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Monday, October 7, 2013

Vejrak fastest in FP4


While Jilles Groskamp’s time set in the morning’s second practice remains the fastest time, it was KM Racing’s Meen Vejrak who topped Day 2’s fourth round of free practice at the 1:8 World Championships in Japan. The 200mm World Champion set the fastest 3-consecutive laps in a time of 49.687 with FP3 pace setter Tadahiko Sahashi (49.759) second fastest.  Posting identical times (49.897) Team Shepherd’s Oliver Mack and Mugen’s Takaahi Shimo posted the third fastest time followed by KM Racing’s Adrien Bertin.  Transponder problems meant Groskamp failed to register a time in both FP3 & 4 but the Dutch ace was still happy with his Shepherd and in particular in FP4 during which the sun finally broke cover over the Keitune Racing Speedway.


Running AMB’s RC2 transponders in his OS based Maxima engined Velox V8, in FP3 Groskamp thought a faulty transponder was the reason for his lack of times.  Changing to a second RC2 personal transponder he said he couldn’t believe it when his time again failed to register but on taking up the issue with race control he was informed the latest decoder software from MyLaps (where he used to work when the company was known as AMB) no longer supports the RC2 transponder.  Feeling the hotter conditions of the latest run have made the track around 1/10th of a second a lap slower he said he could feel the rear end getting a little loose as a result but looking forward he said this was a good test for later in the event.  All round the European Champion said apart from his transponder issues eveything was still going well.

Oliver Mack

Team-mate Oliver Mack said a harder set-up on his Sonic powered Velox V8 had made it a lot more consistent adding the set-up was ‘nearly perfect’.  The German said his focus for the remaining two practice runs today is his engines. Not a full time racer, a baker by profession, he said a lack of time prior to the event meant he had to bench run in his engines and this is causing him some problems.  While the engines run fine he said compared with track run in engines they are loosing their edge much faster.  Having got an engine from Eduardo Picco, who is here to support the Shepherd team for whom they make the Sonic engine line, and which was track run in by Alberto Picco, Mack will run this for his next practice after which they will work on maximising its run time in preparation for qualifying.

Adrien Bertin

Posting the fifth fastest time Bertin said ‘its not perfect but getting pretty close’.  The only former 1:8 World Champion contesting this year’s event, the French ace said his K8 is working good with parts KM produced for the KM Cup race here which he was unable to attend making the car a lot better than when he raced it the European Championships.  Head of Orion’s engine programme, he said his engine set-up is now the area he needs to work on.  Having too much bottom end power he made it less aggressive for FP4 which made a big difference and the plan is to further smoothen out the power delivery for the next run adding the he also needs to get a better tune on the engine as it was not cleaning out properly.


While Xray have no official presence at these World Championship, Paul Lemiuex having put one of their RX8s in the final in Miami on the cars Worlds debut, FP4 did see a good run from Raiola Carmine.  Setting the 8th fastest time, the current Italian National Champion said he is happy with his car. Finishing second to Shimo at the KM Cup which was held here last month the 22-year-old is using the same set-up today but it is his engine that is causing him some problems.  While happy with the power he said the tune is not stable, with it keeping going rich, and so for the next practice run he will change to another one of his Max engines.

Michael Salven Shells

Elsewhere Michael Salven, having struggled to get any feeling from his Serpent, copied the set-up of the Sahashi brother for FP4.  The 1:8 onroad veteran and Serpent designer said it was a lot better adding that he expected it to be really loose but it wasn’t.  A good base set-up to work from he said for him it lacked a little steering but the German said he had lots of options to cure that and he is now much more confident for the remaining practice runs.


A finalist at the last world Championship Motonica team driver Robin D’hondt is not having a good event so far.  7th in Miami, the Belgian said he is struggling for a set-up with the car both unstable and lacking steering.  This being his first visit to the track he said a lack of practice is hindering him but he hope running a narrower front end will improve the car. In yesterday’s practice the 24-year-old broke the radio plate and a receiver in a heavy impact crash captured by the Red RC video camera.

Paolo Morganti

From the host Nation of the last World Championship, there are five US drivers in attendance here in Japan.  Serpent’s Paolo Morganti said things are getting better the more he learns the track.  This being his first time to the Japanese track he said the left side and right side have to be driven totally different.  Having to avoid the paint on the right side of the track he said on the left you have to go on it and that takes getting used to.  Having run a carbon chassis plate on his Novarossi powered 977 in the morning he has switched to the more tradition aluminium chassis saying the carbon chassis is not good for this track and is something that is better suited for use back in the US.


Fellow US driver JJ Wang declared himself happy with how things are going so far.  The 15-year-old Mugen driver, who just missed the main at the Pre World’s when drivers where permitted to use additive, said he is working on trying to get his Novarossi powered MRX-5 to turn in better while keeping rear traction, in particular in the left side of the track.

View our event image gallery here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chassis Focus – Meen Vejrak


Car: KM Racing K8
Engine: O.S. Speed
Fuel: Cosmo
Tires: Zac Project
Bodyshell: Protoform R18
Radio/Servo: Airtronics

The reigning 1/10th 200mm World Champion, Meen Vejrak is one of a number of top racers running KM Racing’s new K8 chassis. Having been one of the car’s development drivers he has done many laps of the Kei Tune track in preparation for this event. In terms of setup Meen says because the traction is slightly different to how it has been in the past, most probably due to the large number of drivers running on the track, he has made some shock oil and piston adjustments to try to get more steering in the car. The car is expected to be released to the public following the World Championships.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Groskamp sets early pace in Japan


Jilles Groskamp set the early pace on Day 2 of practice for the 1:8 Onroad World Championships in Chiba, Japan.  After two of six rounds which make up today’s schedule at the Keitune Racing Speedway, the Team Shepherd driver set the fastest three consecutive laps with a time of 49.207 followed closely by Serpent’s Yuya Sahashi (49.249) and the Mugen of Pre Worlds race winner Takaahi Shimo (49.286).  An event that marks the debut for HB in what many view as the Formula 1 category of R/C, Hideo Kitazawa took his R8 to the fourth fastest while Teemu Leino was the second fastest non-Japanese driver, the Finn posting the 6th fastest time ahead of 200mm World Champion Meen Vejrak.


Having found a good base set-up on his Maxima powered Velox V8 in yesterday’s four practice rounds, Groskamp said his focus today is all about bodyshells.  The reigning European Champion is pleased with how close his chassis set-up is and that the fine tuning is all in the bodyshells and their preparation and positioning.  The Dutch driver said the shell is so important now to the overall set-up of the cars and with it very easy to break a body on this track he said its important to run as many bodies as possible so as to know how each one reacts should he require a spare.  Apart from that Groskamp said he is also running a different engine each round, the last one being a little rich on the low end,  just to ensure they are all ready to go should the weather see a sudden change in the timetable which might mean qualifying gets underway earlier than expected.


The older of the two Sahashi brothers, Tadahiko taking his 977 to the 5th fastest time, Yuya said a change of body resulted in him finding some extra pace in the second of today’s run.  Having run Protoform’s R18 in the first run he switched to a Blitz which he said while it made for a more difficult car it produced faster lap times.  For his next practice he said he will switch back to the R18 which is overall easier to drive, something that will be important for the 10-minute qualifiers.


Having finished 4th in Miami, then driving for Kyosho who have since left the class, Shimo was overall pleased with his early practice runs.  Mugen’s big bet for the World title, especially with reigning World Champion Robert Pietsch missing the event due to illness, he said he is working to a step by step plan and so far those changes are gradually improving his OS powered MRX-5.  Describing his run to the 3rd fastest time as ‘quite OK’, he added that there is still run for improvement.  One of those improvements he is looking for is to get the car to get more steering from the front end rather then using the throttle to steer the rear end.


Making his 1:8 World Championship debut, Leino described his early runs with his OS powered R8 as ‘pretty OK’.  Having debuted the car at the KM Cup here last month, along with fellow HB team-mate Andy Moore who is also making his Worlds debut, he said they have a good base set-up but they are continuing to use every run to try something new to build up as much data as possible. Moore, who did a full test programme in Thailand with the car, prior to arriving in Japan, said his first practice was going pretty wheel before he broke a front wheel.  Changing swaybar and springs in the second he said the changes were not good.  As a nitro novice having made his 1:10 debut at the 200mm Worlds in Thailand where he made the Main final, the former Electric Touring Car World Champion said everything is totally different in 1:8 adding that the cars are really good fun to drive.  With a slightly smoother driving style to some of the more seasoned 1:8 drivers he said the clutch set-up to suit that is ‘so crucial’ but having been in the Top 10 yesterday he is happy with how things are going so far.


