Dustin Evans made a clear statement regarding his Round 3 treatment by taking victory in a very stacked Round 4 encounter at the Reedy Race of Champions. Annoyed no call was made regarding his incident with Lee Martin, Evans would line up for his final race of the day against Ryan Cavalieri, Ryan Maifield and Ty Tessmann and from 7th on the grid came to take his second win of the event. With JP Richards the early leader from Malin Karlsen, Tessmann was the first to challenge Richards for the lead but the pair tangled coming onto the straight and somehow Cavalieri from 9th on the grid hit the front. Chased by Tessmann they would also make contact handing the lead back to Richards with Evans right behind. Holding the 2011 Champion at bay for 2 laps, the Yokomo driver would give up the lead to Evans in the steps section as the Associated driver got down his inside. An over jump at the Monster Energy Triple would further demote Richards allowing Maifield and Cavalieri through for 2nd and 3rd but Tessmann was less lucky tangling with Richards at the next corner and ending up 6th at the finish. In the other encounters Rivkin doubled his winning tally by taking the 3rd heat ahead of Dakotah Phend while Cole Tollard beat 2WD Open class champion Brent Thielke in Heat 2.
‘To have that stacked a heat and start 7th a Top 3 would have been a good result. Going up against Maifield, Cav and Tessmann it’s pretty insane to win’, was Evans’ reaction after the race. The Associated driver continued, ‘the last one hurts but I need to forget that now and get onto to the next one’. With 2 more rounds of 4WD to run in the morning before the switch to 2WD, Evans finds himself 3rd in the overnight standings behind leader Cavalieri and Spencer Rivkin.
With a two point lead at the end of the first day, Cavalieri wasn’t too disappointed he didn’t complete a perfect score. He said, ‘It was a good race. I’m super happy with my pace and that I was able to lead given the drivers in the race’. The 4-time Champion continued, ‘there were are a few points I’m able to go quicker and then there was a few points Ty was quicker but to get good points when everyone was so close and getting spun around I’m happy with third. It been a good day’.
Rivkin summed up his second win by saying, ‘It was a good race, that’s the best my car is going to be’. The 2015 World Champion, who started from pole, continued, ‘I had a good lead and made a small mistake. I find it easier to drive racing other people than driving by myself but I’m happy to get the win and I’m ready to go racing the other guys tomorrow’. For his final two rounds of 4WD tomorrow, Rivkin goes up against Cavalieri and Maifield in both.
Pudge Luck seems to be in full effect on the opening day of racing at the Reedy Race of Champions as Ryan Cavalieri made 3 wins from 3 races at OCRC Raceway. Starting from 8th on the grid, the reigning champion hit the front on lap 9 of 14 when he got by TLR’s Reno Savoya to extend his points lead as the only multiple winner so far at the 24th running of the event. Behind Cavalieri 10th place starter Cole Tollard came through to finish 2nd ahead of early leader and front row starter Michal Orlwoski while Savoya dropped back to 7th. The big talking point of the round would however be the opening race and a clash between Lee Martin and Dustin Evans. With no call made on the incident, in which Evans came off worse, Martin would register the first European win of the event ahead of Spencer Rivkin and a very unhappy Evans. In the other encounter Joona Haatanen took an easy win from JP Richards while the same heat saw Ryan Maifield retire with a broken front centre shaft coupler.
Commenting on his latest win, Cavalieri said, ‘I had a really good start and was sneaking around. Then I was battling with Savoya (for the lead) but he really brake checked me’. Getting into the rear of the Frenchman at the end of the straight but rolling himself after going by he said, ‘It was good he was able to get back into the lead but I had to work my way back up. It was kind deja vu of the first race’. Dropping to 3rd behind team boss Brent Thielke, he would retake the position when Thielke got a jump wrong and then went to the front when Savoya landed in the face of the jump leading onto the straight. Set to start the final race of the day from 9th on the grid, he said, ‘I don’t think where you start makes too much difference to the race because everyone is making mistakes’.
‘An entertaining race’, was Martin’s view of his third round encounter. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘the car was probably the best it was so far and I tried to not make any mistake. One lap would be really good and the next one you’d get out shape and be afraid of it for the next lap’. Asked about his incident with Evans he said, ‘he got inside me one corner and I closed the door on the other and hit him’. He continued, ‘I could of backed but I am trying to do my best at the same time. With Spencer there I didn’t. I don’t normally get into stuff like that but its one of them things that I’ve had happen to me many times before’.
Giving his opinion on the incident Evans was clearly irrate with Martin’s driving saying, ‘just watch the video’. He continued, ‘I was making the pass and got smoked the next corner. I used to have a lot of respect for Lee but not anymore. If that’s hard racing then I’m going to have to start driving hard’.
Having had ‘bad starts’ in his opening two races, Haatanen said ‘that went very good’. Lining up 8th on the grid, the Finnish teenager said ‘I was waiting at the start for others to crash and that worked good for me. My car is easy to drive and fast also’. In the same race as Haatanen, the only European to ever win the Reedy Race title, Joern Neumann, would break in the warm-up with the 1-minute time out allowed not enough time for him to fix his Schumacher and make the start.
Round 2 of action at the Reedy Race of Champions saw Ryan Cavalieri pull off another win, this time the reigning champion taking a more straight forward victory over Lee Martin and Dakotah Phend. For the other two winners of the opening round, the second encounter wouldn’t go as well. Running in the same heat as Cavalieri, Spencer Rivkin would end up finishing as he started with fourth while Dustin Evans, running in the opening race, lost ground dropping two places to finish 5th. The winner of that race would be Ty Tessmann who led home Ryan Maifield while the round was completed by reigning Open Class Champion Broc Champlin who took the win from Rob Gillespie when the latter got it wrong coming onto the main straight.
‘I got a good start that time’, was how Cavalieri summed up the race. He added, ‘starting on the inside you lose a little traction and Spencer got around me but then a few people made mistakes and I took advantage. When I got in front I got into my groove and it was all good’. He concluded, ‘it was a lot different race to the first one’, his gap over pole starter Martin 3.3 seconds at the finish. Commenting on his race Rivkin said, ‘Me and Lee tapped. I messed up my own race. He landed up in sea world (blue infield) and came back out quicker than I expected and we touched. It was my fault’.
Asked about his race, the Canadian’s heat opening the second round, Tessmann said, ‘It went good. I started 4th and had no issue. My car was just as good as the first round, easy and consistent to drive’. Getting a P2 from the back of the grid in Round 1, the Xray driver said, ‘I landed inside the triple one lap but it didn’t cost me too much and once I got by Cole (Tollard) I didn’t push too hard. I didn’t want to risk breaking anything and wanted to get good points’.
Summing up Round 2, Evans said, ‘That was a bad run. The car doesn’t feel quite as good as yesterday now that the grip came up but I have a set-up I will go back to that is better for the higher grip’. The 2011 Champion added, ‘hopefully thats my throw out so I keep pulling away’.
In a heat void of any invitational clash champions it was a battle of Open Class Champions in the final encounter of the round. Former Champion Gillespie started on pole and led the way for 6-laps but was chased down by Champlin, he gave up that lead with a mistake coming onto the straight. Making an attempt to retake his Associated team-mate after the whoops section they would make contact but Gillespie waited and gave back position with Champlin holding on for the win with Joseph Quagraine completing the Top 3.