After a five-year hiatus, Southern California racers were reintroduced to the HB HPI Challenge Series. Round one of the six-race series was held at the HPI USA HQ in Foothill Ranch, CA. A typical Southern California January “Spring” day with clear blue skies and warm temperatures greeted the racers on the Saturday, January 11th race day. This made for great track conditions throughout the day. Present for round one were 35 racers from as far North as Ventura County and as far South as San Diego. With a total of 46 entries, we were set for eight heats of fun and competition.
In the pits racers were seen painting bodies, making adjustments and getting ready to hit the track for practice. As soon as the track was prepped, it was time to run some fast laps on the fresh track! While in line for sign-ups, racers caught a glimpse of the plaques they each had a chance at taking home. HB Subaru Type C bodies and an assortment of wheels and tires were also on hand for racers to purchase. Many racers took advantage of the last minute opportunity and were found in the parking lot painting their new HB Subaru Type C body!
Spectators and racers passed time in between on track sessions by checking out the latest offerings from HB/HPI along with picking up HB HPI catalogs and decals. By 11 AM it was time for round one of qualifying. Racers in six different classes battled it out for two rounds of qualifying. Taking Top Qualifiying honors in their respective classes were Jeremy Dee (Electric Sport), Cody Secara (Electric Pro), HB’s Hiro Kasuya (Electric Open), Todd Marshall (Nitro Sport), Nestor Rinonos (Nitro Pro) and Mike Rydwell (Rallycross).
At 2:30 PM sharp it was time for the day’s Main events to begin! The first main event was the Electric Sport A-Main. Chris Rodriguez, a first-time racer, found himself sandwiched in between the father and son team of Jeremy and Jacob Dee on the grid. After six minutes of racing, it was the newcomer Chris Rodriguez coming up victorious, with eight year-old Jacob Dee holding off his father Jeremy for second place! Next up in Electric Pro we saw LeMar Todd who started fifth making his way up into second place after weaving through traffic to chase down the TQ Cody Secara. Secara running an HPI Silverado body and X-Patterns led from the start and was cruising to a seemingly easy win. However mid way thru the race he ran into some difficulty in the chicanes and soon had LeMar Todd all over his rear bumper. After a few tense laps Todd unfortunately found some troubles of his own, which secured Secara’s victory in the class. In Electric Open, HB’s own Hiro Kasuya started on pole followed by a field of fast guys right behind him. For six minutes Kasuya battled with Team Associated’s Steve Weiss while RCAmerica/Xray/P1Brand driver J. Filipow and HPI’s Thad Garner battled it out for the third spot on the podium. In the end, Kasuya managed to drive his HB TCXX to victory with Weiss and Filipow securing second and third. Nitro Sport and Nitro Pro ran in a combined format to allow Todd Marshall and Nestor Rinonos to battle it out for six nitro-burning minutes. At the end, both of them had ear to ear smiles and will be calling out the competition to bring out their nitro HPI and HB machines to the next five rounds! The final main event of the day was all RALLYCROSS. This was the first time the WR8 platforms were introduced to HB HPI Challenge competition. With four jumps placed strategically on the track, the cars lined up side by side just as you would find them on the grid at a GLOBAL RALLYCROSS race. After six minutes of catching air and power sliding through corners Frank Liu went on to take the win with Jerry Holsti finishing second and Mac Macasero finishing third.
If you missed round one, don’t worry because we have five more exciting rounds in 2014! We would like to thank all the racers and spectators for making it an awesome day of fun filled competition. Make sure to save the date and join us at Cal Raceway in Orange, CA for round two of the 2014 HB HPI Racing Challenge Series! For more information, please contact Joe Macasero at firstname.lastname@example.org