Well the 2017 edition of the ROAR 1/8th Nitro Offroad National Championships are in the books. Things we knew coming in were that the track had a penchant for blowing out including the jump faces. Also we knew it was the midwest and weather would be unpredictable! Both ‘truisms’ came true, but it all ended beautifully. Joe and I would make the drive one state over from Ohio to arrive mid afternoon on Tuesday to Stateline R/C Raceway on the Indiana and Michigan boarder. The track looked fun with a couple of unique sections and one I had never seen before. It was a small crescent shaped berm in the middle of the corner followed by a diagonal mole hill running from the crescent all the way to the pipe. As the week got underway the section was easy with multiple ways through it. As the mains came around it became one of the hardest sections of all and was a true differentiator. 

ROAR Nats Track at Stateline R/C Raceway

 

Half moon into mole hill

Wednesday was open track controlled practice which allowed us to try out some different tires and set-ups. However the track was blowing out quick and getting very dusty so they decided to water between all the runs. Thus it was pretty well known the tires we were choosing to run wouldn’t be the same as what we would run come qualifying when they could no longer water. On Thursday we had another day of ROAR controlled practice with the 2nd two rounds being seeding rounds where top 3 consecutive laps would seat you for the qualifiers. We got all the way through the first round but with about 2 heats of buggies to go in the second round the skies opened. There was a massive amount of storms to the north and south of us and we were very fortunate to actually escape what could have been much more rain. Either way it stopped our day and seeding for Q1 would be based on just the times from the first seeding practice. 

Dragons back

 

Gnarly Whoops section

Come Friday morning pictures were surfacing of lakes that had formed around the track in the pits and such from the overnight dousing of rain. But the skies cleared long enough to remove the tarp and for the track crew to get to work preparing the track and getting it ready to run. Peat moss was applied and by 2pm we were doing a quick 2 minute practice run through the heats to help break in the track and give everyone a chance to get used to this new condition. We were able to get a full qualifier in and it was ok for me. In truggy I wasn’t quite feeling comfortable yet and I took a 7th but in buggy I had a great run and got a 3rd. 

Tekno NB48.4

 

I love this truggy!

The track also put on an awesome buffet dinner with desert for us on Friday which is a staple thing they do at their big events. They fed everyone with a smorgasbord and it was delicious! We then ran through Q2 of buggy that night with the races ending around 11pm. The track was extremely hard to see with the black pipes. I felt like I was driving by brail out there and the air was still so the smoke was just hovering as a haze over the track surface. We did some good changes to the buggy though and even with my aging eyes I was able to get 2nd for the round. 

Night Time action!

Saturday was next and that morning the track provided a pancake breakfast with sausage and coffee for all! We also had to get through 2.5 rounds of qualifying and lower mains, so a busy day was on tap. It started off with finishing up Q2 of truggy and I found some improvement this round with the track beginning to deteriorate in sections. I would come away with a 3rd for the round, still not feeling totally comfortable but pleased with the progress. So after two rounds I was already into the A in truggy and the top of the semi’s in buggy so now it afforded me the ability to try some more new things and see what I could figure out. 

Tekno NB48.4

As we progressed into Q3 and 4 the track just kept getting rougher. A groove also started to develop in some sections and our tire selections went from SS grids on Friday to now AKA Soft grids. In buggy my 3rd and 4th rounds wouldn’t improve my standing as both included early crashes that I had to recover from. Buggy I got a 6th and 4th in the final two rounds which still showed I was up in the running and just needed to put it all together. In truck I was able to improve in Q3 a little more yet taking a 2nd for the round and starting to find a groove. In Q4 I tried a stiffer shock oil and while it helped in some sections it hurt in others and so for the main I decided I was going to stick with the slightly lighter set-up. Overall I would qualify 3rd in truggy and 4th in buggy which would start me 2nd in the 1/2 odd semi-final. 

