The 25th running of the famous Reedy Race of Champion is underway with the first of the 12 rounds of heads up racing producing wins for Ryan Cavalieri, Spencer Rivkin and yesterday’s practice pace setter Ty Tessmann. Getting the race action underway at OCRC Raceway in Huntington Beach, California, Cavalieri took advantage of a No.3 starting position to get by the all French front row of Broda Clements and Renaud Savoya. It would soon become a Yokomo 1-2-3 at the front with Ryan Maifield coming through from 10th on the grid to second. It looked for a time like the race was going to have a showdown with the ‘Ryan & Ryan Show’ but a mistake from Maifield was enough to leave Cavalieri comfortable to the finish with Lee Martin completing the Top 3. Next up Rivkin took full advantage of pole position with a tone to tone victory ahead of Dustin Evans, the defending champion having a mistake at the front jump section that denied him challenging his Associated team-mate for the win. The final encounter saw another predictable result as Tessmann capitalised on a front row start to win by a 3.7-seconds from Jared Tebo who saw off a last lap David Ronnefalk challenge that allowed Broc Champlin to slip through for 3rd.
Commenting on his race, new Yokomo signing Cavalieri said, ‘That was a good start. I raced it out a little bit and pushed and the car felt pretty good. We made a small change this morning in practice’. Rejoining his old AE team-mate at Yokomo, he continued, ‘Maifield caught me a little. He was quick in some spots but I was maintaining the gap. It was good so I could see where the pace is at. I think its good’. The Reedy Race’s most winning driver he added, ‘the first lap was most scary part of the race with everyone jumping across the track’.
Having missed the morning practice, Maifield was pleased to open with a second. The 2015 Champion said, ‘It was a good result. I started 10th and also didn’t get to run the practice because I plugged my speedo in the wrong way’. The World Champion continued, ‘I got through the mille on the first lap and picked my way through to 2nd. I caught up to Ryan and was feeling the flow but then made a error at the double double. I was still second so I settled for that. 2nd from 10th was good. It was a safe run and now the first run jitters are out of the way’.
‘The first run of the day and I start on pole and finished on pole. You have to get the win if your starting Top 4’, was Rivkin’s reaction after the first race. The former 2WD World Champion continued, ‘Dustin and I were battling but then he hit the pipe and I had a big lead but I still pushed because I wanted a good fast run incase it comes down to time’. He concluded, ‘I’m driving a lot better today than yesterday and I got to keep chugging along’.
Reacting to his race, Evans said, ‘2nd is a good start. Me and Spencer where fighting out front but then I cased the front jump. A terrible mistake but I was able to make up the places again so it was crisis averted. In the end it was a decent start’. Behind Evans, Tekno’s Joe Bornhorst would come through from last on the grid to finish 3rd.
Tessmann said, ‘It was a little nerve racking starting the first race on the front row’. The Xray driver continued, ‘the track was a little looser today so I didn’t push too hard’. Once in front the Canadian said he could ‘manage the gap’ but added, ‘for the next one we will adjust the car for the track conditions’.
Making his debut for Tekno, Tebo was happy with the result but less happy with his own driving. Starting from 6th on the grid he said, ‘I was pretty patient and made a couple of good passes and then caught Broc. He was pretty hard to pass’. The former World Champion continued, ‘I drove a little nervous. I was not happy with my driving so to get 2nd was a good result. The car is awesome so hopefully I drive a little less nervous the next one’.
Ty Tessmann goes into the 25th running of the Reedy Race of Champions having topped the official practice times in both 2WD and 4WD. Chasing his first Reedy Race win, the Xray driver set the fastest times in the 3rd round of practice, the track finally starting to came in after the decision after the second round was made to stop misting in order to help the newly built layout dry out. In 2WD, it was to be David Ronnefalk who was closest to matching Tessmann’s fastest 3-consecutive laps with followed by Jared Tebo and defending Champion Dustin Evans. In 4WD, it was Tebo who was 2nd fastest with Tessmann half a second quicker. Dakotah Phend completed the Top 3 with Ryan Maifield the fastest of the former champions with the 4th quickest time.
