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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

Southern Nationals 2018

Updated: Dec 27, 2018

This past weekend was a trip down to the bayou in West Monroe, Louisiana. This event has become so popular that they have an entry cap and the event sells out within a day or two. This year they allowed just over 400 entries and everyone was treated to yet another huge 3D track! The amount of dirt they use to build this track allows for some huge jumps and elevation changes of more than 8 feet. The format would be a normal 3 day schedule with practice Friday, Quals on Saturday, and the mains on Sunday.

Practice was just ok for me. I made a few changes from my Korea set-up and tried some new shocks pistons that Jared Wiggens came up with. We ran 3×1.45, 3×1.8, 4×0.8 in the front and 3×1.4, 3×1.8, 6×0.8 in the rear with 475 cst front and rear with shocks mounted out on the arm. These shocks weren’t a huge difference from the 3×2.2 ft, 3×2.1 rear but they did seem to preform a bit better as the track got rougher.

Once qualifying began I suddenly was doing great. This is an event that I usually have some kind of bad luck and just don’t do great at but when qualifying was being run through, things were looking good. I was running any number of SSLW AKA tires ranging from Impacts to Grids to Double downs and they were all feeling pretty good. In Q1 I took the TQ in Nitro Truggy, 3rd in Ebuggy and got 2nd in Nitro Buggy. In Q2 I was able to wrap up overall TQ in Truggy and I also got TQ in Ebuggy and another 2nd in Nitro buggy. In Q3 I was able to also take TQ in Ebuggy to get the overall and TQ Nitro buggy as well. So overall I would be TQ in nitro truggy and Ebuggy and start 2nd on the grid in nitro buggy.

For the mains I stuck with SSLW for truggy but went with impacts instead of grids. My truck was dialed from the start and I just took off from TQ and pulled away from the field.  Joe stayed with me within 7 seconds for a while before making a bigger mistake letting me really pull away. Joe and I along with our pit guy Matt were all on the same headsets and Joe was asking me to break my car and he would give me $50. I was telling him I could smell the lap as I was nearing in to put a lap on the field. However his wish won out this time as 34 minutes into the race suddenly my steering servo failed and I had to settle for a DNF. Joe did great though and picked up the slack for the team and took the win for Tekno!

Truggy TQ

In Ebuggy Joe and I would be battling again. Both A1 and A2 were similar in that I would lead out but make a mistake within a couple of laps letting Joe by. In A1 I came back and nipped at his heels for a few laps and he did great to run a wide car and keep me behind until I made a further mistake. In A2 I mounted a charge again but just couldn’t finish the deal and thus Joe would take the overall and I would take 2nd. Tyler Hooks won the tiebreaker to take 3rd for a Tekno 1-2-3 podium sweep!

Ebuggy Tekno Sweep! 1-2-3

In Nitro buggy I was hoping for some redemption and things looked good for all of 2 laps. I got the lead on lap 2 but my car just didn’t feel right. I had multiple crashes on lap 3 knocking back to 10th. I would fight back to 6th but nothing felt right and about 18 minutes in my car got really slow and I came into the pits to find my pressure line had broke / pulled off at the pipe and my engine was 400*+ and so that ended my race and a really disappointing Sunday for me.

So although qualifying bucked my trend of bad luck at this event, main day sure brought it back with a vengeance. That’s alright though as it’s an awesome event to be able to attend and always a great track to be able to race on!

Next is a little over a month of preparations for the IFMAR Worlds. Going to be getting everything just right to put my best foot forward on the World stage and see what I can do!


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