Tekno NT48.3

 

On Marshal Duty

Truggy Final – Sunday was main day and the track conditions were getting gnarly. At noon we got a 10 minute A-main and Semi practice run to allow us to make some last minute adjustments and get ready for the the epic test this track was going to dish out on us. About an hour after the warmups was going to be the truggy A-main. Starting 3rd on the grid I was having memories of Silver State where it was the same 3 in the top 3 and I would be able to come home with the victory. At the start I still just wasn’t feeling the most comfortable with my truck. I don’t know what it was this weekend be it the track or what but I never quite got that feeling of being completely dialed in truggy. I fell back a bit and battled with Rivkin for the 3-4 positions for much of the first 10 minutes of the race. I was able to start finding a groove but was a good 10 seconds behind the leaders. This track was brutal though and anything could happen. Soon I was able to move into a lonely 3rd where I just tried to hit my marks and make some kind of progress on the leaders. It seemed suddenly with about 10 minutes to go that Maifield was just 3 second ahead of me and I was in my groove and caught him and made a pass on the front double table double section. He was doing double double single and had been the whole race. But once I passed him there he copied my line. I was out ahead of him by about 2 seconds when I got a little crossed up in the whoops and into the dust and badly missed the dragon back section. He got back by me and I just couldn’t muster another comeback. So I settle for 3rd and another podium in truggy. I think this is my 5th year in a row or so making the podium in truggy with last year being an asterisk. 

Nitro Truggy 3rd place Nationals!

Semi-Final – Next was the buggy semi-final. I chose to go out on AKA soft long wear enduro’s based on my semi-warmup findings. I was starting 2nd on the grid and just looking to get a top 5 to make the show straight away. Well this was a race to forget overall. I was struggling mainly with my brakes being a bit to aggressive and just messing with my throttle curve and trim on the fly to get the right feel I was looking for. This track required putting your car in the exact position you wanted it and I just wasn’t able to do it very well. The rear was also a bit dumpy around the corners and I was just hanging on for dear life in the last 5 minutes or so. But the car held up to the abuse of the 30 minute semi and while it wasn’t pretty it did the job and I seeded 9th into the A-final. 

NB48.4

I made a couple changes for the main including going from 9K to 12K in the front diff to try to mellow out the steering a bit as it was pretty grabby on this track. We also went another 25 cst higher on our PTRC Racing shock oils. And finally going to 0.1 heavier sway bars to keep the car from rolling quite as much in the corners. I knew at this point that even know the track was really rough it was more critical for me to place the car where I wanted it than necessarily worrying about bump handling. 

Nitro Buggy A-main – Well the main started out great as I moved up quickly to the top 5 or 6 where I just hung out finding my groove and waiting for my Medium long wear Enduro’s to come in and oils to warm up a bit. I set my car up for the long hour race so it was easy does it for the first 5 minutes or so. I completely was driving my own race as drivers who were pushing harder were catching me and I would just let them go and soon find myself ahead of them again as they were making mistakes. Soon one of the contenders was flamed out and got mad and spiked his radio on the drivers stand which I was able to witness with my peripherals. Unfortunately not being the first time he’s done such, I just wonder when sponsors or race organizers will make bigger repercussions for such childish actions. Anyways it moved me up another spot as I just kept chugging along. My biggest struggle point still being the half moon into mole mound where I just wasn’t being patient enough to get inside that initial hole. 

Tekno NB48.4

Coming into the first pit stop I was one of the last 3 to pit doing around a 9 minute strategy. My pit guys Billy and Danny being super fast I think we won most of the pit stops and it was up to me to lay it all out their on the track. Midway through the race with more leaders experiencing issues or blown brains (it was a mental exercise out their for sure) I suddenly found myself in a battle for 2-4th with Cav and Rivkin. I had a few struggle laps as my goggles started to fog and I had to drive for 5 minutes with my head tilted up so I could see through the bottom of them. I was driving by brail again especially in the front section and just couldn’t wait for my next pit stop. I finally got called in and threw off the goggles as my eyes adjusted to the fresh air. Cav and Rivkin were pushing harder than I, and when they would catch me I would just let them do their thing. But soon I found myself in sole position of 2nd and about 10 seconds out of the lead behind Tebo. I was in a great groove. and catching up. We were coming up on the final pit stop and I was closing in. Tebo came in one lap before me and I was able to pass him for the lead at that point for a lap. I came in a got out of the pits and was only about 4 seconds back. I really felt I had it and was going to be able to make a race of it. But a lap or two into that final segment I messed up of the dragons back and blew out the whole next lap or two. I didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong but was just suddenly hitting every bit of dust and blowing out corners terribly. I was soon 15 second back and just had about 6 minutes to go. 