Driving KM Racing’s new K8 Chassis, Vejrak tried a different set-up for the second practice which gave him a much more stable car but at the cost of a little steering.  Describing the set-up as ‘good for the final’, the Thai ace will try to make his OS powered car a little more aggressive for the next one.  Running a Protoform R18 he said he is happy with that and doesn’t plan on changing away from it for now.  Setting the 8th fastest time, team-mate Keisuke Fukuda described his Picco powered K8 as ‘not so good’.  The former 200mm World Champion and runner up in Miami is struggling with a lack of steering.  Changing the set-up to try and find the steering he is after he said it makes the rear end too lose and he needs to find a better balance.


A late entry for the event, Atsushi Hara said things are ‘getting better and better every run’ as he took his Mugen to the 9th fastest time.  Having only signed a last minute deal to drive for Mugen in this event following his shock departure from HB, Hara didn’t have the opportunity to test on the track prior to his arrival for the event.  A legend of the sport who has enjoyed success across the spectrum of classes, he said of all the cars he has raced 1:8 Onroad feels like the one with the most understeer.  Looking for more off power rotation he said as his pitman Kenji Osaka, the 2001 World Champion, gets back his feeling for the class they are able to improve the OS powered MRX-5 small steps at a time.  Having back to back tested Protoform’s R18 and a Blitz body the former 1:8 Offroad & Electric Touring Car World Champion said the he prefers the rotation he gets from the R18 adding in this class the body shell plays such a big part in the overall set-up.

View our event image gallery here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

‘Race Control’ – Day 2


While the original schedule reads that it should be Day 3 of the 1:8 Onroad World Championship, today is in fact the second day of action at the Keitune Racing Speedway, Icihara, Japan.  Heavy rain all day Saturday resulted in no track action on the opening day with the first half of yesterday’s practice also effected by a wet track.  With a number of no show entries, race officials used this opportunity to reschedule a more compact timetable that will see three qualifiers run per day rather the traditional 2 meaning that today can be used to gain back the track time lost over the past two days.  Today drivers will each get 6 rounds of 8-minute long practice runs.  While a slightly damp start to the day, the first cars on track at 7:00, it is hoped that a full day of dry running can be completed although there is some talk that we might get a little rain later in the day.  In terms of the Typoon Fitow, race officials are monitoring its progress and for now plan to continue as though it will miss the area.

View our event image gallery here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Track Focus – Keitune Racing Speedway


Track Name – Keitune Racing Speedway
Owner – Mr. Toru Kijima
Country – Japan
Location – Ichihara (70km S/E of Tokyo)
Direction – Anti-Clockwise
Surface – Asphalt
Previous key events hosted – 1:8 Japanese Nationals

On the drive up the narrow road between the tall trees and bamboo plants the last thing you would expect to find is an onroad r/c track, but on a plot of unused farm land in the middle of a forest is the Keitune Racing Speedway.  Host of this year’s 1:8 Onroad World Championships, the track was built in 1996 by Toru Kijima after his bank brought the site to his attention and a deal was agreed to rent it from a farmer who was no longer working the land. Situated a little over an hours drive South East of Tokyo City, the track has amassed a membership of 1,500 drivers since it was built with 1:8 Nitro and 1:5 the two most popular classes that use the venue.  The track has in addition to holding 1:8 Japanese Nationals also hosted the 1:12 and Pro 10 Nationals in the past.

Operated full time by Mr. Kijima as a private business, the track layout is fast flowing but its curbs are punishing with the sweepers either side particularly challenging for drivers. Get them wrong and its pretty much game over.  Kijima, who is the official time keeper for the event & also Japanese agent for MyRCM timing software, predicts fast lap times of 16-seconds around the 318 metre long track.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Live Event Updates

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The most important electric offroad race of the year, we are attending the 2016 Reedy Offroad Race of Champions at OCRC Raceway in Huntington Beach, California. Won last year for the first time by Ryan Maifield, the invitational class is a who's who of top racers from around the World, all of whom have had to qualify to compete in this unique heads up race format. Red RC's coverage begins in full on Thursday afternoon (21st) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week.

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