January-ish Jam 2019
This past weekend I took some flights down South to get away from the negative temperatures in Ohio and do some racing at one of my favorite locations. The January-ish Jam at Flowood R/C Car Park this year was held 4 weeks later than it's usual time slot in the calendar which cause it to bleed over to February and hence the name. However the fun was still there and they presented us with a very fun and fast layout. You had to push it go to fast, but with all the off-cambers and track jogs left and right it made for a challenge and some spectacular crashes when you got it wrong!
The format was a standard 3 quals on Saturday and mains on Sunday. The turnout was a bit light with around 197 entries and I kept busy running my standard 3 classes of racing. The track upon arrival is fresh and as practice day gets underway you can just watch the groove develop. They did a light watering on Saturday morning which made the first few heats a bit slicker than the night before but by the end of the day the traction was once again getting high. I basically opted to run AKA Clay Typo's in my buggy classes as they just work the best for me at this track with the fresh layout. The only concern with them is later in the days when little pot holes develop and a fine dust comes out of them and gets on the line. But generally staying in the groove and there is nothing that matches the AKA Clay Typo's.
Throughout qualifying I would go for perfection as I TQ'd round after round. There wasn't a lot of competition for me at this one so I had my goals set to really work on set-up some more and just get more acclimated to my new cars. Oh, and to continually drop my hot lap time! ;-) I was able to TQ all 9 runs of qualifying and thus have the overall TQ with my Agama rides.
On main day we did 35 minute Nitro mains and triple A's for Electric. First up was our A1 for electric and I was able to take a 30 second victory and fast lap of 19.2 with a fresh set of Clay Typo's. Now I had also made a lot of set-up changes as the grip had really started to come up and my car was starting to roll a lot more. I learned that the less holes you run (the holes are bigger then) that the more grip you generally generate and your car can roll a lot more in corners and during weight transfers. So I was running 5 hole 1.6 to start the weekend and went to 5 hole 1.5's. But for the mains I went to 8 hole 1.2 front and 8 hole 1.3 rear and this really helped the car stay a bit flatter and more stable on this grippy surface.
For A2 I went back to the stock Ackerman arm on the spindle to calm down the steering and it worked great. I think this is a go to for the high grip when I just have to much and to aggressive of steering. It made the car way easier to drive and I got down to a 18.8 fast lap and a 31 second victory.
Next was the Nitro Buggy A-main. At 35 minutes it gave us an opportunity to do some 9 minute pit stops but have a little bit of cushion as well. It was successful and my new Bullitt B-223 was ripping and getting me the good mileage as well. My new Pink RC Pro Race Gas was running just perfectly this weekend as well and I can't wait for it to be available come Mid March hopefully. Well I drove consistently and pretty easy for the first 27 minutes and then when my last pit had me in and out and we only had 8 minutes left I decided to turn up the dial and go faster. I dropped my laptimes by about 0.5 second a lap and had some fun with it. In the end I took a nearly 6 lap victory. I also opted to run AKA Soft Long Wear Double downs so they would last the longer main and they were a solid choice.
After that fun it was truggy time and I asked Billy if he was willing to try something crazy. I had been getting just barely over 10 minutes in truggy during the qualifiers but with the 35 minute main I said lets pit at 11:30. Obviously this would require me turning down my driving a bit and being more deliberate. For the first stop it worked perfect as we successfully did the 11:30. On the second stop however I ran out 2 corners before we came in. We had planned for it though and I basically lost 2 laps but my Agama A215T was hauling. So now that there was only 16 minutes left I knew I could have some fun with it. So I again turned up the dial and went truggy crazy! I started driving really really hard and having a blast doing it. Whips and wags and pitching it into corners and balooning tires, it was a blast! In the end came away with a 3.5 lap victory and a big smile on my face! My truggy set-up was also the same as what I used at SIC. So that is a good sign that I didn't need any changes. However I know that like in buggy a 1.3x8 piston would have probably been a little better than the 6x1.5 I was running to keep the truck from rolling quite as much on the high grip and basically smooth track.
The final race for me of the day was the A3 of Ebuggy. Because I had already won the overall my goal was to beat that 18.8 from the previous main. I went back to the new ackerman spindle plate (Because I swapped the other one onto the Nitro buggy before that main). So I again had more steering and it was a little to aggressive but I drove it and had fun with it. I was able to beat my fast lap from A2 3 times with two 18.7's and finally an 18.6. The track was starting to get a little more challenging even as more dust was getting on the groove but it was fun and as my last act of fun I launched it off the back step up jump and got within a foot or two of the ceiling and landed it like a cat!
Overall just had a really fun time racing my R/C Cars. It was also awesome to see such a large Nemo Racing USA and Agama presence at this event. The team did really well and they were a good group to work with. At the end of the racing I stayed for another 4-5 hours or so practicing and trying some more stuff out. What I really liked on this higher grip at least was going to dogbones in the center driveline. At first I did just the front center on my Nitro buggy and it actually made it easier to drive. It wasn't sitting on the outside rear as much on throttle out of a corner and gave it a smoother steering feeling. I then changed the rear center and I can't say I felt to much but the car just felt more balanced. It stayed flatter in general going around the track and perhaps a bit more corner speed and acceleration. During my last tank I threw down 13 consecutive 19 second laps and was doing the quad on each one of them. This on completely bald clay tires where the groove had gotten really tight. So i'm very pleased with that finding and look forward to learning more at the next race!
Up next is my first big test of the year to see how i'm really doing against the best of the best. That is the Dirt Nitro Challenge in it's new location in California. This year is looking to be one of the most stacked years ever for the event! Can't wait! :-)