The 12 Hours of Boise VII
January 5, 2002
Ryan Hansen, Brady Fuller, Phil Malone
The field gathered early this Saturday morning at the Shearmanator Raceway to finally decide what could not be decided on paper: who would win the 7th annual 12 Hours of Boise endurance race of the Idaho Chapter, National Slot Car Racing Club.
This year presented two situations not previously seen in the past 6 races. First, we basically had the exact same teams racing as we did last year. With only two changes, Aaron Shearman and Flyin’ Ryan Hansen switching teams and “newcomer” Cliff Roythorne replacing Sammy Shearman, the rosters were the same. This included defending Champion Team Fireball, the first team to defend with the same racers. Second, Team Hidden Springs owner Mark St. Clair entered two cars into the race rather than having each team build their own cars. Team Hidden Springs Porsche #9 and #10 would be the first time a team would run a car built by another.
Would Team Fireball once again take TYCO to the Winner’s Circle? Could Team Hidden Springs Porsche #10, the only team without a previous 12 Hours of Boise winner, take a car they received literally the night before the race and drive it to victory? Would Team Hidden Springs Porsche #9, the other car Mark built, finally overcome his famed “first 6 hour curse” and last all the way to the end, where his teams have had the most laps in the second half of the last 3 races? Or would the consistent Team Jaguar, with 3 wins and 3 second place finishes in the other 6 races and its original team members, continue its winning ways?
Discussions prior to the race all talked about how equal the cars and drivers were. There is no longer a “home course advantage” for anyone at the Shearmanator Raceway, so it was really any team’s race to win. It was time to quit talking and start racing.
The Qualifying Round answered the question whether Team Hidden Springs Porsche #10 could drive a car they had never seen before. After 12 1-minute heats they were 8 laps ahead of Team Fireball, 10 ahead of The Original Team Jaguar and 13 ahead of Team Hidden Springs Porsche #9. Starting on the dominating Green Lane, Team Hidden Springs Porsche #10 was about to put on a show for the ages.
After last year’s dominance of Team Fireball’s TYCO, all the other teams pretty much played catch up after the first 90-minute segment and never caught up. This year would be no different after the stunning driving performance of Flyin’ Ryan Hansen, who claims he is “undefeated on Green”. After the first 30 minutes it was apparent that the questions asked before the race were pretty much answered.
The silver Porsche 961 of Hidden Springs #10 raced in such a fluid motion and with a quiet speed that was faster than anything else on the track. Rarely did you hear “Green” because Ryan just did not deslot this precision racing machine. By the end of the first segment we could see that the other teams would be playing catch up once again for another 10 hours! Ryan remained “undefeated on Green” by posting a race high 671 laps—a phenomenal feat since the power on the track was lowered two years ago and high 600-lap segments are a rarity now.
Team Fireball’s woes started in the first segment and were best stated by team Captain and car builder Stan Fuller, “It’s a TYCO.” While putting doubts aside last year and taking TYCO to its first 12 Hour win, this year was a fight of inconsistent motors and pickup shoes. While quiet as anything, including when it deslotted due the Lexan body, the Peugeot just didn’t have what was needed to defend this year. After segment 1 the team was over 150 laps behind.
Team Hidden Springs Porsche #9, the only 4-member team, was poised for a great race after what was being shown by Porsche #10’s smooth running. Last year’s Rookie of the Year Courtney Fuller took the reigns in the first segment and drove to a new personal best to keep the team in the running after the first segment. Unfortunately, after only 20 minutes, Mark’s first 6-hour curse seemed to rear its ugly head as a gearing problem struck and the car was off the track too long too early in the race. After segment 1 the team was 102 laps down. Unfortunately for the rest of us, that gearing situation was the only problem the car would have all day long.
The Original Team Jaguar had rhythm problems despite a very well running car. Getting into the groove of racing a 90-minute segment proved difficult and to the chagrin of team Captain and car builder Mike Pope, hearing the shattering plastic of the Jaguar body against the track’s barriers far too often, Pope being responsible for the majority of them!! After one segment and on the difficult Red lane, Team Jaguar was only 64 laps down thanks to the great driving of Aaron Shearman, in his last 12 Hour for two years as he gets ready to leave on an LDS mission.
