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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

Mugen Challenge @ LCRC

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

The Mugen challenge is in the books and as is my goal at every chassis sponsored event, I wanted to win it for my chassis company! The event boasted 470 entries and brought a lot of top pros to LCRC to battle it out for the titles. I chose to run all 4 of my Kyosho rides again keeping me busy. Due to the rains received before the event the track had a different feel and ended up way higher grip than usual, really quickly. I was very fortunate that AKA sent me a new tire in just the compound I ended up needing which was Medium long wear and the new tire was named Lux.

New AKA Lux Buggy Tire

Practice was on offer on Thursday afternoon and then again on Friday with sessions grouped by classes which was pretty convenient. In truggy I didn’t bring any harder compounds but fortunately I was having good success with SSLW Scribbles with the foams taped down.  We had a couple delays due to rain that came through but overall the crew did awesome as always getting the track prepared and we were back racing.

Kyosho Tent in the morning sun

Qualifying was just two 6 minute runs, with best single qual point counting. In rd 1 I was able to TQ etruggy, and Ebuggy using the new Lux in MLW. In nitro buggy it was up a bit earlier and I tried the Lux in SLW but it was a bit too grippy out and I struggled a little to a 5th. Come the second qualifier and I solidified my TQ in Etruggy, and had a solid 2nd in nitro truggy to seed me P2. In nitro buggy I also had a P2 to seed 3rd overall, and in Ebuggy I held on to TQ from my fast Q1. Overall I would be able to start near or at the top of all classes which is so critical in todays racing environment.

LCRC Raceway Grooved up

The primary setup changes I made this weekend were to go up in diffs. In buggies I started with 7-7-4 with the standard 10/20 gears in the diffs and small center diff. But as grip came up I transitioned to 15-15-10 and then to 20-15-10 which felt pretty good the rest of the event. In truggies surprisingly everything felt good all weekend just the way I came with them with 15-15-10. I’m not used to being able to run what I considered too soft of a tire (SSLW) on higher grip and not face the diff out issues, but perhaps with the taped foam and the flow of the track my trucks just felt good the whole time.

Ryan Lutz 4 Kyosho rides

My four mains would be every other race over the last 7 races of the event. First up was etruggy where I knew my buddy Joey would be gunning hard for me. As we set off though my AKA scribbles continued to show top pace this weekend and I just pulled away from the field with just an incident with a backmarker about 8 minutes in taking me out from a 99%+ consistency. Overall taking the Victory!

Ryan Lutz 1st Place Etruggy

Next was Nitro Truggy and it also felt very good but was a touch rich on the warmup laps. I had Will lean it out a touch hoping it would be enough but as we got underway I knew it wasn’t and I missed my tune. I managed to hang with Maifield by keeping up my corner speed and being thankful there wasn’t any long straights. About halfway in I made a mistake and Wiggins got by and we raced close for a bit. But on each pit stop my engine got even richer and I just was looking to settle for 3rd. However with a lap to go I ran out of gas because the engine was so rich and I was on throttle the whole time. So I dropped to 5th a bit disappointed as I felt I had the truck for a good battle for 1st.

Ryan Lutz 5th place Nitro Truggy

Following truck was Nitro Buggy which would be a 45 minute affair. My buggy felt pretty solid on the new Lux in MLW and I held firm at the start and stayed in the lead pack with Tessman and Maifield as we broke away from the field. I pitted first and realized I would be doing 1 extra stop than the two of them so I would need to get a lead when we were running together. I eventually got by Maifield and for a couple stops when they would pit Tessman would come out just about 1 second ahead of me. I knew I had the tires to last the distance and was just hoping to stay close and hopefully gain as the race got into the later stages. Unfortunately about 30 minutes in I flipped at the end of the alternator section which is the worst spot far from marshals and as is my usual, when things are going well, something is bound to happen and I flamed out upside down. I lost 55 seconds in the incident but Will got me fired up quick and I came back out still in 4th as we had a big lead. I then battled with Wiggins for a few minutes before getting by him during pit stops and I finished strong even putting in the hot lap of the race on the last lap to take 3rd. A bit disappointing but super pleased with my pace and prospects moving forward.

Ryan Lutz 3rd place Nitro Buggy

The final race was Ebuggy and my goal was to get out fast. So many races when starting mid pack just feel like you are putting around slow the first lap with everyone so cautious. My goal starting out front was to push hard from the tone and that is what I did getting a 2 second lead on the first lap pulling from the field. The MLW Lux again proving to be super fast and my Kyosho just hooked up. I was having fun driving perhaps a bit too hard and kept making a couple mistakes weather trying to send it too far on a jump or too fast into a corner, this allowed Tessman to close up on me a few times during the race but I kept my cool and mellowed my driving a touch and held on for victory!

Ryan Lutz 1st place Electric Buggy

Overall a really promising weekend of racing. On a surface I sometimes really struggle on (tight higher grip groove with dust outside the line) I had great pace and was able to put my cars where they needed to be. The new Lux tire is going to be a great choice at many events I frequent. I’m thinking all the Race Time events off the top of my head. Big shoutout to Will Walker for his awesomeness in pit lane and to the LCRC crew for the awesome facility to race at!

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