Alex Kosciuszek takes the green at the first annual JConcepts Outdoor Turf Nationals.
RC Madness in Enfield, CT, hosted to the first ever Outdoor Turf Nationals. The dedicated track and facility with one of the first Turf tracks in the United States offered up a challenge to all. As title sponsor, JConcepts offered a unique experience to the racer offering controlled tires in the buggy classes while all other available classes used an open tire.
Practice began on Friday afternoon after just a little weather had passed though the surrounding area. Jason Ruona and Alex Kosciuszek were among the early test drivers sorting out setup and learning the new layout. As the sun came out over the bright green racing surface, traction immediately came up and the racers were smiling. As the day moved on, racers practiced in classes ranging from 17.5 buggy to Stadium and SCT truck and while the buggies dominated the entry count the trucks appeared to be just as enticing as the buggies.
Saturday morning, Chris Marcy and crew did a fantastic job taking late entries, setting the heats and prepping the track from some early morning moisture. By 10:30am sharp, heat One was off and running and the quick overview showed a terrific response from the grip and consistency of the control tire classes. In the 2wd modified class, Northeast favorite Alex K jumped to the top with the Team Associated B5M and quickly showed why he has great reputation in the regional area. Traveling driver Jason Ruona and on-road ace Mike Haynes finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Alex K dominated the qualifying in the 4wd modified class running the only 15 lap run during the first round of qualifying.
During round 2 it was once again Alex K dropping the hammer in 2wd and 4wd modified taking a 15 lap run in both classes. In a rare twist, the 2wd run with the JConcepts equipped 2wd buggy was actually faster than the 4wd class for the first time all weekend. A quick check in with the Connecticut native revealed some small vehicle setup changes and some “broken in” front and rear JConcepts tires provided the edge he needed to push the car to 15 laps in 5:13, fastest time of the weekend.
Round 3 showed some promise for Jason Ruona as the first time Turf driver turned in a 15 lap run and TQ’ed the round for the first time establishing a 2nd grid position behind Alex. 3rd overall belonged to Mike Haynes who had been tuning the B5M through the first several rounds and drove a cleaner run in round 3 with a solid 14 lap run. Checking in with Ruona immediately following the run, the driver from Clermont, FL, reported the track felt at its highest grip level of the event thus far and he favored his setup and his control tire choice. Also, a clean run with no driving mistakes didn’t hurt the cause.
With main events set and a small break before the mains, drivers used the spare time to run some additional practice laps outdoors while a few drivers tuned indoors on the RC Madness indoor off-road carpet track. With 6 different tracks on the property, drivers have a unique opportunity to test, tune and race on every track or course all weekend.
Mains started with the typical lower mains starting first while the A-main drivers prepped for the features later in the program. Chris Marcy briskly moved through the heats with the 2wd modified A-main set to start at roughly 4:40pm. TQ driver Alex K bolted off the start to a comfortable lead with Jason Ruona and Mike Haynes in tow. Ruona maintained the pace and placed some pressure on the youngster and a great race emerged for the top position. With about 40 seconds to go a mistake by Ruona would be costly, losing 6 seconds and with that a chance at the victory. Alex kept it clean in front while Mike Haynes and Michael Alberti battled for 3rd and the final podium position. At the finish it was Alex K taking the win, Jason Ruona 2nd and Michael Alberti with 3rd.
The 4wd modified class was once again dominated by Alex K. The B44.3 decked out with JConcepts got off to the quick start and consistent driving led to another huge lead. Michael Alberti hung in there with the mega popular local Team Associated driver but in the end K was too much and recorded his 2nd victory of the day. Mike Alberti finished a well deserved 2nd place and Adrien Hanson takes 3rd.
A huge thank you to Chris Marcy and the entire RC Madness staff on a well-run event. Thanks to all who participated in the first annual event and congratulations to all the winners. See you again next year.
Tech notes –
The control tires used were JConcepts Swagger fronts for 2wd buggy and Pin Downs front for 4wd. Pin Downs rear tires were used on both classes, the tires included a gray JConcepts open cell insert. The pink compound in conjunction with the pin tires gripped hard in the rear providing a level playing field while the Swagger fronts made the 2wd buggies very easy to drive yet fast and nimble for a seasoned racer. Look for official release information on all JConcepts Turf tires in the coming future.
This past weekend was the Southern Nationals in Monroe, Louisiana. Every year this event brings some of the most spectacular track layouts to this temporary R/C track in the Ike Hamilton Expo center. This is the type of venue where a worlds could be held with Grandstands to watch the racing and a true off-road track to contend on. Having missed last years event I and kind of forgetting about it, I can now say though that his should be one to consider attending as its one of the greats.
For me my it ended up being my first weekend in a long time where my results were poor in my mind. I struggled with a few different things. I fought back through some early adversity in both Nitro mains to procure some respectable results considering. But overall the feeling at the end for me felt like some of my poor results from years past that I haven’t experienced in a while. Through it all I’m trying to find the nuggets of truth and wisdom from learn from it. Part of it could be its my 3rd race in a row, and while home for 2 days between each one I haven’t been able to catch up on my cars or program as we are preparing a cross country move. So parts of my maintenance program and engine program are lacking at the moment due to simply not enough hours in the day for this guy.