Segment 2 proved to everyone that Team Hidden Springs Porsche #10 was the team to be reckoned with. Phil Malone raced on Yellow, the second most difficult lane, ran 599 laps and won the segment by 4 laps over car builder Mark St. Clair in what turned out to be some of the best side-by-side racing of the day considering the disparity of difficulty the two lanes possess. They would do it again in segment 6 with Mark winning that time by only 2 laps. Phil upped his personal best lap total on any lane with that 599 by over 60 laps. He would do better the next time around with a 602 in segment 6.
Track owner Sam Shearman took charge in segment 3 on Yellow by driving an astonishing 653 laps that included a major pit stop of Porsche #9. If anyone was in the “zone” during a segment it was Sam, who quietly drove and rarely came off. Brady Fuller of Porsche #10 took second with a magnificently driven 625 laps on the difficult Red lane. The Porsches were here and letting us know it.
By the end of the first 4 segments, Team Hidden Springs Porsche #10 had a commanding 180-lap lead over Team Hidden Springs Porsche #9 with a total of 2536 laps to 2356. The Original Team Jaguar was 277 laps down with 2259 and Team Fireball was in fourth with 2133 laps.
The second half of the race was pretty much a mirror of the first. Teams Jaguar and Fireball prayed that a “6 hour curse” would finally hit Mark’s Porsches so that we could catch up but it never happened. With no major motor or other problems all four cars stayed on the track for more racing rather than pit stops. By the end of the second half of the race the first three teams were within 30 laps of one another for that half. In the end, however, it was all about the Porsches Mark built.
Team Hidden Springs Porsche #10, the silver Porsche that was received only 12 hours before race time, proved to be the car to beat that no one could beat. Magnificent driving by team members Brady Fuller, Flyin’ Ryan Hansen, and Phil (“that’s ‘Phil’ with 1 ‘L’”) Malone drove away with the race for their first victory on any team with 4921 laps. There is no other way to describe how these three drove this brand new car but “wow.” Well done, gentlemen. Congratulations also to car owner and builder Mark St. Clair who built such a precision car for this long race. This marks the second straight year that the winning team has not included a member of the Shearman Family, who once had a lock on winning at this track. There is definitely no “home course advantage” anymore.
Team Hidden Springs Porsche #9 took a solid second with 4752 laps. Rookie of the Year honors went to team member Cliff Roythorne for his magnificent racing on the difficult Red Lane. After only driving on the track for less than an hour 3 weeks earlier, Cliff returned to the Shearmanator and put on an exhibition of driving skill. He improved on his second time around by 50 laps. We look forward to him racing with us again in the future. From my records, other team members Mark St. Clair, Courtney Fuller, and Sam Shearman all set personal bests during their driving in the race. This team once again had the most laps for the second half of the race—fourth year in a row for Mark! A great race was run by all.
The Original Team Jaguar, with long time members Mike Pope and Jarom Shearman, including original member Aaron Shearman, had third place locked up after segment 3. They got the rhythm of the track in the second half and drove well all day, finishing with 4624 laps. Notorious for breaking at least one wing every race, the team went almost 8 hours before it finally happened, and the hopes of running the whole race with one body died a quick death. It just wasn’t enough this day in spite of great efforts by all three drivers.
Defending champion Team Fireball could not recapture the magic of 2001 and the TYCO fell to fourth place with 4278 laps. Whether Stan continues to perfect the art of making a TYCO last 12 hours or he returns to running the Super G+ is a question for next year. Teammates Jim Terry and Chad Taylor will be ready in any event.
Everyone ate well and took home some very nice prizes in addition to the traditional engraved plates commemorating the event. Special thanks go to our sponsors, Shearmanator Racing, Boise Demo Service, Hidden Springs Miniature Autos, Mountain Man/Lee Malone Enterprises, Scale Auto, and G&G Marketing—the donor of the traditional 12 Hours of Boise Turkeys. We really appreciate all who donated their time and prizes for another great race.
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