HB is at it again, pushing the boundaries of R/C to the extreme with the introduction of the HB Underground Championship Series. The inaugural race kicked off last Sunday, December, 16th at Bending Corners Raceway in Orange, California. Drivers from all over the SoCal area came out to play under sunny skies for a chance at getting their piece of the $1600 in cash prizes.
There were two classes offered in an effort to separate the novices from the pros with the winner of each class taking home 400 big ones. The rules were simple. Entrants in the spec class were allowed to run the Cyclone S or Cyclone S RTR chassis with an HPI 27 turn motor, 1500MAH battery (provided by HB), and HB Gumballs tires. The chassis could not be modified or upgraded in any way beyond basic tuning. The Spec + class allowed for more freedom allowing any HB chassis, with any NIMH or NICD battery, any Roar approved 19t motor, and HB Gumballs tires. Both classes also required the use of an HB or HPI body shell.
Before the racing action was the concourse competition. In an effort to prevent a bias amongst the judges two young spectators were chosen to decide who had the coolest ride. â€œTurboâ€ Joe Morgan won the hearts of the judges with his orange and silver Cyclone S and took home the $45 prize for owning the slickest looking rig.
After the crowd was finished oogling over all of the â€œHot Bodiesâ€ on the HB rides it was time to bang fenders out on the asphalt to see whom would finish atop the podium and go home with a few extra bones in their pocket.
The spec class was a battle of preparation and pure driving talent as drivers scrambled to find the hot motor setup and most efficient lines around the track. Qualifying saw a battle between Chris Lim and Mark Barden for the top spot on the grid. After three grueling rounds it was Lim sitting atop the grid with Barden in second and Jason Huang rounding out the top three. The main proved to be a vicious battle with cars bouncing around like pin-balls at the sound of the tone. When the dust had settled the top three qualifiers maintained their positions with Chris Lim taking the win, Mark Barden second, and Jason Huang rounding out the podium.
SPEC + CLASS
The spec + class featured high speed, adrenaline pumping action as a slew of hungry drivers threw their 19 turn powered, â€œMoore speedâ€ edition, Cyclones onto the track to battle for Underground supremacy. Qualifying was dominated by Jason Ertrachter whom set the tq pace in each qualifying round. HB engineer Josh Alton put in a strong showing in qualifying to earn himself the second starting spot on the grid with Taka Morykita rounding out the top three. The Main Event saw much closer racing than in qualifying as Josh had clearly worked some of the kinks out of his setup and was running fast laps on a consistent basis. An early clip of a dot by Ertrachter almost fooled the crowd into thinking he was mortal, until he re-gained his composure and inched away from Josh to take the win. Although Josh finished second he was unable to receive a cash prize as a member of the HB staff so second place money went to Taka Morykita with Giro Aratame taking home $100 in third place winnings.
The inaugural race of the HB Underground Championships was a tremendous success and provided a fun day of racing action for drivers and spectators alike. The crew at HB would like to thank everyone that came out and participated; you made the race a positive experience for all of us and we appreciate your enthusiasm. Weâ€™d also like to thank â€œRaffâ€ of Bending Corners Raceway for all of his support and great announcing during the event. Finally weâ€™d like to give a special thanks to Extreme R/C Magazine and Carl Hyndman for coming out to cover the race.