Catfish25! MARC Turns Out to Mark
a Quarter-Century of Fun
Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 8, 2023 – Plenty of doughnuts, pizza, and dessert pie were on hand for our long-delayed 25th Anniversary celebration for Catfish International Speedway. I mean, let’s eat! Who cares about racing? 8-).
Catfish International is named for our son, Henry Catfish Hayes, an avid racer himself as a pre-teen. Henry will turn 30 this fall! The raceway was supposed to get its quarter-century, star turn three years ago, but, well you know; something crazy and horrible happened in our world.
Through the miracle of vaccines, developed largely right here in Cambridge, the planet is on its way to regaining some semblance of normalcy. And now we are feeling safe, or safe enough, to gather for racing in our homes once again. The vibe was excellent, and we were glad to be together here, finally!
I decided to dedicate this Catfish25 race to the creator of our Brystal Catfish road course, Bryan Henden, who died in the fall, way before his time. Bryan was a pillar of the Pacific NW racing scene, and with his Brystal Trax, one of the very best HO slot track builders there has ever been. There will never be another like him.
Mood up! Voted America’s Top Slot Car Spouse multiple times, Gretchen Adams made magic happen for Catfish25 with donuts, fruit, and lots of smiles. She loves what this hobby does for me, the friends I’ve made, and what it was for Henry and me together, in the early years. She looks forward to our race date at CIS every year, and has missed seeing everyone these last few, weird trips around the sun.
Our first class of the day was G-Jets with vintage Can-Am bodies. There were some sharp looking cars entered, and then some schmendricks trying to run one-dimensional, paper drivers!
Sad. But we got everyone through tech, and Dave Muse put our round robin together.
Many thanks go to Dave, who wrestled our computer printer throughout practice, as I had, without much success, for the preceding two days! After the best of five falls, Dave finally pinned the sucker, and we had printouts when we needed them.
And, longtime MARC member, and now denizen of Lewes, Delaware, the estimable Vince Tamburo, our overnight guest at Chez Catfish, ran the computer for most of the day. Thank you, Dave and Vince!
We ran the G-Jet Can-Am round robin, 16 racers, with the Sportsmen and Pros together. Five minutes per lane. Some very quick cars, and the second, third and fourth spots overall were covered by less than two laps!
Catfish Sr. took the checkered flag first, setting new single-lap and total lap track records with his long-wheelbase, Dan Gurney #48 McLaren. He was 13 laps ahead of the zoomin’ Erik Eckhardt, who was bunched closely together with Ryan Archambault, and Dr. John Pileggi.
Our top Sportsman in G-Jet Can-Am was Dave Muse, racing out of the Catfish stable this day. He bested seven other Sportsmen, with a darn fine drive, some 14 laps over Bruce Olson, and 16 over Hakim Harris.
After post-race tech, we began practice for our second programme of the day, Open Weight, also known in some quarters as Spec Jet. Open hearth pizza from Stoked arrived, and practice continued.
At about 2:00, our musicians, the Tyson Jackson Trio, performed Thelonious Monk’s classic “Ask Me Now,” “The Sunny Side of the Street,” and of course the U.S. national anthem. Gregory Groover on tenor saxophone, Max Ridley on upright bass, and Tyson Jackson, playing a tiny, raceway-appropriate drum kit. These guys are truly amazing players, and have become great friends of mine.
Open Weight practice showed that some very fast cars were in the house. There would be no cruising for Catfish Sr. this time around! Our round robin began, Sportsmen and Pros running together once more.
Hakim Harris led the Sportsmen across the line, with a 14-lap cushion over Bruce Olson (160.21), and Mike Tiffany (160.14).
Dave Muse was 4th, just edging Cedric Prevoe. Tom Bussmann completed the Sportsman field.
In the Pro column, Paul Ryer made Catfish Sr. work like mad to re-ascend the top step, totaling 202.18 (2nd) to Hayes’s 208.04 (1st). Dr. John Pileggi came third, closely pursued by Ryan Archambault, who was a mere 2/3 of a lap behind. Ryan did improve his single-lap Open Weight track record, by a few hundredths of a second.
When the smoking controllers were laid aside, a procession brought the candle-adorned Apple, Cherry Crumb, and Strawberry Rhubarb pies down the stairs, to a lusty rendition of Happy Birthday, to Catfish. As JP often says, “Good pie!”
Thanks to everyone for making the trip, the great racing, and the laughs. And thanks to several of our friends who weren’t able to be with us for this, for one reason or another. You’re still our friends, but maybe just a little less so.
Saturday, May 6 will be the return of the Nuvolari Enduro, on the famed Brad’s Tracks Nuvolari race course. The event returns after a three-year absence, now held at LenJet, and hosted by Peter Lentros. Six team captains will be appointed, and teams chosen, that day. Please PM or email Ryan Archambault with any questions.
Our final MARC championship race of the 2022-23 season will be
the following weekend, on Saturday, May 13, also at LenJet. First race of the day will be Open Weight on the Python. Then the programme will split: Sportsmen will race Super Stock on the Bear, and the Pros will be racing Neo on the Brystal Viper.
Thanks to everyone for coming to Catfish25!