It was time to try to push just that little bit harder even though I knew the track was going to bite me back. I was able to start reeling him in and I got back to within 6 seconds with 3 minutes to go and still felt if I could just keep it clean I could put the pressure on. But I blew it stuffing the pipe in my worst corner of the track the top left and that was it. Back to 10 seconds and another bridesmaid performance. Still a great result on a demanding track with all the talent that was present. I think I have something like 8 second place finishes at ROAR Nationals now! A huge thank you to Danny for all the help this weekend. Also to Joe and Billy for also helping me rebuild for the A-main race. I was the only driver to podium in both classes this weekend and i’m just continuing on my consistent 2017 campaign. I seem to be improving a little every race and I am just looking forward to the next one! 😀

Nitro buggy 2nd place Nationals!

 

Congrats Jared! What was I thinking? haha

The Tekno Teammate Challenge has been conceded after this weekends event. Coming into the event I was +40 and added another +27 at the Nats. So with a +67 point lead Joe has decided to just pay up the $100 so we stop discussing it and he never wants to make that bet again! haha. He’s really doing great this year and he is going to just bust out so soon. He just picked the wrong year to bet me it looks like!

Next up is 3 weeks to prepare and we have E-Nats coming in Chico where hopefully it’s a little cooler than 115*!!

-Lutzinator

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2

A.M.S. 8.0

June 12, 2017

A quick 1.5 day turnaround sent us South this time to Cullman, Alabama for the 8th annual Alabama Manufacturers Shootout. The event under new ownership this year being run now as one of the 4 big races by RaceTime Entertainment. The track this time around was built just a week in advance of the event vs. in the past they started about a month in advance. This always leaves up the air the tire choice as it’s unknown if the track would be prepared the same, so bringing the full range of tires was a must.

The first time on the track I chose AKA SS chainlinks and they were decent and easy to drive overall. For my second run I decided to try out clay compound which had worked well in practice the year before. Sure enough they were a second a lap faster than the SS and more stable as they didn’t balloon at all. So clay it was to be until further notice so I proceeded to run the rest of my practice on the clay chainlinks in buggy. In truck I tried primarily impacts as the track was very smooth and had a groove of sorts with dust outside the line. The groove would gain more traction as the week went on and it was always a choice of running SS LW or Soft or Soft Long Wear each run. One cool thing about this track was that even though it’s ‘indoor’ and 1/10th scale esk in nature, it seemed like there was no clear cut best tire or tread or compound for the surface. People were running SS, Soft, Clay, Soft long wear, M4, M3, X3, yada yada, basically every compound out there and for the most part everything and ever tread was reasonably competitive on the surface.

This race is usually one I struggle with a little bit for some reason. I’m not a great indoor groove with outside dust racer as I run more erratic lines you could say. haha. The race this year had 5 top 25 drivers in attendance and 6 in the top 28 as well as a crop of fast guys from the South East and Midwest region. There were 475 entires in total and we got underway with the first qualifier on Friday afternoon around 4:30pm. My qualifying efforts were middling for me and I just never felt like I was able to put in a great run. I would basically finish 2nd – 5th in pretty much every qualifier. Nothing great but still showing the consistency that I have developed this year of always being in the picture. At the end of qualifying I would see myself starting 3rd in the Nitro classes for the 30 minutes A-mains and 5th in E-buggy for the triple 10 minute A’s.

