponsored this class.
1/16th Scale Sport Hydro is a popular class and very
fast. Limited to 8 cells and a ‘sport’ scale hydroplane type hull not to
exceed 24 inches in length. The big dogs all entered this class including top
drivers like Jeff Vasquez, Dick Crowe and Greg Schweers. Dick holds the current
NAMBA straight-away record for this class at over 49 MPH.
These boats have to be meticulously set-up to compete at
these speeds specially when the water is choppy. Several factory teams were
present to race 1/16th scale including Maus, Fuller’s Four Corner’s, DPI,
BBY, and the new comer - R/C Hydro’s.
Power was as diverse as the boats. Plettenbergs, Aveox,
Lehner, and a variety of 05 Can Motors. Most of the boats raced were made from
epoxy or were from plastic kits. Dick Crowe driving his Fuller’s prepared Maus
shovelnose took first place. Concourse was won by Dennis Witt who had an
absolutely beautifully finished BBY.
First place was awarded to Dick Crowe. Dick’s boat is a
Fuller’s prepared Maus Shovelnose powered by a Plettenberg motor with Fuller’s
hardware and Fuller’s special cells. Greg Schweers was a close second. Greg
also raced a Bandit Boats Shovelnose. Greg used an Aveox 1409/1.5 for power.
Greg's boat was borrowed from Mark Ferraira who was unable to attend. Jeff
Vasquez took fast time setting a new NAMBA record of 52:03 seconds. That was
almost 12 cell rigger speed. What’s your secret Jeff? Jeff’s boat was a Maus
Shovel nose and used an Aveox1409/1.5 for power with Schweers/Fuller Hardware and
Ballistic Batteries. Fuller’s Fast Electric sponsored this class.
|Dick Crowe and his "World Famous" Maus
1/12th Scale Sports Hydro
also raced on the first day.
This class features a slightly larger boats with 12 cells and any motors. The
hulls must also be semi-scale to the full size unlimited hydroplanes. By the
time this class raced it was later in the day. The lake had begun to chop-up and
racing was tough going. But fast. The larger boats seemed to handle these
condition the best. However all drivers had problems. Doug Twaits, Jr. took top
honors driving an older plastic boat. How old was that boat, Dougie? Doug used
Aveox for power. Maus Motorsports, Fuller’s Four corners, R/C Hydro’s and
DPI made up the factory teams.
Andy Kunz and his RC-Hydros.com Miss Earl
Fast time was taken by Larry Larson at, 50:47. A new NAMBA
class records. His boat was really flying. Larry raced a home built wooden boat
that he constructed from R/C Boat Modeler Plans, with an Aveox 1412/1.5Y for
power. Larry choose Fuller’s hardware, Xipp matched batteries and an Octura
M447 prop. What a neat boat! Larry has written a story about his experience
building this hull. Larry’s story will be published exclusively on the Rum
Runner site, very soon. RC-Hydro’s.Com sponsored this class.
holding his Record Setting 1/12 Scale Hydro
12 Cell OPC Tunnel. Not an official NAMBA class at this
writing however run at the past 3 NAMBA Nationals. This class is expected to
become official, early next year. Limited to 12 cells, any scale-like Tunnel
hull and any motor. The hulls are similar in size to a 3.5 Nitro racing tunnel
hull and very handsome. They look and run just like their full size cousins.
Driving skill and a well set-up boat is what it takes to win in this class. A
number of manufacturer’s are now producing hulls for this class including Bandit
Boats, DPI, BBY and Hyperformance Products. I am sure
other’s will soon join.
|A BBY Tunnel Hull
Chris Harris held his impressive Bandit Boats tunnel on the
course and sweep his way to a first place trophy. His boat featured a
Plettenberg motor mounted to a Hyperformance drive. An impressive combination. Bandit
Boats are linked from Rum Runner’s Link’s page. Be sure to visit them
soon. Young Mike Hatt with the Sarasota Club impressed everyone with his driving
and snatched a clean second place finish. Hey Mike! Write us a story with pics
about your boat and experience at the NATS. Dennis Witt took fast time with a
solid 1:05:41. Superior Hobbies sponsored this class.
|Chris Harris drove Mark Ferraira's "Bandit
Boats" to become National Champion
Day Two. The
weather improved slightly, the sky was bright and racing began. This was the
most intense day of the entire event. From 8:30 am until 5 pm was literally
non-stop racing. Racing had to be cancelled because it got dark.
N-2 Mono (Any
modified motor, any hull with 6 cells) was the first event on the water. This
class produces fast racing for a 6 cell powered boat. To be competitive here, a
racer must have his equipment dialed in. To win in this class, a driver must
have good driving skills with an expertly set-up boat. The most popular boat
racing this class was the Maus Micro Bullet. The fastest set-ups used direct
drive motors with Schweers or Fuller’s hardware. The only top finisher with an
exception was Team Rum Runner’s driver Donnie Wollard’s English Sabre.
