January 24, 2020

Haatanen goes fastest in 2WD as Phend maintains 4WD pace

Day 1 of the Reedy Offroad Race of Champions is complete with Joona Haatanen mixing things up in the final run of the day to go fastest in 2WD while early pace setter Dakotah Phend maintain his status as the quickest driver in 4WD when he topped the third of the day’s three practice rounds. Behind Haatanen, Dustin Evans made it a 1-2 for Team Associated as both managed for the first time to outpace Phend who had set the early pace for both classes.  In 4WD, which will open the racing action tomorrow at OCRC Raceway, the closest on pace to Phend was Ty Tessmann with Yusuke Sugiura making it three different manufacturers in the Top 3 ahead of his Yokomo team-mate Ryan Maifield.  While the Reedy Race’s unique heads up race format means not too much should be read into the practice times, for defending Champion Jared Tebo the day ended with him setting the 7th fastest 2WD time and 8th fastest 4WD time.

Leading this year’s European challenge for Reedy Race glory, the race having only been won once before in its 25 year history by a European driver when Joern Neumann won the title in 2012, Haatanen was happy with improvements to his car for the final practice.  Improving from fourth fastest in the second practice, he said, ‘We went higher with the rear hinge pin and it gave more steering.  We were working to improve the car for when the grip comes in and the tyres get better so it looks good for when 2WD racing comes around.  The car feels balanced and easy to drive’.  Asked about his 4WD, ending up 22nd fastest of the 24 Invitational Class entries, the Finnish driver replied, ‘we need to find sometime with the 4WD but at least I’m happy with 2WD’.

Evans summed up the day by saying, ‘I’m fast in 2WD and need a little more in 4WD, but it’s not about being the fastest at the Reedy Race’.  The 2018 Champion continued, ‘Myself and Joona are the same, good in 2WD and struggling in 4WD.  I need to get more comfortable with my 4WD.  In that last practice round I tried a little too hard but I’m still confident going into tomorrow.  I am thinking of changing the flex for the (4WD) free practice we have in the morning’.

Despite being knocked off the top spot in 2WD, Phend declared, ‘everything is working great. I have been working on making no mistakes and hitting my lines on the track’.  TLR’s sole contender for the 2020 Reedy Race title, on his 2WD performance in the final practice he said, ‘it took me a little bit to get going in the last practice.  We will see how the track is when we get back out on Saturday but I think it should be very close’.  With drivers given a practice grid start at the end of the final practice, asked what he thought of the track for racing, Phend replied, ‘it should be solid’.

Commenting on his pace Tessmann said, ‘4WD is still good. We made a small change and it was better but in 2WD while we made the car slightly better we are struggling’.  The Xray driver explained, ‘I have no rear grip and we are trying to figure out why this is.  I have never experienced the car acting like this before’.

Sugiura was pleased with his Top 3 in 4WD, saying he was able to improve his 4WD each run.  Describing it as ‘very good’ after the final run, the Japanese driver is planning some more changes for tomorrow feeling he needs a little more steering.  On his 2WD, the World Championship podium finisher described it as ‘really slippy’ adding he was ‘trying to cure some issues’.  A fan of the Nick Black designed layout, he said with the surface getting better each run he was looking forward to having higher grip when the switch to 2WD racing happens on Saturday afternoon.

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January 24, 2020

Phend sets early pace as 26th Reedy Race gets underway

The 26th running of the Reedy Offroad Race of Champions is underway at the World renowned OCRC Raceway in Huntington Beach, California, with 2016 Champion Dakotah Phend setting the pace in both 2WD and 4WD practice.  In 4WD, the class which will kick off the racing action tomorrow, the TLR driver was quickest from Ty Tessmann over 3-consecutive laps with Ryan Maifield completing the Top 3 in front of Spencer Rivkin and World’s podium finisher Yusuke Sugiura.  In 2WD, Phend was quickest over 2-time champion Dustin Evans with Associated team-mate Broc Champlin showing good pace in 3rd followed by Joona Haatanen, Rivkin and Maifield. For defending champion Jared Tebo, practice saw him post the 9th fastest time in 2WD and 15th of the 24 car field in 4WD.

Summing up his 2 runs on the track in each class, Phend said, ‘It’s going good so far. I am just breaking in tyres and getting used to the track but both cars are feeling good.  They are pretty close and once we start racing they will be there’. Asked his thoughts of this year’s track layout, he said, ‘It’s fun. The rhythm section is a little challenging with the timing but it’s not hard and should be fun for racing.’

‘The best layout so far for the Reedy Race. You wont have to force your way to pass. I should make for good racing’, was Tessmann’s reaction when asked about the layout.  Commenting on his cars, the Xray driver, for whom the Reedy Race is one of the main title’s that still eludes him, said, ‘We have 4WD figured out but in 2WD we are struggling for rear grip but by the time 2WD comes around there will be far more grip.’

Summing up his practice runs, Maifield said, ‘both cars are good, I’m just waiting for the tyres to come in and working on my new power plant’.  Signing with Hobbywing for the 2020 season, the Yokomo driver said, ‘this is the first time seeing a rhythm like that so I am working on fine tuning the speedo to that’.  The 2015 Champion continued, ‘we are trying to prepare the car for the grip later in the event when it will be much higher for 2WD.  We are in the ball park speed wise’.

‘My 2WD is really good, the speed and pace is really awesome’, was Evan’s reaction to setting the second fastest time in 2WD.  On his 4WD, the 2011 & 2018 Champion said, ‘It’s a little off and needs more speed but it feels good to drive’.  Describing the track as ‘pretty high speed’ he shared the general view that it’s a good layout adding he liked that they had also managed to include a slow speed technical section however he felt this could cause some issues. ‘We’ll see what the rhythm section is like at the start but I think most drivers are agreeing on the same line now so it could be fine’.

17-year-old Champlin said he hasn’t changed his cars from what he arrived at the event with but for the final 2WD practice he might take out some of the weights and see if it stays more stable on power. On his 4WD, the former Open Champion said, ‘We are close but if I can make the rear end a little stiffer it will be good’.

Asked about his practice pace Tebo replied, ‘I am getting comfortable with the track. The tyres and track are still breaking in so it’s hard to decipher what is changing.  I am adjusting my 4WD a little to get it faster’. On this year’s track build, the Tekno driver said, ‘It is a pretty good layout but the racing will be fairly tough. It’s fast so its going to be single file as you need to stay on the racing line’, concluding, ‘There’s probably going to be carnage’.

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May 26, 2019

Wilck puts himself back in hunt with Round 8 win

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’.

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January 28, 2019

2019 Reedy Offroad ROC Winner – Jared Tebo

4wd Buggy

Tekno EB410 – Maclan V2M 6.0T – Maclan MMax Pro – Maclan 5000mAh Graphene V2 – KO Propo Transmitter – KO Propo Servo – Kit body

2wd Buggy

Team Associated B6.1D –Maclan V2M 7.5T – Maclan MMax Pro – Maclan 5000mAh Graphene V2 – KO Propo Transmitter – KO Propo Servo – JConcepts F2 body


January 28, 2019

Tebo finally lands Reedy Race title

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.

View the complete event results here.

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