SIC (Southern Indoor Championships) 2021
The first big test, that is what the 2021 SIC represented for me. As I coordinated my travel plans to fly down to Alabama with my buddy Joe Bornhorst I knew this was going to be the race where I could see where I was in relation to my pace with the new platform. SIC is your standard 3 day race with practice Friday, quals on Saturday, and the finals on Sunday. What's not standard is the turnout which this year eclipsed 500 entries at around 535 comprised of 260 actual racers. The days were long and it really felt like a PNB all said and done for me. I was one of the last ones there every day and one of the first ones back with each day being at least 16 hours at the track.
Friday practice I was already set from past events knowing I would be running the AKA SSLW compound so it was just a matter of trying some different treads. The water schedule this year was just that we arrived to a watered wet track and they let it dry out as the day progressed. So at the start I tried P1's and Grids and the Grids just seemed to cut through the loam then dust a bit better. As the track would begin to dry out and the grip came up a little I would go with a more dense pin up front to mellow the steering a little and also skip over the bumps a bit better. I believe on practice day I had the hot lap of a 28.2 with my WRC SBXE.1 Ebuggy. Pace was there and I was feeling pretty comfortable going into qualifying.
Saturday brought 3 qualifiers and it was a mixed bag. I also was running my previous Agama Truggy to get the track time and support my other sponsors in the class. I ran SSLW Grids in truck all weekend and in Q1 came away with a 3rd. In Q2 and Q3 I would finish 6th and thus would qualify 6th overall. I was running the new Alpha Plus Dragon IV Edition 2 engine in truggy and my goal was to find the right pipe set-up for it. I started with the 2107 in practice but I don't think it was ideal for the top end I needed on this track with a huge front straight. I think the straight was 220-250ft long. So I next opted for the 2159 which was serving me very well in buggy. It's meant to be more of a bottom to mid pipe but it was good in buggy on the top too. In truck though I still just lacked that little bit of top I needed on this particular layout. So I tried the 2134 and it was the ticket. The pipe really offers a ton of top end without sacrificing much on the bottom/mid and was just was I needed at the SIC. So I would finish the quals and mains on the Dragon IV Edition 2 with 2134 combo.
In electric buggy my SBXE.1 started out great and I had a 4th in Q1. I made a few more mistakes in Q2 and Q3 as the track got rougher and I finished 8th and 10th which would seed me 8th overall into the A. I would primarily choose the tire combo of Zip front and Gridiron 2 rear in SSLW. My WRC SBX.1 Nitro buggy was my best feeling car all weekend but unfortunately looking at the results it sure doesn't look that way. In Q1 I was on a great pace to start the race and was feeling very comfortable. I got behind slower traffic and followed close through multiple sections being so patient and just waiting on the opportunity to pass. But he got loose and then messed up his line and I got into him and got stuck. By the time we got freed up there was a mass of cars all traveling in a pack and the rest of the race was a mess. It was what I hoped to be my throw out round. It wasn't going to be though because the bonehead that I am sometimes didn't tighten my wheel nuts and as soon as I crossed the line to start my clock in Q2 my wheel beat me to the end of the straight and I was out of Q2. In Q3 I finally had a decent run but did make a couple mistakes resulting in an 8th. This put me 16th overall and 3rd in the B main.
That B-main was my first race of the day on Sunday but a lot of adversity led up to the staging of the race and as we got underway my mind wasn't in proper form. I made a mistake pushing out wide on the back single onto the back straight and nailed the opening in the back wall breaking an arm and cutting my nitro buggy weekend way too short. Key takeaways to hang my hat on were that the buggy really did feel good and I just sabotaged any result. Also the engine was phenomenal. I was a bit worried when I saw the size of the straight when we arrived but the Dragon IV Edition 2 with 2159 combo and Alpha 4 shoe clutch kit felt absolutely perfect on this track. Now I just need to prepare and wait for the next chance to showcase the cars ability.
Next was the 30 minute Truggy A-main. The start was very clean and I held my 6th position until lap 6 when I got by a crashed truck into 5th. Four laps later I got by into 4th and would then battle with Rivkin for the next 15 laps or so for the 4-5 position. I would start to find my groove and began to reel in Joe for 3rd. I had a couple spots on the track that I was starting to nail my lines but when I got within 2 seconds of Joe I started to miss them again. Eventually though after the pitstop on lap 47 I got by into 3rd for 4 laps with Joe right behind me. I thought I had him but I was missing my marks in a couple spots and I made a mistake and he got back by. I stayed with him until lap 60 when I made a mistake and a marshal had left post to return another car and it was a 7 second crash. So in the end I finished 4th 21 seconds out of 1st, so truly I was only 14 seconds back until that second to last lap mishap.
Since I wasn't in the Nitro Buggy A-main I decided to live broadcast it on my YouTube channel with views from all around the track during the main. Feel free to check it out:
Ebuggy was our final two races of the day. Double A mains with only your best finishing being what matters with laps and times of that finish being the tiebreaker. I had a great start, starting from the #8 position. I raised my ride height to 25/29 and It really helped with the bump handling. I moved to 6th on the first lap and to 4th on the second lap. I continued to run good and moved to 3rd on lap 6 and felt really confident overall. But I made a mistake on lap 10 and hten just lost my pace a little. In the end I finished a slightly disappointing 4th just because I know I could have had a top 2 or 3 if I ran a cleaner run. In A2 it wasn't as pretty as the track had gotten a lot dustier and on the start going up the hill on the left I got a bit loose and piled some people up and lost a little time. So it was a race where I took a few steps forward and then would make a mistake racing another car. I got landed on twice on the corner hip jump by people fully overshooting it. (I also put two great passes on people in the same spot but the two that tried it on me both landed on my wing. Everyone was getting more brazen over that section there at the end of the night.) In the end it was my throwout main but my 4th place finish from A1 coupled with my faster finishing time was enough to get 5th overall in Ebuggy.
Equipment used: (Electric Buggy)
Car - WRC SBXE.1
Motor - Tekin Redline Gen 3, 1900 (17T Pinion)
Tires - AKA SSLW Zip front, Gridion 2 rear
Radio - Futaba 7PXR
Servo - Futaba HPS CB700
Battery - ProTek RC LiHV 5600 Low Profile
Speed Control - Tekin RX8 Gen 3
Pistons - VRP XV3 1.2x8 front, 1.3x8 rear
Car - WRC SBX.1 (Nitro buggy)
Tires - AKA SSLW Zip front, Gridiron 2 rear
Engine - Alpha Plus Dragon IV Edition 2
Exhaust - Alpha Plus 2159 Exhaust system
Radio - Futaba 7PXR
Servo - Futaba HPS CB700 Steering and Futaba HPS CT700 Throttle
Battery - Protek RC 2300 LiHV 2S Receiver pack
Fuel - VP Fuels Ryan Lutz Blend 30% Nitro
Pistons - VRP XV3 1.5x5 front and rear.