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American Model Raceways track designs


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#51 Dooner

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 06:01 PM

Steven,

My '65 King had a hump built into the main straight.
Tom Backes




#52 mwjsone/page

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 07:28 PM

Thanks, Tom. I have read a few post that the newer cars didn`t like the bump would deslot and have seen talk of taking the hump out.

I pick up my black this weekend.
Steven Page

#53 Phil Irvin

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:46 PM

:shok:

The original orange had one too... :wub: .. I loved that track...

PHIL

#54 Tex

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 11:58 AM

Those humps in the straights were a deliberate "feature" of many AMR tracks... you had to actually "drive" the straightaway!
Richard L. Hofer

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#55 Prof. Fate

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:16 PM

Hi,

If memory serves, the blue "King" had a flat straight, with the hump, it was called the "red Imperial".

Fate
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#56 Dooner

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:59 PM

Sorry, Rocky, but my 1965 Blue King did in fact have a hump in the straight, and yes, Tex, you did have to "drive" the straightaway. :)
Tom Backes

#57 Tex

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 07:16 PM

As poor a driver I was, I cut my slot racing teeth on a red Imperial! I wouldn't change a thing; that which makes the competition nervous is my ally. Great memories.

EDIT: And it was "humps"... plural.
Richard L. Hofer

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#58 slotcarone

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 07:33 PM

:D The red tracks had two distinct bumps in the straightaway that may have required blipping but if I remember the King tracks had a small drop in the straight but didn't reqiure lifting at all.

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#59 Keith Levine

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 10:41 AM

In the 1960s, the largest track at Tom Thumb Raceways in Evanston, IL, which was one of the largest slot-car racing centers - if not the largest in the Chicago area - was, I believe, a blue track that was similar to the Emperor 220, but I don't recall that it had the two over-unders. It was an American Model Car Raceways track. It was definitely not the King 155 or the Sovereign 220. The main straightaway was incredible long, the main bank turn was very steep, and there was a long secondary straightaway. When slot car racing began its decline, this was the first track that Tom Thumb removed to start to make room for a line of crafts.

Does anyone remember this track at Tom Thumb, or did anyone see it elsewhere, or, best of all, does anyone have a picture of it, at Tom Thumb or elsewhere?

Keith

#60 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 01:51 PM

Call the store. Tom Thumb is still in Evanston and the owners have talked about getting an HO track or something else, again.

Larry D. Kelley, MA
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#61 don.siegel

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:11 PM

.... and ask for Glen, he's the slot car guy at Tom Thumb's, assuming he's still working there.

I went there kind of late in the day, but don't remember anything like that track; however, I also found an old article on the place in one of my hobby trade magazines - I'll try to find it for you... always thought they just had the usual variety of American tracks.

Don

#62 Keith Levine

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:52 PM

I don't know if Glenn is still there - it's been two or three years since I've stopped in, and Glen isn't getting any younger - but it wouldn't matter. Glen has "only" been there since 1971. I'm quite sure that the crafts department had already displaced the blue track by then, and the racing was mostly the birthday party scene.

Last time I asked Glen about the owner, he told me that they lived in Colorado now - I forget if he said it was Art, Art's ex-wife, or their children. I think we need somebody who patronized the place back in the day. There were so many, they must be some who are still involved.

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#63 MSwiss

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 09:03 PM

I'm not sure if he still works there but you could try contacting Tyree Phillips at Novak Electronics in California.

He both raced and worked behind the counter at Tom Thumb.

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#64 don.siegel

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:20 AM

Found it! From the November 1966 issue of Craft, Model & Hobby Industry, a trade magazine. This is actually a report on a 24-hour endurance race run at Tom Thumbs - won by Mike Staskie and Don Rose, in a Pittcan powered car - six out of the eight cars used this motor, the other two use Hemi 300s...

Anyway, here are the pix, and there was indeed a Super LeMans track, along with what looks like the usual American lineup - is that an Engleman? Hope this jogs some memories...

