Ohio RC Factory 1/8 FRL Rnd 2
Saturday the 12th I had the opportunity to head to the famous Ohio RC Factory home to the Midwest Champs, perhaps the longest running event in R/C going on 34 years! This particular event was part of their FRL series they run through the winter and was well attended with 62 drivers and 89 entries including lots of fast young up and coming talent. I brought with me both of my WRC buggies and it was to be my debut with the Nitro SBX.1 buggy with just the couple hours of practice on it the other day.
So as I arrived at 8am still with my set-ups from the previous tracks I had run on I quickly realized it was going to be a long day. The grip levels were pretty high on this indoor clay surface. I started just running clay typos and they had so much grip and were a bit twitchy (Also due to set-up) but I ended up going to Ultra soft typo's which were still just as fast but took some of the edge off. However set-up changes were going to be necessary as I was coming from running on lower grip tracks and now was faced with high grip. So I did 11 runs of practice with E-buggy and one with nitro in the next 4 hours. (I run basically the same set-up on both and E-buggy is just quicker and easier for one guy to get out and going to try things quickly.) My first things were lengthening the rear camber link to full long on rear hub from middle. This helped slow down the reaction of the rear end a bit. I realized I wasn't carrying the corner speed I wanted and felt like I was diffing out in corners. I came in with 7-7-5 in ebuggy and 7-5-5 in nitro buggy which was great on the lower grip but this was a different story. I went to 10-7-5 in e-buggy and noticed it was better and wouldn't get so out of shape on corner exit getting on the throttle hard, but it still needed more. Throughout the rest of the practice runs while trying some other things too I ended up with 15-10-7 in both vehicles. If time would have allowed and if I had the thicker oil I probably ideally would have wanted to try 20-12.5-9. I feel this would have calmed the car down the most and allowed me to really press hard on corner exit while keeping the car stable.
Other major changes I needed to make were to the shocks. These changes took me into qualifying. I only received the kit 1.3x6 pistons and then they sent two new sets of 1.2x8 and 1.3x8 pistons but they were tapered with a tapered hole. I ended up putting these in near the end of practice and trying to get them to work. But the more I thought about it these just weren't the conditions for them. I find on higher grip I want to slow down the reaction of the pistons and shocks. So the taper facing up (bigger part of the hole facing up) causes quicker rebound. This can make the car be extremely reactionary on higher grip especially if there is any little bumps. It made the car great through the bumps but just hard to drive. So I went back to the 1.3x6 pistons and drilled out the rear set to 1.4x6 as I felt like I just had too much pack with 1.3x6 in the rear as it didn't absorb the bumps as I wanted it too and kind of just bounced off of them. Now I am also limited on tuning options such as springs and front swaybars as I only have what the car came with. So I was also trying to mellow out the front as it was diving on the front into corners a bit and with the too soft suspension package I was running it just was a handful at times. So I went up in shock oil to slow things down and I didn't get to make this change properly until Q3. My laptimes really improved and I got down to a 17.8 in e-buggy and 18.0 in nitro. In the end I was able to TQ nitro and I was on a TQ in ebuggy in Q3 with 2 laps to go but made a mistake on the right and sat a long time then got in a traffic mistake and fell to 2nd.
Going into the double Electric A-main and 20min Nitro A-main I was feeling pretty good about my cars. I got my corner speed and ability to push the cars harder and they weren't as reactionary and were easier to drive. While still not 'dialed' they were much improved from where I started and will save me a lot of time next time I go to a higher grip track. So in A1 of Ebuggy I was able to squeak by Adam after he got swirly and I gave him a nice little bump right before the front straight. I then just maintained the lead throughout the rest of the final to take an 8 second victory.
Next we immediately ran the 20min Nitro final. At the tone I was off and the rest of the pack battled it out with each other and I was feeling comfortable. My SBX.1 was good and my new Alpha Dragon 4 Edition 2 engine was purring along great. I stretched my lead and just kept on going. Super stoked with the performance of the new equipment and I was able to come away with an over 2 lap victory!
Finally we did A2 of E-buggy, there was no time to try any changes so it was just swap out the ProTek 5600 battery with a charged one and away we went. This time I paced behind Adam for 11 laps as he shut the door at every opportunity. It was a lot of fun 'sizing' him up and I knew of two spots on the track where I had the opportunity to make a move when the opportune time came. Finally on lap 12 on the top left corner I noted he had been pushing a little wide and my car was hooking tight into that corner really well so as soon as that door opened I grabbed a handful and shot past on the inside and took the lead and didn't look back. I took the win by 8 seconds even with a 7 second crash with just a couple laps to go.
All in all I am super pleased with the performance the new WRC buggies were able to achieve. It was truly a day of 'work' for me and it was great to have some fruits of the labor in the end. I could really use some solid practice days to really dial things in but I am a glutton for punishment and I just want to race! :-)