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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

The Dirt Nitro Challenge 2024

This past weekend was the 25th Annual Dirt Nitro Challenge. With new dates in March hoping for better weather we got to race the full program on the big track and received the full allotment of track time. With an entry cutoff of 800 we didn’t quite reach that hovering around 750 all said and told. A number of top Europeans coming over made for a very competitive and deep field of racers.

Kyosho MP10TKI3 with Invisible Speed 2

The track was generally easy to start out this year, which is a good thing when a track is known to get rough. Because the roughness presents the challenge and the slightly easier layout allows for some tight racing which is what was seen throughout qualifying with the deepest, closest qualifying results I can ever remember seeing in off-road on a big track.

The Dirt Nitro Challenge 2024 under the lights

My weekend personally was a bit of a roller coaster with some highs and lows. Seeding went well as I was able to seed in all the A sorts including 2nd in Ebuggy and 6th in the nitro classes. Etruggy would seed 12th but I was running my camera on it trying to capture some onboard footage in our limited practice time.

Qualifying got underway Thursday for ebuggy and nitro truggy. Unfortunately a sour tone was set for me from the onset with a fluke upper servo saver break in Ebuggy on lap 1 truly messing my groove for the weekend in the class, and that’s totally on me. But this weekend coupled with the wind and struggles with health of family at home, I was just easily agitated and it boiled over in getting flustered easily on the track which isn’t my MO but that onus is totally on me for my result. Ebuggy with too many crashes in Q2 and 3 would see me qualify a very disappointing 36th or 12th in the C main. Nitro Truggy was a touch better. My truck had good pace and small mistakes in each run kept the results from being a smidge better. But with a 7th in the final two runs I would qualify 7th overall for the A final.

Ryan Lutz Kyosho Ebuggy and Nitro Truggy

Friday brought etruggy and nitro buggy action and it was a better day overall but not without its bookending disappointment. Out of the gate in etruggy I took a 2nd as I was battling with Maifield as we got the extra lap, but pushing hard to fight for the win I crashed on that 8th lap and so settled for 2nd. I was able to come back in Q3 with another 2nd and another 8th lap battle with BRose to take 2nd overall qualifying position. In Nitro buggy I had one crash in Q1 and any crash was quite problematic in this tight field at this event. 5 seconds from TQ put me in 15th for the round! I was able to come back in Q2 on AKA soft Grid 2s and held on after a harrowing final lap to take the TQ for the round. Finally in Q3 a fluke flame on the first lap bookended my qualifying efforts with another DNF. It didn’t make sense why it happened as my Alpha Falcon engine has been perfect all season so far with not one hiccup. I brought it back and it fired right up, no problems, plug looked fine, and ran all the Amain warmup and 45min main no problem so all I could surmise when walking to the spot it happened was there was an inside outside option on the back left corner. The transition was a sharpish corner and I went over that edge and very possibly did so off power and that corner caught my flywheel and killed power. I marshaled that corner and did see a skid mark right at that corner so that’s my only assumption as to what happened. Fortunately the TQ in rd 2 carried the weight and allowed me to qualify 10th into the Amain.

Ryan Lutz DNC 2024 Round 2 TQ Pro Nitro Buggy

Saturday was mains for ebuggy and nitro truggy. Ebuggy C was up first and as was the case with most of the mains all weekend they set the grid way too tight into jump sections and ultimately into a 180 which all caused massive pileups and carnage. My result was no exception. I still managed to get to 6th on lap 1 and 4th on lap 6. I had my shot but found a couple of the land mines and just drove poorly and finished a disappointing 6th. Nitro Truggy was the last race of the night. With it being night I went with AKA SS Gridirons and they felt good in warmup. However on the last lap of warmup in the double double double section I dug in my front arm snapping it. Ran back to the pits to get it fixed and a big thanks to Joe Bornhorst and Cole Ogden for trying to help me get it fixed faster. We called two minutes but it took a touch longer and I missed the first two laps of the race. But I got out there and it took a while to find my groove and settle down. But once I did I had some fun pressing hard and seeing what my truck was capable of. Turns out it was fast and I had the 3rd fastest top 15 laps including the fastest top 3 consecutive laps. So I had the truck for a podium but it wasn’t meant to be and I took an 11th in this one.