Don

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#65 Darkron9

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 09:35 AM

The last picture at the bottom sure looks like a 220' Engleman to me.
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#66 Keith Levine

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:31 AM

The last photo is it! It's probably been 40 years since I've seen that track. I only remember referring to it as the blue track, but I see that the proper name - at least that Tom Thumb used - was the LeMans.

Don, are you saying that it was also known as the Engleman, or are we referring to different tracks? In any case, I don't know that there was a bigger, faster track anywhere - the two long straightaways were incredible. Because of its size and the fact that there weren't that many to begin with, I would doubt that there's one still around. And wasn't Tom Thumb a fantastic raceway!

Great find, Don. The photos and the article bring back a lot of terrific memories. Thanks!

#67 MSwiss

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:43 AM

Stan Engleman was another track builder/ a competitor to American Raceways.

An "Engleman", over the years has become the slang for that style of track with six approximately 180 degree turns.

I've never heard the term a "Super LeMans" in the last 30 years.

Mike Swiss
 
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#68 tonyp

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:46 AM

Engleman was a major track builder. The Engleman tracks basically all had flat turns with a steep high banked turn at the end of the straight.

American, the other big track builder, had mostly slightly banked turns and the main bank was not as steep.

At least on the east coast all the Engleman tracks used copper tape while the Americans used braid.

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#69 Larry Mattingly

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:47 AM

I think I recall racing on 300' tracks in Pittsburgh (Tom Thumb North) and the same style track in the Harrisburg, PA, area.

Name of the builder won't come to me...

LM

#70 MG Brown

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:51 AM

Tom Thumb is still a hobby shop in Evanston (across from the Post Office), but as you might guess, the tracks are long gone.

Last time I was in there they were trying to clearance out what few SCX slot cars and home sets they had left.
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#71 Prof. Fate

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:57 AM

Hi,

I have only seen Englemann tracks with braid. I haven't run on Jim Hunnicutt's track in San Antonio in about 25 years, but his 185 is still in operation.

There was a 220 in Salt Lake in the '60s during the 6 oz car period. The steep bank was steeper than the others I have seen, almost vertical, and came down into a 'deadman" that was flat. Once, a monster motor pro car came down the bank, launched and punched a hole in the plate glass window at the front and ended up in the middle of "State street" which, pre-freeways, was the main north-south highway for the state. It was alike a sitcom. Brakes screeching, horns honking, shattered glass everywhere.

A local legend that we thought was very funny!

Whatever happened to Stan Engleman?

Fate
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#72 don.siegel

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:10 PM

Let's see, here's the American "Purple Mile", which was also 220 feet, like the Engleman, a scale mile in 1/24. (picture in a French pop sociology book about rebellious youth...)

Posted Image

Another interesting American track, with the steering wheels, and the Mila Miglia fiberglas track, very similar to the Engleman.

Posted Image

Posted Image

And I think this is the 300 ft track you were referring to, but strictly an East Coast product I would guess. This may have been the largest commercially produced track in the country as far as I know - anybody hear of a longer standard track?

Posted Image

The Mesac track, "only" about 190 ft in its longest configuration, but still in many ways the most impressive....
Posted Image

And another candidate for the largest raceway in the country, the Aurora raceway out on Long Island, with 7 Show Girls at the Grand Opening, count 'em, 7... No track shots, but sometimes you have to sacrifice for the greater good...

Posted Image

Posted Image

#73 Larry Mattingly

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 05:26 PM

Don,

Thanks for the photos...

Yup... Indy 300. R-Geo Rick triggered my memory... Built by All-Tech?

I remember winning an eight-hour Indy Car enduro race on the one in Pittsburgh.

Ahh... the memories.

LM

#74 Larry Labounty

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 06:29 PM

Tony,

Were Elmsford tracks by Al-Tech? Didn't think they where Englemans.

#75 tonyp

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 08:39 AM

Positive it is an Engleman. The track had to be custom fit to the building to fit between the wall and two poles... That is why the turns are so tight.