Summing up the practice day which for the Invitational drivers ended with a third 2WD run, Tessmann said, ‘we made a change which wasn’t as good I thought but we got a good lap out of it. I don’t know how I got the faster lap, it didn’t feel it was fast. We will change the car back to what we ran before’. Asked what he didn’t like about the change, the Canadian replied, ‘It was hard to drive. It was too reactive’. On his 4WD, he said, ‘we made a little adjustment for the last run and it was the right direction. I will leave it like that as it will be perfect if the grip comes up’. Asked about traction levels, he said, ‘It getting better and I’m pretty confident its going to be good by halfway through tomorrow’.
Second fastest in 4WD, the class which will get this year’s Reedy Race of Champion’s heads up racing format underway, Tebo was super happy with his performance on what is his international race debut for Tekno. With the Reedy Race a title that has so far eluded the long time former Kyosho driver, he said, ‘Practice went really good. I’m feeling awesome out there. I made a couple of little changes over the day but the car drives really well and I think its going to be good for racing. It is really consistent and I will be able to race really easy’. On his P3 in 2WD, Tekno drivers using Associated as they don’t yet have their own offering, he said, ‘It’s going good. I don’t have nearly as much time on the car so I am following Dustin (Evans) on set-up. I was really happy with the last run and it was safe to drive’. Asked how he was finding his switch to Tekno, he enthusiastically replied, ‘I couldn’t be happier honestly. It was the change I needed’.
Former champion Phend described his final 4WD run as ‘better’. The TLR driver continued, ‘I can get around consistent and it is pretty close to where we need to be for racing so we will make a small change or two for tomorrow’. Describing the last round as having ‘a lot better grip’, on his 2WD, which he took to the 6th fastest time, the American said, ‘I made a couple of changes and it was a lot better. I will leave it the same for Saturday when there should be a lot more grip’.
The best of the European visitors with his P2 in 2WD, Haatanen the quickest in 4WD with P8, Ronnefalk said, ‘we made changes for the last run. I had struggled in the first two to get grip in the rear end and I also made changes to the electronic settings. It was a lot better and I could do the full run with no mistakes’. Third quickest in 4WD after the first two rounds of practice but dropping down the order after being unable to better his time in the final run, the Swede said, ‘my 4WD was good from the get go but we decided to try something in the last one and it didn’t work out’. Asked about the changes he replied, ‘I tried to get more corner speed but ended up removing too much grip and suffered on power. It was not consistent enough. I’ll go back to what we ran in the first two’.
Having struggled in early practice, Evans summed up his final 2WD practice saying, ‘2WD was significantly better. It went from hurting to better’. Chasing a third Reedy Race title, the Associated driver was a little less positive about his 4WD. Improving his time but ending up 13th fastest in the final round, he said, ‘some of the tyres are softer than others. We were running the same set-up as we ran last week but we are a little off. My tyre are getting better and hopefully the track comes in more tomorrow’.
Joona Haatanen and Ty Tessman set the early pace at the 25th running of the Reedy Race of Champions. In 2WD, it was Haatanen who posted the fastest 3-consecutive laps with his Team Associated fastest from former team-mate Ryan Cavalieri and Tessmann. Tessmann’s Xray was quickest in 4WD from the Tekno of Joe Bornhorst with HB Racing’s David Ronnefalk completing the Top 3. For reigning champion Dustin Evans it was a rather slow start to his title defence as he managed only the 19th fastest time in 2WD and P10 in 4WD. The sixth year the legendary heads up race has been hosted by OCRC in Huntington Beach, it is this year’s track layout and its front jump that is the big talking point. With the section featuring a table top, it is the lip off this that is causing the drivers most trouble challenging the 2WD driving talents of all 30 racers in the Invitational class with the problem exaggerated by the current lower than normal levels of traction.
Summing up his runs Haatanen said, ‘It felt pretty good, a bit loose, but when the grip comes up it will be good’. Commenting on the low grip, the Finnish teenager said, ‘It is normal for me, the grip back home is the same’. On the front jump section he was also unfazed saying, ‘I think everything is fine. A track needs to have one place that is hard. I’m happy with how things are going so far’.
