MARC 2020-21 FINALE
LenJet Raceway, Ashland, Massachusetts
May 8, 2021
Reported by Benson S.R. Tuna
Dear friends, after stops and starts, masks and vax, Zoom and vroom, we come to end of the weirdest MARC New England season — with 2020 being the weirdest year, period — in living memory. In my humble opinion, we did make good use of the days available to us. We’re very fortunate to include the wide open spaces of the world’s largest slot car facility, with tall ceilings, and excellent ventilation, among our menu of host spaces. So, another thanks to LenJet’s Peter Lentros, and Richard Payne at Modelville Hobby right next door, for bringing into existence something that, well, really can’t exist.
Our cohort included Bruce Olson from New Hampshire, who really seems to like racing the wee scale with us, and keeps showing up. Apparently, the advice his parents gave him (about choosing his friends wisely) has been long forgotten. Also with us, all the way from Portland, Oregon, was the inimitable John Hubbard, birthday boy. five-time HO Le Mans driver, and Pacific Northwest HO regular. John was staying at Chez Catfish, his base of operations in order both to run in this race, and a 1/24th Retro Coupes tilt at Modelville a few days later.
Our first class of the day were the highly popular F1 G-Jets, on the Brad Bowman Car Model tub track. Impromptu editorial: the ergonomics and driver sight lines are really tough on the Car Model, with so many big guys crowded about. Both slotted and de-slotted cars regularly disappear from the drivers’ view in a blur of chub and spun cotton. Maybe it’s time to move some of the drivers’ panels to the layout’s back straight?
A nubby, expanded PVC surface, and low-downforce, slip-on-tired slot cars make F1 G-Jets on this track something of an adventure. Lots of back-end snap, particularly late in heats, when the tires picked up the clag. Squeeze on, squeeze off, Bucko! Those with patience, finesse, and powerful motor magnets were rewarded in the end.
11 racers from five states put their cars into tech; the Sportsmen racing side by side with the Pros. After the dust settled, the pizza was ordered, and a lot of ducking and driving ensued, Cody Pare took top Sportman honors with 396 laps, followed closely by a pack of Terry Ayer (392), Bruce Olson (389), and Nitro Mike Tiffany (387).
Pros: Ryan Archambault, exhibiting magnetic power usually seen only in the Marvel Universe, took top Pro honors with 459 laps. LenJet host Peter Lentros was second (446), and Catfish Sr. was third with 437. Erik Eckhardt (uncharacteristically whinging), Tom Gray, Paul Ryer, and our esteemed visitor John Hubbard completed the skein of Pros.
The midday artery clogging (pizza) ritual followed, along with plenty of thrashing and practice, and more thrashing for… the Modifieds. On to the wonderful Brystal Viper… for 30 minutes of fast, fast fun.
Everyone was looking for the tire combo, Holmes. Slip-ons, 2.5-ohm armatures, full, C-10 magnet packages, and no ball bearings allowed means it’s easy to get these brightly colored missiles into Venusian-level temperatures, and quick. Beware! What diameters would allow you to stay on the table, get through the esses, and still read south of 165 degrees on the infrared?
Thrash, thrash, thrash. Time after time, some podium hopeful would look insanely fast in practice, then pull up after a few blinding laps, produce their thermometer, and, as the digits on the display climbed, the corners of their mouth would… drop. Back to the pits! “To finish first, first ye must finish.” – Ben Franklin.
Two racers down: Nitro Mike was not feeling well, and wisely decamped to home base, Wingdale, NY. Bruce Olson decided he’d run the race computer and watch, as this may have been his first time with the really fast HO stuff.
Cody Pare had what was a wildly fast car, and he was driving it just as wildly! Still, he took top Sportsman honors, with Terry Ayer, the sole additional Sportsman on the strength, having what appeared to be an off day.
Seven Pros threw their hats into the ring. But it was clear by half-distance that it would take a minor miracle to catch Erik “The Viking” Eckhardt, and his Durf Hyson-prepared special.
Ryan started on Orange, Blue and Yellow, had a handful of a car, then sat out for several turns through the round robin. He tried dropping the nose .004” and the rear .002”, before he came back on, and, magic! The car was transformed. He posted high lap totals for the day on his concluding Red, White, and Green.
But it warn’t enuff to catch Erik, who had by then driven off into the distance, exhibiting an almost feral determination and focus. He wanted this one, winning Orange, Blue, and Yellow, and finishing with 548 laps. Ryan had 517, just pipping Catfish Sr., who had 514. Peter Lentros completed the four-man Pro Podium, with 509. Oregon’s John Hubbard took fifth, followed by Paul Ryer, and Tom Gray.
The top three drivers took these approaches to their cars:
Durf/Erik: A stiff G3R chassis. .327 fronts, and BSRT HPS rear hub/tires, .427 OD. BSRT gears 7/22. Springs: 9.2 grams pressure left, and 7.7 grams right. BSRT #144 advance-timed High Power armature. Std BSRT C-10 magnet package. And… looks like a Toyota body to me.
Ryan: Stiff BSRT G3RS chassis. For the first 3 lanes, 346” fronts, and .434 Viper Albino rears, The last three lanes —when things got much, much better for Ryan — BSRT HPS #345 tires on .285” rims, for an OD of .432”, and dropped the front to .340. 7/22 BSRT black poly pinion and crown; BSRT #144 advance-timing High Power arm, BSRT end bell and Beedle bronze bushings; #249 shoes, 9.9 grams pressure left and 9.2 grams right; regular, low downforce BSRT C-10 motor and traction magnets. His guide pin was in the center position. And he dressed it all in a MaDD Nissan GTP body.
Rob: Stiff BSRT G3RS chassis, with molded-in body posts. .350 front tires. BSRT HPS B compound hub/tire at .434, with Scale Engineering hollow axle. BSRT black delrin pinion, and gray delrin crown, 7/22. Standard BSRT C-10 magnet package. BSRT #245 shoes; 9.4 grams left, and 7.8 grams right. BSRT end bell, Beedle bronze bushings. BSRT #144 advance-timed arm. .010 BSRT Porsche 917K body, painted by Greg Williams.
Yeah, so that’s all folks! The 2020-21 season, such as it was, is in the rearview. We head on into what appears to be an immeasurably brighter future. Excited to travel again! Take good care, be smart, and we’ll hope to see you all in September.