“The Big Barn Shoot Out has set a whole new bar for R/C racing in Canada. This was quite simply the best event we have ever had in BC. The future potential of this event is unlimited.”
The rolling green corn fields of Chilliwack British Columbia, located about an hour east of Vancouver, played host to the first ever Big Barn Shootout on April 21-22 and 23. More specifically the 30,000 square foot horse arena within Chilliwack Heritage Park, aka The Big Red Barn, would be the location for the ground breaking event with a huge temporary track built by a small group of dedicated volunteers in under two days. With the world famous tulip festival happening just down the road spring can be beautiful in the valley but varying, cool and damp conditions would greet attendees, making tire choice and engine tuning a whole new guessing game. The weekend served as Round 1 of the Western Off-road Racing Series (WORS), a new for 2017, 5 event, BC-based travelling race series, inspired by passionate racers to promote the strength of off-road racing in Western Canada. The inaugural event drew dirt warriors from as far as Saskatchewan and Alberta, with a sprinkling of Washington Staters hopping the 49th, and of course a strong Vancouver Island, greater BC and local contingent from Outlaw RC and CAMRC ready to defend their home turf!
198 entries over 11 classes (9 electric/2 nitro) would fight out three qualifying rounds on Saturday with lower mains and triple A’s (single A for nitro) on Sunday. A 4 hour window was made available for practice on the Friday evening. Star Rentals came to the forefront with all the necessary dirt sculpting equipment to build a masterpiece and racers who really had no idea what to expect were greeted with an incredible layout beyond any of their expectations. Miles-wide-smiles is the only way to describe most reactions from drivers coming off the stand all weekend long!
Enough good things cannot be said about the track that was presented. The surface held together all weekend. There was grip and multiple tires and compounds “worked”. Nailing the racing line was very rewarding, getting off line was a self-inflicted handicap but it wasn’t punishing. The flow was seamless, almost addictive and at every corner exit racers were greeted with a new challenge. Elevation changes and off-camber corners, big floaty air, intimidating but not deadly gaps, oh and a “perfectly executed” 5-pack that kept even the most skillful guys honest and became a true barometer for how the overall results would unfold…it was a professional level track without a doubt.
Novice – Showing the big boys how it’s done, 10yr old Brittany Tozser took the TQ and followed up with wins in A1 and A2 to wrap up the Novice title in a sweep! Well done kiddo! Paul Pawalel would take A3 to wrap up 2nd and Murray Davis followed in a close 3rd.
2wd Buggy – If there was a class of racers that were looking for grip all weekend, chances are you may have found them in the 2wd buggy pit. The big outdoor tracks are usually harshest on the smaller buggies and at the end of the day experience shone through as expected. Maclan Northwest/Kyosho teammates Rob Sorjonen and Brandon Dyche would take the top 2 spots in that order, Robs wins in A1 and A2 giving him the sweep, and Brandon took the chance to grab A3. AE/Reedy/Schelle driver Terry Yeo proved consistency is the key with three 2nd places locking him into the 3rd spot overall.
Stadium Truck – Another 2wd class looking for traction on the punishing dirt monster, the stadium truck class was all about car control and finesse. Patience proved to be the difference with Craig Petersen taking the wins in A1 and A2, sweeping his way into a bye and paving the way for the ever-present JP Brown to take A3. Sneaking into a well-deserved podium spot was Bill Kler in 3rd, driving an HPI Firestorm , admittedly a truck rarely seen at the racetrack!
2wd Short Course – Great battles were the order of the weekend in 2wd short course with no single driver proving dominant. In fact the triple A mains were split between three drivers. Craig Shepherd will be grateful for the opportunity to take the win after having to wait until A3 to wrap it up. A2 winner Tyrell Wilkinson scored himself a 2nd overall, edging out surprise A1 winner Mark Starling who is no doubt stoked on his 3rd overall!
