October 13, 2017
Tekno has just released their brand new EB410, 1/10th Electric 4wd buggy to the market, and we took it to Vegas to put it through the paces against some world caliber competition. Joe and I set off last Saturday, where we arrived a little late, and unfortunately missing out on the drivers briefing and included buffet dinner! The location was the WestGate Resort and Casino in Ballroom A where we would be duking it out over the coming week. This would be only my 2nd time running the buggy (last time was maybe 5 packs worth a few months ago on clay) and my first time ever running offroad on carpet. The car is new, our knowledge of the surface was sparse, and we learned quickly it was going to be a team effort to try to compete against the stiff competition.
When we awoke the next morning it was time to get our feet wet and see what we could do. I was first to give it a try and while there is video evidence of the occasion I can’t recommend you watch it. I was all over the place and crashing everywhere! Talk about feeling like I just started again. So over the course of the first day I tried lots and lots of set-up changes but nothing really fixing my issues. You see I figured out this weekend I am a “Macro” guy while Joe and Mason are more able to feel the “Micro” changes. So while they can change one thing or two and say it did this or that better, oftentimes I can’t feel that. I more or less have an overarching issue that I want corrected (i.e. lifting inside rear, or dumping on the front) and if it can’t correct one of those main themes then I can’t feel what it actually changed.
As we ended day one Joe and Mason were working together and starting to get closer. I was still a little on my own trying some random and crazy things just seeing if I could get it to work. The Macro themes I was trying to solve were the rear inside lifting, the car dumping hard on the front when cornering, and all in all transferring a lot of weight around on acceleration and braking. At one point I tried smaller holed pistons to try to slow down the roll speed but ran way to heavy oil in them and it was nearly undriveable. At least that answered some things for me. At the end of practice we were getting closer and we headed up to our hotel room to brainstorm over what changes we could make.
We went and looked online at some AE carpet set-up sheets and all of them were saying they were adding 50g behind their motor and their overall weight was around 1800g. Now in the last couple practice sessions I actually put in a smaller 3600 ProTek LiHV and had my car down around 1,640g if I remember correctly. So this made me decide that I should go back to the heavier 4900 ProTek LiHV battery. I also opted to put in a full size Futaba S9373SV servo and we added 50g of weight to the rear of the chassis. Another thing we were trying to fix was the rear bouncing on landing. We were running 1.7×2 pistons front and rear. In looking at those AE set-ups we saw they were running 1.6×2 front and 1.9×2 rear. To me it didn’t make sense why we had the same piston front and rear. We did some slow mo drop tests and sure enough we were pack bouncing in the rear. So I figured we should run 1.7×2 front and 2.0×2 rear. So we made some up and they were better for sure. I even decided to run 2.1×2 rear personally to try to get a little more rear roll.
So we got some morning practice before quals started and I believe we all felt we made progress on the rear shocks and adding the weight. The car felt more balanced. Now for Q1 I went out and it was the best it had been but I still felt it was diving on the front a bit to much and lifting the inside rear. I decided to do another change that it looked like most 4wd guys were running and that was to have the same diff oil front and rear. Joe and Mason were running 10-60-4 in theirs and they were happy but for some reason I wasn’t. Well when I took my diffs out I saw a mistake I had made. I had put the 5K in the front and 10K in the rear. But instead of just correcting that issue I decided to try the ‘square’ diff set-up. I went 12-60-12 for my next run along with a few other changes including laying my front shocks all the way in from being one hole higher. For this run my steering got super aggressive and the car was hooking and had a traction roll feel still.
So for Q3 I went to almost the same diffs that Joe and Mason were running which was 10-60-5 (they had 4 in the rear). I also went to -3 camber all the way around and kind of copied Joe and Mason’s set-up. It was the best my car had been but still felt to much roll for me. There was some practice after this first day of qualifying and I kept adding front toe out to mellow out the front and it was working. I probably ended up around +3 or +4 degrees of front toe out and it really helped smooth out the steering. I also move the front shock back up one hole on the tower to support it a bit better and my car was the best it had been.
