The 1999 Batavia MidWest Nationals

by Jeffrey Stevens

99 BMW Group.gif (133028 bytes)The 3rd Annual Batavia Mid West Nationals was held at Depot Pond, a retention pond off the Fox River, in downtown Batavia Illinois. In recent years renovations to the area created a environment very adaptable to RC boaters. This included dredging, steps to the water, a wall that is a natural drivers stand and a building that includes AC and bathrooms 50’ from the water. Over the years we have entertained various levels of drivers from all around the country. This year we were happy to see people from Toronto, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and of course Illinois.

Saturday proved to be the sunny day which was surprising with all the thunderstorms on Friday night. Bob Wilkinson and I were in charge of the race and setup. On Friday we were worried with the downpour and intense light show that we never would setup the course. We had to really hurry between cloud bursts. We do not have a surveyed sight and unfortunately with our hurry the course was a little longer than expected. The turns were perfect in size just the SAW suffered (I think we only had about 20 minutes to get the course down into the water). Next year we will use a transit to help eliminate any measurement problems. The classes followed in this order;

12 Cell, 4 Minute Hydro Oval Enduro. (3 Rounds, laps and time = Score)

What a mouthful. This type of racing was inspired by NAVIGA 12 Cell Hydro Class. One big difference was instead of a 5 minute race we scaled it down to 4 minutes. Ed Hughey continued again, his efforts to set the pace this year. There were many good boats in this field which I thought was surprising for Enduro. Rupert Mayuga was able to hang onto Ed’s blistering pace. On the last lap Rupert ended up doing a tugboat sprint to the finish (he had no battery power left). Marek Pleskacz had the fastest boat in the field but, could not get his boats runtime down. Marek still did some very respectable laps giving him a well earned 3rd place overall.

8 Cell Mono. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total, Top 4 go to the Mains = Score)

Looked like a class of who’s who in boat racing. There were many strong boats. My TJ Sabre seemed like the one to beat. Round after round it jumped into the lead only to be plagued by motor brush failure. Round 2 was the only round it finished and won. Rounds 1 and 3 Tom Balmes dominated with his TJ Sabre. Tom and I tied in holding the fast time at 1:15. For the main it looked like a good race with Tom Balmes, Neil Reesor, Me and Rupert Mayuga, who qualified in that order. For the Main it was an awesome start. All four boats went side by side into turn one. I managed to grab the inside line and pull the field down the straight. I opened about a 20’ lead into turn two with Neil Reesor in hot pursuit. Down the front straight my boat started to slow and died into the start of lap 2. Neil Reesor then had Tom Balmes to deal with. Tom started tightening his lines to catch Neil during lap 2. Tom actually cut it a little too tight taking himself out of the picture. Neil coasted to a well deserved win and Rupert followed in 2nd.

8 Cell Outrigger. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total, Top 4 go to the Mains = Score)

These were among some of the fastest boats of the weekend. The Buzz was George Dalecki and his record boat technology. His first race he seemed like the one to beat. He had to trim it out for a few laps then he gave Ed Hughey something to worry about. Unfortunate for Ed he caught a funny ripple and flipped. Round 1 was plagued with DNFs. George and Tom Balmes walked away with wins. Round 2, Ed regrouped his efforts and won Heat 1, George won Heat 2. The funny thing is Ed and George turned the same fast time of 1:05 for Round 2. Round 3, Heat 1 it was the Ed Hughey, George Dalecki and Tom Balmes show. Ed and George had a side by side start. George looked like he had some steering problems allowing Tom to sneak by. While this pass was happening Ed kicked it in the see ya later mode, opening up a huge lead and win. Round 3, Heat 2 Steve Reesor edged out Dennis Whitt on the start. Steve took the inside like while Dennis remained in hot pursuit. Dennis had a few handling problems allowing Jim Phelps to gain on Dennis and pass him. This was short lived because near the end of the race Jim lost what looked like his steering control giving away 2nd. For the Main it was a great start. Steve Reesor was the first to the line and Ed Hughey immediately closed the door. Steve Then had to worry about the charges from George Dalecki and Tom Balmes. On the 2nd lap Tom made steady work on Steve temporarily passing him. Within about ½ a lap Tom hit that phantom ripple that Ed hit in Round 1. Then it came to Steve and George. Steve held off charge after charge that George made to hold onto 2nd. While the battle for 2nd was going on Ed was far ahead out of harms way.

