Sunday March 18, 2012
Well my time in China has come to an end and I’m now actually sitting in the airport hotel in Hong Kong getting ready to catch some Z’s before my flight in about 7 hours. My time in China was great (except for China banning the use of facebook and my hotel not having internet connectivity the last 2 days.) Otherwise R/C wise the track was a blast and the people were very friendly and accomodating. I met a lot of great people and I was able to share a lot of my knowledge of driving style and in air control that the Chinese had never seen before. It was a pleasure to be able to show these people something new and be able to put on a good show. As for results I took the TQ and victory in E-Buggy. In Nitro Buggy I also took the TQ but had a still undiagnosed issue in the main which kept me from being able to run for more than about 5 minutes total. All said though the takeaway from the event was being able to make such a positive impact on the people in attendance and meeting so many great people. I also signed more items and took more pictures than I can count. It’s so gratifying seeing people who truly love the hobby and enjoying themselves at the track! I look forward to a return visit in the future!
Saturday March 17, 2012
What a blast! I think today I ran one of the most fun 10 minutes of my life! It all happened in Q2. First up was E-Buggy where I tried SS Gridirons and they were dialed. I was able to break my lap record and get down to a 28.3. My Durango DEX408 felt awesome and I started to get comfortable and throw down come nice whips off the jumps. Up right next was Nitro Buggy with my DNX408. In warmup I wasn’t terribly happy with my set-up. I think I crashed 5 times on the lap before coming in to fuel to start the race. However once the race started it was 10 minutes of awesomeness! I found a comfort that I don’t think I’ve ever exuded on a buggy. A level of comfort normally reserved for my truggy. With this track lending so well to my ‘all out’ style of driving and with nearly every jump section being a perfect ‘whip’ candidate it was all I could do to keep my grin from touching my ears. Jump after jump I exaggerated an ‘out of control’, ‘controlled run-away’, style of driving with whipping finesse that I’ve never been able to pull off before. I was inverting my car to where the chassis was probably 100* from being flat level. Every jump I tried to out do my last attempt and make it more extreme. The best was with about 2 laps to go on the back huge double leading into a 90* at the end of the straight I closed in on a competitor within a couple feet and through down a monster whip and ended up basically downsiding his car smoothly and kept on going! It was epic! The spectators were ooohing and ahhhing and I was just in my element! I can’t wait to go do it again tomorrow!
Friday March 16, 2012
Made it to China, this place in insane! Looking forward to doing some testing/practice today at the track! More updates to come.
Wednesday March 14, 2012
Had a long day at the track today testing, testing, testing. Came away with some good information but am still left with more testing to accomplish. Wasn’t able to go to the ‘race’ track again due to it pouring down rain on it again last night. So went again to the ‘practice’ track and dodged some drizzle throughout the day and got a rare glimpse of the sun for about 5 minutes in the late afternoon. Tomorrow I am jetsetting again as I head off on my first trip to China. Will be a 3 day race weekend in China, but my main focus while there will be the continued testing of the Alpha engines, pipes, ect.
Tuesday March 13, 2012
Did some testing today finally though on a different track that was a bit rough. Saw the sun for a few minutes and all I can hope is that it sticks around and gives us a good day tomorrow to do some testing on the track we raced at this past weekend. Also had some good talks with the Alpha Boss and some really good ideas were tossed around. I’m very excited for what’s coming down the pipe line out of Alpha and I know it’s going to be super positive for all customers! It’s such a blessing for me to be a part of such a great company and people. I’m having a great time, learning a lot, and hopefully helping to further the product and make it better for the end consumers!
Monday March 12, 2012
Today was a different kind of day. To start off did a 2 hour Journey into Taipei to do a photo shoot for the new “Lutz” edition engine. They brought in a #1 Taiwanese Model to do the shoot with me, (or for me to stand there looking dumb and her to do her thing and make the photo look alright! haha.) Anyways that was a fun hour of the photographer trying to keep me from looking so rigid. Should be some interesting photos when there done! After that went back to the Alpha Plus office because guess what….it was raining again! So I spent the last 5 hours of the day rebuilding my buggy for hopefully some testing on Tuesday. We have so much we want to test, just need some cooperation from the weather! Alpha also anodized most of the aluminum bits on my buggy to match my engine head! Looks sweet!
