July 5, 2016

Boots gets faster, Ongaro best Top 10 improver


Elliott Boots continued to set the pace at the 1:8 Offroad European Championship in Spain, the reigning champion improving on his 3-consecutive lap time in FP3. Having lead the way after the first two rounds of free practice by half a second, Boots extended that advantage to 1.5 seconds, this time over fellow British driver Darren Bloomfield. Bloomfield improved two positions with his FP3 time demoting Robert Batlle, who failed to improve, back to third.  The best place driver to move into the top 10 with his FP3, reigning Junior Champion David Ongaro would post the fourth fastest time demoting FP1 pace setter Bryan Baldo back to fifth, while also enjoying a strong improvement David Ronnefalk completed the Top 7.


‘I’m just learning the track again and getting into my rhythm’, was what Boots attributed his improvement too.  Again posting the fastest lap, getting down to a 52.388, he said the track felt similar to the previous practice although adding ‘its dusting up in a few places and starting to break up’.  He continued, ‘the concrete is taking time to get gripping but everything feels good so we’ll leave it the same for the last one (practice)’.


Taking a break from the heat and enjoying the ac in his rental car, Bloomfield was pleased with changes made to his Agama for the third practice.  Changing the front caster block and top arm position he said this ‘helped carry more corner speed in the tight twisty stuff’.  Looking to the final practice of the day, he said he will ‘just go again with the same set-up’ adding ‘it will be good to drive the same car again for once’.


Changing to a heavy shock oil, Batlle said his Mugen was ‘a little better’ but ‘trying harder (he) made two mistakes’ so the improvement wasn’t reflected on the time sheets.   Feeling his engine was ‘maybe too rich’, the Spaniard said the car is ‘super easy to drive and thats the important thing’ adding ‘there is plenty of time to fine tune it’.


One of the stars of last year’s European Championship which as held as his father’s track in Italy, Ongaro said his improvement from 12th to 4th was simply down to improved driving.  The 15-year-old, who ‘like(s) the track a lot’, said the only change he has made over the three practices is to fit a fresh set of Procircuit Road Runners tyres to his MBX7R.  Planning to ‘leave all the same’ for final free practice, he said ‘if possible I will just try to drive better’.


Opting to not revert back to his FP1 suspension set-up and instead try the same Road Runner pattern as Batlle, Baldo said his Mugen was still ‘too nervous’.  Having ruled out tyres he will now go back to the suspension set-up he started the day out with as well as going to lighter oil in the diffs.  Bryan’s younger brother Oscar would also fail to improve on his best time, set in FP2, dropping to P8.


Improving his pace by over 4-seconds, Ronnefalk said his HB ‘felt a lot better’ but continued ‘we still need to find more speed’.  Switching to AKA Impact tyres having run Enduros the first two rounds, the Swede said the car was ‘now confident to drive’ but with the track now ‘more like what we had at the warm-up’ he will go back to the Enduro and try it for the last run of the day. Apart from tyres, the other changes made for FP3 were small oil changes to reflect the extra heat there was due to the timing of the run.

View our complete event image gallery here.


July 5, 2016

Boots sets early pace in Redovan


Reigning champion Elliott Boots has set the early pace at the 1:8 Offroad European Championships in Redovan, Spain, the Kyosho driver fastest after two rounds of 4 scheduled rounds of free practice.  Posting the fastest 3-consecutive laps in the second practice, Bryan Baldo having set the fastest time in FP1,  Boots topped the times ahead of Mugen’s Robert Batlle by just 4/10ths around the massive track. One of the few drivers not to improve in FP2, Baldo’s opening time was still good enough for third after two rounds with former Champion Darren Bloomfield next up in P4.  Winner of the Warm-up Race back in May, David Ronnefalk failed to put together three good laps, the long 52-second lap making it possible to run just 5-laps over the 5-minute practice, and the HB driver finds himself only 24th.


‘So far so good’, was how Boots summed up the start to his title defence.  The British driver added, ‘we did all the hard work at the warm-up and we are carrying on with the car as it was then’.   Using the same set-up as he ran at the warm-up, he said while there is less traction than at the warm-up he is happy with how his Pro-Line X2 Blockade shod MP9 is running in the conditions. Commenting on track conditions, the track having undergone a new sugar treatment to help hold its dirt together better without the need for watering as it is punished by the heat of the sun, Boots said ‘I think its going to blow out as it is so dry’.


Complimenting the track work carried out by the Baldos family in preparing the track for the event, Batlle said ‘there is less grip but this is a good thing as its much easier for everyone, its less aggressive so easier to drive’.  Commenting on his opening practice performance, the 2-time Champion described it as ‘quite good’ adding his ‘car was easy to drive and for the first day that is good’.  Running Procircuit Road Runner tyres on his MBX7R, the 2012 World Champion said with a good base already they can get working on getting it faster will small set-up tweaks.


Baldo said his first practice was ‘very good’ but with his Mugen ‘a little nervous’ he made a suspension set-up change for FP2 which was ‘not good’.  With the car ‘more loose’, he will revert back to his opening set-up for the third practice, he said he may also try a different tyre.  Using Procircuit’s Hot Dice for the first 2 runs,  the 24-year-old may follow Batlle and switch to Road Runners for the next one.  Responsible for the preparation of the track, when asked if he expected the traction to improve he replied ‘we will see.  This is the first time we have used sugar like this (to prepare the track)’.


