Factory Team / Race Events

Chris Higa 2014 West Coast Large Scale National Champ with Blockade Tires

Last Weekend from August 14-17, I attended the West Coast Large Scale Nationals held at Heritage Race Park in Chula Vista, CA.  The crew at Heritage RC Park, Team KCRP and Limited Access did a great job building the track, as it held up to 4 long days of large scale racing.

Chris H

Thursday, August 14 was the practice day. With three cars to get dialed in, I knew it was going to be a long day. But my Pro-Line Blockades were up to the task. In Pro4 truck, my Bartolone powered Losi 5iveT was a rocketship from the first time it hit the track. I made a few minor suspension tweaks due to the high bite conditions. I made similar adjustments to my Pro4 Buggy, as tire wear was definitely going to play a role in this race. In Pro2, the truck was on rails.

I ended up qualifying 5th in Pro4 Truck, 4th in Pro4 Buggy and 2nd in Pro2.

The expert A-Mains were 45-minutes long, so this was going to be a long day. Up first on Sunday was the Pro2 Main. This was setup to be a battle between my Bartolone powered OC Baja Designs hybrid 2WD Losi Truck versus the O’Neill Brothers powered Team KCRP. At t he sound of the tone, I was able to get out front with my OC Baja Designs teammate Kevin Enriquez and never look back. The long 45-minute Main was a test of man and machine, as the high bite, blue groove track made Tire management a key to staying out front. I was able to stretch out to almost a 2 lap lead by the end of the 45-minute Main and secure my first National title.

After 30-minutes of turn-marshalling, I was back on the stand for the 45-minute Pro4 Truck Main. This field was stacked with a lot of fast drivers, Matt Olson from MIP, fellow P-L driver Brian Sullivan and fellow P-L driver Brent Bisbee from TLR, Josh Mitchell from Pro-Line and Speed Tech, Larry C. from IERC.

At the start of this race, it looked like a freight train as everyone was going very fast looking for the win. I knew this was a long race, so I just made sure that up to the first fuel stop, I stayed with the leaders. I was running second after the cycle of fuel stops with the leader Brian Sullivan, about 20-seconds in front of me. With 5-minutes to go, the leader was starting to have some problems and slowing down. My pit crew did an awesome job of cheering me on, and letting me know where the leader was. I was gaining almost 2-seconds per lap with 5 laps to go, and my crew let me know that If I kept up my pace, I should catch the leader near the last minute or so of the race. So I kept charging, and with about 1-minute to go, I was right behind the leader. I couldn’t believe it. I made the pass with one minute left on the clock and was able to claim my second National Title of the weekend. I felt like I was dreaming.

With two National Titles already locked up, I lined up in the Pro4 Buggy Main with my confidence at an all time high. I was driving smart, making good decisions, my cars were running flawlessly. With nearly the same cast and crew from the Pro4 Truck race, I knew Olson, Sullivan, Bisbee and Mitchell were looking for some redemption. The Buggy race, just like the Truck race took off with a tremendous pace.  The Pro4 Buggies were the fastest class of the weekend. This was one of the last races of the weekend, and everyone strapped up going for the win. I followed the top three drivers as they battled for the first 15-minutes of the race. I knew that they couldn’t keep up that pace and have any car left at the end, so I stayed behind them, just waiting for a mistake. As the race progressed, their cars started to fade or fail and I moved up to second place behind Matt Olson.

At the 15-minute mark, Olson came in for fuel and handed me the lead. I was on a one stop strategy as I knew Olson would have to stop again, so I picked the pace up and tried to put as much distance between myself and Olson as possible, to give my pit crew a chance to keep us out front. At the 23-minute mark, I was called in for fuel, and gave the lead back to Olson. I was about 15-20 seconds behind Olson until about 6-minutes to go, where an unscheduled pit stop for some repairs took me out of contention. I was able to salvage a podium finish and ended up third for the weekend.

20140817_164803 20140817_165141 20140817_165540 (2)

So it was a great weekend for myself and Pro-Line, as I was able to secure the Pro2 and Pro4 West Coast Large Scale National titles. Also congratulations to Matt Olson from MIP on the Pro4 buggy title, also running Pro-Line Blockades in the final.

Thank you for all of your support.  I would not have the success I have been having without the backing from great companies like Pro-Line.

Chris Higa