This past weekend I picked up my biggest competitor in Ohio Joey Bourdon and we took a drive to Adrenaline to take on the home track hero's Jacob Hardison and Lee Setser on their home turf. These are 3 young guys with aspirations of greatness in R/C and I knew I was walking into the Lion's den! This track is pretty unique surface wise and the layout was pretty tight and technical requiring max amounts of steering and left to right transition times with a free rear end. I got to work on my set-up from the get go and for tires settled on AKA clay compound Typos to get me around through the weekend.
Friday we did some practice and I was quite a ways off pace at first and so I really put my focus into my Nitro buggy. I tried some set-up settings that I either haven't done or rarely do and they continued to make the car better and better. I went full up on the towers with my links to lower my roll center. I went to less front caster and minimum front kickup to assist with the left to right transition times. I played around a bit with shocks which is something we as a team are playing with. I don't feel I have it nailed down yet but it was a good first step. I'm trying the 8 hole 1.2 angled pistons again in the rear which slow down the roll of the rear but then allows the use of a lighter sway bar. So I was running lighter sway bars going down to 2.1 and 2.3 front and rear respectively. Then near the end of the day I tried going heavier in the center diff to see how it may help the car have more rotation through the corner. I also had overdrive/ under drive in my diffs running 43/13 front and 42/12 in the rear. All these things can be seen in the set-up sheet below but know this set-up is still a work in progress. I wouldn't say it's complete yet but it did feel pretty solid on this lower grip surface which still demanded lots of steering and transition speed.
Friday evening I also put on an Alpha Engine clinic for those who were interested. Talking about all manner of things regarding engines and hopefully helping people enjoy Nitro that little bit more. I know my Alpha Dragon V ran great all weekend and I'm super pumped with it this year!
Come Saturday it was race day. In Q1 I would be running well in nitro but had a mistake and some bobbles at the end and got 3rd. In Q2 though I had a solid run and got 2nd which would start me 3rd in the main behind the local hot shoes. Ebuggy I was a bit behind the curve having put all my time into the nitro in practice and I qualified 6th but I did begin to find pace on lap times in Q2.
We had a 30 minute nitro main and overall I was pretty pleased how it went. My car felt pretty solid, only lacking on some forward drive and perhaps needing just a bit more rotation. But I was able to have some great battles with Lee Setser for the lead a couple of times and in the end came up about 3 seconds short. I was pretty satisfied with the race and being competitive with all the effort I put into the car to get it as good as I could.
Ebuggy for me wasn't as solid. I had a decent start but got hit and it put me back in the fray and lots of mistakes and tough driving was happening. So I never mounted much of anything and would come away in 5th.
Sunday we came back for the club race and I put most of the settings from my nitro on my ebuggy and got it a lot better. In the lone qualifier taking top 3 consecutive laps I actually led the time chart until the very end when Joey beat me out and I would thus start 2nd in the double mains. In A1 Joey and I had an awesome race! Lots of tight racing at the beginning and at the end but he held his composure and I settled for 2nd in that one. A2 was a mess and didn't fall my way. Overall putting me 4th but I was pleased at the progress of the ebuggy with the set-up changes. I put the rear shocks from the nitro with the angled pistons on and also 8 hole straight fronts with 4holes 1.2 and 4 holes 1.3. Also put in the under drive like the nitro and also a heavy center diff and fully short front link and it was handling very good come Sunday. Learning a lot and hopefully having it apply to future events will yield some positive results moving forward!
Be sure to check out my TIPS page for products that I use, mental driving tips, and many set-up video's I've done over the years.
Set-up Notes: This set-up is still a work in progress. But it really was able to pivot around corners better and get more forward drive and transition left to right well on this lower grip, mostly smooth, tight and technical layout.
*Ebuggy I'm waiting on a revision to the eTKI2 set-up sheet. But differences were full short front link. 30K in the small center diff but with 10/20 gears (kit). And no front weight. Front shocks were 1.2x4 + 1.3x4 (took 1.2x8 and drilled 4 holes to 1.3)