September 15, 2023

Ongaro tops free practice at 2WD World Championship

Newly crowned 4WD World Champion Davide Ongaro has got his 2WD campaign off to a promising start by topping the times in free practice on Day 1 of the 2WD Offroad World Championship in Arizona.  The Italian recorded the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the fourth & final free practice being the only one to record a 57-second time. His Associated was 2/10ths faster than Team Losi Racing’s Tater Sontag, whose team-mate Cole Tollard completed the Top 3.  Bruno Coelho would end practice fourth fastest ahead of Broc Champlin, who unlike the rest of the front runners, didn’t improve in FP4 having set his time during his third run.

Asked how he felt practice had gone, Ongaro said, ‘we made a few changes this round and it was definitely better’.  Using the final free practice to break in new front tyres, he said it took about 3 laps for them to come in but after that he was able to feel the benefits of running a front wing on his buggy for the first time.  He said, ‘the front wing was better for my driving style at least’.  Asked about the first round of controlled practice, driver’s best time from the two rounds deciding the heat the will line-up in for tomorrow’s qualifying, he said, ‘we will leave the car the same and just break in rear tyres for tomorrow.’

Sontag summed up his performance as ‘pretty good’, explaining they made a spring change that improved the car a lot’.  Having had a lot of grip he said he did not have enough steering but after the change of spring it had ‘more overall balance’.  Planning to use controlled practice to break in tyres, the 16-year-old is enjoying the track saying, ‘I like this one.  The left side has a nice flow and it all connects well together’.

‘I’m not trying to set the world on fire but the car feels pretty stable and easy to drive for 5-minutes’, was how Collard summed up his performance.  Still in his first season as a TLR driver, he continued, ‘we been making some minor changes but I don’t think we will change anything for the first round and see where that puts us’.  A driver who TQ Q5 of 4WD from the second fastest heat, the American said, ‘I’m not to worried about making the A sort as the Top 3 (groups) are all pretty close’.

Reacting to his P4 time, Coelho said, ‘it’s getting better and better. The layout is really nice and has a good flow so it’s all about set-up’.  The Xray driver added, ‘with the high speeds the landings are challenging when trying to get power down without losing the rear.  We are working on that but I think now we are on a good way with the car’.

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September 14, 2023

Phend sets early 2WD practice pace

Team Losi Racing’s Dakotah Phend has set the early pace in 2WD practice at the 1:10 Offroad World Championship in Arizona.  With a new layout at Hobby Action RC Raceway for 2WD, the first of the four scheduled rounds of practice was very much about learning the track in the low traction conditions.  With drivers giving the new layout a resounding thumbs up, the times tumbled in the second free practice with Phend fastest from the prototype Schumacher of Broc Champlin and newly crowned 4WD Champion Davide Ongaro.  Cole Tollard was the only other driver to run 3-consecutive laps in under a 1-minute as he set the fourth fastest time while defending Champion Spencer Rivkin was P16 on the time sheets.

Summing up his first two practice runs, Phend said, ‘my car feels pretty good.  I’ve just been making small changes to see if we can get it better but it’s pretty comfortable to drive’.  Having successfully defended his ROAR 2WD National title a month ago, the 26-year-old added he is enjoying the new track saying, ‘the layout is really fun, I really like it and it works well for 2WD cars’.

A very update Champlin said, ‘my car is awesome and I’m just breaking in tyres for races’.  Describing the track as ‘super fun and flowing’,  the Las Vegas driver plans to leave his car unchanged for Q3 however will run a different body and rear wing saying it was ‘more for comparison’ than necessity.

After FP2 Ongaro said, ‘it was better than the first one but that was the case for everyone’.  The Italian continued, ‘we now have the right base set-up but we will try to change something to go faster’.  On the new track layout, the Team Associated driver said, ‘I like it, it is more fun.  Maybe if we used this for 4WD it would have been better’.

‘Just making laps out there and not really pushing it’, was Tollard’s response when ask how practice was going.  Posting a TQ run in the final round of 4WD Qualifying, the TLR driver said they are making ‘small changes’ but waiting to see where the pace is at as the track comes in. ‘Really enjoying the layout’, he added, ‘I think it will be more technical for 2WD than what we had for 4WD’.  He concluded, ‘it’s still practice’ but the big thing is going to be ‘when and where to run your tyres’.

Describing the traction as ‘a bit low’, Rivkin said ‘We are getting into the rhythm’ and ‘collectively as a team we are looking for clues and making small improvements each round’.  Having put on a thrilling race in A3 of 4WD as he tried to hunt down team-mate Ongaro for the title win, the Arizona driver said, ‘the (new) track is awesome.  It’s super cool.  I think it will make for great racing’.

