The U.S. Open would be the last event on my 2023 calendar and it proved to be a tough test. This was my second time at Adobe Mountain R/C Speedway with the first being the Nationals last year. Last minute my pit master Will wasn’t able to attend so I set out solo for this one. The track looked amazing with a supercross feel and was decidedly tricky between the jump timing and the unforgiving surface.
I would run the primary three Kyosho rides at this one and one nice thing was the minimaltire wear. So for truck I basically ran AKA SSLW Diamantés for the weekend and in buggy I was on SSLW Diamanté, and components. I also tried some Lux but it was a bit too dusty in spots and they didn’t have the side bite I needed.
Qualifying was tough for me as I tried to get comfortable with the surface. I moved Ackerman forward to mellow the steering a touch. Tried longer links but went back. Tried varying amounts of rear toe to try to get the right feel. And as the day progressed began going up I’m diff oils. It wasn’t a clear cut track where I would say I needed to go up in diffs. But after having done so come Sunday I realized it’s something I should have done earlier at this one.
I would end up qualifying 4th in nitro truggy and Ebuggy and 8th in nitro buggy. Not where I wanted but I wasn’t giving up yet. Come Sunday morning I started bumping up my diffs. In buggies I came with 10-7-5. I jumped to 12-10-10 in Ebuggy as I was reallly feeling like I was needing heavier rear diff than usual especially coming onto the front stretch. That corner with wheels turned I felt I sat on the outside rear and would diff out and the car would hook in. When I went up it helped it maintain direction and stability through this section.
Our first main was a 45min Truggy main. I got into the lead early for the 4 spot and led through lap 16 before having a lapped car crash into me in the center bowl giving Maifield the lead. I then followed him until lap 40 when he had to come in for a 4 tire swap. This gave me a 20+ second lead and it was cruise time. But 2 laps before my 4th stop I ran out of gas. 🤷🏻♂️ Not sure exactly what happened but unfortunate as I lost over 50 seconds and dropped to 4th. I tried to work back up to 3rd but fell short and took a 4th in this one.
Next was Ebuggy 10 minute A main and I opted to try some soft components. Was hoping the harder compound would have a bit more forgiveness on this unforgiving surface. I think I assumed wrong though and it seemed a little more ridged and edgy. I had a rough first lap falling from 4th to 7th then had to work back through the pack and mustered a 3rd on the podium in the end of this one.
With what I learned from Ebuggy I went to 15-20*-10 in the diffs for nitro buggy (20* in center with the 12/18 gears). This did feel better but I was still having to be careful coming onto that front section. I was able to battle with Maifield a little for the first portion of the race but I had a few mistakes and fell off his pace. I would still manage 2nd in the semi and start 3rd on the grid for the hour long final!
In preparation for this final I did something I rarely do and matched my rear diff to the front and ended with 15-20*-15. I also went with SSLW Component front and Diamanté rear (why I don’t know, but wanted the slightly denser pin pattern on the outside of the front to be a little more forgiving.) unfortunately while my setup was better and my car felt decent I had another rough start crossing the line 10th on lap 2. Again a hole I had to dig out from. By lap 9 I had made my way up to 3rd but had a big gap already to the top pair. I tried my best and really felt pretty good physically for the whole hour. Probably the most engaged I’ve been in an hour final in a long time which was good. I still though sat there in 3rd for 50 minutes finally getting to within a handful of seconds behind 2nd when on my last pit in lap I crashed upside down on the left and it took a long while for the marshal to get there and I flamed out. Upon getting restarted though I still maintained 3rd and then 2nd flamed out and he couldn’t get refired. So I inherited 2nd and came home with the 2nd spot on the podium.
While perhaps not the results I would have hoped for it was still a solid event finishing all my mains and being in the fight battling it out. I got my vehicles better for this tricky surface which will help for my next time attending an event here.