4220 Miles!

Wow what a week…..actually 8 days from California to Indiana and Back.  I made it a mission this year to get to as many big races as I possibly could and well this was the biggest in the US this year, The ROAR 1/8 Nitro Nationals.  For those who aren’t into RC this race was the gateway to the WORLDS in Australia in 2018.  ROAR gives the top 30 drivers the ability to sign up to go the worlds to compete for the USA.  Anyways onto the trip.  Daniel Adams of Proline picked me up in the newly wrapped PL van and we headed off on our 8 state journey that included California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, and finally Indiana. 19510523_1476662382393718_7382788304808510816_n Heck we only missed our 9th state by about 500 yards as we were right on the border of Michigan.  The drive was a long one pulling anywhere from 12 to 18 hours just to get there in time.  Hats off to Daniel for keeping us safe and well-being able to do that kind of haul.  Neither of us had been down the I-40 much past Albuquerque so it was all new sites to see and well smell–Thanks Texas…  For much of the trip it was the same thing, Flat fields, windmills and roadkill.  We made it into Amarillo the first night and were welcomed with the wonderful smell of cattle–just about made us sick-WOW.   After a few hours of rest it was onto our final destination.  ST. Louis was cool as we ended up right at the ST. louis Arch which was quite a sight.  Who knew the railroad went right under it and the mighty Mississippi right by its side with all the river barges.  gateway-archEarlier that day we had checked out our route and calculated it would get us in around midnight..Unfortunately we hadn’t accounted for the final time change once in Indiana so we got in after 1am.  It wasn’t until the next day when I texted my wife that she said I texted really early…Woops@!  The next morning we headed to the track where it was already busy with the sound of cars on the track.  We were greeted by Kevin Meyers the owner of Stateline who got us settled in with a space for the tent and the truck.  After getting setup I took a little stroll around the place.  1P7A0085-PanoWhat a beautiful area with lush green grass and trees.  The track is nestled right along the freeway so anyone driving by can see the place.  The place was pretty spread out with most pitting out of trailers or motorhomes.  This kinda made it tough to find people.  Stateline did have a tent setup for drivers that didn’t have anything setup which was great for most of the guys that flew in.   The next day started official practice when ROAR would take over.  The pace of the day was fast as drivers had to tech their cars before a run etc.  Once again the track would go through some major changed during the day from wet to dry to ? depending on how they were watering it which frustrated many of the drivers.

On Friday here came the dreaded RAIN! Everyone woke up to dark and gloomy skies in the morning.  Many racers opted to stay at the hotel and catch some extra sleep while it rained.  Overnight the track crew covered the track with one very large tarp, which helped to keep much of the water off the surface.  On our arriving the track crew were pumping water from the pits and some of the track into their drain system all of which ended up down at the Mugen pits….OOPS.  Luckily it didn’t take long for the area to dry out.  Seems like that place eats water for lunch.  AH0I8562During our down time we decided to have a little fun with the Proline team having them pose with the PL umbrella….What elese are you to do when it raining and we can’t race.PL-UmbrellaWe finally started racing around 3pm that day and ROAR or the track decided to do a full round of just practice to help the track.  I think this was a bad plan as we were already way behind schedule.  Seeding runs went late into the night and with poor track lighting made for some interesting runs.

Saturday saw sunny skies again.  The track was still together but taking a beating from the weather and the almost 400 cars on it.  Once again the track/ROAR would have another practice round before 4 rounds of qualifying would start.  They started quals based on the 1 round of seeding that really happened instead of the 2 scheduled rounds.  This frustrated some as it would put them in lower heats.  ROAR did make the decision to do re-sorts after the first round of Quals to help those effected by the rain.  Stateline and ROAR made the decision not to water for the rest of the event which might have been a good thing to announce to everyone trying to make decisions on wha tires to run.  Maybe they did but nobody ever heard it because they really didn’t even have a PA system.  The day went late into the night around 1am  under the lights as lower mains had to get done in order to end Sundays A-Final at a decent time.

Sunday saw mostly sunny skies with some very very light drizzle first thing in the AM.  Once again Stateline/ROAR would do another controlled practice pushing us even further behind schedule with everything that needed to happen.  Lower mains would get the day rolling with many drivers not feeling they got to where they should be because of weather or track conditions and some would have to play the bump up game.  Unfortunately during the day ROAR would do a Concourse competition which I totally missed standing 20ft from the track because I didn’t even hear it was going on.  Congrats to the winner whomever it was?

