Last week was the Electric Off Road IFMAR World Championships held in Chico, California. Schumacher sent two of their UK team, Simon Moss & Tom Cockerill. They were joined by young Jesper Rasmussen, Derek McCloskey and Olivier de Montfumat. The event is the pinnacle of 10th OR racing and all the teams were there represented by the best drivers. Competition was going to be tough and racing tight.
The venue was A Main Hobbies owned Silver Dollar Raceway, and it was the perfect venue for the event. The track that greeted the racers was brilliant, it was perfect for racing. Unfortunately mother nature had other ideas and flooded the track twice during the week. It has to be said that Kevin Jelich and his entire track crew worked incredibly hard to give the racers a track to race on, twice! Without them the championship could've been over before it even started.
The racing is split into two events, 2wd Monday-Wednesday and 4wd Friday-Sunday. In the 2wd class mid motor was used by the majority, with it being a sugared dirt track. Schumacher had decided to debut a brand new unused prototype car, based the theory of a belt drive 2wd suited to the very high grip tracks. The car was very good, but with only two there in the hands of Si & Tom, and the rain shortened event, it just took too long to hit upon the perfect setup.
Eventually they would line up 21st & 22nd, all the way from England to line up next to each other! Given the depth of competition the C final was a good result, with the car showing great pace and ease of driving. With a little more development it's sure to be a great car, look out for it at more races over winter.
Onto 4wd, and the team were feeling a little more confident with a car that they were used too. With the weather improving the drivers would get the full complement of practice and qualifying. The timetable was slightly adjusted to allow all 5 qualifying rounds to be run, with rain expected on the Sunday, which luckily never came.
4wd Qualifying was even closer than 2wd, with less than 0.5s covering 6 or 7 drivers at times. This meant that it was essential to not make any mistake, such as coming up short on a jump, or missing an apex, never mind actually crashing.
Qualifying was a mixed affair for the Schumacher guys. Tom & Simon had both shown great pace in the practice rounds, but come qualifying Si would have several issues that would mean he never got to show his true pace. With 3 from 5 rounds counting, it meant a few bad runs and your event was essentially done in terms of a good result. Tom managed to hook up a few good runs, with the car getting better every round, eventually lining up 8th in the B, a strong performance given the field of drivers.
With qualifying finished up, the A Main crew put on a great fireworks show for the spectators that had turned up. They then got a special surprise of a dash for cash race. The B finalists lined up in reverse order for a 5 minute race with no marshals! It put on a great show for the spectators and helped create a buzz surrounding our sport. The race was won by UK's Darren Bloomfield from a fast charging Marc Rheinard. In the proper final Tom was running mid pack until he collected a crashing car, putting both of them out the race.
A big congratulations must go to all the finalists, they put on a great show of close, fair racing and two deserving World Champions were crowned. Also A Main Hobbies for a superb venue and well run event.