Reigning Champion Marc Rheinard has opened the 21st running of the Reedy Race of Champions in the best way possible winning the opening race of the first round of racing at Tamiya Raceway in California. Starting on pole for the opening race, the Infinity driver took an easy win ahead of no.2 starter Viktor Wilck with Christopher Krapp moving up one place to complete the Top 3 ahead of Jilles Groskamp. Posting the fastest winning time of the 3 races, Rheinard was also the only driver to post an 11-second lap with the best lap of 11.958. Race 2 of the opening round would produce the best lead battle with Andy Moore coming under intense pressure from Infinity team-mate Akio Sobue but the pole sitter held on for the win despite the pair making contact a number of times. Behind Xray’s Jan Ratheisky completed the Top 3 from 5th on the grid. After a delayed started to Race 3, JJ Wang having an electrical issue that prevented the Xray driver who second fastest in practice yesterday from taking the start, it would be Ronald Volker who came out on top. Fastest in practice yesterday, the Yokomo driver started third behind team-mates Meen Vejrak and Nicholas Lee who was on pole. A great pass around the outside of Lee moved Volker up to second and that soon became the lead when Vejrak became the first casualty of the kink. Rick Hohwart would come through for second from P5 on the grid as Lee and Vejrak battled for third, Lee holding on for the position.
‘For sure a good start because after yesterday I was pretty worried for the first round’, was Rheinard’s reaction to what turned out to be an easy win. Chasing a 7th RROC title, he continued, ‘it was a pretty difficult heat with Viktor starting beside me and Chrissi behind me because he was quick in practice but I could feel from the start the car was working better than yesterday’. Making changes to the car’s PRS settings and also a diff change he said these gave the car ‘good corner speed’, adding ‘I’m happy with the car now, the pace is there and this was an important win’.
Making a return to the Reedy Race after a two year break, commenting on his win Moore said, ‘Having a front row start I knew it was likely to be a battle between me and Akio’. The former World Champion continued, ‘it was super loose but I held on and a win is a win. It is still cold and my set-up is not quite right for cooler conditions but it was fun to battle with Akio and he was fair when we touched. It was a good start to the weekend’.
‘A better start than usual, I have never had a win in the first round before’, was how Volker summed up his opening win. The World Champion went on, ‘I tried to take it easy at the beginning and was just following for the first 2 or 3 laps. Then I was able to get the lead and saw the others were in fights behind me so I took it easy to save tyres for the next one’. He continued, ‘it is still cold so it is tough in the beginning. It is similar to yesterday so my car is good and I will stick with for the next one’.
With the 21st running of the Reedy Race of Champions getting underway tomorrow with the first of 12 rounds of heads up racing over 3 days it was Ronald Volker who set the pace in practice today at Tamiya Raceway. The final time the legendary race will take place at the iconic track which come September will no longer be, a wet surface greeted competitors this morning resulting a 2-hour delay to the start of practice. While the track dried, drivers faced much cooler conditions than normal as the sun never managed to break through the thick cloud cover with it particularly cold for the 4th and final round of practice. Fastest both in outright lap time and over 3-consecutive laps, Volker led the way from JJ Wang with Christopher Krapp third quickest. For reigning champion Marc Rheinard the day would end with him 5th fastest with him declaring he is ‘not as confident as I was after practice last year’.
‘Practice was good for the team but this race is not only about pace but also having luck in the race. Anyway, so far it is a good start’, was Volker’s reaction to topping the times. The World Champion continued, ‘I ran two cars and both had good pace so depending on the conditions of the track I can swap cars to suit’. Asked about today’s colder than usual conditions the Yokomo driver said, ‘we are not allowed tyre warmers and the tyre compound is a little hard for the temperatures today so it took a couple of laps to get them working. Normally the evening time should be the faster but it was slower, these tyres are not for when it is that cold’.
Summing up his day, Wang said practice had gone ‘not bad’. Joking ‘I didn’t hit the kink’, the track’s infamous kink ending many driver’s quest for glory, the Xray driver said his main focus was ‘trying to get comfortable with the car’. ‘Trying different stuff throughout the day’ with car set-up he said, ‘the track changed over the day which made it much harder to find a set-up but I think we have a good base now’. Given the RROC heads up race format he concluded, ‘but tomorrow is going to be a different story’.