Sunday brought the final two mains after a blessed morning at CCCH listening to my favorite expositor of Gods Word, Jack Hibbs. As the A-mains rolled around Etruggy was up first and because the sun hadn’t yet set beyond the horizon I opted for SSLW Gridirons and they were up for the task. Starting 2nd behind Maifield I paced him at the start and thought I got by him after the double after the first bowl turn to the left, but he powered back inside me as I landed ahead of him and it was back to chase mode. I did what I could closing the gap but always seeming to make another little mistake loosing some tenths. I was able to come back 2-3 times and kept him honest but in the end I came up about 3 tenths short with a 2nd on the box.

Front and Center at CCCH with Jack Hibbs

Ryan Lutz 2nd Place Pro Etruggy DNC 2024

Finally was the nitro buggy main starting off around 9:30 at night. I struggled to choose if I wanted to run soft or SS components in this one but in the end chose Soft. I think it ended up being a mistake as I felt pretty loose in the rear for the whole main and I just think with my past experience that I should have just gone with the SS. Live and learn and try again next time. Anyways I gave it my all. My car wasn’t all I was hoping it to be and I just didn’t have the comfort I was hoping for. But I hung In there and took a solid 7th in this very competitive field.

Ryan Lutz Kyosho MP10 TKI3 Nitro Buggy

I want to give a big thank you to Erik Hannemann for coming out with me last minute to help me in the pits and it was great to have a fellow believer to talk eternal things with on this long week of racing. I also want to thank Mike Walker for providing again another setup idea for the Kyosho rides that I will share in my setup notes below that was a huge help to the growing number of Kyosho contingent at this event who gave it a try also.

Set-up Notes:

One thing we did universally on all the cars this weekend was to add in outboard toe. To accomplish this we used the inserts in the outer part of the arm. With the rearmost insert in the long position we put the insert in the front of the rear arm in the middle position. This gives 1* of outboard toe and then you can remove that 1* from the D block. So all my set-up sheets will show 2.5* for the D block, but 3.5* overall due to this adjustment. If you feel like sometimes the car steps out a bit on corner exit, this is a very worthwhile change for you to try. Everyone who tried it this week thought it was great for them. Thank you Mike Walker for the idea! Also for all cars I ran taped rear foam all week and In the trucks I ran the inside thin row of tape on the front.

Nitro Buggy: I primarily ran Soft Gridiron 2's for all qualifying in this class then opted for Soft Component for the Amain. I hadn't really ran this compound at night due to my issue in Q3 and took a risk. I think I should have stuck with SS for night as I have always done here. Also note again I was using the outboard 1* of toe mentioned above to give 3.5* total. Also in the wing I only have holes in the middle section of the wing. I was also running Steel A and B block.

MP10 TKI3 Set-up Sheet Ryan Lutz Dirt Nitro Challenge 2024

Ebuggy: (Kyosho MP10e TKI2)

Batteries were staggered with the left battery fully back and the right battery fully forward. A 25g shorty weight under the right battery fully back in battery box. 15g weight in rx box. 15g weight under front of battery box on sideguard.

Kyosho MP10e TKI2 Set-up Sheet Ryan Lutz

Nitro Truggy: (Kyosho MP10T)

Rear shock used 5x1.5 piston with one hole drilled to 1.7mm to try to aid in bump handling. Same outboard toe as described above.

Kyosho MP10T Set-up sheet Ryan Lutz Dirt Nitro Challenge 2024

Etruggy: (Kyosho MP10Te)

Rear shock used 5x1.5 piston with one hole drilled to 1.7mm to try to aid in bump handling. Same outboard toe as described above.

Kyosho MP10Te Set-up Sheet Ryan Lutz Dirt Nitro Challenge 2024

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1 Komentar

21 Mar

Did you switch to black springs in etruggy, in the onboard it looked like blues up front. Awesome write up as always. Edit-judging by pics on fb yes.

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