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Electric Unlimiteds Northwest

Impressions from the 2003 NAMBA Nationals, Pleasanton California
By Dick Crowe

Every year the countries fastest racers get together to take their shot at a NAMBA National Championship! ….but that’s not all. This is also a time for old friends to hang out and enjoy the hobby that has brought us here in the first place, Fast Electric Model Boat Racing! 

This year, the venue was Pleasanton California, just west of San Francisco. The Devil Mountain Water Boilers were the host club and worked their tails off to give the racers a first class event. Not to be outdone by past events, the DMWB crew decided to hold a 4 day event. This was a nice change of pace for those of us who have a habit of running as many classes as we can!

Friday, day one was probably the best day of the event for water conditions. The water stayed smooth all day. Little did we know things would change in the days to come! 

The first class of the day was N1 Mono. Doug Twaits Jr. took first with 3 perfect heats! I came in behind Doug for second with Lynn Thomas from Washington hot on my heels for third!

P Offshore was next. This is a timed event where drivers run 4 minutes to see who can get the most laps. To make things a little more interesting the divers must negotiate a buoy on the front stretch AND backstretch. These extra turns really make it interesting! When the laps were all added up, I picked up first, followed by Greg Schweers and Brian Vega. 

The third class of the day was ECO. This class runs the same course and time as the offshore class; however, the boats are of a different design with submerged props and run 9 turn Chameleon “can” motors. Leading the way in his MHolc design eco was Doug Twaits Jr. followed by Brian Vega. Third went to DMWB’s own Dan Chase who found time to run a boat or two when he wasn’t busy officiating the races! 

N2 Hydro fielded one of the strongest fleets in my memory. These water rockets looked more like P hydros then 6 cell boats. My new Hacker powered Crumbgrabber rigger scored 3 perfect heats for first. Doug Twaits Jr. followed with his new Rum Runner boat and Larry Larson Rounded out the top three with his new Crumbgrabber rigger! 

In O mono, I ran another 3 perfect heats for the win, followed by Randy Naylor’s hot BBY and Doug Twaits Jr. who picked up 3rd

The last heat of the day was S Hydro, probably the fastest boats to run all weekend. The Rum Runner boys put their time in with these boats and it showed up on the podium. Doug Twaits took first and Brian Vega was second but you could have tied a string between these boats. They were very hot! I snuck out third with my 12 cell Crumbgrabber with 19 cells shoehorned into the nose to make the class! 

Friday, Day 2. As good as it was on Thursday, it was that bad or worse on Friday! I think the Rum Runner team taped every tool they had to their boats just trying to finish heats! I mean that literally. They had wrenches taped to the decks of their boats! There is a rumor that it’s an old trick from Ed Hughey. 

First class of the day was M2 Mono. Doug Twaits Jr. found a way to keep his right side up and fast for the win. Chris Harris was second and Greg Schweers picked up third. 

P Mono was next. From time to time the wind would let up a little, Seemed like when the bigger boats like P mono would run the weather would cooperate a little more and when the little ones would show, it was a hurricane season again. I drove my Hacker Powered Maus Bullet to the class win followed by Doug Twaits Jr’s  Lehner powered H2O with Brian Vega picking up third in his Lehner Powered El Lobo 3. 

In O hydro, Donnie Wollard showed the field he could run in anything with his Rum Runner Rigger. He earned his stripes and the win in this class!! Randy Naylor followed him for second with his BBY rigger and Jeff Vasquez came in third with his Maus 1/16th scale sport hydro, that was named the school bus years ago. Jeff’s boat has been around as long as I can remember and can still bang it out with the best of them! 

P Sport hydro was dominated by BIG sport hydros. Jeff Vasquez took first with a Frank O’Berto Hull that Larry Larson built him years ago (this boat later became the Bandit Larsony). Larry picked up second with his Grand Larsony a stretched out version of the Larsony that he runs in Q/S sport hydro. I ended up in 3rd with after Larry loaned me his standard Larsony, Thanks Lar! 

N1 Crackerbox was almost cruel. At times I think I lost site of these little boats in the waves! Somehow or another Scott Bickford was able to get around just enough for a first, followed by Brian Vega and Jim Bickford. 