Truck Finals was very exciting watching Ty Tessmann give X-Ray the first ever national title in offroad against some strong completion like Ryan Maifield from Mugen and Ryan Lutz who was on it with the Tekno truck.AH0I9020AH0I1455

Anyways some other exciting racing would ensure during the day one of which was the 1/2 simi finals which saw Cole Ogden come from starting a full lap down because of a penalty to putting himself into the main event.  AH0I9349

Before the Buggy Final they would run the finals of the Under 16 class.  I would witness a stellar run by Camden Lime who is a regular force here on the west coast take the win and some really disturbing meltdowns by several of the other young drivers.  AH0I1445Not sure why the ROAR officials let these drivers get away with all the yelling and cursing (yes curing like sailors/truck drivers) that was going on during the race but also the parents whom were down below pitting for them.  Very sad to see these kind of people infiltrating our sport.

It was finally time for the Finals of Buggy which is what we were all here for. This is the one Race that say’s you’re the best in the US and the race that gets you to the Worlds.  Maifield would get the early jump only to get tangled into a pipe allowing many to get by one of which was Ty Tessman.  Ty would start to stretch out his lead a bit until Cole Ogden who started near the rear would once again be on it and would pass Ty and start to pull away… after a few min into the main Ty would start to suffer an electrical problem causing him to lose control of the buggy and making him do an unscheduled pit stop putting him a lap down to the field.  Cole would soon have Tebo knocking on his door and whom would eventually take the lead.  AH0I1220.jpgAt around the 15min or so mark we would see Tebo starting to drop in the standings yet the car was still making laps.  A transponder failure would have the team scrambling up to the announcers booth to discuss.  After a few min corrections were made and they were hand counting Tebo.  Ryan lutz would charge hard to be within striking distance of Tebo a few time during the hour-long main but it was Tebo’s time to shine.  Taboo would win in commanding fashion with his whole family watching followed by Ryan Lutz and Spencer Rivkin.AH0I1463

During the weekend several people I talked to mentioned how Tebo’s car looked good, although he wasn’t what seemed the fastest on the track all week. Tebo is always a factor but as the years go on it gets harder for these guys and it had been many years since his last nationals win and many weren’t counting him as a factor to win.  Although Tessmann and Maifield dropping out might have played into his winning there is no denying that Tebo kept everything together (Except his transponder) and drove a great race ahead of the competition.  I think this one will probably be his most special as he was able to share it with his wife and kids looking on.AH0I1508

After the race it was get everything posted to the World Wide Web, say our goodbye’s and get out of dodge.  Daniel and I heading on our long trip back to California again for the next 2 day’s.

It was sure fun hanging out with everyone at the event.  The people at Stateline are second to none when it comes to hospitality,  from the Dinner and breakfast to games and hanging at the fire pit at night thank again for being willing to put up with all of us for the week.  It was also great meeting lots of what I hope to be new friends in the RC industry too.

I want to thank everyone who helped make this trip happen for me this year.  TeknoRC, Proline Racing, Neobuggy, Absolute Hobbyz.  Without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do bringing everyone the over 1200 pictures and video from the event.  Please make sure you guys pay them a visit by clicking the links and to purchase any pictures in a Full Resoluiton digital download–(Its like getting the digital negitive), or to purchase prints please visit my website RUGSPIN GRAPHIX

 

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Gods Speed ROY CASTER

This last weekend while I was attending the Reedy Race I got a message from a long time friend that said you need to check FaceBook.  There was an obscure post that basically said RIP Roy Caster with no info….Immediately we started making calls looking for info.  Personally I was in shock and disbelief as Roy had just texted me within the last week.   Unfortunately the worst had truly happened Roy was gone…  As I sit here writing this I still cannot believe I will never see him again.IMG_9172

Roy and I lived only 2 streets away from each other and never knew it until our love of RC racing brought us together in 1986 racing in a tiny backyard track in 1000 Palms.  Roy and I quickly struck up a friendship revolving around RC.  Between the late 80’s and early 90’s Roy and I logged more miles together racing virtually every night at a different track around SoCal.  It really didn’t matter what type of racing either.  1/10th 1/8th, Nitro, Electric Onroad, Offroad we did it. We had another thing in common and that was gift of Painting.

