Having held a title of being one of the greatest offroad drivers to never have been crowned World Champion, Ryan Maifield today finally revoked that status when he joined R/C racing’s most elite club by becoming the 2WD World Champion in China. With form over the first day & a half of the event making the American an unlikely title challenger, that all changed in the third qualifier as together with his Yokomo team he turned things around and go on to become Top Qualifier. Taking an easy win in A1 despite a last lap tumble, A2 would see a first lap mistake set up the world famous ‘Ryan & Ryan’ show as he and Ryan Cavalieri went into battle. Having lost out to Cavalieri in the past, Maifield this time kept his composure with the mistake coming from Cavalieri. Getting stuck up in a corner pipe it handed Maifield a huge lead allowing him to cruise to the win and with it the World title. Admitting afterwards that he had begun to accept he might never be a World Champion, the meaning of finally achieving his dream was clear to see as he became overcome with emotion on the drivers stand as track announcer Scotty Ernst asked him how it feels to finally be World Champion.
‘Its a pretty surreal feeling. There are so many great drivers that have never won a World title, I’m very thankful that I can now say I’m a World Champion, not many drivers can say that’, was how Maifield summed up the meaning of this his greatest win. Part of the offroad super power trio that is himself, Cavalieri and Jared Tebo but the last one to add a World title to his CV he continued, ‘I have always dreamed of this and I wish Jason (Ruona) was here. We have worked well together for a long time. I’m sure he won’t regret having missed the food but I’m sure he’s going to regret not being here for the win but we’ll celebrate when we get home’. On his A2 performance he said, ‘I made a slight bobble in the doubles. I knew how important it was to stay in front so I did what I did to keep in front. Ryan is a great driver and held his line, he knew it was the first lap so he didn’t contest it. It was great to race Ryan for my first World Championship because I raced him for each one of his’. In terms of his YZ-2 DTM he said, ‘I had to build my car twice today because I had a bent chassis (after his Q5 off) and them for this one (A2) my diff didn’t feel great so I stole Hara’s. Joe (Pillar) has just joined the team and has been a great help and kept everything calm. When I’m freaking out rebuilding the car he keeps everything calm. It is great to be involved with a team like Yokomo, I only joined them at the start of the season but they have listened to my input and Lee’s and made the changes we needed. Myself and Lee have worked really well together and Shin too, its been a real team effort’.
Finishing second to David Ronnefalk in A3, the Swede having a great run from P7 on the grid, Cavalieri said, ‘I did what I had to do to get second (overall)’. He continued, ‘Lee made a mistake so I knew a win or second would be enough’. Going one better than Japan two years ago, the Team Associated driver said, ‘Overall it was good result but we struggled a bit today. I had everything going for me yesterday but still we were close’.
Disappointed to miss out on making it a 1-2 for Yokomo, Martin said, ‘I drove like shit there. My car was good again but I took the wrong line over the triple which killed the speed and I got swallowed up by the pack’. His first Worlds podium with Yokomo, the European Champion said, ‘Overall I’m really happy with making the podium and I’m super happy for Ryan. We won this as a team not as an individual and we proved a lot of things like our car is great. Now on to 4WD’. Finishing on the same points as Martin but losing out on the podium on tie break, Kyosho’s Jared Tebo would finish 4th with Ronnefalk’s A3 win securing the HB Racing driver fifth. With the 13th different 2WD champion having been crowned at the 17th running of the IFMAR World Championships, Maifield has a day to celebrate before he and the rest of the drivers get back down to business on Thursday for the start of the battle to crown the 4WD Champion.
Ryan Maifield has won the first A-Main at the 2WD Offroad World Championship in China, the Yokomo driver having such a lead that he could still take the win despite needing to be marshalled in the jumps section on the last lap. Top Qualifier for the 17th running of the event, Maifield was able to quickly build up an advantage at the front, ahead of team-mate Lee Martin who came under pressure from Ryan Cavalieri, the Associated driver briefly getting ahead of the British driver. In the end however the Top 3 would finish in the same order as they started with Dakotah Phend getting 4th from 6th on the grid ahead of Jared Tebo.
‘It was nice to get away early and I was pretty comfortable out there’, was how Maifield summed up the first of the three A-Main encounters. He continued, ‘together as a team we have been able to get the car nice to drive and with the track getting worse I don’t know how thats happened because it didn’t start out that way. I’m glad to get the first one out of the way because of all the pomp & ceremony and BS that goes with it. Now we can just charge up the battery and we are ready go again’. Asked about his mistake he replied, ‘the jumps are gnarly so if you miss it by just a few inches it catches you out but I hold no value to the mistake. Having only been able to do one warm-up lap before, this time we could do two and that definitely effected the tyres because the wear is so high so I think for the next one I will cut back to just the 1 lap before the start’.