Donnie’s boat sported a Hughey Gear Drive with a Fantom 12/6 motor and custom
made hardware. Donnie was ripping the race course
however got upside down in two heats and still managed a respectable 4th place
overall. Jeff Vasquez took first place with his Maus Micro Bullet powered by an
Aveox 1409/1.5y. Jeff’s boat was set-up by Greg Schweers and used
products hardware. An impressive setup with an expert driver. Fast time also went
to Jeff who set a new record at 1:06:50. Congrats Jeff. Central Florida High
Voltage sponsored this class.
|A couple of Rum Runner Riggers rounding turn four
N-2 Hydro (Any modified motor, any hydro hull with 6
cells). Over the past few years, this class has greatly improved and speeds have
increased to the point that this class is approaching 8 cell hydro speed. This
was the second most popular hydro class at the race and the third most popular
class to race, overall. N-2 hydro at the Nats became the first big test for the
1999 Team Rum Runner’s new out-rigger design. Racing in this class was Team
drivers, Rob Micheals, Brian Vega, Donnie Wollard and Daniel Wollard. So how did
these little home made wooden boats do? First, third and fifth place plus Fast
Time was the answer. Brian ‘Cool-Hand’ Vega smoked the field with 3 first
place finishes and took top honors. Rob Micheals took third place and produced a
fast time of 55:33. Donnie grabbed 5th place with a wet ESC. Way-to-go Team!
Hammer Head Marine sponsored this class.
|Brian Vega with his NATIONAL CHAMPION Rum Runner N-2
O-Mono (Any modified or exotic motor-any mono hull, with
no steps- max. 8 cells). This class run boats that are very similarly set-up to
the boats in N-2 Mono. The big exception is power. The faster boats were really
dial-in and tracked very well. The Maus Micro Bullet showed its stuff and
literally dominated this event. Racing was neck and neck and the drivers
skill and luck made the difference. In what turned out to be one of the wildest
heats of the entire contest, Jeff Vasquez driving his bright yellow Maus hit a
wake an noose dove his boat at turn one. Perhaps as many as 5
or 6 seconds went by and then Jeff’s boat reappeared. Jeff, being a true ‘die-hard’
racer never relaxed his throttle. The boat did a ‘flipper’ and jumped out of
the water at least 6 feet high. Slammed down and Jeff kept racing. Richard
Hernandez squeezed by Jeff to take the first place, overall. Fast time went to Greg Schweers who set a new record of 58:53
seconds. Hughey Boats sponsored this class.
Offshore (Any scale looking hull - any motor or
combination of motors- 12 cells. The entire set-up must be at least 31 inches
long). Debuting for the first time at a NAMBA Nationals, this new class sprang
to life with a lot of attention and spirit. The race course was configured into
a two sided (two left hand turns) M-shape for this event. All racers had to make both left and right turns plus
complete 5 laps in 3 heats. In addition, there was a Concourse competition for
the most scale looking boat. Since the class is new to NAMBA racing, there
seemed no clear advantage in hull types or set-ups. Very few kits are made which
meet these specifications so many of the racers got creative and created their
own boat from scratch or modified an existing kit boat. Then the heats began.
What an exciting event for FE boat racing. The racers and spectators alike
cheered, oooohed and aaahhed as the action unfolded. It was great. There was
true position racing, flips, roll-overs, bumps and skins.
|Offshore boats competing for top honors
Mono’s and Offshore style CATs were evenly divided among
the field. When the racing was over, Doug Twaits, Jr. and Chris Fine were head
to head. Doug won out on points and earned the first place trophy. Both drivers
race a Fine Design-Warehouse hobbies Offshore scale mono. Both boats used Fine
Design hardware with Cordite motors. Good job gentleman. A great race. Fast time
went to Doug Twaits, Jr. at 1:37:60. The Concourse trophy went to Dennis Witt.
Rum Runner Racing sponsored this class.
|Chris Fine and Doug Twaits Jr. with their
Fine/Warehouse Offshore Boats
P-Hydro (Any modified or exotic motor-hydroplane hull
with 12 cells). Dominated by out-rigger hydro’s and exotic motors, this is a
popular and fast class in NAMBA racing. Doug Twaits, Jr. nipped out first place
and set a new class speed record with 44:88 seconds. The Twister rigger’s
dominated the top 5 places as did Aveox motors. Hummm!
This was a very fast class with 18 entries. All of the boats
entered were fast and vaporized the water. I notice that several drivers choose
the Plettenberg 290/40/3 motor. This motor shows real promised for the near
future. However, ESC’s will have to improve a bit to handle this mule. The
Aveox model 1412/1.5Y was the motor of choice of the top finishers. Could this
be a hint of things to come? Model Craft World sponsored this event.
|Jeff Vasquez's 12 Cell Rigger
Q Mono (Any modified motor, any mono hull with 13 to 18
cells) was next. This event drew a of attention. Big boats, big motors, a lot of
batteries and rooster tails. The Maus Bullet was the boat of choice for most of
the drivers in this event. Doug Twaits, Jr. grab the first place spot with Jeff
Vasquez on his heels for second place and fast time. Jeff’s speed was 1:20:72.