E-buggy A1 would start us off at around 4pm on Saturday (Saturday is main day at AMS). Starting 5th I just wanted to be sure I stayed with the lead pack and not make any mistakes to put me back in to the fray. I was able to accomplish this and slowly worked up position by position as those in front of me made mistakes. I soon found myself in 3rd behind Rivkin and I pressured him for a few laps until he also made a mistake. I was now in 2nd about 3 second behind teammate and E-buggy TQ Joe. So as we were running Tekno 1-2 I felt good about that and just wanted to finishing out the remaining 4 minutes clean. With a minute to go however Joe got caught in some backmarkers over the back left doubled and had to be marshaled. This allowed me to slither through the carnage of wrecked cars and into the lead and to come home with the A1 win and Joe 2nd for Tekno 1-2.

Next was the 30 minute Nitro Truggy final and I was feeling pretty good about it. I was going to be on Soft Long Wear Impacts as the traction had really come up and it’s the same thing I ran last year. At the start I tailed behind Joe and Spencer until they collided coming onto the front straight. This allowed me into 2nd behind Spencer and I stayed close for a few laps until he crashed and I got into the lead. I then went to work on staying clean and trying to find a couple faster 1/10th’s here and there on the track. Laptimes were just 20 seconds and so the pace was fast and furious. I would extend out to a couple second lead only to see it slip away and he to be back on my bumper again. With about 11 minutes to go I made a mistake allowing Spencer to get racy and over the double triple he landed on my inside momentarily taking the lead but I cut back under him and we went over the table top where he tagged my wing and we both got tangled but he got the worst of it letting me get out to a second or two lead again.

Tangle over the small table top

45 seconds later I made a mistake landing on the pipe and did a cartwheel after the back right hip jump. This put us in a drag race coming down the straight away for the lead with just over 10 minutes to go:

Drag race down the straight

Spencer had the run and beat me down the straight and through turn one. But he left me a truck width on the top left drop down and I snuck under him to regain the lead again!

Snuck under to regain lead

Just a couple corners later though after that double triple he landed inside me and pushed me out into the dust as he regained the lead:

Pushed out into the dust

He though got up on the pipe and jumped the table poorly which sent him out into the dust on the next corner and I threw it in hard and drifted into the line underneath him as we set up for the top right hip:

Got back under him as we set up for the top right hip.

As we went over the table I gunned it and whipped it tight and over the pipe and landed perfectly on the other side of it and thus regained the lead:

Whipped it over the pipe to regain the lead

I highly suggest watching the liverc video of this race here  from the 11 minutes to go mark. The announcer was going nuts and the action was intense. After that action though I was able to stay out front and hold on for the hard fought victory!

Truggy Victory!

Next was A2 of Ebuggy and I was looking to do the same thing as I did in A1. Things were going well overall and I again found myself moving up position by position and soon was in 3rd behind Joe and Tebo. Joe was taking off as the 2-4 drivers were in a battle with some mistakes in front of each other causing us all to slow a bit and let Joe sail into the sunset. It was a tight 3 way battle between Rivkin, Tebo, and I and with 30 seconds to go Tebo who was in 2nd crashed after the right hip allowing Rivkin and I past and I thus would take a 3rd for the round.

Nitro buggy was up next with a 30 minute A-main. I had good hopes as I was running AKA Soft long Wear Zips for my kicks for the race. At the start I got into a groove behind Rivkin and Tebo but they were absolutely on it and I started to loose touch. Then throughout the race I seemed to be magnetized to every back marker crash I could find. Nearly all my major mistakes were getting tangled with and running into crashed cars and it cost me dearly on this 20 second lap track. I would basically just cruise around in 3rd the entire race, never really a threat and I feel I was driving a little to hard for the track as well. Overall though I would come home in 3rd with another solid podium finish.

E-buggy A3 would be the final race of the night as we neared midnight. For me it would be over quickly as I accidentally tagged Phend early on and it just ruined my mindset and I made some mistakes and caught caught up with other and on this quick track soon found myself way out of the running. I would need a 2nd or better to improve my position and it wasn’t going to happen being a lap down so soon so I pulled it off as to not affect anyone else. I would still come home with 2nd overall with my 1st and 3rd place finishes and Joe would run a stellar A3 to take the win for a Tekno 1-2 finish in Pro E-buggy.

