14 Nov 2015

2015 CSR East Coast Challenge Series – Races 11 & 12 Finale

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The 2015 C Stock Runabout East Coast Challenge Series concluded its season with the finale of the Series in Tabor City, North Carolina on Halloween Weekend. It was also the first time that anyone could recall a race on the East Coast being held in November. In addition to the regular series drivers from the East Coast states of New Hampshire (Noury), Maryland (Allen), Georgia (Weber) and Florida (Nichols), we had the Team Casual drivers Sam Pilato, Plymouth, Michigan and Mike Affholter, Bad Axe, Michigan make the 1,000 mile trip to join in the competition. Also entering his first series race of the year was Pensacola, Florida’s Chris Fabro.

Noticeably absent due to work commitments were the series points leaders Virginia’s Jesse Swain and Massachusetts’ Mike Akerstrom. Swain had locked up the Series title with his two wins at Kingston, New Hampshire. Iron Mike was not locked into second and a strong effort by Howie Nichols could knock him back to third. It was also a scramble for fourth and fifth, the final cash paying positions.

Nichols, in an effort to move up into second position, took a gamble and decided to run the Scott Reed 28N Runne Craft for the final event. Likewise, Noury who left his damaged Bennett hull home in New England, took over Nichols 4F Fabro Fiberglass ride. Heat one on Saturday saw the new guys from Michigan lead the pack around the tight race course. Mike Affholter in the 1M ride lead from wire to wire as he nailed the start and was never challenged. Sam Pilato followed Affholter around the course to finish second with Georgia’s Tim Weber third. Heat two saw a complete reversal of positions as Chris Fabro rocketed his 75F to the front and was never challenged. Weber moved up a spot to second and Referee Adam Allen rounded out the top three making the scorers work overtime to calculate the final results. Fabro with a fourth and a first took the overall win followed by Weber (3-2) and Affholter (1-DNF) to round out the podium. With the overall second, Weber had an outside shot at a top five points finish if he could pull off a win on Sunday. Nichols was buried in the field and finished with an overall 6th diminishing his hopes of catching Akerstrom.

With a new day dawning and with an extra hour of sleep due to Daylight Savings Time, the drivers were ready to complete the final race of the eleven race series. As the drivers scanned the leader board at drivers meeting, the winner’s check was already made out to Jesse Swain. However, second through fifth were not set in stone as Nichols and Weber could still advance if either of them could win the race and score the bonus points for winning both heats. As the clock counted down for heat one, Weber’s only weapon was to nail the start and try to stay in front of the Michigan Marauders. Unfortunately his race was over before the clock hit zero as he jumped the gun. Pilato and Affholter were the first legal boats to turn one followed by Fabro and Nichols. Nichols with hopes that a great run could move him up into second in the point standings kept the pressure on Fabro and it paid off as the 75F spun out in turn two on the second lap. At the checkers it was Pilato, Affholter, Nichols, Fabro and Allen. For the second time in as many events, Allen’s motor twisted off of the transom just as he crossed the finish line.

With Allen now sidelined, the remaining five boats all made a legal start with Affholter out front. As they crossed the line to complete lap one, first heat winner Pilato had now taken over the lead with Nichols and Fabro once again battling for the third spot. At the finish line it was Pilato winning back to back heats followed by Affholter, Fabro, Nichols and Weber.

With the final points tallied, the efforts of Weber and Nichols to move up in the overall standings fell short and after eleven races among twenty drivers in six states along the East Coast,  Jesse Swain took home the 2015 CSR East Coast Series Championship. For his flawless effort with thirteen heat wins and seven overall wins Swain received the “Big Check” in the amount of $750.00, a three foot commemorative trophy and a tool bag with over $200 in merchandise.

Photo from L to R:  Howie Nichols (FL), Steve Noury (NH), Chris Fabro (FL), Mike Affholter (MI),
Adam Allen (MD), Sam Pilato (MI), and Tim Weber (GA)