Day 2 of qualifying saw a bit more practice in the morning thankfully. I say that because the night before was an included all you can eat Taco bar for all the participants. Many of the other drivers came over to check out our cars in that time and Maifield gave us a lot of feedback on things he noticed and what he personally does for such high traction carpet. There was some things that we simply couldn’t change for this past weekend. He said our body was way to heavy and possibly to high as well. (For sure something we will look into for the future). Also he gave us lots of comments on roll centers and what he likes on his cars. On top of it all said how important it is to have the car flex as much as possible. (Basically he could take his cars and make the shock tower touch if he wanted to it’s so flexible. Now we couldn’t go so extreme at this race as our parts supply was limited if something were to happen, but it just goes to show you what lengths the pro’s go to, to get an edge on the track.) So when we went back to the room Mason and I took his feedback and totally changed the roll centers of the car. We raised the rear roll center a lot, we took out all the anti-squat and rear toe that we were running and lowered the front roll center a bit more. The next morning in practice and in Q4 the car was the best it had been for us. Joe was still running the set-up we came from and he was happy with that, and it’s what he would stick with the rest of the weekend. Now it was Mason and I developing this new direction we were heading.
For Q5 I tried a shorter rear link and I liked how it changed directions quicker but my macro theme was it was still dumping to hard on the front corner when steering, but I did get my best qualifying result in 4th. We tried a few more things for Q6 but it just wasn’t any better, but I did get another solid run in 5th. We got lucky as they allowed some more open practice after qualifying was over and we kept at it with the changes. The one that helped the most was doing max sweep back of the front A and B block (A out and B in). This is the first thing that really seemed to help support the front end a bit better in these high speed corners.
Now throughout the event we also learned to cut two rows off the outside and one row off the inside of the rear tires to help it to catch less. We also started to glue the sidewall of the front tires to make it less aggressive on the steering. All of this and we started to put in some mid 17 second laps and we were getting close to on pace as main day approached.
Joe, Mason, and I all made it into the A-main with me qualifying 5th while Joe and Mason were 7th and 8th respectively. In A1 my car was feeling great! I absolutely got the jump on Cav in 4th on the start and was right on his bumper. Over the first double section he and Broc collided and I snuck by into 3rd. I wasn’t able to keep pace with Maifield and Rivkin, but I held my own in the position and came home in 3rd! In A2 I quickly moved into 4th and had a great race with Cav. I got by him in the middle of the race and held 3rd for a lap but I got nervous being in that position and I pushed out in a few corners allowing him to get back by and Broc as well at the end. I had to settle for a 5th in A2. To end the day we had A3 and again Cav and I were tight battling for 3rd as Broc made a mistake early again. Suddenly a few laps in Cav’s car locked up in the corner before the double and I snuck under into 3rd. I wasn’t driving as good in this one as the realization that I could actually podium was becoming possible. Wernimont started to catch me and got within a second for the last 2 minutes or so. But I was able to hold him off and cross the line in 3rd to take the overall 3rd place on the podium!
This was such a huge result for Tekno on their first big event with the new buggy. We struggled at the start but I would say that is to be expected on such a tough surface to set-up for and our limited or non existent practice on a similar surface. We worked awesome together as a team to develop the set-up and while we ended with 3 different set-ups at the end (Mason and I were pretty close, and we were hoping to each try each others cars at the end to compare but there wasn’t time.) we were all able to get the same lap times and feel confident with the set-ups we had.
There was for sure things we didn’t have access to that could have helped us at this event and could have been used to drastically change our set-up. For instance we really were wanting more support for the front end and felt we could use a stiffer front spring. But we were already using the stiffest they have at this time and so our set-up had to get tailored around that. Also a lighter body and perhaps lower profile body would have also helped to lower the CG. It seems based on this event that for such high grip Carpet you want a bit heavier of a car with as much flex as you can put into it and the lowest CG of weight as you can get. Perhaps if we had a stiffer front spring we wouldn’t have needed to add weight to the rear? It’s hard to say right now an only more track time is going to allow us to answer such questions. But for this one event we worked together great and came away with great results for our first big event with the Tekno EB410!
-To gain more flex in the car we loosened all the chassis screws except the motor mount and bulkheads. We didn’t run the rear chassis braces. We loosened all non-critical upper screws as well. (Please only do this at your own discretion. It can cause more car damage on hard hits)
-We felt it beneficial to ‘re-bleed’ the shocks between every run. Basically we would just prop up the car, remove bleeder screw, push arm up slowly and reinsert bleeder screw. No oil should come out but it keeps the shocks at the same pressurization for each run. (1/10th is just a little more sensitive ya know!)
-Ran a Tekin RSX with Redline Gen 3 5.5 motor. I had stock timing on the motor but 5 boost and 20 turbo in the speedo for this larger 1/10th track. Also ran around 45 drag brake!
-Please note that many of the set-up changes we did with adding rear weight and such aren’t going to be necessary for stock and 13.5 classes. Matt Wolter’s car was pretty dialed in the 13.5 class and he wasn’t running the weight. But at the speeds us Mod guys are running and trying to compete against the top guys who are just ballistic, it’s just what we needed to do this weekend!
