Defending Reedy Race Champion Ryan Cavalieri has kicked off the 24th running of the event with a hard earned win. Starting from the second row of the grid, the Associated driver would win the opening race at OCRC from team-mate and pole starter Alex Kosciuszek but he had to work hard for it following a poor opening lap and a mistake 3-minutes in while challenge for the lead. Last year’s 4WD Open Champion Broc Champlin made an impressive Invitational class debut as he led for 5-laps from 7th on the grid before getting pushed back to 4th. In the second of the three encounters, Spencer Rivkin took the win over Ryan Maifield, the World Champion having led for a lap before a mistake – this year’s track challenging all the drivers. Behind, Jared Tebo completed the Top 3. Having set the pace in practice yesterday, Dustin Evans would round out the first round of races with the most convincing win. Starting on pole he immediately built up a massive lead to cross the line 7.3-seconds ahead of Ty Tessmann who was pleased to have been able to work his way through from 10th on the grid.
‘I like to make it more difficult for myself’, joked Cavalieri after his win. Chasing a 5th Reedy Race title, he continued, ‘I got bumped around a little down the stairs but I kept composed and worked my way back up but it wasn’t easy, its a difficult track’. On his pass for the lead he said, ‘I had a drag race with my team-mate Alex down the straight and managed to hold on to the inside line and by the end of the race I was getting more comfortable with the track. I’m pretty happy with the car and minus my mistake at the end of the straight it was a good start to the day’.
Reacting to his win, Rivkin said, ‘I drove my tail off, that was one of the toughest races in a long time’. The 2015 World Champion whose best Reedy Race result was third in 2016, continued, ‘I changed my car after practice and didn’t like it but I drove it the best I could and somehow got the win. I will go back (with the set-up) for the next one’.
Evans said, ‘the first round is always pretty nerve wrecking but it couldn’t have gone any better and now I’ll try to keep it going’. The former Champion added, ‘in the other two races second on the grid got the holeshot but the kid (2nd place starter Kouki Kato) gave me space. Once in the lead I drove pretty conservative and just tried to make no mistakes’.
Track Name – OCRC Raceway Country – USA Location – Huntington Beach, California Surface – Dirt Direction – Clockwise Previous Reedy Races hosted – 2014 to 2017
OCRC Raceway hosts the Offroad Reedy Race of Champions for a fifth consecutive year, the Huntington Beach track taking over the honour of having hosted the greatest number of Mike Reedy’s famous race format event. The 24th running of the Reedy Race, the first held in 1987, OCRC’s Nick Black has created a track he describes as ‘a lot harder than it has been’. Having gained ‘full control this year’ of the track design on watching the Invitation class drivers do their first laps he declared ‘I’m happy with the end result’. He said his aim for this year’s design was to ‘purposely create multiple sections with different line options and the result is there is a lot of places to set someone up to pass them’. He also single out the whoops section as something that ‘adds uncertainty to each lap’. Reigning Champion Ryan Cavalieri, who is targeting a 5th Reedy Race title, said ‘for sure the track this year is more challenging than before. There is a little more going on so we are going to see some more carnage.’ His thoughts were echoed by his rivals will all liking the challenge the more technical layout presents but wary of getting caught up in other’s mistakes when they can’t execute certain sections with the varying line options.
Ryan Maifield and Dustin Evans are quickest going into the start of racing at the 24th running of the Reedy Race of Champions tomorrow morning. The former champions set the fastest times over the 3 rounds of practice with Maifield going top in 2WD when he was fastest in the final practice. In 4WD, Evans maintained his earlier form to remain quickest while finishing second fastest in 2WD. Ty Tessmann would end the day 2nd quickest in 4WD in between Evans and Maifield while clocking the 3rd quickest 3-consecutive laps of the OCRC Raceway track in 2WD. Failing to improve on his time in the third round of practice, reigning champion Ryan Cavalieri ended up 5th and 6th fastest in 4WD and 2WD respectively.
‘Its been a good day’, was how Maifield summed up practice. The Yokomo driver continued, ‘I’m still farting around with the jumps. It’s easier to not jump than jump them so I’ve been working on getting them right’. On his cars he said, ‘they are lacking a little speed in the fast lap department but the average pace over 5-minutes is good’. On 2WD he added, ‘the tyres need to come in more but once we get to running 2WD the track will have come in so it wont be as big a problem’, the racing starting with 4WD tomorrow before switching to 2WD on Saturday afternoon.
