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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

ROAR Nitro Nationals at HRCR

This past weekend was my first trip to the awesome HRCR facility in Hayden, Idaho for the ROAR Nitro Nationals. We were treated upon arrival by some torrential downpours leaving the freshly completed track flooded. As we arrived back Wednesday morning for a day of track controlled practice we had a delay in the program until about 3:30pm to get the track all ready to go. As we finally got onto the track we were greeted with a challenging layout that provided good separation between ability levels. The hardest part though was driving with traffic as many mistakes would happen right in front of you and you would get collected. Overall though it looks like it was going to be a great week of racing.

HRCR R/C Track in Hayden, Idaho

As Thursday came around we had ROAR seeding practice to contend with. I pretty much from the start decided to run the new AKA SuperNova in both of my Kyosho nitro rides. I would run SSLW during practice and switch to SLW when grip and temps came up more mid qualifiers. Seeding went decent and I was able to post three good laps in both to seed into the A heats for qualifying.

Ryan Lutz Kyosho Nitro Truggy and Buggy

Friday brought higher temperatures and abundant sunshine allowing the track to dry more and adjustments needing to be made for shock oils. In buggy I switched to my 8x1.2t front and 8x1.3 rear pistons which at the time seemed to help keep the car a bit flatter. (I would switch back to 5 hole for the mains with the track getting a couple sections of little bumps that the 5 hole soaked up much better)

Peak turn at HRCR

The first round of qualifying started with truggy where I took a 12th even with a mistake or two which unfortunately turned out to be my best run. With the temperatures rising for the rest of my runs I just wasn’t able to make the power necessary in truggy at this event with the higher altitude even with going up on Venturi, removing a head shim, gearing down, ect.

In buggy however my mindset was great in Q1 and my MP10 TKI3 was going good. I had a 4 second crash (on camera no less) but my pace was great and I finished second less than 2 seconds away from TQ. It was a great start.

Q2 saw struggles in truggy and a couple mistakes in buggy providing a 10th for the round (but at least enough to seed into the semi final)

Concourse 2nd place in buggy! (PreVail Paint)

Saturday brought a more overcast condition with temps a bit higher yet. The track did seem to retain a bit more moisture in some sections though fortunately the supernova was versatile to handle the condition change. Truck was a struggle day where I just couldn’t get out of my own way basically. The truck handled pretty well but the extra 500g my engine had to pull just wasn’t happening this weekend. In buggy though my Falcon was running awesome and in Q3 I had a decent run going but a little

miscommunication cost about 3 seconds which left me 10th instead of about 6th. No big deal tho in the scheme of things having already seeded well into the semi.

In Q4 I tried to introduce the Lux tire to the front wanting something that could last even longer in preparation for the 1hr long final and overall they felt good though a few too many mistakes didn’t improve my position. In the end I would qualify 1st in the C main of truck and 9th or 4th in the even semi in buggy.

HRCR Blue skies

Sunday brought slightly cooler temps and lots of sun but also introduced some good wind which made traversing some of the jump sections a bit more harrowing. First up for me was the truggy C main where someone graciously let me borrow a power plant for the mains and I was able to clear the necessary jumps and took a pretty easy win in the C main. In the B main I had a slow start trying to move through traffic but found some headway and worked up to 4th and was tracking down 3rd for the final transfer and feeling very comfortable. But 20 min into the half hour main my wheel came rolling off and I knew pretty quickly what happened. I like the dummy I can be sometimes didn’t re-loctite the setscrew when I removed the wheel hex during a rebuild and sure enough the pin came loose after about an hour of running ending my bid for the Amain.

Wheel pin came loose
Fully my fault, wheel pin came loose after an hour of running after a rebuild. I didn't re-loctite the setscrew. :-(

I would next help Phi in the pits for the Amain. He had a good start but got in some traffic a couple laps in and just couldn’t work his way back up. But I kept the time schedule for his dad and he finished a strong 45min final.

