Winternats

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Winternats
WinternatsTRACK.jpg
Radio Operated Auto Racing
Venue Lee County Civic Center
Location Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
Corporate sponsor XRAY
First race 1972
Previous names King Orange Winternationals
Circuit information
Length 0.120 mi (0.193 km)

The Winternats is a competitive on-road gas powered radio controlled car race attended by racers from around the world. It is held annually in Fort Myers, Florida at the Lee County Civic Center, usually in the month of February. The Winternats is one of the oldest major R/C car racing events.

This event is sanctioned by the Radio Operated Auto Racing, or ROAR of North America and Canada. ROAR rules are followed. On-road gas (nitro) powered classes are 1/8 scale open, 1/8 scale masters and 1/10 scale sedan.

History[edit]

The first Winternats[edit]

The first Winternats was held in Miami, Florida in 1972. It was organized and put on by the South Florida R/C Car Club. The club had a temporary track that was striped and sealed on the side of a Levitz Furniture store parking lot. Two of the local hobby shops supported the club. Crown Hobbies paid for the site insurance and Orange Blossom Hobbies furnished the trophies. A few of the members came up with the idea of putting on a "BIG" race. From that idea of a "BIG" race the club started a monthly newsletter that was mailed out nationally. The ‘local’ club became known on a National level. Not knowing when to have this "BIG" race or what to call it, somewhere the idea came up to have a Winternationals. The club decided to capitalize on the great weather and the Annual King Orange Jamboree, a long-standing Miami tradition at that time. The club checked with the King Orange Committee, they had no problems with the club using their name and the "BIG" race was on. January, 1972 the 1st Annual King Orange Winternationals was to be held in sunny South Florida! The club put this in their Newsletter with the entry applications, and entries poured in from all over the country. This was the "first" R/C Winternationals in the country.[1] The first winner was John Thorpe of Pomona California, driving a belt driven car that he manufactured, called the Thorpe Car. Other attendees were Art Carbonell and the Campbells of Delta and Dick Dobson of Marker. The trophies were silver bowls filled with oranges.

Early years[edit]

The South Florida R/C Car Club in Miami held the first races from 1972 to 1975. At that time there were no nitro sedans, impacts, or 4WD pivot ball cars. It was all 2WD 1/8 scale pan cars (made by Delta, Associated, Marker Machine) powered by K&B or OPS .21 engines.[2]

In 1976, the event was moved to the parking lot of a Howard Johnson’s in Orlando, Florida. This coincided with the starting of the Florida On-Road Gas State Series. In the early 80s, the race took place at the first permanent track in Florida, located at the Orlando airport.[2] Kim Davis was the race director.

The race really started to become well known around the world when top European drivers and IFMAR representatives began to attend.

Fort Myers[edit]

Bob Rule of Bolink asked Jim Rice, the President of the Fort Myers R/C Car Club, to take over running the race and the race was moved to Fort Myers. In 1988 and 1989 the event took place at a semi-permanent location at the Edison Mall in downtown Ft. Myers. Since 1990 the race has been held at the Lee County Civic Center. The warm Florida weather during the middle of the winter helped to increase the popularity, since most nitro R/C racers couldn't race during the winter months. With drivers from around the world attending and manufacturers competing with their latest innovations, the race used the slogan 'Test Track to the World'.

Race name[edit]

The race was first called the ‘King Orange Winternationals’. In a few years, the race was promoted as the ‘Winter Nationals’. In the 1980s, the race was briefly known as ‘The Miller’ because of a sponsorship from the Miller Brewing Company. ROAR did not sanction the race in 1988 due to a disagreement over the naming of the race. Private insurance for the race was purchased by the Fort Myers R/C Car Club (FMRC) and a new name, the ‘Southern Gas Championship Race’ was used. Next year (1989) ROAR and FMRC came to an agreement on naming the race the ‘Winternats’. ROAR was again the insurer and sanctioning body. The race was promoted under both the Winternats and Southern Gas Championship Race names. Finally, in recent years the race is known simply as the Winternats.

Track features[edit]

This track is considered to be one of the most unforgiving R/C tracks in the world with a very fast and narrow driving line. The track's nickname, 'The Fort', has been earned over many years of battle with drivers. The 30-year-old galvanized steel 'boards' make a loud bang exaggerating every hit, but yielding little. In the late 90s, plastic guards were added to many of the most destructive corners in an effort to tame the track. If a car is on line through the large sweeper onto the straight your car will disappear briefly because of the concrete curbs that create the island. The chicane in front of the driver stand, 'aka Dead Mans Curve', is one of the toughest spots on the track as drivers try to negotiate this tight area without lifting. The dots (plow disks) on the carousel were recently tamed in 2005, when they were covered by a plastic loop. The start–finish lap timing loop is located just before the pits, requiring drivers to make almost a whole lap before starting their qualifying run. This makes the 5-minute qualifiers a battle between power and fuel mileage. Some drivers will make a pit stop during qualifying. Before the 2005 event new asphalt was laid, due to damage by Hurricane Charley, and for the first time Mike Swauger and Michael Salven were able to complete 26 laps during qualifying. In 2008, live scoring over the internet was added, to allow people from around the world to view the races in real time. In 2009, live video coverage and audio of the race announcers was added to the site without a fee. Thanks to good weather and lots of traction compound testing during the summer, DJ Apolaro was able to set the first 24 lap qualifier in a sedan and Mike Swauger turned the first 27 lap qualifier with a 1/8 scale car. Paolo Morganti would set a new track record for the sedan at 24 laps in 5:11.71 and Mike Swauger 27 laps in 5:10.97 with a 1/8 scale car.

