Monday, 16 May 2011

Time for some electric racing (at last)

Time for a weekend out from nitro action, and a trip to TORCH instead. The big question, what to run? Not the Mid-Rat, as that's sans electrics at the moment, and I didn't want to run the 'Rango this time out as it's too full on. I wanted something more relaxing, so the X-Pro had a chance to see the sun.

Rolling up track side it was good to see most of the Clanfield Massive in attendance, along with the RC-Lazy mob. Handy, as I had a few bits to pick up from Mr Crabb, giving him a chance to try out his swanky new credit-card-in-a-field thingamy-whatsit.

What was also obvious was that the TORCH track pixies had been hard at it since my last visit, as evidenced by a new large table top by the rostrum, and a couple of new ramps through the far chicane section. Could be fun for me, as the I've always had fun flying the X-Pro, I'm used to the control 4 wheel drive gives in the air and I miss it with two wheel drive. What was also obvious was the growing popularity of TORCH, with a very large turn out for a 'regular' club event. Good stuff but it did mean that the 'morning' envelope was going to be some what pushed.

TORCH's reputation is definitely on the rise!

With the rest of the Clanners running 4 wheel drive (we must finance Durango the number we have between us!) I was up first, running in heat three. The driver was definitely rusty, as the qualy was scrappy and all over the shop, 9 laps in 5:44 being a lot slower than my best. It was also obvious that with huge levels of grip and the new jumps the mid-motor brigade (X6, Vega, TLR22 and Cougar) were by far the best car to have, which I guess is all the more reason to finally get around to sorting out the Mid Rat.

Round 2, and disaster at the start. A stupid grip role, and lack of marshal, delayed me significantly at the start, and then to be honest I drove like a tit... fast at times but ragged and all over the shop. Aggression and the huge grip conspired against me and huge grip induce barrel roles were order of the day. In all honesty I'm amazed nothing broke!

For round three I want back to basics. A little more camber, slightly more ride height and 20g of weight in the rear end were order of the day. Out on track the car felt loads better, and I was starting to calm down and flow the track. I was still suffering with the excess grip, I like a car that slides and the dry, warm fuzzy felt meant that was never going to happen. Still a 9 in 5:21 at least showed me I could still drive a little bit.

Tony Evdoka's Vega Elite was on fire...

Round 4 was more of the same, quick but inconsistent and a 9 in 5:33 after a couple of massive grip roll incidents, all of which put me mid field in the 'C' final. TQ was taken by the legendary Tony Evdoka with his Team Xtreme Vega Elite, which was on fire all morning running consistently quick 10 lap qualifiers and in real danger of sticking in an 11. He just needs to find another 5 seconds.

My final was a disaster, I got shuffled down the order at the start, and although I was quicker than the other cars over a lap, I just couldn't push through the traffic. The end result was 7th in the 'C', which was disappointing. I need to do some serious work on my 2wd driving I think... some new tyres probably wouldn't hurt either.

The 'B' final was entertaining, Simon Crabb and Matt Haskell having a great ding-dong scrap for second and third, Simon taking it in the end by two seconds with Rob Elems some way in front for the win.

The 'A' final was all about Tony E as he finished 4 seconds up on Phil Williams. The 'A' final was packed out with TLR 22', and it was interesting to see that only one 'conventional' rear-motored car made the A, Mark Townsend running his TRF. The mid-motor concept does seem to be the way to go on astro at the moment...

The 'A' final four wheel drive was up next, so it was time to cheer on the Clanners. Tony had recovered from a massive stack that had decapitated his Durango before round three (radio issues), and having gone down to a 7.5 motor was looking good. Dave O'Brien had works some magic on Tony's speedo and he seemed to be liking it. Cammers had looked fast and smooth all day and it was becoming obvious that Dave was really getting to grips with his Durango as well. Fastest of the lot however was Dan Brown with his Schumacher Cat, short of getting lynched at the start he was odds on for the win.