Next was the nitro buggy Semi warmup where I noticed the grip and grabbiness of the track had come up a lot with the longer mains. I had also switched to 5 hole shocks (5x1.4 front and 5x1.5 rear) after talking with Phi and his dad. I still stuck with SLW compound for my tires but probably should have graduated to MLW for the finals in hindsight. In the warmup I also dropped my front link one hole on the tower which helped the front from diving so hard but I knew I needed to make some more changes for the semi final. Those changes included going to wide hexes on the front and rear which helped stabalize the car and have a bit more support in the corners. I also went up 0.1 to a 2.4 sway bar on the front. (Also I noticed the 5 hole set-up I put on still had the 55mm rear shock body and I felt this track would be better suited with the 58mm rear body due to the higher grip and reasonably smooth with big fast landings, so I switched to the 58 body for the Semi.)

The Semi-final was a decent run where I ran SLW Lux front and SuperNova rear. The tire combo felt decent and again, was primarily doing the lux front to have a longer lasting tire on the front which wears more. Overall my car was pretty good but I wasn't fully comfortable. I had an early bobble and fell from 4th to 6th but did my best to keep it clean to stay in that top 6 to make the bump. I felt pretty comfortable running 4th until with about 3 minutes to go I made a mistake and allowed 5-7 to catch up. I was a bit anxious to finish out the 3 minutes clean but fortunately was able to do so and hold on to finish 4th and into the A final in which I would start 8th.

1 hour Nitro buggy final finished!

We then had 1 hour to prepare for the 1 hour A-main final. This preparation for me consisted of new clutch shoes and bearings, and changing giving the car a good once over, adding some loctite to some screws and making sure everything seemed sound and ready to go. Overall it was a pretty middle of the road race for me. I would find myself starting in 8th and really maintaining for quite a while. I stayed up with the lead 8 car breakaway until a couple mistakes on lap 6 and 7 drooped me off a bit. After that I just ran in the 7-10 positions for the entirety of the race, not feeling fully comfortable but overall doing ok. I did choose all Lux front and rear in SLW for this one. In hindesight MLW would have been a better compound and perhaps could have helped some of my corner grabbiness at times. My tires did have the best overall wear at the end of the final though oweing to their long wear characteristics. The last couple minutes of the race things started not to feel the greatest in the power department. I was starting to loose top end and the engine was loosing power all over. I was able to keep it clean however and crossed the line in 7th just ahead of my 3 other Ohio natives in 8,9,10.

Ohio taking 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th

As i crossed the line and turned to come into the pits my car died. Upon later inspection the air filter came off and the engine injested a lot of dirt. I was extremely fortunate to finish the race. Praise the Lord!

Alpha Plus Falcon ate dirt!

However my 6 gallon old Falcon that has been running so well for me is now a paperweight after 6 great gallons of competition across the first half of this year without changing anything internally on it.

Ryan Lutz 7th Place ROAR Nationals 2024

Overall it was a decent Nationals. Getting another top 10 in nitro buggy and finishing the hour long final was a nice consistent result, though I know there is more I can get and I know some places to look after this weekend. I do want to give a huge cudos to Phi and his dad on the amazing podium 3rd place in Nitro buggy! This kid as you all know is an extreme talent and really a very good kid! So awesome to see him do so well yet again on this stage! Sky is the limit!

And a big thank you to Mark Marrow for helping me in the pits this weekend when I walked up to ask if he could help before the first practice run!

Phi and his dad after his 3rd place in Nitro Buggy!
Phi and his dad after his 3rd place in Nitro Buggy!

A few things to contemplate and work on with a couple more events heading into the Worlds in September.

Set-up Sheets:

Ryan Lutz Kyosho MP10 TKI3 ROAR Nationals Setup 2024

Ryan Lutz Kyosho MP10T ROAR Nationals Setup 2024

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