Overall Tekno had another great showing at the A.M.S. 8.0. I was able to finish 1-2-3 in Truggy, E-buggy, and Nitro buggy. Joe was able to finish TQ,1-TQ,4-4 in E-buggy, Truggy, and Nitro Buggy. For the event at the Teammate Challenge, even though it was looking good for Joe with the two TQ’s he would finish the event with 7 points and I would finish with 6 for +1 for me. So overall on the season I am now +40 points and Joe has some work to do. But I think he still has the potential to really turn it on at any point now so i’m still building up my points while I can!

Next up is the ROAR Nitro Nationals at Stateline R/C next week!

-Lutzinator

Equipment used:

Tekno NB48.4, EB48.4, NT48.4

Tires for mains: AKA Soft Long Wear Double Downs for buggies, AKA Soft long wear Impacts for truck.

Electronics: Tekin RX8 Gen 3 with Tekin Redline Gen 2 1900 motor.

Servos: Futaba S9373SV in all applications

Battery: ProTek 2600 rx pack, ProTek 6500 4s LiHV for E-buggy

Fuel: Byrons 25/8 Worlds Blend

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2

Another cross country trip sent me this time to Northern California to one of the nicest facilities in the World. This was the inaugural AMain Manufactuers Cup that should grow to be one of the premier events on the calendar every year. The format for the Pro’s was Reedy format with 4 heads up rounds in each class with 3 out of 4 counting for the final result. In the coming years hopefully the demand to attend the race will grow and the pro class can be an Invite class with all the top drivers in the World attending this exciting race. Look for big things to come next year when this event rolls around. As for this year it was a great time and some awesome close heads up racing battles. 

The Tekno team was once again well represented at the event, and 7 of the top 25 drivers were in attendance making this also a Top 25 RC qualifying event. I ran my standard 3 classes at this event. There ended up being one full heat of Truggy and two full heats of Pro E Buggy and Nitro buggy. The order and heats were shuffled for each of the 4 rounds making things as even as possible in that regard. The grid was staggered into 4 rows of 3 cars in each row and it was made to give everyone at least one front and one rear grid start during their 4 runs. On some races there was some extreme carnage on the straight but most often it happened on the hairpin 180 after a double at the end of the straight and dogleg. After that things generally started to separate and you worked from there. Starts were pretty important and it was possible they could make or break your race. The electric heats were 9 minutes and the nitro’s were 14 to force a pitstop. 

Some of my best battles came in Round 2 of truggy where I got out to the early lead with Maifield and Tessmann in tow. They stayed between 1 – 3 seconds behind me for much of the entirety of the 15 minutes and I was able to stay clean and fend them off. It was a great accomplishment for me as Maifield was ballistic this past weekend as was Tessman. I had some mental successes in that one! I believe it was also Round 2 of Nitro buggy where I had another good start and stayed out ahead of Maifield for a little over half the race. He was chomping on my tail and i’ll be the first to admit he was faster than me this past weekend. But we battled hard for a number of laps before he got by. However with two laps to go he ran out of gas. Probable cause was us coming into pits one after the other and his pit guys rushing to try to beat me out of the pits. But Danny and Matt were ballistic for us in the pits all weekend and at the time kept me out front and filled my tank to allow me to finish in 1st in that one.

Overall I did way better than I thought possible coming into Saturday. I was able to take 1-2-3 finishes in truggy to take the overall Victory! In E-buggy I had a 3-2-2 to take 5th overall. In Nitro buggy I had a 1-2-2 to take 3rd overall on the Podium. In the end it was some more great results for me in this heavy competition with 4 of the top 5 ranked drivers in attendance and 7 of the top 25. I moved a little closer in points up the list and am just tenths out of 4th at this time as I reside in 5th. I still have much to improve upon and just hope to continue learning, improving, and consistently finishing as the year progresses on!

Next I head to AMS tomorrow to attend AMS 8.0. Short turn around, but looking forward to the event as always and some awesome competition. 