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#76 Prof. Fate

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:30 AM

Hi,

There was a 275' version of the Mille Miglia track locally that stayed open until the late '70s. It had a "sandtex" surface that ate a set of tires every four heats! The layout was the same, the extra 35 feet was totally in the two main straights. The gap in the middle was WIDE. The power was awful. It had a gated array output that gave all the amps when no one was on the track, but when in use, each lane got its fair share! Meaning that in the day of 6 oz cars and 24 singles, it was AMP SUCK city. I abused them a few times by running a car with so little weight, so low power, that it didn't need to steal from other lanes.

Grin.

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#77 Gus Kelley

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:41 AM

Hey Guys!

Here in NorCal were several very big tracks. Here in Sacramento, where I primarily raced during the heyday, was C&M Raceway. The owners were Chet and Marge Colby and their son, Ed, ran the business. At their second location were two large tracks. The one that had most of the racing was the red track, I believe was 308' in lap length. The blue track was I believe 240'.

When more major races were put on and attracted the San Francisco boys; also sometimes the LA boys, there was one feature that often befuddled out-of-towners, two launch ramps. These were sudden, two foot elevation changes. One came on a short stretch off the large bank which was off the longest straight. Timing was extremely critical. In those days, there were no such thing as a track call, even cars launched off the bank and often landed on top of the bathrooms. That required climbing a ladder to retrieve such cars. I don't who manufactured those two tracks but I believe they were professionally built and brought in and set-up.

In the San Fran area were a couple of very large tracks and one large raceway. The raceway was Playland and had I believe six tracks, all American Raceways tracks, including a 220' Sovereign. It was some showplace and didn't last long. The tracks were at two different raceways, a street raceway in San Leandro and another at a track whose name escapes me and township likewise. The unknown track was located near Ron Mura's factory and was about 360' in length. I was only ten years old the couple times I went there but you could walk under some sections of the track as I recall.

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#78 Vay Jonynas

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:48 PM

The Groove:

I'm drooling about the track in your basement!

:wub:
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#79 Champion 507

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 09:49 PM

Does anyone know the footprint of an American orange?

Thanks!
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#80 Champion 507

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 08:19 AM

Question answered in another thread. Thanks.
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#81 chaparrAL

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 10:20 AM

The last of the slot racing at Tom Thumb in Evanston, IL, was the winter of '73-74 on the King track. A bunch of us from the southside would load Bill Metro's car on Sat and head up there to race G20. First ran an HO race there on the Aurora Tub about '72 and had to go back and race on the King.

By this time the big track was gone. Back home on the southside we had NO track until Dan Thorne opened the In Spot in Momence a couple years later. Art was the owner and I remember Tyree Phillips, real nice guy.

Does anyone remember a nut who raced under the name Ferd, he was banned from TT and he lived right there, raced all over back then.
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#82 Mark Clemence

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:37 PM

Wow, does this thread bring back some memories! Growing up in Kansas City, I raced mainly at King Louie East (bowling alley) and they had a Regal, Monarch, and Imperial in the basement. I occasionally raced at a shop at the Antioch Shopping Center which had a huge track... it was so big it dwarfed the American Imperial that was also there.

Since it is not pictured in this thread I don't think that track was an American. It was metallic blue and had two really, really long straights.

#83 nicky 65

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 09:13 PM

Anyone wanting to see not one but, four American tracks still up and running can got to Buzz-A-Rama in Brooklyn.

Tracks are as follows:

yellow Windsor
black Regal
blue King
orange Monarch

And Buzzy has the only yellow Emperor still left... it's just not assembled. Was taken down for a party room.

Nicholas Traina

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#84 Joe Mig

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 09:25 PM

And Buzzy has the only yellow Emperor still left... it's just not assembled. Was taken down for a party room.


:scratch_one-s_head: Too bad that is a great track. Come on, you guys got him to do racing after all the years. Maybe you could talk him into putting the Emperor back up. :yes: :wink3:
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#85 nicky 65

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 07:44 PM

Hey Joe,

It was hard enough to get Buzzy to start racing again... Chris and I are pushing him to clean up the place and reassemble the old girl.

