Having conceded defeat after the seventh round when, going head to head with Ronald Volker, him finishing second behind the points leader, Viktor Wilck has put himself back in the game with a win in Round 8 at the Reedy Race of Champions. The Infinity driver added his third win of the event when from fourth on the grid he found a way passed Meen Vejrak, Ryan Cavalieri and team-mate Marc Rheinard for the crucial win. Lining up in the other encounter, Volker could only manage 3rd from fourth on the grid, the result the Yokomo driver’s second worst finish of the event. On the points table, Wilck is now 2-points off Volker with 4-scheduled rounds of racing remaining however with bad weather forecast for tomorrow it is widely expected that the 22nd running of the Reedy Race will be determined on 10 rounds. For Wilck this means he needs wins from today’s remaining two runs, with Volker currently having the advantage of more wins should the tie break be called into play. Winning the race in which Volker was running, Akio Sobue’s second win of the day moves him into contention for a podium finish with that battle set to be between him and team-mate & defending champion Rheinard.
‘At least now we have a small chance. It’s still open’, was Wilck’s reaction after the latest round. The former Champion continued, ‘we just need some more rounds with Ronald. He has one more win than me so I need to go for wins. Again I start behind him in the next one but my car is really good, so I’ll be going for it’.
Volker said, ‘I had a lot of understeer for some reason. I couldn’t fight at all but at least I got a P3 on the last lap’. Looking to claim a 4th Reedy Race title, asked if he knew the reason for the understeer he replied, ‘it’s hard to tell if it was the change to the car or the track. This round was the highest the wind has been since we’ve been here’.
Sobue echoed Volker’s thoughts on the wind, the Japanese driver saying, ‘it was more windy and this made the track feel different’. He added, ‘my car was easy to drive but I was lucky that Nicholas, JJ and Ronald were fighting with each other as it took the pressure off me’. Only 1-point off third place in the points, last year’s podium finisher said, ‘the top two are out of reach but I will try to fight Marc for the podium’.
Having made the comment ‘I need a change’ after finishing 16th at last year’s Reedy Race of Champions, it seems a change is exactly what Jared Tebo needed as today at the 25th running of the event he finally landed the one title that had eluded him. Switching to Team Tekno for 2019, the weekend started out perfectly as a rejuvenated Tebo sat second behind new team-mate Joe Bornhorst in the points table at the end of Day 1’s four rounds of 4WD racing. It was however when the racing switched to 2WD, that Tebo really excelled going into the points lead at the end of Day 2. While the start to the deciding day saw him throw away a win and fall to 3rd, the driver synonymous with offroad racing over the past decade came back to win his next two outings eliminating all his rivals bar Spencer Rivkin. Winning the penultimate round ahead of Rivkin, this left the Associated driver a tall order to keep the title in the Californian manufacturers hands, defending Champion Dustin Evans’ fight coming to an end in the 10 of the 12 rounds of heads up racing. Still the stage was set for a last race showdown with the grid a whose who of 1:10 Offroad racing. Rivkin had to win, a result that would give him the overall win on a second places tie breaker, but starting 10th and with Ryan Maifield on the front row it was going to be a tall order for Rivkin to deny his senior rival the win. While Rivkin would get by Tebo crossing the line 4th, up front Maifield checked out to notch up win no.6, the most wins of the event, demoting Rivkin to third overall but the moment belonged to Tebo with his first Reedy Race victory popular with spectators at OCRC Raceway.
With his name set to be the 17th to be engraved on the Mike Reedy Heritage Trophy, reacting to his win Tebo said, ‘This was one of the titles I didn’t have. I’m ecstatic. I’m so happy to finally get the win. I’m really looking forward to the future with my new team. They gave me great support and I’m believing in myself again’. Commenting on the deciding race, he said, ‘It wasn’t my best race. I was really nervous. I just wanted to stay ahead of Spencer but was thinking too much about it and jumped a little wide at the triple. I could have turned down on him but gave him space. I had a bobble and it was over for me after that. I’m so happy to get the overall win’.
