The Dirt Champion cars – Truggy & eBuggy

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David Ronnefalk’s D8T Tessmann Edition


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Ty Tessmann’s D815 (Tekno Conversion)

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Ronnefalk wins DNC Truggy title after epic HB duel

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David Ronnefalk is the Truggy Champion of the 16th running of the Dirt Nitro Challenge, the Swede becoming the first European to win the title after an epic duel with HB team-mate & outgoing 4-time champion Ty Tessmann.  The class of the field, the new for 2015 team-mates would put on a show for the crowd who lined the perimeter of the Fear Farm track as they battled over the lead.  Unfortunately with 2-minutes to go Tessmann’s D8T would start to act up with the culprit becoming clear when the front left arm finally let go.  Despite a wheel hanging off his truggy, the Canadian would manage to nurse it home in second for a HB 1-2.  Three seconds back, TLR’s Ryan Maifield would complete the podium with Top Qualifier Jared Tebo ending the 45-minute encounter in fourth.

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With the DNC marking back to back European Buggy Champion Ronnefalk’s first nitro outing with HB after his departure from long time sponsor Kyosho, the 18-year-old was understandably delighted to win his first nitro title having won eBuggy last year.  Describing his battle with Tessmann as ‘awesome’, he said he knew his AKA shod D8T was going to be amazing but that his strategy would involve one more fuel stop and staying out of trouble was going to be key to a good race.  Leading the race he would have one moment when he came to lap Barry Pettit and Austin Blair, him making contact with Blair’s S-Workz in the back triple double.  While this would cost him the lead to Tessmann luckily his truggy stayed on its wheels with Ronnefalk saying afterwards the incident could have had a very different outcome if it had went on its roof.  Running a seven & a half minute fuel strategy, with 15-minutes to go he would suffer a terrible penultimate stop. Catching a hole on the entry to the pitlane he would catch the piping for a slow entry and then on the exit he would spin out as he ‘hit a guy’s foot’ after which he ‘thought it was over’.  ‘(Pushing) like hell’ he said a few bobbles from Tessmann allowed him to catch him back up.  While they would come together a few times, many industry onlookers describing it as one of the best battles they had ever seen, Ronnefalk said ‘we each waited and it was a fair battle’.

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Chasing a fourth consecutive truggy title, him being the only driver prior to Ronnefalks win to be crowned Truggy champion at the Fear Farm, Tessmann was disappointed he didn’t get to see out the battle with his team-mate.  Having problems twice turning in to the whoops section, the 21-year-old said he initially thought it was a servo problem but it was the breaking arm catching the wheel.  Figuring out at the first round of refuelling that Ronnefalk was on an extra stop Tessmann said he knew he had the benefit and it was all going as planned until he steering started to act up.  Enjoying his battle with Ronnefalk he said given the arm failure he was happy to come away with second.  Describing the track as ‘pretty gnarly’ he said tomorrow, when he will try to defend his buggy title from the TQ starting position, is going to be a ‘very difficult race’.

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His first DNC outing with Team Losi Racing, Maifield said all in all he thought the race went pretty well.  ‘Close at the beginning’, running in the lead pack, he said he fell back due to having to stop on seven & half minute intervals.  Describing 8ight-T as super loose, it lacking side bite, he said ‘considering the truck was not working at it best’ and his time lost due to fuel strategy he was happy to end up with a podium.

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Doing the double at the 2011 DNC before it moved to its current home, Tebo who led for the first 5-minutes said ‘it was really fun at the beginning but once the two HB got by I struggled with a lack of corner speed’.  Going back to the lead for a while at the first round of pit stops he said ‘I drove the best I could but we need some updates for our truck as it doesn’t carry corner speed’.

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Putting together a very late deal to contest The Dirt Nitro Challenge with Mugen, Adam Drake would end the race 5th, a result the hugely popular 1:8 offroad icon would described as a ‘solid finish’.  Feeling that halfway into the race he was catching Tebo but he said he threw away the chance to battle with him him for the fourth place with ‘two stupid mistakes coming into the pits’.  Although he ‘got (his rhythm) back’ he said he had dropped to far back to do anything about Tebo.  Describing his MBX7T, Novarossi engine and Pro-Line tyres as having all been ‘good’ for the final, he added he is still learning every time he goes out and he is ‘happy to be learning moving forward’.

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Completing the Top 6 was Ryan Lutz.  Another driver running for a different team 12-months ago, he said his truggy ‘felt like it was slipping the whole time’.  With his Tekno ‘handling well’ he just kept it going around for the 45-minutes although he thought his race was done after 4-laps.  On the front double double he ‘horrifically’ collided with another truggy with him thinking his NT48 ‘was smashed up’ but it wasn’t and he kept going. Behind Lutz, last year’s runner up Barry Pettit would finish 7th followed by Top Associated finisher Carson Wernimont, his AE team-mate Ryan Cavalieri retiring from the race with a broken truggy.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Video – eBuggy A-Main Final

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tessmann adds eBuggy to DNC title list

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Having won 5 out of a possible six nitro titles over the passed three years of the Dirt Nitro Challenge at the Fear Farm, tonight Ty Tessmann added his first eBuggy title.  Top Qualifier for the race, the HB driver led the 10-minute entire from start to finish with only Jared Tebo and Ryan Maifield attempting to put pressure on the Canadian.

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Getting into second from fourth on the grid on the opening lap, Tebo would run with Tessmann for four laps before a mistake coming onto the straight.  This would allow Maifield, who started 10th, to close in the Kyosho driver with the 2013 Nitro Buggy Champion going by on the next lap.  Setting the fastest of the race (37.253), Maifield would make considerable inroads on Tessmann until a bobble. Making a second charge the TLR driver’s challenge would ultimately end on lap 15 of 17 as he flipped his 8ight-E on the drop down into the bowl.   At the end the gap was 5-seconds with Tebo completing the podium a further 1.5 back.  For last year’s eBuggy Champion David Ronnefalk, who starting from 5th on the grid challenged Maifield for second for a number of laps, the race would end in retirement after he lost a front drive shaft pin coming up on 7-minutes.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rodriguez rises like a Phoenix to make Truggy Main

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Dylan Rodriguez put in a Phoenix style rise to secure his place in tonight’s Truggy A-Main of the Dirt Nitro Challenge on a day that started out in the F-Main culminating in victory in the B-Main to put the A-Main Performance Hobbies team driver on the 15 car grid that will battle it out for victory at the 16th running of the Arizona event.   Battling it out for much of the race with Austin Blair eventually finishing 4.7 seconds ahead, the Las Vegas driver will be joined by his A-Main team-mate.  Securing the third a final bump up spot would be Novak team driver Billy Fischer who would come out on top of a late battle with Cody King, the Kyosho driver giving up third with a mistake at the end of the straight with two & half laps to go.

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Unfortunately for last year’s only triple podium finisher Dakotah Phend, the 18-year old will not be returning to Michigan with three trophies this year.   A tough qualifying left the US National Champion in the C-Main and having bumped up he was in contention to progress to the A-Main but just after the 2/3rds distance of the 30-minute encounter he suffered another steering knuckle failure having had the same issue in one of his qualifiers.  Another driver who was looking strong to bump up was Xray’s Martin Bayer.  The Czech driver went with a 10-minute fuel strategy and as that played out, most drivers doing 3 stops, he was right at the front but on his in lap for his 2nd stop he ran out of fuel.  Afterwards he said half way through the race a loose ackermann screw lost him steering forcing him to have to steer the truggy on the throttle leading his FX engine to just miss the second stop.

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A very popular win, Rodriguez described his day as ‘crazy’.   Ending up qualifying second to last after radio issues in Q1,  a front drive failure in Q2 and further issues in Q3,  all three qualifying heats coming to a combined 10-laps of the Fear Farm track, he said for the B-Main he was just trying to keep out of trouble and coming from 14th on the grid ‘opportunities came (his) way’ allowing him to work his way to the front.  Describing his HB D8T Tessmann Edition as working really good, the recently turned 21-year-old said after such bad luck in qualifying he was delighted to turn things around and line up in the A-Main.

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Blair, who is running an S-Workz truggy, was equally happy to bump up having started the race from second on the grid behind Drew Moller, the HB driver leading for the first 5-minutes before a series of mistakes dropped him down the order.  The 20-year-old said having watched some ‘hectic starts’ to the earlier finals he just tried to stay out of trouble for the early laps and not hit anyone. Swapping the lead with Rodriguez and Fischer, he said he enjoyed his battle with his team-mate he was looking forward to taking part in the A-Main having missed the cut last year.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ronnefalk takes Q3 from Top Qualifier Tessmann

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David Ronnefalk headed a HB 1-2 in the third & final round of buggy qualifying at the Dirt Nitro Challenge, the Swede outpacing Ty Tessmann by 1.2 seconds, but second for the round would be enough for Tessmann to secure the overall TQ for the 16th running of world famous track builder Joey ‘The Dirt’ Christensen’s signature event. Despite not having a good final round, TLR’s Ryan Maifield, the only driver other than Tessmann to win at DNC nitro title at the Fear Farm, will line up second followed by team-mate & last year’s Top Qualifier Dakotah Phend who also had a tough Q3.  Becoming the third different driver to TQ a round, Maifield taking Q1 and Tessmann Q2, Ronnefalk will line-up 4th for Sunday night’s 45-minute final.

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Happy to get the overall TQ, Tessmann described his final qualifier as ‘alright’ feeling he drove too hard at the start and ending up with a crash on lap 4.  Making a diff set-up change on his D815 for the run, the Canadian said this worked out good with him able to set the fastest lap of the round. Six second down on team-mate Ronnefalk with 5-laps to go the World Champion reduced that to just over a second adding this showed the speed is there. Asked about the main he said ‘everyone is right there’ in terms of speed and ‘not one person is standing out’. Commenting on the track he said it is ‘getting more & more gnarly’ but they would just ‘have to deal with it’ come the A-Main.

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Maifield was clearly not happy with changes made to his 8ight for the final qualifying with the 2013 champion saying bad decisions were made in the pits after to listening to other people.  The Arizona driver said once he puts his car back to how it was in the previous qualifiers, his set-up unchanged between Q1 & 2, he knows he is faster than everyone else and his plan for the race was simple, ‘make a pass at the first corner and be gone’.

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Managing only the 15th fastest time for the third round, Phend said his 8ight was good but battling with sickness it didn’t go well from a driving point of view. With the round finishing up shortly after 11pm, the top drivers having been at the track from before 7am to complete their final round of truggy qualifying, the 18-year-old said he now just want to go to sleep.  With a good starting position already locked in with his results from the first two qualifiers he used the final run to test Pro-Line’s Lockdown tyre with a view to running them in the Main. Providing more traction and feeling less edgy than the Holeshots he ran previously he said he will most probably use them for the final.

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Ronnefalk said for anyone watching the warm-up they would have said he had no chance of a TQ run as he made a series of stupid mistakes one of which saw Boots make contact with his D815.  Adopting a ‘little easier’ driving style for the start of the qualifier he said this and having a clean track ahead of him worked out well adding he was particularly happy to do one TQ run in each of the three 1:8 classes.  Having one mistake at the whoops section, adding with the track conditions as they are now you were always going to have some bobbles out there, he said the biggest difference for Q3 was his tyre choice.  Having run AKA Catapults, he changed to Typos which resulted in increased traction and more steering.

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Posting the fifth fastest time for Q3, that is where Ryan Lutz will line up on the 15-car A-Main grid.  The Tekno RC driver said ‘the start was good, the middle was good, but the end was not so good’.  Running a Top 3, hitting the top of the timing screens for a lap, he caught traffic towards the end of the 7-minutes and then made mistakes of his own.  Despite this he said it was nice to be on the pace with a change to CVDs in the back of his prototype buggy curing the issue he had with the rear end of the car dumping under power.  Feeling he made a lot of progress with his buggy over the three qualifiers he is confident he can run a good final.

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Completing the Top 6 on the grid by backing up his P5 in Q2 with a P6 in the final round that allowed him to drop his disastrous Q1 result, Ryan Cavalieri will lead the Team Associated challenge in the final.  Behind him Elliott Boots will line up 7th as the top Kyosho qualifier followed by HB’s Drew Moller, Truggy Top Qualifier Jared Tebo, Mugen’s Barry Pettit and Kyosho’s Cody King. Agama driver Darren Bloomfield secures the 12th & final direct spot on the grid which will be completed by the Top 3 finishers from the B-Main.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Live Event Updates

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Introduction

Red RC are making our annual trip to the Fear Farm Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona for the 2015 Dirt Nitro Challenge. The international season opener for the gas offroad class, each year it attracts close to 700 entries and this year will once again be stacked with talent all with the goal of taking the wins in the blue ribboned truggy and buggy classes, dominated last year by one man, Canadian Ty Tessmann. Red RC's coverage begins in full on Wednesday afternoon (18th) and we will be trackside bringing you reports, insights, videos and photos directly from the track throughout the week.

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