There are some good bits of info I feel I can share about though, that could be good for many, as I’m sure others have felt similar in the past. When you are doing this as a hobby and it’s meant to be fun and you spend lots of time, energy, and money to attend a larger event. Then that race ends up going poorly for you and you simply wonder why it is you are doing it. I think this is a real feeling for many at any given event, as R/C cars can be every bit as frustrating as fun at times. I think it’s key to assess what went wrong, analyze what could have been done to avoid it happening if anything, and also note the things you do find fun about the Hobby that you would miss if you didn’t do it.
So for my assessment of this past weekend I know I needed to/ should have been better prepared with my engine program (as both engines had 7+ hard gallons thru them) and I should have been to the tracks more testing setups. I can look now and give solace to the fact that my life situation has been challenging lately and the time just hasn’t been there. I know I will be able to bounce back when life gets settled in a month or two, and get my program back at 100%. I can also note how I enjoyed meeting and talking with new people and helping others with questions that they may have. And finally I should be proud that I was able to fight back in both Nitro mains to finish where I did. Even though I’ve nearly gotten to the point to where, if I don’t win, I’m upset with myself at the result. I know I can be critical of myself, and I just need to realize that there is always another race, and one race or result doesn’t define who I am.
Now to what actually transpired for me on the track. Qualifying was a standard qualpoint format with best 2 of 3. My Tekno NT48.3 Truggy was dialed as always as I took TQ in all 3 rounds. Out of the gate I was able to take TQ in Q1 of ebuggy and a close 2nd by .6 tenths in Nitro buggy. Q2 and 3 in ebuggy were more of a struggle and Joe was able to take the overall as I slid to 2nd. Nitro Q2 was a really poor race for me with one of the worst laps of my life (loosing 11 seconds on one lap) but I came back in Q3 to win that one, which would seat me 2nd behind Ogden.
Ebuggy Amains were a triple A format. I just didn’t feel comfortable in any of them. The traction had come up as a groove of sorts had formed for main day. Where this was a good help for me in the nitro classes, for whatever reason I struggled in electric. I would win A1 because joe had a servo going out the final 3 minutes of the main. But outside of keeping Joe honest for the first 5 minutes of A2 he had my number and I settled for 2nd overall.
Nitro Truggy main was looking to be good as I started out of the gate from Pole position. I did what I’ve done so often in Truggy and extended out an early lead and was feeling very comfortable. Got in for my first stop no problem and set off on my out lap. Got most of the was around the track and ghost flamed over the back right jump. Lost nearly 1.5laps in the process but got back out there for a few laps and made up some ground before flaming again in the back left. This time I came off the stand and retrieved my truck and came back and fired it up myself. For some reason idle had dropped a lot so I cranked it up and went back on the stand. At this point I was way back many laps down. I fought back for most of the remainder of the race although my truck was running on due to putting the idle to high. This made it hard to drive but I was still fastest on the track. I made up quite a few positions and came in 7th in the end.
Nitro buggy was the big show and during warmup I was feeling really good about it. My buggy was feeling great and it was show time to avenge my Truggy mishap. Well I had some small mistakes on first lap as many were bumping and grinding. I was in about 4th to start lap two when someone crashed on the hip corner and was turned backwards and I didn’t see them as they were blocked from my view by a Marshall. So I hit them full bore head on and broke a front shock shaft. I immediately yelled down to Matt to run to our pits and get a front shock. I drove the next 4 minutes or so with the broke. Front shock and still stayed top 5 or so. I came in to have it fixed and lost over a full lap in the process. His put me down to 14th. I got back on the track with all 4 shocks albeit 2 different front piston/oil combinations. I still was making up time on the field and moving on up. I was also struggling for power as something seemed to get damaged, linkage or power wise in the hit as I was having to pull 3/4 to full throttle just to make ok power the rest of he race. I still was doing well though as my car was good and I worked my way all the way back to within 6 seconds of he lead before having to do a last minute extra pit stop for fear I was going lean. I felt that way because I was driving so hard and didn’t have the usual power and thought I may just be burning lots of fuel. I also would have been even more upset had I ran out and fell off the podium. So I settled for 2nd overall.
So that was my weekend in a nutshell. Overall it’s still not bad with a TQ, 2x 2nd and a 7th. All considering the Tekno durability and willingness to finish shown thru.
Next is Byrons Challenge in Omaha as the 4th week in a row of racing for me before the big move. Hope to get my mojo back.
Double Victory for Team Graupner / Soar on the DM in Bistensee
Marvin Fritschler is German Champion in Class 1: 8 Electric.
Marcel Paul is vice-champion and German Youth Champion.
3rd place goes to Burak Kilic with Graupner components. A great result. Congratulations to our Factory Driver.
Who wants to include the winners stuff , here the components that were used:
Graupner / Soar 998 electric buggy
Graupner Ultra 180A Speed Controller
Graupner Ultra motor 1800 kv
Graupner 7200mAh Lipo battery
Graupner X8N Remote Control