‘Seems to be good so far’ was Bloomfield’s summary of his early practice runs.  The Agama lead driver said the main thing he did was to try different tyres.   The 2012 Champion ran Beta Freeride in soft compound in FP1 but said while ‘they were good’ he ‘felt they should have been harder’.  Switching to V-Max one compound harder for FP2, he said while to drive his A215 felt ‘easier and slower’ on the times it was an improvement.  In term of his car set-up, the Brit said ‘we’re not swinging from the trees and I feel were in the right place’.  Adding he is ‘not sure what the track is going to do’, he said the aim for the rest of practice is ‘marginal gains’ through making ‘a little tweak and another little tweak till it adds up’.


Fifth fastest, 2014 Runner-up Martin Wollanka said his Xray ‘was very good’.   With a fastest lap just 1/10th off that of Boots, the Austrian said his only problem so far is that his car was slightly too wide for the tech inspection which he needs to sort for FP3. Changing from Pro-Line to Italian tyre manufacturer Hot Race for this event, he has run the Roma pattern declaring himself very happy with it.  Planning to stick with that pattern for now, he said in a later practice he plans to test the company’s all new Amazzonia pattern which he said will work better for the longer runs. Wollanka’s team-mate Martin Bayer would be 14th fastest after the 2 practices.


Competing the Top 6, the younger of the Baldo brothers Oscar was happy with his opening runs.  The 19-year-old said ‘the feeling of the car was very good but the grip of the track was not very high’.  With the diffs a little hard for the conditions, the Mugen driver will do one more round with the same set-up in the hope the track improves and if not will go for a softer diff set-up for the final free practice this evening.


On standby for a quick return to France as he awaits the arrival of his first child,  Renaud Savoya was very upbeat about the start to his event with his FP1 time good enough for P7.  The TLR driver said ‘the first practice was really good. Out of the box the car was very good’.   The multiple champion added ‘the set-up is pretty much what we will use if the track stays the same’.   With John Piant from JConcepts making the trip over from the US to support their European team driver, Savoya ran a new prototype O2 compound Reflex tyre in FP1 before moving to a Detox in the same compound.  He said while the Detox was a little faster it is a taller tyre so his 8ight rolled more and they need to make a ride height adjustment for that for the next one.


Despite being low down on the time sheets, Ronnefalk summed up early practice with ‘its alright’.  Describing ‘the track is a little different with less grip overall’, the Swede said having started out wth the set-up they left the warm-up with they are now more back towards his base set-up for the D815.  For FP3 he said they will work more on the shock package with it ‘too soft’ in the first two.

View our complete event image gallery here.


July 5, 2016

Track Focus – RC-Redován


Track Name –RC-Redován
Host Club – Club Radio Control Redován
Country – Spain
Location – Redovan (60km Southwest of Alicante)
Direction – Anti-clockwise
Surface – Dirt/bricks
Previous events hosted – 2014 Spanish National Championship Round

Set against a mountain that looks like it is straight out of the set of a Spaghetti Western, the first thing to hit you upon arriving at the RC-Redován track is the size.  While most tracks quote the length of a lap in metres, the host track of the 36th running of the 1:8 Offfroad European Championships gets to use the metric of the kilometre.  Over 1/2 a kilometre long, 560 metres to be exact, the track is the work of the Baldo family, the brothers Bryan & Oscar two of Spain’s leading offroad racers, and was created in 2014.  With their father Antonio having a long history of running tracks in the area, this impressive facility came about 3-years ago when they had to vacate their previous location when the local authorities require the land for development.  Looking for a new home for the dozen members small club, which Bryan prefers to refer to as ‘family & friends with passion for RC’,  the local government would step in with the offer of the current site on the outskirts of Redován which with a population of seven thousand people is located at the feet of the Sierra de Callosa mountain range.  With the Baldo Family business in Construction, on the new site they built what all racers agree is an impressive facility.  Apart from the track which is built into the natural elevation of the high side site, the other impressive feature of the track is the towering driver stand which is certain to cause discomfort for any driver with vertigo.  Apart from the Euros warm-up race, the other major event to have been run at the RC-Redován was a round of the Spanish National championship the year the track opened.  On a regular basis the track only has 10 to 12 racers with Bryan highlighting that within a 50km radius racers have a choice of 10 tracks.

‘Its still massive’ was the reply of reigning European Champion Elliott Boots when asked about the track, the Kyosho star having attended the Warm-up race in May.  The British driver singled out the height of the rostrum as the big feature of the track saying ‘it gives a strange dept of perception’ adding ‘it took time to get used to it at the warm-up’ and he expects it to ‘take a few runs to get back into it again (this week)’.   With the track ‘good to look at’, he continued ‘its the biggest track I’ve raced on’.  Featuring a large brick section plus a second smaller brick surface area, with a fast lap time being around 53-seconds, when ask what was key to being quick Boots replied, ‘no mistakes’.  Elaborating on this he said due to the size of the track the marshals are very spread out plus its ‘difficult to see a car with all the elevation changes’.  With the 1/2 km lap on runtime, the Reds Racing backed driver said at the warm-up they had very good mileage something he said is helped by there being ‘a lot of airtime and downhill sections which mean you are not on full throttle’.

Image Gallery