Thursday October 9, 2008 marked the day for my journey back to my home town of Cleveland, Ohio in anticipation for the 20th Annual NR/CTPA championships Sponsored by HPI Racing held in Montpelier, Ohio. I got to spend a little time with my family before my brother and I headed out Friday afternoon for the two and a half hour drive, to the same location where I got my start in RC Monster Truck racing some 13 years ago. Once we arrived we caught up with several racing friends and my fellow HPI Racing representative, John Schultz. We entered John’s room which looked more like an HPI Racing workshop and warehouse with spare Parts, trucks, batteries, tires and boxes spread thought the room.
The Ramada Inn was the host venue and hotel for this event. It has two huge carpeted atriums in which the NR/CTPA turned into the battle ground where Monster Trucks compete on one side while the sled pulling is held on the other side simultaneously.
The Monster Truck Atrium got the festivities started Friday night with an Elimination style Racing Competition where drivers were introduced one by one, similar to that of a real Monster Truck show. The competitors then qualified once in each lane and were seated in a single elimination bracket until a winner is declared in the Final Race. Mike Eckenrode emerged as the victor in the first competition of the night sponsored by www.NoLimitRC.com
Following the elimination race was the Friday Night Drag Race sponsored by the Downriver R/C Club. This competition featured a multitude of purpose built drag trucks set up to do two things, go fast, and go straight. Drivers were poised to cut a good light on the Christmas tree timing system to gain the hole shot on their opponent. When the dust settled Bart Maimone earned the victory.
Saturday morning got kicked off with the concourse competition. Everyone who wanted to have a chance to display their pride and joy for the entire club to cast their vote on who had the best looking RC Pulling Trucks, Tractors and Monster Trucks. This was a very challenging task because the NR/CTPA has some of the most scale appearing, custom built RC machines on the planet displayed during this contest.
After the concourse ballots were all in it was time to get down to the first day of racing. In the NR/CTPA format the object is to consistently run fast through the short obstacle course because at the end of the day your times are averaged together to determine your final time of the day. Even though you are racing an opponent in the other lane, you’re really racing the clock. It’s a cool scoring system which is unique to this type of racing. Consistency is definitely the name of the game. I had the pleasure to be the score keeper for Track A which was made up of 2 identical opposing short obstacle courses. Drivers had 6 opportunities in each lane on the track in hopes to record some fast and consistent times. At the end of Saturday’s timed trials, five of the twelve runs were averaged together to make up their score for the day. Sunday featured a different obstacle course where drivers were given 8 races for the day; this meant they needed 3 good times that would be used for their average. After Sunday’s racing was completed, the score keepers then add Saturday’s and Sunday’s averaged times together to determine the winners. So now that I have totally confused you, if you think you’re a fast and consistent racer, then the NR/CTPA worlds will gladly put you to the test.
In the hotels other huge atrium, Truck and Tractor Pulling was in full swing. The competition is made up of 3 preliminary rounds of competing in which competitors have 3 chances at accomplishing a full pull. The first two rounds were held on Saturday with the third round taking place Sunday. The name of the game here is to get your Truck or Tractor to hook to the weight transferring sled and drag it as far down the 4’ wide x 30’ long pulling surface within a 30 second time limit. The competition featured 12 carpet surface pulling classes and 15 dirt surface classes of pullers. Amazingly these machines manage to pull weights ranging from 12 to 140 pounds on dirt and 50 to a whopping 540 pounds on the carpet! If your truck or tractor had enough muscle to record a full pull then you advanced on to the pull off. This is where NR/CPTA Officials add weight to the pulling sled in an attempt to make it harder to obtain a full pull. This is how the winners are determined. The machine that pulls the farthest in the pull off is declared the winner. Most of these Pullers are home built machines from scratch using many one off custom machined parts. We did however manage to find a custom HPI Wheely King which the was renamed the “Pulling King” built by Brad Pitt to compete in the 4wd Modified Drive shaft class where he finished 3rd.
On Sunday morning the spirit of Monster Trucks filled the Air with the rumble of a 572 cubic inch Ford engine rumbling outside. For the 20th This was a nice touch to the weekend. Bigfoot created a great backdrop for photos to make this year’s Worlds memorable for all. A big thanks to Tim Powers and Bob Chandler for making the arrangements for the truck to be there. Anniversary of the NR/CTPA, the attendees were graced with the presence of Bob and Marilyn Chandlers legendary Bigfoot Monster Truck. That’s right, Ron Bachman of Bigfoot 4x4 Inc. was on hand to display Bigfoot number 12 at the event.
After Racing Time trials were completed it was time for the Team BNB R/C Monster Truck Freestyle competition. The Atrium floor was turned into an R/C Monster Truckers Heaven with ramps, lexan crush cars, a doughnut pad, and numerous plastic Barbie cars. I can only hope there weren’t some 6 year old girls looking for there Barbie cars Sunday morning. Team BNB even had a cool starting area complete with strobe lights and smoke machines. Each competitor was given two minutes to perform their Freestyle with 3 judges scoring the run. When the smoke cleared Paul Ovares earned a perfect score of 30 for the win!
The 20th Annual NRCTPA Worlds was my first event back with the NR/CTPA in 3 year absence, and I must say this was one of the smoothest running events I have attended. The event directors worked together to put together a great and memorable time that has me geared up for next year all ready. Thanks to all the event sponsors and our Title Event Sponsor, HPI Racing, for their awesome contributions.