The 3rd annual South Valley Invert Race hosted by Cottage Grove R/C in Cottage Grove, Oregon has become an instant classic here in the Northwest. If you’re an old school racer from the 90’s, you’re probably familiar with other NW classics like the Summer Sizzler, original Columbia Cup, Summer Shootout, regionals, etc when race tracks didn’t have their own race series and only hosted bigger racing events. The Invert has that same kind of magic where everyone in the region is looking forward to this special event each and every year.
Like previous classics, the Cottage Grove R/C crew worked non-stop to make the event as grand as possible with constant track prep, maintenance, clean facility, prompt corner marshalls for every race, and terrific racing coupled with a smooth race program made the event even more special. Thanks to all those who were a part of making this race possible and special thanks to Terry Schulz and Joe Pillars for organizing and being a huge part of making this race happen!
The layout was tricky and challenging. With the track constantly changing and maturing into its high-grip state for Sunday, Friday and Saturday was a very different story. The grip was low, the track was breaking apart, the pipes unforgiving, made the track crew work extremely hard to get it to hold together before qualifying late Saturday evening. Finally, by 3 or 4pm the grip was coming up and the tires started to chirp. The track was starting to come alive and the lap times started to drop. Smiles were all around.
There were a few areas on the track that were very difficult and required a high amount of skill to hit consistently. The ‘option’ line of cross jumping into the quad was the make it or break it obstacle on the track that separated the field. Make it right, you could probably save at least .3 seconds on your lap. Miss it and you would crash losing even more valuable time. It was a game of risk management and smart decisions. Another area of high difficulty was the sweeper getting onto the straightaway. High speed, high grip, and a square turn getting onto the back straight was a test requiring maximum focus every lap. Touch a pipe or wall often resulted in shearing a-arms. All in all, with the grip finally coming up for the 1st qualifier, the track was challenging, rewarding, and fun to race on.
The format was a compressed 2 day with Saturday open for practice from 9pm to 4pm and 1 round of qualifying ran at 5pm at the end of the day. Sunday was left for 2 more rounds of qualifying using rocket round to seed for triple A-mains in every class. What makes the Invert race different from other races is that after your A1 results, racers would start A2 inverted which means if you won A1 then you would start A2 in 10th and have to battle your way through the pack for the best results possible. From there, the A3 starting order will be determined by your combined A1 and A2 results. This format makes the racing much more interesting requiring a lot of composure, skills, and a bit of luck in traffic.
Here are your weekend’s champions from the 2015 South Valley Invert. Huge thanks to all the racers coming from near and far to participate in this fun, fantastic race. Please copy, post, and share any of the photos as you like.
I’m really happy to see novice be novice. Sometimes you watch a novice race and think, “Dang, that guy doesn’t belong in novice, he’s killing everyone.” It’s been a while to actually see novice racers at a bigger event. The cost, the time, the experience all seem to detour novice racers from coming out and participating. This year we had a true novice class and this is where our sport grows. Thanks to the guys for putting on a good show and battling it out at the Invert! Hope to see more guys, girls, kids join up in the future. Congratulations on a job well done!
1st – Courtney Dills
2nd – Randy McLean
3rd – T.J. Vanaman
2wd mod was all about Kyosho/Team Orion’s rising star Tanner Day. He TQ’d the class with authority and took the win using only 2 mains to do it…. and with the inverted start in A2. Day was also untouchable in modified short course repeating the 2 main sweep in that class as well.
Coming out of retirement for the winter, Kyosho/Team Orion’s Andy DiBrino would shake off a bit of rust on the clay tracks and proved that he had the speed to contend for the win. Being a natural born racer, racing is just in his blood and is always going to look to find a way to the front. Kyosho/Team Orion’s team manager was on hand racing 2wd, announcing the racing, and helping all the Kyosho and Team Orion customers on hand and was able to pilot his RB6 to 3rd on the podium.
1st – Tanner Day
2nd – Andy DiBrino
3rd – Joe Pillars