• Ryan Lutz

RC Pro Round 1 South @ Thornhill Racing Circuit.

Over the first weekend of March I made my second trip of the year to Thornhill for the RC Pro Round #1 South. Being that Thornhill is just 3 hours from Billy and Nemo Racing USA and also home to the 2019 ROAR Nationals we are spending some good time there to hopefully get dialed in for the Nats! On this occasion I got to bring a special guest with us and that was Gil Losi Jr. Gil has so much knowledge about R/C Cars and how they work and I feel like a complete dummy when I am with him (Though he never exudes an attitude that warrants my feelings.) He is simply a visionary and a super smart guy all while being humble and not arrogant. I was truly blessed to spend the 5 days learning from him and I can only hope to retain a portion of what he shared with me. We were also debuting the new RC Pro Race Gas this weekend. I was super pumped with the performance all weekend as my Nitro cars ran flawless. Event coming in for tire changes on the practice day and just letting it sit there and idle after some hard running, it just kept idling and ran great!



The event itself had a standard format of practice Friday, 3 rounds of qualifiers on Saturday, and the finals on Sunday. For us the event was primarily all about tires as Gil is working hard to learn some new tricks and revitalize AKA once again! I basically ran my Nitro challenge set-up and overall it was really solid. By the end of the week the only things I changed were going to 3k rear diff from 5k. And going to 1.3x8 rear pistons from 1.6x5. The rear diff change allowed the buggy to have better rotation in the mid corner on the flatter portions of the track. The 1.3x8 rear piston helped the rear stay more supported in the corners with a slower low speed roll. I also limited the droop to 102/116 from 103/117.5 at DNC which helped with corner speed on this non bumpy track. Also on the final practice day we lowered ride height, again to keep the car flatter, quicker, and more stable in the higher speed sweeping corners.


In qualifying we were primarily testing different compounds and tread patterns every run. The event was really about learning and seeing if we could pick up pace as the event wore on. The track naturally feels kind of slick and so the natural inclination is often to go to softer tires. But often the softer compounds overheat and get squirmy feeling. Event with temps below 50 I was more preferential to the SLW compound as it was way easier to drive and more stable. Also because the track overall gets a groove in it you want to run a pattern that gets more rubber on the ground. So we were trying out Double Downs, Zips, Chainlinks, and Catapults primarily. The way the track is, the changes are very subtle and if you have a great eye watching (Like I was fortunate enough to have with Gil), we were able to make adjustments and try things based on just the smallest differences in what we were trying. It really is a great track for testing and learning!


In the first Ebuggy qualifier, Mr. Hooks and I battled until I had an incident with another car and thus finished 2nd in that run. After that though I was able to go 8 for 8 in the remaining qualifiers with my A319E, A319, and A215T Agama rides. I also had some great consistency in some runs with a 99.23% and 99.43% in Nitro Buggy Q1 and Q3 respectively. My cars felt great and Gil was really nailing down the right tire procedures to ensure fast and consistent results!


On Sunday I got up in the morning and had enough time to head to church and it was such a great service about Unity and diversity! It got me in a great mindset for the rest of the day and after returning to the track I quickly got to work on doing final preparations for the mains. First up we did all 3 Electric buggy A-mains. Outside of getting a little out of shape on the back right on the first lap and thus Hooks getting by me, I was able to regain the lead 3 corners later and then pull away for a pretty straight forward victory by 13 seconds. In A2 I didn't make the same early mistake and pulled away for 36 second victory as some of the field was having issues. Thus I would take the overall victory.



Next was the 30 minute Nitro truggy main. I was still running the same set-up and all from DNC on my truggy and it wasn't optimized for the Thornhill track but it still got around very good. I would take off at the start and just start pulling away until lap 8 when I was trying to pass lapped traffic on the triple and instead got caught in their wing. It took 10 seconds to break our cars apart and while I still had a lead, it was not minuscule. Dillon took that opportunity to stay with me for a good portion of the middle of the race. He stayed within 5-10 seconds until about the last 5 minutes. He eneded up getting caught with that same person though I heard a couple times on the same lap which let Tyler catch up and pass him. In the last two laps I lost 8 seconds to crashes, though I don't remember what happened exactly. I think I was trying to super drift or something haha. Anyways my victory margin would end at 8 seconds as the clock expired.



The final race of the day was the 45 minute Nitro buggy final. It was about as straight froward for me as a 45 minute race can be. We ran SLW Double Downs and everything felt pretty solid. I just drove laps, pushing myself to keep the pace up and be consistent through the whole race. I only needed a marshal 1 time mid race and outside of that kept it pretty clean. I was able to win by just over 2 laps or as the timeclock shows 1 minute and 23 seconds.



We then stayed on Monday and most of Tuesday even with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark and we put in work. I probably ran another hour and a half on my Nitro buggy. We just kept trying new things and also got to work on some set-up nuances and overall I just got to learn my cars more, and get more confident moving forward! Great things are going to happen this year! I have committed this year to cutting out everything in my life except God, Family, and R/C. I'm more focused and motivated than I have been in a long time and i've cut out the fat so to speak in my life and am putting the purposeful effort into the aforementioned areas.



Next up I head to China for the SIGP at the '17 1/10th Worlds track in Xiamen!

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