Cavalieri described his pace as ‘pretty solid’. Sporting a brand new wardrobe having made a somewhat surprise departure from Associated and move to Yokomo for 2019, the Reedy Race’s most winning driver added, ‘I’m just trying to get the tyres to come in and didn’t change the car between runs. They (the tyres) are slowly getting there but it is taking a lot longer than normal’. Asked if he was finding the track challenging he replied, ‘Its not challenging, we just don’t have the grip right now to do what you want so the laps are inconsistent’.
Commenting on his two rounds of practice, Tessmann, who is still seeking his first Reedy title having finished 2nd last year and 3rd the year before, said, ‘everything is good’. The Xray driver continued, ‘I think the tyre feels a little different to last year and it is not breaking in as fast’. On the front jump section, the Canadian said, ‘It is very difficult to know how the car is going to take off. I think it’s going to be chaos when everyone is jumping it together in racing. There is not a lot of grip and with the most grip in the middle where the lip is at its steepest. Every lap you are coming off (the jump) different’. Asked if he planned to change his cars for the final practice he replied, ‘we did a couple of weeks testing here so we know when the grip comes up we have good cars so we will wait for the track to come in’.
The only other driver along with Tessmann to run his 3-consecutive laps sub 1-minute, Bornhorst was very happy with his performance saying, ‘My car is super easy to drive. I’m doing laps and throwing whips’. In terms of his car, the Tekno driver said, ‘I haven’t changed it since I showed up. I’m not going to change it for the last one. I’ll just keep washing the tyres and throwing it back out there’. Asked his thoughts on the track layout he replied, ‘Everything is pretty cool except maybe the front jump’.
Fourth fastest in 4WD behind Ronnefalk, Maifield said, ‘there are a couple of the sections in the layout that could be adjusted. The front jump in 2WD is really hard. There is too much angle on the lip and its just sending cars up into the air. The surface is also taking a lot longer to come in which is adding to the difficulty’. He added, ‘I think my cars are good and I don’t want to adjust them because the track is going to be substantially different when 2WD comes around’ – this year’s 3 days of heads up racing starting with 4WD and concluding with 2WD. The Yokomo driver concluded, ‘I’ll just keep trying to break the tyres in but its hard because the track is so greasy’.
Targeting his third Reedy Race title this weekend, his first win in 2011 launching his career as an International Pro driver, Evans continued, ‘practice conditions are a little more slippery than expected and I need to make a few changes’. Asked about the track layout, the Colorado driver said, ‘Its OK but the front jump while ok in 4WD it just shoots the car off in 2WD. I hope they do some maintenance work on the lip’. On the set-up change he planned to his 2WD car he said, ‘It will be a pretty big change. I was running a set-up that I have been working on that is really good in pretty high grip and which I thought was also good on low grip too. That set-up is pretty exposed now but I know where to go with it’.
Davide Ongaro is the new 1:8 Offroad World Champion. The Italian became the youngest winner of the sport’s top prize with an impressive and dominant performance in Australia, to win the 1-hour final by 3/4 of a lap from Top Qualifier Ty Tessmann. Ongaro initially battled with pole sitter Ryan Maifield after defending champion David Ronnefalk hit problems early and then Tessmann made a mistake that dropped him from 2nd to 5th. Pulling clear of the field only alternate mistakes saw the order of the Top 2 change. With 15-minutes on the clock, Maifield had a 4-second advantage and was looking strong but on the difficult track he relinquished that advantage on the top right side of the track and Ongaro went to the front. From there he would take control of the race, his advantage at the midway point almost 7-seconds. As he continued on his way to securing Team Associated’s first nitro World title, allegations of his car having a giro being proven unfounded afterwards, behind the battle hotted up between Maifield, Tessmann and the recovering Ronnefalk. With one less stop to do than his rivals over the hour, Tessmann would secure his 4th consecutive Worlds podium taking his Xray to second, 9-seconds clear of Maifield’s Mugen. For Ronnefalk his reign would end with 4th place the task of coming from dead last after 3-laps too much of a mountain to climb.
