After the 2021 season-opening Champion Spark Plug Regatta, which didn’t finish until about 5:30 p.m., the ERCU board began a new practice to debrief after each event. This gives an opportunity to discuss what was learned - both good and bad - at the most recent event, and to discuss adjustments that may need to be made.
With 25 1/10 scale boats in the pits for the season-opener, it was a great day. The weather was good, racing was fantastic and everyone had a great time. There were a few reasons why it was a long day - including an hour-long lunch break to present (in person) our 2020 season awards, a longer practice and testing session, and four flights of heats. No one complained.
That said, it was a long day, and the club is prepared to mitigate for more lengthy days as 1/7-scale racers begin to join us at the Diamond Cup in Longview on April 17.
After a board discussion that led to the decision to not change the rule book after the season started, provided some clarification for the club as it pertains to the three-minute clock.
Starting at the Diamond Cup, Contest Directors have the authority to announce at the drivers meeting that if all boats in a heat are at the water and ready to start a heat while the three-minute clock is running, the chief referee will have the authority to advance the clock to 1 minute 30 seconds.
If even one member objects during the drivers meeting, the policy for the day is that the three minute clock will continue to run in its entirety.
Contest Directors are also encouraged to conduct three preliminary heat formats, though the choice of format is completely up to individual CDs.
This is just one “good problem” to have, and as the club continues to grow, the board will continue to debrief after each event and consider other guidance that might help keep days from getting too long.
There has been change made on the ERCU Board of Directors this week.
As a result of health issues and a number of conversations and searching his heart, Len Taylor shared that he had made the difficult decision to resign from his position on the ERCU board.
”Because of the health issues I am currently going through, I don’t feel that I can perform my duties as an ERCU Board Member like I used to,” Taylor said in an email to the board on Tuesday, April 6. “Therefore, I am here by submitting my resignation from the ERCU Board. I thank each of you for all of the support for the last few years. I am hoping that I will be able to race again someday soon. I will continue to come visit the races locally.”
In accordance with the Club Bylaws, the board voted during its special meeting on Tuesday night to appoint David Newton to the vacancy for the remainder of Taylor’s term, which expires on October 31, 2021. Newton will serve as statistician for the rest of the season.
”I am looking forward to helping the club,” Newton said. “The club is in awesome shape right now and hope I can help it continue.”
As a new practice, the ERCU Board of Directors has started a debrief conversation after each race in the 2021 season. We always learn something when we race, so we’re taking advantage of a conversation to continue making the club better.
As a result of today’s email conversation debriefing the Champion Spark Plug Regatta, one of the biggest issues is the length of the race day. Granted we ran four flights of heats and had an extended lunch to present our 2020 awards in person, but it was a long day. Because one of the ideas (shortening the starting clock to two minutes) would require a rule change, the board will meet tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 6) at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Any decision by the board would be a recommendation to the full membership to vote on prior to the Diamond Cup.
Nothing will be changed without member participation and feedback, so we’ll ask you for your feedback after the meeting. At the same time, if you’d like to participate in a conversation about potentially shortening the starting clock, please join in on this special meeting of the board.
The Zoom information is:
Meeting ID: 846 418 9312
By Phone: (253) 215-8782
Nice weather - for seemingly the first time in the history of our Centralia race - a great turnout and exciting racing highlighted the 2021 season-opening Champion Spark Plug Regatta, Saturday, April 3 at Fort Borst Park.
And it was David Newton and Jerry Dunlap who came away as the day's big winners.
Newton paired up with 1960 Miss Thriftway owner Kerry Kjos for a perfect day, driving the persimmon and white beauty to a win in the vintage class after sweeping all four preliminary heats in the vintage class. Newton also won the modern class final with the 1985 Miss Budweiser. It was Newton's fourth consecutive win with the Miss Bud, dating back to the 2020 season.
Second place in the vintage final was ERCU rookie Jay Fonville with the 1963 Tahoe Miss. Third went to Brad Lewis with the 1962 Miss Supertest and fourth to John Earnest with the 1962 Gale V. Lewis had previously won the vintage connie and started the final as a trailer where he quickly jumped from the trailer spot to as high as second during the final heat. While pressing the Thriftway, the Supertest missed the entrance pin to the north turn and despite the lap penalty, Lewis was able to unwind the disadvantage and still finish on the podium.
