This past week I travel across the pacific to Xiamen, China, which is just inside of Taiwan on the Chinese eastern coast. This was the same venue that held the 2017 IFMAR Worlds for 1/10th EP however the layout was reconstructed to full size and felt good sized in the 33-35 second a lap range. Upon arrival on Thursday early AM (Around 2am to the hotel), I expected a relaxing Thursday to get acclimated. But I found out that there was practice if the rain held off. Supposedly there had been open practice since maybe Sunday and some had been there since then, although Wednesday was rained out. Well we arrived to the track shortly after 7am on Thursday and I got my car ready and glued up a set of tires and got a battery pack in with my ebuggy. I prepared my Nitro after that but the rains came and washed away the rest of the day. We went out and had a nice dinner and I got to try some new foods (which was a daily theme!)

Friday morning brought nicer weather and 3 rounds of controlled practice were on tap and they would take your fastest 3 consecutive laps from any of the rounds to seed into the qualifiers on Saturday. I was pretty set on sticking with AKA Impacts in SSLW compound throughout the day, though I did try some double downs as well to compare. The grip was a bit inconsistent to start as they had originally sugar watered the track but the rains took some of it away. Also on Friday there were some wetter sections of the track and then drier. So you would be a bit loose in the dry then hit a wet patch and have a bit higher grip. The track had some natural bumps in it from the rolling process I assume, nothing extreme by any means but you could really see the suspension work on the front straight for instance. I watched my teammate Jonathan Yeung’s car go down the straight and saw how awesome it soaked up the bumps and just in general how good his car looked on the track. I went over to them after the run to investigate.

Turns out they had been doing a lot of testing at home on rougher tracks and had come up with a pretty unique set-up to what I had been driving. I decided to go with it and spent the entire time between rounds copying their set-up to give it a try. It was extremely soft on the bench. It felt probably 200-300 cst lighter than anything I would ever run. But I wanted to give it a try and I was pretty surprised. While it was really soft with (4×1.9 + 4×1.4) pistons (They actually had 4×2.0 vs. the 1.9 I went with even)  It surprisingly stayed very level and while it did transfer a lot of weight to the rear and squatted, it was still able to hold it’s direction and not dump/loop out in corner exits. Now as the grip started to come up through qualifying and into the main this set-up got to soft for me and I elected to go back to my standard shock set-up for the main though I primarily kept their geometries of the rest of the set-up. Overall I think their set-up is something I absolutely want to try more on looser and bumpier track, though I think I would need some revisions for medium grip and for sure for higher. But still it was fun to try something new and be successful with it. In the end of practice I was able to be the top seed into qualifications in both Nitro and E-buggy.

Qualifying day was met with the warmest temperatures of the week at around 78*F for a high. The track began to dry out more and started looser perhaps but got a slight groove in sections by the end of the day. Some jump faces also began to get some holes which made lining up for jumps more important. In Q1 of Nitro buggy I went out and put in a clean run that I was pleased with and thought would be able to hold up through qualifying. They were doing rocket round for some reason and so I was pretty secure in my Q1 time. For Q2 and Q3 I tried some other set-up changes as I felt I needed to keep thickening up my set-up with the grip coming up a little. I made a number of mistakes in my runs and wasn’t able to win out any of the final 2 runs but my Q1 time held up for the overall TQ. In E-buggy it was just pretty good all weekend. I copied a lot of the geometry changes from the Young’s set-up but left my standard 7-7-5 diffs and my 4×1.9 shock package on. I was able to take the front double double jump section as a triple single which may have got me .2-.5 second a lap when done cleanly as well. In the end I would TQ each run and take the overall TQ in Ebuggy as well. 

