CHAMPION SPARK PLUG REGATTA
The season opening race of the 2022 ERCU Pentair Championship Series is the Champion Spark Plug Regatta, set for Saturday, April 2, 2022 at Long’s Pond/Woodland Creek Park in Lacey. Here is all you need to know to be prepared for the first event of the year.
Long’s Pond/Woodland Creek Park
6729 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503
Jerry & Paul Dunlap
Even in the real boats, the Champion Spark Plug Regatta – for its entire existence – was the season opening event each year, held at Miami Marine Stadium in South Florida. For 17 years, ERCU has started its season with the Champion Spark Plug Regatta. It was traditionally held at Fort Borst Park in Centralia. The Champion Spark Plug Regatta for our club was moved to Woodland Creek Park in Lacey this year, due to the addition of the 1/7 scale division in ERCU. Fort Borst is just a little too small for the bigger boats, so in the interest of safe racing, the club decided to move to Lacey for the season opener.
What to Expect
(All times approximate, and subject to change)
Pre-Registration for the Champion Spark Plug Regatta is now open. To find the pre-registration form, navigate your web browser to https://www.ercu-hydros.com/champion-spark-plug-regatta.html, where you will find the pre-registration link in a blue box just under the race site map. You may also pre-pay your entry fees online by following the PayPal directions at the bottom of the page. Pre-registration will close at 10 p.m., Friday, April 1. After that deadline, please register in person on site before 9 a.m.
You can also find pre-registration by going to www.ercu-hydros.com, then selecting “Schedule” from the main menu, and “Champion Spark Plug Regatta” from the schedule itself.
It is our intent to have the course open by 8 a.m., so that testing can commence once boats are registered for the event. Boat owners should prepare to have time so that they can get inspections that are needed, and be ready to race.
The water will be open for testing until approximately 9:30 a.m. A mandatory driver’s meeting will start no less than 5 minutes after the water closes. Drivers who do not attend the meeting will not be allowed to participate in the first round of heats. 1/10-scale modern heat 1A will begin no less than 10 minutes after the conclusion of the drivers meeting.
A 1-minute 30-second clock will start as soon as all drivers are in the driving area and will not be stopped for any reason other than health or safety (including stubborn “traffic”). Please plan ahead for your upcoming heats and be ready when the chase boat comes back. When all drivers are at the driving area and boats launched/ready to launch drivers the 1:30 clock will be started. A trailer boat shall not cross the start line less than five seconds after the start gun. Rookie drivers who have not yet earned 1,200 career points must start from the trailer position.
The drivers meeting is mandatory for ALL divisions and all classes and will begin immediately upon the closing of time trials at the scoring table. Drivers who do not attend the drivers meeting will be scratched from the first heat – regardless of whether they are pre-registered and pre-paid. Drivers arriving after the drivers meeting will not be added to the event until the draw for the second flight of heats.
Heat draws will be completed with the randomizer in our Excel workbook that’s used for scoring races. Every effort will be made to avoid preferred driver/spotter heat conflicts, but sometimes those cannot be avoided. The first heat draw will be conducted at approximately 9 a.m. and will be read verbally at the drivers meeting as a roll call. Succeeding heat draws will be conducted between flights. All heat draws will be printed and posted, and displayed on the TV screen, whenever possible. No re-draws of heats will be done after the draws are finalized.
ERCU always welcomes new members to the club and visiting racers from other clubs. Rookie driver testing will be offered during the open water period as needed. The course will be closed for rookie driver tests. Visiting racers may not take home ERCU perpetual trophies, in the event they win the race.
There have been several changes to the rules for the 2022 season, so please review the rulebook as is posted on the ERCU website, available under the Resources tab (or by clicking here). Changes to the rulebook are noted in green bold italics, but it’s always good to read the whole thing just to refresh your own memory. The Contest Director/Chief Referee will make every effort to be sure that officiating is consistent with the rules as published on the website, and that every effort is made to assure consistency in officiating.
As noted above, it is possible that there will be new boats in the pits that need to be inspected. We ask that you print out the 2022 Hull Inspection Form, found on the Resources tab of the club website (www.ercu-hydros.com), and complete the member information at the top of page one prior to arriving at the race site. Please also remember to bring a photo of the real boat (a photo on your phone or tablet is acceptable) that your boat models.
Reminder: Boats that have not been altered significantly since last season do not need to be inspected. Only new boats, or those that have had significant repair or refurbishment must be inspected. By rule, a boat may also be inspected, at random, any time, for any reason, by one or both of the club’s inspectors.
Champion Spark Plug Regatta Defending Champions
Post Race Cleanup and Awards Presentation
Following the conclusion of the final heat of the day, awards will be presented. Awards will be given to the podium (first, second and third place). After the awards are presented, please remember to stick around to help cleanup and re-pack the club trailer.
As of this writing, the weather is expected to be partly cloudy & 56 degrees with a 20 percent chance of rain, and SW winds of 7 mph in Lacey.
Following local, state and federal guidance, face coverings, social distancing and vaccination proof will not be required at ERCU events in 2022. Those who would like to take any precautions to their own comfort level are certainly welcome and encouraged to do so. ERCU reserves the right to change the Covid accomodations, in accordance with local, state or federal guidelines, should that need arise. ERCU will give as much notice as possible if changes are made.
There are two public restroom facilities on site in Woodland Creek Park and they are expected to be open.
There is limited access to electricity in the pits. It would be wise to bring a generator or other power source to charge your batteries if you need to charge during the day.