This weekend at the Reedy Race of Champions I was scheduled to be in the open class. About 2 days before the event I got an e-mail asking if I wanted to bump up to the Invite class and I said yes. I knew the competition would be fierce and with my still limited wheel time with the 1/10th electric buggies that I may have some struggles. The format has 6 rounds of 2wd and then 6 rounds of 4wd with 5 of 6 counting for each class of vehicle. I feel I should be able to hold my own in the 4wd classes but 2wd is still just not comfortable for me. That will change throughout this year as I will run more 1/10th near my new home in Phoenix where I will be moving in a couple weeks. I look forward to becoming a much better 1/10th buggy driver as the class just requires such precise driving and a smooth finger. I know it will help my entire racing package.
After running my 6 rounds of 2wd buggy I find myself near the bottom of the heap. It started out after finishing 9th in my first two heats that my main goal became not to finish 10th. I was able to keep the trend going for another 2 rounds finishing 9th in all the first 4 runs. In the 5th round which was the first round of Saturday morning my car actually felt pretty good and I put in the second fastest laptime of any invite driver for the round but my tough luck continued and I finished the dreaded 10th! It was really disappointing because the car had the speed. This format just involves a lot of luck along with the skills and it just wasnít happening for me up to that point. In the 6th round I was just happy it was my final 2wd run of the weekend. I got to start outside front row and at the tone pulled in behind pole sitter Craig and followed him for many laps. He made a mistake and I took the lead for a lap before making my own mistakes and giving him the lead back. Fortunately the pack behind us was in their own battles and werenít making us pay for our errors. I would get back in my groove and Craig again made a mistake with about 3 laps to go and I capitalized on it to finish out and take the victory. So my 5 rounds that counted were a 9, 9, 9, 9, 1. I blew my consistency out of the water with that last run but at the same time it got me out of the basement for overall results up until that point. Next up will be the 6 rounds of 4wd and if nothing else I expect to have more middle of the pack runs and maybe I can get another lucky run where I can steal a win. Anyways this format while not treating me well is a good learning experience and good practice as every race really matters!
Update*- Saturday night finished up with 2 of the 6 rounds of 4WD. In my first run my car felt pretty good but as is the case in the Reedy format I got stuck behind someone who I felt faster than but they drove clean and blocked at every opportunity. So I ended up making a mistake and falling to last. I clawed back in the remaining minutes to take a 6th for the run.
In my second 4WD main I had a solid start and was running the the top 5 freight train. One by one a couple people crashed and I was up the 3rd absolutely on the tail of Evans and Jorn. We had a 3 way freight train going around the track for a number of laps and I was literally just mm off of Evans as I did everything I could to pressure him but at the same time remain clean. I fought hard until we soon were about to have a 5 car battle as Cav and Maifield caught us as we were battling and soon I was just fighting to stay ahead of them. With just a couple laps or so to go I would make a mistake on the dreaded double before the straight and let them by and I had to settle for 5th. It was an exciting race for me though and showed me that I can compete! This format is tough but at the same time great experience!
Sunday January 27, 2013
Well glad thatís over! This will go down as one of the most frustrating events I have ever raced at. However it also in itís own right was a lot of fun and a very good learning experience. Today there were 4 more rounds of 4WD buggy and really the pattern just continued and I just couldnít catch a break. Runs that I was doing well I generally got taken out. In fact one of the top drivers took me out on 3 separate occasions this weekend. I would be extremely mad at this but I also realize that this format and the way the race was officiated really lent itself to the types of driving displayed. Also I also made my own big mistake in the final round when I got into Tanner Denny in the first corner and cost us both any shot at the race. I truly apologize for my mistake Tanner. Getting back to the format and such it was all heads up racing. And on a tight 1/10th track it just doesnít allow for clean passing to much. You need extreme patience and almost a keen knowledge of what the person in front of you is going to do at all times. Itís pure focus needed for the entire 5 minutes and itís so easy to bump another driver or get gobbled up in a crash just ahead of you.
For todays rounds I really felt I had the speed to compete in a few of them but just either got wrecked, wrecked myself, or got into someone else and it all resulted in just average or below finishes. My 4 runs today were a 9, 7, 7, 5. Overall for the event I came out in 22nd place out of the 29 participants in the Invite class. Obviously it could have been worse but it really does feel like a failure of a weekend for me all things considered. However as mentioned before I learned a lot and know I will be working on my electric program this year much more and I feel next year I can really move up in the standings greatly!
Overall my Durango cars worked great. My Tekin electronics and ProTek batteries were flawless and smooth all weekend. All my equipment worked as it should and itís just a testament to the racing sponsorship package I have going for me here in 2013! I look forward to my move to Arizona in a week and a half and subsequently the Nitro Challenge where I can get back into some Nitro along with E-Buggy and 4WD SC come mid/end of Feb.