Sunday was main days and being TQ in nitro buggy allowed me to be the only one to seed into the A-main directly  with the rest of the field needing to navigate the ladder format. This put all of my racing at the end of the day which included triple E-buggy mains, a 10 minute solo practice session for Nitro and the 1 hour Nitro buggy final. One thing they had which was nice overall was they provided marshals from the factory to take care of those duties all weekend. So we didn’t have to marshal which was a blessing for main day for sure. The downside was they weren’t the best marshals and so not crashing was pretty paramount. 

E-buggy A1 was up first and my EB48.4 kept doing what it had been doing. I quickly pulled away from the field doing my 3-1 front section and just put in a solid run. I had one crash mid race but already had amassed a nice lead and got the victory. The mains were only 5 minutes each so it was like a heads up qualifier in a way. In A2 less than an hour later it was much the same although this time the pack stayed a bit closer. Still I was able to run clean this time and win by around 7 seconds and take the championship. 
Next I was given the opportunity for up to 10 minutes of free practice with my Nitro buggy as the rest of the guys had just finished their 30min semi-finals. I utilized the time just to be sure everything was running smoothly and that my Soft long wear impacts felt decent for the conditions. All things seemed good and so I pulled off after about 4 minutes. Then I decided to just go over my NB instead of run A3 of e-buggy to be sure I was ready for the hour long final. 

The hour long final was the final race of the day. I would start on pole and at first just a few corners in I thought it should be a pretty straight forward affair as P2 crashed and fell to 4th. But Yusuke Suguira from Japan was pretty dialed in and within a few minutes had caught up to me. My strategy for the hour final was a clean run and drive within my limits. Also I realized pretty early on that I missed my tune slightly and it was a little lean so I also didn’t want to push harder than I had to for fear of heating up the engine even more. Well Yusuke tried to put a pass on me in the top right but ended up crashing me, so he waited and let me go and a few corners later he made a mistake. This gave me a slight cushion again but soon thereafter he caught back up. Again though he would make a mistake as soon as he got up to me. I knew he was driving harder than I so I just hoped my strategy would work by keeping it ‘slow and steady’ and hitting my marks. After the first stop I also knew I would be doing at least one less pit stop than he so I calculated those 6 seconds or so into my advantage. About halfway through the main he made a few extra mistakes and soon I was up to a 3/4 a lap lead or so with a couple of stops remaining. After the final pit stop I was about 25 seconds up and decided I wanted to try to put a lap on the field. So during that final stretch I picked up my pace and drove a bit harder. I made up time and soon was within 2 seconds of a lap with about 2 minutes to go and they elected to do a splash and go which gave me the lap lead and secured the victory. 

Overall I had a great time at the event. I was very blessed to be able to go and attend and it’s pretty awesome to have a prize purse for the event. They paid the entire A-main and even the top 10 drivers from the China/Hong Kong/Taiwan region separately as well. This is a yearly event for them this time of year and hopefully I will be able to make it back to compete again next year. 

Also a huge thank you to Tommy Fung and Kent Sung for the hospitality and to Jonathan and Carson Yeung for sharing their set-up that they have been working really hard on. 

Next up it’s psycho time at the Psycho Nitro Blast. I have 5 cars to get prepared for the grueling, now 4 day event. Looking forward to it as always!



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Just two days of being home after Nitro Challenge I embarked on another cross country trip to the great pacific North West to attend the Holiday Hangover event. This event came together in very short notice, but let me tell you I was very impressed with the program put on by Wilde Events. It started off with a 5 practice punch card for each class entered. They ran 1/10th and 1/8th at this event and it was staggered every other for practice. You never had to stand in line, you simply signed up on a sheet of paper for an open heat number, and came up to practice during that run. It was quite awesome to not have to waste time waiting in line to practice! 

Practice punch cards

The format for racing was pretty standard. Three 5 minute qualifiers in qual point format. They moved through the program of 300 entires very quickly and everything ran smooth. They had a nice novice class also which was good to see. The track was built on Thursday and totally back to how it was originally by Sunday night. Kevin Jelich came up to build the track and he did a great job as it had a nice flow and his signature big air hang time hip jump. 

