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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

Southern Indoor Championships (SIC) 2019

This past weekend was my first larger event with Agama and it took place in Autaugaville, Alabama at the annual SIC. This year was the largest rendition yet with over 550 entries coming together to duke it out! I had potentially planned on running 4 classes but time to prepare just wasn't there so I ran the standard 3 of Nitro Buggy, Truggy, and Electric Buggy. The track this year was made wider and featured a monster 280' front straight into a berm that you actually had to use! It was a lot of fun and the layout had a good flow. As the event wore on the track surface deteriorated and many bumps formed and a very challenging surface transpired.

Practice started us off on Friday where we spent all 15 hours at the track running packs and tanks of fuel getting comfortable with the cars. The grip level was low - medium for the first half of the day and as we transitioned into later afternoon it started to dry out a little and the grip started to come up. By the end of practice all of my Agama rides were feeling good and I was happy with them and excited for qualifying to start.

Pracitce going well!

Saturday we arose to see a very damp track as they had watered. My hope was that throughout the day it would dry out again and we would get some more grip. However with humidity ranging in the upper 90's all day due to storms in the area, the track never dried out and even the concrete walkways were 'sweating' and were wet. We even had a delay for a tornado warning! Anyways the tire choices were between AKA SS or SSLW P1's, Grids, and Impacts. Because the temps on Saturday were nearing 70 I opted primarily for the SSLW compound and overall it did well for me. In the first two rounds of qualifying I finished 2nd in every class except for having a TQ in rd 2 of truggy. Many of the runs were very tight battles with the finishing positions coming down to tenth's of a second. As we got into round 3 the track really began to get rough, especially in the top left corner in the sweeper section. The track did start to dry out a little in Rd 3 and so grip was a bit higher. In truggy I was able to TQ with a clean run and thus take the overall TQ. In the buggy classes I struggled a little with the conditions and made to many mistakes thus taking my throwout rounds. I would qualify 2nd in Electric buggy and 3rd in Nitro buggy overall.

Agama A215T Top Qualifier!

Satruday night they decided not to water and Sunday was cold and much drier. With temps in the 40's and humidity below 50% the track continued to dry out as the day went on. The holes continued to get bigger and the dust came out of them as well as the grip level in the groove getting higher. This is ultimately one of the hardest conditions to set-up a car for. You have pretty high grip hardpack along with no grip dust on the hardpack, and then very bumpy as well. Seeing as though the conditions were going to be different for the main than what I have experienced at all with my new cars, I would have to make a bit of an educated guess as to what they were going to like.

First up was the Nitro buggy main around 1pm. My educated guesses led me to go from 7K front diff up to 12.5K. I limited my steering endpoint a little, slowed down my steering servo speed a little and also ran a harder tire being SLW Impacts. Overall my car was decent and while I made a mistake early in the race I was able to come back into a battle at the front of the pack before unfortunately running out of gas on my in lap 2 corners before the line and pit lane. I lost 1 lap and 30 seconds because of this which If I were to add that back to my finishing time and 6th finishing position, would have put me in the lead. (Though i'm very aware there are many other variables, it just was nice to know I could have been there battling for victory without the misfortune.) Overall I was pleased with how the car felt and how it responded to my set-up changes for the completely different conditions. I look forward to getting some redemption at the next one! :-)

Next was the Ebuggy A1 main where Ogden and I would be battling it out early and I got into the back of him after the straight and into the berm and he flipped. So I waited until he got marshaled as most of the field went by. Now we had work to do and we just seemed to be stuck together throughout the run as Justin Fales had the lead and said see you later. Amidst all the crashing and such I just struggled to get a good rythm on the blown out surface and kept crashing on the double leading to the back left section and it was my nemesis. I ended up finishing 3rd but it was not a great race for me.

3rd place podium in Ebuggy.

At this point I needed to turn things around. Shortly after E-buggy we had the 30 minute Nitro truggy A-main. The tune was dialed on my truck and my Bullitt B-222 was ripping down that 280' front shoot. At the tone I led off from pole but on my nemesis double I shorted and flipped on my lid and had to wait as the field went by. I came around the first lap in 11th but worked my way back through the field and by lap 14 I was in 2nd however about 16 seconds or so behind Tebo. I put my head down now with clearer track and my truck feeling really good. I clicked off a number of fast laps and Tebo made a couple mistakes as well. By lap 34 or so I was on his tail and the battle was on. The next lap the bumps coming onto the straight got him crossed up and I squirted by with a better run heading onto the straight and I proceeded to click off 6 straight 31 second laps to extend out a bit of a lead. My truggy felt great and in the end my Agama A215T took a 14 second victory! :-)

Nitro Truggy TQ + Victory!

For our final race of the day around 10pm at night I decided to make a few changes to my e-buggy to try to get it to handle these progressively harder track conditions. I went to 19* caster blocks from 16* to try to take some aggressiveness out of the initial steering. I also went to 7K center diff from 5K so as not to unload so much to the front on the higher grip. Overall the car was for sure better but I still struggled a little in the bumps and especially landing that top left double as there was a huge hole after it that just sent me crazy. I would battle with Ogden early on taking the lead for 1 lap but giving it back in my favorite section and then I just couldn't make up the deficit. I ended up taking 2nd about 4 seconds back. In the end with how they did the mains I would finish 3rd overall.

For my first weekend at a larger race I think it was a success overall. It was nice to get a win with the truggy and just see how good the Agama truck really is! I can see many more wins to come! I also was pleased with the buggies and learned a lot and will be taking that information forward to improve as we go along this season!

Equipment used:

Nitro Buggy: Agama A319, Bullitt B-223, AKA SLW Impacts, Futaba CB-700 servos.

Electric Buggy: Agama A319E, Tekin T8 Gen 3 1900 with RX8 Gen 3, AKA SLW Impacts, ProTek 6500 LiHV (Would have used the 5600 but needed the extra mAh for this track.

Nitro Truggy: Agama A215T, Bullitt B-222, AKA SLW Impacts, Futaba CB-700 servos.

Extra Quick Notes:

At the end of racing I wanted to run some more and so I ran my E-buggy into the wee hours of the morning. I wanted to get it better for those conditions and here are my changes and what I felt for a hard pack, higher grip, with lots of no grip dust, and very bumpy.

-Raising the rear camber link on the tower made the rear roll to much in corners.

-Moving Ackerman forward smoothed out the initial but made it a little more aggressive on exit.

-Changed steering servo speed with my Futaba 7PX and HPS-CB700 servo to .12 and this felt the easiest to drive.

-Ran SSLW Grids and they ended up a lot more forgiving than the SLW Impacts

-5600 batter was better than the 6500 for the shock package and grip levels I was on.

-The shocks with 5x1.6 XV3 pistons from my Nitro buggy were better than the 5x1.5 xv3 I was running on my e-buggy for these conditions.

-A longer rear link added more rear grip up until the point when it didn't on a hard corner exit.

Can't get enough practice! Even at Midnight having been at the track for 16 hours!

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