My location: United States
Mar 9, 2009

March 6 and 7, 2009 was the weekend for Crystal Park R/C Raceway’s annual West Coast Challenge sponsored by Mugen Seiki USA, Kamikaze Toys and Hobbies, and Z Pizza. All week long we were worried about rain but luckily we were blessed with beautiful weather, sunny skies and a light breeze.

Friday March 5th was actually open practice for everyone. A good thing I attended practice since it exposed problems with my radio equipment, first my throttle servo, then my steering servo. After replacing both servos, it was time to test and tune the chassis. Qualifiers for this event were 7 minutes, so fuel economy was not an issue for this event. For the 2009 season, the track layout at Crystal Park has changed, so this is the first big event on this new layout. Since the previous areas of the track where paint and borders were laid down was just painted over with black paint, there were some loose spots in the driving line and a groove barely started setting in towards the end of qualifying. My 966 leftover from the Florida Winternationals in February was ready to go, I changed the car back to my original setup for Crystal Park, with some minor tweaks with the new data collected from the Winternationals. After working out some kinks in my setup, I felt comfortable with my car and was ready to qualify.
Saturday March 6th, 3 rounds of qualifying were run, and only my first round would count since the last 2, I was caught in crashes with back traffic. My first run though was fortunately fast enough to put me in 4th.

The day of the mains, Sunday March 7th, I spent the morning calculating tire wear, thinking up strategy for the main and helping the other Team Serpent/Team Kamikaze drivers. I decided run a larger tire with the same shore to make the entire 45min main with pitstops at 4:30 to make a total of 10 pitstops. The car was all ready to go. Our strategy was to just cruise, stay out of trouble and stay within striking distance, and attack at the last 15minutes. To pass the time, I pitted for fellow Serpent drivers, Jimmy Cho and Steve Muller. Both of them were in the 200mm Touring B Mains and had the capability of bumping up into the A main event, but unfortunately Jimmy’s receiver battery went dead, and Steve tangled with another driver ending his race prematurely. It was now the 1/8th Main event, from 4th I went immediately into 3rd and just stayed the course following the top 2, until 2nd place made an error which moved me up into 2nd. From here, the rest of the pack was battling with each other, I was alone on the track, as well as first place Ron Calangi. I kept it consistent and smooth for the next couple pit stops until I made one error that caused my body mount to be out of place. 3rd place Mike Strack was on the way up, making a charge that allowed him to catch and pass me, but I knew if I kept it consistent things would unfold in my favor. My next pitstop, the body mount was put back into place, and I started driving the car harder to put myself back closer to 2nd. In the last couple minutes, Ron Calangi was already a couple laps ahead, and to catch Mike Strack, there wasn’t enough time, so I just drove to finish the race, and then the unexpected happened, Mike Strack crashed causing his car to be launched out of the track and it put him out of the race to put myself back into 2nd. Ron Calangi ran a great race, really consistent, patient, and error free. Congratulations to Mike Swauger in his 200mm Win, and Ron for his win in 1/8th 4wd.

I would like to thank my father for pitting for me, Jon Prather for the aide in the pits, Serpent America, Serpent MRC, Xceed R/C, Maxy’s Fuel, KO Propo, JGO Paintz, and Kamikaze Toys and Hobbies for all their support and great products

Till next time.

Nigel Sim