Ronald Volker is the 2016 Reedy Race Champion, the Yokomo driver securing the title at the iconic touring car race for a third time as the tie breaker was required to give him the victory over Christopher Krapp. The 19th running of Mike Reedy’s unique heads up racing format, it would end up an all German podium at Tamiya Raceway with outgoing champion Marc Rheinard completing the Top 3 in California. While Volker would effectively lay claim to the famous Reedy Race trophy with a 2nd in the penultimate round of racing, there was still a mathematical chance that a 26-lap winning time from Krapp could secure the Tamiya driver the overall victory. Krapp would deliver the win but couldn’t manage the required time confirming Volker as the new champion before the 2009 & 14 Champion completed his 12th & final race out of which he would spectacularly crash after a coming together with Rheinard. The best non-European finisher would be Japan’s Akio Sobue who finished 4th ahead of the Ryan Cavalieri who upheld the host nations honours.
‘I’m super happy with the win. This is one of the toughest races and also one of the best races to enjoy what we do’, was Volker’s reaction to what is his second win at the driver favourite Tamiya Raceway track, his first RROC win being at the Speedworld track before the race returned to what many feel is its spiritual home in 2014 when he won again.The reigning ETS Champion said the event showed his team have made improvements to the BD7 and thanking his engineer Umino Yukijiro for his help he said ‘After this win I feel ready for the next ETS’.Commenting on the concluding round of races, he said, ‘Originally I thought Chrissie had to beat my time but when I found out he needed to do a 26-lap run I know I could just go out and enjoy my races as the result wouldn’t influence anything’.On that race, he added, ‘I was just trying to make a safe pass but got in a drag race down the straight with Marc, we touched and I went flying into the wall’.Knowing the title was decided it was his second car he was using in the race adding it ‘felt great’ up until trying to exit the track boundaries.
‘In the end I was close’ said Krapp with a huge grin.He continued, ‘After last year’s experience I just took it race by race. I can’t believe it yet’.A driver who has struggled somewhat to find full form since moving to the Tamiya team, the multiple World Championship finalist said, ‘I want to thank Tamiya for giving me a great car and I hope I can bring this form into future races, especially the Worlds’.Matching Volker for the most number of wins over the three days of racing, winning 7 of the 12 encounters, he said to stand on the podium at the Reedy Race of Champions on only his second attempt ‘feels good’.Asked about his slim chance of taking the title and starting from P4, he said, ‘I knew if I could passed on the first lap I could try for it but I got stuck in second for a few laps and knew it was over.After that I could just enjoy the race’.
Reflecting on his event, Rheinard said, ‘with all that happened, 3rd is a good result’. The race’s most winning driver, the 5-time champion was referring to the draw picking out Rounds 7, 8 & 9 as the deciding factor of the race.Racing against Volker in each, Rheinard would line-up at the back while Volker started up front adding this ‘gave him easy wins’.Describing the race ‘a lottery’, the 4-time World Champion said a fairer system was needed for compiling the grids adding, ‘there is a Swedish guy who created a program that create grids that sees drivers all meet the same number of times, this would make for a much better battle for the title’.Moving on from his issues with the draw, he said, ‘As a team we showed our new car is good.Getting a 2, 3 and 4 shows all our cars are good and not just one’, that comment aimed at Yokomo.
While finishing two places better than last year, matching team-mate Rheinard on race wins, Sobue was disappointed with fourth overall.The 21-year-old who is over shadowing his World Champion fellow countryman Naoto Matsukura as Japan’s top driver, said he came to the Reedy Race aiming to at least finish on the podium. ‘A good race for the team’, he said ‘driver and set-up issues on Day 2’ cost him a shot at the podium but he would ‘come back next year’.
Recording a Top 5 finish, having been 15th last year, Offroad ace Cavalieri said, ‘I’m very happy with my performance all week. I got a solid score’. The multiple Reedy Offroad Champion continued, ‘I’m a little disappointed with some of my passing but it was a great event’. Asked if he enjoys racing touring car, the Californian, the reigning US National Champion having won that title at Tamiya Raceway, said, ‘everyone keeps telling me to keep racing onroad but its hard with my schedule’. He concluded, for sure I will come back next year’. Behind Cavalieri, Rick Hohwart would enjoy one of his best finishes, the Reedy boss completing the Top 6.
Ronald Volker is on target to claim a third Reedy Race of Champions title, the Yokomo driver declaring after finishing 2nd in the penultimate round of racing behind his only challenger Christopher Krapp that ‘the trophy is 98% mine’. Having calculated that 2nd in Round 11 of 12 would be enough to take back the title he lost to Marc Rheinard last year, a win by Krapp means technically there is a chance his fellow countryman could win overall on tie break. While the odds are heavily stacked against Krapp winning the iconic race on only his second attempt, if the Tamiya driver was to win and better Volker’s fastest winning time then he has a chance. Declaring his win is ‘just technically not certain’, Volker did concede he does have ‘one hand on the trophy’. In the other two races of the round Marc Rheinard won a somewhat fraught race in which he and Associated Juho Levanen clashed. Expressing his frustration over the incident afterwards with the race referee, the win was an important one for the defending champion as it all but secures him a podium finish as team-mate Akio Sobue dropped back to fourth with a P3 finish in his race. That same race would be won by Finland’s Viljami Kutvonen, the factory Awesomatix driver adding a second win to his tally as the rookie finished 1-second ahead of Ryan Cavalieri, who continues to be the top American at the Californian based event.
