Arizona has a long history and considered a definitive hotspot in the world of RC racing hosting some of the best, well-known racing events like the Dirt Nitro Challenge and the Cactus Classic. However, since the Cactus Classic was moved to the indoor facility, things have never been the same. Racers were missing the Cactus vibe and the excitement that once captivated the RC World was gone. After the past weekend, JConcepts attended the 1st Annual Desert Classic in Chandler, AZ and the magic is definitely back! There will never be a replacement for the Cactus Classic and all the special memories, but the future is bright and Arizona has a new classic and it’s called the Desert Classic hosted by Hobby Action R/C Raceway.
When Hobby Action announced they were going to host the 1st Annual Desert Classic a few months back, they were held to high expectations as many in the industry considered this the Cactus Classic replacement, but most had doubts on how the 1st race would go considering the facility wasn’t even open or finished during the time of the announcement.
The location couldn’t be have been any better. About a 15-minute drive from the airport, Hobby Action is nestled in prime shopping real estate and perhaps the best location of any track in the world as most tracks are usually located away from civilization to keep costs down. There is a plethora of fantastic dining establishments in walking distance along with the racer favorite Starbucks making food, drinks, and snacks a total breeze.
With hard work and dedication, Larry Tom and his dedicated crew put the pieces together and things started to fall into place. Upon arrival, the facility was immaculate and well thought out. The hobby shop was separated from the track facility keeping the merchandise and customers clean and dust free. The lighting over the track and in the pits is arguably considered the best lit track in America. The pits were obviously new and clean, but the nicest thing is that the pit rows are not all clustered together allowing people to sit comfortably back to back while still providing ample room for pit traffic. The driver stand isn’t your typical driver stand, in fact really isn’t a stand at all. It’s actually a built-in raised platform made entirely of cement. You enter the drivers stand from one side and leave it going down the other like clockwork. Also, the exit side is a gradual gradient slope that is 100% wheelchair accessible. Again, wide enough to fit 4 or 5 people side by side while descending back to the pits. Collectively, the facility itself was fantastic. With the no saucing inside rule, Hobby Action R/C Raceway will remain a clean, stink-free environment for a long time.
The track itself is going to be a learning experience as the grand opening of Hobby Action R/C Raceway was only 10 days prior to the Desert Classic event. There’s going to be a lot of trial and error before things are perfect. For instance, once the watering schedule was adjusted, the track was staying together better and the grip was increasing throughout the day. The layout was excellent and well liked as it had a lot of different elements to master. From the simple double-single off the sweeper to the pot dots before the spine, even the simple things were challenging. Controlling throttle input was essential as too much gas would disrupt the car setting you up poorly for the next element. Perhaps the hardest section was under the driver stand which consisted of a small setup tabletop that went into a huge triple. After sticking the triple, racers would have to navigate the 2nd hardest section of the track, the off-camber chicane that led into the start of the straightaway. Overall, the track wasn’t easy, but this allowed for great racing during the mains because of the small mistakes drivers would make creating holes for others to pass and improve their position. Once the grip came up the track was a pleasure to drive on and provided great racing for everyone.
Huge thanks goes out to the wonderful track crew at Hobby Action and also to Larry Tom for his vision and dedication on making Hobby Action R/C Raceway a reality. The event ran smoothly without any major issues and the organization was great. Of course, there were a few small hiccups, but rest assured lessons were learned and next year will be even better.
Stock Short Course
17.5 Stock 2wd Buggy
2wd stock buggy was an exciting race as TQ, Ron Devoll and Wayne Wyrick would have an epic battle to the end. With 2:50 left on the clock, Devoll would make a mistake in the double-single giving the lead to Wyrick. Devoll would battle back and pass Wyrick on the last lap with a gutsy inside move to cross the line and take the win. Wyrick would have to settle for 2nd and Chris Wheeler 3rd and final spot on the podium.
Modified Short Course
Modified Short Course saw TLR’s Dakotah Phend take the TQ and win in A1 and A2 to take the overall without having to run A3. The battle was then for 2nd and 3rd on the podium between Arizona natives, Spencer Rivkin and Ryan Maifield. Running close all weekend, the showdown would go to A3 with both drivers having a 2nd place finish. With Maifield making a few mistakes early in A3, it looked as if Rivkin would lock up 2nd, but Maifield charged hard to come back and pressure Rivkin into a mistake to take over 2nd and win A3 and wrap up 2nd with Rivkin 3rd overall.
Modified Stadium Truck
It was great to see stadium truck back and the action was hotter than ever. It was a 3-way battle between Xray’s Ty Tessman, AE’s Dustin Evans, and TLR’s Dakotah Phend as all three drivers having a chance to win going into A3. Unfortunately for Tessman, he would suffer a mechanical in A3 and would have to watch Evans and Phend battle it out for the overall win. Evans needed to win A3 to take the overall and he did just that. Coming down to the wire, Evans would win A3 by only .3 seconds ahead of Phend. Tessman would finish 2nd and Phend 3rd on the podium.
4wd modified never disappoints when you have the best drivers in the world all contesting for the win. Ultimately it came down to 2 drivers, Yokomo/JConcepts’ Ryan Maifield and Xray’s Ty Tessman. With Maifield winning A1 and Tessman taking A2, the overall champion would once again come down to A3. With Maifield leading almost the entire race, Tessman positioned himself for a last lap pass and made it stick. Tessman would take A3 and with it the overall. Maifield would finish 2nd and Xray’s young CJ Jelin, with an unbelievable performance was able to finish 3rd over an elite field of drivers.
Having qualified 4th, Yokomo/JConcepts’ Ryan Maifield would have his work cut out for him if he were to challenge Phend for the win. In A2, by the time Maifield would get himself through the field in 2nd, it was too late as Phend built up a big enough lead to cruise at his own pace and win the overall. A3 would see Tessman take the win with a small bobble by Maifield late in the race. Maifield would go on to finish 2nd and Tessman 3rd, just beating out AE’s Dustin Evans by tie-breaker.