Oct 11

Race Report: 2011 IIC Race in Las Vegas

 

I want to say thanks to Mike for this race report.  I hope through out the year I can publish more big race reports that local Ottawa racers are attending. Joel Lagace

Oct 2nd 2011 – It is the 7th time the R/C world has attacked the lovely city of Las Vegas.

 

I have been racing a lot of years and participated at some very large remote control car events. The one that always eluded me was the International Indoor Championships in Las Vegas. The event is run by Scotty Ernst and his team of hard workers. 2011 was the year I would attend! Joined by my dad, Fred, we decided to attend the event back in August. We found a couple of direct tickets for around $1000 total. Registering for the event was easy by just filling out the form on the website and paying the registration fee. The classes ranged from Amateur Sedan, foam tire 1/12th to Modified classes. There were over 450 entries for this year’s race. Non-boosted 17.5 sedan being the largest.

Registration was not a typical twenty dollars however for the large fee you got a ton of ‘bang for your buck’. When you registered you got a free set of hand out tires, a t-shirt of your size and entry in to the many activities that r would take place. Once the fee had been paid all we could do was wait until the event took place!

Leaving Ottawa was an event in itself with the airline having Elvis direct the plane to the runway. We knew that we were embarking on a special week with a lot of wonderful surprises.

Arriving in the city of Sin was easy. A taxi picked us up in about 10 minutes waiting in line and we were off to our host hotel, The famous Riviera! Lights shined everywhere and I could tell all walks of life were departed on this famous city. It doesn’t matter who you are as Vegas welcomed you.

Once we got our luggage in the room we had a day and a half to what we wanted so a nice Steak and Seafood dinner was our first destination. Prices in Vegas were very reasonable. I can’t complain at all for the twenty dollar price tag on one of the best steaks I ever had. The IIC poker tournament had just finished and we took a look at the winners. Next year I will want to participate in what was surely a fun time!

October 3rd – This was a day of making sure you were ready and taking a look around the hotel. Registration took place at Noon and sponsored drivers could get their pit area shortly after. Four o’clock was the time when non-sponsored drivers could find a spot. Unfortunately this was the first nitpick of the event. I understand how sponsored drivers want to be together however it was a mighty task to find a free spot for us normal drivers. Eventually Team Orca(all Canadian drivers) were nice enough to let us sit near. The worst nitpick I had was at six o’clock the facility was closed. That meant I only had two hours to work on my equipment and the sponsored drivers had more. I ended up taking my equipment back up to my room and working on it there. I don’t quite understand the point of setting up a pit area that I couldn’t use. Next time I will wait until the next day to set it all up.

I worked on my tire preparation that evening and felt I was the most prepared I had ever been for a race. I was wrong.

My two cars were both terrible on the opening practice session. I could barely turn a corner let alone a lap. My boosted car was unable to pull straight and my blinky car couldn’t even turn around the corners. I was over a second and a half down in lap time for each car. The key to the track was that it had a lot more traction then we are used to in Ottawa. I copied a setup from TRF driver Viktor Wilck however going by his first session, he also wasn’t prepared.

The key to an event like this was to work on your car and never give up. During the two practice sessions that day I was able to gain a second or so on my lap time and that was by changing everything I could think of.

The evening was then filled with the important driver’s meeting and banquet dinner(included in the race fee). There was some exciting things being done in this year’s IIC that I thought made the event very professional. First of all, the practice runs on the second day would decide your qualifying spot. The best three laps in a row would take an average to place you in your spot. This worked extremely well as most drivers ran with cars of similar skill. Full tech was done for Practice and it made for zero surprises throughout the week. The typical sportsmanship and other rules were explained. A nice dinner and beer was then enjoyed.

The second day of practice happened much like the first except for the previously mentioned exceptions. I wasn’t driving well and my cars were not great either. The traction had increased from the first day and I was scratching my head on what to do. I also didn’t have the speed that other cars had on the straight. There was a lot to learn from an event like this so that is precisely what I did. Rotor changes, timing end changes, roll center, gear diff, tire prep, linkages and many other things needed to be changed. The problem is everyone else are doing those changes as well. The good news is that after the day of practice we had free beer and tacos. This was also a chance to meet the major sponsors of the event and see their new products. I was able to see the new Corally Sedan and a few other neat things coming out in the R/C world. The new 1/12th by associated was neat as it had a Sedan type battery setup. According to team driver, Keven Hebert, it made the car very neutral and easy to drive.

One thing about an event like this is that it will take up your whole week. We got up at 6am and typically finished around 10pm. 52 heats were required for all drivers to get a fair shot and today was the first day we were going to do it. My first round was terrible not finishing with either two cars. It seems the one screw that I didn’t touch on both cars came loose and I was sitting in the back of the pack. My second round was better however due to nerves and stupid driving I was sitting in the mid pack after day one. Now just because my day was terrible doesn’t mean there was no fun to have. Top driver’s from around the world were around and you could certainly watch their skill at any time during the day. Tamiya, X-ray, Associated, Top, Yokomo, Corally, Hot Bodies and any who-is-who of On-road racing was there. One particular highlight of the day was the fantastic driving of Marc Reinard from Tamiya. He was struggling with the handling of his car however that didn’t stop him from coming within a couple of millimeters of the sweeper at the end of the straight. Every spectator was impressed.

The final day of qualifying was another troubled day for me. I really didn’t have much going for me. I drove better however my car still struggled in the mid section of the track. I ended up being about .2 of a second slower compared to the fastest guys and when the difference from 1st overall to my 28th qualifying position is about 8 seconds. That isn’t good enough! The qualifying results were interesting. The highlight being Canada’s own Andrew Hardman taking the TQ in Blinky 17.5! Scotty also gave us some fantastic Ice Cream Sundae’s that certainly eased the pain!

The final race day was a little unique in that we started earlier and the races were shuffled around. Thankfully no one from Ottawa was up before heat number twelve. The real highlight of the final day was watching the spectacular races and close battles. A few races were decided on the last corner and a few on corner one. Race results have been posted already however personally I finished 28th overall in Blinky and 33rd in 17.5 Boosted. Congrats to Andrew Hardman, Martin Crisp and Keith Yu all taking home hardware in their classes.

The final evening was left to gambling, good food and great times. The crazy girl area was a particular highlight.

If you are on the fence for such an event then I recommend it. I will hopefully go again next year and be more prepared for the unique track surface. Let’s get a group together and enjoy it! You will not be sorry!

Michael Zufelt

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