Working hard to get it all done on Thursday

To start my weekend off on Thursday night I held a 15 participant seminar. It was great to be able to share some of my knowledge of the hobby and help them to improve their program. It was also cool to then talk with them throughout the weekend and continue to help them with their program and follow up with how they were doing. Friday morning we came back to the track and we got about 2.5 hours of open practice/teaching time, where I was able to try their cars or give input or ideas on line choices and driving. Official practice then got underway around 10am.

Seminar participants.

Qualifying day was on Saturday and it went pretty smoothly. Matt and I were trying lots of things on the E-buggy, things we usually don’t have the time to test and try out. We ran shock on the inside holes on the arms with the stock 4×1.9 pistons and 650/600 oil and Pink/Red spring. Overall it felt pretty good for the conditions which were loose, dusty, and bumpy. I also did some testing for AKA, trying some different patters by utilizing my cutting, trimming, and gluing skills! 🙂 In all qualifying went good and I was able to TQ every round in Nitro Buggy, Nitro Truggy, and E-buggy. 

As we prepared for main day on Sunday we were given number plates for the a-main. TQ was even given a special red number plate just like motocross! Pretty cool details at this event as mentioned before!

A-main sticker sheet with number plate!

E-buggy would have triple A-mains and be 15 laps each. The nitro buggy and truggy class would each have a 50 lap main which worked out to be about 27-28 minutes in length. So yea, all the mains were done in lap format instead of time which was another cool feature as it harkened to nascar or similar where it’s a lap countdown and possibly makes it more interesting in the end. Overall the mains all went really good for me. I would lead every lap and come away with 3 nice victories for the weekend to finish off the clean sweep. On the final lap of the truggy main I was also able to do a nice backflip for the crowd which felt good as it’s been awhile since I had done one. (Watch around the 26:38 mark)


It was great to finally attend a race in the North West. I have been wanting to get up that way for many years and we were finally able to make it happen. Hopefully it won’t be as long until my next visit. Next up for me is I will be heading to China to the same track as the 1/10th Worlds last year to run some 1/8th buggies nitro and electric. That will be next week so time to get prepared!


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2018 Dirt Nitro Challenge

February 27, 2018

This past weekend I headed to Phoenix for the 2018 Dirt Nitro Challenge event. It could be considered the 2nd largest event on this years schedule behind the IFMAR Worlds with most of the top pro’s in the world in attendance. This year the track was done early and was overall packed better than previous years but with the slightly windy and sunny conditions of the early days it would dry out and break apart in some sections. This led to slightly rougher conditions in some sections which had to be properly set-up for.

Practice started off pretty good. They took your best 3 consecutive laps in either of your two practice runs and my Nitro cars were great out of the gate. I would seed 1st in Truggy and 2nd in buggy. Once qualifying got underway however it was a bit of a reversal. My fuel didn’t arrive to the track until a day late and so I was using some ‘older’ fuel that had been brought from a previous race. Things seemed fine in practice overall but once qualifying started my Nitro program began to struggle. In Q1 of truggy my engine just got leaner and leaner as we went through the run and while I was battling for the lead the first 3 minutes, it just got hotter and hotter and I lost power and came off near 400*. The glowplugs was damaged and most likely damaged the engine. I still managed a 7th for the run but should have been much better. In Q2 we put in a different engine and pipe from Danny’s car. It was decent but lacked bottom end (2060 vs. 2090) and I just struggled for power a bit and would manage a 4th for that run. So I was solidly into the A-main but I was struggling to get it all sorted. For Q3 it was a bear to tune it on the bench as suddenly it acted really really lean and I had to richen it a ton (Whenever that is the case something somewhere is wrong). Well we got it to sound ok on the box but once it hit the track half a lap in it went pig rich. So i brought it in and had him lean top 2 and bottom 1. It was ok for another half a lap as the race began and then went full rich again. So I had to pit during the run a couple more times to get the tune right. It was after this that we decided to try the fresh gallon of fuel that had arrived. Fortunately I had qualified 8th overall and into the A but I needed to get things figured out to have any shot in the A-main.

