The first race of the 2023 ERCU Pentair Championship Series is the Champion Spark Plug Regatta, set for Saturday April 1, 2023, at 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 Dunlap 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 18 of our club’s 20 years, ERCU has started its season with the Champion Spark Plug Regatta.
What to Expect
(All times approximate, and subject to change)
There have been several changes to the rules for the 2023 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.
Pre-Registration for the Champion Spark Plug Regatta is now open. To find the pre-registration form, navigate your web browser to 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, March 31, 2023. After that deadline, please register in person on site before 8:30 a.m.
You can also find pre-registration by going to www.ercu-hydros.com, then selecting “Schedule” from the main menu, and clicking on “ERCU Champion Spark Plug Regatta” from the schedule itself.
Race Day Morning
It will be 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 for inspections and to be ready to race. The water will be open for testing until approximately 9:30 a.m.
The drivers meeting is mandatory for ALL divisions and classes and will begin at the scorer’s table within five minutes of the closing of testing. 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.
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 waterfowl). Please plan ahead for your upcoming heats, including getting your own spotter, and be ready when the chase boat comes back. 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.
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.
Champion Spark Plug Regatta Defending Champions
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.
In 2023, all boats will be inspected before the first race they run at. We ask that you print out the 2023 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.
Post-Race Cleanup and Awards Presentation
Club equipment cleanup and re-packing the trailer will take priority once the race is over. Once the trailer is re-packed, awards will be presented. Awards will be given to the first, second and third place finishers, first connie and Triple Crown winners. All members have a responsibility to help with set up and breakdown of club equipment. As a courtesy to your fellow racers, please stick around for the awards presentation whether you’ve won one or not.
According to the weekend forecast on weather.com, the forecast is for 47 degress with a nearly 60 percent chance of rain showers off and on through the day with 10-15 mph winds from the southwest. History proves that at the first race of the season, anything can happen weather wise and normally does. Plan to be prepared for almost any kind of weather. This weather forecast will continue to be updated with more specifics as the event date gets closer.
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 if you will need to charge batteries during the day.