The Roger Newton Memorial is a staple in each year’s ERCU racing schedule.
And even Covid couldn’t stop it.
Twenty boats were in the pits for the 2020 Roger Newton Memorial, Saturday, Nov. 7 at Woodland Creek Community Park in Lacey.
But speaking of couldn’t be stopped…in vintage and classic, it was Brad Lewis who pretty much couldn’t be stopped.
Even when his 1982 Oh Boy! Oberto submarined at the launch for the classic final, he still went out and won it.
When the final hit the water, Lewis was piloting the trailer boat after having won the classic connie. But after another boat was DQ’d during the mill, he was able to move up and start from the front line. That’s all he needed as his start was terrific and the Oberto proved to be the fastest classic boat on the water that day.
Lewis was followed by David Newton with the 1985 Squire Shop in second, and in third by Gerry Bordon with the 1974 Miss U.S.
Lewis’s good fortune didn’t stop there.
His 1962 Miss Supertest was easily the fastest vintage boat all day, and the final was no different. Lewis won easily, with Bill Mowatt in second, driving Rick Evans’ 1963 Miss Bardahl. Gerry Bordon in the 1970 Parco’s O-Ring Miss, Jerry Dunlap in the 1957 Hawaii Kai III and Robbie Roberts in the 1971 Hallmark Homes did not finish the final.
In the modern final, it was Newton himself who took home the trophy with his dad’s name on it. Newton collected his second race victory in two events, piloting Harry Gatjens’ model of the 1986 Miss Budweiser “Bubble Bud”. Second in the modern final went to Joey Caines, driving Jim Bakke’s 2013 Graham Trucking. David Heilbrunn with the 2019 J&D’s and Paul Dunlap with the 2015 Dalton Industries were both unable to finish
The 2020 ERCU Roger Newton Memorial is set to be run on Saturday, Nov. 7 at Woodland Creek Park in Lacey. Here is all you need to know about the day.
Due to the Covid guidelines, David Newton will not be able to provide the lunch that he normally does for this race. David, will, however, be providing the normal drawing for great hydroplane related prizes throughout the course of the day. You'll be given raffle tickets when you register for the race.
Each driver who registers will also be given a "Roger Newton Memorial 2020" decal, courtesy of Mike McKnight.
Woodland Creek Community Park, Lacey, WA
ERCU Board of Directors members will arrive on site at 7 a.m. to set up the club’s equipment, the pits and the racecourse. The course will open for testing and practice at 8 a.m. Open water will close at 9:30 a.m. to be followed by the mandatory drivers meeting.
If your boats need an inspection, please have them ready for inspection prior to your arrival and arrange for scale and technical inspections to be done before you take to open water. You’ll need to have your inspection sheets filled in prior to inspections.
A mandatory drivers meeting will be held at 9:40 a.m. at the official barge. This meeting will be mandatory for ALL drivers, regardless of scale, size, class or club of origin. It is for safety and communication purposes, so ALL drivers must attend the meeting in its entirety.
Heat racing will begin five minutes after the conclusion of the drivers meeting.
Three Minute Clock
Due to the move last weekend to Standard Time, a three-minute start clock will be used for every heat. In order to avoid delays to the day’s racing, once the clock is started for a heat, it will not be paused or stopped for any reason. If you need time between back-to-back heats, please alert the chief referee before the three-minute clock has started.
Modern Gold Cup: 1972 Notre Dame, Rick Evans
Vintage Gold Cup: 1960 Miss Thriftway, David Newton (Owner: Kerry Kjos)
1/7 Scale FE, 1/8 Scale FE
* Scale FE boats in these two classes will be allowed to race during the event.
* 1/8 scale will race as an exhibition, due to our agreement with R/CU.
* 1/7 scale will only race as an official race if there are a minimum of three boats running in each heat and will be scored by 1/7-scale racers. Otherwise, the class shall be run as an exhibition.
In ERCU, your first boat is $15 to enter, paid on Saturday morning at registration. Each additional entry, regardless of class, is $5. Please pay via exact change or bring a check made payable to ERCU.
Please familiarize yourself with the ERCU Safe Start Plan (click here). We need every member to follow this if you want to continue racing in 2020!
David Newton wins modern and classic; Ron Forister dominates vintage
With all the waiting we had to do to actually get some semblance of a season in, the Gold Cup turned out to be a great way to get rolling.
With 27 boats in the pits and a number of VIP stature drivers who dropped by to just watch some racing and enjoy the company of friends, it was one of ERCU’s best days in several years.
