WORDS & PICTURES BY NICK COWARD
Thompson Valley R/C Race Club hosted the 2017 Kamloops Summer Classic, Round 3 of the Western Off-road Racing Series from June 23-25. Blue skies and the sun soaked canyon walls of TVRCRC welcomed 152 total entries from all over BC and as far as Alberta, with nine electric and two nitro classes represented enthusiastically by all who participated. Local club members poured countless hours into improving the long running facility and attendees were greeted by a laundry list of upgrades, most notably a brand new deck on the drivers stand and freshly painted walls surrounding a sparkling new track layout that turned out to be a very fast and very fun off-road challenge! The reaction from racers was overwhelmingly positive and the event would go off without a hitch, albeit in blazing BC sunshine that would test the limits of man and machine over two long days and six exciting rounds of qualifying and mains. Battles raged, rivalries flourished, points were gained and lost, a promising new race series continued to flourish. Continue reading to see how the results of each class panned out!
1/10 2wd Buggy
The big A-main points battles kicked off with the 2wd buggy class and it was on like Donkey Kong from the first tone of A1 as TQ Rob Sorjonen and Dan Schellenberg had their elbows up and were clearly not ready to give an inch either way. Schellenberg snatched an early lead in A1 and the battle raged for a good few minutes but when a mistake by Sorjonen saw him clip Schellenbergs wheel going down the straight, he relinquished the gain (and possible win) in a sportsmanlike manner. Sorjonen recovered for a win in A2 but the deciding A3 went to Schellenberg by a mere 5 seconds, giving the Vancouver racer his first overall 2wd buggy win of the 2017 WORS tour. Jason Mardon would round out the podium with two 3rd places. Sorjonen will take a points lead to Nanaimo but Schellenberg has some momentum and the fight should continue to entertain!
1/10 2wd Short Course Truck
2wd Short Course Truck has seen some great battles so far with different winners popping up and some surprise names hanging around at the top of the leaderboard. Rob Sorjonen looked to have everyones measure heading into mains day but that didn’t mean an upset wasn’t possible. Tyrell Wilkinson, Terry Yeo, Brian Boot and Big Barn winner Craig Shepherd all gave it their best shot but, it turned out no one had anything for Sorjonen who romped to victories in A1 and A2 for a quick sweep. Wilkinson needed the win in A3 to secure the 2nd overall and 3rd overall came down to a 3-way, 6-point tiebreaker between Yeo, Boots and Shepherd. Yeo would win out once the numbers were crunched and Shepherd will be disappointed to fall to 5th overall after winning in Chilliwack and a podium in Kelowna. Wilkinson doesn’t have a round win yet but he does take a narrow 3-point lead into Nanaimo. Shepherd sits in 2nd, Nanaimo is the closest to home race for him and he will be looking to take advantage of any Wastelands familiarity he may have. Bill Kler has attended every event so far and finds himself in third in series points before drops are accounted for.
1/10 2wd Stadium Truck
The 2wd Stadium Truck class was a 3-way battle all weekend long and when top qualifier Nick Weinrauch dropped to 5th in A1, Jason Mardon and Tyrell Wilkinson had some breathing room to battle out the top spots. They would split A1 and A2 but Weinrauch recovered for two 2nd's to keep everyone honest. Local boy Mardon would prevail in A3 to take his second round win in a row, grabbing what will likely be a class points lead once drops are factored in. Vancouver racer Bill Kler came into Kamloops 3rd in points but will be disappointed to finish outside the top 5, though given his participation in all three events he does take a commanding points lead (before drops) to Nanaimo for round 4.