With just four classic boats in the pits for the season-opener, contest directors Jerry and Paul Dunlap decided to make the classic class a points race, and it was a close one between Jerry's 1986 Boat and Brandon Sano's 1985 Squire Shop. In the end, Boat eaked out a win with 1,094 points. Sano's Squire was second with 1,050 points. Third went to Lewis in the 1982 Oh Boy! Oberto and fourth was David Heilbrunn with the 1984 Executone.
The modern final was another exciting one where the trailer made some serious noise. David Heilbrunn, who won the modern connie with his 2019 J&D's, started legally as the trailer and patiently made his way up the field. His second place finish behind Newton's Miss Budweiser prompted him to fist pump as his boat crossed the finish line and the chief referee announced the second place finish. Third went to Paul Dunlap with Rick Evans' 2015 Dalton Industries and fourth was defending Champion Spark Plug Regatta champ Ron Daum with the 2009 Grandview on the Lake.
Heading into the modern final, Dunlap had a perfect day going but battery frustrations in the final slowed the boat significantly.
The Dalton, however, was the victor in won of the day's most exciting heat races. In modern heat 4A, the Dalton and Nelson Holmberg's 2018 Oberto Beef Jerky had a deck-to-deck battle for all five laps. Dunlap had better top end, and Holmberg had the inside lane and the ability to control the course. Mixed into it, the J&D's was a lap down in front of the two leaders, so the excitement was electrifying. In the end, Dalton used took the lead in the north turn on the last lap and held on for the heat win.
The club also took a longer than normal lunch break to do an in-person presentation of the 2020 ERCU awards, and the club provided box lunches for those in attendance.
All-in-all, it was a pretty great day for everyone involved.
Many thanks go out not only to everyone who attended, but also those who helped put on the race. It was a great event with a lot of fun had by all. ERCU is grateful for a fantastic start to the season!
ERCU's membership is about to grow significantly with an agreement between the club and 1/7 scale racers has been reached and members of the former Electric Scale Unlimiteds (ESU) will join ERCU and come race with us during the 2021 season that begins on Saturday, April 3 at Fort Borst Park in Centralia.
The 1/7-scale racers have not raced consistently in a few years and have had an open invitation to run with ERCU since 2019, when they ran once with us in Lacey. The agreement reached on Thursday, March 4 allows 1/7-scale to become a new division in ERCU and racers to join the club as full members. Each event in 2021 will include full 1/10-scale and 1/7-scale race formats on courses not to exceed ERCU Gold Cup standards in length at all sites except Centralia (where a longer course isn't likely to work). No extra buoys will be added to the course for the bigger boats.
Registration and membership applications have been updated and are open to the 1/7-scale racers. We are excited to have this group of new members and the activity of yet another division in the club.
To join ERCU, all we need you to do is complete the Membership & Registration form that you can find as an online form by clicking here, or as a paper form you can print to complete and send a check by clicking here. ERCU Registrar Ron Daum’s mailing address is on the bottom of the printable form. You also can pay via PayPal, if you like. Our PayPal account is email@example.com. If you are already a paid member of ERCU, we’ll just need your 1/7-scale boat registration information.
We are set up to begin accepting your membership and registrations right now, so please feel free to join the club and register your boats now.
Membership fees for ERCU are $25 per year per member. If you’re already a member of ERCU and have paid this year’s membership dues, you do not need to pay it again. We also collect $5 per boat in registration fees. For 2021, as a special welcome we’re extending free boat registration to all incoming 1/7 scale members for the 2021 season. We are excited to have you join the club and be a part of scale racing in 2021 events.
Please also remember to renew your NAMBA membership, if you haven’t already done so. It’s easy to do online
The next ERCU Winter Meeting is set for Sunday, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. on Zoom. As always, this meeting is open to anyone who's interested in attending. At this point, the agenda is light, so it's really a great opportunity to get together, talk about the club and talk about boat racing.
An agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking here.
The club is seeing renewed interest as we get ready for the 2021 season, and it's likely we'll see a good number of new members, and several 1/7 scale boats return to the pits in 2021. With most of the state being in Phase 2 of the Governor's new reopening plan (effective Monday, Feb. 15), combined with the allowances for participant only motorsports in outdoor areas, it's beginning to look like we'll be able to get a season in this way. Let's hope the numbers continue to improve and we don't have another surge in the spring. Let's all do our own parts and stay vigilant against the pandemic.
