April 20, 2024

Chassis Focus – Alex Bernadzik (Associated)

Chassis – Team Associated RC8 B4.1
Engine – O.S. Speed 2104
Fuel – Runner Time
Tires – JConcepts
Radio/Servo – Sanwa M17 / Reedy RT5012A
Body – JConceopts S15

Remarks – Taking the opening qualifier here at the Philippine Masters, the biggest change to Alex’s buggy is the use of Associated’s FWB Chassis for the high traction conditions.

April 19, 2024

Bernadzik takes opening qualifier at Philippine Masters

Alex Bernadzik got his Philippine Masters debut off to the dream start, the Australian Team Associated driver TQ’ing the opening qualifier at Asia’s biggest annual 1:8 Offroad race.  The 2023 Australian National Champion claimed the first of the four scheduled qualifiers as the only driver to record 9-laps of the challenging Manila track despite a late driver error.  Behind it would be Atsushi Hara who set the second fastest time as he makes his return to 1:8 Buggy competition at the event he has won on previous occasions.  With the 12th edition of the Philippine Masters counting as the second round of the Asian Buggy Championships which kicked off in New Zealand in February, it was Round 1 winner Ryan Lutz who complete the top 3 for Q1 ahead Davide Ongaro and Philippine Masters’ rookies Ryan Pavidis and Joern Neumann.

Second fastest in yesterday’s seeding behind Neuman’s Sworkz, summing up his first qualifying attempt Bernadzik said, ‘It was a really good consistent run up until the second last lap’.  Suffering a roll over on the back double, that mistake would cost him around 4-seconds but such was his advantage he could still hold on for the TQ.  Having changed his car for this morning’s free practice, he said he didn’t really like how the buggy felt and so he reverted back to yesterday’s set-up for Q1 and right now he has his plan wouldn’t be to change too much in the buggy.  Instead he said he will keep with his tyre program, his TQ run achieved using with JConcepts Silver Ellipse tyre.  Asked his thoughts on the much hyped Circulo Verde track he replied with a grin saying, ‘It is really  good.  The photos don’t do it justice’.

A guy who is really enjoying life at the moment having returned to competitive touring car action at the World famous TITC last month and now 1:8 Buggy here at the Philippine Masters, Hara said his Sworkz was ‘really really good’. The former World Champion did however say he drove a little nervous adding ‘I’ve not been there (major international race) in a long time’. One of the first drivers to arrive in the Philippines for the race and able to just a few extra miles under his belt before the majority of drivers arrived, he feels this helped a little with his set-up data. Coming with a variety of different tyre options from his sponsor VP Pro he said the harder M1 compound is proving really good but admit he doesn’t have a huge amount of them with him. Asked if this could present a problem he said he wasn’t too concerned about qualifying other than making the A-Main as he said the prospect of running the 1-hour main is his goal for the event adding ‘I don’t remember the last time I raced for 1-hour so I really excited to have have the chance again cause not many races outside the Worlds are an hour final.’

Lutz summed up his opening qualifier with ‘it was OK’. The Kyosho driver went on to explain, ‘the rear didn’t feel settled and we realised after the rear shocks were over pressurised.’ The American added he plans to change his rear shock set-up feeling ‘the oil was a little light to start with’. After making years of trying to make the Philippine Masters fit his schedule, having final got the chance to drive the track Lutz said, ‘it’s an awesome track and a lot of fun to drive’. Asked if he felt he had it mastered yet he replied, ‘I’m not carrying the right speed in the centre back section so that’s something I can work on improving.’

No stranger to the Philippine Masters, winning the race last year on his return following the world pandemic, Ongaro was a little frustrated by the incident that denied him a buggy double in Q1. Only arriving in the country last night from Italy, Ongaro missed seeding only getting to his the new track design this morning in free practice. Placed in the top heat given his back to back World Championship status, having taken the opening eBuggy qualifier ahead of Neumann and Hara, he started out looking like doing the same in Nitro Buggy. That was until lap 3 when he collected a car which rolled in front of him at the start of the main straight. Recovering with the fastest lap of Q1 he would finish just 25/1000th off Lutz. Asked about this year’s track layout he replied, ‘I prefer last year’s because it had more jumps so there are now less places to make a difference but overall it is still a great track’. For Day 2 of qualifying, the Italian set to be more rested, he said he only plans ‘just a new set of tyres’ having used the same set for all of todays free practice and the opening qualifier.