After all, it is the only Emperor left.
Nicholas Traina

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#86 leftyslots

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 08:18 PM

Cleaning starts tomorrow at 5 PM. All are welcome to come down and give us a hand. As for the track, Buzzy would have to let me in the basement first. LOL.
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#87 Joe Mig

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 09:23 PM

If I help do I get to go into the dungeon? :shok: :laugh2:
Joseph Migliaccio. Karma it's a wonderful thing.

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#88 leftyslots

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 09:40 PM

Good luck with that, Mig. I have been helping out there for years and I'm not allowed down there.
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#89 John Stezelecki

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 08:55 PM

I've taken a good look at the photos of the tracks. I have noticed that several tracks have number lane markings on the surface. All the tracks that have these lane markings also have a very unusual color burnt orange carpet. Are all those photos taken from the same raceway?

#90 Martin

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 12:53 AM

John,

I always believed these photos were taken at Playland. On San Francisco's Great highway beach front.
It was said they had one of every track they made. A real slot car mecca.

I have a post card of Playland with these same shots. The numbers would be sections of the track to mark fractions of a lap count in competition.

I am sorry I never got to visit that place.
Martin Windmill

#91 John Stezelecki

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 07:17 AM

Martin,

I think you absolutely correct in stating that the photos were all probably taken at Playland in SF. Their American tracks were the only ones so far that I've seen that has the same identical type section markings on them.

Playland didn't have the complete line up of American tracks. They had five tracks. Never made it their myself. Does anyone know when they closed their doors? It's kinda interesting that back in that era when you sold a slot car business, everything went along with the tracks including the carpeting and what was on the walls.

#92 John Stezelecki

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 08:49 AM

Martin,

Do you think you could email the post cards of Playland that you have? Stez1970@yahoo.com.

#93 Prof. Fate

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 11:03 AM

Hi,

In the mid '60s, most tracks didn't have lap timing equipment. So, qualifying was done on time, laps, and sections rather than fast time.

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#94 MrWeiler

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 02:34 PM

Wow, does this thread bring back some memories! Growing up in Kansas City, I raced mainly at King Louie East (bowling alley) and they had a Regal, Monarch, and Imperial in the basement. I occasionally raced at a shop at the Antioch Shopping Center which had a huge track... it was so big it dwarfed the American Imperial that was also there. Since it is not pictured in this thread I don't think that track was an American. It was metallic blue and had two really, really long straights.


If it had three banks it might have been an Indy 300. I raced on one in NJ and you were punched for a LONG time on those straights... real fast track. Likely would be about a 2 second track with modern G7 cars in glue with maybe two lifts per lap.
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#95 John Stezelecki

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 02:51 PM

I stand corrected. Playland I believe had six tracks.

#96 Martin

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:04 AM

I will scan the postcard this week at work.

I would also like to find the article I have in one of the mags of the day. Would be a great addition to this topic. I remember reading that Playland in its heyday was said to have 5,000 visitors a day. Hard to believe. Must find article to confirm.

Playland was part of an extensive boardwalk amusement arcade, similar to the one in Santa Cruz or like Coney island. Fun for the whole
family.

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" may be in the late '60s? All I know it was not there when I arrived in S.F. in 1972.
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#97 don.siegel

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:12 AM

I scanned an article on Playland and posted it somewhere on Slotblog - you should be able to find it with the search function! (At least, if you're better than I am - I can never find anything with the furschluginer search function!)

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#98 John Stezelecki

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:30 AM

I will scan the post card this week at work. I would also like to find the article I have in one of the mags of the day. Would be a great addition to this topic. I remember reading that Playland in its heyday was said to have 5,000 visitors a day.Hard to believe. Must find article to confirm.


Martin, That would be great!

I'm going to see if I can find the Playland article.

#99 don.siegel

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:34 AM

I spoke too soon - it was actually pretty easy to find!

Playland thread

Don

#100 John Stezelecki

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 11:31 AM

I found it. Some great photos. That's the first photo that I have seen of the wall behind the drivers station of the purple.

Anyone else have anything out there?

Thanks,

Stez





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