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By Jim La Stella

Trophy races are known to draw out racers, but put a regional crown on the line and you better get there early. That was the case Saturday August 7th at RC Madness in Enfield, Connecticut. Nearly 70 racers came out for this year’s outdoor on road regional, with 39 in the nitro touring class.

When the original host track for this race backed out, Chris Marcy and the RC Madness crew stepped up to host on relatively short notice. For those who don’t know, RC Madness is the magnetic center of the Region 1 universe. They have been hosting big races for a long time including state, regional, and national champion-ships. The weekend after the on road regional they are hosting a nationally sponsored monster truck race. Chris and his crew have always been known for putting on good shows and they did not disappoint this time. The track itself had plenty of traction and was a good size for the electrics and nitro cars to share.

The short notice meant this was a one day race, with open practice on Friday, and 3 qualifiers and the mains on Saturday. About 20 racers took advantage of Friday practice, some showing up before the track even opened. Saturday practice time was at a premium with the number of racers present. There were at least 8 racers on the track at any given time, with the number reaching as high as 15. Qualifying started at 11:00 AM promptly. In 1/12 modified and Touring Car modified resident pro Mike Dumas was leading the way, with Mike Haynes a reasonably close second. In nitro Mike Maliconico led the way through 2 rounds and looked to have the TQ locked up. Jaime Corrado had bad runs in the first two rounds. This put him into the slowest qualifying heat after the reshuffle. Jaime took full advantage of the less competitive field and put in a blistering run beating out Mike for TQ.

We were just about finished with the third round of qualifying when Mother Nature threw us a curve. It was partly cloudy all day, but just about 4:00 PM one cloud came right over the track and doused us with a 20 minute summer shower. Things went quiet for a while as we waited for the rain to stop and the track to dry. After a brief drifting display, some intrepid nitro driver went out and drove around to help dry the track, and we were back racing in no time. This would make the mains interesting, now that the track temp fell 25 degrees.

With the rain delay and the number of lower mains, the nitro touring car A main would start in daylight, but end in darkness. Hey, just like Sebring. The 10 car field got off to a clean start, with Jaime Corrado getting the early lead, followed closely by Mike Maliconico. Jaime and Mike kept battling for the lead, while the rest of the field tried to keep up. More than a few racers didn’t quite get the setup right for the night, with several getting into the fence that separates the on road track from the dirt track, including Mike on one lap. Somewhere around the 15 minute mark, Jaime went into the pits, but didn’t come out for at least a minute. I’m still not sure what happened. This put Mike solidly in the lead, until Ryan Archambault and Rich Johnson challenged for the lead. Both Ryan and Rich broke soon after, giving Mike his third Region 1 Nitro Touring Car Championship in a row. John Sun, who had bumped up from the B main, took second 5 laps back. The win wasn’t easy for Mike. From my back straight vantage point, I could hear Mike’s car bottoming out as early as ten minutes into the 30 minute main, with the chassis dragging for the last 5 minutes. Talking to Mike after the race, I found he did make sure he had bigger tires for the main, but forgot to allow for enough ground clearance.

With 3 classes of electric touring car, there was a spot for everyone, with many racers running at least 2. One racer actually signed up for all 4 electric classes, but more about him later. 19 turn touring car was all Mamba (aka Todd Wong) who TQ’d and led flag to flag in the A main.

Alex Valdez, the South Shore Hobby regular and now track announcer, figured he improved his chances of winning by entering as many classes as he could. Kinda like buying lottery tickets. Alex had entered all four electric classes, swapping motors in his Losi XXX-S for each class. Alex pulled out of 1/12 scale when he found motor problems. He was able to finish third in 19 turn. The Stock A main was his best shot. At the start, Alex and Binh Quan were fighting over second, as TQ Chris Freader was beginning to pull away. About half way, Binh was making too many mistakes and Alex got away for a comfortable second. With one and a half minutes to go, Chris took the corner leading to the back straight just a little too tight, resulting in a big crash that broke the battery hold down, putting him out of the race. Alex held on to take his first Stock Touring Car Regional Championship. With the carpet regional coming to his home track in October, it may not be his last.

Touring Car Modified was all Mike Dumas. The Team Trinity driver was able to lead start to finish. Mike Haynes was second one lap back.

Somehow the word got out that 1/12 scale would be contested here. 12 racers got out their pan cars to try them out on pavement. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen 1/12 scale cars outdoors. Everybody was impressed with how well they ran. Many have forgotten how much fun 1/12 was, and for many this was their first time seeing them on pavement. Hopefully this will signal the renaissance for the once popular class. By the time the Modified 1/12 A main started, it was pitch dark. Good thing Chris Marcy had installed high intensity lights for the track. Once again it was The Mike Dumas Show, showing the way wire to wire. Mike Haynes again finished second, this time only 4 seconds back.

Overall, this was a long day, and night, of racing. The entire RC Madness crew deserves a huge round of applause for another great race. All this and they were still doing their regular Saturday business. All the racers pitched in for one another, and everyone left happy. Tired, but happy. With the Nitro and Electric Touring car regional in the books, it’s time to look forward to the 1/8 scale regional to be held in Middlebury, Connecticut. Happy racing!

Full results posted at RCMadness.com
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