RC Acres Christmas Electric Classic Recap
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 03:44

registration RC Racing Registration Race Director

The RC Acres ThunderDome hosted its first 2-day event featuring 1/8 Scale eBuggy and 1/10 Scale 4-wheel Drive Short Course Truck December 21st through 22nd, 2014.  As the event was staged at the most festive time of the year, it was entitled the RC Acres Christmas Electric Classic.  As witnessed on previous weekends, this event would bring wheel-to-wheel racing with big air, on a treacherous technical track.  … though, unfortunately, the track wasn't the only treacherous surface.

Rain turned to freezing rain across Southern Ontario on Friday evening, and while most highways were fine, rural Ontario was a skating rink.  Those that were in the surrounding cities were able to make the drive to race, while about 25% of the field had to stay at home in their ices capes.

Saturday's 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race featured two RC Acres Champions: Justin Silva (Mississauga, ON), the defending 2-time ThunderDome eBuggy Champion, and Brian "Gump" Belanger (Markham, ON), who won at the final 1/5 scale race on the outdoor track in November.  Some new talent was also ready to race, and into it they went.  

Through heated practice, Justin Silva was the fastest on the Track, posting a 21.726 Lap-time, less than 7-10's of a second off of the track record while over half of the field ran a faster TQ Pace the second round of practice over the first… almost everyone was going to get faster as the day went on.

Before rolling into the Qualifiers, the cast and crew of RC Acres in addition to the racers all paused to wish Gump Belanger and Evan Lovato both happy birthdays.  These two racers each chose to spend their birthdays racing in the ThunderDome, which they got to do, along with enjoying some birthday cake. 

Into the Qualifiers, Silva would emerge as Top Qualifier with a TQ Time of 14 Laps in 5:14.360, while the remainder of the Top-5 would all be within a lap of that time.  Silva also posted the new fastest eBuggy lap record in the ThunderDome in the 3rd Round of Qualifying with a 20.984.

The stage was set for an electric round of Electric Buggy Mains in the ThunderDome once again.

Though the sections were split to have three even Main Races with Bumps, damage and fatigue plauged some of those in the C-Main, so after "Mercy Minutes" turned into "Mercy Months"… two drivers remained on the drivers' stand; and instead of having a race between two for one bump, it was decided to move both into the B-Main to a maximum 8 Drivers on the Stand with 8 eBuggys on the track for a "Bloodsport B-Main" with the largest Main field yet in the ThunderDome.

Frederico Duperly earns an RC Helicopter Drone Frederico Duperly earns an RC Helicopter Drone

Frederico Duperly (Georgetown, ON) qualified 2nd in the B-Main and jumped to the front on the first lap.  He held the front through all 24 laps (24/10:01.064), though Sergio Vargas (Brampton, ON) gave him a big run; going from a lap-behind by lap 9 to within 9 seconds by the halfway mark.  They were then separated by almost half of the track for a few more laps, but then with 5 laps to go, Vargas got within inches of Duperly again, though couldn't get by.  Soon they were 4-seconds apart, then the next lap at 10… Vargas rolled, and Birthday Boy Evan Lovato (Welland, ON) slid into the #2 spot to give chase… though when the checkered waved, Duperly would earn the bump by 13.2 over Lovato and 15 seconds over Vargas.  It was a close top-3 finish in the B-main, with the first-time ThunderDome racer Frederico Duperly joining the fastest-5 from Qualifying in the A-Main.

The A-Main Featured the aforementioned bump, Frederico Duperly in the #6, Alex Nelles in the #5, Eric Devos (LaSallette, ON) in the #4, Co-birthday boy Brian 'Gump' Belanger in the #3, Eric Lajoie (Burlington, ON) in the #2 and in the Pole Position, Justin Silva… defending 2-time eBuggy Champion in the ThunderDome.

Hardcore Racers ventured out on the weekend to race.  6 of the fastest of the hardcore were staged in the grid at the tone.  Lap One was a thing of beauty… all of the drivers established lines over the 3/4's of track between the starting grid and the start/finish loop, and were evenly spaced as they passed it… Silva, then Gump just .8 behind, then Devos 2-seconds behind, then Nelles 2-tenths behind, then Duperly 2-tenths behind and Lajoie 6-tenths behind.  Only Lajoie was the one to move down a position in the first lap.  And then like pro's… the races for track position continued to heat up.  Justin Silva pulled away on a massive pace to do 28/29 laps in the 10 minutes allotted by posting 21 and 22-second laps for the first 6.  Gump wrecked on lap 4 and Duperly who had already moved two more positions slid into the #2, until he wrecked on the next lap and then Nelles would slide into the #2 and turn the heat on to get within reach of Silva, though Silva would only physically lap him only once over the 10-minutes.  