1/10 4wd Buggy
Perhaps the most competitive 1/10 class in terms of possible winners, 4wd buggy always throws a spanner in the works when it comes to overall results. Qualifying saw Rob Sorjonen finish in the top spot but it was not without challenge as Richard Infanti, Dan Schellenberg and Tyler Martel were all within a lap. As it turned out even the guys from 5th on down were going to have a say in the outcome with less than fifteen seconds separating those ten drivers. Infanti and Martel would unfortunately withdraw on Sunday due to illness and Sorjonen would DNF in A1 with a mechanical problem. Amidst the chaos, Nanaimo hot-shoe Steven Healey snatched a nerve racking victory from 6th on the grid! Terry Yeo also grabbed his opportunity from position five, taking 2nd and putting himself in a commanding spot early on. Sorjonen did recover for victories in A2 and A3 to take his second overall round win of the series, Schellenberg held steady for two 2nds and another well deserved podium while that sizzling win in A1 gave Healey his first overall top-3 of the 2017 tour. Moving on to Nanaimo, Sorjonen takes a six point series lead over Schellenberg (before drops), B-main bump hero Dustin Quanstrom sits in 3rd with Nick Coward and Al Jurisic not far behind and waiting for any opportunity they can get.
1/10 4wd Short Course Truck
Craig Shepherd would outwork his competition in 4wd Short Course Truck all weekend long as he took his second round win of the tour in convincing fashion. From TQ to a quick sweep of A1 and A2, the only true competition would come from the likes of Tyrell Wilkinson and Troy Ralph. Ralph would snatch victory in A3 securing himself a very well deserved first podium for 2017, Wilkinson had to fend off Shane Miller and Thomas Reynolds to secure 3rd overall. Shepherd will take a four point buffer to Nanaimo (before drops), Wilkinsons trio of podiums puts him in second and Thomas Reynolds rounds out the top three in series points, just a handful in front of the hard charging Shawn Duffy and Roy Collins.
1/8 Sportsman E-Buggy
Calgary’s Paul Parks dominated the 1/8 Sportsman A-mains, winning A1 and wrapping up A2 by one lap for a sweep of the class. Steve Chickloski qualified in the number two spot and would have been disappointed to fall to 5th in A1, if not for a stellar recovery that saw him finish runner up in A2 and then win convincingly in A3. Thomas Davis and Al Jurisic capitalized on Chickloski’s slip-up in A1 but couldn’t do enough in A2, then were forced to fight back against the hard charging Shawn Duffy who had a great run from 8th on the grid in A3. Duffy would eventually succumb to the pressure from Davis and Jurisic but it was too little too late as Chickloski ran away and secured 2nd overall. Davis would out race Jurisic for the final podium spot. Entries in Sportsman have been revolving with some drivers moving up to the Expert class after only one event but Jurisic does take an 8-point advantage over Duffy to Nanaimo (before drops). Island local Thomas Dishlevoy currently sits in 3rd for series points and will be hoping to capitalize on any home track advantage he may be able to conjure up in round 4.
1/8 Expert E-Buggy
The 1/8 scale Expert E-buggy class once again saw a big turnout of competitors, with furious battles going right down to a C-main on Sunday. Rob Sorjonen had the TQ after qualifying but with Dan Schellenberg and the hugely improved Brian Serneels nipping at his heels, things were anything but locked up. Sorjonen would avoid trouble for the most part and romp away to one lap victories in A1 and A2 for a sweep, Schellenberg took three 2nds to lock up yet another trophy and Serneels drove the race of his life in A3 to grab a win and the final step on the rostrum. Thomas Reynolds held steady with three 4th places and Nick Coward was the only driver starting outside the top five to grab a top-3 finish in any of the A-finals. Those two would hold on for overall top-5 finishes and a bunch of handy points, Coward especially keeping himself in the hunt as the tour moves to Nanaimo. Sorjonen takes a narrow points lead across the Straight (before drops), Serneels consistency over three rounds puts him in 2nd while Coward and Schellenberg are separated by a solitary point in 3rd and 4th.