Track dimensions 150 feet × 90 feet
Driving line 635 feet
Surface Asphalt
Timing system AMBrc
Scoring program LiveTime

Practice[edit]

Practice days are on Sunday and Monday from 8:00 AM till 5:00 PM. In the middle of the day, practice sessions are sorted into 1/8 and sedan classes. No fuel bottles or refueling is allowed inside the fenced-in track area to allow all drivers the chance to get practice. Severe penalties from the officials for breaking this rule include reprimands, loss of fuel bottle or being sent home.

Qualifying[edit]

Takes place from Tuesday through Thursday. Qualifiers are five minutes long using the IFMAR start with up to ten drivers racing on their own clock. A maximum of six qualifiers are run over a three-day period. Practice is allowed in the mornings from 8:00 AM till 9:00 AM and in the evenings from the end of qualifying till 5:00 PM. Drivers are required to turn marshal after their qualifier or they will be docked one lap from their best qualifier.

Mains[edit]

The mains are run over a two-day period. The lower mains, D-mains and below, are run on Friday. The upper mains, C-mains and above are run on Saturday. Mains are run from the lowest to the highest (A-main). The winner and runner-up of all mains below the A-main, are allowed the option to bump-up to the next main. Trophies are awarded to all A-main participants and the top three places in all mains. Bump-up drivers give up their trophy for the chance to race in the next main.

Traditions[edit]

A free barbecue prepared by Jim on Friday night after the lower mains, consisting of smoked pork and chicken as well as all the fixins, is a unique feature only provided at this event. A raffle including car kits, engines, radios, tires, tools, etc., donated by the race sponsors, contributes to the appeal of this race. Silver bullets and the Red Cup racing team can trace its origins to the long days and nights of a Winternats week. In recent years, this race has been held in mid-February. The attendance of pro drivers, manufacturers and race teams make this race a great learning experience for racers.

Winners[edit]

1/8 scale 4wd[edit]

Year Date Driver Chassis Top Qualifier
2017 Feb. 15-18 United States Roniel Regalado Capricorn C803 United States DJ Apolaro
2016 Feb. 9-13 United States Paolo Morganti Serpent 977 United States DJ Apolaro
2015 Mar. 17-21 United States Ralp Burch Jr. XRAY RX8 United States Paolo Morganti
2014[3] Feb. 11-15 Italy Dario Balestri Capricorn United States Mike Swauger
2013[4] Feb. 12-16 United States Paolo Morganti Serpent United States Mike Swauger
2012[5] Feb. 14-18 United States Ralp Burch Jr. XRAY RX8 United States Ralph Burch Jr.
2011[6] Feb. 1-6 United States Mike Swauger XRAY RX8 United States Mike Swauger
2010[7] Feb. 7-13 United States Mike Swauger Mugen MRX-4X United States Mike Swauger
2009[8] Feb. 8-14 United States Paolo Morganti Serpent 966 United States Mike Swauger
2008[9] Feb. 11-16 United States Mike Swauger Mugen MRX-4X United States Mike Swauger
2007[10] Feb 11-17 United States Chris Tosolini Kyosho Evolva United States Josh Cyrul
2006[11] Feb. 12-18 United States Mike Swauger Mugen MRX-4R United States Mike Swauger
2005[12] Feb. 6-12 United States Mike Swauger Mugen MRX-4 United States Mike Swauger
2004[13] Feb. 8-14 United States Mike Swauger Mugen MRX-3 United States Ralph Burch Jr.
2003[14] Feb. 9-15 Germany Michael Salven Serpent Germany Michael Salven
2002[15] Feb. 11-16 Japan Kenji Osaka Mugen Japan Kenji Osaka
2001[16] Feb. 12-17 Germany Michael Salven Serpent United States Ralph Burch Jr.
2000[17] Mar. 13-18 United States Ralph Burch Jr. Serpent United States Ralph Burch Jr.
1999[18] Feb 22-27 Germany Michael Salven Serpent Germany Michael Salven
1998[19] Feb 8-14 Germany Michael Salven Serpent Germany Michael Salven