Once I had a good distance over Maifield I just tried to drive safe without mistake.”
With a reaction to his achievement more akin to if he had just won a club race back in Italy, Ongaro said, ‘It was a really difficult, long race. The first minute the car was not so good but after it was really good. Once I had a good distance over Maifield I just tried to drive safe without mistake’. Having shot to prominence at the Worlds 2-year ago but lost out on a podium finish when his fuel pressure pipe came off, when asked what today’s win meant, the 17-year-old replied, ‘I’m really, really happy. I want to thank all my family, my friends and all the team in Italy and my sponsors too’.
It was tough out there the whole time. There was not an easy moment.”
‘It was tough out there the whole time. There was not an easy moment’, was how Tessmann summed up the race. The Canadian continued, ‘I had a crash early on and had to battle in traffic for a while so by the time I got through that he (Ongaro) was too far ahead’. The 2014 World Champion added, ‘I thought my car ran good and my engine. We had no mechanical failures but Davide drove a great race and congrats to him on the win’.
This is my best finish at an 8th Worlds which just shows how tough it is. I think I have had pole 4-times but this is my first podium.”
The only one to mix it with Ongaro in the final, Maifield said, ‘the beginning was really good and I though I had a really good shot. I made a mistake but caught Ongaro really fast’. The American went on to say, ‘my car got difficult to drive because the dust came up a lot. I tried to drive without mistakes but it was really hard. I also had to take my sunglasses off at one stage. I tried to take at least 2nd but I didn’t drive a World Champion race, it was so hard’. Commenting on the race while Ongaro’s car was being inspected for a giro, he said, ‘Davide drove a great race and I hope it was a clean win for him. It’s been a long week but I’m happy for my companies. This is my best finish at an 8th Worlds which just shows how tough it is. I think I have had pole 4-times but this is my first podium. I’m not stoked with 3rd but I’m happy with it’.
It was just too hard to be that close to the limit on the longer run.”
Explaining his early dramas Ronnefalk said, ’It was a weird start. The grease from the bearings got in the clutch and was making it slip like crazy. I couldn’t make it over the triple. We did the same procedure as always and burned off the grease beforehand’. Having to pit after his mistake, with pitman Adrien Bertin holding his car down so he could burn off the excess grease, he said he ‘thought it was broke’. The Swede ‘came out dead last’ after his unscheduled stop but tried to ‘give it a go’ but the dusty track made it difficult to hit his lines and he ‘couldn’t catch Maifield and Ty’. He concluded, ‘Davide did a great job. I couldn’t catch him after my problems. He deserved it for sure but at least I gave it a shot. It was just too hard to be that close to the limit on the longer run’.
Ryan Maifield will line-up on pole position for the 1-hour final that will decide who leaves Australia as the 1:8 Offroad World Champion. The Mugen driver secured the No.1 starting position of the 13 car grid with victory in the second & faster of the two half hour Semi Finals. In the first of the encounters, it was Top Qualifier Ty Tessmann who took the win but only after two late errors by Davide Ongaro. Ongaro’s Team Associated went to the front after two and half minutes as Tessmann made a mistake. The Xray driver briefly went to the front 3-minutes later when Ongaro had a mistake but another mistake from Tessmann handed it right back. Tessmann then started to come under attack from team-mate Bruno Coelho putting up little fight as the Portuguese driver went through to second. Unfortunately it was short lived as the race hit half way Coelho ran out of fuel just as he was coming around to pit. Ongaro’s advantage was now 2.3-seconds over Tessmann but with 4-minute left on the clock the Italian made a mistake that let his rival through. A racy Ongaro tried to take back the lead but a mistake inside the final 3-minutes put an end to that. With the Top 5 directly bumping up, there was a good battle for 3rd. Spencer Rivkin led that until a mistake at 7-minutes dropped him 4 places with the American never recovering. In the end it was Batlle that came out on top ahead of American duo Ryan Cavalieri and Jared Tebo. In the second of the Semi, reigning champion David Ronnefalk would have to settle for second behind Ryan Maifield. The Electric Offroad World Champion got the jump on the pole sitter off the start and lead early on before Ronnefalk took a lengthy turn out front until a number of mistakes dropped him back to second. Behind, having bumped up from the 1/4 Finals, Kyle McBride pleased the local crowd with 3rd place ahead ofNaoto Matsukura and Riccardo Berton who had also come from the 1/4 Finals.