Justin Silva took the checkered by 2-laps and 14-seconds with a TQ Time of 27/10:15.671, less than 3/4 of a second off of his own record.  

ebuggy podium eBuggy Podium at the Christmas Electric Classic

It was a rewarding podium for our top-racers.  Skycraft Hobbies awarded a miniature RC Drone to the "Bump" Frederico Duperly, while Tom "Haggersville" Norton awarded 3rd place finisher Eric Lajoie an envelope of cash sponsored by Ferraro's Speedworld.  The Runner-up was Alex Nelles, who continues racing faster and placing higher (4th at the Inaugural eBuggy Race, 3rd at the Skycraft Hobbies Invitational eBuggy Race and then 2nd at the Christmas Electric Classic) and again Justin Silva took the top of the Podium for the 3rd consecutive time, now the 3-time eBuggy Champion in the ThunderDome.   

As the proverbial dust settled on the track, outside the literal floodgates had opened. A lake ("Lake Losi" had formed around the front of the ThunderDome.  Rain and melted snow had flooded portions of the parking area.  Sunday's first-ever 4WD SCT Race was in limbo.

The forecast called for freezing rain, and a storm referred to as "the worst is yet to come".  With considerable thought and a number of phone calls, Gus from RC Acres decided to proceed with caution for Sunday's race.  it was a go, unless otherwise noted.

The Next Chapter.

Passion.... Something that definitely exudes from the RC Racing Community, but was exemplified by our field of racers that were able to escape their homes and holiday schedules to race inside the ThunderDome at RC Acres. 

Sunday morning the hydro was still on at RC Acres and though the driveway was ice, the roads were decent, and some 4-wheel Drive Short Course Truck racers arrived. 

Registration opened, the heat was on, the practice was under way, and then boom… the power went out. Gus and Ian scrambled to get generators running, and shortly, full heat, sound, lights and 3/4 of pits were back operational. All around Ontario over 300,000 people were sitting in the dark with nothing to do while meanwhile the ThunderDome raced on!

The field was narrowed due to the insane weather, and with the break for power replacement, the same format was adhered to.  

Early in Practice, Eric Devos would emerge as one of the fastest… posting the fastest lap in each practice session… a 24.293 in the first round and a 23.999 in the second round.  Each of these being the fastest two-SCT laps, though they would be contested and beated later in the day.  Tom Bitz (London, ON) and John Blakley (Otterville, ON) also posted 24-second laps (24.467 and 24.799 respectively), and these three were the top seeds into qualifying each with 12 laps in the 5-minute allotment.  

Just as practice ended, Tom "Haggersville" Norton walked through the door of the ThunderDome with his daughter's RC Stock Demolition Derby 4WD SCT Truck, and Justin Silva also strolled in separately.  Silva had been entered with plans to run a friend's truck that he would rebuild overnight, which didn't arrive.  With a short-field and RC Camaraderie, Eric Devos and Silva would begin destructing the truck and rebuilding it with replacement parts, upgraded parts, a borrowed transponder and handmade shocks.  Would they be ready to run in the Qualifiers?  "Haggersville" watched intensely as they grinded away… with a bit of luck, the truck with a little heart sticker could be on the track in race condition.  While everyone took a break to eat pizza, work continued on the truck at a rapid pace.  With a little extra stall time, the truck was almost ready… everything was in place except the transponder, and there was still some fine-tuning to do.  The Race Director pondered (into the 1st person… I could have manually timed him with everyone else, but we were talking about a 3-time champ who definitely knows the course.  The truck was one handicap against him… but taking one of the qualifiers away would be just enough of an additional challenge towards him, and even the field for the well practiced racers…) and said "take your time and get it good to go for the 2nd round of qualifying…there is a bump as well…." (the respect for a champ, fairness for racers, and the intrigue of a storyline...)

Through the 1st round of Qualifying, the top-3 from Practice would remain the top-3; Devos, Bitz and Sergio Vargas.  

As the 2nd round started, "the Truck that Love Built" was rolled onto the track. In that first qualifier, Silva ran a fastest 27.609-second lap while Eric Devos posted a 23.883-second lap halfway through his 2nd round of qualifying.  Devos' lap would become the fastest lap on record for 4WD SCT in the ThunderDome.  Siva's borrowed, re-built and un-tuned truck ran a 10/5:04.513, ranked 7th in the field behind Devos' 13/5:23.132

Tuning by all of the drivers including the re-addition.  Following the 3rd Round of Qualifying, the top-3 three remained Devos, Bitz and Vargas, though over half of the field including Silva had their fastest races.