Both Roy and I painted our own RC car Bodies but many of other RC racers too.  Each of us started are own RC Painting Biz…  Mine Rugspin Graphix….His Bully Bodywerks.

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Roy had a love for the sport and was always willing to help anyone in need at the track.  Over the last few years he raced less but traveled more with his wife Beth.  He was finally in a place to enjoy some of what Life had to offer doing Travel, Jeeping and anything fun he wanted to do.  Like I said he texted me just this last week to see if I could paint for someone as he was doing some travel, little did I know this would be the last time we talked.

Roy left us doing what he loved….something fun. While snorkeling he suffered  a catastrophic brain aneurysm.  I think to myself it’s not fair, why do the good ones always have to die?  We have no idea when our time is up and well Roy lived each day enjoying every min of life and doing as much as he could to have a good time.

Roy I’ll miss you buddy…..

 

2017 Reedy Race of Champions

All I can say is wow after a long weekend of racing.  Watching Marc Reinhard win his 6th Reedy was awesome.  The new Infinity ride was flawless all weekend.  On Sunday morning he went from battling for 2nd in his heat to tangling with another competitor dropping him to last then coming right back through the field. It was a never give up amazing drive to watch.

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The Reedy is always a test of man and machine every year.  No matter how well you’ve been doing at your local track, no matter how much practice you put in things will happen that you just cannot prepare for.  Many drivers were frustrated with their performance where others were elated.

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We all watch a newcomer to the onroad side of RC try his hand at one of the biggest races.  Spencer Rivkin impressed many with his smooth driving style which looked as if he had been doing this for years.  Unfortunately the racing line was super tight making it very very difficult to pass keeping him from passing for the win. At one point he could have made the pass but pulled back when the leader bobbled as to not make things worse, It showed poise, restraint, and respect for his fellow competitor.

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Many attend this races to test their skills, while others just want to fill the bucket on their list.  Many of us use these races as an excuse to hang with our extended family.  I personally like the latter…  Many racers I have known for well over 30 years now and it’s always nice to hang with someone if only for a few min just to say hi.

Some highlights from my weekend;  Seeing Bob Novak dropping by showing that RC is in his blood. Seeing Bill Jeric win the B-Mail to the applause of all his fellow RC racers around the track.  The former champion The Fabulous One Barry Baker stopping by to chat it up with the worlds best in TC. Seeing a guy come up to the Guru of Aero Dale Epp asking him to sign his ProtoForm body.  Watching Randy Caster take a different role this weekend building and tuning many of the top Associated drivers cars with his new 1-UP venture.  Of course who could forget Courtney Day my favorite Trophy Girl who makes many of the guys nervous…Always a fun time with her around.AH0I6676AH0I6066AH0I5986AH0I6483AH0I4817IMG_1560

Once again congrats to Marc Reinhard for another REEDY win and to all the racers that attended this great race, Scotty Ernst for another flawless program and Tamiya America for hosting this great event.

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A Trip to Tamiya

So the wife and I made trip out to Tamiya America yesterday for the 2017 Reedy Touring Car Race of Champions….. The facility never looked better with the new surface that they recently put in…AH0I4599

The reedy format is interesting as every round of heads up racing counts.  This is a pure test of man and machine.  The racing is tight as the Tamiya track is probably one of the smallest tracks that most of these guys race on.  Many of the top guys are hear some with new rides for 2017.

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We stayed a short time just to watch one of the Invitational rounds.  Afterward traffic looked pretty bad on the 5 Freeway or Parking-Lot…..So we decided to take our time and do a little site seeing.   Its been a while since I’ve driven up the PCH around Laguna and I couldn’t believe how clear it was all the way to Catalina Island.  You could even see another Island past it.

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Well we decided to stop in Laguna and take a walk down to the tide pools out by Bird Rock.  We saw tons of little crabs and small fish in them.  The funniest part was one of the bigger crabs was chasing around the little guys then Farted…Reminded me of what Captain Phil from Deadliest Catch use to say about finding Crab when he smelled Crab Farts…

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Anyways stay tuned to www.rugspingraphix.com or www.facebook.com/rugspingraphix for all the race action this weekend from the Reedy Race of Champions

Ricochet Raceway Video Shoot

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Well Today I tagged along with Gerardo and Robert from Proline to check out Ricochet Raceway (Click Link for Facebook Page)  while they were doing a Video shoot for carpet tire for 1/10th scale.. I had heard about this track down at the bottom of California just miles from the Mexican Border but hadn’t had the chance to check it out yet.