Describing his race, Martin said, ‘it was hard work and it wasn’t a hard race. It was just hard to drive because you were worried every lap about making a mistake. The track is really hard’. He continued, ‘the triple is hard now and it was one of the easier jumps before and when I jumped it long I had problems with the marshal blocking my view’. Having ‘a good battle’ with Cavalieri he joked, ‘Ryan (Maifield) made it exciting, its just a pity he couldn’t have crashed a second longer’.
‘It wasn’t a bad first main but we are a little off the pace’, was Cavalieri’s thoughts on A1. The former champion continued, ‘I ran a clean race with Lee and we almost caught up at the end. We just need to be a little faster next time’. Asked where he felt he was lacking the pace, the American replied, ‘I don’t know what to do but I think I need to drive a bit better and we almost need to figure out a few things on the car set-up’.
Ryan Maifield is the Top Qualifier for the 2WD Offroad World Championships in Xiamen, China. The Yokomo driver claimed his first 2WD Worlds’ pole position when he TQ’d the fifth & final round of qualifying ahead of team-mate Lee Martin who will line up second. Having initially struggled with the challenging Xiamen ARC International Raceway track, Maifield finally turned things around at the close of the second day of the event when under the floodlights he topped Q3. Kicking off finals day with a P3 in the penultimate qualifier, the American delivered his second TQ run in the final qualifier but with the running order reversed for Q5 he had to wait to see what Martin could do in the second fastest heat. For a time it looked like Martin would secure his first Worlds TQ as he ran more than 1-second up on Maifield’s pace but with just under 2-minutes on the clock he would crash coming onto the straight handing to overall TQ to his new for 2017 team-mate. Behind the Yokomos it is Team Associated’s Ryan Cavalieri who will start third, the Q2 pace setter’s unable to challenge for the TQ in the final qualifier as he managed only P14.The only other driver to TQ a round, Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski saw his challenge for the TQ end with a mistake in the jumps section that knocked a front shock of his car so he starts fourth with Bruno Coelho completing the top half of the grid ahead of Dakotah Phend, David Ronnefalk, Jared Tebo, Joern Neumann and Kyle McBride.
Despite taking the TQ, Maifield said, ‘I am very annoyed at myself.Why can’t they just tell you you are done.I crashed on my cool down lap but didn’t know it was and got pissed that I had thrown way a TQ run and then drove my car off the track and now I’ve got to rebuild it’.With his car requiring a new chassis following him driving it off the track, he continued, ‘why can’t they let you know what is going on’.Looking to the finals, he said, ‘I’m just going out there and do what I can do.I think there are couple of guys who are faster but I have been pretty good at not crashing so lets see what happens’.Asked about track conditions, he replied, ‘there is only one race and its racing the track.Yeah there will be others on the track but if you are too concerned about other people you lose focus on the main competition which is the track’.He concluded, ‘I am going to trykeep a cool head and drive my own race and see what happens’.
‘I just tensed up a little that run’ was Martin’s reaction after missing out on his first Worlds TQ.The reigning European Champion continued, ‘I got the jump wrong and it cost me around 3-seconds which was enough to be pipped for the TQ.At least it fell to Ryan and not somebody else’.Runner-up at the 2013 Worlds in Chico when he finished ahead of Maifield and behind Jared Tebo, when asked about his thoughts for the finals the British ace replied, ‘we start 1-2, we’ll see what we can do. Ryan is going to drive his race and I’m going to drive mine’.
Asked for his reaction after the final qualifier Cavalieri said, ‘God damn the track has changed a lot today’.The Associated driver continued, ‘we are definitely going to have to look over a couple of different things and make some changes for the final.We need to get the car more stable in he rear’.‘Looking forward to racing’, the 2011 Champion said ‘I just going to be patient.The rhythm section is going to be the hardest.We’ll have to see who is going to be conservative and who is going to just jump it.You are going to need to be fully alert going through there’.
‘It will be interesting’, that was Orlowski’s thoughts ahead of the finals.The 16-year-old continued, ‘the track is getting harder to drive as it has more dust on it.I think the jump section will be challenging as some are doing it single single while others are doubling all them so it will be difficult to race out there’.Having topped seeding practice he added, ‘I have had good pace in my car from the beginning so I have the car. I’m looking forward to the finals and to the racing’.
While making his first 2WD Worlds final with 5th on the grid, reigning 4WD Champion Coelho said, ‘I can’t say I am that confident for the final’.Having set the pace in free practice, the Xray driver continued, ‘the track has changed a lot over the last two days and the grip is getting worse and worse so we are struggling for rear traction on power and in braking. It is even more loose today so we will completely change the set-up.We have nothing to lose.It is only counts to finish first all the other places are like last place’.
A driver who ended qualifying with an ever improving form posting the 3rd fastest time in the final round, Phend said, ‘it is getting better every round. It’s going to be pretty hectic out there in the finals’.The lead TLR driver continued, ‘everyone is making mistakes and the mistakes are going to cause pile ups so you have to try get through it and there will be a lot of luck involved’.Having made ‘a couple of changes’ to his car for the final qualifier that gave him more grip he said, ‘I should have made them a round earlier but I didn’t expect the track to go downhill that quickly’.