With a forecast of sunny skies and mild temperatures for the day, I jumped in my car and headed to Piedmont, SC! Home of Shake N Bake RC Speedway affectionately referred to by the locals as SnB! A facility owned and operated by Jamie Amhrein and Nick Hartman, some hardcore, seasoned racers. Jamie and I met in early 2000 in this area, and as Jamie will tell ya, he taught me everything he knows 😉 Having known these guys for a hot minute, when word went out they were building a track I knew it is gonna be big and its gonna be FAST! Let me elaborate on that last part. This place regularly pulls in seasoned world and national level talent ( Barry Pettit is a prime example, but is one of several ). If you think your fast, this is the place to prove it. Talk all ya want, but when you roll through those gates to enter SnB speedway, all I gotta say is you better have your big boy pants on!
With that being said, I arrived a little after 9am to the menacing driver stand, keeping guard over the freshly rolled track. I hop out of the car and my senses are flooded with the smell of nitro fuel, the zing of engines, starter boxes, and electric vehicles alike. I felt like I was late to the party! I get out to scope out a pit spot, and sneak a peek at the track layout. Man this place is BIG! its FAST!, its NASTY!, its ( in my best Jean Gerard impression )”America” ! Although the jumps are huge, the layout isn’t just jumps, it has a plethora of different concepts throughout the track. With sections aptly nicknamed the “Dragons Back” and ” Dragons Tail”, the track was full of variety, and challenge for new and seasoned racers alike. The “dragons Back” for example was a double, single, tabletop step off section that offered at least 3 distinct lines. The 4WD Short Course guys in particular, had three different drivers utilized 3 different lines. While guys practiced they all seemed to find their own fast way through. Be it 2WD MOD SCT, 2WD Buggy, or any of the 1:8’s. I was anxious to see which one I went with !
I quickly unloaded, and using a half charged pack, I bolted on my favorite M4 Hole Shots on all 4 corners, strapped the EVO SC Body on and went out to make some laps. After just a few turns it was apparent that this track had a lot of bite for being so green. I was sliding a tad bit, but nothing a setup change I had anticipated making anyway wouldn’t rectify 😉 Time to get ready for heat 1.
Drivers Meeting note: Instead of offering multiple A-Mains, the track offered electric classes 9-minute heat races to keep the drive time comparable from to Nitro. It’s worth noting no one complained in any way shape or fashion of that move. Most seemed to enjoy the long heat races. I know I did!
Heat 1: Its roughly noon, and we are going out second. The track was blown off and a groove was starting to form. After blowing my truck off and replacing the battery with a fresh one. I was ready to rock for round 1! I decided to wait on the setup change as I had a feeling the track may come to me. I rolled off 5th and set sail! I could literally feel my Hole Shots dig into the surface as the truck launched itself down the straightaway. With some smooth consistent laps, and being patient over jumps when the wind was blowing, I pulled out the win for the first round to set the TQ with a time of : 12 laps in 9:38:301 .
Heat 2: With the track having more run time on it, and having so much water sucked into the surface the track crews just blew the track off and never watered it all day. The groove just started to get darker and darker. I knew the grip was starting to come up.
I stuck with my good ole set of M4 Hole Shots ( these things should be wore out by now right? ).
Starting from the first position, I had clear track ahead of me. I set off to top my best time, as I could smell 13-laps. The track was definitely gaining some grip and I started to push my truck harder and harder. I was still struggling to put grip down how I wanted so I knew it was time to make that anti squat change. With some smooth laps I hung on for the win with 12-laps in 9:21.365 and to rest my TQ from round 1!
15-seconds of fame: I would like to put a spotlight on a man who doesn’t even drive RC cars, but simply brings his son to race all over the south east. Mr. Robbie Mustoe. He volunteers to corner marshal more than anyone, except maybe Zak Morton, and that is probably a tie. He is always supporting his son Matt, who races at least 3 different classes. He is always willing to help out, even off the race track, and I for one feel you deserved a shout out for helping keep things running smoothly. Your contribution to the RC community in this area is appreciated more then you may realize. Hey Matt, maybe one of these days we can get him behind the wheel!
Heat 3: Alright with some small changes made to the truck I was excited to give round 3 a go. The track grip had really started to come up and I didn’t want to make any other changes then what I had already done. With the buzzer off and my name called, I shot off into turn 1. Holy smokes! The truck barreled into the turn as I clearly overdrove the turn yet it stuck. My old , should be worn out Hole Shots kept me pinned to the inside as the truck rocketed down into the Box turn. I knew I was in for a treat this run. The truck was simply on rails. I had a perfect run going till about halfway through the race the truck just died after a rough landing over a double. I had servo power, but no throttle. Then to my delight, the throttle kicked back in and off I went to continue my pace. the truck almost finished the race before it did the same thing again. on the last lap it stopped again yet kicked in shortly after. To my amazement, even with those 2 10 second laps where the truck died, I still ALMOST went 13 laps and still reset the TQ with 12 laps in 9:04:982!
FUN FACT! approximately 3-minutes of the 3rd heat race was filmed by a quad copter and posted on SNBs Facebook Page. I have shared it on mine as well. Check it out! Watch the Hole Shots at work! It’s the same the Burgundy and white body under my profile name I am not the first to leave in the picture, but I am the first to go over the Dragons Back on the left of the screen when the movie starts.
A-Main: This is what it’s all about!! The Main Event for 2WD Mod Short Course. With the track having more grip then I have ever seen in a dirt track I couldn’t wait to get the racing started! Starting from the pole I was in a great position to go home with a trophy! And to me, going home with one of these pistons is no different than going home with a Grandfather clock from Martinsville. You can’t get this type of trophy anywhere else. Period! Question is, could I fend off a hungry pack to earn mine? Most had opted to go to a suburb style of tire, while I stuck true to my Hole Shots. At the sound of the tone, I grabbed a hand full of throttle and tore off into turn one. my M4 Hole Shots held tight as I started to open a gap to the rest of the field. The grip offered to me by these tires and inserts are simply unparalleled. Especially in traffic where the slightly taller tread of the Hole Shots allowed me to use different lines to dodge and maneuver through traffic as I cruised to the win and the trophy!!!
Aftermath: Man what a day! That track was simply a blast to race on. The surface was like no other I have ever raced on. My hats off to Nick and Jamie, you guys always run a fun, entertaining program! And the track was just SICK all day long. For any one that missed this race this year, you have missed out on one of the absolute best races of the year. With more races on their calendar to come, a points series, tons of national talent, and a ROAR race coming up in June, you can be rest assured SNB is gonna be one of the hottest places to be. Just make sure you bring your big boy pants when ya do 😉 I’ll see ya there!