This past week I attended the ROAR 1/8th Electric and 4x4SC Off-road Nationals at Stateline R/C in Fremont, Indiana. This years attendance was so-so for a 1/8th E-nats with around 160 entires. The facility and welcoming was once again near the top of what I ever encounter. They go out of their way to make you feel welcome and provided everyone with a buffett style lunch and a pancake breakfast during the week.
The week was interrupted a couple of times by some heavy downpours and thunderstorms which ended up altering the schedule a little. However thanks to the hard work of the track crew and the supplied nearly full track sized tarp they laid out across the track, we were able to get in more racing than would have otherwise been possible.
The event was comprised of 2 days of practice, 4 qualifiers, and the mains. For me qualifying was pretty solid but I didn’t have any real stand out runs. In 4×4 SC our goal was to navigate a couple of the tough doubles that were tough to keep the nose up. Even buggies were getting kicked over them and it made it even tougher for SC. In 3 of the 4 rounds I would come away with a 2nd place finish and thus qualify 2nd overall. In Etruggy I had a mediocre start until I got things figured out a bit. First two runs were top 5 runs but in Q3 I was running 2nd until my transponder didn’t count on the last lap and thus they dropped me to 3rd for the run. Then in Q4 I was on a TQ run with just a minute or so to go when I had a servo let go. So that would qualify me 5th overall for the mains.
In buggy it was a similar story to truggy. My first runs being just mediocre as I was working with my set-up. In Q3 though I coupled my driving with my set-up and drove cleaner. I was on TQ run through the middle of the run before making a mistake on the left side of the track actually ending up off the track briefly. This had me settle for 2nd for that round. Then in Q4 Rivkin and I battled the entirety of the run. I was able to lead just a couple of the laps midway through but we were close on the track and on the clock the whole run. I would take another 2nd and thus qualify 3rd overall for the A final.
They decided to run A1’s on Saturday night after qualifiers were complete as the forecast for Sunday wasn’t looking all that great. Buggy final was up first and it was a pretty intense race. At the start Rivkin made a mistake on lap one allowing me into 2nd behind Maifield. I made a bobble on lap 7 allowing Cavalieri by for 2 laps before regaining 2nd place. Then on lap 14 Maifield made a mistake on the top left double and I got by and into the lead! I led for 3 laps before traction rolling coming into the S section! By the time I got marshaled I was back in 3rd just ahead of Joe. On lap 22 Joe would get by me and I would work on staying right with him. On the last lap in the front left hip jump he landed tight and I was mid air. When I came down my tire landed on his wing. It was a racing incident as far as I could tell and the ROAR official agreed and it allowed me into 3rd overall.
In 4x4SC it was a goal to stay with Maifield as he was in one of his dominant forms this weekend. I feel like I held my own staying within 2-3 seconds of him the entire run. I ran a clean race with every lap being within 0.7 tenths. However it was only enough to take 2nd place about 3 seconds behind Maifield in the end.
In the E-truggy class I just never really got anything going. I struggled from the get go starting in the 5 slot. I stayed with the front pack but never was able to mount anything. I briefly got by Joe a couple times when he made mistakes but he would get back by and I would settle into 5th, hoping I would be able to go make some changes and come back stronger in A2.
However come Sunday morning the skies were ominous. The tarp was on and the feeling was that rain would hit any moment. There was a window that they probably could have ran and got the A2’s in but the fear of rain kept it from happening. Finally the tarp was removed and they ran a quick 2 minute practice run for all the remaining mains to get the track ready. They were able to start and run the first main and as it finished up and we were standing in line to run our first A2 the skies started to open and they decided to pull the tarp. That’s the last we would see of the track as the rains came down hard and the event was eventually called.
So in the end I got another 3 top 5 ROAR Nats finishes including two podiums. Next up I head down South to Mississippi for the Bring the Heat event at Flowood!