Ebuggy started off really well in Q1 and I was able to take the TQ for the round. Many people were struggling with the conditions and making mistakes and I guess I just made the least amount of them. In Q2 and Q3 I had solid runs although not quite as good as Q1 and I took 4th in both rounds. This qualified me 3rd overall and gave us Tekno 2,3, heading into the main event.

Tekno EB48.4

Nitro buggy was on Friday and after the great practice and how good my e-buggy had felt I was looking forward to some good results. But they didn’t come. I struggled with set-up in each round perhaps trying to change to many things and going in the wrong direction. Perhaps using the wrong tires for the conditions or maybe just simply making to many mistakes. I had qualifiers of 13, 11, 13 which were much below par for me and seeded me as BQ for the first time in a couple years.

Saturday was Truggy and E-buggy A-main day. First we had a warmup for each and again we were trying to get the truggy dialed in engine wise. It would sound ok on the bench but again once it hit the track it was again a struggle. So after again struggling and with only the A-main to go I decided to make a few changes for the main. I replaced the fuel tank and the carb incase the old fuel had in some way contaminated either one. I tuned it up on the bench and in the back alley and it seemed to be running consistent and how it should. Once out there for the A-main it seemed like it would be good and I was going to do my best to move my way through the pack. I was able to pretty steadily move my way up through the pack and by lap 15 found myself in 4th but already with a decent deficit to the top 3. I made a few long mistakes including getting hay bailed but otherwise drove pretty well and had some good battles with teammates Joe and Alex for a lot of the race. I was able to come away with the 4th position though with Alex 5th and Joe 7th.

Tekno NT48.3

E-buggy main was one I usually struggle with being just a single 10 minute race. At the start though I held my own and actually felt faster than the leaders. But a couple laps in I would short the front triple and have to double out and upon doing so Tessman hit my wing and went flying. So as we went to the top right corner before the drop down I was going to stop and let him go past me. (Turns out it wasn’t Tessman though and was more likely Stees) but anyways as I stopped to let them go they got out in the fluff and off line and came down into me and knocked me off the dropdown where I would drop way down the pack into 8th I think. So much for trying to be nice when I didn’t have to. Well I would fight back and get back into that 4th position by the end of the race for a decent result. Joe would do great holding his own in 2nd!

Sunday was nitro buggy day and I was pretty confident going into the B-main but that soon dissipated as we got started and I realized my set-up wasn’t ideal. My car was hard to drive and I missed my tune on the lean side and was having a bit of a run on issue the entire race. I received many challengers at the start of the race and I just made my car wide as I could. I would hold onto 2nd for much of the first part but by either the 1st or 2nd pitstop Drake was on me and he got by on the lap we were both coming into pit lane. He got in first but my dialed pit team got me out of pit lane first and I think it got into his head and he made mistakes allowing me to get that solid 2nd position again. The next challenge came the final 5 minutes or so of the race as Phend and Jellin both caught me and were honestly faster than I was able to go. I did all I could to just stay clean and let the chips fall as they may. I let Phend by and Jellin I think just pushed a little to hard and made some mistakes. Eventually he flamed out and I was able to secure the 3rd and final bump spot, but man was it a struggle.