Enjoying his first experience of racing in Asia, this only his second race outside of the US, Pavidis said Q1 ‘was good but I made a mistake.  Without that I would have been up there’, but added, ‘it’s easy to get in a wreck here’.  For Day 2 of qualifying the 22-year-old Sparko driver said he will work on trying find a little more pace.  Asked how he planned to achieve this, the son of former World Champion Mark Pavidis said ‘I’ll free up the rear of the car the car a bit so it can rotate better’.  Finding he had less grip for Q1, he said he has learned that the morning has the best traction and once you get to noon the traction falls off.

April 19, 2024

Chassis Focus – Atsushi Hara (Sworkz)

Chassis – Sworkz S35-4 EVO
Engine – O.S. Speed 2104
Fuel – Merlin 25%
Tires – VP Pro Blade M2
Radio/Servo – Futaba 10PX / Futaba CB701
Body – VP Pro

Remarks – Atsushi said the buggy he built just for this race is 100% out of the box with the only upgrade being the new coated shock casings from Sworkz.

April 19, 2024

Chassis Focus – Jackson Beale (Tekno)

Chassis – Tekno NB48 2.1
Engine – O.S. Speed 2101
Fuel – Energy
Tires – Jetko J-One
Radio/Servos – Futaba 10PX/Futaba CBS700
Body – JConcepts S15

Remarks – Describing his NB48 2.1 as pretty much standard out of the box, Jackson said the only thing different is his use of a T-Works screw set on the buggy.

April 17, 2024

2024 Philippine Masters – Preview

Having established itself as Asia’s biggest annual 1:8 Offroad race, the Philippine Masters takes place this weekend in Manila with the 12th edition of the famed race also counting as the second round of the ambitious 4-round Asian Buggy Championships.   Almost 200 entries from 16 countries will battle in out in the capital for top honours in Nitro & Electric Buggy and Nitro Truggy with Team Associated’s 2023 winner Davide Ongaro leading the entry.  The back to back 1:8 Offroad World Champion returns to the Philippine Masters for a fourth time but with his schedule means he’ll arrive just in time for the final seeding round and will have a little bit of catching up to do on his rivals.  After a superb opening round to the Asian Buggy Championships at Counties RC in New Zealand, the best of Asia and Australasia, are joined by drivers from around the world including American Ryan Lutz, the Kyosho driver having taken the win at the season opener in February.  This will be Lutz’s first time to attend the Philippine Masters with Sworkz’ Jorn Neumann, Sparko’s Ryan Pavadis and Team Associated’s Alex Bernadzik also rookies of the Circulo Verde track.  Legend of the sport and former winner of the race Atsushi Hara makes a hugely popular return as does 2023 podium finisher Christian Wolhuter with both drivers running Sworkz buggies.  Others expected to feature over the weekend include Tekno’s Jackson Beale, together with the finds of ABC Round 1, Kiwi duo Logan Toia and Jayden Jamieson.

Rightly famed for its incredible layout, the Circulo Verde track is the battleground for the Philippine Masters and once again Edward Sio and the team from Dogbone RC have produced a superb race track, with a clean, high traction surface.  Drivers will face extended rhythm sections, off-camber corners, high-banked sections, and jumps that demand perfect timing and lines.  High grip, together with low tyre wear on the oil-treated surface place Circulo Verde among the very best racetracks in the world.  The pit area features everything a racer needs, from a three-story high driver’s stand, to cleaning facilities, work benches and on-site Dogbone RC hobby store.

Asian Buggy Championships promoter Scotty Ernst, who has played a key role in the established of the Philippine Masters becoming the major international race its is today, said, “I can’t wait to see the Philippine Masters unfold – it’s an absolute highlight of the racing schedule. I’m looking forward to spending the next week with our friends from the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, across Asia and beyond. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Red RC are excited to attending our 3rd Philippine Masters and reporting on how the weekend unfolds.

April 12, 2024

Hara ‘excited’ for Philippine Masters return

A former winner of the Philippine Masters, legend of the sport Atsushi Hara will make his return to the famed Manila based 1:8 Offroad event next week (April 18-21).  The offroad and onroad World Champion, last contested the race in 2019 and will return to the Circulo Verde track at the controls of an Sworkz Buggy, a decade on from when he raced for manufacturer full time during the 2014 season.  Joining the international entry that includes reigning World & Philippine Masters Champion Davide Ongaro, multiple Worlds finalist Kyle McBride, Asian Buggy Championship points leader & PM debutant Ryan Lutz, and another PM debutant Joern Neumann, on his return to the Asia’s biggest annual 1:8 Offroad race former FEMCA Champion Hara said, “I am so excited to be back at Philippine Masters, because Philippine Masters is one of the best organizers in the world.  This time, Sworkz and Cayote have helped me to enter the race!  I am also looking forward to seeing my many friends and fans in the Philippines!  See everybody at the track!”