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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

First test session with Agama

This past week I flew south to Dallas, Texas to meet up with Billy Tylaska so we could work together and get this season started on the right foot! I had my nitro buggy built and basically ready upon arrival. We started day 1 by getting the truggy equipped with it's Bullitt engine and Futaba servos. I did a couple of truggy tanks on his home base track to make sure all was good and then we headed out to Indy RC for the evening. There we practiced with just the Nitro buggy that night, getting the car broken in and getting the feel for it.

Come Tuesday it was a wrench day to start out as we were back at home base (GP). I spent the morning and into afternoon getting my Tekin, Futaba, and ProTek RC equipment installed in my E-buggy as we prepared to race a club race at Indy that night for their electric night. I was able to get it ready just in time and got to have some fun racing. I was able to get the same lap times with most any tire I ran there at IndyRC. They also worked better the more worn out they got. Perhaps the best tires I ran were AKA Soft Long Wear Double Downs, Zips, or Catapults. I was able to get my lap times down to 19.8 I believe during the racing. We stayed a few hours after the races were over and I was able to get down to a 19.6.

Next on Wednesday we took a bit over an hour drive to 452 Raceway in Austin Shacklett's back yard. This was a fun old school style track that was very loose and a bit loamy dirt. Also some nice bumps and character which made it fun and a good testing place. There unfortunately wasn't enough time to get really dialed in as it would require a number of changes from what the high grip smooth IndyRC was offering. But we got close enough to get some fun laps in and create a nice video harkening back to my old days of drifting those corners full noodle! :-D

On Thursday we set our sights back on IndyRC where I had the honor of helping to develop a new fuel with VP Racing that will be coming to market shortly. It will be called RC Pro Race Gas and we will also offer a Lutz edition of the fuel that will be pink. Being that the vast majority in R/C are hobbyists I wanted to have this fuel be something that would provide a bigger tuning window, and longer engine life, all the while trying not to sacrifice power and crispness. I think we achieved a very good compromise and I am very pleased with the fuel and am looking forward to it's release! :-D

After the fuel testing was done I wanted to do a video of the Truggy so we took it on the track and I strapped it up to see what it was made of!

On Thursday night we took a drive halfway down to Thornhill Racing Circuit where we encountered some fun with the trailer we were hauling. You'll have to ask Billy what all went down with that! But come Friday morning we arrived at Thornhill and got right to practicing. I glued up primarily SSLW tires to start but with the watered track the night before it was better to run the standard compounds and primarily SS. I worked with shock packages a bit and did some back to back's with roll center adjustments and ackerman changes. Mainly just trying to get a feel for what the cars liked as much as I could. But the day flew by and Saturday was time for their series race.

I opted to just run the buggies for the race as they had the primary competition of some of Texas's fastest drivers. Also to finally hopefully spend some more quality time with the cars looking them over and just not feeling so rushed. I was able to squeek out a couple of TQ's but Brandon, Dillon, and Ethan were hot on my heels helping me get my mental game strong again having not really raced since Worlds. Come the E-buggy main I made a mistake early and Brandon got by and for the first 3 minutes or so we proceeded to swap positions multiple times as we battled nose to tail! It was a lot of fun but it ended when he made a big crash and I got out to a few second lead and just held on as I found my groove.

The final race of the night was the 20 minute Nitro buggy final. I had a good start around the first 3 corners or so and then suddenly lost power. I didn't know what happened but fortunately I had the racetime communication headsets on and told Billy to turn the switch on and off. He did and the power came back and I got set down where I came off the track and found myself with a 20 second deficit on the first lap. I mentioned in the head sets that, "Well this will at least make it really interesting". I worked my way through the field and with about 8 minutes to go I caught the leaders as they were battling. Right around the final pit stop lap I was able to get by Dillon for the lead. I had to remain clean those final 7 minutes because he was staying with me about 3 seconds behind and he was on it. But I was able to keep my composure and bring home the victory!

Sunday was to be my final day. We woke up to mid 30* temperatures which meant any testing we did required shock adjustments. So that took some time as we are still figuring out which oils we need with which pistons at which temperatures. Plus something we wanted to do was try some VRP pistons. We didn't bring a light enough oil to dial them in perfectly but I still felt they were good with being a little stiff. They are what we were running in the video above. I am looking forward to doing more testing with them and sharing my results with you all.

This week was a blur it all went by so fast. I am very excited to have done well at my first small races and can't wait for SIC this upcoming week. The cars were really feeling great at Thornhill and it was awesome to really be working on set-up again. I'm going to become a lot more knowledgeable this year regarding set-up and i'm excited for that! :-D

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