Wow, what can we say! Nearly 250 racers, most of whom pre-registered early, showed up to race with the HPI crew over this past weekend! This is easily double the number of people we expected, and nearly triple our largest turnout ever!
Twenty-five heats of racing action started around noon on Saturday, and finished in a blaze of great racing action early Sunday afternoon!
American Honda thoughtfully gave us room on their lot at a busy intersection at Van Ness and Torrance Boulevard in Torrance, California. We had plenty of spectators walk up and check out the racing! Friends and families of the racers, spectators and racers who weren't busy sat down on the grass bank between their parking lot and the sidewalk. Every qualifier and every main event had people packed around the track to watch the action on the track. Plenty of shouts and yells came from the crowd with every good pass and crash!
The track itself was a normal Hobby Shack track, using their own portable track pieces to make a track about 50 feet wide by 150 feet long! Hobby Shack's custom track pieces (available for sale, contact them for info) are about 4 feet long and 9 inches high, with hinges at each end for connecting them together. Large orange corner dots make the ends friendlier for cars that cut the corner too close. All the pieces are hollow to allow sand or water to weigh the triangle-shaped track borders down, but the pieces still have a lot of "give" so cars don't break too easily.
The pit areas were full of racers and their support equipment, such as tent canopies, tables, chairs, electrical cords and all their racing equipment. The first day of racing, parking was a problem as racers packed the parking lot surrounding the race track with their cars. This prevented some of the late arrivals from finding a decent pit spot, but the on the second day Honda security blocked off the areas immediately around the track, so there was plenty of room for racers to gather around the track and hear the race announcers! Help like this from American Honda was appreciated by the Hobby Shack Blue Crew and HPI personnel who organized the race.
Display cars courtesy of American Honda!
Geoffrey Lockwood of American Honda drove in three showroom stock Hondas for display near the track. This allowed racers to check out the popular Accord Coupe mid-sized car, the Civic Si Coupe compact sporty car, and the all-new S2000 roadster! While the Civic coupes are extremely popular in Southern California for customization with body kits and aftermarket wheels, it was the S2000 that was the absolute most popular display car all weekend! Racers and spectators gathered around the car to take in the interior and exterior styling, engine, and some lucky folks even got to hit the starter button and rev up the car! We have to thank American Honda for their generosity for providing these three excellent examples of Japanese and American engineering and quality!
European Finalists make their appearance!
Our HPI Europe offices organized a series of races this year in the United Kingdom, which allowed racers all over Great Britain to compete against each other in six races. Our distributors across Europe also organized races in Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Spain, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Russia and many other countries. LRP Electronic, in particular, held about 25 races across Germany, which is widely held to be the most popular place to race R/C cars in Europe! Next year, LRP Electronic plans about 80 races across Germany, so more racers than ever will be able to participate!
This year, the winners from each country that held HPI Challenge races were flown to our HPI Europe offices to compete against the other racers in their respective classes. The race classes included Stock RS4 Mini, RS4 Rally, RS4 Pro/Pro 2, RS4 Sport, Nitro RS4 Racer, and Nitro RS4. We were able to get three racers from the HPI Challenge European Finals all the way to California to race in their specialty class! Other racers couldn't make it because of work and school commitments, but we hope to see these racers and more next year! We also plan to have more racers coming over from Japan from our successful HPI Challenge series there!
Racers Marc Pfenninger, Peter Sergeant and Alex Fernihough arrived with their fathers (Marc brought both parents along), who generally doubled as pit crew and moral support! Marc raced his box stock RS4 Mini in the hotly contested Electric RS4 Mini class, while Peter raced a brand new Nitro RS4 2 in the Box Stock Nitro RS4 class and Alex ran in the Nitro RS4 Open class.