September 27 -- Southern California
Our first ever Savage Slam monster truck racing day was a great success! About 50 Savage owners showed up to race against each other in two classes - Savage Stock and Savage Unlimited. Lake Perris Race Park was the host track for this event, providing a great venue with big-air jumps and tight technical sections and plenty of space for the Savages to run!
Representatives from Ehobbies and R/C Trix came out to support the racers with option parts and prize giveaways, and the racers were glad to see some of the new Savage options that are available on the thriving Savage aftermarket. MD Engineering also was on hand to show off some of their cool aluminum wheel designs.
A two-man camera crew from the Outdoor Life Network was on site all day to capture tons of racing action, follow racers from pit to track, and record the results of all the exciting bonus events! Be sure to stay tuned to this web site to find out when the Savage Slam will be shown on your local cable channel!
Every racer had a chance to take home a free HPI Savage body, HPI Racing hat, HPI Challenge decals, and also join the raffle for great HPI Savage option parts!
The racers were split almost evenly between the two available Savage classes: Savage Stock (using the 21BB engine and any option parts) and Savage Unlimited (using any engine and any option parts). Both classes required HPI Savage bodies and beyond that it was anything goes!
First up was our driver meeting and Concours Challenge at 10 AM. The huge pile of Savages was sorted out and eventually the judges picked a cool, black "devil girl" Ford Bronco as the winner. For his efforts, this racer won a sweet HPI Challenge T-shirt!
Soon after the concours judging was completed, we went right into racing. Every racer would have three chances to get as many laps completed inside the five-minute qualifying heat. Then everyone was sorted into their respective mains based on their qualifying times. The top eight racers were in the A Main, the next eight were in the B, and so on. The reason why we had only eight drivers in each main instead of ten was because each main event had a 2-person "bump-up", meaning if you finished first or second in your main, you would get to race in the next race. This type of racing allows drivers who had a hard time in qualifying work their way into the A Main if they are good (and lucky) enough!
The Savage Stock class was pretty much taken over by Don Greene and his dayglo yellow Ford Bronco. This truck was hooked up! It was hard to believe that this truck was using the stock engine when it was running away with the win in all three qualifiers, letting Don easily set the TQ pace.
John Schultz was the fast guy in Savage Unlimited, and although HPI's Thad Garner put in a time almost good enough to take away the pole position, John stuck to his guns and topped the qualifying sheets in this class.
Between the qualifiers, HPI staff members set up interesting and fun events to test the Savage racers' skills. These included a Savage Blindfold race, where a spotter watched the truck on the track while a driver faced away from the track and drove the truck using the spotter's instructions. The second event was the first-ever Savage Bowling competition, where racers got two chances to knock down as many bowling pins as possible. The racer with the most pins knocked down won the competition (note: nobody got a strike!). The final event was the Long Jump contest, taking place after all the races were finished.
With the A Mains under way, it was easy to see who was under pressure to perform! Some racers wanted to bump up into the A, others just wanted to beat their buddy's truck out on the track! Both A Main races were 10 minutes long, adding a little to the pressure by requiring good fuel stops, and in some cases a little fuel strategy. Overall, the pit lane was busy with racers helping their friends out.
As expected, the Savage Stock A Main saw Don Greene blast away from the field and quickly start lapping other trucks. The bright yellow Bronco bravely went over the biggest jumps on the course and set the fastest time for the Stock class, earning Don the win, the first place trophy and a brand new Savage SS kit! A quick teardown of his engine proved that his engine was totally legitimate, proving that a well-tuned 21BB engine is a great racing engine!
In the Savage Unlimited class, the jumble at the beginning of the race let loose Thad Garner, who quickly pulled out a significant lead on all the chasing trucks. John Schultz unfortunately had a little trouble with his truck and dropped back, but as soon as his Savage was running well again he started clicking off some of his fastest laps of the day and moved up to a comfortable third spot. When the race ended, Thad pulled off the win to earn the trophy with HPI General Manager Dave Potter in second and John in third. With two HPI employees ahead of him, John earned himself the brand new Savage SS kit! By winning the Long Jump contest as well, John went home with a Savage SS kit, two bodies, a T-shirt and a cool plaque!
After it was all over and the trophies and plaques were handed out, the racers said their goodbyes and thanked the HPI staff members for their help in making it a fun day.
We'd like to thank not just the racers that participated in this event and made it far more successful than we could have hoped, but also these fine individuals and companies:
Larry at Lake Perris Race Park
Brian Skinner from R/C Car magazine
and once again, the fine Savage racers who made it all possible!