One of the world’s most unique events with its heads up racing format and starting grids that are decided by a lottery, the Reedy Race of Champion is a legendary race which drivers relish. They are racers after all and no other event offers as much 'racing' but the 21st running of the event was not just a celebration of Mike Reedy’s great creation. It was also a final celebration of one of the greatest tracks in the World - Tamiya Raceway in California. A track which is usually summed up by ‘is that it, its small’ when drivers first visit but once they have driven it and in particular raced on it they quickly grow to love it. Having been lucky enough to get a few years reprieve as the land on which it remained unsold, unfortunately a deal went through this year meaning 2018 was a final farewell to the track many attribute to what makes the Reedy Race so special. With this in mind, the Infinity EP team travelled to the US both excited and disappointed at the same time. In particular for Marc, the track has been the venue of great success and it was also here 12-months previously that he gave the IF14 it's first major international title with his 6th Reedy Race victory.
While drivers enjoyed four rounds of practice on the Thursday, the format means it has little bearing on the event ahead. Still, cold conditions this year meant the track was more challenging than normal with Marc not feeling overly confident going into the first of three days of racing. With four rounds of racing per day for the 24 Invitational class drivers, Day 1 was a great one for the entire team. Marc opened the event winning his Round 1 race as did Andy who after a two year break from the event took that win ahead of Akio. In Round 2, Akio added his first win which was particularly impressive because he had to recover from getting airborne after hitting the track’s famous kink. In the third round Marc became the first double winner with Jilles also adding a win to his points tally. The final round of the day would prove to be the most entertaining with Marc, Jilles and Akio lining up together with Ronald Volker also in the same race. Starting on pole, Volker would get the win with Marc coming through for 2nd, meaning Day 1 ended with Marc just 1-point off the lead.
Onto Day 2 and again Marc & Akio went up against Volker who had drawn another front row start. Coming from 5th on the grid, Marc closed on Volker after a mistake but when his rival had another mistake Marc’s move did work out and he rolled. He was able to keep second despite coming under attack from Akio, all the drivers knowing every point is so important with points from 10 of the 12 races each driver contests counting in the final ranking. With the second race of the day marking the completion of the first half of the 12 races, a win would put Marc equal with Volker at the top of the points table. Another win in Round 7, this time ahead of Christopher Krapp, moved Marc in the lead. It was also a good round from Jilles who got 2nd from 4th on the grid after challenging Viktor Wilck for the win. The last round of the day presented a particularly stacked race in which Akio started on pole, Volker 5th and Marc from the back. Both Marc and Volker were involved in separate crashes at the start and Akio was looking good for his second win but it wasn’t to be with his camber link coming out and ending his race - an unfortunate end to the day for him. With Volker inheriting the win ahead Marc it meant it was all square again in the points and the stage was set for an exciting final day at Tamiya Raceway.
Day 3 and another perfect start from Marc as he clocked up win No. 5. After the disappointment of Saturday evening, Akio bounced back to take victory in his opening encounter which he would back up with another in Round 10 to move into contention for the overall podium. Chasing Rick Hohwart for the win in his race, Marc just ran out of time to find his way to the front but with Volker suffering a mechanical, 2nd was good in terms of points.
With just two races dividing him and his 5th overall Reedy Race victory at Tamiya Raceway, it was to be the penultimate round that would decide the 2018 title. Up in the first of the round's 3 races, Marc added race win no.6 putting even more pressure on Volker to win his encounter but he could only manage 3rd place securing Marc the title and legacy of being the last Reedy Race Champion to be crowned at the iconic track. While Marc could celebrate early, Akio was still fighting to join his team-mate on the podium. Battling with Wilck and Krapp for the final step on the podium, the trio would go head to head in their last race. Coming under pressure from Wilck, Akio kept his IF14 out front for his 3rd win of the day to snatch the podium finish, his first time to do so at the track which after August will no longer be. Marc and Akio’s combined result also meant that for the second year running the team pick up the Manufacturers Trophy with Jilles finishing 6th to make a 50% Infinity IF14 Top 6.
Following the podium presentations such is the high regard held for the track drivers were invited to sign the curbing of it’s famous kink. With every driver having their own story about the kink, it is hoped the kink can be removed before the track is demolished and each driver can have a piece of RC racing history. A huge thank you to everyone at Tamiya Raceway, and all involved in putting on the Reedy Race of Champions, for the great memories over the past two years. It is a real shame we didn’t get to enjoy more times at the track but we look forward to being part of it next year where ever its new or temporary home will be.