‘To get second in that last one released a lot of pressure off me’, was Volker’s reaction to the penultimate race of the 19th running of the world famous event that was originally created by Mike Reedy as a way to celebrate his birthday. Describing the grid draw for his final race as ‘super tough’, he said his Round 11 result means all the pressure is on Krapp. With his best time being a 25 laps in 5:03.595 compared to Krapp’s fastest win of 25 laps in 5:10.377, he added, ‘I don’t think track conditions will allow for a quicker time’. Running through his latest race which he started 6th, he said, ‘I was very careful at the start not to get in any trouble and took my time working through the field’. Running third behind pole starter Randy Caster, he said ‘with a couple of laps Randy made a mistake which gave me the position I needed’.
‘This one was again a perfect race’ said Krapp. Starting third he would also run behind Caster for a few laps before a mistake from the Associated driver let him through. Having crashed his Tamiya in the previous round when he hit the wall at the end of the straight after claiming the closest win of the event from Rheinard, Krapp said his TRF419X was tweaked from the incident and he had to trim it alot in the warm-up. With his TRF mechanic Kiyo Suzuki having checked over the car, he suspects it is the servo mount which has moved slightly and the car should be fine for the concluding race. Asked about the battle for second overall with Rheinard he said it seems pretty sure I will make the podium so I will just do my own race and see what happens’. Rheinard has the disadvantage of running in the toughest race as he faces Volker, Naoto Matsukura, Meen ‘Hercules’ Vejrak, Cavalieri and Viljami.
A driver who was denied a podium finish on his Reedy Race of Champions debt last year when he fell fowl of the Tamiya Raceway’s famous kink on the final day, Christopher Krapp survived Round 10 this time round to win the closest race of the 19th running of the iconic heads up racing event. Having matched defending champion Marc Rheinard in the day’s opening race, both drivers finishing 2nd, the pair lined up in the Round 10 encounter. Effectively battling for the runners up spot behind Ronald Volker, the Yokomo driver only needing a P2 finish in the next round to secure his third RROC title, Krapp would start 2nd with Rheinard 5th. Taking the lead on lap 19 of 25, Krapp looked to have it in the bag but with his senior team-mate in close pursuit he would catch the dot coming onto the straight for the final time allowing Rheinard to get a run on him. Looking like the 4-time World Champion had snatched the win, a split-second decision by Krapp to not try to make the sweeper after the finish line would produce the most exciting finish of this year’s event, the separation just 15/100ths of a second. For champion elect Volker, contact with early leader Thomas Pumpler would hand the other of the podium contenders Akio Sobue post his second win of the day and move into 3rd on tie break ahead of Rheinard, Volker recovering for a second that he will count as one of his dropped scores. In the third race of the round, touring car stalwart and Reedy boss Rick Hohwart took a 2.5 second win over back row starter Ryan Cavalieri, the pair set to battle it out over the closing two races for the honour of top American finisher.
‘That race was really interesting’ was how Krapp summed his 5th win. With pole sitter Barry Baker taking the earlier leading a back up the field behind him, Krapp who was running behind the 4-time champion said, ‘I just stayed behind Barry because with everyone so close any contact could have been costly’. With Kutvonen running behind him in third, he continued, ‘I knew Viljami would attack for the lead so I kind of opened a little to let him by me, then when they touched I had the lead’. Saying that this race requires ‘a lot of thinking’ to determine what is best for the overall result when asked about his last lap bobble he said, ‘I thought what the f*£k am I doing when I hit the kerb and when we crossed the line I was thinking I was second, thats how it looked from my view’. Declaring the battle for second with his team-mates Rheinard and Sobue is ‘still wide open’ he said he will ‘just try to make (his) own races and see how that works out’.
‘Just not my race’ was Rheinard’s reaction after the race, even Scotty Ernst having to pause in his commentary to get confirmation of the winner. The German continued, ‘I thought I won but I just naturally backed off to make the corner and thats what cost me the race’.
Benefitting from Volker’s contact with Prumpler, Sobue was pleased with his win but said it wasn’t as easy as it looked. While improving his car from the previous race, he said Volker was faster and running behind the ETS Champion he said he could see his BD7 had more steering than his TRF419X. Set to make ‘a small change’ to his set-up for the next one to try address this, he said the penultimate round would be a tough one as Rheinard will have ‘maybe (an) easy win’ as he has a P1 starting position while the Japanese driver lines up last on the grid for his race.
Giving his view of Round 10, Volker said, ‘Once on Pumpy’s tail I was in a sandwich with Akio behind me and with less & less space every lap it was only a matter of time before one of us touched’. He continued, ‘Unfortunately that was me and I had to wait on Pumpy which lost me two positions, then the goal was to finish second’. Having last lifted the legendary Reedy Race trophy in 2014, the German pointed out that he just needs another P2 finish to win and that his aim for Round 11 when he will race with Christopher Krapp, the only driver would could potentially deny him the title.