By Mike Garrison
Race Report by Joel Navarro:
AOC 2018 Shanghai Trophy Ceremonies and Winners:
The first round of the AOC has come to an end and what a spectacular event it was! Having an event at a world-class facility like RCIv2 plus a healthy mix of competitive racing and fun will always be a winning formula for success. In addition, racers enjoyed perfect high grip track conditions, an ample pit space area, driver’s outings after racing, a catered BBQ and a race program ran by the legendary Scotty Ernst. This was the first AOC series race of 2018 with four more great events to look forward to the rest of the year. Let’s see how the mains in Shanghai went down.
Formula 1 21.5 Blinky Presented by Sweep - First up in the in the Triple A-Main format was Formula 1 21.5 Blinky Presented by Sweep. This class had two clear front runners that were on a pace of their own compared to the rest of the field. Yokomo’s Toto Ebukuro from Japan and Germany’s Jan Ratheisky running XRAY ran away with it in this class. Ebukuro held the TQ spot and it paid off when the tone marked the beginning of the F1 mains. Able to get clean starts, Toto lead the A1 and A2 wire to wire allowing him to capture the over all win. The left the door open for Ratheisky in the A3 main to win it and capture the overall 2nd place finish. Hiro Nakatani of Hiro Factory captured the overall 3rd place finish.
Vintage Trans Am - The Vintage Trans Am class was a different story from the F1 class before it. Everyone was definitely going for the win and they weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty doing it. One of the racers who had the biggest presence on the track had the smallest presence on the drivers stand and that was 9 year old Hao Hao running his XRAY ride. Hao Hao started by making a strong point of his desire to win by capturing victory in the A1 main. Determined not to idly stand by and let this happen was American Bob Peterson nipping away at Hao Hao heels by challenging him in the first two mains. Meanwhile, towards the back of the pack, a fierce battle of battles was brewing between two sworn enemies on the track, RCIv2 track owner Rick Wang and AOC founder Scotty Ernst. As they were trading paint multiple times, they let the front-runners gain a bigger lead. Hao Hao and Peterson would tie in points, their races times would break the tie crowning Hao Hao as the over all winner. Peterson would take third and Scotty would round out the podium.
1/12 Stock Presented by Yokomo - Some of the cleanest race starts of the weekend were in the 1/12 Stock Presented by Yokomo. Although this class was running stock motors, this class was one of the fastest of the weekend laying down close to 10-second-flat lap times allowing 45-lap runs in a 8-minute race. Leading the charge was a couple of Yokomo and Hiro Factory rides. Yokomo driver Heng Heng and Hiro Nakatani of Hiro Factory were the stand-outs and either could have been the victors in this class. Hiro would claim first strike in the A1 laying down a 44-lap/8:00-minute run hoping to carry the same momentum in the later mains. Heng Heng was one of only a few that were able to pull off a 45-lap run and he would do it in the A2 and A3 final laying down the fastest runs in the 1/12 scale division of the weekend; no one even came close. Heng would go on to wrap things up with two wins and the over all win. Hiro settled for a 2nd place finish and Yokomo driver Hua Hua finished 3rd.
1/12th Modified Presented by Yokomo – One class that made everyone stop what they were doing and come watch the racing action was the 1/12 Modified division. Why? Because the Legend Masami Hirosaka was running 1/12 scale after a 10-year break from the class. In practice, Masami showed he still had the magic by keeping on pace with this Yokomo teammates, who are the fastest Japan had to offer. Would Masami’s pace translate to a win in the mains though? Not if his teammates had to say about it. It was a fast run and clean passing through the back markers that was going to grab you a win and Yokomo’s Toto Ebukuro was having the best luck doing this along with his Yokomo teammates and brothers, Toshi and Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa. Masami was in the mix staying on the blistering 53-lap, 8-minute pace. When the dust had settled, Toto would claim a A1 and A2 win and sit out the A3 main with the over all win. Toshi and Masami would battle out in the A3 final with only a 2-tenth lap time difference between them. A couple of bobbles at the beginning of the race by Masami was all that was needed to allow Toshi run away with it the rest of the run. Toshi would go on to open his lead up by a full lap and take the win. The overall finishing order was Yokomo sweep with Toto Ebukuro taking 1st, Toshi Yanagisawa 2nd and Masami Hirosaka 3rd.
Super Stock 13.5 Boosted Presented by Xray – In the Super Stock 13.5 sedan class, it was the Jan Ratheisky and Tom Krageski show. The Xray German teammates provided the crowd with consistent runs and close racing. Waiting for them to make a mistake though was another Xray driver Lu Junqiao, who wasn’t far behind in all the mains. Although Jan took the win in the first two mains, he decided to run the A3 main for fun and just to show he was the fastest. After a fast 29-lap 5-minute run in the A2 and A3 mains, only one second separated Jan and Tom; talk about close racing! The finishing order was Jan Ratheisky 1st, Tom Krageski 2nd and Lu Junqiao 3rd.
Stock Touring 13.5 Blinky Presented by Infinity – No, you weren’t seeing doubles or you weren’t experiencing de-ja-vu. In the Stock Touring 13.5 Blinky class, it was Jan Ratheisky and Tom Krageski again leading the charge battling it out for top honors. This time waiting for a mistake from the two was Yokomo driver Heng Heng. A 29-lap run was the target and Ratheisky was the only one that could achieve this and did in the A1 and A2 mains for the over all win. Again, just to show he’s the fastest, Jan ran the A3 main only to be denied the win by his teammate Tom Krageski. A huge crash at the beginning of the A3 claimed Ratheisky as part of it letting Krageski run away with the win. It wouldn’t be a clean sweep for Ratheisky as the two were laughing as they were walking off the drivers stand after the race. The overall finishing order was Jan Ratheisky 1st, Tom Krageski 2nd and Heng Heng 3rd.
Modified Touring Presented by Scorpion Power Systems – The final main of the day was up and it was standing room only with everyone coming out to watch it. With no winner crowned yet, it was anyone’s title to claim. With both Team Destiny drivers Yugo Nagashima and Jin Sawada claiming a win, it would come to the A3 to decide a winner. In the hunt though for a top spot also was 2nd qualifier Xray driver JJ Wang who had a 2nd and a 4th place finish coming into the A3 final. The top four on the grid got away cleanly at the sound of the tone and freight trained through the field with only 3-seconds separating them. They would carry this momentum along with super clean racing and finish the way they started. Yugo Nagashima would claim his second win and overall win. JJ Wang claimed 2nd and with his other finishes put him 3rd on the podium and Jin Sawada finished 3rd, but with his other finishes he would claim the over all 2nd.
All photos are on the AOC Facebook page.