Best race of the year is a pretty bold statement, but well deserved, in this racer’s opinion, when it comes to Pin Shop Hobbies’ annual Turkey Derby. The Turkey Derby is a local trophy race. An end-of-the-season last hurrah for many racers and just like many hosted by tracks around the world. So, I should have set you up to ask why the Turkey Derby is the “best.” Simple. The Turkey Derby marks the end of the season, but it doesn’t do it by being a routine trophy race. The Turkey Derby has racing and trophies for all the regular classes, but the best part about this event is the trailer race. Yup, a trailer race.
Racing consisted of three rounds of qualifying and single A-mains. Classes included: 17.5 2WD Short Course, 4WD Open Short Course, 1/8-scale Buggy, 1/8-scale Truggy and Rookie. Pin Shop’s track is a medium-sized off-road track and, late in the season, the track didn’t get blasted with sun and heat, so traction was great. The track layout makes good use of the space available, but isn’t tight or overly technical. Pin Shop focuses on providing a track that is short course friendly and yet not too tame for the buggy and truggy contingent.
On some tracks, truggies are the fastest, but at Pin Shop, the buggies make short work of the extra twists and turns and are the quickest vehicles on the track. John “Boomer” Brushitis, running a Durango buggy, took the top qualifier in round 3 that had been previously held by Dave Maffucci. Dave elected to sit out round 3 to preserve his equipment as the temps dropped and parts got more brittle. Even with a top starting spot, John got bumped back to third for first portion of the race, but regained the lead on lap eight. Competition, throughout the entire main, was tight and ultimately had settle for third when the battery in his electric buggy ran out of “gas.” Dave took over the lead and Jeff Legassy was right there to claim second.
1. Dave Maffucci
2. Jeff Legassy
3. John Brushitis
4. Tom St-Onge
5. Trevor Collings
The big boys of the truggy class put on quite a show with fast laps, dirt flying and some full contact racing at times. Dave Maffucci and his electric-converted Mugen MBX-6T took the TQ and went on to win the A-main with a sizable lead. Dave led all twelve minutes of the race. Pin Shop Hobbies co-owner Pat Bovat qualified second and finished likewise.
1. David Maffucci
2. Pat Bovat
3. Tom St-Onge
4. Rick Swartout
5. Kevin Grenier
17.5 2WD Short Course
Scott Puma was on a mission in this class. Scott qualified first, led every lap and ultimately finished first. That said, as it often is, the 17.5 2WD short course class was extremely competitive and the final results don’t indicate how close this race really was. Zack Hubeny finished on the same lap as Scott and put down a faster top lap than Scott, but was caught back in the pack fighting back and forth with Jon Hurley.
1. Scott Puma
2. Zack Hubeny
3. Jon Hurley
4. Rick Armetta
5. Kevin Mosley
4WD Open Short Course
More racers turned out with 4WD short course trucks than any other class. The main battle was between John Brushitis and Dave Maffucci. John was again wheeling a Durango race machine and was tick faster than the rest of the field. Not fast enough for an easy, unchallenged victory, but it was clearly his race to lose. John went on to win with Dave in second and yours truly, Matt Higgins, taking third.
1. John Brushitis
2. Dave Maffucci
3. Matt Higgins
Pin Shop Hobbies’ Sportsman class is open to all new drivers and does not carry the stigma of being a kids’ class. This means young drivers can race this class for a few years and hone their skills and those new to RC can race for fun and not be intimidated by what they may feel are the more serious classes. Basically, it gives people a class to learn until they can run at the pace needed in other classes. Mike Puma and Tyler Palmer were in tight competition all day with Tyler taking the top qualifier spot. Tyler unfortunately dropped out early allowing Mike to race on to victory. Mike was challenged by Jake Legassy who worked his from his sixth place starting position to finish in second and on the same lap as Mike.
1. Mike Puma
2. Jake Legassy
3. Jesse Swartout
4. Mike Bolanger
5. Nathan Hallaway
This year, Pin Shop Hobbies added a new element with the addition of the tandem race. In this content, each vehicle has two drivers–each with their own transmitter. One driver controls steering from the drivers’ stand and the other controls throttle and brake while standing across the track in the pits. The expectation was total chaos. That really wasn’t the case. There were some interesting lines, but overall, the racing was good. If anything, the absence of some carnage was missed. Pin Shop Hobbies other co-owner, Steve Palmer, and his son Tyler took the win with a full lap over the second place team.
FREESTYLE JUMP CONTEST
There’s a lot going on at the Turkey Derby and Pin Shop Hobbies made sure there was something for everyone–including the young guns. Each young driver was given one practice jump and then judged on five jumps. Jesse Nazro took first with some incredibly good driving and really big air. My son, Jack Higgins, took second with some consistent jumping and Tyler Palmer earned third.
By the end of a season, does RC racing get a little mundane? The reality is weekly club racing does get routine. Pin Shop Hobbies has the cure and it’s their annual trailer race. The premise is simple: Your 1/8-scale or smaller RC car–most used short course trucks–must be outfitted with a wheeled trailer and then you smash and bash your way to victory. There is a small catch. You must finish the race with your trailer still attached. It can lose its sides, roof, even its wheels, but the trailer must still be partnered with your truck. If you do lose your trailer, you can still turn laps, but are officially out of the running. With everything from 1/8-scale truggies to 1/10-scale buggies in the mix, there was a lot of carnage.
In addition to a trophy for the winner of the race, Pin Shop Hobbies awards a trophy for best trailer. As such, the race starts off a bit like a redneck version of a float parade–only a little more twisted.
Dave Maffucci won the coveted Best Trailer award with what he said was his tribute to single moms.
After eight minutes of pure RC devastation, Petr Hejl took first place and earned it as this race is as full contact as you can get and once the race director announced he was in the lead, he had one big target on his truck and trailer.
The majority of the field lost their trailers and the destruction on the first lap alone was amazing. The bottom line is this race was a true laugh riot from start to finish. A full field competed and you expect to see even more trailers next year.
THE SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING
Pin Shop Hobbies is clearly dedicated to the community and its racers. Pin Shop Hobbies holds multiple charity events each year, and in the true spirit of Thanksgiving, Pin Shop Hobbies randomly gave away turkeys to some lucky racers to enjoy with their families. Big thanks and sincere appreciation to Pat Steve, Mandi and Tyler of Pin Shop Hobbies.
You can learn more about Pin Shop Hobbies here.
Also Check Out: St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser at Pin Shop Hobbies in CT
Also Check Out: Pin Shop Hobbies’ All Out Fall Out Endurance Race
Special thanks to Pin Shop Hobbies for photos