Ryan Maifield is Top Qualifier for Saturday’s Truggy A-Main at the Dirt Nitro Challenge after a surprise TQ run from Joe Bornhorst denied Ryan Cavalieri the overall TQ as both Maifield and Ty Tessmann crashed in the third & final round of qualifying. Opening the day at the Fear Farm with the third fastest time and then posting a TQ in Q2, this was to be enough for Maifield to take his first DNC Truggy TQ since 2012 as he ended up with a 10th in the final qualifier. For Tessmann his error would again leave the Q1 pace setter with a fourth for the round that will see the DNC’s most winning truggy driver beginning his quest for a fifth title starting from second on the grid. Finishing 1.5 seconds off Bornhorst’s pace, Cavalieri will start the 45-minute Main from 3rd on the grid with Bornhorst starting directly behind him. For reigning champion David Ronnefalk he faces an uphill battle to defend his title as he starts 10th on the grid.
Happy to claim his second TQ of the day having wrapped up eBuggy in the second qualifier, Maifield said while pleased to get the TQ his Q3 ‘wasn’t so good’. Describing his 8ight-T 4.0 as ‘dialled’ he said when the track is wet he has no grip and hitting ‘a puddle’ on the second lap he ‘did a 360 and crashed’. Dropping him to the back of the field he ‘tried to catch’ then leader Tessmann and while he ‘made up a ton of time’ he was ‘driving too hard for the terrible surface’ leading to ‘another mistake’. With his Reds Racing powered truck ‘super fast’ and having ‘ridiculous horse power’ in these conditions which should be the same come the final on Saturday night he was hopeful for a good race as he chases his first Truggy win of his home event.
Tessmann, who went on to take an easy win when Maifield crashed out after just 8-minutes the last time he was Top Qualifier, said the final qualifier started out well but then his D8T ‘got unsettled’ leading to a crash. With the Buggy World Champion’s father Gord seeing thinks differently saying his drivers ‘head exploded’ as he wanted it maybe a little too much’, the Canadian said it was ‘damage control’ after that for the remainder of the 7-minutes. Chasing a fifth Truggy win at the Phoenix based event he said his truck is ‘easy enough to drive for 45-minutes’ with Gord predicting a good race between him and Maifield.
Like Tessmann, Cavalieri said the final qualifier ‘started off really good’ as he got in the battle for the TQ with Tessmann and Maifield. Going to the top when they made mistakes, he said he ‘held (his) ground for the majority of the race’ and even after ‘a few bobbles here and there’ he was able to get back the time but casing a jump towards the end cost him the TQ. With his MX powered RC8T3 ‘all in all really good’ following a few set-up changes after Q2, he said he was ‘happy to be fast now as this is the same time as the Main’ adding things are ‘looking good for the final’.
Somewhat shocked by his TQ run saying ‘I don’t remember a whole lot’ of his Q3 run, Bornhorst said ‘I ran mainly as practice for the final and I guess they were all right’. Having not changed his truck all day, the 22-year-old, who equals his previous best qualifying position at the DNC having also started 4th last year, knew while the set-up struggled in the hot conditions of Q2 it would be perfect for Q3. Running Pro-Line X3 Blockade tyres for Q3 he said all he needs to do for Saturday night is ‘check it over, fit a new set of tyres and its ready to roll’.
Only managing P8 in the final qualifier, last year’s Top Qualifier and former winner Jared Tebo will start 5th on the grid thanks to his opening P4 time and 6th in Q2. Behind the Kyosho driver, 17-year-old Tanner Stees had a strong finish to qualifying to claim a P3 and it’s the local driver who completes the top half of the 12 direct qualifier, 3 more drivers getting the chance to bump up from the B-Main and battle it out for the win at the 17th running of the Dirt Nitro Challenge.