November 18, 2017

Maifield comes to China empty handed but leaves as double World Champion

Ryan Maifield came to the 1:10 Offroad World Championships in Xiamen, China, empty handed in terms of the sport’s biggest prize. Declaring early on he was not a fan of the track, 7 days on the Yokomo driver leaves as a double World Champion becoming only the fourth driver in the 17 runnings of the championship to do so. Having claimed his first ever World title when he wrapped up the 2WD title in A2, the deciding of the 4WD title would go down to the wire with A3 throwing up one of the craziest World finals ever with Maifield himself admitting he didn’t really remember what happened.  In the end, it was hard to follow the chaos of which car was flying off where, it was his protege Spencer Rivkin who would win the decider from 5th on the grid as Maifield got by Tessmann on the final lap. The third of the title contenders going into A3, David Ronnefalk would lead from after the first lap, staying there for 2-laps until a mistake.  With further mistakes ending his chances of a first EP World title, he opted to pull up for the final two laps and watch the thrilling finish, his win in A2 & 3rd in the opener enough to secure second overall. With his surprise A3 win, Rikvin snatched the final step of the podium on tie break leaving Top Qualifier Tessmann with fourth, with Xray team-mate & outgoing champion Bruno Coelho ending up 9th despite lining up 3rd for his title defence.

‘I don’t really remember what happened. It started off rough and I fell back to sixth and then all of a sudden I was in second. It was insane out there’, was Maifield’s summary of a race that even stretched race announcer Scotty Ernst’s voice box to its limits.  He continued, ‘when me, David and Ty where 1,2,3 but then Spencer got first. Ty made a great move on me and went after Spencer. I let it happen because I knew even if he got Spencer the time wouldn’t be good enough. In the end I got the second back when Ty made a mistake on the last lap’.  Having poured out his emotion when he finally took the title so many felt he was long over due when he took the 2WD title on Tuesday, asked how it felt to do the double Maifield replied with a more expected summary saying, ‘When we got here and it started I was like oh this is over but then it turned to oh I’ve got a shot at this’.

Going one better than he achieved in Japan 2-years ago, Ronnefalk said, ‘right now it feels weird, being so close and almost touching the trophy.’  The reigning 1:8 Offroad World Champion continued ‘it was a messy start and there where cars flying everywhere. When Tessmann rolled I got to the front I stayed there for 2 or 3 laps. I don’t know if I took a bad line or the wind pushed me but I landed in middle of the corner and dropped to fourth’.  With a mistake on the straight ending his hopes of bettering his points he ‘pulled into watch’ with about 30-seconds to go. ‘It was a great race and I wanted to see and I knew I had enough points to make the podium’.  Summing up his podium finish, he said, ‘I have no words really. It fees weird. I’m sure it will seem ok in a couple of days that we finished 2nd at the worlds with a new car. We lacked experience of these races over the last 2-years and also maybe I was a little impatient.  This is my third podium in 3-years so I suppose I can’t complain at the end’.

’To come off the drivers stand 3rd (overall) and not knowing was spectacular’, was Rivkin’s reaction to making the podium having not even made the A-Main for his 2WD World title defence earlier in the week.  Posting a surprise TQ run in the opening 4WD qualifier, ending up 5th on the grid with less competitive runs over the remaining 3 rounds, the Team Associated driver said, ‘I was right there all the qualifiers but couldn’t put everything together. I just wasn’t focused enough’.  On his A3 win, he said, ‘I had the lead and then blew it but a lot of drivers were making mistakes so I kept the head down was able to get it back and it got me a podium’.

Clearly disappointed to miss out on the podium, Tessmann said, ‘I don’t really know what happened, its all a blur now’.  He continued, ‘on the straightaway I hit a bump, the same one Bruno hit before but I wasn’t so lucky.  I landed on my wheels but everyone caught up and then there was chaos for two laps’. Making contact with Maifield during the race but immediately giving back position, allowing Rivkin to take up the lead, he said, ‘alone the track is challenge enough but when four cars are racing together no one is absolutely in control. My car and tyre were good that time and I drove the best I could but it wasn’t enough I guess’.  A driver who regularly finds himself locked in battle with Maifield, the Canadian offered his congratulations to his rival saying’, ‘he drove well and earn it and to go & do the double is amazing’.

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