Commenting on his race, his winning time almost 11-seconds faster than that of Tessmann’s, Maifield said, ‘it was good. The car was good. It was easy to drive. I just had a couple of mistakes but got back in the groove’. On his battle with Ronnefalk he said, ‘I was not really trying, I was just putting laps in. Overall it was a good run and when David had a few mistakes I was there to take it’. Looking to the Main event, the culmination of 10 days of racing here in Perth, the JConcepts backed driver said, ‘we’ll make a tyre change for the final, something that lasts a little longer, and see what happens’.
‘Not bad’ was Ronnefalk’s view of the race. Despite Maifield getting him off the line, the Swede added, ‘the beginning was very good. Me and Maifield pulled away and had a huge gap. Then he crashed and I pulled away but I caught 5-cars at the same time. It’s hard enough to take care with the jumps but then I also now had other cars to take care of and I messed up twice so Maifield caught back up’. Regarding his tyres choice for the Semi, he said, ‘I ran Detox but the track dried out and it was too hard to drive. I will prepare Blockers and Detox for the final and decide what is best at the start’, he also plans to make his D817 ‘a little stiffer’. On starting position, he said, ‘Starting P2 is no problem. Once there is no trouble at the start we will be right there.
Reacting to his Semi, Tessmann said, ‘it was OK’, adding, ‘we tried different stuff in the diffs. With rain in the Semi practice it was a mess so what we tried wasn’t good in the Semi’. The 2014 World Champion also went with the wrong tyre saying, ‘we ran too hard a tyre. We switched just before warm-up and it was not the right choice’. He continued, ‘we’ll be ok in the main we’ll just go back with the diffs and tyres’. Asked about the final, he replied, ‘that (the Semi) didn’t feel like 30-minutes out there so the 1-hour should go by pretty quick’.
‘It was really good but 30-minutes with Ty is difficult’, was how Ongaro summed up his race. The breakthrough talent of the Worlds 2-years ago in Las Vegas, he added, ‘the track was difficult because it has a lot of traction now but in some parts of the track I was slightly faster than Ty. I was attacking at the end. I am confident for the final’. Set to start 3rd behind Tessmann, he will change to a harder shock oil for the final but stick with his Semi tyre choice of AKA’s Double Down Soft compound long wear tyre.
2012 World Champion Batlle called his performance ‘so, so’. The Spaniard explained, ‘we changed the piston for the Semi because in the practice it was a little bouncy. With the change the car was not squatting and had good rear traction but it was too soft for the Semi and it was moving around too much’. On his own performance over the 30-minutes he said, it was ok but I had a mistake in the beginning and then had a lot of traffic. After that I stayed 7-seconds from the leaders. The speed as there. We had similar pace but I couldn’t get close to race them. At least we are in the final and I have extended my record of the (driver with the) most World finals’. For the Main he will tweak his set-up to have ‘less roll in the car’.
Completing the Top 3 in the second Semi, with his time putting him 10th on the grid behind the Renaud Savoya and Aaron Stringer, who got through on the fastest times having finished Semi A 6th & 7th, McBride said, ‘we are in there at least so I’m happy with that’. His second bump up of the day the Australian said on the Semi his car was ‘a little edgy’ as a result of the track getting more grippy but he would adjust his set-up for that. He concluded, ‘I’m not the fastest but I’m consistent so if we can make it easier to drive I’ll be good to go’.
New for the 2018 Worlds is the LCS (Last Chance Saloon) Final, a 15-minute affair that gives the Semi finalists who didn’t progress, the chance to become the 13th starter on the grid. A stacked affair, it was this year’s standout performer CJ Jelin who showed immensely cool shoulders as he saw off the pressure of former Worlds Top Qualifier Elliott Boots to book his first of what is sure to be many Worlds Final appearances for the 14-year-old.