David Ronnefalk has taken the first Buggy qualifier at the Philippine Masters. Not competing in Truggy which got qualifying at the CV Offroad Track underway, the HB Racing driver took Q1 from Kyle McBride. Running in the second fastest heat McBride would end up 3.6-second off the TQ pace. Having TQ’d the first Truggy qualifier, Ty Tessman would complete the Top 3 a further 3/10ths off with the Mugen of Aaron Stringer fourth fastest followed by Atsushi Hara, Richard Saxton and Adam Drake.
‘Pretty good’ was how Ronnefalk summed up his first opening run. The Swede continued, ‘I started out with a good lap and Ty was right behind me but I felt pretty confident with my car. Then Ty crashed which gave me a cushion and I could pace myself’. The World Champion said the only issue to report was when, late in the heat, he landed on the outside pipe off the double before the left side triple triple saying otherwise it was a clean run. Running JConcepts Detox R2 tyre, he reported them as ‘a bit too soft at the end’ and for Q2 plans to switch to the O2 compound. With it ‘getting more bumpy out there’ and expecting the track surface to ‘develop more like that’, he also plans to try a different shock set-up on his Orion powered D817 to ‘try find a good balance from the shock package’.
Matching his result of the opening Truggy qualifier, McBride said, ‘my car is really good and it’s easy to drive’. In a slower heat than Ronnefalk, the Team Associated driver said, ‘I had two or three slow downs with traffic which cost me a couple of seconds but with the regroup I should be able to get a clean run next time’. Happy with his car, he said his choice of a new set of X2 Blockades where ‘slippy’ at the start but worked good once broken in and so for Q2 he will start with a worn set so he ‘should be fine’.
‘It was OK, I started out good but then overdrove a little and had a mistake at the triple triple’ was Tessmann’s summary of the Q1. The former World Champion continued, ‘I just need to drive a clean race next time’. Running with his bodyshell askew for a few laps, he said this was caused by him hitting a tyre on the inside of the corner and it getting caught up on the aerial. Running X2 Electro Shots on his OS powered XB8, the Canadian said ‘I think they were OK but we’ll see how the temperature is for Q2 before deciding what to run next’.
Setting the fourth fastest time, Aaron Stringer declared it a ‘good’ first buggy run except for a first lap mistake. The 23-year-old Brisbane driver, ‘cased the 2nd triple and lost 4-seconds and consequently finished 4-seconds behind Ty’. Feeling he lacked a little steering from his AKA Grid Iron 2 shod Mugen for Q2, he ‘might change something on the car to get a bit more steering’ but plans to continue on the same tyre.
‘Good start, shit end’ was how Hara summed up his performance as he set the 5th fastest time. The former World Champion continued, ‘the car is good but I made too many mistakes because I overdrove a little’. With Q2 bringing the first day of the record entry Philippine Masters to a close, in terms of the car he ‘don’t change anything’ but instead ‘drive it better’.
Completing the Top 6 ahead of reigning champion Adam Drake, Team Associated’s Richard Saxton said, ‘I drove slow and steady like over 40 class’. The American added, ‘I drove within my limits. I had 2-days of practice which made up for it and I got to test a few things so the car felt good’. Looking to Q2, he said, ‘I wont change anything but with Kyle quick straight out of the blocks I might try his set-up tomorrow’.
Chassis – HB Racing D8TE Engine – OS Speed 21XZ-B Spec II Tyres – Pro-Line Blockade X3 Compound Fuel – Tornado 25% Radio/Servos – Futaba 4PX / Futaba S9373SV Body – Pro-Line Enforcer Remarks – The ever popular, and fan favourite, Atsushi Hara has decided to make a return home to long-time chassis sponsor, HB Racing, and choosing to run both the HB racing 1/8th buggy and truggy as a chassis privateer for this event. Remarking that his D8TE ‘Tessman Edition’ has worked well that ‘it’s been a while for truggy’, the only added modification over the stock kit comes in the form of Avid carbon fibre arm inserts for the extreme heat here in the Philippines.
Ty Tessmann has opened the 7th running of the Philippine Masters with a TQ run, the Xray driver topping the first of the five qualifiers from Kyle McBride. The biggest edition of the Manila based event with drivers from 14 countries making up the record 140 entries, Tessmann would run 10-laps on the CV Offroad Track to outpace the Team Associated of McBride by 4 and a half seconds with the race’s most experienced international competitor, Adam Drake completing the Top 3.
On his first trip to the Masters, Tessmann was pleased to open with a TQ run, but commented that his truck’s oils were too soft for the 40 degree temperatures that greeted the drivers in today’s opening qualifier. Getting his first taste of the track in the morning practice, he said his Pro-Line Electro Shot equipped XT9 was ok then but now ‘it’s just so hot here’. Suffering ‘a little traffic issue’ which he was ‘not too upset about’, the Canadian described the track as ‘challenging but fun’ and with 1-hour Mains he said ‘that’s going to be tough on this track, especially in truck.
‘A pretty good run’ was how McBride summed up Q1. The Australian, who was another of the international drivers to get his first lap of the track this morning, continued, ‘my truggy is pretty good but I could do with a little more corner speed’. Suffering ‘one run-in with a back marker’, he plans to go up in shock oil for Q2 to give his RC8T ‘more support’ while he is also considering going down in diff oils. Describing the track layout as ‘really fun’ with the ‘jumps built nicely’ making it ‘flow well’, he said having tried different tyre options in practice he ran Pro-Line X2 Blockades and he was happy with that choice.
On his 3rd visit to the Philippine Masters, a race he said has provided a great opportunity for him to interact with customers from around Asia, Drake summed up Q1 with, ‘it was ok’. The Mugen driver, ‘I got on the brakes too hard on a bump and blew out’ adding ‘everything is too soft for how hot it is’. He continued, ‘with limited practice I have got stuff I still need to figure out. I need to stiffen up the truck because now the track is clean were as in practice it was dusty. The grip is really good now’.
Another on his first visit to the country, Atsushi Hara would set the fourth fastest time. Running all HB Racing this weekend, saying, ‘I don’t remember the last time I raced a Hot Bodies truggy’, he summed up the run with, ‘the pace is not too bad and the car is ok’. One of the first of the international drivers to arrive for the race giving him the advantage of extra practice in the days leading up to the event, he said, ‘I had one stupid crash at the beginning (of the heat) by myself and then on the last lap the front drive broke which cost me a position’. Running Electro Shots but having run Blockades in practice he said he will switch to the latter for Q2.
Completing the Top 5 would be Aaron Stringer. The Australian who ran a full day of testing yesterday described his opening heat as ‘pretty shit’. Running in the second fastest heat, the Mugen driver said ‘I crashed 5-times with back markers in the first three laps’. Describing his MBX7 as ‘good for the heat’, that was reflected in him posting the fastest lap of Q1. With the heats being reseeded after each round this will put Stringer in the top heat and planning to leave his car unchanged he will be hoping for a ‘better run’.
Chassis – HB Racing D817 Engine – Team Orion CRF Factory RS V3 WC Tyres – JConcepts Detox R2 Compound Fuel – Runner Time Top 25 Radio/Servos – Sanwa/ Highest D1000 Body – JConcepts Silencer Remarks – The current IFMAR 1:8th World Champion, David Ronnefalk, is making his first appearance at the Philippine Masters and has displayed very enthusiastic emotions about being here and racing in Asia. The WC is running a basic version of the D817 with the addition of hard arms and carbon fibre stiffener inserts to give him the feel and response that he needs on this sugar/molasses coated track. With the temperatures near 32C, Ronnefalk has gone up in shock oil and diff oil to adjust for the hotter climates here in Manila.
The Philippines is not a country that springs to mind when one thinks of 1:8 Offroad racing but this weekend it will welcome some of the sport’s biggest names as they travel to Manila to complete in the Philippine Masters. Now in its seventh year, the event has slowly grown each year but 2017 is certainly a year that should put it on the international calendar with the entry boasting 3 World Champions including the reigning champion David Ronnefalk. First organised in 2011 by Dogbone RC, the country’s Mugen & Serpent distributor, the race moved to the current CV Offroad Track in 2014 where it started to enjoy an increasing profile. With the Quezon City RC Car Club bringing in Scotty Ernst as an announcer for their first year of hosting the race, aiming to get international attention from such a move, things have just grown ever since. With 2015 marking the first year of US star Adam Drake and Aussie Kyle McBride competing, this year they are joined by Ronnefalk, Ty Tessmann, Atsushi Hara, Richard Saxton with even HB Racing designer Torrance Deguzman coming out of international retirement to race. Such a strong entry marks out the Philippine Masters as Asia’s main annual buggy event, a fact QCRCCC, which this year celebrates its 20th year since founding are proud of and keen to develop further.
Such is the international scale of this year’s Masters, when one of the local racers who is an airline pilot approached Philippine Airlines to support the event, the country’s flag carrier had no hesitation in coming onboard as one the race’s main sponsors. Attracting drivers from 14 countries, one of the big selling points of the Philippine Masters is that in addition to taking part in the race, drivers have the opportunity to enjoy the country’s tourism. This is something Ronnefalk will do after the race when he travels to Palawan for a few days which has been named as the best island in the world by a number of travel magazines.
As a facility, the track and pits cover an area of 2,500 square meters. Built in 2009, in preparation for its ever increasing Master’s entry it has had its pit area more than doubled in size this year. Originally built more as a 1:10 Offroad track, it has evolved in to a 1:8 layout with club races attracting around 30 entries. In terms of key events apart from the Masters, the track is the location for the Philippine Nationals which is a multi round championship with all races held at CV Offroad Track. One of the country’s top racers, Edward Sio was responsible for this year’s Masters layout. One key feature of the track surface is the use of molasses to bind the dirt and reduce the dust with a built in watering system also helping to maintain the surface.
With the race marking his first visit to the Philippines, Ronnefalk said , ‘the facility is great and the people here are super friendly. I really enjoy coming to Asia now to race and it is becoming an important market’. In terms of the track, the HB Racing driver said, ‘the layout is cool. It is pretty challenging on the left side but overall it’s not difficult to learn’. Asked his favourite feature, he said, ‘I like the roller double into the left side of the track because its a place you can make up a lot of time or lose a lot’. He added, ‘It is small compared to European tracks but its still fast and has high grip so I think it will make for good racing’.
Also on his first trip to the country, being one of the first drivers to arrive and admitting the venue far exceeded his expectations, Hara said, ‘overall its a really nice layout with a good balance and high grip. It is not too difficult but the left side jumps combination is challenging’. With 1:8 nitro, eBuggy and Truggy making up the race schedule, the Japanese driver feels the track may be ‘a little too tight for truggy’.