Labor day weekend is always a holiday of relaxation when families often take their last trips and vacations of summer, but for some it’s a bit more serious than that. Many racers made the trip to this year’s Sidewinder Nitro Explosion that was held on Labor Day weekend to do battle on the track. Now in its 10th year running, the SNE has made its home at several SoCal tracks and settled this year at Chula Vista Racing Club (CVRC) in the lovely San Diego County area. The whole event went off without a hitch and was done in excellent fashion by none other than Jimmy Babcock working in sync with CVRC president, Don Vinkemulder and crew to keep the track in top shape. Here’s how the mains went down.
1/8th Scale Electric
A1 – The 1/8th scale electric class is normally not a controversial class, but the 10-minute race length times at recent big races have worried racers the durability of their electronics and/or damaging their batteries. It wasn’t a big issue at the SNE as racers ran into no problems in the mid-80 degree weather. Top Qualifier Drew Moller took total advantage of his pole position spot (which included an additional 15 ft. head start over the 2nd grid position) at the start of the first main and was quick to make his way around the first turn in his Kyosho ride with TLR’s Adam Drake in tow. The two pushed each other to pick up the pace and quickly started to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. Drake did have a couple of bobbles and rollovers that allowed Drew to increase his lead. Adam wasn’t able to close the gap and Moller took the win.
A2- At the beginning of the second main, it was more of the same; Moller and Drake got away from the pack. This time Drake didn’t make any mistakes early on and stayed right on the bumper of the Kyosho in front. It was Adam Drake’s last chance to finish first as there were only two mains ran and his only chance at a tiebreaker if he had a quicker finishing time than Moller’s win. At the half way point of the race Drake was still within 1.5 seconds of Drew and wasn’t letting up. A few minutes later, disaster struck for Adam Drake as a crash a few bobbles let Moller open up his lead to about half a lap. Moller cruised for the remaining laps to claim the second and overall win.
As the quiet electric main was winding down, you could hear engines start up for the first of the expert A-Mains and the Truck class was up first. At the start of the final, it would be more of the Moller/Drake show as TQ Drew Moller sat on the pole position with Adam Drake sitting 2nd on the grid. The experts showed exactly why they are called experts as the trucks made their way around the first turn with one of the cleanest starts of the day. All 13 trucks in the final held their position for the entire first lap with the first pass being made mid-pack after crossing the finish line on the start of lap two. The battle up front between Moller and Drake was tighter in the Nitro Truck main than it had been in Electric Buggy. The two evenly matched trucks were running almost identical times lap after lap. It wasn’t until the 6-minute mark of the 45-minute main that Moller had the slightest of bobbles that allowed Drake to make the pass. It was still super early in the race so no worries for Moller as he knew there would be plenty of opportunities to pass; just two minutes later Drake snagged a track pipe allowing Drew to take the lead again. Pit stops came into play later in the race, with both Moller and Drake shooting for ten minutes per tank of fuel. Moller came in for his first pit at the 9.5-minute mark, while Drake did 10-minutes on the nose. As the race went on, some excellent pitting by Adam Drake’s crew gave him the advantage over Moller, allowing him to take the lead and build a 7-second gap over Drew at the 30-minute mark of the race. This trend would only continue and by the end of the race, Adam Drake took the overall win with a 22-second gap over Drew Moller.
It was time for the Expert Buggy main and this time it was three-time and defending ROAR National Champion Adam Drake sitting on the pole with Drew Moller in 2nd. Drake rocketed off his grid spot and started the final off right by laying down some of the fastest laps of the weekend in his TLR ride. Drew Moller stayed in striking distance as he wheeled his Kyosho rig and kept it within two seconds of ‘The Drake.’ Moller suffered a couple of flame outs throughout the race that knocked him down to mid-pack, giving Adam Drake a commanding lead. The battle for third turned into the closest on the track, as 2006 World Champion and AKA tires owner Mark Pavidis in his TLR 8IGHT 3.0 made a charge to the front with Agama’s Jeremy Kortz between him and the leader. By that point Adam Drake was 23-seconds ahead of that battle and wasn’t looking back. Pavidis made his move at the 24-minute mark of the race as Kortz suffered a rollover on the far left section of the track before the triple jump. As Kortz recovered, he found Kyosho’s Sean Gaffney hot on his tail trying to claim the last podium spot. Kortz had the spot locked in, but something went wrong with his car at the 41-minute mark and he slowed enough to allow Gaffney by for the final podium spot. The final finishing order was Adam Drake taking the win, Mark Pavidis second and Sean Gaffney third.
Kudos to Jimmy Babcock and the CVRC crew for making this race run flawlessly. Special thanks to the sponsors (RC Car Action being one of them) for making the Sidewinder Nitro Explosion happen. It has been confirmed that the SNE will once again be at CVRC next year, which I’m sure will be an awesome event like this year’s.