The best battle of the tour rages on in E-truggy and again lives up to it’s billing! Ross Moore and Brian Serneels yet again traded spots through three rounds of qualifying, with Moore taking his second TQ of the series. Those TQ bonus points just might be the difference if this battle continues to play out as it has. The contest came down to A3 and with Serneels, head down and storming away to an almost certain victory the signs were ominous for the competition. It just wouldn’t be R/C racing if things went to plan though and almost within sight of the finish line, Serneels had a rear camber link come loose and end his race. The heartbreaking outcome for Serneels was all Moore needed to grab the A3 and overall wins, his second round win in a row. Al Jurisic, Shane Miller and Kamloops local Thomas Reynolds will be doing their best to have a say in the outcome of course, those three split a mish-mash of results across the mains and all three may be disappointed to lose ground because of young up-and-comer Brian Boot stealing two 3rds and an overall podium on Sunday. Jurisic and Reynolds have perhaps been the surprise of the class with both drivers showing the speed to steal wins but lacking the consistency over 10 minutes to do so convincingly. Those guys may get their opportunity in Nanaimo, with Moore and Serneels focussed on each other the top spot just might be up for grabs!
1/8 Nitro Buggy
The welcome return of nitro to the WORS tour saw Calgary duo Peter Tozser and Eric Hardy make the trip out west to throw down and that is exactly what they did. They topped the qualifying sheets in that order, with Nanaimo veteran Jay Muscroft doing just enough to out position Richard Infanti and fellow Islanders Mike Mercer and Steven Healey for position 3. Infanti would not make mains day due to illness, leaving a spot up for grabs and opening up the field. After 30 minutes Mercer had moved up to 3rd overall, Muscroft just not having the luck needed to stay on the podium. Muscroft bumped down another spot with another big run by Healey from 6th. If not for one small issue Hardy may have been a bit closer to Tozser at the end but it was not to be, a one lap margin the difference after 30 gruelling minutes. Tozser takes the points lead to Vancouver Island but Hardy is keen for some buggy redemption and something tells us he is ready to go on a tear!
1/8 Nitro Truggy
The big nitro monsters also made their return to WORS after the Kelowna break and throughout the field qualifying played out in very similar fashion to nitro buggy, albeit with Hardy and Tozser switching qualifying spots at the top. The Nanaimo crew were right on the heels of the Calgary boys again, split only by the vacant spot left by Infanti. The pressure was on from the get-go with Hardy and Toszer destroying lap times. Hardy’s quick-lap of 22.455 was blisteringly fast and likely the quickest go-round of the weekend. Tozser wasn’t far off that, in fact he was the only other racer in the A final to go sub 23 seconds. Unfortunately that speed did not translate into luck as Tozser would have issues and fall five laps off the pace in the dying minutes. Once that challenge had dissipated Hardy would tear away to win by two laps over the plucky Steven Healey (again from P6!) who obviously found some confidence in all his classes on mains day! Muscroft managed to hold steady in third , only .15 seconds off Healey’s time and two laps clear of 4th place Mike Mercer.
Another great display from the novice racers saw Joey Dimora come from nowhere to snatch victories in A2 and A3 for his first ever big race win! Murray Davis picked up his second podium of the 2017 tour and Mason Schellenberg took 3rd overall after winning in A1. The only racer to make all three events so far, Syd Strange, takes a commanding points lead into the Nanaimo race in July, though Murray Davis will be tough to beat once drops are accounted for. Congratulations and well done to all of the Novice racers!
The Thompson Valley R/C Race Club members should be very proud of the effort they put into this event. Track rebuilds, drivers stand upgrades, aesthetic improvements, the list is endless. The club also had some very enthusiastic local sponsors step up to help make the 2017 Summer Classic even more successful.
In alphabetical order, those sponsors are:
City of Kamloops
Ground Level Excavating
Grumpy’s R/C Garage
Interior Crafts & Hobbies
Long and McQuade
Western Road Distributors
The Western Off-road Racing Series has had an exciting and successful beginning to it’s inaugural season and it would not be possible without the help it has received, especially from the host tracks. WORS would also like to thank the following sponsors (In alphabetical order) for their continued support:
The Toy Car Creative
The 2017 Western Off-road Racing Series heads across the Georgia Straight to Nanaimo for Round 4 of the tour, The 2017 "Race The Rock" Island Classic. The Island is known as a bit of a melting pot for nitro racers and with many local shredders battling for points with a home track advantage, expectations of good results are high for all! Information on that event can be found here, we can’t wait to see you all there!