Into the Mains, obviously the story-line was the heart truck as the B-Main commenced with 5 drivers trying to earn a bump into the A-Main to race against the fastest 4 from qualifying.  Bryan Flynn (Barrie, ON) had earned the pole for the B-main.  The Christmas Electric Classic inside the ThunderDome featured a number of Ontario RC Track Owners; not only cool to see the support, but also the opportunity for those that run races actually get the chance to race.  Flynn was one of those owner-racers who was excited to finally race without worrying about logistics.  Flynn lost the front early in the first lap, while Steve Emery (London, ON) would jump from 3rd to 1st in the first lap and hold it for another, but eventually rolled on lap 3.  Silva had started 2nd, dropped a position in the 1st lap, gained two in the 2nd, and then passed the rolled over Emery in the 3rd to jump to the front.  Emery was one of the fastest in the field when on four wheels, and would recover and make his way back within 4 -seconds of Silva, but then after another catastrophic rollover, would slowly roll his way off the track after 6 laps.  With Emery off to the side, Flynn would jump back up into the 2, and race side-by-side with Justin Silva for a lap, trading places a handful of times around the course, leading one lap just 7-tenths of a second ahead of Silva, and settling in about 4 seconds behind using him as a pace car for another lap until veering off of the rhythm section into the snow-fence to be passed by Douglas Shewfelt (Stoney Creek, ON).  

With about 3 minutes left-to-go, Shewfelt had pulled himself within reach of Silva.  Justin Silva had a barely tuned Truck and couldn't take the features with the same speed and height as Shewfelt, but had a solid line and rhythm.  Shewfelt had the advantage of taking the "Vert" and the Camelback at full speed and clearing half, while Silva had to ride the entire obstacle out.  At the 2-minute mark, they began trading places on the track.  Silva would lead or pass through the flat sections and Shewfelt would lead or pass after the jumps.  And then with a minute left of racing, the two Trucks connected.  Silva went tumbling off the raceway, and Shewfelt took the lead and distanced himself by 6 seconds.  Without succumbing to the pressure of being out front, Shewfelt smoothly piloted his truck with two of his average 28-second lap times to take the checkered by 11-seconds over 2nd and 3rd and to earn the bump into the A-Main.

5-Trucks were put in the grid for the A-Main.  All 5 Racers crossed the loop within 6-seconds of each other after 3/4 of a lap from the grid to the stripe, in the order that they were staged, and on lap 2, Tom Bitz climbed into the lead and held it for 3 laps, while the top-seeded Eric Devos inched closer and the two passed each other intermittently, just 3-4 seconds a part; and Sergio Vargas held close to the pair as well, crossing the stripe a second later.  Devos began to jump ahead about 3-minutes into racing, while Vargas and Bitz began a battle for second about 8-seconds behind the leader.  Midway through, some space was between each of the top-3, until traffic put Vargas and Bitz side-by-side again with 2.5 minutes to go.  The battle for second continued for 4 more laps, with the two side-by-side for most of it.  The leader Devos pulled ahead of the pair in one of the last laps, but eventually gave right of way for their race to play out, and ended the race 20-seconds over Vargas.  Bitz was 2-seconds short of being granted a 19th lap to finish his race for 2nd.

sct podium sct podium

Eric Devos owned 1/10 Scale 4WD SCT racing in the ThunderDome at the Christmas Electric Classic… earning the fastest lap, was the Top-Qualifier into the mains and won the A-Main with 19 laps in 8:03.722.  Over the 19 laps in the A-main, his average Top-15 lap times were less than 9-tenths of a second off of his fastest lap… that's a stat of consistency on a 23-second track.

The Top-5 earned Skycraft Hobbies Gift-Certificates sponsored by RC Acres and Skycraft Hobbies awarded a miniature RC Drone to the farthest driver… Bryan Flynn who was 2nd to arrive at RC Acres, trekking from Barrie.

Congrats to all of our racers putting on some solid racing and thanks to the RC Acres team of Gus, Ian and Amanda for the hospitality. We all had a blast and appreciate there being a facility to race at with a crew encompassing perseverance to ensure that everyone has a good time. 

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Dec 21 - Christmas Classic - 1-8 eBuggy - PRACTICE
Dec 21 - Christmas Classic - 1-8 eBuggy - QUALIFIERS
Dec 21 - Christmas Classic - 1-8 eBuggy - MAINS

Dec 22 - Christmas Classic - 1-10 4WD SCT - PRACTICE
Dec 22 - Christmas Classic - 1-10 4WD SCT - QUALIFIERS
Dec 22 - Christmas Classic - 1-10 4WD SCT - MAINS


Thunderdome eBuggy Records:

Fastest Lap: 20.984 - Justin Silva - December 21, 2013
Top TQ Time Qualifying: 14 / 5:06.980 - Derek Sousa - December 7, 2013
Top TQ Mains: 27 / 10:14.699 - Justin Silva - November 23, 2013

Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race (13/11/23) - Justin Silva
Skycraft Hobbies Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race (13/12/7) - Justin Silva
Christmas Electric Classic (eBuggy) (13/12/21) - Justin Silva


Thunderdome 1/10 4WD SCT Records:

Fastest Lap: 23.883 - Eric Devos - December 21, 2013
Top TQ Time Qualifying: 13 / 5:23.133 - Eric Devos - December 21, 2013
Top TQ Mains: 19 / 8:03.722 - Eric Devos - December 21, 2013

Christmas Electric Classic (1-10 4WD SCT) (13/12/21) - Eric Devos


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