The 2017 season was perhaps my best one yet in my 12 year pro career. The year started with a little bit of fun as I had switched to Blok engines but we didn’t share that information yet. So I was running “Top secret” and “Super top secret” engines for the first few races of the year. I admit that it took me a few events to start the year to really get a good feel for the engines which resulted in a couple of truggy runs that weren’t up to my standards. But once we got to Nitro Challenge it was game on!
In one of my best qualifying efforts ever at a really big race I was able to eek out the TQ in the Pro Truggy class ahead of Maifield and Tessman at the Dirt Nitro Challenge. In the main for the first couple of laps I would begin to walk away from the field until things just started to not feel quite right and I fell back and eventually retired. Not sure what went wrong but that event really proved a catalyst for the rest of my season in Truggy.
I had the opportunity after Nitro Challenge to head over to Malaysia for a fun weekend of racing at the MNL #2 and I was able to meet a lot of new people and present my LutzRC Pro Build #026 to a local and also during a rain delay build a LutzRC Pro Build for Tommy (who ended up being the guy who helped me make China happen later in the year).
Just a little muddy!
Then as we entered March we headed to Vegas for the Silver State Nitro Challenge where I would put in one of my best if not the best races/results of my career taking the win in the Pro Truggy class. I would be 14 seconds back in 4th at one point but reeled in the leaders and won by over 10 seconds over Tessman and Maifield! The year was taking a great turn and the Blok 21aP engine was giving me the truggy abilities I always knew I had!
Soon thereafter it was PNB and the craziness of running 5 classes on the biggest track, with the biggest jumps! This year the Tekno cars were a cut above the rest, being able to take that huge 50-60ft triple and land it relatively easily. I had a huge result in taking the win in Pro Nitro buggy, Truggy, and 4wd SC. Also 2nd in both E scale classes. It was a huge showing for Tekno TQing and Winning all 5 of said classes!
Iron Man Award!
Next, just one day after PNB I went across the pond to what was most likely my last Neobuggy event ever, being my 8th year attending. Overall the results were some of my best at this hotly contested event coming away with the dash for cash victory, and a 4th in Ebuggy, and 5th in nitro buggy.
Overall Good results with Dash for Cash win and 5th overall!
As the summer months heated up I took some great wins at events like the Gas Champs, A-main Manufacturers Cup, and A.M.S. 8.0. Then we headed to the Nitro Nationals where I would put in my best combined ROAR Nats finishes of my career and possibly my best Nitro buggy performance of my career. I would take 2nd in Nitro buggy and 3rd in Nitro truggy after the grueling weekend with a truly tricky track and condition!
Nitro buggy 2nd place Nationals!
As we entered the dog days of summer and some more large regional races I took home a number of trifectas and more victories at OS/Futaba Nitro Challenge, Wicked Weekend, Southern Nationals, East Coast Race against cancer, and Battle of the Sikest at Thornhill. As we reached the fall Tekno introduced the new EB410 1/10th buggy and we decided to debut at the I.O.C.C in vegas. It was a challenge on a new surface and with an all new car but in the end I was able to come away with a hugely surprising 3rd place!
This set me up for a last minute decision to go to China for the IFMAR Worlds for the 4wd portion. In the end the result wasn’t what I had hoped for but the experience was awesome and for sure it at least brought some eyes around the globe to the new Tekno platform.
Overall it was an amazing year. Especially in truggy. With my Tekno NT48.3 I either TQ’d and/or got podium at every race I attended with it!
For 2017 at this time I don’t plan on making any changes to my program. Here is how long I have been with each of my 2017 sponsors.
-Matt Wolter and Daniel Lewis among others at Tekno who have helped me raise my game again this year and have been there for me all season in the pits or a phone call away!
For 2018 I want to continue on my progress from 2017. I have a full year under my belt with my new engines. I am more confident than ever in my total racing package and I don’t see why I can’t continue the results. I am (miraculously to me) ‘ranked’ 4th in the world in the Top25RC rankings and If things go right at DNC to start the year, well, anything is possible! I may be getting older (will be 33 as the season starts!) but with that comes a maturity in my racing that blends very well with the raw speed I used to be known for. I look to continue to do what I do and will work to do it better!