My location: United States
Aug 21, 2008

Recently Serpent driver DJ Apolaro took part in the Great Lakes Challemge 2008 as he continued his preparations for the ROAR 1:8 Onroad Nationals. Racing his Serpent 960 for only the 3rd time DJ enjoyed a great result and sent us this report from the race -

Well at the last minute I decided to attend the annual Great lakes Challenge commonly known as the GLC. I had just built a new Serpent 960 08\' and felt it would be a good event with lots of competition. I have only raced 1/8 scale 2 other times and this would be my third time. I am trying to get ready for the Roar Nationals and need all the stick time I can get. I arrived on Thursday around noon and started with the default set up on the car. I also had the Central and new Zytec body to test with.

Thursday was practice, with Fridays and Saturday qualifying and Sunday were the mains. On Thursday I put the car on the track and it felt good enough to drive and I decided to work on the clutch and motor. I spent all day learning about these 2 things and helping others with the sedan 720\'s. I was happy to see so many serpent cars, there were actually more than I expected and I was able to help everyone that asked. By the end of the day I was struggling with the motor and kept testing different clutches. None seemed to give what I wanted. I was about 1/2 second off pace and called it a day.

Friday morning came and I got to the track early. I wanted to have time to test more clutches and try to work something out. When Qualifying started I was not happy and would have to use the first 2 qualifiers to work out the problems. Meanwhile I still had not worked on the chassis, since I know the motor and clutch play a big part in how the car handles on the track. I ran my 2 rounds of qualifiers and the problems were still there. After racing that night I decided to go through the motor and found it was bad and that turned out to be my whole problem. For the next day I put in a new motor and a clutch I though would work good and the package was much better.

On Saturday I wanted to test the car again in the morning and make sure the clutch and motor were good. They were, but now I had a mid corner push and needed to work on the chassis. In my first qualifier of the day I was faster, even know the track was slower from the rain. It had rained the evening before and the track was much slower for most people. My car was better and I could now try to get on pace. At this point I was still short about .3 seconds per lap but was going in a good direction. I continued to work on the chassis and by the end of qualifying I was 5th on the grid and now on pace.

Sunday was here and I started doing my rebuild and helping pit for others. I also helped some drivers with clutches and set up for the mains. I think I did about 5 sedan clutches just on sunday alone. The rebuild went pretty quick, the parts seem so big and easy to get to, compared to the sedan that is. I finished the rebuild and also rebuilt the clutch on my Novarossi 359. The warm up started and my car was great, I knew things were going to be good. At the start I battled with 3rd place for a little bit. I was able to get by and pull away and start chasing 1st and 2nd. They were both on fast paces and I had to push, even this early in the race. I ended up hitting a burm and flipped the car over. I lost about 1/2 lap and was pushed back to 6th or 7th. My car was ok and I started pushing again. I was able to regain my position after a few pit stops and was back in third. This is were I stayed and ended the race. I was 7 seconds behind 1st and 3 seconds behind 2nd at the end of the 45 minute final. All in All I was very happy with the weekend. I did what I wanted and that was to learn about the 1/8 scale and get some stick time with the car. I learned a lot about the clutches and motors and the chassis was really easy to work on.

I would like to thank the entire GLC crew for the event and how well things ran. Congrats to the winners in all classes, they seemed to come close at the end. Also special thanks to Mike McBride and Jamie Corrado for the pit work in the main and Mike Myers for the photos. Thank you to my sponsors; Serpent-USA, Serpent, Maxy\'s Fuel, Novarossi World and Twister Tires USA. The Serpent 960-08\' was on point and working great, The Novarossi 359 was so fast in the final and run time was never an issue all weekend with my Maxy\'s Fuel. The Twister Tires were great with perfect tire wear and no chunks.

Till next race!!!

DJ Apolaro