Published on Friday, 14 September 2012 15:45
Written by BSI Editor
Dan Hopkins Sidewinder Race podium finish for X3 Sabre
The Sidewinder Nitro Explosion Race is a 2 day event. The 2 best qualifying points were used to based the main event starting position. I didn't make it to the practice day held the day before so I was going in to a fresh layout pretty much blind.
My qualifier goal was to drive smooth & steady for the first 2 rounds & hopefully secure a spot in the A-Main which could leave Round 3 for testing some setup changes. It didn't go exactly how I planned.....
Round 1 - Started nicely, I was on a steady pace, car was nice & stable, I wasn't pushing too hard & I ended up finishing 3rd (4th overall round 1)
Round 2 - Was off to a great start & was even flirting with the TQ pace. Car felt really good & I was cruising in 1st place. Then with about 1:30 left in the qualifier my radio started glitching. The car would turn but the throttle was off/on.. I felt a runaway coming on but tried to muscle the car around the track hoping for a top 3 finish. It didn't happen & ended up last. Now back at the pits, I had to figure out what the heck was going on. Was it a servo? Was it a switch? Was my servo horn stripped? NOPE! Stupid switch lead to battery lead was loose! I put some electrical tape on it & all was good.
Round 3 - I needed a good finish since I was deep in the B-main as far as the points go. I got off to another good start & was battling the top 3 positions. Once again the car felt great. I ended up taking 2nd place.
So my points were now good enough to secure starting position 3 in the A-Main for the Sportsman class.
A-Main - This was a 30minute event. I had never run a 30min. race before and wasn't sure how I was going to handle being up on the drivers stand that long. By now the track was completely blown out. I mean there were craters the size of small swimming pools and they were everywhere. My strategy was this. If I stay smooth, stay calm, don't try to race EVERYONE, don't break, and get past the 1st turn pile up I would be in good shape at about the 25minute point. So the race started. I came out of the 1st turn and stayed on my wheels....YES.. Then I just stayed the course. The leader was really fast today and I knew it would be tough to beat him so I really didn't even try. Now I am battling for the 3rd position for most of the race with my friend Skye Baker when he has a mishap that gives me some breathing room. With the car feeling great even through the massive bumps I again stayed the course. Now passing the loop the announcer called me in second! There was still a lot of time left. I put the car in cruise control and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there securing the 2nd place podium spot and a HUGE trophy! Needless to say my kids were ecstatic when I got home that night and showed them the trophy.
All in all. The car held up great. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I went in with pretty much the same setup I started with. Between qualifiers and the main event the only thing I did was clean up the car, change the clutch bearings, and changed the rear sway bar (thinner).
As far as durability for the 2 day event. I broke (1) C-hub after some pretty hard landings on my 3rd qualifier. To be honest I didn't even know I broke it! I finished 2nd in that race! I noticed it when I was cleaning the car for the mains. The X3 has been pretty durable and coming from driving an Xray which is built like a tank that says alot. The big difference is the drive pins and out drives just don't wear! I have yet to break a rear bulkhead. (jinx) This car seems to have the bend but don't break down mentality. I have yet to DNF due to an actual broken part with the X3.