While his shot at a second Reedy Race title ended in the penultimate round after he failed to make a points advantage on Tebo as they both registered wins, Maifield was pleased to finish second given he ended 4WD 8th in the points. The Yokomo driver said, ‘Second is a good result. The 6th I was carrying in 4WD was always going to hurt me. I thought 2WD was going to be a complete cluster F but the track changed and made it more racy. We made good team work, my cars really worked. Overall we put on a good show’. Registering the most wins, on his sixth race win in the final race he said, ‘I started out front and just drove around. My car was awesome. I made a little mistake but got back into my rhythm and Ty (Tessmann) couldn’t catch me’.
Matching his previous best finish at the Reedy Race, having previously finished third in his Invitational Class debut in 2016, Rivkin said, ‘It is what it is. Maifield got the win so I finished 3rd’. On the deciding race, the 2015 2WD World Champion added, ‘The race was fun. All the top dogs were running in the show. I started 10th and thought I drove well. I beat Tebo. I couldn’t do anything more but I’m happy with how I drove. I’ll just have to try for the overall win again next year’. Behind Rivkin, last year’s Runner-up Ty Tessmann ended up 4th ahead of the outgoing Champion Dustin Evans with multiple champion Ryan Cavalieri completing the Top 6.
Booking their places to compete with the best drivers in the world at next year’s Reedy Race of Champions, Top Qualifier Tommy Hinz took his Xray to the 2WD Open Class win ahead of Ron DeVoll who took the second of the two A-Mains to go with his third in A1. DeVoll however got the job done in 4WD to secure one of the coveted 30 Invite spots taking his Associated to victory in both Mains ahead of Hinz, with Austin Horne completing the podium.
Jared Tebo and Spencer Rivkin will battle it out in the final round of racing at OCRC Raceway, California, to lift their first Reedy Race of Champions title. The penultimate round saw Tebo make the most of a pole start and move a step closer to the one title that has eluded him when he won the opening race ahead of Rivkin. Starting sixth on the grid it was an important 2nd for Rivkin as 3rd or lower would have ended his shot at winning the 25th running of the legendary race. Having gone into the round with an outside chance of clinching the title for a second time, unfortunately while Ryan Maifield delivered a win from 5th on the grid Tebo’s win cancelled out any potential gains ending the Yokomo driver’s 2019 challenge. The other race of the Round saw Tanner Stees take his first win of the event ahead of Michal Orlowski and outgoing champion Dustin Evans.
Commenting on his race, Tebo, who is sporting an ever increasingly big smile, said, ‘It was another good race. It was tense with Spencer as he was going good. Now I just have to get through the last one’. The new Tekno signing added, ‘It’s going to be a stressful last one but I am just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m in a great position’. All the pressure is on Rivkin to get a win in the last round but the odds are stacked against him starting 10th on the grid, with Tebo lining up 8th in the same race and Maifield on the front row. Should Rivkin win, to lift the title he needs Tebo to finish 3rd or lower.
‘That was an awesome race. I came from 6th to 2nd and was only 2/10th behind the leader’, was Rivkin reaction to his penultimate race. The Associated driver added, ‘I gave all I had but there was no mistake from Jared. There was nothing else I could do’. Asked about his approach for the deciding final race, he replied, ‘Nothing changes. I got to go out and do all I can do and be smart. Anything can happen’.
Having done all he could do but hampered by the sixth place he had to carry from the 5th round of 4WD, Maifield said, ‘Having to count that 6 from 4WD I knew it was going to haunt me. This race is hard. I’m going to go out in the last one and try get another win and see what that does’ – the 2015 Champion still having the chance to finish runner-up. On his Round 11 performance he said, ‘I started 5th and got around a couple of guys in the first corner. The second lap I almost crashed. I had a bobble but David (Ronnefalk) gave me room. After that I got my head down and played safe.’ He added, ‘That race I changed to a different set of tyres and they were as good. I will switch back to the tyres I am more comfortable with and see what the next round holds’.