This class raced 5 laps instead of the usual 4. What was interesting here was
that many of the drivers used there P-Mono boat to race. They made a few
changes, added the proper batteries and off they went. Jeff Vasquez, for
example, raced his Maus P-Mono boat. The changes he made was he switched to an
X442 prop and 16 cells. Superior Hobbies sponsored this class.
Day Three. The weather changed again.
This day had the lightest schedule. Early morning testing was delayed a few
minutes while the heavy fog lifted. But once the sky cleared up, it was
the prettiest day of the three. Racing had to be
completed by noon to provide time for the awards ceremony and cleaning the site.
|The Day 3 foggy morning scene...
O-Hydro (Any modified or exotic motor-hydroplane hull
with 8 cells) was the most popular racing class at the event. 16 total heats of
neck and neck racing produced absolutely wild action. NAMBA O-Hydro has improved
to the point of 12 cell hydro speeds of just a few years ago. Doug Twaits, Jr.
won first place with his 05 motor powered Twister rigger. Doug also had fast
time of 49:87 seconds. That’s moving!
Rob Michaels brand new O-class Rum Runner Rigger was launched
for the first time the morning of the race. With only two passes to make
adjustments prior to his first heat, Rob’s boat clearly had the speed and
handling to win. In one heat, Rob flipped his boat 3 times and each time the
boat landed right-side-up. Talk about luck. Rob came back and managed a second
place finish in the heat, anyway. Donnie’s boat was easily as fast. He was
racing with a wet receiver and ESC, borrowed from Dad. The ESC eventually gave
out and left him stranded. Both Rob and Donnie power their boats with
Plettenberg motors. Rum Runner Racing sponsored this class.
|Doug Twaits Jr and Larry Larson coming around for
P-Mono (Any modified motor, any mono hull with 9 to 12
cells) was almost as exciting and competitive as O-Hydro. The Maus Bullet with
Aveox, Cordite or Plettenberg power seemed to be the race favorite. However
there were many other fast boats and power systems racing. For example, Scott
Harris competed with his Cesa powered by 05’s on gears. Scott won a
respectable 3rd place. In any event, a dialed in boat and driving skill is what
it took to place in this class. In most heats, more of the fleet was upside down
than running at the finish. Jeff Vasquez blasted to first place an set another
new national speed record with a blistering 52:65 second heat. Jeff’s boat was
a Maus Bullet powered by a 1409/1.5y Aveox, an Aveox L160 marine ESC, Schweers/Hyperformance
|P-Mono's flying up to a start
Q-Hydro (Any modified or exotic motor-hydroplane hull
with 13 -18 cells). These boats were simply amazing. Racing 5 laps, each driver
had to pay close attention to his speedster to even complete a heat. What I
notice most was the boats in this class were very similar to the boats ran in
P-Hydro. Except for the number of batteries, the major difference I noted was
the beefed up running hardware. The second and third place finishers used 40
Nitro size running hardware. Jeff Vasquez out drove the field to take first
place. Doug Twaits, Jr. set a new national speed record at 54:44 seconds. Again,
that was for a 5 lap race. Fine Design Manufacturing sponsored this class.
High Points. This years National High Point Champion was
Doug Twaits, Jr. who did a marvelous job driving and competing all weekend. Doug
is known for his expertly prepared boats and flawless driving. Well done, Doug.
|Doug Twaits Jr., NATIONAL HIGH POINTS CHAMPION
Central Florida High Voltage Club stretched the race budget
and awarded trophies to the top five finisher’s in each class. That was a nice
At the conclusion of the raffle, the racer’s joined with
the club and made a donation of the raffle proceeds to the Chris Harris Family.
They have a medical emergency which requires immediate attention. Our prayers,
best wishes and God speed are with them.
And last, a special thanks to Donnie Wollard who spent
countless hours building and updating the ‘99 Nats website, contacting and
lining up sponsors, designing and coordinating the terrific trophies, keeping
communications open with all the racers and answering hundreds of e-mails. That
was quite a job! As much as he enjoyed being a part of the production of the
race, next year Donnie says; "I will be working more on my boats this
coming year and less on that darn computer".
It was a great racing season. I can only imagine what 2000
will bring to F/E Boating. Will 80 MPH be reached and the Rum Runner’s Cup be
Let’s do membership drives next year and expand our hobby.
Make a youngster’s day. Introduce them to F/E boating. You
will both enjoy the encounter.
The 1999 NAMBA Nationals Sponsors Included: