Defending champion Jared Tebo has got his 2011 campaign off to the best start possible by TQ’ing the first Buggy qualifier here at Thunder Alley. The Kyosho star set the fastest time from Team Durango’s Ryan Lutz and Round 1 Truggy Top Qualifier Ty Tessmann. Tebo said he just went after a clean first run and this approach worked out well for him. Despite the track being watered before the top heat had their run, the World Championship Top Qualifier said there was a lot more grip in the track than expected. Due to the high temperature Tebo said his AKA shod MP9 was too soft.
Recording the fastest lap on his way to the second fastest time, Lutz was very happy with how his DNX408 responded to a host of changes since yesterday. The combined adjustments, which included reverting back to mounting the shocks to the front of the arms, made the rear of the buggy roll more to create better overall stability. Lutz plans further changes to the rear suspension but said he will watch how the track develops over the day before choosing what way to go with the oil and tyres.
Having TQ’d the opening Truggy qualifier this morning, Ty Tessmann was not satisfied with his third fastest time in buggy. The Canadian said the track was getting bumpy and they needed to make his D8 easier to drive. Describing it as a clean run the 18-year-old is confident that if they can get the buggy more dialed in he can top the time sheets in Q2 this evening. Team-mate Jesse Robbers was leading the top heat until he rolled his CR8 and needed marshaling. Runner-up last year, he said the prototype chassis felt really good, however by the end the hot conditions started to thin out the shock oil causing the buggy to get a little loose.
Emerging young talent Dakotah Phend once again outshone his more experienced Losi team-mates as he took his Nitrotec powered 8ight to the fifth fastest time. The 14-year-old made a last minute decision to switch from green compound Kingpins to the harder red which he said was a good call. A little loose for the first minute and a half following the watering of the track they suit the warm high grip conditions perfect for the remainder of the run.
‘Better than I expected’ was how Serpent’s Billy Easton summed up his run to the 6th fastest time. The former 2WD electric off road World Champion said he ran too light a shock oil for the conditions making his 811 Cobra a little unstable.
Fastest in yesterday’s practice, Ryan Maifield could only manage 7th. The Associated driver was running a fast time until the steering servo in his RC8B started to burn out. Managing to coast to the finish for the points the winner of the Warm-up race said it was his own fault as he had noticed a problem with the servo last night but with so much to do on the buggy he forgot to change it for the qualifier. Team-mate Ryan Cavalieri said any chances of a competitive run ended on the first lap when a front dog bone popped out costing him around 6 seconds.
TLR’s Matt Castellano took the points for eight with Associated’s JR Mitch and Kyosho’s Mark Pavidis completing the Top 10. Elsewhere 2009 Champion Adam Drake had a flame out while current World Champion Cody King struggled with the high grip once the track dried.
Having topped yesterday’s practice Ty Tessmann continued his form through to the opening day of qualifying at the ROAR Nationals by TQ’ing the opening round from Ryan Cavalieri, Ryan Maifield and defending champion Jared Tebo. Happy to take the round the Hot Bodies driver said his D8T felt very edgy and lacked consistency, something the winner of the Warm-up race put down to the track conditions. Expecting better track conditions for this afternoon’s second qualifier, the 18-year-old does not plan to make any set-up changes but expects to go for a harder tyre compound when the conditions at Thunder Alley should be warmer.
The runner-up at last year’s Nationals, Cavalieri said he made a small mistake but overall it was a good run. Happy with his RC8T he doesn’t plan to make any changes for Q2. Team-mate Maifield led the round until he made a ‘bad mistake’. Happy with the handling of the truck the former champion said it was geared a little to low and he will change this for his next run.
Defending Champion Jared Tebo didn’t get his opening qualifier off to a good start crashing on the opening lap. Pulling back some time he then crashed again on the penultimate lap which he said cost him second for the round. Ending up fourth the Kyosho driver said his truck was good but they have a little work to do in the engine department. Setting the fastest lap of the round, team-mate Cody King claimed the fifth fastest time. The Buggy World Champion said as always the opening qualifier was a little crazy and he had a couple of tumbles but his MP9 felt good and he is hoping for a cleaner run next time out.