Physical distancing and masking occurred as if it was the normal way of racing. The sportsmanship was outstanding, and the quality of racing was even better.
New guys came out to give ERCU a try as participants in the race, so we got to make new friends and see new smiles – and even a few boats we hadn’t seen before.
It was truly a great day.
David Newton, one of the founding members of ERCU, returned to our pits for the Gold Cup, driving Harry Gatjens’ 1988 Bubble Bud to the Gold Cup victory in the modern class. Newton then doubled up on Gold Cups for the day when he took home the inaugural Classic Class Gold Cup.
While Newton had a pretty great day of his own, the only driver on the day to record a perfect day was Ron Forister, who made his return to ERCU after a couple of years off. He picked up where he left off, scoring a perfect day with the 1971 Miss Madison. Not only did he win the Vintage Gold Cup, but he also won every heat and was the fastest qualifier in Vintage.
A pretty impressive day, Mr. Forister.
Another who impressed, was Joey Caines – a long time nitro racer who came to check out the “little boats”. Caines was hooked right away, after testing Jim Bakke’s 2013 Graham Trucking, which Nelson Holmberg prepares, maintains and brings to races. As a rookie in ERCU, Caines had to start as a trailer – five seconds behind – but he sure made the most of it. Caines took two seconds and a third (along with a did not finish) in his four heats, made the final and ended up second from the trailer position.
He spent the day checking around for boats for sale.
David Heilbrunn, too, joined ERCU for the first time ever and had a great time. His 1984 Executone was powerful and competitive all day.
With the Gold Cup being the equivalent of our Indy 500, we also had time trials to determine the fastest qualifiers in each class. They are:
With the Gold Cup now behind us, the Roger Newton Memorial is up next on Saturday, Nov. 7 back at Woodland Creek Community Park in Lacey. The season will conclude on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Lake Sacajawea in Longview, when we run the Seafair Cup. Keep an eye on our Facebook and our website for more information about those races as they draw closer.
Well, typically by now, ERCU has completed its racing season, our boats have been dried out and prepped for offseason repairs, new paint - or in some cases even new projects.
And our elections would have been done.
This year's weirdness threw everything for a loop, and while we know we need to conduct board elections, it slipped to this point. Frankly, I was more concerned about the ability to get a few more races on the calendar for our group than I was filling expiring board seats.
So with that, it's time to get back on top of it. We've got three seats expiring on the board this year so we're looking for nominations of three individuals who would each be willing to serve a two year term on the club's leadership.
Ron Daum was appointed to serve the remaining year of a term vacated when JimmeJames resigned at the end of the 2019 season. That seat is available and Ron has accepted nomination to serve another two-year term. The other two spots on the board are currently held by Robbie Roberts and Kerry Kjos.
Nominations are currently open and will be held open through the Roger Newton Memorial, on Saturday, Nov. 7 in Lacey. After that, a ballot will be prepared and shared with the full membership to vote on the 2020-21 ERCU Board of Directors. We'll aim to have the voting finished by 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14, so we can announce the new board members.
If you are interested in serving on the board and would like to nominate yourself, or would like to nominate a fellow club member, please contact the current board at email@example.com.
My Grandpa Holmberg used to love to say "Now we're cooking with gas!" when something he was working on started gaining momentum.
In our case, as a Fast Electric racing club, perhaps the phrase should be "Now we're cooking with electrons!". That's because our own unstoppable ERCU Race Coordinator Jerry Dunlap this afternoon passed along the great news that the club has been confirmed to run its 2020 Seafair Cup race at Lake Sacajawea in Longview!
We'll run the race on Saturday, Nov. 14, and barring any surprises or further late additions, it appears this will be the last race of the 2020 ERCU season.
As usual, we'll have three classes of 1/10-scale racing -- vintage, classic and modern. We'll do our very best to have the course set by 9 a.m., so that there will be a little time for open water prior to racing. But recognizing that November can often time be a little chilly and wet, we'll prioritize getting our racing in.
We'll run, as usual, three flights of five-lap heats for each class, along with the appropriate connies and finals. We'll also conduct the Triple Crown for vintage.
As weird as the 2020 season has been, we're going to count the last three races of the year for season points, in order to crown vintage, classic and modern season champions. So make sure and put this event on your calendar if you want a chance at the high points crown!
All of our COVID guidelines, and those of the state, will be in place for this event as well, so if it's been awhile since you've checked them out, please do...and come prepared.
With many thanks to Lacey's support, we'll run the Roger Newton Memorial
An ERCU season that once looked doomed to just two races that didn't count toward season points all of the sudden has new life breathed into it, thanks to ERCU Race Coordinator Jerry Dunlap and Justin Beard of the Lacey Parks Department.