Evans declared himself ‘extremely happy’ with his performance in practice. The Associated driver ‘made small changes to each car for the final practice’ saying he ‘thought that they were a little better’. Happy he has good cars for the heads up racing, the Colorado driver said, ‘now its all about racing. The track is super technical and it will reward patience. I have got the speed so let see how it falls but the Reedy Race is always crazy’.
‘Both cars are really good but in 2WD the big triple I need to figure out more’, was Tessmann’s view on practice. The Xray driver added, ‘when the grip comes up it will be better’. On his 4WD, the Canadian said, ‘I am really comfortable with that. I made more changes for the last one to make it easier to drive and the consistency is really good.’
Ending up 4th fastest in both classes, unfortunately for Dakotah Phend he is feeling under the weather and has gotten worse with the TLR driver going for medical attention as soon as practice concluded. Improving his 4WD in the final practice he was unable to improve his 2WD from the second round of practice.
Completing the Top 5 in 2WD would be Phend’s team-mate Tanner Denney. Running a new set-up he found from a lot of testing at his home track, he said, ‘it seems to be working really well’ adding ‘the more the grip comes up the better the car is getting’. On 4WD, his best 3-laps only good enough for 17th quickest, he said, ‘its just not as fast and we need to find the right balance’. He continued, ‘all the team have been working together to figure it out and I think we are on the right way and once racing starts we should be a lot better’.
Asked how he felt he was looking ahead of racing tomorrow, Cavalieri replied, ‘I don’t really know whats going on. It feels like it is going alright but we are couple of ticks off being fastest’. In his final 4WD practice, the 4 time champion would would strip his spur gear. Behind Cavalieri, team-mate Spencer Rivkin completed the Top 6 in 4WD while ending the day 8th quickest in 2WD.
Dustin Evans leads the way in practice for this year’s 24th running of the Reedy Race of Champions. The former champion was fastest after the first two rounds of practice in both 2WD and 4WD at OCRC in Huntington Beach. With Nick Black building his toughest track for OCRC’s fifth hosting of the infamous race, behind Evans it was Ty Tessmann who was second fastest in both classes with former champions Ryan Maifield and Dakotah Phend completing the Top 3 in 4WD and 2WD respectively. For reigning champion Ryan Cavalieri, he would kick off his quest for a fifth Reedy Race title with the fourth fastest 3-consecutive laps in each class, the Associated driver knowing better than most that practice pace doesn’t count for much once the Reedy’s heads up race format gets underway.
‘It going really good, I love the track’, was Evans reaction to his early form. The Associated driver added, ‘I like more technical, jumpy layouts, not just full gas stuff. I like timing jumps and stuff like that which this track has’. In terms of his cars, the 2011 Champion said, ‘both cars are awesome. I can’t ask for more. I’m ready to go racing’.
Having wrapped up the second round of practice wth his 2WD, Tessmann said, ‘the grip is coming up quite fast and my car was a little soft in oil for it’. On his 4WD, the Xray driver said, ‘I adjusted my speedo for more power but discovered it was a slipper clutch issue so I will go back to my previous power set-up along with a new slipper’. On the track layout, the Canadian for whom the Reedy title is one that has so far eluded him, he said, ‘It pretty fun and will be good for racing. It’s not going to be follow the leader. There are spots you make up time and there are spots you can make mistakes and hopefully making the mistakes will not be me’.
Maifield summed up the early practice with, ‘its going ok. The tyres are taking for ever to come in in 2WD. It is normal Reedy Race, break in tyres’. The newly crowned World Champion, added on his 2WD that, ‘when the grip comes up there are going to be a few jumps we will be able to make so I have been working on making sure I have the power for it’. On his 4WD, the 2015 Champion said, ‘it feels good’.
Feeling under the weather, Phend said, ‘so far I’m really comfortable out there so I’m just getting my head down and trying to put in clean laps’. Adding his name to the famous Reedy Race trophy at OCRC 2 years ago, the TLR driver said of both his cars he could probably make his 4WD faster but with it ‘really easy to drive’ he might just leave it as is. Asked his thoughts on the track he replied, ‘Its going to be hectic but fun’ concluding, ‘In the big jumps there is going to be a lot of crashes because you can take so many different lines’.
Cavalieri echoed Phend’s thoughts on the racing the track might produce. ‘For sure the track this year is more challenging than before. There is a little more going on so we are going to see some more carnage. The racing will be good but maybe challenging as following others will be a little sketchy as some are struggling with the jumps ‘. In terms of his cars, he said, ‘my cars feel pretty damn close so I’m just trying to get the tyres scuffed in’.