Ryan Cavalieri has claimed a fourth Reedy Race of Champions title, the Team Associated driver winning the title showdown between himself and his great rival Ryan Maifield. With the pair separated by a single point, Maifield having the advantage going into the 12th and final round of heads up racing, and the two Ryans lining up in the same race that would close the 23rd running of the legendary race the stage set for the ultimate showdown at the OCRC Raceway hosted event. With Cavalieri on pole and Maifield lining up directly behind him, the script was perfect but while Maifield would set chase on Cavalieri getting by the No. 2 starting Spencer Rivkin, the fairytale Yokomo debut was not to be. Struggling to keep up with Cavalieri, something obviously wrong with his car, Maifield would eventually go out with a front shock failure ending his quest for a second Reedy Race title. With his only threat gone, Cavalieri could cruise to his 6th win of the event to win by a single point, yet another Reedy Race title. While it was the seasoned package that won, the podium indicated an exciting season lies ahead as another of the new team debutants Ty Tessmann secured 3rd for Xray.
‘Pretty awesome’ was Cavalieri’s reaction to a win that singles him out at the master of what all drivers agree is the worlds toughest race to win. Commenting on the win that hands him back the Mike Reedy Heritage Trophy which he first held in 2009, when Mike Reedy’s Birthday race was resurrected after an 8 year absence from the calendar, he said, ‘I was really impressed with my driving and that was the best my car felt for 2WD. After the start I just put in solid laps and got a cushion’. Summing up the event, in which Associated debuted their long awaited new 4WD platform, he said, ‘We put in a lot work with the new car and had an up & down 4WD part to the race but I knew 2WD was my best class and if we were close after 4WD I had a chance. I felt more prepared for 2WD’. Having switched electric sponsor over the winter moving to Muchmore Racing, he said it was good to get a first win with his new sponsor and together with running the new B64D it was ‘good to start off the new season in the right direction’.
Claiming his fourth consecutive Reedy Race podium finish, Maifield said, ‘I had a great week but I’m a little disappointed. To get this close and not win is tough because you don’t know when you’ll get that close again. It’s hard when you lose over a 1 cent part but this is my fourth year in a row on the podium which is not bad for such a crazy ass race’. Asked about the deciding encounter, which was ended by an e-clip coming off his front shock, the Arizona ace said, ‘I went into the race excited. My car was good all week and it was pretty cool how the grid turned out. Having our team-mates starting alongside worked out good as they let us duke it out but then the e-clip came off. I tried to keep going hoping something would happen but it wasn’t to be’. He continued, ‘I am happy to start off my new deal with a podium finish and really enjoyed working with the team’.
‘It didn’t look too promising when 2WD started with the finishes I was getting but we kept working on it and it got better in the end’ was Tessmann’s reaction to beating Rivkin and Dustin Evans to the final podium position. The Canadian continued, ‘the goal is always to win but you can’t all the time but for brand new cars third is pretty good’. His first podium since 2014 and the one big race that still eludes him he said, ‘hopefully next year’. Having found himself sharing the lead with outgoing champion Dakotah Phend and Maifield, he said ‘in 4-wheel we were more familiar with the geometry and knew what to do but 2-wheel we are still learning’. On the podium last year, Rivkin would end the event 4th followed by Evans with Phend completing the Top 6.
In the open class Brent Thielke took a very popular win of the 2WD Open class to book a place in next year’s Invitational class. The Associated team-manager and man now responsible for putting on the world famous race said afterwards, ‘It only took me 20 years to win’. In addition to his win, Thielke was proud of the fact that this year’s the race raised over $2,100 for the Parkinson Foundation bringing the total donated in Mike Reedy’s memory to over $5,000. Also booking a place in the 30 driver Invitation class next year was Broc Champlin, the 17-year-old Associated/Reedy supported driver winning the 4WD Open Class having finished second to Thielke in 2WD.
Ryan Maifield and Ryan Cavalieri are to go head to head for the Reedy Race of Champions title in the final race of the 23rd running of the event, Maifield chasing a second title while Cavalieri goes for win number 4. The penultimate round of racing at OCRC Raceway saw both drivers win their respective races with ease maintaining the overnight status quo as both drivers continued today’s run of perfect scores. Separated by 1-point going into the decider, both drivers having a 3rd as their current throw out, it is advantage Maifield as Cavalieri must win to have a chance of title glory over the 2015 Champion. While driver’s starting positions are allocated based on a lottery, looking at the grid one might be forgiven for thinking the showdown has staged. Starting on pole, Cavalieri has his Team Associated Spencer Rivkin alongside while starting directly behind the three time champion Maifield has Yokomo team-mate Lee Martin to his inside, Martin having just become the first European to register a win in 2WD today. While all the focus will be on the Ryan & Ryan showdown, the final round will also decide who joins them on the podium. On the podium last year, Rivkin will fight it out with former Champion Dustin Evans and Ty Tessmann but on paper Rivkin has been dealt the toughest race as all three line up in separate races.
The Reedy Race of Champions is heading towards a classic Ryan & Ryan showdown as the latest round of 2WD action produced a win each for Maifield and Cavalieri keeping the separation between the arch rivals at 1-point with two more rounds of racing left to decide the champion. For defending champion Dakotah Phend, the round effectively ended his quest to become only the third driver to take back to back wins at the legendary event, as he ended up with an 8th in the race which was won by Ty Tessmann. Having shared the points lead at the end of 4WD, Tessmann survived needing to be marshalled to register his first 2WD win but it looks to have come too late for the new Xray signing to play a part in the title showdown.
‘I did what I needed to do. I started in front and stayed in front’ was Maifield’s reaction to putting a second 2WD win on the board. The 2015 Champion continued, ‘Once I got in the lead I started to cruise to conserve tyres as I want to end the day on the same set’. Making his debut for new team Yokomo, his Reedy race break through coming on his TLR debut, he said, ‘I’m having a good time with the team, and fun driving, so so far so good’.
Cavalieri, who is chasing a 4th Reedy Race title, said, ‘I got a great start from 9th. I was due one of those’. He continued, ‘I’m happy with how everything is working and my car is real good. Just 2 more rounds to decide who its going to be’. ‘Running a different set of tyres for his latest encounter ‘to prepare for the next two rounds’, the Team Associated driver said ‘it was a good run with those tyres for sure, we’re looking good for the last two’.
Summing up the race that ended his title hopes, Phend said, ‘I started at the back and got together with a couple of people and couldn’t get to the front. The 19-year-old continued, ‘It sucks but happens. That’s what makes the Reedy Race so hard to win’. The result drops him to 8th in the standings while Tessmann moves up into a podium position.