The 2018 Snowbird Nationals proved to be close and exciting battle in many of the pan car classes - both 1/12th and 1/10th scale. Roche RC USA had at least one driver competing in the classes on offer. We were lucky to have many of our drivers bringing their A (main) game but none of them did better than Donny Lia who took down wins in both Mod 1/12th and 13.5 1/12th!
Qualifying started out with Yokomo's Toto Ebukuro setting and re-setting pole position in the first two rounds of the event. In round three Roche RC's Donny Lia looked on track to re-set pole position again but would sadly break out while leading the a-sort. In the fourth round we would see Associated's Keven Hebert grab the ultimate and fastest pole position. Toto would line up second and Donny third all based upon their fastest times recorded in round 4.
During the 8 minute long single A-main the lead would change many times. Toto, Keven and Donny would have a fantastic battle with each other and traffic as the race was nearly lost more than once due to racing incidents. On the first lap Toto would sneak under Keven while entering the infield for the first lap. The three would freight train for lap after lap. Donny was in hot pursuit of Keven and by lap 12 found his way by Keven into the 2nd position as the two went thru the last corner onto the straightaway. Before Toto and Donny came across the finish line again Donny had put a inside door to door pass on Toto in the infield. Donny looked to be stretching his lead until on lap 24 he fell into trouble lapping back markers and was parked on a pipe dropping back to 4th place. In the amount of time it takes to get a drink and eat a donut Donny somehow regained the lead from Keven. With just a few laps togo Donny would again have another scare with traffic but this time he wouldn't loose the lead as he crossed the line with a 2 second advantage over Keven. Toto would round out the podium.
Super Stock 1/12th was a tightly contested class in 2018 with CRC's Andrew Knapp, Associated's Joe Trandell and Roche RC's Donny Lia all contending for the class TQ. Donny put down the fastest time of the event in round 3 and had only 2 seconds on Joe and Andrew lining up behind him 2nd and 3rd overall. Roche RC drivers Eric Anderson (7th) and Monti Panzica (8th) would join Donny in the main as the BQ Screw award winner, Mike Hanulec, would fail to bump his way into the show from the B-Main.
In the main event, Donny would blow the first corner allowing Joe to duck into the lead. Joe and Donny stretched away from Andrew by about one corner for the first one and a half minutes. Donny was forcing the issue multiple times on Joe down the straightway but couldn't find his way by. Donny eventually stuck it in as the two headed out to the straightway with them both having a board visit which promoted Andrew to the lead. Donny would get a lucky bounce from the board meeting and only was a turn behind Andrew. A few laps later, Andrew would tap in the complex heading onto the straight and allow Donny into the lead. Traffic would come to tag Donny a few laps later as he got collected in an accident while lapping Toto allowing Andrew back into the lead. Somehow Donny only lost a little momentum as he was able to rejoin the race right on Andrew's tail. With 3m30s left in the race Andrew and Donny were nose to tail. Finally it was at the 3m mark through the last few corners that Donny made his move as they drag raced down the straight and Donny took first heading into the infield. Donny would extend his lead to two seconds over Andrew by the tone. B-main bump up driver CRC's Jeff Dayger would finish 3rd. Monti would finish 7th overall and Eric Anderson would wind up 10th after pulling out early.
This year's competition in 17.5 1/12th has mostly been a story of everyone chasing the Trinity powered CRC car of Andrew Knapp. Thankfully we saw a slight kink in Andrew's armor at Roche RC USA's Mike Hanulec would take the round one TQ in 17.5 by 3/10ths of a second (unlike the #fakenews that had otherwise reported and published on the internet). Andrew would re-take TQ in round 2 and 3. XRay's Robbie Dodge would finally show his practice pace in Q3 and Q4 by starting 2nd overall. Associated's Joe Trandell would start 3rd. Mike Hanulec was the sole Roche car making the main starting 6th.
In the main Andrew and Robbie would break out from the pack running their own races for the total 8 minutes. Joe would be followed closely by SpeedMerchant's Arnaud Lemperiere, CRC's Jeff Dayger and Roche RC's Mike Hanulec. Mike would race as high as 4th right on Joe's tail before taking a bit too much of curbing at the center of the track and falling back to 6th where he would finish. Andrew made the race for first a little bit exciting as he tapped out in the last two minutes of the race allowing Robbie to get very close at the end.
F1 competition at Snowbirds was tight with CRC Japan's Hayato Ishioka taking the first round TQ by just two tenths over Roche RC USA's Mike Hanulec. As qualifying rounds progressed CRC's Andrew Knapp would take the 2nd round TQ, which was then re-taken by Hayato in round 3. After four rounds Roche RC would have two cars in the main with Mike Hanulec starting 6th and Wayne Gerber starting 7th -- both of them running alloy chassis on their Rapide F1 Evo cars.
In the A-main Hayato and Andrew would break away clean but behind a first lap accident would promote Wayne Gerber to 3rd and Mike Hanulec to 4th on the first lap. Wayne would lead the pair until lap 11 when he would tap out promoting Mike to 3rd. In the closing laps Hayato would get collected by traffic allowing Andrew into the top stop. Hayato would hunt down Andrew over the next 1m15s of the race. The two would go wheel to wheel multiple times helping to allow the fast charging Mike gain more and more ground on the lead two. On the last lap Hayato would cleanly execute a pass down the straight on Andrew. The trio would pass the stripe separated by less than one second.
Roche RC is planning on re-releasing our 200mm WGT car so we asked Wayne Gerber to campaign a prototype car at this year's Snowbirds. Wayne was able to put in good runs in round three and four, with this forth round run being his personal best, 3rd overall. Cory Parsons would TQ the event based upon his 2nd round performance. CRC's Brian Wynn would start 2nd on the grid after his excellent run in round 3.
In the A-main Wayne would make his way as high as 2nd overall before his radio would freeze on him not allowing him to continue. Cory would drive the rest of the race uncontested with Brian finishing 2nd and Johnny Carey finishing 3rd.
After first seeing the Roche Rapide P12 prototype at the 2015 Snowbirds we are happy to have added now two Snowbird wins to the Roche RC brand. We are excited about all of the interest people have in our exceptionally beautiful and performant 1/12th and F1 cars -- and ultimately the success of our team drivers and customers . . We look forward to the upcoming races and the re-release of our 200mm and 235mm 1/10th pan cars in March and April 2018.