Clanners on parade in the 4wd final

A good race ensued, with Dan duly taking the win from Cammers and Mark Andrews. Tony got fourth ahead of Chris Spencer-Smith with Dave sixth, having had an issue of some kind.

So, all in all a good day, proof that I need to get back in the swing of 2wd, and that I really should take a look at getting my Mid Rat up and running. TORCH is still coming on in leaps and bounds, and with the numbers witnessed yesterday are reaping the rewards. Great work guys!

Full results here courtesy of TORCH.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Clanfield Summer Series - Round 2

Sunday 8th May saw the second round of the Clanfield Summer Series 2011, which I'm running the Losi 8ight T 2.0 truggy in. Coming the week after the double-header National round at Herts meant a hectic week of rebuilding prior to the race weekend, but it got done and was all set on Saturday night ready to go on Sunday.

Saturday night saw a break in the current run of unseasonably hot weather, with very heavy ran and thunder storms. There was some worry that this would render the track unsuitable for running, but the Clanfield regulars new better. The track drains incredibly well, and with the rain stopping at about 0400 the track was in mint condition when the racers rocked up. The weather may have put a few racers off, but numbers made for three heats of qualifiers, one truggy and two buggy. Race format for the day was four rounds, two to count and thirty minute finals for all. A bargain for a tenner!

Round one qualifying went pretty well. With a damp/wet track I elected to stick a fresh set of LRP Harikkari's on, in Super Soft and these hooked up really well. I managed an 8 lapper, but was lucky as a small flip two laps from the end resulted in a snapped front shock standoff. I think titanium replacements are called for, as the standard Losi items seem to be made of cheese. A result of 8 in 5:41 was good enough for third in the round, behind Jimbo Tatlow and Tony RC.

With the truggy fixed round 2 went better, same set-up but a drier track and cleaner run netting an 8 in 5:28 for second behind Jimbo. tiny had a 'mare with traffic and wound up well down the order for this one. Dave O'Brien stepped up to third, posting his first ever 8 lap run at Clanfield followed by Adam Bailey, knocking on the 8 lap door in his last ever run with his Hyper ST... rumors abound of a switch to Losi in the near future.

Round three was my disaster round. Running quicker than round two having switched to a soft compound Kamikaze tyre, the engine came loose three minutes in ending my quali. It was good enough for fifth in round, but was guaranteed to be dropped. Tony took TQ in the round with a blistering 8 in 5:18, with Lee Warren second on his return to the track after a long absence coming in third, fractions of a second ahead of James T.

A brief shower damped the track down at this point, but the rain passed through swiftly only really effecting the buggy boys. In did give us time to consume some of the sausages Lee W had kindly stuck on the BBQ for us.

Heat four, and back on to the Harri's for me, the track being wet again. Second in round, a solid 8 in 5:23 the reward. A couple of stupid errors cost time, but an OK result. Tony RC is flying at this point, laying down a clean 8 in 5:10 for what must be close to a club record run. James T comes in third about 10 seconds back on me.

The final tally gives Tony and James 400 points, but Tony's blistering runs give him TQ and the big qualifying points. James is second, and I'm third, all of us comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. It should be an interesting final!

In buggy the Agama flock are all in action, Jon 'Little Bo Peep' Wolfe (!) taking TQ as usual with 'the' Fribbers in second and new buggy convert Mark Byrne in third. Mr B feels even better when he realises he's out qualified protoge Jamie Kerr, cue a small victory dance in the pits.

After a quick lunch break its finals time, starting with the buggy B. It's a bit of a scrappy affair with a number of mechanicals, not least Ben Elliot. Having qualified his Agama A8 Evo out of place he's flying in the final with the best part of a lap lead when his motor come's loose, and a front drive shaft gives up the ghost. Game over... and very hard luck as he was dominating at the point. In the end the top four who get the bump are Michael Daniel (Losi), Paul 'Berky' Berkinshaw (AE and nothing else), Jordan Young (first out with his Durango) and Neal Beagley (Kyosho).

