2012 UF1 Summer Champion – Tony Phalen
Congratulations Tony on winning the 2012 UF1 Championship. Arguably one of the toughest seasons so far not only with the talent pool growing but with a controversial scoring system that brutally punished the driver for mistakes and required 100% attendance if you wanted to fight for the championship. But as the saying goes, ” The cream rises to the top” and you pulled it off. You had to have been confident of winning this season , how did you deal with the pressure of losing it all with one DNF?
Actually, my goal was to just put in strong runs at every race. I wasn’t as concerned about a DNF as much as I hoped others would have problems with their cars! LOL I tried to drive smooth, consistent runs without trying to win just keep on the pace of the front runners. I did have some concerns surface at the final race at TQ. I was nervous the entire time any problems and the Championship would be gone. At the 2 minute mark of the A3 is when I finally felt it was over (seeing as Berger couldn’t make up 12 laps in 2 minutes) and the weight of the series was off.
What was the best battle you had over the season?
I could name quite a few, actually, but its really any time where I could run nose to tail with anyone and it be a clean race. A2 of the final day saw Berger, Kennedy and myself go nose to tail for the last half of the race. That will definitely go down as a memorable experience for this season.
Most of the top guys were switching back and forth between the FGX and 104 this year . How do you feel these two chassis compare and should they be run together?
I heard grumblings in the pits about both the chassis being run together, but both have their pros and cons. Higher traction tracks (like TQ and Cal definitely suit the F104, while lower traction tracks (like Speedtech and Force 10) give the advantage to the FGX. While it may be harder to adapt to track conditions, its also pretty hard to adapt to different cars on the fly. I see no issues with running the cars together since there are an equal amount of tracks that benefit each car.
What was your worst moment this year?
Thankfully I didn’t have any major issues during the season, however Kennedy and I were pretty bummed when he had ESC issues at the Surf City. I think we lost quite a few points in the team championship there and that hurt our chances of winning. At that point all we could do is put in solid runs and hope Repsol/Honda would have issues.
What was you best moment this year?
Round 8 of the UF1 Series. I came down the Thursday before to put in some practice laps and learn the track and it helped immensely. Winning the first 2 mains was probably it. I knew the car was good, I wasn’t making any mistakes, and I had maximum concentration. I knew that winning wasn’t going to pull away from Berger, but that also meant he wasn’t going to gain any points.
What was your favorite track?
Obviously the ones that I can do well at, but I actually like them all. I love the challenge of battling the track as much as the other drivers, and I think it really helps you learn your car when you have to make changes to it.
So Charles is stepping down from UF1 and you are now in charge of the operation , in what direction do you see yourself taking the Series?
The same direction as Sir Charles was going. I want it to be a fun and challenging experience for everyone involved, yet keep it as fair as possible so that it doesn’t become a ‘buy something new every week to keep up’ situation. Other classes have come and gone (RCGT) because the structure of what people loved about it failed.
The UF1 Winter Series has traditionally been a time to try New rule changes prior to the Summer Series. Can you give us any clues as to what is going to be different?
There will be a new qualifying system to make it a more important piece of the puzzle and a new scoring system. We had a few other things we wanted to try but, being our first shot at running the UF1 Series, we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew. Its always been said that simple is best, so were going to keep to that for the first go at it. A new web site is in place that will have all the rule changes, and it will go live in a week or so.
What advice would you give someone new who wants to join the series?
Just do it. Get a car, get a friend (optional) and head on down. We are a great group of guys that are willing to help ANYONE if they have a question. You’ll learn a lot about driving as well as tuning and, best of all, sportsmanship.
Thanks Tony and congratulations again on the Championship. You da man.