This year’s JConcepts Spring Indoor Nationals Series hosted by Tacoma R/C Raceway in Tacoma, Washington, had quite the buzz surrounding the event as many heard the rumors of an elite, “best-ever” field of pro drivers traveling to compete at the 2017 Spring INS. The list included National Champions, Reedy Champions, and even World Champions. With names that belong on cereal boxes, the hype was high and on May 19th – 21st, the hype became a reality. Joining in on this year’s event was current IFMAR World Champion Spencer Rivkin, 4-time World Champion Ryan Cavalieri, National and Reedy Champion Dustin Evans, Reedy Open Champion Brent Thielke, AE/JConcepts’ young gun Daimon Borkowicz, and Yokomo star Carson Wernimont. Coupled with the ultra fast locals that have all come up under the mentorship of Northwest legend, Scott Brown, the weekend was unforgettable as it was the biggest race in the Northwest for 1/10th electric with entries nearing 300 in total.
Tacoma R/C Raceway, also known as TRCR, has been the premiere clay indoor offroad track in the Pacific Northwest for some time. At first glance, the track is on the smaller side and also very tight which requires a bit of an adjustment if you’re new to the facility. The traction always comes up which makes the racing extremely fun, fast-paced, and challenging. The format was taking the best 2 of 3 rounds using qual points to set the grid. Lower mains would run first on Sunday, allowing for bump ups and a last chance to make it into the A-Main. The 2wd and 4wd modified classes would see 5-minute triple A-Mains while the other A-Mains would see a single 8-minute main to decide the class champions.
This year’s layout was praised by many as Scott Brown and his crew of dedicated track masters did an outstanding job putting together a layout that incorporated many elements of challenge while still flowed like the river Nile. More than usual, the layout was feature rich that kept every racer busy and reminded you of why driving an RC car is so fun.
Throughout the weekend, the grip would steadily rise along with the tire wear. One of the keys to success at TRCR is knowing and being able to predict tire tread height. Lower tread height would produce more grip and faster lap times, but too low can cause issues if you’re outside of the groove.
It was the best field of drivers to ever set an A-Main at TRCR and the action was hot! With 4-time World Champion, Ryan Cavalieri sitting on pole, it was going to take a near-miracle for someone to come from behind and take the win. However, in A1 it almost happened. At the sound of the tone, local fast kid AE/JConcepts’ Harley Yoshii would make a quick pass on the Spencer Rivkin to move himself into 2nd and battle with Cavalieri. The two would start to distance themselves from the rest of the field. While trying to control the gap back to 2nd, Cavalieri would make a mistake leaving the groove resulting in a spin out giving Yoshii the lead with 2 minutes left. Yoshii would hold on until making an error going too wide allowing Cavalieri to retake the lead with 20 seconds left. Upon the last lap with just 4 turns before the finish line, Cav would get hung up with a corner putting his B6 up on 2 wheels and allow Yoshii to once again, take the lead momentarily. As the two would jump the step-up, Yoshii would come up short crashing and give Cavalieri back the lead and the win in A1.
A2 was much different as Cavalieri wouldn’t have the same pressure as in A1. From the tone, the 24-time National Champion would build a gap and separate himself from any attacks. From there, he would control the gap and cruise himself to his 2nd win to take the overall in 2wd Modified. Spencer Rivkin would finish 2nd with AE’s Dustin Evans 3rd in A2.
The final main would decide the rest of the podium spots and it came down to the wire. It was a three-way battle between Rivkin, Evans, and Yoshii all taking the lead at one point in A3. For the first 2 minutes, Rivkin would hold onto 1st until he would crash on a jump and give the lead over to Evans. Shortly after, Evans would traction roll in the sweeper and hand over the lead to Yoshii. Yoshii would hang onto 1st until the final lap as contact was made which resulted in a wild scramble with Rivkin finishing ahead of Yoshii by .1 seconds. AE/JConcepts’ Luke Smith would put in a terrific effort to finish 3rd in A3.