Jesse Robbers, team-mate of Tessmann, described his run as ‘only OK’. Sixth fastest and the last of the drivers to record 15 laps he said his OS engine was too rich and he also had some problems with traffic.
Running a Mugen this week until the expected arrival of Durango’s truggy next month, Ryan Lutz claimed the seventh fastest time. Still learning the truck as he goes, Lutz said the rear didn’t feel right and he hopes he can improve it for Q2.
Adam Drake was top Losi taking his Novarossi powered 8ight to the eight fastest time. The Californian said the run started well until he made a mistake. Once back on track he had some issues with traffic but overall was happy with his truck. TLR team-mate Drew Moller and Mugen team driver Dylan Rodriguez completed the Top 10.
Jason Ruona from JConcepts arrived at the track today and brought with him a number of new products. First up are these new Hybrid tires for truggy. Featuring the same mid-lug design with unique inner Crowbar center lug as the buggy version they are built for speed and will go the distance in long qualifiers and main events. Also new are the final version of the Inverse buggy wheel, which features a two piece design that allows the user to adjust the stiffness of the wheel through the use of screws holding the outer disc to the main wheel. Expect both products to be released very soon.
JConcepts are also giving the US debut of their new body shell for the Durango DNX-408. Used this week by factory driver Billy Fischer, who just received the shell yesterday, he is is happy so far with the handling of this new slick looking shell. Other new items on show from the Florida based company is a pre painted car stand in a matt black finish and a bottle of tire glue, which is supplied with a handy long reach nozzle to make gluing your tires easier.
At the end of practice for the ROAR Nationals in Southern California it is Team Associated who controlled today’s pace as their drivers where the only ones to record 15 lap runs with Ryan Maifield topping the time sheets from Ryan Cavalieri. Winner of the Warm-up event at Thunder Alley back in April, Maifield ran a stiffer set-up on his LRP powered RC8B in the final controlled practice changing to harder springs and swaybars. Finding the buggy easier to drive following the changes, the Arizona racer says he will run it as is in the morning and that he is feeling positive about the first qualifier. Drivers will run a total of four qualifiers with two round tomorrow and Saturday.
Running Proline’s new Blockade tyre in the final practice Cavalieri setting a new fastest lap for the event with a time of 29.108. The former electric off road World Champion, said the new tyre, which has been designed with finals in mind, gave good forward grip and a really smooth side bite. Cavalieri was happy with his driving saying he was ‘hugging some good lines’ and he feels ‘pretty pumped up’ for qualifying.
Unable to improve on his morning time Hot Bodies’ Ty Tessmann ended the day third fastest. Running in the last group, the Canadian said track conditions for his second run were slower but he said his OS powered D8 felt good and the plans is to run it that way for the first qualifier.
Defending Champion Jared Tebo ended the day fourth fastest having found some time in the final practice. The Kyosho ace said changes made had improved the feeling of the car and with a few more very small adjustments it should be good for qualifying. Team-mate and current World Champion Cody King also improved his time in the final practice to just make it into the top 10, behind former World Champion Mark Pavidis, with the 10th quickest time over 7-minutes.
Doing an impressive job to set the fifth fastest time young Dakota Phend was top Losi just ahead of his senior team-mate Adam Drake. Switching from green to red compound Losi Kingpin tyres the 14-year-old from Michigan said they suited the track conditions but the steering on his Nitrotec powered 8ight was a little aggressive and they will need to make changes for qualifying. Unable to improve his morning time due to the track being wet and in general slower as the sun had gone off it, Drake said tomorrow is going to be about choosing the right tyre for the conditions of the track at the time of your runs.
Jesse Robbers, runner-up to Tebo at last years Nationals, took his new Hot Bodies CR8 to the seventh with his afternoon time, while Travis Amezcua was the quickest Mugen in eight.