6 Cell Roar M-Course Enduro. (3 Rounds, laps and buoys = Score)

Last year Marek Pleskacz showed us what the European Ecco was like. I decided to get one too. The funny thing was we both without each other knowing it, got the same type of new boat from Miha Holc in Slovenia. I was excited that both of us had these boats to run, this was my first race with it. Round 1 proved to be devastating for Marek, he missed the call to get to the line. I was disappointed but still was able to battle with Ed Hughey. I was working on a pass to get by Ed. He only gave me 1 foot to work with around a buoy. I took it and to my amazement snapped a 90 degree turn without loosing momentum. Round 2 was awesome. Marek and I battled the whole race. It felt like we were driving slot cars, it was pretty cool. I had a little more top speed on Marek but he had the lines and the lead on me. I hit some heavy water he created by Marek, stuffing 2 waves trying to pass him. Marek took that round. Unfortunate for Ed he was not able to turn any laps. Round 3 again had another making of a close race. After lap 2 I broke my drive shaft. Marek had the win followed by Ed Hughey, Ryan Wilkinson, Ron Dickenson and Bill Enright. The race for 3rd in Round 3 was also very tight among the last 3 mentioned people.

12 Cell Tunnel. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total, Top 4 go to the Mains = Score)

Was probably one of the lesser classes in attendance. Ed Hughey, Tom Balmes and Jim Phelps were the only ones who participated. Round 1 Ed got a good start on the race followed closely by Tom. Ed and Tom were pretty equal on speed but, Tom seemed to loose a little bit each turn. Tom started tightening his turns to catch Ed and flipped on the last turn hitting a buoy. Round 2 was a very difficult call were we had to use on site instant replay to convince the racers of that call. Ed Hughey was DQed because he had a lane passing violation causing Tom Balmes to hit a buoy and DNF. Jim ended up winning Round 2. Round 3, Tom had an excellent timed start and took control of the race. Tom kept tight lines to hold off a hard charging Ed for the win. Jim was slightly off the blistering pace that Tom and Ed were setting all day. We did have a mains for this class to give what we promised on the race flyer. I think next year we might have a 6 or 7 boat minimum to run the mains, this only makes it fair. The whole purpose of the mains is to bring the fastest consistent drivers together for the best racing. The Mains were not created to make the 1st three rounds seem like practice for the mains, we do want the first 3 rounds to matter. The Mains looked like a repeat of Round 3.

6 Cell Stock Crackerbox "IRONMAN". (4 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

99 BMW 6 Cell Crackerbox.gif (100710 bytes)The Crackerbox class has always been a fun race to participate in. Sometimes it can be the most difficult to run under rough weather/water conditions. To make it interesting we had racers run 2 oval courses, 1 triangle and 1 four minute M-Course race. We give out a special trophy with a weight lifter on it, for the top 3. Round 1, Dave Amstutz smoked the field with his boat. I thought that this was his class to win by how fast he was. Round 2 proved to be Dave’s undoing when he flipped it early on the M-Course allowing Marek Pleskacz to win. The M-Course scores you mainly on laps to get your position, no matter how fast you are finishing is important. Round 3 past Champion Aimee Mayuga showed Marek how to drive on the Triangle. Unfortunate for George Dalecki and Dave Amstutz the tight turns played havoc for their boats, both DNFed. Round 4 Marek won followed by George and Aimee. Aimee was so consistent finishing in 3rd each race except for winning the Triangle course. Needless to say the points difference between Aimee and Marek was pretty close. Consistency does pay off for this class.

12 Cell Box Stock Hydro. ". (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

99 BMW 12 Cell Box Stock Hydro.gif (97719 bytes)For as long as I can remember this class represents a grudge match between Bill Enright with his MRP Mr. Pringles and Bob Wilkinson with his Graupner Tornado. These guys are so serious that they hide their hot setups until raceday. Ron Dickenson has a T-Plus and I think felt intimidated by the seriousness between Bob and Bill. Round 1 showed Bob getting the lead and holding off Bill for the win. Bob set the fast time of 1:26. Round 2 Bill brought out his Nitro Packs and blistered away from Bob setting a fast time of 1:20. I thought this year Bill was out to get Bob as revenge for last year. Then Round 3 Bob and Bill went side by side into turn 1. Bob had the lane 1 advantage and took the lead. Bill held on for 3 laps then faded big time on lap 4.

