06 Jul 2015

2015 CSR East Coast Challenge Series – Races 1 & 2

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The 2015 CSR East Coast Challenge Series kicked off in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia on Bluestone Lake. This will be the site of the 2016 Stock and Modified Outboard National Championships and the venue is absolutely gorgeous. Drivers from all five Regions along the East Coast from New Hampshire to Florida were on hand and they drove a total of 6,405 miles round trip to participate. With a twenty second run to the clock and another twenty seconds to the first turn, it is by far the largest course that the series will race on this year.

As the green flag flew for heat one, trouble ensued immediately for New York’s Scott Reed as his engine shut down in the milling area. With his CSH victory earlier in the day Reed was considered one of the prerace favorites. With the drop of the white flag it was Richmond Virginia’s Jesse Swain crossing the starting line first. Second into the first turn was Adam Allen of Havre De Grace, Maryland followed by Georgia’s Tim Weber and South Shore Outboard members Steve Noury and Howie Nichols. Positions remained the same throughout the three laps with Swain taking the win and the bonus point. Noury made a run at Weber out of turn four only to be beaten at the line by .17 seconds.

Reed was able to get his engine running for heat two, but it was Nichols who was first at the line. Howie made his run at the digital clock from about fifty seconds out (we think from someplace in Kentucky) and the replay showed him to be legal by about four feet! He took the first turn first but it was Reed and Swain that had the power and they motored past him up the back straight. After lap one it was Reed in the lead but with one eye on Swain and the other on turn one, he miscalculated his entry and missed buoy two of the sweeping four buoy turn. Nichols moved up to second while Allen, Weber and Noury continued to chase the leaders. As in the first heat, Noury finally caught Weber on the last lap and this time made it stick off of the final corner to finish fourth to Swain, Nichols, and Allen. Nichols made the greatest improvement between heats by gaining 14.09 seconds but was still off of Swains blistering pace by 7.52 seconds. Swain was rewarded that evening with the 1st place trophy for Race #1 of the series but more importantly he also took home seventeen points for his efforts.

Day two dawned with rain and Noury headed out early for the eight hundred mile trip home. With the field now at five the competition was just as intense as the remaining drivers were determined to derail Swains run at two in a row. With his engine issues resolved it appeared that Reed may have the best shot at Swain. The start of heat one saw Weber push a little too hard and he was DQ’d for the gun jump. Reed was legal and he sailed off into turn one with Swain on his transom followed by Nichols and Allen. The field remained the same with Reed taking the win by a scant 2.48 seconds over Swain. Up to that point Swain had run off ten consecutive heat wins to start the 2015 season. With the heat one win and a bonus point on his card, the pressure was now on Reed to see if he could make it two in a row.

All of the boats hit the starting line together and all were legal for heat two. It was Swain’s turn to sneak into the first turn first with Reed following closely in his rooster tail. The task at hand for Reed was to stay as close as possible to Swain, for barring a mistake by Jesse,  the eventual winner would be determined on time. Swain did not make that mistake and actually pulled away on the final lap to run a 3:05:80 to Reeds 3:12.86 to capture the overall win by 4.58 seconds. The field was rounded out by Nichols, Allen and Weber.

The series is using the following point system: 1st – 15, 2nd – 12, 3rd – 10, 4th – 9, 5th – 8 etc down to 12th for 1 point. Drivers are also rewarded for winning a heat with 1 bonus point. In addition, unlike in the APBA scoring system where you received zero points if you did not finish both heats, in this series you will receive last place points. The promoters took the position that you should receive more points for attending the event whether you finished or not than the driver that stayed at home. Therefore, although you may not record any points via your heats, you will receive last place points for your participation.

After the first weekend of the series Jesse Swain jumps out to a comfortable lead with 33 points. He is followed by Adam Allen and Nichols who are tied for second with 22 points apiece, Scott Reed is fourth with 21 points and Tim Weber rounds out the top five with 19 points. During the twelve race format, it will be the drivers best nine races that will count towards their final total. This allows a driver to miss an event and/or drop their three worst finishes.

Next up on the Series will be Millville, NJ where the Delaware Valley Outboard Racing Association will be hosting the Northeast Divisional Championships and a whole new group of Drivers will be entering the series. The series will then continue on to Thompson, CT for the July 11 & 12 weekend. Skipping the month of August the series will resume Labor Day weekend for the traditional Lock Haven, Pennsylvania race. The teams will then head North for the 9th Annual Kingston Fall Classic September 26 & 27th in Kingston, NH. The series finale and awards presentation will take place Halloween weekend in Tabor City, North Carolina.