-Lutzinator

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2

This past weekend I flew west to attend the ProLine Gas Champs at the ProLine Test track. Last year was a good year for me at this track as I was undefeated in the Nitro Classes at both the Gas Champs and SikCross that were held there. It’s quite interesting that AKA tires are pretty dominant there. Tire wise I stuck with primarily SS Grids on a watered run and SSLW Grids for a drier run. For the mains I went to SSLW Impacts in buggy.

I chose to run my primary 3 Tekno vehicles and was able to practice once with each one on Saturday morning. Then we jumped right into qualifying which was all heads up. The sort into the heats was random and they started rd 1 using 1-12. Rd 2 was 5-12, 1-4, and the final round was reverse order. In the past we drew ping pong balls for starting position which I preferred for its randomness but it was the same for all.

First Qualifiers started Ok. I was able to TQ truggy and took 2nd in the buggies behind Maifield. In Q2 I swept the round taking TQ in all 3 classes. This gave me overall in truggy and a battle with Maifield for the two buggy classes in rd 3. In the final qualifier in Ebuggy I wasn’t able to make it happen and had to settle for 2nd qualifier. In Nitro buggy though I had a great run under the lights and put in a TQ run to grab the overall and TQ both Nitro classes.

Sunday saw triple A mains for the Ebuggy class and a 30 min and 45 minute final for Nitro truggy and buggy respectfully. In Ebuggy A1 I started right behind Maifield and he made an early mistake and Joe and I got away into a 1-2 Tekno lead. I led him but he was pushing hard and would catch up only to make a mistake. I would take the win with Joe in 2nd.

Ebuggy A2 started off and early in the race I again got into the lead only to blow a section allowing Maifield back by and he cleaned it up and we paced each other the rest of the race about 3 seconds apart setting up an A3 battle once again. In A3 unfortunately a battle with me didn’t materialize as I crashed early and often and also got a rock stuck in my rear wheel. Overall it was a run to forget for me but I used it to try to learn some new lines for the Nitro buggy as the track was starting to develop a little bit of character. Never waist track-time folks! Overall I would take 2nd and Joe in 3rd for two Teknos on the podium.

2nd overall
Tekno 2-3

The 30 minute Truggy final was a pretty good one. At the start I was able to get away to a quick 6 second lead when I crashed on my own and lost the entire gap as now it was a 4 way battle. But soon thereafter I started to pull away again but this time I had company. Joe was right on my tail and as the track started to dry out he was getting faster. He reeled me in and I did some good block passing for a few laps. Then on one lap we must have swapped position 3 or 4 times on one lap. Not making contact but just inside outside moves all over. I came out ahead and he made a mistake giving me a couple second lead. I held that lead for the next 10 minutes or so until about a lap before our final pit stop around 23 minutes in. We were both called in and I knew it was going to be a dogfight that last leg of the race. Unfortunately for Joe though he crashed upside down on his in lap and flamed. This gave me a sudden lap plus lead on the field and I cruised home to victory. Billy Fischer was able to come in 2nd for a Tekno 1-2!

TQ + Win!
Tekno 1-2

Nitro buggy was the final race of the day and a 45 minute affair. I would start on pole but midway through the first lap missed a corner a bit allowing Maifield ahead then I blew another letting Truhe by. Soon there after though they made mistakes and I was back in and finding my groove. I got a couple second lead and it just kept extending. Next I heard it was 9 second and after the first pit stop it was 18 seconds. My Tekno NB48.4 was on point and my AKA SSLW Impacts were the perfect tires for the conditions. Midway through the race I got just within a lap on the field and that’s pretty much where I would finish by the end of the 45 minute race. Joe also did well taking 3rd on the last lap and thus a Tekno 1-3!

TQ + Win
Tekno 1-3

I was able to continue my top results at this event winning Pro Buggy for the 3rd year in a row. Also defending my Truggy title this year. My 2017 has been amazing so far and hopefully is just getting started. I have a busy schedule coming up and looking to keep up the results!