I look forward to the meeting on Sunday and hope to see many of you on Zoom!
2020-21 ERCU Board of Directors
Here’s the Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 846 418 9312
While most of the state continues to decline in its Covid numbers, and all but one of the regions in the Governor's current reopening plan will be in Phase 2 by this Monday, we still can't congregate at the mecca we all know as the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum for a bit longer.
That means the Roger Newton Memorial RC Boat Show that we typically get together at for a little showing off, bench racing, catching up with friends, and trash talking about the coming season won't happen in person this year.
But thanks to David Newton, the event will live on - virtually.
ERCU and the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum have teamed up under the leadership of Newton, to make sure the show will go on. Mark your calendars now for Saturday, Feb. 27 at 11:30 a.m. The event is free on Zoom, and is open to all clubs to attend and participate.
There will be further announcements about the agenda and extras closer to the date of the event.
There's a Facebook event page, where more news will be shared, at https://www.facebook.com/events/244263010581751
The YouTube video announcement about the event can be seen by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/Ynt-3WwQkkk
On the day of the event, click this link https://rentonschools.zoom.us/j/86310122560 to join the Zoom meeting.
Our January Winter Meeting is set for this Sunday, Jan. 17 at 11 a.m. The meeting will be on Zoom, and it’s open to all. Please feel free to attend if you’re interested. Click here to see the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
I’m excited to share that there has been quite a bit of interest in ERCU from new and potential new members during this offseason. I’m also optimistic that we will be able to have a season this year, based on the information from the Governor’s office that says outdoor motorsports are still permitted even during Phase I of the new re-opening plan. Race Coordinator Jerry Dunlap is working hard with all of the locals to get a race schedule put together, and we’re sharing our Safe Racing Plan, which was successful during the shortened 2020 season that we were able to have.
I look forward to the meeting on Sunday and hope to see many of you on Zoom!
Here’s the Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 846 418 9312
By phone: (253) 215-8782
With six members joining in on the fun, the ERCU Board of Directors on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2020 conducted its Winter Meeting for the month. By all accounts, the meeting was productive and appreciated.
The main highlights of club business conducted by the board included a change to the club's motor rule (which keeps current motors legal), action to forward proposed changes to the club's bylaws to the membership for approval, and the creation of a new race event that will serve to recognize members of ERCU who have passed away.
New Motor Rule
After surveying the membership for opinions about changing the motor rule to be in complete alignment with the NAMBA P-Limited motor rules, the board and members in attendance had a long conversation about potentially change. It was agreed that something needed to be done, as current motors are not readily available any longer. That's a situation that's not expected to be rectified as the Dynamite 1500kv and Aquacraft 1500kv motors currently on our approved list are no longer in production.
The new rule, approved unanimously by the board and agreed to by those who offered feedback online, and on the Zoom Winter Meeting, is as follows, and replaces the current motor rule in our rulebook, effective immediately.
These dimensions and specifications include the Himax, Dynamite and Aquacraft 1500kv motors, making them all still legal for use in the club.
Rick Evans and Nelson Holmberg worked on, and presented a number of proposed changes to the ERCU Bylaws, which would serve to not only modernize the document - which hasn't been updated since January 2004 - but also provides for improved systems for changes to club rules, club bylaws and appeals, which involve club members more than ever before.
A document of the bylaws will be sent via email to all members in the coming days for review and feedback. A voting function will be set up online for a vote of the members, and that link will be sent as a part of the email distribution.
Detroit Memorial Proposal
Brad Lewis and David Newton have been working on a way to honor members of ERCU who have passed away and to keep their memories with us into the club's future. On Sunday, the two proposed the idea of putting on a "Detroit Memorial Regatta" as a regular part of the ERCU schedule, beginning in 2021. This event would provide the club opportunities to memorialize those members who have passed away, without having to create "Memorial" races for each of them. The proposed site for the race is Longview, given its easy access from both the Seattle and Portland markets and the site's general popularity among our members. Concerns about the safety of the launch area at Longview were discussed and the club committed to explore remedies of this with the City of Longview to see what could be done to improve it.
All involved in the Winter Meeting agreed it was a good idea, and the board voted unanimously to commit to supporting the proposal as presented, and to authorize $100 to assist with site improvements.
It was a good Winter Meeting, and all who attended were welcome to weigh in, which provided true transparency for everyone involved.
The January Winter Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021 at 11 a.m., again via Zoom.