Q/S hydro rounded out the day. Larry Larson’s “Grand Larsony” was the strongest of the field and all he needed was a finish in the 3rd round, but we all know how that goes. Larry’s boat took one good hop in the third heat and broke his on/off receiver switch so Larry had to settle for a third for the day. Randy Naylor slid into first place with 3 strong finishes with his BBY War Eagle followed by Jeff Vasquez who ran a Larson built Frank O’Berto.  

The water was a little more forgiving for Saturdays racing. While it was nothing like Thursday, the drivers felt is was good enough to race again instead of just try to finish, at least for the first two heats as round 3 was Friday all over again. 

In N2 Mono a few new faces made the Podium. Pete Boyle and Dave Newland from Arizona found there way to first and third respectively with Larry Larson from Alaska grabbing second. There were no handouts in this class. These guys earned their trophies and a lot of respect! 

M2 Hydro was a 2 boat shootout between Doug Twaits Jr. and Chris Harris who trophied respectively. While this was only a 2 boat class, the boats put on a full show. I was amazed at the power you can get out of 4 cells. Both Doug and Chris did their homework! 

In O Sport hydro it was Brian Vegas turn at the top driving his RRH Slo Mo. Doug Twaits Jr. followed him for second in a similar hull and Lynn Thomas from Washington picked up third with his Pink Hawaii Kai Bandit shovel.  

No surprises in P Hydro. This is the class Doug Twaits Jr. guns for more then any other and that’s just how it ended up. Jeff Vasquez picked up second with his Aveox powered Twister letting everyone know he was still in the hunt. Third went to Donnie Wollard who competed in P Hydro for the first time. Nice Job Donnie! 

In Q Offshore it was Larry Larson’s turn for the “borrow a boat” program. Dennis Whitt, who couldn’t make it this year due to an increasing family size issue (Alex), sent his Aeromarine Titan for Larry to run. Larry saw first hand why this boat has dominated for so long and picked up first. Right on his heels was Randy Naylor who took second by less then a lap. A solid third went to Donnie Wollard driving his Bit burger Cat. 

OPC Tunnel followed and it was more of a survival of the fittest then a deck to deck dual. I picked up first. Chris Harris took second with a couple seconds and Scott Bickford picked up third as the only guy to finish the last heat. Wait till next year. These are cool boats and have the potential to put on a real show! 

Sundays racing was about the same as Saturday. Two good rounds, then the wind! By now the racers knew that when the water was good they needed to take advantage of it.

The first class up was N2 Offshore. This was probably the fastest field of N2 Offshore boats I have ever seen. Donnie Wollards boat was the class of the field earning him top spot. Brian Vega was also strong, picking up second and that guy from Arizona, Pete Boyle picked up third, hot on their heels! 

N1 hydro was a would of could of should of. Looking for his first ever national Championship was Chris Harris. Chris has been running boats for a long time and it seemed his time had come. He had the boat to beat in the first two rounds and just needed to finish the third when the wind started to blow. He drove a very conservative race while we all watched and willed his boat around the course. Unfortunately his little boat was just too small and a wave literally picked up his boat and flopped it over. Our hearts sunk right there. But Chris picked up his head and went on like a true champion. Hang in there Chris. It’s going to happen, and when it does I hope you’ll be wearing something that can get wet! Doug Twaits Jr. Picked up first in the event and Wilmer Oxidean from the DMWB’s grabbed third. 

In Q Mono Brian Vega held on with his Aeromarine Titan for first place. I took second and a solid third went to Donnie Wollard.  

Limited Sport Hydro was one of the biggest draws of the event. I picked up first running my brand new SS1 powered cabover 24 hull from fastelectrics.com. Second went to Scott Bickford running his SS1 powered Bandit and third went to Brian Vega with his SS1 powered RRH Slo mo. 

The last class of the event was Q Hydro. Once again, the homework by Doug Twaits Jr. and Brian Vega proved to be a one two punch for Rum Runner. I came in behind them running my 12 cell Crumbgrabber and few more cells! These boats haul tail!  

Overall Highpoints went to Doug Twaits Jr with 6 perfect classes. I came in 475 points behind Douggie with 6 wins but only 5 perfect classes. Nice job Douggie! It's hard to match perfection!