Krapp said, ‘Overall practice was good. It started out well and I knew what to do for this track as it is my fourth time here so I focused on getting into a rhythm as the car was working fine’. The German who finished runner-up to his Yokomo team-mate Volker in 2016, continued, ‘my pace is good and also is Ronald’s so we are race ready but hopefully we will get some sunshine for the racing’.
‘Pretty decent’ was how Viktor Wilck summed up his performance after ending practice 4th fastest. The Serpent driver, who made the podium last year, added, ‘we tested some small things all day and think we know what to run tomorrow to have a safe car’. He went on, ‘Ronald is a little faster but after him it is very close’. On the challenge of the today’s cold conditions the Swede said, ‘it made the car very loose at the beginning so we will need to do a good warm up before the start but hopefully its warmer tomorrow so its not as big an issue’.
Chasing his 7th Reedy Race title and wanting to win for the final race on what is one of his favourite tracks, Rheinard said, ‘the biggest problem is it is really really cold and the tyres take a long time to get up to temperature. It is hard to say exactly were we are at but I am not as confident as I was after practice last year’. The Infinity driver continued, ‘I have no feeling in the car and the pace is not where I want it to be’. He concluded, ‘I hope it warms up for the racing’. Behind Rheinard, 2015 podium finisher Meen Vejrak completed the Top 6.
Track Name – Tamiya Raceway Country – USA Location – Aliso Viejo, California Surface – Asphalt Direction – Anti-Clockwise Previous Reedy Races hosted – 10
Unfortunately 2018 will go down in the history books as the last year the Reedy Race of Champions took place at the world famous Tamiya Raceway in California, USA. Covering an area of only 170 ft wide by 70 ft deep, it might be small in size but when it comes to driving on it it has one of the biggest respects of drivers from around the world with it widely regarded as one of the greatest tracks ever on which to race and overtake. It is for this reason it has become the spiritual home of Mike Reedy’s famed race format with this the 11th time for it to host the race. Built in 1994 as part of Tamiya’s then US headquarters, when the building was sold a number of years ago the Reedy Race had to find a new home but after a separate deal to sell the plot of land on which the track is built fell through the race returned in 2014 immediately rejuvenating interest in the race, the track’s simple but entertaining layout the key draw for the heads up racing format. After years of the land remaining for sale, anyone who has experienced the track hoping the sale of the land would never happen unfortunately it has and now along with celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Reedy Race this weekend will also be a final farewell to an iconic track. While not the final race it will host, that honour going to it’s creators Tamiya and their Tamiya Championship Series in August, as of September 1st the track will be no more and instead the site will become a self storage facility, so winning the 2018 RROC will be one drivers will want more than ever.
Such is the draw of the track, the last chance to race the RROC at Tamiya Raceway has even brought Barry Baker out of retirement for the weekend. The ‘Fabulous One’ won the first RROC at the track in 2002 and repeated that again the following year. As a four time Reedy Race Champion, Barry said, ‘I just love it. When I arrived here it felt like home. Myself and Jilles (Groskamp) were standing next to each other and we both said ‘we love this place’.’ He continued, ‘I was not missing the last race at Tamiya track and if Mike was alive he would have wanted me to race. That’s why I came out of retirement’. With a food storage container as a toolbox, he said, ‘I have nothing left just my radio and when I turned it on and it read 7.4Volts I said we are good to go racing. I have to thank Randy from 1UP Racing for building me a car and Eric from Protoform for stepping in with bodies’. Asked what the draw of the track was, he replied, ‘there is something about the track that is magnetic. Everyone wants to come here. There are guys from Europe who are paying their own way to get here because their sponsors wont send them, thats how much they love this place’.
Reigning Champion Marc Rheinard, the race’s most crowned champion with 4 of 6 wins coming at Tamiya Raceway, said, ‘for racing this is for sure my of my favourite tracks. You have the world famous kick and its size makes very close racing. Even you have a bad start you can come back. He concluded, ‘I think it will be hard to find a new home that can match this track in terms of suiting the Reedy Race format. It is going to be extra important to win it this year’.