September 25, 2017
This past weekend I took a drive east to LCRC to attend the East Coast Race Against Cancer. This was the events first time at this location and it turned out the most entries in it’s history. Over 310 entires filled out the 28 heats of racing and made for a competitive and fun weekend of racing. This was my first time attending the event and I was very impressed by the amount of generosity and camaraderie I noticed throughout the weekend. In the end over $14,000 was raised for the Cause and tons upon tons of prizes were donated and raffled off and I think everyone went home a winner!
As far as the racing went I got off to a hot start taking the TQ in all 3 classes in round number 1. This weekend Joe and I chose to run Ebuggy, Nitro Buggy, and we chose Etruggy to compliment the larger class that’s more popular on the East coast. Now usually Joe has my number in the E-classes but this weekend my electric finger was perhaps working better than ever. I was utilizing much more restraint than usual especially in the etruggy class and my ET48.3 was just on rails. They were utilizing rocked round in qualifying so it only took one good run. In Q2 of etruggy Joe and I were battling tooth and nail and I was able to eek him out by 0.2 tenths on the last lap to take the TQ. I was also able to hold on to and TQ all 3 classes at the end of qualifying to start on pole for the mains.
Single A-mains were on tap and we started with E-truggy. I got out to a good start and Joe and I separated from the pack. About 4 laps in Joe made an inside pass on me in the top left corner of the track but I took it right back in the next corner. He continued to follow close until about the 7 or 8 minute mark when he tried to turn up the heat and instead made a mistake allowing me to sail into the sunset for victory.
Nitro buggy was next and I think I chose to hard of a tire. I went with soft long wear impacts and I think should have stayed on the regular soft that I had been running. Either way Joe and I were once again battling for the first 15 minutes of this 25 minute final. While leading with 10 minutes to go I tagged the pipe putting me on my lid and by the time the marshal got to me I flamed out and it was near the end of a lap so I really lost about a lap and a half. With just the 10 minutes left in the race I settled into 5th position which is where I would finish with Joe taking the victory flag for Tekno.
Ebuggy capped off the evening and I was back on my soft impacts for this one. This time Joe made a catastrophic early mistake on the first lap and it was a cruiser for me. I was almost wanting to stop and watch the 3 way battle for 2nd as they were duking it out for a good 5 minutes. In the end Joe would get back into 2nd for another Tekno 1-2 finish.
This weekend was also a first for me in that I won my first big raffle prize ever. I won the Tekno NT48.3 that was donated by Tekno!! Of course I immediately said we would redraw for a winner and I went over and picked the next winning ticked to take home the awesome truggy!
This is absolutely a must attend event. Nearly everyone has been affected by cancer in one way or another. The cause is worthy and the race is just a great time. They do an awesome job getting tons of raffle prizes for this race and if you can make sure to put this one on your calendar for next year!
Next up I am going to try my hand at carpet offroad (does that even go together?) for the first time! I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can adapt quickly. 🙂
September 19, 2017
This past weekend I made the trek down south to Louisiana for the 2017 rendition of the Southern Nationals. I didn’t attend last year but the track upon arrival had that same feel to it as previous years. That is it had huge amounts of dirt and elevation changes that are not seen anywhere else. The layout this year seemed a little more tamed down but it had a great flow to it and the competition was as good as ever. I would be running my primary 3 classes and looking to put in some good results as this race had in the past always yielded subpar results for me.
Once qualifying got underway I started to get a mixed bag of results. In the classes I was running the best in during the runs I started to have the worst luck in those. In all 3 of my truggy heats I was in the lead on TQ runs when something would happen to knock me out of contention. In the buggy classes I would be close and able to put in all top 5 runs but never a real breakout qualifier. It was my first race in a long time when I wasn’t able to TQ at least one round of one of my classes. After qualifying was complete I found myself qualified 3rd in both Nitro buggy and E-buggy and 4th in Nitro Truggy.
Saturday evening they did a dash for cash pursuit type race where the top 3 in Nitro buggy sportsman, open, and pro would battle it out for 4 minutes to see who the winner would be. I just made it into the Nitro buggy dash and about 2.5 minutes in I was able to work into the lead with Maifield and Bornhorst right behind. Soon Maifield and I were battling for the lead and I clipped a pipe in the top center drop down falling a second or two back with 2 laps to go. On the final lap I started to catch up just a little and a back marker over the back jump caused Maifield to have to short it which put us in a dash down the final right straight shoot coming into the finish line over the corner wedge. I just sent it in and hit the run on the face of the center of the jump and Maifield tubed it on the inside as the announcer went wild and I somehow came away with the win. If nothing else it was super exciting for the spectators!
