January Jam 2017 @FRC

January 9, 2017

This year I will be writing a little different by including my teammate Joe Bornhorst in a lot of my recaps. Joe and I have put a wager on our season and I’ll explain that at the bottom of this post. First let’s recap the just concluded January Jam held in the icy state of Mississippi. With temps dipping below freezing and a super rare winter blast making roads and parking lots a sheet of ice, we were glad our racing was indoors. I was also glad salt trucks don’t exist in Mississippi as I got to practice my ebrake donuts in some empty parking lots in the rental car which was fun!

On to the racing which started with practice on Friday. We were running our standard 3 cars, being the Nitro buggy and truggy, as well as Ebuggy, with the new EB48.4. We spent the day dialing in our cars and figuring out the tire situation as the track was a bit slicker than usual being a totally fresh layout. All said and done we felt good at the end of the day and headed out to Habachi for dinner to celebrate my birthday. However seems they really don’t like to drive in snow and ice and nearly all businesses were closed. Only thing we found open was a Mexican restaurant, so I got to wear a sombrero and throw some whipped cream at Joe as my birthday dinner. Not my first choice but better than nothing.

Qualifying day was up next and we were told we could only double into the front option lane instead of doing the 5-2 we had been practicing. So for the nitro classes we had to learn to double triple double, and in Ebuggy we would double quint out. Joe and I were battling the entire time for TQ honors for the event. I would take the first two rounds of Ebuggy to secure the TQ. In Nitro Joe would take Q1 of truggy as I came back and got Nitro buggy. In Q2 we switched places in those classes thus setting up a Q3 battle for TQ. It didn’t end up being much of a battle though as I would make early mistakes in both, and Joe put in solid runs to take the TQ in the Nitro classes.

On main day we had a double A on tap for Ebuggy and 30min mains for Nitros. In Ebuggy we would battle for the first couple laps with Joe getting by as I got in the loose stuff out of the groove. He led as I tailed right behind until we caught traffic and he got gobbled up, and I found the clean way around and into a commanding lead. In the end stretching out to a 20 second or so victory. In A2 we again had a close first couple laps until I made a mistake trying to run together putting me upside down and into 10th or so. I quickly moved back into 2nd but a good number of seconds back. We stayed clean until the final minutes when Joe had some mistakes and I caught right up to his backside but missed the loop for the last lap by .1 tenth. However with combined laps and times I took the overall victory.

Nitro truggy was next and I wish I could say it was a battle, but it really wasn’t. Joe put on a clinic and I just didn’t have the comfort I’m used to feeling and he ended up with a lap victory as I came in 2nd. My positive for the race was doing 10 minute pit stops, and only taking about 110cc on each of them! Pretty awesome and I can’t wait to hit the next race!

Nitro buggy was the final race of the day and the most entertaining. We again got off to a close start swapping the lead a couple times before I again made a bigger mistake. I then had a terrible lap with 3 crashes as the track was developing some character with some bumps as well as some dust. My AKA Clay Typos were awesome in the groove but in the dust I had to be careful. Joe got out to a 10 second plus lead halfway through and I really thought he had it in the bag. But nearing the final 5 minutes he made some mistakes as his tires were making it hard for him to drive and I was able to catch up and put in a pass. I could feel something going out in my steering and was just praying it would stay together to finish the race, and fortunately with Joe pushing hard behind me he made another bobble or two giving me the cushion I needed to bring home the bacon.

So overall another Tekno sweep. I was able to come away with TQ and Win in Ebuggy as well as Victory in Nitro buggy and 2nd in Truggy.

Triple Podium!

Now on to the competition Joe and I have bet on. We bet each other $100 on whoever has the better season result total. Points will be calculated on events we attend together. Finishing position is worth that amount of points and TQ is -1 point. So for this event we are tied with 3 points each. I will keep track at the bottom of each blog post much like I did with the Tekno tally in the past.

Next up for us is the Southern Indoor Championships in 2 weeks! Looking to defend my sweep of the event!

Teammate Showdown:

Ryan: 3

Joe: 3


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Thank you Dutch Oven Designs for the awesome new shirts for 2017!

Going to get this season started this weekend at the January Jam in Flowood, Mississippi!

