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!