The Tekno Teammate Challenge continues on and unfortunately for Joe I am on a hot streak! We came in at me with +31. I gained 2 more points with my two TQ’s. Then gained 2 points in Nitro buggy, 1 point in Ebuggy, and 3 points in Truggy. So now I am up +39 points on the season. 

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2

Neo 2017

April 19, 2017

So just a day after returning from one of the most grueling events of the season, the Psycho Nitro Blast, I was off across the pond to the UK for the Neobuggy event. This year Ilias decided to be brave and be our driver on the other sided of the road and car and I must say he did a fine job! Only one curb was hit which is pretty good on the narrow hedge lined roads. The track this year was challenging with lots of elevation changes and action everywhere. The surface got a little bumpy and their was tons of lefts and rights and a crossover to boot. The layout was fun but it wasn’t fully  planed out I don’t think. There was no where for marshals to be in the middle of the track. And as always the crossover turned out to be dangerous with a few people getting hit, some worse than others. A balance between fun and safety needs to be thought out for sure. What this all meant was there was potential that you could loose half a lap if you crashed in the wrong place at the wrong time so that became paramount to avoid such situations.

The Track

The classes at the Neo are just Nitro buggy and Electric buggy. Every year they seem to allow a few more entries making more heats of racing but also making the days longer and the racing less. I remember a few years ago we were doing 10 minute qualifiers and done by 7pm. Now we are down to 5 minute qualifiers and done by 8pm and starting earlier at 7:45am to boot. I do love the time schedule though as you know exactly what time you will be up and it just makes the event feel bigger with the proper rules in place.

My pit spot for the weekend in the back corner.

I went with basically my Psycho Nitro blast set-ups (which were my silver state set-ups) on the car in hopes that they would continue to work at Neo. But Neo always seems to present unique challenges and cars just feel different on this surface. There were a couple of big jumps with some sharp landings if you didn’t downside just right. The track was also bumpy to an extent and had an uneven stair steps to navigate as well. My shock package wasn’t quite right at the start and it took me until probably the 3rd qualifier to nail it down and start to feel comfortable. I actually opted to go back to the stock pistons of 4×1.9 which gave a good balance of the big jump landings and also the bump and uneven surface handling.

Ready for Nitro buggy qualifying action!

Through qualifying I really worked hard on set-up changes looking to make my car easier to drive as it was a bit nervous and twitch on this track. Here is a list of some of the things I did:

-Moved the front hubs forward

-Front spring all the way up to green instead of my usual Black

-Front diff up to 8K instead of 7K

-Zero bump with about 2* of static toe out in front to try to make less twitchy

-Raised rear camber link on tower to middle outside instead of down and outside. (Stayed middle on hub)

-Lower center diff down to 4K instead of coming in with 7K to give more front wheel drive.

-Heavier front sway bar to 2.4 for the main instead of the 2.3 I had been running.

These changes all helped to make my buggy easier to drive and I was pretty pleased with it by the time the 4th qualifier came around. My first 3 qualifiers were a bit of a struggle though I did manage a 10th and 9th in Q1 and Q3 which I attribute to my growing maturity as a driver. In E-buggy I got a 3rd in Q1 which was my best finish and after that I struggled a bit with my timing and trying to do the quad instead of triple single.

Tekno EB48.4

After day one of qualifying the top 15 currently got to do the 10 minute dash for cash in inverted order. Because I was currently 12th I would start 4th on the grid. Within 2 laps all those ahead of me had made mistakes and I inherited the race lead. I was a bit concerned as Tebo, and Maifield who were going fast in qualifying had already made it up to 2nd and 3rd but they and Tessman started making it the bash for cash and just making mistakes all over. I used that advantage to take off into the sunset and win the Dash which was the turning point of my weekend.