New swag for 2017 season

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This is a very sad day for me to part with a longtime sponsor and great friends. I have been with Alpha Plus Model Co, Ltd. for 7 years, and feel I have shown that you don’t need the most expensive engine to compete at the highest level of R/C. My friends at Alpha have been behind me 100% and have done way more for me than simply supply me with engines to race. At their recommendation, I entered into small business ownership with LutzRC, and they supported me with a great product, and customer service that I could use to grow my own business. I am forever grateful for that opportunity.


Hopefully you’ve had the chance to read my article “Silly Season and what it means for the Pro’s”.

Please know that there is any number of reasons for this change for me. I’m sure I could, but honestly I do not want to divulge into why I am making this change. Just know that for me, my family, and my current career path, that it is the decision that I have to make for myself.

 I wish Alpha Plus nothing but the absolute best. They truly are great people and are passionate about R/C car engines. Also to anyone that has purchased engines from me, please know that I am still available at any time to help you if you need assistance. Either by Facebook message, e-mail, or at the track.

-Ryan Lutz

Some of the Alpha Family

Vivian my Alpha contact and translator!


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Thank you for the generosity of those who bid on my trophies and memorabilia this year. We raised $3,278.76! All the winners told me to decide where to put the funds to use. So I chose a charity called Samaritan’s Purse. I was able to pick specific areas to donate which were as follows:

Thank you!

2 x wool bearing animals
3 x Goat or dairy animal
20 x Freshwater wells to be dug or fixed
2 x household filters for contaminated water
7 x baby chicks
18 x blankets
$1,000 towards Louisiana Flood Relief
$1,000 towards U.S. Disaster Relief

Thank you to all who participated by liking, sharing, bidding, or winning the auctions! Together we all can make a difference! 


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Here’s an article I just wrote for Tekno as part of their “Tales from the Team” articles.

Silly Season and What It Means For The Pro’s


“It’s that time of year when everyone in the R/C community goes out shopping for that shiny new deal that is going to radically fix their program and make them #1 in the world. With sponsorship of some level more prevalent than ever, it seems that nearly anyone can get some type of representation sponsorship. But what really garners the attention of the R/C community is when a top level pro driver is rumored to, or makes a big switch. 

People often boldly state in comments that what a pro driver uses for equipment has no bearing on them. But when a top name like Tessman or Maifield is rumored to be making a chassis change, there are hundreds of shares and thousands of comments on Facebook about the topic. We can’t help it. It’s juicy and captivating in our tight nit community to see what those who make a living at this hobby are going to do next.

Equipment does matter, especially for the Pros!

But do you ever think about what it truly means, and why these deals are happening? Is the driver not happy with where they are, or is the company not satisfied with said driver? Is there another company wooing said driver away with a better deal and promises of grandeur? Is it always about the money or could it possibly be about the opportunity to race with or work with people they like better? Is the driver seen as #2 on the team but wants to be somewhere where they are #1? Is the company in financial hardship and cleaning house or is there a pattern to certain companies based on Worlds years? 

Do you also consider that for these few drivers who make a living at R/C racing, that many of them are primarily classified as independent contractors? They are participating in this hobby at the highest level and doing so on generally year by year, or maybe a 2-year basis. Contracts tend to be short, and there can be a lot of unknowns heading into a contract year for the driver. Especially those who have a family to support, they are always at risk of it all not being able to work out in the near future. 

Jump or stay in the boat??

This hobby is fun, and it’s why we all get started in it. But as with anything, when it becomes your job or career there can be things about it that aren’t as rosy as when it was just a hobby. Also because this hobby favors late teens to early 30’s it can be a risky life choice to make. Many forgo higher education to be able to participate and compete at the top in this hobby. There also should be sights set on the exit strategy when those younger kids with faster reflexes begin tearing up the scene.

It is all about choices!

So when you look at these top names making moves as we enter each silly season, maybe try to figure out the reasons behind it. There’s more than one possibility and just as every one of us is unique, so is our life situation, and our career path through this awesome hobby! Here’s to everyone settling in where they can be the most successful and to an amazing 2017 racing season!”

Make sure YOU make the right choices and stick with them! 😉

Happy silly season to all!

-Ryan Lutz


Original Link here: http://www.blog.teknorc.com/2016/12/12/tales-from-the-team-silly-season-by-ryan-lutz/

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