When it comes to high-speed, high-horsepower, high-impact racing action, there’s only one place to go: The Big House. Now celebrating it’s 40th year of dirt-roosting competition, the Crandon International Raceway hosted THE Traxxas Off-Road Championship (TORC) series on June 19-21. And, as with all the venues on the TORC circuit, the racing excitement wasn’t limited to the pros with their 900+ horsepower racing machines; R/C racers arrived ready to rock with their Traxxas Slash and Slayer racing trucks for a full weekend of world-class radio-control competition.
Beautiful weather greeted race fans and R/C racers as they streamed into the picturesque raceway, nestled in the lush hills of Crandon, Wisconsin. Covered pit space with tables and electric power made for comfortable wrenching, and the capable race direction of RC Pro’s Mike Fisk kept the qualifiers and Mains flowing smoothly. Every Traxxas TORC R/C Challenge features a professionally designed and constructed track built with the help of RC Pro, but for Crandon, something extra special was planned: a replica of the full-size racetrack! Now a permanent part of the Crandon International Speedway facility, the challenging track combines high-speed straights with technical turns and plenty of opportunities for air-time, including the Traxxas Radio Control Launch Zone. Racers had all day to practice, and racing officially began at 6:30pm. Nearly 100 racers turned out for the weekend of competition, filling heats for Slash Spec (essentially box-stock vehicles), Slash Open (any battery and motor allowed), and Slayer classes (4WD, nitro-burning trucks).
Friday, June 19
Slash SpecMike Villemure sat on the pole, but a pileup on the start relegated him to last as the first lap was logged. The action was fast and furious as the lead went to Tanner Gould, then Sean Gallogy, then Dylan Hockin—all in the first three laps! Tanner Gould took over the lead on lap six and stayed out front for the next 11 to take the win, despite the efforts of Daniel Adamski, who was always a threat, and TQ Mike Villemure.
Slash OpenTroy Konitzer was the Top Qualifier in Slash Spec, but not the top dog; at the tone, Troy found himself mid-pack and never broke free from the knot of closely-matched trucks. Second-place qualifier Chuck Bille got the holeshot, but quickly fell mid-pack, handing the lead to brother Nick Bille. Nick clicked off fast laps, but could not hold off Randy Villemure, who was moving steadily through the field after starting in sixth. Randy took the lead with on lap 14 with a minute and a half to go, then stretched his lead to nearly a full lap by the end of the race. Not bad for qualifying sixth! Chuck and Nick Bille rounded out the top three, and each took home a TORC R/C Challenge plaque for their skillful driving.
SlayerThe Friday night Main came down to a two-man showdown between pole-sitter Troy Konitzer versus sixth-place qualifier Mark Steinhardt. Mark extended his lead over Troy to a two-lap advantage, and took home the top trophy.
Saturday, June 20
Slash SpecTop Qualifier Tanner Gould got off to a rough start and came across the loop in seventh for lap one, but quickly moved into second behind leader and second-place qualifier Dylan Hockin and ahead of brother Blaine Gould. Tanner took over the lead in lap six, but winning wouldn’t be easy as he was caught by Hockin and had to battle to regain his position. Tanner finally got his chance as Hockin bobbled just before the white-flag lap, and Tanner took the win by 3.7 seconds. Dylan Hockin and Blaine Gould filled out the top three.
Slash OpenThe Slash Open racers were allowed to equip their trucks with as much power as they liked, but the track proved a great equalizer and Open lap times matched those of the Spec trucks! Troy Konitzer TQ’d the class on Friday, but only ran as high as third in the Main and dropped out with mechanical troubles after lap 13—never a lucky number! Sarah Ernst, daughter of first-class announcer and popular R/C-guy Scotty Ernst, briefly held the lead but the real battle was between Dylan Hockin and Matt Sunderlage, who chased each other most of the race until Matt moved into first for good in the final three laps, and the hard-charging Sarah Ernst overtook Hockin for second.
TQ Matt Sunderlage and second qualifier Sarah Ernst made good on their qualifying positions and smoked the rest of the field with a 10-lap gap on third-place finisher Jason Gee. Ernst and Sunderlage battled in the closest racing of the weekend that saw the lead change numerous times, as even the slightest mistake would allow the drivers to close up or pass. But after 50 laps, it was Sarah Ernst who made the lead stick for good, with a well- earned win and a solid 11-second win over Matt Sunderlage.
Join Us At The Next Race!
The next stop for the Traxxas TORC R/C Challenge is Bark River, MI. Be one of the first 50 to pre-register online and receive a free T-Shirt. Sign up is open now! There are also events coming up in Wisconsin, Las Vegas, and California.
Check out the live race coverage!
Every race on the Traxxas Off-Road Championship (TORC) circuit includes a professionally-run R/C race with Slash Spec, Slash Open and Slayer classes. The events are sanctioned and operated by RC Pro, and the feature AMB electronic scoring, and a full-size drivers’ stand.