Next up, truggy time. The start is typical truggy carnage. Tony and I get away clean, but Jimbo get's taken out multiple times and is the victim of some frankly atrocious marshaling. His car is ignored, marshaled pointing in the wrong direction and then marshaled onto the pipe. This drops him to last, well off the back of the pack and sparks a stunning fight back. Tony and I are duking it out for the lead, and I eventually get past Tony and pull out a gap which I hold for about eight minutes... before having a couple of messy laps (and some more dodgy marshaling, I mean how hard is it to put the car down pointing in the right direction?). This lets Tony and hard charging Jimbo through. The three of us have the race sown up at this point, but I get me head down and dig in to go after Jimbo... I can close the gap but I just can't quite get on terms with him. Then, he's out with about ten minutes left. His new LiFE receiver pack gives up the ghost and he has to retire. This leaves Tony an me to cruise on home first and second, Jimbo is in third as we've lapped the field so many times that they can't catch up. Losi domination in the Big Dumb Truck class. A great race and very enjoyable... a shame for Jimbo but I'll take the points thanks mate!

Truggy A final podium: Losi clean sweep!

I can't say much on the A final buggys as I was marshalling not watching. I know there were cuts and mechanicals all over the shop, and that the final results were Les T (XRay) in third, Grant Fribbings (JQ) second with Francois Nerriere (Kyosho) first. No idea what happened to the flock, Jamie Kerr was first Agama home in fifth.

Buggy A final podium, the back of Berky's head and no Agamas

All in all another top days racing... thanks to all at Clanfield for the effort, especially Chris Spencer-Smith in race control. Top job chief. Also got to give props to my pit men, Berky in the qualies and Jon Wolfe and my mentor Mr Byrne himself in the finals. We'll all be back again in two weeks for round 3 and more of the same.

Cheers to Adam Bailey for the photos. Full results on the Clanfield website here.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Tempus fugit

Wow, over a month with out an update... must be slipping! Suffices to say that I haven't been slacking, and much racing has occurred. Buggy action at Slough, and Truggys at Clanfield (twice) and Herts for the Nationals. All adding up to lots of time wrenching and not so much blogging.

On the truggy front I've made major changes this season with a switch from my Associated RC8T CE over to the Losi 8ight T 2.0. In all honesty it's been a long time coming and three races in I'm more than happy with the move. The truck is fast out of the box, and so much easier to drive than the old car. Look for a review some time real soon. Results wise it's been a mixed bag, two races at Clanfield have seen a third and a second whilst I was fast at the Herts national (and bagged some silverware) but left feeling that I could and should have done better. There will be a write up from the latest Clanfield round coming later this week

Big changes this season; Losi truggy and secret engine!

I've also been evaluating a new engine for the chaps at RC Lazy which has so far proved to be a most excellent bit of kit. Hopefully there will be some news on that front real soon, keep an eye on their site. Oh, and please buy some stuff while you're there, they really are most excellent guys.

On the rallycross front we ran again at Slough, for the first time with what could be described as 'normal' conditions, after the madcap weather we've had so far this year. Some engine problems limited my performance, nut I seem to be getting better with the twitchy little things, and some tweaks to the shock package have really helped. I think I'm starting to get my head around the Losi, still some way to go but at least I feel I'm progressing.

Electric's taken a back seat this month with the nitro season in full swing, but this weekend should see a trip to the now even more improved TORCH track for a morning meeting. I'll be reverting to 2wd with the Might Ansmann ready for their all day event in a couple of weeks, should be nice and relaxed after some hectic nitro events over the last month.

So, stay tuned. I'm back in a blogging frame of mind. There's rumors to be spread, mates to drop in it and hopefully some nudity and controversy ahead. Actually, probably not much nudity thinking about it.