Anything Goes M Enduro. (3 Rounds, laps and buoys = Score)

This class was setup as an unlimited class that ran for 4 minutes on the M-Course. Usually 8 to 17 cells has been common place on this course. Round 1 it looked like Ed Hughey was in familiar form like last year winning with 13 laps. The fight really was for 2nd place between Steve Hill and Bill Enright. Each Buoy counts as a point or part of the total laps on the M-Course. Steve had a 10.3 and Bill a 10.1. Round 2 looked like a repeat of Round 1with Ed taking the win. Round 3 Marek Pleskacz was able to fix some of his earlier problems and turn a 12.2. Ed did manage to turn a 13.3 which was a great improvement over his earlier rounds.

6 Cell Roar Stock Mono. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

Round 1, Heat 1 Dennis Whitt had the timing plus lane 1 on the start and won. Jim Phelps Jr. did not have the speed to catch Dennis. Ed Hughey had a cavitation problem and did not get on plane. Heat 2 Marek Pleskacz showed how fast a Ecco subsurface drive could be just a little bit faster than Neil Reesors surface drive. Marek edged out Dennis Whitts time by one second with a 1:38. Round 2, Heat 1 Dennis Whitt got an early jump on Ed Hughey. Lap 2 Denis had problems with turn on allowing Ed to pass him. It was going to be down to the line between Ed and Dennis until Dennis flipped. Heat 2 Marek again had the start and showed his consistency duplicating his Round 1 fast time. Round 3, Heat 1 Neil Reesor got a jump on Steven Wilkinson at the start and did not look back. Neil’s boat was incredibly smooth. Heat 2 looked like the top 3 fast boats were put together (Ed Hughey, Dennis Whitt and Marek Pleskacz. At the start Dennis flipped setting the stage for Ed and Marek to battle it out. Marek timed the start on the buzzer in lane 1 forcing Ed to knock on the outside with lane 2. Going into the first turn Marek showed the maneuverability of his Ecco and kept his lead. For the rest of the race he slowly pulled away from Ed destroying his earlier fast time with a 1:34. Marek not only won this class but received one of two battery packs Hill Top Batteries donated as winning prizes. We had Steve Hill do the honors of awarding his prize to Marek.

It is unfortunate with the slightly larger course size that we could not get and accurate comparison to how fast Marek and the other boats were moving. Perhaps next year we will eliminate the difficulties for offshore measuring and do our own surveying. I also hope we do not have a major storm front to have to deal with.

Sunday seemed like it was going to be as good as Saturday. All weekend rains were moving in and out of the area. Originally it was supposed to rain Friday and Saturday morning. No one expected what we were about to get on Sunday. The Storms came in Saturday night and rained all day Sunday. When it down poured on Sunday we still planned to race like usual, just a little wetter. My comment was that the boats are meant to get wet. Other people did not share that same enthusiasm. Only Ed Hughey, Steve Hill and Jim Phelps decided that they did not want to deal with these wet conditions. We let people pit within the center that had the bathrooms. This was good because ½ way through Round 3 the wind picked up. I think my tent was the only one outside to brave the elements. The rain was so heavy that a river of water came down the walkway through my tent. Needless to say we ran all 3 Rounds but, canceled The Mains.

12 Cell Sport Hydro. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

The 12 Cell Sport class is part of what we call the Challenge Cup class. The winners of this class will be presented with a gold cup trophy and eventually will have their name engraved on a monster trophy like used in auto racing. It looked like the race was going to be between Jim Fraiser with his Graupner Taifun and Bob Wilkinson with his Danvo Dream of America. With the start of Round 1 Jim was fast off the start and seemed to dominate all 3 rounds. Bob had some good speed but, had a hard time making the turns that Jim could. Round 3 the winds picked up pretty heavily and kept Bob from finishing. Jim’s boat not only was fast but could handle the rough stuff that Round 3 had to offer.

6 Cell Mono. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

Has proven to be the largest class of the day with a total of 8 boats. Dennis Whitt seemed to have one of the faster boats he just could not keep it on the water with all his speed. Round 1, Heat 1 I managed to hold of Tom Balmes for the win. In Heat 2 Marek Pleskacz, using his Ecco held off Dennis. Round 2, Heat 1 I managed to get the good start off the line for the win while Tom Balmes took 2nd and Rupert Mayuga 3rd. Heat 2 Marek and Neil Reesor were battling for position and had a collision, which took them out. Bob Wilkinson took control of the situation with his Danvo Stabilizer for a win. Round 3, Heat 1 I had another good jump on the start and held tight lines through the turns forcing the two Canadians Marek and Neil to race for 2nd. Marek won that battle. Heat 2, the winds picked up. Bob was the remaining driver out there then on the last lap the strong head wind flipped him.