1/10 Scale Sedan[edit]

Year Driver Chassis Top Qualifier
2017 United States DJ Apolaro Capricorn United States DJ Apolaro
2016 United States Paolo Morganti Serpent 747 United States Paolo Morganti
2015 United States Paolo Morganti Serpent 747 United States DJ Apolaro
2014 United States DJ Apolaro Capricorn United States DJ Apolaro
2013 United States DJ Apolaro Capricorn United States Ralph Burch Jr.
2012 United States Paul Lemieux XRAY NT1 United States Ralph Burch Jr.
2011 United States Ralph Burch Jr. XRAY NT1 United States Ralph Burch Jr.
2010 United States Chris Tosolini Serpent 720 United States Chris Tosolini
2009 United States DJ Apolaro Serpent 720 United States Paulo Morganti
2008 United States Ralph Burch Jr. Xray NT1 United States Paulo Morganti
2007 United States Paulo Morganti Serpent 720 United States Paulo Morganti
2006 Venezuela Paulo Morganti Serpent 710 Venezuela Paulo Morganti
2005 United States Scotty Gray Serpent Germany Michael Salven
2004 United States Mike Swauger Mugen MTX Germany Michael Salven
2003 United States Barry Baker Associated Japan Kenji Osaka

1/8 Scale Masters[edit]

Year Driver Chassis Top Qualifier
2017 United States Skip Starkey United States Joaquin Desoto
2016 United States Joaquin Desoto Serpent Viper 977 United States Joaquin Desoto
2015 United States Joaquin Desoto Serpent Viper 977 United States Joaquin Desoto
2014 United States Skip Starkey United States Joaquin Desoto
2013 United States Chuck Moon XRAY RX8 United States
2012 United States Joaquin Desoto XRAY RX8 United States Joaquin Desoto
2011 United States Skip Starkey Mugen MRX-4X United States Skip Starkey
2010 United States Randy Colvin Mugen MRX-4X United States Joaquin Desoto
2009 United States Maxy Velazco Serpent 966 United States Maxy Velazco
2008 United States Jim Sowa Mugen MRX-4X United States Eli Ezrow
2007 United States Jim Sowa Mugen MRX-4R United States Don Jones
2006 United States Lucas Garneau Mugen MRX-4 United States Don Jones

1/8 Scale GT[edit]

Year Driver Chassis Top Qualifier
2017 United States Joaquin Desoto Serpent Cobra GT United States Paolo Morganti
2016 United States Joaquin Desoto Serpent 811 United States Rino Lino
2015 United States Rino Lino IGT8 United States Joaquin Desoto
2014 United States Bart Collins Serpent United States Joaquin Desoto

1/10 Scale 4wd[edit]

Year Driver Chassis Top Qualifier
2006 United States David Larry Mugen MTX-4 United States Mark Unger
2005 United States Mark Unger Serpent 835 United States Jim Rice
2004 United States Vince Tate Mugen Avance United States Juan Prohias
2003 United States Juan Prohias Serpent 835 United States Don Jones
2002 United States Ralph Burch Jr. Serpent Impact M2 United States Ralph Burch Jr.
2001 United States Ralph Burch Jr. Serpent Impact M2 United States Ralph Burch Jr.
2000 United States Robbie Malphurs Serpent Impact 2 United States Fred Bowen-Smith

1/10 scale 2wd[edit]

Year Driver Chassis Top Qualifier
2002 United States Marty Barnes Serpent Impact M2 United States Danny Horta
2001 United States Frank Calandra Serpent Impact M2 United States Frank Calandra
2000 United States Ralph Burch Jr. Serpent Impact 2 United States Ralph Burch Jr.
1999 United States Josh Cyrul Serpent Impact 2 United States Josh Cyrul
1998 United States Josh Cyrul Serpent Impact 2 United States Josh Cyrul

1/8 scale 2wd[edit]

Year Driver Chassis Top Qualifier
1999 United States Ted Hammer Delta United States Ted Hammer
1998 United States Ted Hammer Delta United States Ted Hammer

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SGrid Online's "History of RC Cars"". Judy Beaver. 1998-02-28. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  2. ^ a b Jarrod Pilone. "The History of FORGASS". FORGASS.com. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ 2012 race results
  6. ^ 2011 race results
  7. ^ 2010 race results
  8. ^ 2009 race results
  9. ^ 2008 race results
  10. ^ 2007 race results
  11. ^ 2006 race results
  12. ^ 2005 race results
  13. ^ 2004 race results [3] by Mike Myers
  14. ^ 2003 race results [4] by Mike Myers
  15. ^ 2002 race results [5] by Mike Myers
  16. ^ 2001 race results [6] by Mike Myers
  17. ^ 2000 race results [7] by Mike Myers
  18. ^ 1999 race results [8] by Mike Myers
  19. ^ 1998 race results [9] by Mike Myers

External links[edit]