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Daum takes a bath, then claims first-ever RC race win

Ron Daum claims modern victory; first win in 40-plus years of RC racing

LACEY, Wash. - When Ron Daum woke up on Sunday morning, he probably never would have imagined how his day would evolve.

It ended on a very high (and wet) note.

Normally in boat racing, the driver who wins his first race gets tossed in the lake by his competitors. Daum took care of that on his own, when he accidentally fell out of the chase boat while picking up his 1957 Miss US which failed to finish heat 3A. He was OK. That's why we wear a life jacket when we go out in the boat. Even better, though, the pond is only about 4 feet deep, so he was able to walk back ashore pulling the chase boat behind him.

"I leaned over to pick up the US which was foll of water, Dunny's little boat healed over and water started to come over the rail." Daum said. "I straightened up to try and recover but my rear slid to the rail and all was lost. I bailed to save Dunny's boat. As my thoughts went to the old Boy Scout capsized boat drill,my feet hit the bottom. It was really mucky. Fortunately, I had my boots on so I just walked all to shore."

The Champion Spark Plug Regatta was the second of two races in one weekend. It drew a smaller crowd, but put us one race closer to being caught up on the events we missed due to the COVID crisis. Originally scheduled to have run back in May, this year's race was a points race, with 10 boats in attendance.

And again, the new classic class turned out to be a success. After 18 boats (6 vintage, 6 classic, 6 modern) turned out for the Diamond Cup on Saturday, 3 vintage, 4 classic and 3 modern were at the Sunday race.

As a points race, consistency and finishing heats was more important than simply winning the final. In the modern class, Daum did that, where Nelson Holmberg and Len Taylor didn't. Taylor, driving the 2013 Graham Trucking owned by Jim Bakke, started the mill for the fourth flight, only to see the drive dog slip and not be able to start. This left the final to Nelson Holmberg's 2018 Oberto Beef Jerky and Daum's 2009 Grandview on the Lake. Consistency came into play when Nellie blew over the Oberto at start-finish just after the end of lap one. Chief referee Jerry Dunlap told Ron to run three clean laps and bring it in and he'd be the winner. That was done, and the smile on Ron's face was huge.

"After always being a bridesmaid, finally the bride," the victor said afterward.

The classic class came down to a tie, which went to the rulebook to break. Both Dunlap and Holmberg finished the four heats with 1,169 points. The ERCU rules have always said that ties are broken by accumulated season points. In this case, that was just Saturday's race, and Nellie had scored 100 more points in classic the day before than Dunny did, so the 1987 Oh Boy! Oberto was declared the winner. Second place went to Jerry Dunlap's 1985 Boat, third to Bill Mowatt with the 1986 Miss Houston and fourth to Brandon Sano with the 1974 Weisfields Jewelers.

Dunlap also had an almost perfect day in vintage, driving Ben Keller's 1957 Hawaii Kai III. As a result, 1,300 points was enough to win the 2020 Champion Spark Plug Regatta vintage championship. Holmberg's 1975 Oh Boy! Oberto was second, and Daum's 1957 Miss US was third.

Finally, to round out the day - and the weekend - Nellie's 1975 Oh Boy! Oberto claimed the Vintage Triple Crown event, posting a fastest time of 19.34 seconds in the time trials, and winning the heat after Dunny grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. The Hawaii Kai III was the second fastest in time trials (19.79) and Daum's 1957 Miss US was third fastest, just .06 behind the Kai.

For the second straight day, a lot of fun was had by all, and the day was filled with great racing.