It’s a really cool place in more ways than one.  First off it had Air Conditioning….Let me say coming from Palm Springs this is everything during the summer time, I mean what more could you want while racing during the hot summer?

2nd it has a full-blown trampoline park inside with food concessions, meeting rooms, banquet rooms, everything you could want under one roof.  14057212-mmmain

The track is nestled in a corner of the building with its own entrance.  Inside was a very nice track, pit tables and a well stocked hobby shop.  The track is carpet which seems to be a trend these days and the layout was really fun too.  Ricochet makes the most of the space they have with the layout which consisted of a crossover and a wall ride…Wall ride was way cool….  IMG_1548IMG_1549

Anyways I kinda played grip for the day helping Robert with some of his shots.  After we were done with the shoot I got to wheel Gerardo’s Associated 2wd around the track.  Being a OnRoad carpet racer I felt right at home with the buggy other than the jumps that I kept messing up on……   Remember OnRoad is flat.

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I loved the fact that this facility has so much crossover interaction.  During our short time at the track we had a wall of kids from the Trampoline Park section of the facility looking through the windows checking out what we were doing with lots of Ooohs and aahhs.  Ricochet say’s on any given race day that the whole side of the track is filled with onlookers.  What a great way to get more people into the sport.  They said they also provided rental vehicles to anyone that is interested.  I wish more tracks had this kind of exposure and opportunity to bring new people into our sport.

I want to thank Proline Racing for the opportunity to tag along today and to Ricochet for the hospitality.

 

 

9th Annual Proline Gas Champs May 20th-21st

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This Last weekend I attended the 9th Annual Proline Gas Champs.  Levi Jackson of Sik Track Designs hit me up a couple of months in advance to help cover the race.  It had been a very busy month for me and in fact was out of town just the day before in Austin Tx doing working on my other line of work which is sound.  I was in town for the AVP Volleyball tour. AH0I2887 Anyways I made arrangements to be flown back in time for Levi’s event.

When I got to Proline’s Test Track I was in awe of the layout. Never before had Levi had so much elevation changes at Proline.  Well from what I could tell it was it a hit with the racers too.

This Years Gas Champs drew some pretty big names from across the RC industry Drivers from Tekno, Mugen, Associated all were in attendance.  3 Rounds of qualifying with one throwout would set the stage for some epic battles for Sundays Main Events.

Levi and I decided we would tag team the social media scene with content.  LiveRC had the scoring side and he would do live Facebook while I would Post updates on who was TQ for the round in the classes which seemed to work very well.

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Within a few hours pictures like the one above would be up in the 10’s of thousands of views.  This showed both of us how important this coverage was to the event.

At the end of the day Saturday I went home and worked on all the action pic’s from the day and uploaded them the next morning then it was back to the track for Sunday’s Main Events.   Levi and I kept the same flow going with him doing Live FB video’s and me shooting all the action and winners.

I have to say I was one of the most fun weekends that I have had doing this  I shot almost 1800 pictures over the course of the 2 days.  I want to put out a special shout out to Melody Austin who stepped in as our Trophy Girl during the daytime on Sunday  She brightened up every podium pic for sure.AH0I4209

Over the years I have freely offered my pic’s to anyone that wanted to use them and would sell them on the side here and there at full resolution.  Well the time has come to recoup some of the $$ that I have spent on equipment/travel/time.  You may have noticed a big R logo watermarked on the pics now.  Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 6.41.56 AMWell this is to keep people from just using them at will.  It’s been a struggle for me on how to go about all of this and to not piss people off but simple fact is my camera gear cost some serious money and I’m destroying it every time I come to the track.  So I hope all forgive me for the change but you will also now be able to reap the benefits of all of this.  My website www.rugspingraphix.com now has a buy button that allows you purchase full resolution pictures directly from my site plus prints too.  When you purchase the R watermark will be removed and you can do what you want with the photo and share it all you want.

Once again I want to thank Levi Jackson for having me out and supporting what I do for the little slice of the RC industry and to all the Proline Crew for the hospitality and great event that was put on for all the racers.AH0I4538