Team Highpoints went to Team Rum Runner with a great show of teamwork and sportsmanship!


Final thoughts. 

The DMWB crew did an outstanding job.  “Bob” the chase boat guy was incredible. If there is a record for retrieving boats he’d have it, and always with a smile on his face. Robert, who was a scorekeeper/setup guy/cameraman man/and about 10 other things set a pace I couldn’t have kept up with. There were others that helped with the event and ran the races that did an outstanding job as well. Then there was Dan and Randy, the glue that kept this thing together. They went above and beyond everyday to help run the event, race and keep everyone happy. My hat is off to you all. When you hold the nats again, I will be back.

Finally, the sponsors. Having run several National level event I know that none of this happens without sponsor support. I would strongly suggest checking out the event and class sponsor pages at the nats website and keep them in mind the next time your go shopping for boat supplies!

Pete Boyle and Dave Newland from Arizona Tim Higdon from Alaska Scott Bickford and his Bandit larsony Greg Schweers with is Bandit Monos
Larry Larson after pulling down a first with his Crumbgrabber! Dick Crowes Pits. Crumbgrabber 6/8 straight ahead Rum Runner pits. Donnie and Brian having a pep talk! Drivers Meeting
Drivers stand Jim Bickford getting ready to do battle with his Crackerbox Larry Larsons Table. Crumbgrabber 6/8, Maus Bullet, Larsony and the Grand larsony Dick Crowe loving the 102 degree heat!
Rum Runner Rigger Dan Chases BBY Scat Cat The Washington crew (less the cameraman) Team Hitec!

THURSDAYS top three drivers for each class
N1 Mono
P. Offshore
N2 Hydro
O Mono
S Hydro
1st. Doug Twaits jr. 1st. Dick Crowe 1st. Doug Twaits jr. 1st. Dick Crowe 1st. Dick Crowe 3rd. Doug Twaites jr.
2nd. Dick Crowe 2nd. Greg Schweers 2nd. Brian Vega 2nd. Doug Twaits jr. 2nd. Randy Naylor 2nd. Brian Vega
3rd. Lynn Thomas 3rd. Brian Vega 3rd. Dan Chase 3rd. Larry Larson 3rd. Doug Twaites jr. 3rd. Dick Crowe
FRIDAYS top three drivers for each class
M2 Mono
P Mono
O Hydro
P Sport Hydro
N1 Crackerbox
Q/S Sport Hydro
1st. Doug Twaits jr. 1st. Dick Crowe 1st. Donnie Wollard 1st. Jeff Vasquez 1st. Scott Bickford 1st. Randy Naylor
2nd. Chris Harris 2nd. Doug Twaits jr. 2nd. Randy Naylor 2nd. Larry Larson 2nd. Brian Vega 2nd. Jeff Vasquez
3rd. Greg Schweers 3rd. Brian Vega 3rd. Jeff Vasquez 3rd. Dick Crowe 3rd. Jim Bickford 3rd. Larry Larson
SATURDAYS top three drivers for each class
N2 Mono
M2 Hydro
O Sport Hydro
P Hydro
Q Offshore
1st. Pete Boyle 1st. Doug Twaits jr. 1st. Brian Vega 1st. Doug Twaits jr. 1st. Larry Larson 1st. Dick Crowe
2nd. Larry Larson 2nd. Chris Harris 2nd. Doug Twaits jr. 2nd. Jeff Vasquez 2nd. Randy Naylor 2nd. Chris Harris
3rd. David Newland    3rd. Lynn Thomas 3rd. Donnie Wollard 3rd. Donnie Wollard 3rd. Scott Bickford
SUNDAYS top three drivers for each class
N2 Offshore
N1 Hydro
Q Mono
Limited Sport Hydro
Q Hydro
1st Donnie Wollard 1st Doug Twaits Jr. 1st Brian Vega 1st Dick Crowe 1st Doug Twaits Jr.
2nd Brian Vega
2nd Chris Harris 2nd Dick Crowe 2nd Scott Bickford 2nd Brian Vega
3rd Pete Boyle 3rd Wilmer Oxidean 3rd Donnie Wollard 3rd Brian Vega 3rd Dick Crowe