This year with having moved to the midwest I decided to take the 7 hour drive over to NY to race the Big Apple Novarossi Challenge. Last year the results were perfect with 3 TQ’s and 3 Wins and I was looking for a repeat performance. This year there was some serious threats of rain and while it did rain us out of practice early on Friday we were able to get 3 quals in on Saturday before the rains came again that night. Sunday opened with a slight delay but we got a fourth qualifier in and all the mains for some great racing action.
In qualifying my cars were pretty dialed into the track. I ran my standard Nitro buggy, Nitro Truggy, and E-buggy which kept me plenty busy whilst also helping others dial in their Alpha engines! I’ve never seen so many Alpha plus engines at an event so that was absolutely great to see. In E-buggy I would go on to TQ the first 3 rounds of qualifying giving me the overall TQ. I ran SS Grids when the track was wet and transitioned to Soft Impacts in front and Grids in Rear for the dryer qualifiers. Truggy I felt pretty dominant in but it’s the one class I didn’t TQ two of the rounds. In Q2 I had some traffic troubles and in Q4 I had an old glow plug go out on me. But my two TQ rounds were by a large margin and I was able to overall TQ. My Nitro buggy was pretty dialed and through qualifying the track got rougher and rougher. It seemed as though the harder the track got the more I would win my qualifiers by and I TQ’d all 4 qualifiers in Nitro buggy!
After that morning delay on Sunday morning from the overnight rains we were racing and first up for me was E-buggy A1. At the start I made a mistake pushing wide and hitting a blown out portion of the little double double and falling back to 4th. But I fought back and into the top 3 where we swapped positions for the first few minutes. One front runner bowed out with an electronic issue and I started to find my groove and pulled away to an A1 victory.
Truggy 30min final was next and I led out for the first few laps until I tagged a stalled car allowing Drake to get by. He would then lead out for a couple laps until he made a mistake and that was all she wrote. I set sail getting into my groove and going on to lap the field in the 30 minute final. The biggest story was the battle for 2nd as my Teammate Kyle Rhodes battled the Drake for the last portion of the race to take a deserved 2nd for a Tekno-Alpha 1-2 finish in the truggy class! I was running Soft Impacts on front and Soft Gridirons on the rear.
E-buggy A2 was next and it was slightly more straight forward as I made sure to stay clean at the start and stay out front. Drake gave me some heavy pressure at the start but I would eventually work on my lead and extend out to a nice victory in A2 and thus the overall win.
So now I was 5/6ths of the way to the repeat trifecta and was feeling good as my Nitro buggy was running awesome. First we would have to navigate a semi-final to qualify in the A-main. At the start I got out clean beginning and immediately started to pull away from the pack. I got about 5 laps in and already had a 5 second lead and my car was dialed. But then I heard the dreaded sound of gear crunching. Turned out both rear diff pinion bearings blew out on me. I swapped them out quick as I could but missed 5 minutes of the 20 minute final and by the time I got back on the track I was 8 laps out of a transfer spot. I drove hard as I could that last portion of the race but only was able to get within 4 laps of the transfer spot. And so that ended my weekend a bit early. I chose to run Soft Zipps and my car was so dialed. I really think the A-main would have been mine to loose but alas that’s racing.
Next up is the ROAR E-Nats at Stateline followed by Bring the Heat at Flowood, MS!
June 27, 2016
This past weekend I took the semi-short flight down south to Cullman, Alabama to attend AMS 7.0. This year was the biggest edition yet with 620 entires spread across 3 days of practice and racing. For me I ran my primary 3 classes of Nitro Buggy and Truggy as well as electric 1/8th buggy. Tekno had a strong presence at the event and overall we had a good time and some great results.
It all started on Thursday with semi controlled practice of 5 minute sessions on and off. Tires were the big difference this year as the track was super packed in and the grip level seemed higher than it has been in years past. Whereas it used to be Super soft was the ticket throughout the weekend, we were now using things like clay compound, Soft long wear, and I even heard someone mention medium. Temperatures were hot in the mid 90’s and humidity was as you would expect which is super muggy.
After the day of practice I felt I had settled on Soft or Soft Long Wear for truggy and Clay for Buggies. But as the first qualifiers went off in buggy I felt a little loose when I would hit some of the dust with the clay tires. So I went from super hooked up on the groove to loose to hooked up and it just didn’t feel consistent. So I would end up going to soft and then soft long wear throughout the rest of the weekend in all classes.