6 Cell Tunnel. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

Since some people left because of the rains we did not have enough to fill this class.

6 Cell JR Class. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

We did not have enough entries to complete this class.

12 Cell Mono. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

Looked like another exciting class to run. Round 1, Rupert Mayuga held off a hard charging Tom Balmes who pushed it a little too hard and could not finish the race. Rupert Mayuga took control and the win. Round 2, Tom and Dennis Whitt were battling it out in a very fast race. Tom ended thwarting Dennis and his attempts. Rupert could only get a 3rd place out of this race. Round 3, with the rough water it was surprising that all 3 boats finished. Unfortunately Tom Balmes and Dennis Whitt did not start this race. Marek Pleskacz was able to get his Maus Aveox powered to finally perform and steal the 1st place from Rupert Mayuga.

8 Cell Sport Hydro. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

This class was like the 12 Cell Sport class as far as offering the Challenge Cup. Unfortunately for this class there were only 3 of us. I borrowed Ken Mayugas boat at the prompting of his father Rupert. Ken could not make it because of final exams. Round 1, Bob Wilkinson could not start because of radio problems he had. Barry Janzen and I got off to a good start but, Barry ended up flipping to end his race. I did a few more laps and felt that the boat was dumping so I brought it in because with a Tornado, I did not want to get stranded and have it fill with water. So I DNFed too. Round 2, I managed to get into the lead and keep it. This left Bob and Barry to battle for 2nd. Barry passed Bob for 2nd. Round 3, one by one the rough water blues eliminated boats. First it was Bob, then it was me, who was trying to catch Barry. Luckily for Barry his boat handled the rough stuff allowing him to keep his position for the win.

4 Cell Open. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

99 BMW 4 Cell Open.gif (105606 bytes)I truly believe this is the future of the hobby. We left it open to encourage any boat to come out and try it. It seems the best setup for this class is a Hughey gear drive with a 7 or 8 turn 05 motor. The RBW Sting driven by Steve Reesor was the fastest boat in the field. Steve won all 3 rounds clearly beating George Dalecki and Barry Janzen. At the start of Round 3 I asked Steve what he thought of the rough conditions. He did not seem to care because of how well he knew his homemade hull was. I was impressed especially with the rough, clearly it was one of the best handling rough water boats during Round 3. The best part of the race was the awards ceremony. This class received a specially donated 4 Cell battery pack for the winner. This prize was donated by Hill Top Batteries. Steve’s eyes glowed after receiving such a prize.

12 Cell Outrigger. (3 Rounds, IMPBA points total = Score)

Was an extremely fast field with Tom Balmes, Steve Reesor, Dennis Whitt and Marek Pleskacz. It was probably the tightest point battle the whole weekend saw. Only 100 points separated 1st and 2nd. Between 2nd and 3rd only 25 points separated them. Round 1 Marek with his Miha Holc outrigger was able to hold off the Tom Balmes charge. Round 2, Steve Reesor took the win and did some fancy driving to hold off Marek. Unfortunately for Tom he went hot into turn one bumped buoy 2 and kept his finger into it. I think the speed he carried transferred the weight to the outside sponson which pushed the boat into the wall. His left sponson disintegrated ending his day. Round 3, Dennis Whitt took 1st followed by Steve and Marek.

4 Minute, 8 Cell Mono Oval. (3 Rounds, laps and time = Score)

We did not have enough entries to complete this class.

After the races, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Looking at the pond the water level increase by at least two feet. All of the boat club members hung around, tore down the site and reflected on the days event. It was a fun day regardless of the weather, especially to see boats running in such horrid conditions. Surprisingly enough we even had a few spectators come to watch during the rains. Each year we have attracted people from all over. This year we had more new faces that we hope will come back next year. Bob and I work hard at trying new ideas and getting rid of what does not work. I think we are the only boat club that will run The Mains. We have had a few negative comments about it but, feel that this is something that adds to the racing. How often can the 4 best boats race each other with everything on the line. Even during a random sort during Rounds that does not happen. We do not have our date for the 4th Annual BMW Nationals, you can probably be sure it will be a June or July date. We are also looking at Sanctioning the race with IMPBA.

The Riverwalk R/C Model Boat Club would like to thank our Sponsors: Hughey Boats, Aveox, Airtronics, Futaba, Hitec/RCD, Hobbytown USA, Hill Top Batteries, AstroFlight, Horizon Hobbies, Danvo Boats, Great Plains, Dumas, Boca Bearing, Tower Hobbies, Air Age and Octura.

Race Results and Pictures

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


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