Sunday was main day and first up was A1 of E-buggy. Starting 3rd and moved up to 2nd on the 2nd lap and then into the lead on the 4th lap with Bloomfield and Maifield right behind. But it wasn’t meant to be as my weekend gremlins bit again and I lost a steering spindle screw pulling me out of the race. In A2 and A3 I would have decent starts in both and they were very similar races for me. I would be close for about 3 minutes at the front before making a mistake dropping me back into the 3 or 4 position which is where I would finish out. In the end taking 4th place just off the podium.
Next was the Pro Nitro Truggy A-main and boy was this one a doozie. I chose to run AKA Soft impacts and starting from the 4th position and it all tangled up around the first berm and corner. Bornhorst and Ogden got away and the rest of us played demo derby for far to long. I came across on lap one in 9th place but by lap 4 was able to get into 4th. Unfortunately another traffic incident lost me 7 seconds and 8 positions putting me to 12th on lap 5. All the while Joe and Cole were getting away and already had a good 15 second lead on me. It wasn’t looking to good but I resolved to just get into a rhythm the best I could and move my way through the pack and see where I could end up. It took me just another 5 laps to move back into 4th and by lap 16 I was up to 3rd and probably about 18-20 seconds behind the leaders. I would stagnate through the middle section of the race. My set-up not feeling perfect but perhaps it was just the tough conditions with the decently high traction but lots of dust! As we approached the lap 40 mark Bloomfield was making a charge on me and we found ourselves in our own battle for 3rd and 4th. He was driving great and for about 10 laps he got by me and I was muddling around in 4th.
I was able to regain my rhythm though and by lap 55 I was back into 3rd and started pulling away a little. Now I set my sights back on the front of the pack. There was around 12 minutes to go and I was still probably 18 seconds back but I began to put in my fastest consistent laps of the race and I kept hearing the leaders making bobbles and battling together and I knew it wasn’t over yet. By lap 65 or so I had them in my sights and I knew it was going to be a 3 horse race. We all did our final pit stop which had me come out right behind Joe for 2nd. I pressured him in the uphill S section and got the inside and he conceded the position to allow me to press forward to challenge Cole who was about 4 seconds ahead. About 7 laps later Cole made a mistake and I snuck underneath as he was correcting his car and into the lead on lap 76 where I would then lead out the final 7 laps of the race to take the overall victory! There was a lot of adversity I went through before and during that race and I was pretty happy to come away with the come from behind victory!
Last race of the day was the Nitro buggy A-main and I chose to run AKA Soft Enduro on front and Impacts on the rear. Starting 3rd on the grid again, I again got absolutely ran over on the start in the berm corner. I yelled out a big WOW as I couldn’t believe it. Coming across on that first lap I was in 8th and Maifield was already getting away. People were making mistakes all over though and by lap 4 I would be back into 3rd and even on lap 13 momentarily take 2nd position but with a really bad lap I would fall back to 3rd again. I kept making little mistakes throughout the run. The ones that stuck with me the most were stuffing the pipe on the top left step-up a couple times which just absolutely sucked the momentum out of me. Midway through the race I was 25 seconds or so behind the leader and probably around 10 seconds behind Bloomfield in 2nd. The final quarter of the race I tried to do what I did in truggy. I started to mount a charge and Maifield had to come in to do a tire change as he had a blow out. This put Bloomfield and Maifield into a battle for the lead and I was about 12 seconds back at that point. I whittled away at it and with about 5 minutes to go they were one lane above me. I really felt like I was going to do it again! I had the momentum and they were battling. I even got into 2nd for one lap on lap 67 on my pit in lap but 4 laps later on lap 71 I made 3 second crash which just put them slightly out of reach. My last 7 laps of the race were excellent but it was just to little to late and I was about 7 seconds out of the lead at the end of the race.
Overall it was a challenging weekend for me. Lots of little gremlins and feeling sick as well on Saturday and Sunday really slowed me down a bit physically. To come away with a Win, 3rd, and 4th after all of that was a success in my book. It’s a race i’ve really never done good at and so I felt pretty good about how it all finished up all considering. I even was able to move up to 4th overall in the Top 25 RC Ranking after this event and i’m only 1 point out of first. Next qualifying race I believe for me is Nitro Challenge which last year I finished 9th. So with a good finish there I amazingly actually have a shot at the top.
Next up Joe and I are heading to LCRC for the East Coast Race against Cancer this weekend. Hoping to feel better and be able to be there to support a great cause!
August 24, 2017