By Aaron Waldron
The CRCRC Winter Midwest Electric Off-Road Championships is one of the longest-running events in the world of RC racing, and this year, 167 drivers totalling 361 entries competed over eleven racing classes. Team Associated’s Muchmore Racing-powered star Ryan Cavalieri and Trinity’s youngster Tater Sontag led the way with two A-Main wins apiece, while Cavalieri’s Reedy-powered AE teammate Spencer Rivkin and MIP star Rudy Rico topped the coveted Modified and Stock 2WD classes, respectively. Here are the full results and A-Main replays for each class.
In the 2WD Modified class, the last two IFMAR world champions — Spencer Rivkin and Ryan Maifield - each set the fastest time in one round of qualifying. However, it was another former Worlds winner, Ryan Cavalieri, who earned Top Qualifier honors with the fastest time in the second and fourth rounds. The finals, though, were all about Rivkin.
The Arizona native put a move on Cavalieri in the opening laps of A1 (after which Cavalieri crashed a lost several more spots) to win the first leg, and then methodically worked his way from third on the grid to the lead around the halfway point of A2 to finish the job.
Qualifying for the Modified 4WD Buggy class was a similar affair; Cavalieri clinched the TQ with the fastest time in the first and fourth rounds, while Yokomo teammates Ryan Maifield and JP Richards took turns topping the other two. Cavalieri had a much easier time in the main events, however.
The three-time former 4WD world champion was untouched in the first two finals, leaving him with the best seat in the house for the third A-Main while the rest of the grid sorted out the final podium positions.
Just nine drivers entered the Modified Stadium Truck category, and none of them proved much of a challenge for Cavalieri. The California driver swept all four rounds of qualifying.
The main events were more of the same. As he did in the 4WD class, Cavalieri led every lap of the first two legs for the overall victory. The real drama unfolded for second; despite finishing second in all three main events, including holding off a hard-charging Tebo in A1 by just 35-thousandths of a second, Aydin Horne lost the tiebreaker when Tebo sprinted away for a six-second win in A3.
The biggest upset of the weekend came in the Modified 2WD Short Course Truck class. Factory Tracks racer Austin Horne traded round wins with Cavalieri in each of the four rounds of qualifying, and edged the multi-time champ by 3.458 seconds for the overall TQ. Horne then sprinted away from the line and got by for a victory lap in A1, then held off Matt Cline in A2 when Cavalieri dropped out on the third lap to take the overall victory.
While Tekno RC teammate Ryan Lutz was dominating the Buggy classes at the January Jam, fellow Ohio native Joe Bornhorst destroyed the 4x4 Short Course Truck class. The closest margin of victory in any of the four rounds of qualifying was just a shade under ten seconds
No one stood a chance in the finals. Bornhorst wheeled away from the field in A1 and A2 for an easy win.
Kyle Gough opened qualifying for the Stock 2WD Buggy class by edging out Tater Sontag for the fastest time, and then Sontag was best in the second round. Rudy Rico took over from there, turning the two fastest runs of the weekend to secure the front row of the grid.
Sontag passed Rico in the first 90 seconds of A1 and won by six seconds, while Rico dropped as low as fifth before clawing back to the runner-up spot by the end of the race. In A2, Rico led nearly the first half of the race before Sontag raced to the inside coming onto the straightaway, but just three laps later the reigning Stock 2WD national champ made a big mistake in the center of the track that knocked him far down the order and put Rico back in front for good. Less than a minute into A3, Tater tried a similar move on Rico for the lead and the two collided, dropping both front runners way back — and just one lap later, Rico’s race was done. Meanwhile, Matthew Olson won ahead of Jason Engle with Sontag recovering for third. Rico’s first two main event scores were enough for the overall victory ahead of Sontag, with Engle rounding out the podium by one point over Olson.
MIP teammates Rico and Olson were able to top the second and third qualifying rounds of the 13.5 4WD class, but Sontag was fastest in the first and fourth rounds to net the overall TQ. Sontag recovered from an early mistake and out-dueled Rico and Andrew Knapp for the win in A1, then cruised to the A2 victory by over 13 seconds to wrap up the overall.
Sontag traded round wins with Dalton Myers in qualifying, but won the tiebreaker by over ten seconds. He nearly lapped the field in the first two A-Mains for the overall win.
Caleb Cagle started off the 2WD Short Course Truck class with the fastest time in the first round, but then Codi Lundberg stole the show with the fastest time in the next three rounds to wrap up the overall TQ. Third qualifier Stuart Lewis fought his way to the front for the A1 win, but despite getting around Cagle in A2 and A3 he was no match for Lundberg’s speed as the TQ converted his qualifying performance into the overall win.
Two exhibition finals, one for racers 15 and under and another for those 40 and over, were added to the program following the first set of A-Mains based on existing qualifying results. Tater Sontag won the Junior final, while Allen Horne won the Masters class.