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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lutz

TNR Amain Challenge '24

This past weekend I took a trip out west to the TNR Amain Challenge at The Dirt at Perris, home of the Dirt Nitro Challenge in March this year. I wanted to use this weekend as a test for the DNC and see if I could get all setup and ready. The weather conditions probably did just that in giving us 3 pretty different surfaces to run on throughout the weekend. Day 1 and 2 were well watered and conditions were misty in the morning and so more loam and a softer surface. Come Saturday the winds came sustained 20-40mph and blew off the track as well was warmer temps that created a higher grip surface with a cleaned off line. Finally on Sunday the winds died down and we had hard pack underneath but a bit of lighter dust or loam on top making it more forgiving than Saturday but we really had to keep an eye on how much water was put down and what time of day we were running.

TNR Amain Challenge Track panorama 2024

Seeding was great with SSLW Grid 2's being my go to on the loamier track especially during the day. After sunset transitioning to SS. Overall using pretty similar setups to what I ran two years ago here at the DNC on the full size track.

Come qualifying day 1 my buggies were on point this day. I was able to get a TQ and a 4 in Ebuggy as well as a 2 and a 3 in nitro buggy all using the SSLW Grid 2's. Come Saturday things were different. The wind had picked up mightily during the night and tents were displaced. The track was blown off and with the warmer temps and sunshine appearance the track became dry and much higher grip levels. To combat this I went heavier on sway bars and slightly heavier on front and rear diffs. I also tried to run harder tires but I unfortunately didn’t bring much for buggy. I only had a set of soft Diamante where I would have preferred some SLW Components. I made due beat I could and at least tried to get my setup closer to what it needed to be and did best I could with the too soft of tires. I wasn’t able to improve on my qualifying times however in those final two rounds.

Truggy was a different story. The Dry condition woke my truck up and I happened to have some SLW tires in the form of impact front and gridiron rear for the truck and I was able to TQ rd 3. I was a touch rich in Q4 causing it to be a little difficult to clear a couple of stretch jumps and got a 7. Overall though I would qualify 3rd in Ebuggy and 4th in both nitro classes.

Kyosho MP10 TKI3 with Insta360 Go3 attached!

Main day brought another condition. Now we had hard pack underneath but they were watering every or every other main. For Ebuggy A1 because they were watering right before it I opted for the SSLW grid 2's. The track dried out quick though as the wind picked up a bit for our run and I would have preferred a harder compound. I made early mistakes and had to fight back. Fortunately others were beating each other up and I got into 3rd on the last lap.

Next was the 30 minute truck main right at sunset so again tire choice was tough. I went with SSLW Diamante but if I had a do over probably would have wanted SS or S gridirons. I just lacked drive for the conditions and that’s what I feel happens to the LW compound when the sun sets at the Dirt. I had a decent start though and was hanging tough but then I stuffed the pipe in the top right and lost some positions and then got caught in the fray for a number of minutes loosing valuable time. I did the best I could and came away with a 7th.

Kyosho MP10T Ryan Lutz

Ebuggy A2 was next and it was full dark now. I went with SS Component and they were a good choice. I was running solid with the lead pair before a mistake on the top left. Fell back to 4th and was just cruising there as I knew where I was positioned would actually give me 2nd overall for the two mains. However it wasn’t meant to be and with about 2 minutes left my rear shock pushed off beyond the shock nut and I was flopping around the track for 3 laps loosing my positions. Thus took a 14th which put me a dissapointing 8th overall.

Finally was the 45min nitro buggy main at around 10:30pm and I used that same set of SS Components. Tire choice again I thought was good and my buggy and new Alpha Falcon engine were running great. I had a great start and moved onto 3rd and then into 2nd and was hanging with Maifield for the first 20 laps or so. Everything was working great and I thought I really had a shot at this. But a traction roll off the second lane in as I entered the turn and a couple other unforced errors in the ensuing laps knocked me back to 3rd and the leaders were gone. I was running a solo race at that point for the remainder doing what I could to gain info on how the car was behaving and what I could possibly change for the DNC if needed in a little over a months time. Overall a solid 3rd place finish with a great group of competition was a good result.

TNR Amain Challenge Podium Pro Nitro Buggy

Set-up Notes:

-The track was different every day which can be a common thing here at The Dirt.

Nitro Buggy: During the day ran SSLW Grid 2's if they were watering. On the dry day where wind made track blown off and dry I would have ran SLW Component. As soon as the sun sets as long as there is moisture in the track from them watering then SS Grid 2's. If the track is being watered regularly then can go down a little on diffs. Would have been on 7 -15(12/18 gears)- 5 if track was normal loamy, rough, softer. But with the hardpack that developed underneath, it required heavier front and center and a harder compound tire and or a more dense pin (component) for the mains for longevity. With the pistons I also had 5 x 0.8mm holes in between the standard drilled holes. These small holes help with bump handling but don't really effect bigger landings and the pack that is needed.

Set-up Notes Ebuggy: Same as Nitro above. Small center diff with the 12/18 gears. With the pistons I also had 5 x 0.8mm holes in between the standard drilled holes. These small holes help with bump handling but don't really effect bigger landings and the pack that is needed.

Set-up Notes Truggy: Ran at Sunset, Probably would have preferred SSLW Impact front and Grid rear or just all Gridiron. During the dry day with the wind SLW Impact front and Grid rear helped me achieve the TQ run. If I ran at night SS Gridiron would have been the go to.

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