We now have not just the ERCU Gold Cup scheduled for October 24 in Lacey, but also the 2020 ERCU Roger Newton Memorial set for Saturday, Nov. 7 in Lacey.
David Newton, as always, will serve as contest director, and will put on the best show he can within the constraints of the COVID guidelines from the state, the City of Lacey, and ERCU. Nevertheless, the fact that we get to race and remember the founder of our club and the Czar of RC hydroplane racing will be exciting.
Dunny is also currently working to secure one more date, perhaps at Longview, for the Seafair Cup. The board also voted that all of the remaining races we get in before officially completing the season will count for season points so that we will be able to crown a 2020 champion in all three classes.
Stay tuned to the ERCU website and social media in the coming weeks for more details and how you can participate. For now, it's exciting that we can go racing again!
Citing new updates from Gov. Inslee's office, board decides to keep trying to go racing
"Let's continue to try".
That was essentially the message from the ERCU Board of Directors today.
Citing the governor's approval of "participant only motorsports" (meaning no spectators) in Phase 1 and Phase 2 counties, the five board members in attendance at the meeting reached consensus that ERCU's activities count as "participant only motorsports". It was also agreed that Jerry Dunlap will reach out to the City of Lacey, and perhaps the city of Longview and Snohomish County, to see whether they will observe the direction from the Governor and allow us to race in their parks.
See the clarification from the Governor's office by clicking here.
If these jurisdictions allow us to race in their parks, the season will restart as of September 12, with the ERCU Gold Cup at Woodland Creek Park in Lacey. If the jurisdictions do not allow us to race in their parks, the suspension of the season will continue through September when it will again be reconsidered by the board.
"I think, as long as the parks departments we work with are amenable, and agree that we are 'participant only motorsports' and see our plan for safe start, we should be able to race the rest of the season," said ERCU Board Chair Nelson Holmberg. "We'll see what Lacey says, and will go from there."
Stay tuned for more information as we learn more. Thank you for your patience with ERCU through these pandemic conditions. We know everyone wants to go racing
The 2020 ERCU Championship Series presented by Pentair, American Pool and Island Watershapes is back in business and going for the Gold! We appreciate your patience as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 ERCU Gold Cup is set to be run on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Woodland Creek Park in Lacey. Here is all you need to know about the day.
Three Minute Clock
1/7 Scale FE, 1/8 Scale FE
Get your boats ready and collect your face coverings, hand sanitizer and other protective gear: We're going racing again!
ERCU has been given the go-ahead by the City of Lacey to run our Gold Cup at Woodland Creek Community Park on Saturday, Oct. 24.
With guidance from Governor Inslee's office (link to document below), we made the request that our events should be considered "participant only motorsports", and reiterated our safe start plan to the City of Lacey.
Our request was approved on October 1, so we'll be able to run the 2020 ERCU Gold Cup.
As a refresher for all of our participants, the ERCU Restart Plan is also linked below. Please be sure to read both documents, so you're prepared if you decide to attend the Gold Cup.
The ERCU Board of Directors is still finalizing details for the Gold Cup, but racers with 1/8 scale fast electrics, 1/7 scale fast electrics would also be welcome to participate. We will accommodate the race day schedule.
We are also trying to secure at least one more race date in order to run the Roger Newton Memorial, so stay tuned for news as it may come.
We will continue to keep you updated as more information is available.
ERCU's Board of Directors has scheduled a special meeting to discuss the remainder of the 2020 season, given COVID-19 regulations.
The meeting, to be conducted on Zoom, will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23. The Zoom invitation and call-in information is at the end of this post. As always, the meeting is open to ALL members of ERCU, and member feedback is encouraged and welcomed.
"When we voted to suspend the season last month, the hope was that the surge in COVID-19 cases across the state would have evened out and parks would again open with larger gathering sizes, particularly in Phase 3 counties," said board chair Nelson Holmberg. "Unfortunately, while cases are on a slow decline from where they were a month ago, the state has not loosened up on the restrictions and we still, at this time, are unable to go racing."
ERCU Race Coordinator Jerry Dunlap has already built multiple versions of the schedule this season, only to see them all disrupted by COVID.
The board is expected to make a decision about the remainder of the 2020 season during Sunday's special meeting, and would like to have member input prior to making the decision.
"This situation sucks for everyone, clearly," Holmberg said. "We want to do what's best for everyone involved, so we need to hear from you. If you can't make it to the meeting please comment below, email me, or give me a call before the meeting."