The 1:8 Offroad World Championships has been whittled down from its biggest ever entry to the final 56 drivers who will get a chance to race for the sport’s biggest prize in Las Vegas tomorrow. A day of lower finals at RC Tracks of Las Vegas, the day concluded with the running of the 1/16 finals to decide the 8 drivers who would progress to Saturday’s showdown. In the end the 1/16 finals would produce contrasting winners with World Championship Rookie Colin Herzig winning the first encounter while veteran Billy Easton booked his place with victory of a 20-minute encounter that would end in a driver scuffle between Tanner Denney and Brian Baldo. Convinced Denney had taken him out of second place with 1-minute to go as the pair ran side by side coming onto the main straight, both IFMAR president Dallas Mathiesen and Darren Bloomfield would have to intervene to keep the Spaniard separated from the American.
‘To be honest my race has been a nightmare, it had been going pretty bad and I would have been happy for it to be over already’ was how Easton summed up his win over Denney, Denney having beaten him to the win in the previous 1/32 final. The Serpent designer continued, ‘I was surprised how well that went. My car was really dialled. I had safe steering and it just slid over the bumps’. Making ‘a couple of mistakes’ when asked about his SRX8’s improved pace he replied, ‘I don’t really know’ joking, ‘I just needed extra track time because I’m an old guy’. Behind Denney, video footage showing the TLR driver didn’t intentionally make contact with Baldo, Justin Wheeler, the younger brother of multiple Worlds finalist Josh, would complete the Top 3 while the final bump up spot of the day would be secured by Darren Bloomfield. The former European Champion started on pole and was having a good early battle with Easton but during his fuel stop with his tank puller stuck inside the car as his mechanic pulled it out he would also pull off the pressure pipe. Having been dogged with bad luck in qualifying, the factory Agama driver said, ‘it looks like my bad luck isn’t finished’ but admitted there was some luck on his side in that his engine ran to the finish without the back pressure pipe. A very irate Baldo would finish 3.5 second back in fifth.
Very happy to have booked his spot in the main day’s action at his first World Championship attempt, Herzig said, ‘I’m absolutely delighted to make into the final day’. Having had issues with traffic in most of his qualifiers but getting a P15 in Q3 which he said, ‘helped a lot’, the 26-year-old said for his final he, ‘drove a clean race and just tried to be nice & smooth’. From Monrovia, California, he added, ‘I knew I didn’t have to be fast as I could see the others were crashing’. Describing his OS powered Kyosho as ‘working really well’, for his 1/8 Final he plans to leave the car unchanged other than go with a different compound tyre to account for the the fact the race will in the Nevada sun rather than under track flood lights. 4-seconds back, European Championship finalist Oscar Baldo would finish second sending the Spanish Mugen driver through to tomorrow. Also joining him in the 1/8 Odd Final will be Tyler Vik, the Xray driver bumping up for a second time having come through from winner the 1/32 final ahead of Meen Vejrak. For former 1:10 Nitro Onroad World Champion Vejrak he would miss a second bump up by half a second with Steve Harris pipping him for fourth. One big name to fall in the same final was 2013 4WD Electric Offroad World Champion Steven Hartson, the Associated driver suffered a flame out having bumped from the 1/32.
Chassis – Kyosho Inferno MP9 TKI4 Engine – Reds R7 Worlds Edition Tyres – Pro-Line Holeshot M3 Fuel – Byron Fuel Radio/Servos – KO Propo Body – TKI4 Kit body
Remarks – 2010 World Champion Cody King is running his Reds Racing powered Kyosho Inferno MP9 TKI4 here in Vegas with a basic team setup that has been tweaked. Running softer oil in the centre diff compared to others, he also tried harder oil in the rear but reverted back to help settle the car down over the bumps. In terms of tire package he has tried all the main tire patterns and decided on M3 Holeshots for qualifying but in semi practice will try Switchblade and Fugitive, but feels the former will most likely be the best choice for the semis and main.
Having dominated the first day of qualifying with two TQ runs but then had issues mostly involving traffic, Elliott Boots bounced back to take the final qualifier at the 1:8 Offroad World Championships in Las Vegas. The Kyosho driver would top the round by almost 4-seconds from David Ronnefalk secure pole for the second of the Semi Finals, team-mate Jared Tebo having already wrapped up the overall TQ by taking the previous round of qualifying. After struggling since opening qualifying with a P3, Ryan Maifield would complete the Top 3 for the sixth & final qualifier with the young find of the 16th running of the Worlds Davide Ongaro booking a Semi Final spot with a P4. Needing to be marshalled twice, Tebo would conclude qualifying with a P8 but the round was always a testing opportunity for the American.
‘Having a clean track helped massively’ was Boots reaction to his 3rd TQ run. The European Champion continued, ‘I walked the track at lunch time which helped and drove around the bumps this time which helped a lot’. The 2012 Worlds Top Qualifier, a servo issue preventing him from progressing to the final in Argentina, said while he had ‘a few little bobbles (he) was able to keep it steady for the run’. Setting the fastest lap by over half a second, he concluded, ‘I’m ready to go for the finals now. That was my finals set-up and we got the pace with that’.
Best of the rest behind the Kyoshos, Ronnefalk declared his final qualifier, ‘another good run’. With the P2 allowing him to drop his P9 from Q3 and jump ahead of HB Racing team-mate Tessmann in the qualification ranking, the Swede said, ‘the track was a little faster as it stayed moist for longer and I knew if didn’t crash it was going to be close for the TQ of the round. Then I crashed at the brick section and that (time lost) was the gap to Elliott’. He continued, ‘you miss the line by 10cm and you hit the bump and it throws you out’. Set to run in the same 30-minute Semi as Tebo, the multiple European Champion said, ‘I’m super confident with the car now so I’m looking forward to the final’. Yet to make it through to the Main event at a Worlds, when asked about runtime the Team Orion sponsored driver replied, ‘I don’t think many can make it (10-minute between stops) so its not a concern for us’.
Tessmann was on target to do the final qualifier without a stop but with 2-minutes to go he would land on Ryan Lutz’s Tekno causing his OS Speed engine to stop. Afterwards the reigning Word Champion said his flywheel was marked indicating the contact had cut his engine. Asked about the 10-minute run time, the defending World Champion said, ‘for sure we could have done the 10-minutes. The track is rougher and slower so the mileage comes up’. He added, ‘we are not as close as Jared (on run time) so it’s good for the final’.
‘That went ok’ was Maifield’s reaction to matching his previous best qualifier. The TLR driver said, ‘we changed tyres and made changes to the car and I got a good flow that time’. He added, ‘I was driving more like me which is a good way to end before going into the finals’. The Arizona ace said while he didn’t know if it would have affected the outcome he was ‘disappointed they didn’t announce the pace for our run as it would have been nice to know’. Switching to JConcepts green compound Reflex tyre the 2014 World final pole sitter said they gave the forward bite he was looking for but were lacking in the 180s but thats something we can get out of the car’.
Going to wider rear hex on his Mugen, Ongaro said his car ‘was a lot more stable’. Asked about the run, the 15-year-old said ‘I switched off at the double double single and had a bobble’, his mechanic ‘Verry’ joking ‘Jesus saved us’. Only his second World Championship, his first attempt seeing him qualifying in the 1/8 final, looking to the Semi final he said, ‘We are not going to change anything, just rebuild everything’.
Joern Neumann would end qualifying with his best run of the six rounds posting 5th to bump the Serpent driver up into the Semi Finals. The German said ‘just no mistakes’ was the main contributing factor to the run but he was also much happier with his MX powered SRX8. With Serpent preparing prototype 19 degree C-hubs for the event but Neumann preferring the steering of 13 degree C-hubs in all his pre event testing and then going to 17 degrees, he said this was the first time he tried them and they made the car ‘much easier to drive everywhere’. Also doing his final qualifier without stopping for fuel, he said ‘we are very good on run time. I can do 10-minutes no problem. Gerd (Strenge) timed me and I did 12-minutes with plenty left’. The 2010 Worlds Finalist said after his final qualifier, which he pointed out should run at similar time to the scheduled Semi Finals, he is ‘feeling positive for a good final’.
Completing the Top 6, Ryan Cavalieri said, ‘I bobbled too many times but it would have been a good time, my pace was good’. The top Team Associated at the end of qualifying, the 2014 podium finisher continued, ‘we were definitely faster that time and will build off that for the Semi. We’re going in the right direction now’. Asked about changes for the finals he replied, ‘I need to watch some film of what the car is doing but I think maybe we need to soften up the front end’.
Commenting on his Q6, finishing behind 2014 Finalist Alex Zanchettin, Tebo said ‘I changed the set-up and didn’t quite like it as much so I’ll put all back to how it was but I’m happy I tried stuff’. He continued ‘I haven’t needed a marshal but that time I had to be turn marshalled 2 times in the one lap, without that it would have still been a good run’. He concluded, ‘I’m happy Elliott got the TQ. Overall it was a great day and I’m looking forward to Saturday’.