For the A-main I would basically go and copy what Joe was running as he was pretty happy with his car in his A-main warmup. The conditions would also be better with the night moisture coming up. I also switched to gridirons in the rear instead of all impacts to try to get a bit more forward bite coming out of corners and such. As the main got underway I was super happy. My car felt Amazing and I was picking off drivers left and right for the first 3 laps or so. I felt I had the car to finish top 3 or 4 and I was stoked. But as I came off the drop down a couple of cars had tangled below and I lawn darted into an out of shape car and broke my front arm. 🙁
I was heartbroken as it seems to be my luck that when my car is good enough to challenge for the front, is when I seem to have early failures. This was also my chance to stake my claim near the top of the Top25RC rankings but instead this will now cost me for 2 years. Well anyways we went back and replaced the arm and hingepin as fast as we could and I returned to run the race and put in the 2nd fastest lap on the track. I would finish 14th overall giving it my all and super pleased with my vehicle. Afterwords my wife was kind enough to point me to Psalm 73 and it was a good reminder to get my heart in the right place.

Next up I head to Washington state to do a seminar and race the Holiday Hangover race.


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This past weekend I headed down south to the Southern Indoor Championships near Montgomery, Alabama. This year the event had over 500 entries and no chance of Tornados! Instead we had some uncharacteristically cold mornings and days for the south to contend with.

The track was a little drier this year than years past and on practice day a groove actually formed before they decided to water. The conditions were pretty slick and tire selection was a challenge for sure. Primarily I ended up on my go to tire and compound being super soft long wear impacts in buggy and super soft long wear grids in truggy.

SIC Layout

Qualifying for started bright and early on Saturday morning and or if the gate my truggy was on point. The tires were dialed in and I took an 8 second margin TQ to start off my weekend. Nitro buggy was next and I ran a pretty solid race. I had a couple slow ups in traffic but overall clean. In the heat after me though Chandler was scorching and beat me out giving me a 2nd. In Ebuggy I had a good solid run for a TQ.

The final two qualifiers continued with success in truggy. Taking TQ in both and thus the overall TQ for the event. In buggy it was more of a struggle as the conditions were difficult. There was higher grip areas and lots of dust making an inconsistent surface. My cars were a bit twitchy on the steering and then loose in the rear because of it. My goals on setup became to desensitize the steering a bit by lowering my steering speed, going to heavier front diff and heavier front sway bar and spring. All this helped but but it was a process through my final runs. I didn’t have another great run in either buggy but still managed to qualify 2nd overall in Ebuggy and 3rd in Nitro buggy.

For the mains they decided to run the pro nitro program earlier in the event so there would be more spectators and people to watch. I thought this was a great idea though it did feel a bit weird. First up was Nitro truggy around noon and it was a 30 minute affair. I chose my AKA SSLW grids for the task and they were up for the challenge. I had a solid start and quickly started to work up a lead. My truggy doing what it does best. My truck still could have been better with slightly heavier front shock oil as it was blowing through the stroke a bit quickly on some jump landings and faces but it was still super fast. In the end I. Early was able to put a lap on the field and took a nice victory to start the day.

Nitro Truggy TQ+Win!

Next around 2pm we had the 30 minute Nitro buggy final. I opted to try SSLW double downs in the front and impacts in the rear. My goal being to mellow out the steering a little. They blew off the track before our run and my car felt pretty good in warmup. But the dust came up quickly and I just struggle mightily with the aggressiveness of the front end and the traction conditions. I did my best to adjust my driving lines and style. At one point mid run I was nearly 20 seconds out of the lead but had finally secured a solid hold on 2nd. I started to put in some faster laps really concentrating hard on my lines and steering points. I was able to make up ground and get within 8 seconds of the lead with 4 minutes to go but I got caught in traffic and lost my momentum. So in the end I settled for 2nd place in a hard fought race. What I would have changed would be to have run impacts all the way around and gone even higher on front bar to 2.5.

