mike_cradock

A few days ago we posted part one of Mike Cradock’s personal memories of past World Championships starting out with Bangkok ’90 and ending with Las Vegas in 2000. We continue on to Uruguay ’02, finishing with Charlotte ’08 and a little personal send off from Mike. We’d like to thank Mike for his write-up, an entertaining yet totally unique account, it looks like 2008 might be his last Worlds due to the lack of spots, we hope it is not.

Punta del Este ’02 – Greg Degani [USA] – Kyosho / OS / Pro-Line

This was a long journey with a 5 hour stop over in Brazil, I saw Dallas there and he was looking for a way out to have a cigerette and Kanai having a massage to pass the time. When we finally landed in Uruguay there were only 3 planes on the tarmac, and all were full of racers – so you can imagine the chaos inside the airport as well as getting your hire car.

En route to Punta del Este there was some exciting driving on dirt tracks; trying to keep up with the Americans who knew the way, Pavidis was throwing coke bottles and coins at us and at about 70 MPH Kortz was giving us a love tap from behind! The track was good and was on an old runway where we parked with young boys helping us park, they would look after your car all day for the price of a pair of wheels or tyres!

First round of Qualifying was a tropical rain storm some got lucky in this round and had water on the track this turned in to thick mud in the later heats. Adrien Bertin (Kyosho) TQ’d the first round with his new Sirio engine so a good start for him. After that it was Total domination from Richard Saxton with his Kyosho.

Scott Hughes came but didn’t race, just to look after the Pro-Line tryes with Mark Pavidis, they did a good job setting the standard on how to support your drivers trackside. Regan Le Blanc was Team Manager for Kyosho America and pitting for Greg Degani, I think they drew the short straw with their van as it never started in the morning or evening so Jeremy Kortz would give them a gentle push with his team van about half a mile up the road before it would start, by the end of the week the back door of the van was caved in! they were having trouble getting there bags in as it was getting smaller inside. Josh Wheeler’s Father was cleaning his van one morning i said what you doing that for? he said Kortz got me on the way back then i saw the back with a nice crease in it, it needed more than a clean!


I can always remember Carlos for the first time doing the commentary on the earlier bump races adding his Spanish humour would say Tim Long Forehead is in the lead or Steve no hair Dunn is in the bump up spot! Tim Long did well because the night before he was dancing on tables in a bar called Moby Dicks what a place! this is where we meet Adrian Castro from Argentina, Tim told me when I left he was dancing with three girls and Adrian told me he thought he was dancing with 3 girls but one was a bloke! If you knew Tim long you would believe it.

Kanai qualified in the 1/4 final again, bumped up to the semi but had something slipping on his car, so out went the 2000 champ, he said afterwards he felt a big pressure release, it was the most pressure he had felt through all WC races. Mark Pavidis went out with a track rod poping off in a nothing crash, just what luck throws at you. if you look at any of Mark’s cars now they always have a extra washer to keep that ball joint on now!


Saxton’s TQ car

The Final was under way, Richard was leading with Chad Bradley (Mugen) 2nd and then Degani. Chad broke after looking really good. So Richard kept going then Degani pitted, Richard still kept going for another lap and yet another, I watched his pit man call him but Rich was in the zone and ran out of fuel, gifting Degani the win; he wasn’t the quickest but the most consistant. At the airport it was again chaos as the hire care people weere booking in the damaged vans, Regan and Kortz’s van were getting looked at and I saw the guy shaking his head and having to fill out an extra report sheet. A good meeting well run no real problems. About 25 USA drivers for the 40 places not too bad! I managed to sign Jon Hazlewood and Tommy Chung from GS Racing to Kyosho at that meeting which didn’t turn out too badly.

 

Furulund ’04 – Guillaume Vray [France] – Mugen / RB / Pro-Line

Sweden July 2004, a nice track more on-road style than off-road with some shale with nice sized stones waiting to stop your engine at any time, again though the same for everybody! The pits where okay but a bit tight for space and the track was surrounded by beautiful forest. The main feature of the track was a mini Austria style hill if you got the line right through this part you could shave seconds off your time!

The big issue was tyres for the high wear rate of the track, also the tyres staying on rims due to the high centrifugal forces. Kortz was the first to find this out in one of his qualifying heats. Kyosho team seemed to be under pressure at this event and were running two kinds of chassis layout with the engine moved forward or backwards.


Yannick didn’t look the fastest with his HoBao but was and took TQ. Semi finals were good and demanding and a lot of cars cutting because of stones. After the Semi’s there was big trouble with Yannick’s tank being over sized, I think his father had put some new fuel line on and this had put it over it was I think 1cc over not a lot but enough to get him excluded after the retest.

Miguel Matias took the lead of the final only to have an engine cut by a stone just before the loop, he restarted and drove like a mad man to claim 2nd everybody else had their problems apart from Guillaume Vray, he just drove and drove till the end, not the fastest again but consistent. Well done to him, I remember afterwards he got a letter from the President of France for his efforts! The great shame of this event was Yannick who got a bigger cheer than the winner!