My qualifiers were a mixed bag with truggy being my best. In the first qualifier it was random sort and traffic was a challenge to get through. There was 17 vehicles on the track on a 26 second a lap track. The general rule of thumb is to have no more than 1 car per 2 seconds of track. So we had 4 extra vehicles on the track which made it a challenge to get around at times. Overall though I would finish 2nd in the first two qualifiers in truck and then put it together to take the TQ in the 3rd round. Phend would be the overall TQ though in the class.
In buggies I had decent round 1’s taking 2nd in Ebuggy and 3rd in Nitro buggy. In round 2 I struggled a bit more in e-buggy but had a solid 2nd in Nitro buggy. Rd 3 wasn’t so great for the buggies as I tried impacts and they were to edgy causing me to traction roll off the track during the run. So my tire choice was set for the mains with Soft Long Wear zips being the choice.
First up was A1 of E-buggy. This was one of the worst races of my life. Something just felt off with my car and it was determined after the run that I had a slight issue with my servo saver not staying centered. If taking any kind of hit it could repositions left or right about 5*. So every couple jumps or something my steering would be way off and I was frantically trying to fix it in the radio to drive straight. This led to many many mistakes and a poor 13th finish. In A2 though we got the issue sorted out and my e-buggy was good. Starting from the 6th position I quickly moved up in the pack as mistakes were made by those ahead of me. I soon found myself behind Joe and because he had nothing to loose by letting me by, he did so and I went on to win by a few seconds. Overall though with a 13th in A1 I would finish 6th. Joe though did awesome and took the TQ and victory for Tekno!
Truggy was next and this was the class I knew I had the best chance in this weekend. My soft long wear impacts felt great. During warmup though my car just felt softer than it had all weekend. So at the start Phend got away a little bit leading up to the first pit stop. I was working to make adjustments to my driving to compensate for the softer feel and I began to find a groove. Soon Phend would make a mistake and seemed to get rattled and just before the first pit I assumed the lead and didn’t look back. I put it in fast cruise control just making sure I was hitting my lines as some parts of the jump faces launched lower and it was faster when hitting them there. So my goal was to put my truck where it needed to be and in the end I came out victorious! Another victory for my Tekno NT48.3!
Nitro buggy was the last race of the day and boy was it eventful! Right from the get go we were waiting on a driver in warmup who went to change their radio tray. So we were getting some extended practice when the TQ also had an issue and I believe also was going to change their radio tray. So after about 8 minutes or so of off and on practice laps as the program was being held up for these drivers my car stops on the track too! I run down and notice I was out of fuel. So I filled it up and got it re-fired and we still had about another 3 minutes of waiting until the main finally got under way with all the original drivers.
If I remember correctly I shorted the right step up a little on the first lap and got caught in the freight train and knocked back to 6th or so from starting 2nd. This is where I would stay for much of the first 10 minutes or so. I was struggling a bit with set-up as my car was dumping a bit in the rear around corners and I was working hard on getting smoother and getting my consistency up. So I was mired back in 5th or 6th when crazy things started happening. Front runner after front runner started having failures and soon Joe was in the lead and I was in 2nd 10 seconds back. It was a great scenario with Tekno 1-2 and I had about 12 minutes or so to try to whittle down the gap. I had a renewed sense of confidence and I was clicking off some good laps. But with around 7 minutes to go disaster struck for me as well. I missed my pit in lap because I didn’t hear my pit guys and I ran out on the next lap. This caused me to settle for 5th in the end of the main.
At the end though I gave Joe a high five for his first bigger race buggy victory! (Congrats Joe!) I did what I could and at least came away with a victory in A2 E-buggy and the Truggy title!. Also Tekno won all 3 pro classes with Joe taking both buggies!
Next up for me is the Novarossi Challenge in New York in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to heading back to that event and eating some of the best chicken i’ve ever had! 🙂
June 13, 2016