Hard fought 2nd in Nitro Buggy

The triple E buggy mains would close out the long day. In A1 I quickly put myself in a hole as in the top left trying to avoid the huge hole I rolled on the pipe putting me back in last momentarily. I worked my way through the field and up to a 4th place finish. In A2 I had a much better run and battled with Ogden for half the race. We swapped the lead a couple times before he made a bigger mistake and I got a 4 second advantage and brought it home for the win. It was all down to A3 and my car was actually the best it had felt. I got into the lead and stretched out early as the pack was crashing. I quickly had about a 10 second cushion with 3 minutes to go when I started to feel like my battery was going soft. I yelled down for Matt and looked down pit lane but I could see him. I tried to start to conserve but within 2 laps while crossing the line with 2 minutes to go my battery died. I had forgotten to change my battery before the run. Rookie mistake right there. This thus cost me the win and overall victory and I had to settle for 3rd on the podium. I ran SSLW impacts in all 3 A’s and was pretty pleased with them.

Gave away the win but a podium is still nice all considering! 🙂

Overall 3 more podium finishes to start the year and another Nitro truggy TQ and win. I’m looking forward to some redemption at the upcoming Nitro Challenge in truggy and hopefully can put it all together.

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2018 January Jam

January 9, 2018

The 2018 season has gotten underway with my first trip to the January Jam at Flowood R/C in Flowood, Mississippi. At this event I decided to run 3 buggy classes for the first time as I wanted to help promote the new Tekno EB410 as well as my 1/8th buggies. This meant my Truggy had to sit this one out, but it will be back again in a week and a half for the SIC. The layout this year was a lot of fun and it kept you busy with really no time to relax. Lots of lefts and rights made it hard to pass but it kept you on your toes and it was a lot of fun I thought. 

January Jam track

For most of the event I was using Clay typo’s in my 1/8th buggies and Clay Chainlink / X-Link in my 1/10th buggy. These tires were great and had lots of grip so long as I could stay in the groove. Knowing they wouldn’t last my Nitro final however I decided to try clay chainlinks in Q3 of Nitro buggy. They weren’t as good with the taller pin compared to the typo’s though. During qualifying I would take the overall TQ in all 3 classes on Saturday which was a nice birthday present for me. Now I had a decision to make for main day and what tires I would be running in Nitro buggy.

The bowl!

I had limited supply of Clay typo’s and I had to make them last and hopefully win the first two A-mains in E-buggy else I didn’t know what I would run in A3. I had a great first run in A1 taking a big win. In A2 though on my lower treaded tires were making my car a bit hard to drive and I made a couple mistakes and Jake got by me. I would catch him and a couple times he stuffed the pipe right in front of me and I would get the worst of it. Other times I caught up only to crash on my own. On the second to last lap though Jake got caught in an upside down car and flipped over, as I came through the section I got flipped over by the marshalls foot but he marshaled me first and I came away with the win. Not the way I would have wanted it to happen but that’s racing as they say. So with the A1 and A2 wins I was able to win the overall in E-buggy. I decided to run A3 to test tires for the Nitro buggy main. I put on Super Soft Long Wear impacts, which are my go to tires anymore. They felt good and my laptimes were still good so I mounted up a fresh set for the 30 minute Nitro buggy main to finish out the day. 

In the 1/10th buggy class I would have a commanding victory in A1 but in A2 I hit some marbles and broke a tie-rod in warmup. I didn’t have enough time to get back on the track so I got my car prepared for A3. In A3 I had another solid run taking the win and the overall in 1/10th 4wd Mod. I ran Clay Chainlink in front and Clay X-Link in the rear.

The last race of the day was the Nitro buggy 30 minute final. I chose to run the AKA Super Soft long wear double downs as I was out of impacts it seemed. They felt great though on the grooved track and my car was on rails. I got out to a quick lead and just pulled away from the field. My car was pivoting amazingly through the corners and everything was working great. I got a 1 lap lead before the 10 minute mark and was able to bring it home with a 3 lap margin of victory by the end of the run.

3 lap victory!

Overall I had a great time at the January Jam. It’s always good to see my friends in Flowood and have a good time racing. I got my 2018 off to a strong start and looking to keep the momentum going as I had to Alabama in a week + for the SIC event!

Trifecta complete!


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