A well run meeting but not much of an atmosphere. 30 spaces used by USA out of 40 not bad I even got a space from USA as they had entered but didn’t bother to turn up!

Jakarta ’06 – Mark Pavidis [USA] – Kyosho / OS / Pro-Line

Indonesia August 2006, this was a great event and it was a shame that a lot of people didn’t attend this one due to all the wild rumours that spread about this place from people who had never attended a WC or raced at one in their lives! I think this one was my favourite because it was so different to attend, you had to get a special Visa to get in the country by means of giving $25 to a man at the airport he took you through customs etc… then having the van searched as you left the airport to the hotel complex which was like a mini type of DisneyLand.

The red dust was an issue for a lot of drivers with air filters, Kanai even designed a new air filter and foam just for the race and harder plastic and rims to cope with the heat! It was a special race for me as I was pitting for Mark Pavidis all week with his friend from Amarillo, Keevin.

Mark TQ’ed the meeting and took a steady run in the Semi to the final. Mark got a good start but went off the back of the banked bend in the far left hand corner and disappeared out of sight lucky a marshal spotted him and put him back for last place.

Mark began working his way back up and we stretch the fuel stops as long as we could we knew he could get 9 minutes maximum on a tank so we made time there. His good friend Scott Hughes was in the running driving Mugen and qualified second was driving awesome and when Yannick had his engine cut Mark was on the back of Scott, they both crashed together over the same jump and marshaled fairly for the lead. I shouted up to Mark to take it easy the next lap he came in for fuel by mistake so the last 9 minutes of the race were nail biting all we kept telling Mark was easy on the gas to save fuel I really thought he was going to run out of fuel!

Scott came in for fuel so we were back in the lead. This was the scariest time of my racing career it seemed to go on for ages, Scott was pushing but he was on the limit with fuel as well but we knew he could push more and had nothing to lose! Mark crossed the line and threw his transmitter down I caught it by luck and the car was still going on the track I thought do I drive it back to the pits? Will I lose him the championship if I drove it back? I was in shock and full of joy at the same time I did nothing and let the marshal bring it back to the pit lane still ticking over.

Scott said afterwards he didn’t know Mark was tight for fuel he would have pushed him harder! A great presentation with an open air buffet and prize giving. Not just for the result this was my best worlds I had the pleasure to attend. 12 USA attended out of 40 places!


Mark with his two pitmen; Keevin and Mike Cradock

Charlotte ’08 – Atsushi Hara [Japan] – Hot Bodies / OS / Pro-Line

USA September 2008, this was a good track and it was a shame about the weather through for the first couple of days nobody had any practice on the track, we had to wait hours to get our cars through Tech as the inspector had the idea of rolling the car backwards on a slope on the width board so 80% of the cars failed and had to be retested, they went forward ok but not backwards!!!



This was the first WC for the newly formed AKA team so the pressure was on them! Gil Losi Jr said to me Mike you race in the mud back home what do we do? I said put 2 bodies on, the bottom one with clips on when you come for fuel take the body off this will save you a kilo in weight with mud, we also took the wing off as this just held a lot of mud! It was hard to get your car clean with 1 hose for 180 drivers to use and 4 air lines but we got by just made your day longer!

I managed to get another place by someone from USA not turning up again, so I had managed to race at every Worlds I had attended since 1990 and I had only really qualified for half of them. Just goes to show if you make the effort and go, the places are given out fairly. Again Kyosho were under pressure with the release of their new chassis MP9 this was given to the drivers a month be fore this event so not a lot of time to settle with the car!

A new boy on the seen was Cody King for Kyosho and was the only one to put the K car in the main by the narrowest of margins! Ty Tessmann impressed me the most from Canada a young lad at his first WC with his family enjoying himself, he was like a robot on the track with his line only a couple of inches out each lap with the Hot Bodies car.

The track dried out and made for some good racing I pitted for Mark again but we didn’t have the luck to get in the final so I watched the final from the roof of a container. It was a good final with Mayfield flaming out on his last but one pit stop right when he didn’t need it, from where I was sitting I heard him punch the rostrum! Hara took the lead with his ever smooth style and the rest is history. 35 places used out of 40 for USA.
The meeting was ok with a nice presentation away from the track. I think they coped well with the weather situation and did really well in rubber boot sales through out Charlotte! A first time 1/8th WC for Neil Cragg as well.

I would like to say to all who are attending this WC to have fun at this special event held every two years. In all the WC’s I have attended they have always been safe and friendly and IFMAR have always looked out for the safety of all who attend.

If Mark Pavidis listened to all the bad rumors he would never be world champion now! Do not change anything you wouldn’t normally do at a race meeting. Don’t get sucked in to what other people’s set ups are? You will meet many new friends and many old friends. Good luck.
Mike Cradock

Argentina 2012 to follow!