Bloomfield gives TLR first European title
The 32nd 1:8 Offroad European Championships was a race of firsts in Fehring, Austria as Darren Bloomfield won a thrilling last lap battle with Kyosho’s David Ronnefalk to become the first British driver to win the title as well as securing his first ever European title and giving Team Losi Racing and his tyre sponsor AKA their first crown in EFRA’s longest running championship. Bloomfield’s 1.9 second win over Ronnefalk, who retains his European Junior title, brings Mugen’s four year reign as manufacturers’ champion to an end as outgoing champion Robert Batlle had to settle for the final step on the podium.
‘It doesn’t feel real’ was Bloomfield’s first reaction to his historic win as fellow British racers Lee Martin, the current 2WD Electric European Champion, and former World Champion Neil Cragg where among the first to congratulate him. 2012 he said has been a very special year as along with winning the biggest title of his professional RC career he also became a dad for the first time back in February.
Going into the race Bloomfield said he knew he had the pace to win and with TLR team manager Kevin Gahan talking him through video footage of all his qualifying runs he said he also had the belief in himself that he could pull it off. Having ran No.1 throughout the event the Top Qualifier for the event had, after his drama in the Semi, run the No.6 on his Novarossi powered 8ight and this was to cause him problems at the first fuel stop. Having to move from position one to six on the drivers stand in correspondence with his race number the change of view caught him out on his first pit stop with his tyre just catching the wall and spinning the car. Knowing that Ronnefalk had an extra fuel stop to do he said he didn’t let the incident and his bad start to the race play on his mind focusing instead on just pushing 100% as the 45-minute race was all going to be about the final 5 minutes. Running one of Adam Drake’s own development 8ight chassis’, which arrived with the American on Monday, Bloomfield said having the US Star as his mechanic this week played a ‘massive’ part in today’s achievement.
A driver who marked himself out as a star of the future when Austria last hosted the Euros in 2009 when he was just 13-years of age, Ronnefalk said it was ‘almost the perfect race’. A former Euro B Champion and Junior Champion for the past two years, the Swede led the majority of the race and felt he was unfairly given a stop and go penalty by race director Dallas Mathiesen. One of the closest 1:8 Offroad finals witnessed, Ronnefalk came together with Bloomfield three times but on each occasion he showed true sportsmanship & respect by allowing Bloomfield to retake position so he felt the penalty was harsh when the racing was so close and other drivers were allowed to come in the battle. Also running AKA tyres, Ronnefalk said he made the wrong call on compound having went with super soft Enduro and in the last 5-minutes of the race he started to lose steering in particular through the concrete section where Bloomfield was particularly quick. Clearly disappointed at having come so close to winning his first A Championship title he said tomorrow he will be happy with his performance, his Orion powered MP9 setting the fastest lap of the race, and it comes as a huge boost ahead of the World Championship’s which take place in December in Argentina.
Having won the title last year from the same starting position as Bloomfield did today, Batlle said a flame out during his 4th fuel stop which lost him around 10 seconds effectively ended his challenge to defend his title. Running 7:30 stops, the Spaniard said it became apparent that he was too close on run time and rather than risk losing a lap by stopping out on track he backed off a little to protect his podium finish. Describing 3rd as an ‘OK’ performance, Batlle who was also champion in 2008 said they have to work even harder as he and his Mugen team now turn their attentions to the World Championships.
Missing out on the podium and the winning-est driver in the final having held the title from 2008-2010, Team Xray’s Renaud Savoya said while a win was never on the cards a podium was within his reach and to come so close was disappointing. The ‘Shark’ said an early incident with Bloomfield dropped him down the field and while his RB powered XB9 had good pace he lost a lot of time trying to work his way back through. The Frenchman also also had to serve a Stop and Go penalty as he came together with Joseph Quagraine whose JQ ran wide coming onto the main straight as Savoya left the pitlane after refuelling. A long time factory RB driver the rest of his package is new and he said this was for sure a disadvantage as the Top 3 all have years of experience with their respective manufacturers. Joining Xray at the end of last season and Sweep tyres at the start of this year he said they have work to do to improve the package but said his relationship with both companies is very strong and he feels while others might make small steps forward he believes his team can make a ‘huge’ amount of progress. With nitro racing much a team sport, Savoya wanted to thank his pitman Jerome Manu for his hard work and input.
Kyosho’s Jérôme Aigoin and TLR’s Miguel Matias completed the Top 6 but in 7th place and the only driver sporting a bigger smile than Bloomfield was Quagraine. Founding his own company JQ Products less than three years ago the Finn was delighted with his first European final appearance with his ‘The Car’ and ‘Against the Odds’ he was able to take to it’s best ever finish going one place better than Matias achieved for the small but ambitious company last year.
So another European Championships is in the history books and Britain has their first every champion with Darren Bloomfield ending the five year title rivalry of Batlle and Savoya. We would like to thank our sponsors, Serpent, Team C and Mugen Seiki, who made our coverage possible for this event.
Main Final Results
1. Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR/Novarossi/AKA – 72/45:37.029
2. David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho/Orion/AKA – 72/45:38.945
3. Robert Batlle (ES) – Mugen/Novarossi/Procircuit – 71 /45:22.914
4. Renaud Savoya (FR) – Xray/RB/Sweep – 71/45:38.926
5. Jérôme Aigoin (FR) – Kyosho/Novarossi/AKA – 71/45:41.133
6. Miguel Matias (PT) – TLR/RB/AKA – 70/45:05.420
7. Joseph Quagraine (FI) – JQ/JQ/AKA – 70/45:25.929
8. Martin Bayer (CZ) – Xray/nVision/AKA – 70/45:40.730
9. Christoffer Svensson (SE) – Kyosho/OS/AKA – 69/45:26.602
10.Yannick Aigoin (FR) – Associated/Novarossi/Procircuit – 69/45:29.811
11.Borja Hernandez (ES) – LRP/Alpha/AKA – 57/37:22.748
12.Elliot Boots (GB) – Kyosho/Novarossi/AKA – 51/32:48.297
View complete event results here.
View our event image gallery here.