Thanks to Anthony Honstain for the 2wd A3 video.
Once again, Cavalieri was able to set the TQ and being a master of race control, he was able to distance himself from the field in A1 with Dustin Evans in tow. The two were nose to tail for the entire 5 minutes that resulted in Cav taking the win in A1. A2 of 4wd modified saw AE/JConcepts’ Spencer Rivkin rise to challenge Cavalieri to push it to A3. With a mistake by Cavalieri jumping up the step up, the window of opportunity would open for Evans and Rivkin. While Evan’s lead would be short lived because of a mistake in the sweeper, Rivkin charged hard to the very end once he inherited the lead to take the win.
Learning from making the same mistake twice, A3 would be a flawless victory for Cavalieri from tone to tone. By winning A1 and A3, Cavalieri would be crowned your 4wd Spring INS Champion. Spencer Rivkin would finish 2nd overall just ahead of Dustin Evans. The two AE stars both finished with 5 points total and the tie-breaker would go to Rivkin.
Ryan Cavalieri was in top form this weekend. Having won both the 2wd and 4wd modified classes, Cavalieri would pick up his 3rd title with a perfect performance in Modified Truck by earning TQ and taking a wire to wire win in the 8-minute main event. AE’s Dustin Evans would finish 2nd, where he qualified with Xray’s Mikey Brown taking 3rd and final spot on the podium.
Modified Short Course
AE/JConcepts’ Spencer Rivkin was a dominate force in the Modified Short Course class as he was able to set the TQ and take a convincing win in the 8-minute final. Joining in on the Spring INS action all the way from Michigan, Factory Tracks Racing/JConcepts’ Austin Horne would finish 1 spot ahead of where he qualified beating out 2nd place qualifier AE/JConcepts’ Shane Borden. Borden would still make the podium to take the final spot in 3rd.
40+ 2wd Modified
4×4 Short Course
Perhaps the most exciting race of the weekend was in the 17.5 Stock Buggy class as there were multiple lead changes throughout the entire 8 minutes. Leading the way from the start was FTR/JConcepts’ Dreighton Stoub as Stoub was able to deliver a blistering pace in qualifying to earn him TQ. However, mistakes would show midway through the race that would give Kyosho/JConcepts’ Evan Overmars the lead momentarily. A costly error in the triple section would drop Overmars back to 5th and give Stoub back the lead. The race looked to be over as Stoub would build a commanding lead until 2 costly mistakes on the same lap would see Xray/JConcepts’ Douglas Hobbs shoot to the front. Controlling the pace, with under a minute to go, Hobbs would flat land the triple and roll to his lid which saw Stoub seize the lead once again. From there, Stoub would cross the line to win an exciting main with Hobbs in 2nd. Fighting his way quietly midpack, PR Racing’s Ryan Reavis would finish strong to emerge 3rd on the podium.
17.5 Sportsman Stock Buggy
17.5 Stock Truck
13.5 4wd Buggy
Making his 2nd appearance at the Spring INS, MIP’s Rudy Rico would be the early pacesetter in the 13.5 4wd Modified class by setting the TQ time and leading the group from the start of the tone. Instantly, Rico and Stoub would break away from the field to engage in their own game of cat and mouse. With Rico having track position and Stoub being cautious not to hit Rico from behind, the two would distance themselves at an incredible pace. With a few minor driving errors, Stoub would have a lot of ground to make up. Fortunately for Stoub, Rico would roll his car going too tight in the chicane and allow the FTR driving to claim the lead. In the very next turn just after taking over the lead, Stoub would blow his motor and was forced to retire. Rico would once again resume 1st and win the main uncontested. MIP/JConcepts’ Matt Olson would deliver a great 2nd half to his race and end up taking 2nd with Xray/JConcepts’ Douglas Hobbs would round out the podium in a JConcepts podium sweep!
Stock Short Course