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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

Asian Buggy Championships (New Zealand)

Updated: Feb 14

A first for me was this trip to New Zealand to compete in the first round of the Asian Buggy Championships. World famous announcer and race organizer Scotty Ernst was putting on this series with this first round being held at Counties R/C Car Club in Pukekohe, New Zealand. This was also the first ever truly international race in New Zealand making it extra special. I arrived after my 24 hour journey on Wednesday morning allowing a relaxing day to acclimate and be ready for Thursday practice.

Ryan Lutz Kyosho buggies

Out of the gate on Thursday I was pleased that my shocks were working well from the TNR race. Also my slightly higher starting diffs were a good choice and it was really just some fine tuning that was necessary for this surface that reminded me a bit of some Midwest tracks I’ve been to. It seemed to get quickly rougher as we went through practice. But once it hit a certain point it seemed to hold around the same roughness the rest of the weekend.

Qualifying saw 3 rounds on Friday and one more Saturday morning. I primarily would be running on SSLW Gridiron 2s if the track was a touch loamier, and if there was a line and was drier I went with SSLW Component 2A out to help skip over some bumps. I was able to TQ every round on Friday by varying amounts but it seemed the field was closing in each round with some very close finishes.

Saturday we had one more qualifier which I was able to take the win in both and even ran the inboard cam in Ebuggy in Q4 to capture some fun R/C action. So I was able to TQ every round of qualifying and was set to start on pole and we would be jumping into A1 and A2 of ebuggy on Saturday. But a bit of rain started during race two of the mains and didn’t let up until a few minutes into race four which was Ebuggy A1. This caused my tire choice of SSLW components to not feel the greatest in the line as they were a bit loose and lacked some steering. I had to play lots of defense and fight hard to maintain position near the front. Fortunately I was able to hold off the pack and take the A1 victory.

In A2 my car was feeling better and I built a good lead a few minutes in of about 4 seconds before giving it up with a crash over the center double going away. This put Caleb and Kyle on my bumper and we battled hard the remainder of the race. I was still holding on until the last lap going onto the back straight where Caleb got a tighter turn under me and beat me down the straight. I had to settle for second on this one leaving the A3 battle for Sunday! It was awesome though to have two A-mains that put in a great show for the crowd watching!

As Sunday came around we had a bit cooler temps in the low 70s instead of the mid 80s we had been experiencing and also a lot more wind. I got my buggies prepared for battle and the SSLW Components were up to the task. A3 Ebuggy was up first and I was fortunate in this one that there was some tangling pretty early on behind me giving me a couple second early cushion which I was able to extend with a clean run to take the overall victory.

Ryan Lutz TQ + 1st Place Asian Buggy Championships Rd 1 ebuggy

Finally we ended the day with a 45 minute Nitro buggy race. In preparation from what I felt in the Amain warmup I went up one bar in the front as I wanted to have a bit more front support especially as the tires and diffs would heat up more and we were running in the heat of the day. At the start I got away clean but had Kyle in tow and he was going good. It was cool to have a Kyosho one two going and I just really wanted to keep it clean and keep him in rear view. We made it to the second set of pit stops and he was still within 2-3 seconds when he made a mistake and flamed. For me that was all I would need, however I still wanted to push and get more data on my setup and the new Alpha Falcon engine’s performance for these longer mains. Overall super pleased with my fastest lap of the race being at the end and the Falcon performing flawlessly yet again for the 3rd long main in a row. The engine now has 3 big events on it and about 1 2/3 gallons through it and still has strong perfect compression. Super pleased!

Ryan Lutz TQ + 1st Place Asian Buggy Championships Rd 1

I want to give a huge thank you to Malcolm and Jayden Jamieson for the trailer usage and friendship all week as well as getting to see a bit of Auckland! Also, Alpha Plus, Futaba, and Kyosho for making this trip possible for me. Also Shane O’Conner for the airport pickup and the whole Asian Buggy Championship crew for the outstanding coverage.

Set-up Notes:

Nitro Buggy - Early in practice and if the track had a fresher watering and was more loamy I ran SSLW Grid 2. If the track was a bit more cleaned off and or drier I ran SSLW Component A side out. For most of the event I had 9K-15k-7k in the diffs, but for the mains went up to 10-20-9 (remember this center has the 12/18 gears which make it feel lighter.) I was also 2.5 front bar most of the event and went to 2.6 for the main to get a bit more support on the front through the corners and have a bit less dive.

MP10 TKI3 Set-up Sheet Ryan Lutz at Counties R/C Raceway in New Zealand

Ebuggy Set-up notes:

I played around with weight balance a bit more this weekend. Not something necessary but you could give it a try and see what you think. I think it did create a bit more consistency exiting corners to the left or to the right. Basically I moved the right (passenger side) battery nearly all forward. I also had a 25g flat shorty sized weight that I left towards the back and then also put 15g weight in the receiver box. This will be something I play with more moving forward in time to try to dial in even more. But it could be worth trying if you are running the same size motor and shorties as I am. (Tekin 1900 and ProTek RC 6400 shorties)

MP10e TKI2 Set-up Sheet Ryan Lutz at Counties R/C Raceway in New Zealand

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