The next day first round of Nitro buggy I was able to prove that the Dash wasn’t a fluke and I went out and put in a great run in the B heat to take TQ. No one in the A heat was able to beat my time so that gave me the TQ for the round and coupled with my 9th and 10th put me solidly up into the Semi-finals. It’s a good thing to because in Q5 I would do my warmup laps and then lost all brakes. My throttle servo went out on me before the start and i’m assuming all the 60ft jump landings at PNB didn’t have anything to do with it. haha. At least I was in the Semi’s and it happened before the Semi is all I can say! In ebuggy I struggled a bit still with my timing but was still able to manage to qualify 10th overall after qualifying.

Challenging Stair steps

That night we did the Semi-final for E-buggy and boy was it an ugly race for me. I was super nice at the start and if someone behind me pressed the issue I let them go as I just wanted to spread out and stay with the pack. But I got tagged and sent to last and it was a battle from there. People were driving nuts and crashing everywhere and I just put my head down and tried to stay as clean as possible. I picked off a few drivers here and there but I couldn’t understand the announcer and had no clue what position I was in. I just fought back until the end and somehow took the 7th position and seeded last into the A-main final in 15th. At least I made it! 🙂

Monday morning started us off with the E-buggy A-main final. Now starting dead last on the grid isn’t as terrible of a thing as one might think. It may take me out of contention for the win but at least there is no where to go but up! haha. Anyways I got by a few cars in the first few corners to just get hit one more time and be dead last again in the top left. But after that I was able to chisel my way through the pack which pileups and crashes happening everywhere. About halfway in I was up to 6th or so and then a contender had an issue and I got up 5th. Then I had a battle with 4th for a couple laps near the end as we swapped position 2 or 3 times before he made a mistake and I got into and finished in 4th! Not bad all things considered and I was pretty pleased with that.

Finished 4th from the #15 spot on the grid.

Next was the Nitro buggy Semi-final and I was starting 4th on the grid in the Odd semi having qualified 7th overall. Things started off well as I was running in my 4th position with the leaders for the first 3 laps and my car felt great. Then I decided to take the quad instead of triple single and I hit the low spot and shorted it and was upside down in the jump. This knocked me back to last as the marshal had to let everyone by. I wasn’t to concerned as my buggy felt great and I knew I could make up time. I quickly moved back past a couple of crashed vehicles and pileups and worked my way though the field. For the most part I was doing the quad well but I shorted it about 3 more times throughout the run whenever I would hit that low spot in the jump face and just didn’t get the lift. I should have just triple singled it but I was stubborn for that run. I still managed to work up through the pack and into 5th and an automatic transfer spot into the A final. After the second Semi I found out I would be starting 9th on the grid for the A.

Photo courtesy Neobuggy.net

The A final was the last race of the day and I was pretty excited by my prospects. My car felt great and I knew I had a shot if I could have a good start. But as mentioned before it is hard to run with others on this track and especially a pack of 5 or more guys at once. I got tangled and sent to the back to start my main in the top left and ended up in the chair! Well it was catchup time now and I put my focus into clean laps and staying out of trouble. I worked through the field and stayed on the lead lap as more and more people fell back with crashes or whatnot. I don’t quite know where I was early mid race but by about the 30 minute mark I had caught up to Maifield for the battle for 4th /5th. But at around the same time I started to make some mistakes as my front tires were starting to go bald. So when I got out in the dust I would push hard and loose time. I also found out after the race that my universal pin that goes in the outdrive had come halfway out was cutting into the arm and bulkhead and that was what was causing my erratic handling for the last 5 minutes or so. I kind of just though I forgot out how drive for a few minutes there! haha. Overall though I had built a big lead over 6th and thus came home in 5th place which was a good result for me!

Overall Good results with Dash for Cash win and 5th overall!

This race is considered an “indoor Worlds” as most all the top drivers in the World attend. This was also an event that was part of the top25 rankings for R/C and my result helped to promote me to #5 in the world. Just 0.7 tenths out of 3rd! I can’t believe that but it just goes to show that I am getting more consistent and my results have been solid.

Cows crossing the motorway

I now have about a month before my next travel race. That time will be used to spend some quality time with family and catch up on all my to-do’s. Also some local club racing hopefully as well as the weather is finally getting nicer!

-Lutzinator

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