Ryan Lutz has taken an expected win in the 1/8th nitro buggy class in Xiamen China, but he didn’t have it all his own way. Looking at the results one would think the race was a procession but at various stages of the 1 hour main there was plenty of excitement at the front of the field. Yusuke Suguira looked to have the faster car throughout the race, especially in the early part, but too many mistakes meant he couldn’t capitalise, while in their own league, behind the leading pair Kaja Novotny took home 3rd after a long and exciting battle with Wataru Takashiro who ended up just off the podium in 4th.
While Yusuke would crash early and drop to 4th, such was his pace that he got back up to 2nd and after a quicker pit stop was right on the tail of Lutz, the American when asked about it saying ‘I was worried before the first stop, but then I saw that Yusuke had to make an extra stop’. Knowing he had more pace he didn’t want to push, commenting that ‘slow and steady till the last lap’, the Tekno driver pushing hard to put a lap on Sugiura in the closing stages. Feeling his car was again too soft, despite this he made very little mistakes which brought him the win and with it the cash prize of RMB20,000 (US$3,160).
Starting with a blistering pace and pushing hard to not let Lutz dominate completely, Yusuke kept him honest in the first 10 minutes, repeatedly catching up only to lose time in a crash or spin each time. Feeling his car was a little nervous, without the crashes he believes he could have brought the battle to Ryan, this the Japanese driver’s only 2nd one hour final and his first time racing 1/8th outside of Japan, ending by saying it was ‘good experience for me for the Worlds’.
In what was to be a race long battle, in the second half of the main final Kaja Novotny and Wataru Takashiro really started going at it, trading positions in the pits and on the track. It wasn’t until the 46th minute that the Czech driver finally made the position stick as Wataru started to struggle badly with his car. ‘I’m happy I finished my first one hour final’ the Xray driver continuing ‘after 1st practice I didn’t even think I would make the main’. Wanting to thank his pit man Gavin Kwok for all his work this weekend, the Xray driver said that his JConcepts tires came good in the 2nd half of the race which made his car less edgy, this allowed him to move up to 3rd, having been quite a bit back on Wataru at the 40 minute mark.
Feeling he had a diff problem as well as an issue with his shocks overheating, Takashiro noted that traction was higher than yesterday and so made his diffs stiffer but it turned out to be the wrong decision, the Kyosho driver struggling to keep the car on track by the end. Saying ‘this race was not good for me but I know what to do to make it better’, ultimately it was a series of crashes in the S section that let Kaja past and pull out close to a 2 lap advantage at the finish.
Completing the top 5 was young Jonathan Yeung from Hong Kong, the Tekno driver putting in a steady and mature drive, despite flaming out due to being on his roof too long just before a scheduled stop. Recomposing himself he got his head down and put in the laps in what was a mostly solitary race. Two laps back, Taiwanese National Champion Chen Guanxian took 6th with Jade Lim from Malaysia a further 2 laps back in 7th. Zhan Wei, Scott Yang and Jeon Hanyoung from Korea completed the order.
Chassis – Tekno NB48.4 Engine – Blok 21aM Tyres – AKA Fuel – Byron Radio/Servos – Futaba 7PX / Futaba S9373 SV Body – Tekno Remarks – Top qualifier in nitro, Ryan was able to use his 10 minute TQ practice before the A-main to test a number of minor changes. Seeing that the track is getting slick and dusty, he is inching more towards what he normally runs in the US.
Completely dominating the Electric Buggy class here at the SIGP in Xiamen, southern China, Ryan Lutz took all qualifiers and the first two of 3 A-mains to wrap up the overall win early. In a league of his own, the winning margin after 5 minutes for the Tekno driver over 2nd place Yusuke Sugiura was 11 seconds in the first main, and 7 seconds over Sunpadow backed Kaja Novotny in the 3rd main. With the US driver sitting out A3, Sugiura would take the win in the final A-main to secure the runner up spot, while a disappointed Kaja took the final spot on the podium in 3rd place. Chen Guanxian, Jonathan Yeung and Chinese National Champion Hu Weiping would complete the top 6.