Sunday March 11, 2012
Arrived at the track bright and early this morning to see that it had rained a little again but the track was run-able. Then just before it was time to start racing the rains came again and it just became a mess. My mistakes yesterday that cost me my two qualifiers were compounded today as I was looking at having to run 3 x 15min mains and then a 30min main to be able to make the A-final. Well i’ve never had any luck in wet rainy conditions so I was just hoping to finish my first main. I was quite impressed that as the 15 minutes went by my engine was still running very good. I was able to win my first main by a few laps but brining my car back to the pit after the race I soon realized how much work was ahead of me. I only had 15 minutes before my next main would be up and this is what I had to work with:
So I did the best I could to get the heavies off as I could see that the rain wasn’t going to let up and the next run would be the same. So come that second main I shocked myself again and it ran as good as it could for the conditions and I took another victory by a couple laps. Here is what it looked like after that second main:
For the third main I got out front again early and got a lap or two lead but with 4 minutes to go the engine started to richen up and eventually it flamed out. We came back and replaced the plug and I went and did another lap or two and on the last lap it died again. Fortunately I had built enough of a lead that I still miraculously finished 4th in the final bump position to the semi’s. Unfortunately though the motor was toast having ingested some water and dirt. 🙁
So in the preparations for the Semi Finals we had to put a brand new engine in the car. This was going to require a lot of luck to get this engine to run correctly in these conditions. If you’ve read any number of my blog posts you will realize that one thing I don’t have is luck so you can guess what transpired in my semi. On the start the engine being so tight it ate a plug and I started a 1/2 lap back. After I got going again it wasn’t tuned right and it just flamed again. As they tried to adjust the tune I tried my best to convey in sign language how to adjust what I thought needed adjusting. Unfortunately the communication gap between English and Mandarin is to great and eventually I had to come off the drivers stand to change the plug and retune the engine. I then was able to run about 15 minutes but with 5 to go I crashed and the marshals were unexperienced paid marshals and it was literally a 15 second sit upside down and it flamed and that was that.
So some positives were I had a lot of fun on the track even with the unfortunate weather conditions we all had to deal with all weekend. I also did the best i’ve ever done in rainy conditions running for about 40 minutes of good running. Everyone was also saying I was still #1 because my lap times were much quicker than anyone. Either way I had a good time and look forward to my race in China next weekend.
In the meantime I have a photoshoot tomorrow for my “Lutz” edition engine as well as some testing tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday if the weather clears up.
Saturday March 10, 2012
Woke up today to look out my window and see dry ground! That was a great sign I thought. About halfway into the drive to the track however the skies were opened up and it was pouring! So I arrived at the track to find it under water yet again. Eventually the rain did let up and with some squeegees and yellow sponges the track crew was able to get the track in running condition by about 1 o’clock. This meant a shortened schedule for the day. They did 1, 5 min practice for all the heats, then sorted for Qualifiers. They then had 2 qualifiers of 6 min each.
I was able to TQ the practice round by 20 seconds in the 5 minutes. I was pleased with that. In my first qualifier however the racing portion of my day went sour. We spend most of the day trying just to stay warm in the cool temps and high winds. Thus really working on my car wasn’t a top thing on my mind. I didn’t feel like I had ran very much runtime on my car in the previous day so I didn’t think anything of my battery. However with 2 minutes to go in that first qualifier my batter took a dump and I bowed out on a TQ run. My lap times were about 1 – 2 sec a lap faster than the field but hey, if ya can’t finish…
Anyways round 2 came around and it was rocket round so I knew I just needed a good run. I had a great start and was on TQ run again. However I ended up having a mysterious cut a couple minutes in. We believe it was due to an older model glow plug that I had put in (not realizing that the design had sense been updated and improved) and we believe that is what caused the cut. This then gave me 2 DNFs so I will be in one of the first mains. I don’t quite understand the format for the mains but I just figure tomorrow I will get there and race, race, race until I come away with the checkered flag! haha.
I was told many people were happy that I didn’t qualify well. This was due to them being happy that they will get to see me run more tomorrow. They are impressed by my hammer down driving style and they want to watch it as much as they can! 😉
So tomorrow I will put on a show! Give the people what they want! 😀
Friday March 9, 2012.
Today got to head to the track in Taiwan to do some practice for the race meet this weekend. Turns out I brought some rain with me last night and the track had quite a bit of water on it when we got there. However with a few hours time and some yellow sponges the track got into running condition and I was able to turn a few laps to get used to the layout. A few drivers have been here for 3 days getting some track time in when the weather was nicer so i’m just glad I was able to put in a few tanks even with the track being a bit wet and muddy as apposed to grooved as it had been. My first time on the track I ran the Alpha Plus test Agama because the track was so muddy and they were kind enough to let me run it so I didn’t ruin my car. Also in case the rain came back I would at least be able to have some time on the track. After a few tanks another person let me drive their Hot Bodies car for a few tanks. So, after I had driven everyone elses car at the track I decided it was time to pull out my Durango for some laps.
I ran about 5 tanks of fuel through my buggy and in the end felt like I was pretty hooked up. At first sight of the layout I was a bit intimidated and put off by the 5 huge mogul corners in the middle of the track. However after getting accustomed to them I really eneded up liking them a lot. The track is a lot of fun. Only thing that is shocking to me is how everyone is parking at the end of the straight away where there is a perfect berm to launch your R/C into the windshield of a real car! I just know it’s going to happen! Anyways tomorrow is qualifications so I’m looking forward to laying down some good runs and having some fun.