4wd Buggy – The ever entertaining high horsepower 4wd modified buggies, not lacking any grip and out to keep up with their bigger 1/8 scale siblings, put on a heck of a show all weekend long with some surprise qualifying results, a fair serving of bad luck shared between the field and some big runs from guys out of the B-main. Of note, Dustin Quanstrom and Terry Yeo fought their way from the B group into 4th and 5th overall respectively. In a repeat of 2wd, taking the TQ and sweeping A1 and A2 was Rob Sorjonen with Kyosho/Maclan teammate Brandon Dyche following in 2nd with the A3 win. Dan Schellenberg would take a hard earned 3rd overall with his AE B64D, in the end doing just enough to edge out those barnstorming B-mainers!
1st- Rob Sorjonen, Kyosho/Maclan
2nd- Brandon Dyche, Kyosho/Maclan
3rd- Dan Schellenberg, AE/Reedy
4wd Short Course – Four wheel short course proved to be the Jesse Munn Show with the Washington State hot shoe dominating every round of qualifying to easily TQ, and then romping home to a dominant sweep of A1 and A2. His Tekno SCT was literally untouchable all weekend long. The battles for the minor spots were a lot closer and when it was all said and done Tyrell Wilkinson would grab another 2nd in short course for the weekend while Craig Shepherd would add a 3rd to his win in 2wd.
Sportsman E-Buggy – A class introduced to give the less experienced racer an opportunity to race 1/8 scale buggy without the pressure of being a pylon for the fast guys. The class proved popular and with some of the pressure removed the quality of racing shone brightly. Thomas Reynolds, still in his first year of owning and racing R/C cars, took the TQ and followed up with wins in A1 and A2 for his first ever overall win! Tom Weston, a longtime on-road racer from BC was trying his hand at dirt for the first time and snuck a surprising 2nd overall, with Thomas Davis making the podium “the Three Toms Show!”
Pro E-Buggy – The always popular 1/8 E-buggy class drew 35 entries for the weekend and the racing was elbows up intense all weekend long. Tekno’s Keith Hadley did TQ and sweep A1/A2 for the overall win, and Kyosho’s Rob Sorjonen was realistically the only one who had anything for Hadley but the racing from there down was separated by a mistake here and a mistake there. Brian Serneels stayed consistent and kept the mistakes to a minimum for a nerve-racking 3rd overall!
E-Truggy – Following his solid run in Pro- buggy, Brian Serneels stepped up to the plate in E-Truggy and smashed it out of the park. Splitting the first two A’s with TQ and eventual 2nd place getter Ross Moore, Serneels rose to the occasion in the tie-breaking A3 for his first major touring series win. Don Garwood fought hard for his 3rd overall, keeping the top two guys honest right to the last lap of A3.
Nitro Truggy – It is always amazing, with all of the variables, that a 30 minute nitro main can come down to the last few laps. The nitro truggy main event was one such race, a tooth and nail battle between Jesse Munn and Peter Tozser, with a number of guys nipping at their heels for the scraps. In the end Munn would prove to have an extra lap to edge out the admirable effort by Tozser, with Eric Hardy taking 3rd only one more lap back but with a comfortable three lap gap to 4th place.
Nitro Buggy – As expected the premier Nitro Buggy class would attract one of the most competitive fields assembled in Canadian off-road R/C racing for some time and rising to the occasion for a 1/8 buggy sweep was Tekno’s Keith Hadley. His work should have been a bit easier when Tekno teammate Jesse Munn suffered some flame out issues while battling for the lead, but any breathing room was quickly swallowed up by the hard charging and super consistent Peter Tozser. Local ripper Brady Janson was also in the mix with Richard Infanti also an outside chance as the 20 minute mark rolled on by. In the end, and despite a late fuel stop, Hadley would edge Tozser by just 7.7 seconds. Janson would also hold his nerve when push came to shove, taking an epic 3rd overall just one lap off the pace.
That’s a Wrap…Demolished Before Most Racers Even Made it Home.
At the end of the weekend it was unanimously agreed that this was one seriously amazing event, executed to absolute perfection. So as not to leave anyone out, you can follow the links below to see the official thank you posts from the organizers. There were no bugs, no glitches, no first year blues, only successes and positives that can be built upon for next year. This event absolutely has the potential to become Canada’s Neo Race or even a Silver State of the North. The Northern Nationals….it has a certain ring to it don’t you think???