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September 13, 2023

First look – New Mugen 2WD Buggy

Mugen Seiki’s new 1:10 2WD Buggy has broken cover at World Championship in Arizona, with the car’s designer and engineer Shin Adachi set to race a pre-production example of the car when the 2WD action gets underway tomorrow.  A hugely significant venture for Mugen, the yet unnamed 2WD buggy is the first from the Japanese company and has been 2-years in the making.  While there is no confirmed launch date for the kit, Adachi says he expects it to go on sale ‘soon’.  Officially a pre-production car, Adachi said the buggy is very close to what they will release with just potential for some very minor changes.  Joining Mugen in 2021, the 2WD is the first car Adachi has had sole responsibility for complete design and engineering of the project and said his design brief was to cater for the growing trend towards high traction tracks but added in testing on more ‘loose tracks’ the buggy ‘worked very well’.  Such is the occasion for Mugen Seiki, who have been a key player in the competitive 1:8 Offroad racing scene, offroad legend and face of the brand in the US Adam Drake arrived today at Hobby Action and will be on hand for the next three days of racing supporting Adachi.  With the unveiling of the 2WD, Mugen also confirmed it has a 4WD in the works with the design already complete.

Features of the car include easy front and rear sway bars.  It is also equipped with a front wing mount that has both a upper and lower mounting position with the same feature for the rear wing mount.  The front wing on the car is a Mugen product and with Mugen also offering their own bodyshell and rear win but as it is not yet in production Adachi is using JConcepts here.  The alu chassis has multiple holes so drivers can choose different flex options.  The shock mounting on the rear are adjustable in a inside or outside option, the buggy coming with 13mm shocks.  The ackerman can be changes with a choice of three inserts.  The front end mounting to the chassis is another area that Adachi has added the option for adjustment.  The front hubs offer multiple adjustability with the Adachi pointing out the pre product cars alu steering parts are optional and the kit will ship with plastic parts.  For the electrics there is a carbon mount plate with the option of a brass plate, a brass weight is also offered for under the battery.

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September 13, 2023

Ongaro is 4WD Offroad World Champion

Davide Ongaro is the new 4WD Offroad Electric World Champion, the 22-year adding the title to his back to back 1:8 Buggy World titles in a thrilling battle with Spencer Rivkin that went right to finish line.  A somewhat unexpected Top Qualifier at Hobby Action, given the much mooted ‘US home advantage’,  Ongaro took the opening A-Main in Arizona but an error filled A2 which would be won by his Team Associated team-mate Rivkin.  With second place qualifier Michal Orlowski taking second in the opening two encounters, the trio went into the A3 showdown and what a show would they deliver.  Initially the two Europeans would pull clear of the pack but once Rivkin, who started P5, got into 3rd he closed at a pace that even Ongaro said afterwards  he couldn’t believe.  A mistake from Orlowski 7-laps in put him out of the picture.  Closing the gap to his team-mate, two bobbles from Rivkin would give Ongaro short relief from the intensity behind before Rivkin was suddenly back on his rear wing.  As much as he tried almost pushing him across the line, the clock was against Rivkin with Ongaro just making it over the line for an extra lap which, once the result sunk in, he didn’t complete.  Out going Champion Bruno Coelho would end his reign with a Top 3 in the closing race but overall it was Orlowski who completed the podium repeating his feat from 4 years ago.

A track which the Europeans were widely expected to struggle at, becoming only the 4th driver from the continent to win the title, Ongaro said, ‘It feels amazing’.  The first Italian to lift an electric Offroad World title, he continued, ‘It was a super intense final, it was super close’.  On his battle with Rivkin, he said, ‘I saw he was coming but I didn’t expect he would do it so fast starting from P5.  I got nervous he was coming so fast but I just tried to keep the door closed to keep him behind’.  Reversing the result of the last 2WD World Championship when he finished second to Rivkin in Slovakia, asked about his chance of doing the double in 2WD, he replied, ‘we take one day to relax first but we carry a position from this race’.

Emotionally drained from the intensity of his all out effort over the final few laps of A3, Rivkin said, ‘I had a shot and I got up there’.  He continued, ‘As I said before the race it was going to be a pretty big dog fight and it came down to the last lap, like I told you’.  He added, ‘It was a great race with Davide and I am happy for the team with the result we got.  It was a team effort but as a racer you always want to be the one that wins’.  Holding back the emotions of having got so close he finished up with, ‘that’s all I’ve got’.

Commenting on his race, Orlowski said, ‘I chose the wrong set of tyres for A3.  Watching earlier races I went for a fresher set which was a mistake.  I should have stayed on my set from A2.’  The reigning European Champion continued, ‘It’s another podium, the same as the last Worlds, so it shows we are consistent.  Hopefully it (the title) is going to come one day’.  Behind Orlowski his team-mate Broc Champlin would finish fourth overall ahead of Coelho with Cole Tollard marking his Electric Worlds debut with a Top 6 finish.

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