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Why the "Cheater" handle?

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#1 Cheater


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Posted 24 July 2014 - 09:56 AM

Since I get asked this question on a semi-regular basis, I thought it would be worthwhile to copy and paste the back story here. The thread where this was originally posted is almost a couple of years old and there are many new (and old) members who might not have read  it.
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The guy who tagged me as Cheater was the late Ronnie Burnett.

Ronnie was an interesting guy, in that he's one of the few people who seemingly never stopped slot racing after the crash in the late '60s. I first raced with him at Tim Ferguson's Georgia Hobby Center in late '88 or '89.

Ronnie was a great builder but he had a spot of palsy and his hands would shake pretty badly at times. Ronnie cut could a TQ qualifying lap every once and a while, but rarely would he be on the podium when the race was over.

We had a very active GTP racing program running Friday nights at Ray Gardner's Bullet Raceway on Lavista Rd in Atlanta in the early '90s and as it so happened, the raceway was between work and home. So I would normally load my slot boxes in the car when I left for work Friday mornings and go straight from work to the raceway, about a ten minute drive.

One Friday night I came through the front doors of this large facility (a former grocery store or drug store I believe). Ronnie was working on something at one of the tables near the back wall as I entered and I'm not sure there was anyone else besides Ray in the raceway, as it was still pretty early.

I never saw him look up, so I guess he glanced up as I was coming through the front doors, but as soon as the doors closed behind me I heard Ronnie comment in a very loud voice, "Oh, crap, here's comes that damned cheater Wells again." Big chuckle from both me and Ray...

I knew what he meant, for at the time I was one of the GTP hot dogs and had the rest of the racers chasing me most Fridays.

A few years later, Ronnie came down with a very bad cough and after a bunch of the racers insisted he get himself to the doc, it was found that he had inoperable lung cancer. He died about four weeks later and I am embarrassed to admit that I didn't make the effort to go visit him before he passed away. Nobody was thinking he'd leave us that quickly.

No one ever located any of his relatives (Ronnie had never married) so the local slot racers, spearheaded by Terry Kelly whom Ronnie had teamed with a couple of years earlier, held a funeral in Gainesville, GA, for Ronnie and purchased a plot for his burial in a lovely cemetery there. I hate funerals but did attend both the funeral and the graveside service.

I continue to use Cheater as my online alias in memory of and to honor Ronnie Burnett, who loved slot racing as much as anyone I've ever met.

  • kvanpelt, Steve McCready, ejgehrken and 3 others like this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap

#2 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:40 AM

The last time I saw Ronnie was at Ray's place. I was racing R/C at the time and I don't remember if Ray or Ronnie called. They asked me to run on a team with Ronnie for some kind or enduro with 1/32 Eurosport cars. I went and ran. We had a good time and ran so so. Cheater you were probably in that race, but I don't remember.

Next thing I knew Ray told me Ronnie was gone. Good to know where the name came from, but I feel kind of down now.
Eddie Fleming

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