Our good friend, Neil Pestka, has hit the big time recently, taking an interest in the 1/5 scale offroad racing scene. Pestka has been traveling the country to participate in various large scale events, and recently crossed the border to participate in the Canadian 1/5 Scale Nationals! Neil has come back home with quite a story to tell, and he has shared that story with us!
“The Canadian 1/5 scale Nationals was held this past weekend in Walton, Ontario Canada. Walton Raceway is better known for their motocross venue, as the town of Walton is known as the “motocross capital” of Canada. This trip coming from the United States I would have to cross the border and go through customs. Pulling my trailer I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to the border. It seemed as if everyone I talked with about crossing into Canada had a story about someone being denied access to the country for one reason or another. I will say I was a bit nervous. I pulled up the customs agent and everything went smooth. He asked why I was coming to Canada, and I showed him the race flyer and replied for a remote control car race. He asked what I had in the trailer and I told him my remote control car and tools and equiptment needed to compete in the event. He simply said, “Welcome to Canada.”
I then proceeded into Canada, as I made it through the border! I knew that my GPS wouldn’t work in Canada and I had it all figured out. I would use my phone for GPS, but unfortunately that lasted about 5 kilometers into Canada. I pulled out the atlas and was unsuccessful trying to read it, and drive at the same time. I got off the highway and looked at the atlas closer to see most of the roads didn’t have #’ in the Atlas. At this point I drove to the nearest town and found a familiar place, Walmart. I went in, and am now the proud owner of a new Canadian GPS. I put in the address, and off I went on my way to the race track!
I stopped in at the track as they were still getting things ready for open practice the next day. The track was “BIG” at about 300 feet long and 120 feet deep with 30 foot elevation changes. At this point I was in awe. I dropped the trailer off, and proceeded to the host hotel in a small town called Blyth. The town was very small at only 2 blocks long. The hotel was on top of a bar and restaurant, and had a total of 6 rooms. It was a good thing I called and made reservations as they were booked solid. The most interesting thing I found in the town was a phone booth.
Friday morning I arrived back at the track and begin getting set up. Practice would start at 10am and go on till 6pm. I would spend my day on and off the track making minor changes to my truck as the dirt was familiar to the dirt in the midwest. The pit area steadily started filling with racers from 3 different countries. The Candians came from all over Canada. From the United States I saw plates from Ohio, New York, and of course me from Illinois. Erwin Kettecamp with Booster Pipes came all the way from the Netherlands for the race. I actually spent some time talking to Erwin and also had the opportunity to have dinner with him that night. Talking with him was very intresting, as their race programs differ from what I’m use to here in the United States.
Saturday would be open practice until 10am, followed by a drivers meeting, and opening ceremonies. A controlled practice would be used for seeding in the qualifiers. I went out for the seeding round, and was trying to get clean consistent consecutive lap times in. Here in the states generally seeding is done with your best consective 3 laps where in Canada they use your single best lap. I went more for consistancy rather than a hero lap. Qualifying would start and I would be starting in the 8th position as these were all heads up qualifying. In the first round of qualifying I would move up from my seeding round to the 6th spot for the second qualifier. I would now start 6th in the heads up qualifier# 2. I would have a rough start and was not able to better my time. I would stay in the 6th qualifying position for the mains.
Sunday morning the track was very moist from a rain shower the night before. The open practice scheduled was cancelled to let the track dry. The race day started off with a short drivers meeting, and then the opening ceremonies. The race ceremonies would consist of 3 National anthems from the countries attending the race. Sunday’s mains would consist of double mains. Saturday after the last qualifier I would have carberator problems and would put in a back up engine, as I was unsure of the problem at the time.The bottom end of the back up engine was not up to par with my regular race engine and with a moist track bottom end was critical. At this point I had to work with what I had, and make the best of it. In any race consistency is key, and my thoughts were to do that and keep up corner speed with all the elevation changes coming out of the corners. In A1 I would finish in the 6th spot. In A2 I would finish in the 6th spot with an overall finishing spot of 6th.
I had a great time, and just like here in the states, everyone trackside was friendly no matter where you were from. The track was definitely large, and the guys put in a ton of work on this track and the drivers stand in preparation for the event. The bigger the track, the more work they are. They offered camping which is what most of the racers did. The one thing that I thought was especially awesome was being able to go to the facilities shower house, and take a shower prior to my 9 hour drive home after a hot day of racing. The announcer did a great job all weekend, and the same goes to the entire crew from Walton Raceway!”
CLICK HERE for A-Main Results!