The North West Model Hobby Expo hosted Diehard RC for their indoor off-road carpet trophy race on January 27-29 and I travelled down to compete, eagerly anticipating the debut of my Kyosho Lazer ZX6.6 4wd modified buggy. I would also be running my Team Associated B6 in 2wd modified buggy and the expectation was to meet head-on with some of the PNW’s fastest racers and see where I stack up heading into the 2017 year. Despite the typically laid back atmosphere of Diehard RC, the action on the rug turned out to be intense across all classes!
Modified classes usually draw the most confident of competitors anyway and this was true of the weekend with local young guns like Travis Kendall, Brad Borneill, Travis Harker and Keith Hadley setting the pace from Friday practice onwards. This race would be only the third time I had run proper pin-style carpet tires and the first experience on EOS style carpet with thicker pile. My work was cut out. On-power forward bite was instantaneous, off-power turning happens on a dime. There was none of the push I was used to from Ozite and the cars also don’t slide. Off-axis landings and any trigger happy driving styles snap the car into violent reactions, usually the bad kind that require assistance from a marshal. I eased into getting familiar with the grip level and by the end of practice was pretty happy with my lap times. With consistency I would be sniffing out a spot in the A-mains.
The only let down of practice was shredding a spur gear in my new Lazer ZX6.6. Bitten by the new kit curse once again I didn’t have a spare with me. My only option was to replace the centre gear diff with a borrowed slipper assembly from fellow Kyosho pilot Tyler Wilbur. This require changing the centre driveshaft lengths which was made relatively hassle free thanks to the upper deck-less design. I had the slipper fitted in good time and hit the track to test it out. To my concern the car was now making I crunching noise under braking, clearly indicating a mesh problem of some sort. The immediate thought was a possible blown gear-diff but, thankfully (and only after some serious over-diagnosis!) it turned out a loose motor was the culprit. This was no doubt the cause of the original blown spur and it was promptly re-Loctited before causing any more issues.
There were no concerns with my AE B6 during practice, save for a disconnected sensor wire which was easily repaired. I did not make any changes from my Outlaw RC setup that I have been super happy with to this point. It proved to be a manageable setup on carpet tires and the only thing I really made sure to check was my ride height. My fastest lap times were about a second off the top guys.
94 entries would face off in all classes over three rounds of qualifying on Saturday and elbows were up all day long on the tight confines of the indoor layout. The best results would require some patience, aggression and a whole lot of luck. Lapped traffic was a certainty, any mistake inherently costly.
In 2wd I would start my day far too cautiously. Even with limited mistakes Q1 was easily two laps off what I was capable of. I got close in Q3 but never found that second lap, still posting better times each time I put the B6 on the rug. Disappointingly I would only qualify 11th, smack bang in the middle of a stacked B-main.
4wd qualifying ended on a more positive note with a direct ticket into Sunday’s triple A-mains but I still felt like there was more to give. After Fridays troubles the Lazer ZX6.6 was flawless in all heats and my confidence was brimming. The slipper clutch did in fact make the car feel a little smoother. I ended qualifying with a 6th overall, my best heats being Q3 and Q1.
The 2wd Modified B-main did not go the way I needed it to in order to sneak a transfer spot. Starting 5th I would need more than my share of luck to get by guys like David Adams, Mike Stanton and Carson Phipps, to name just a few. The usual lower mains battle played out with elbows up, frustrations growing as any chance of putting it in the A quickly slipped away. Battling hard to the end I would maintain my spot and finish ahead of some guys I had good competition with all weekend. Not the result I would have liked but plenty of positives to bring home.I cannot say enough about how much I enjoy racing this car and feel like my indoor carpet setups are right in the wheelhouse for my abilities
After a very pleasing qualifying result my confidence for the triple A’s was brimming, though carefully concealed. I was realistic, I would struggle to get a win but a podium spot was not entirely out of the question. I would need to be damn good though. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t good and I wasn’t lucky. The nightmare began almost directly off the tone, with the 8th placed car snow-plowing me from behind into the first corner. Less than thirty seconds later my A1 would be over because of a shattered slipper shaft. If my day was to be extended, my options were very limited and I finally decided a 40 minute parts run would actually be worth it. I would go on to miss A2 completely, ending any hopes of an improved overall result but I would make it out in time for A3. Starting at the back so as not to disrupt any points battles on lap 1, I snuck my way through the inevitable carnage and found myself running third after two laps. Could this be the stroke of luck I have been craving, a long overdue defining moment in my racing career…not likely! Quicker than I could settle in yet another spur gear disintegrated and my car dribbled to a halt. The day did not go my way. I obviously have a gear mesh issue, my method of setting it just needs revision. Tightening motor screws is also something that shouldn’t be missed. All in all the car was incredibly fun to drive and met all my expectations for handling out of the box. I did make some geometry changes from stock but this buggy did hit the track almost in kit setup with reference taken from my previous carpet setups for shock oils and centre diff oil. Despite my initial concerns about durability the front and rear ball diffs were flawless all weekend and I cant say they hampered my handling or slowed my car down. I still look forward to trying the gear diffs but I am very happy with the kit ball diffs.
Happy to report another very successful race with Maclan Racing power, and very positive step up to 6.0 power in 4wd modified. The MMAX Pro Competition ESC‘s give me everything I need with the built-in default profiles . The MRR competition brushless motors have shown nothing but silky smooth performance that just rolls on with each squeeze of the trigger. I am running 7.5 turn in 2wd modified and 6.0 turn in 4wd modified.
Congratulations to Diehard RC on yet another successful event. The laid back family environment of their races is so refreshing and the addition of the North West Model Hobby Expo gave the whole weekend a very unique feeling. Well done to all the competitors who travelled from far and wide to battle it out. Thank you to my sponsors Maclan Racing, Hi-Performance Distributors, Kyosho America and GoGo Hobbies for all of the support and opportunities.