• Ryan Lutz

Wicked Weekend 2021

This past weekend I attended the 2021 Wicked Weekend in Gainesville, Georgia to compete against the nearly 550 entries in attendance. The track was more technical than in the past with a challenging whoops/rhythm section and a long lap time at just under 40 seconds. The track was also extra damp all weekend attributable to being built with more water and the humid conditions as well. So while in past years we used some soft and SSLW tires later in qualifying and mains, this year we stuck with SS and SSLW throughout the event.



They offer two different practice session for this event. The first being Thursday from 8am - 8pm. The second being 8pm-10pm then Friday 7am - Noon. I chose the first one as I arrived around 11am Thursday and my cars were ready to go. But I think perhaps being here in years past hampered my practice because I was expecting certain things to happen like the track drying out some and grip coming up and I came with my setup already prepared for that diff wise. Instead the track was a bit greasy loose feeling and never really dried up too much. So I got my practice time in but didn't change to much waiting for the track to come to me but it never really did.



So during session 2 I realized I was going to need to make some adjustments for the looser conditions. So I rebuilt all my diffs and went from the 10-12-7 that I came with and dropped to 7-9-5. Tire wise I was choosing between P1's, Double downs, and Catapults all in SSLW. It's all I really practiced with though perhaps regular SS would have been better for practice. In ebuggy my only real changes throughout qualifying was switching up the shocks a bit. I came into the event with my 1.2x8 front and 1.3x8 rear VRP XV3 pistons but I felt as the track got rougher that I wanted a little better bump handling and also a little more but also more predictable steering. So I went with a 4 hole 1.5 piston VRP XV3 in the front and also in Q3 and A1 ran a 5 hole 1.5 XV3 in the rear. My first two runs in ebuggy were decent netting me a 3rd and 4th which would qualify me 4th overall into the A-main.



In Nitro buggy I had some decent pace but with the gap in time between my practice session and when qualifying started I lost my rhythm through the whoops section and it was just so costly for me. I never had a great run with all my qualifiers having a couple long laps. I would get a 7th in Q1 and 5th in Q2 coming back from early mistakes. In the end this would qualify me into 7th overall.


At this event we actually got a 10 minute A-main warmup for Nitro buggy which was great as it allowed me to try a couple of tires. I started with SSLW Chainlinks all the way around but found the rear to be a little loose so had my guys install some SSLW Double downs in the rear and they seemed to tighten up the rear just a bit on this track which is what I needed. So my plan was set to use SSLW Chainlink front and Double Down rear (First time for this combo).


Ebuggy A1 was up first and it wasn't pretty, Starting 4th I had a very rough first lap and came across in 11th. I fought back to 6th with a minute to go but had more bobbles on the last lap and fell to 8th. Not the result I was looking for and I really needed to find my rhythm through that tricky whoops section. I ran that same set of SSLW Chain/Downs to confirm I wanted to use them in Nitro which I thought they were working well.


Nitro buggy 30 minute final followed and my two set-up changes before the main were to add a little anti-squat after chatting with a fellow driver and lengthen the rear link on the tower. The Anti-squat I thought this would help get a bit more pop off the tricky dragons back and perhaps in the whoops. Also I was hoping it would help the car square up a little better on corner exit which I think it did. The longer link I was hoping to slow down the rear just a bit and perhaps just make the car even more comfortable to drive over the longer main. Overall my car was really pretty good. I had a good start moving all the way up to 3rd by lap 5 and I was rolling. I basically held 3rd through lap 16 where I made some mistakes. I had a succession of about 4 out of 5 laps with crashes and I just lost my groove completely. I gathered it back on lap 22 through with the fastest lap of the race a 37.636 which I actually asked my pit guy after I crossed the line what that lap time was because it was one of those rare times I just knew it was a great lap! With about 10 minutes to go still running in 4th I noticed my left rear starting to come unglued on the outside. This was causing the rear to do some random stepping out on the high speed right handers. This made for some interesting laps and some needed driver adjustments to for one preserve the tire but also keep up the pace and not make mistakes. While it got a bit sketchy on the last few laps loosing about 13 seconds over 7 laps I was able to hold off the ensuing pack and take 4th for the final. I also managed to have Hot lap and fastest 5 laps of the final. My car was really good, I just need to fire the guy gluing the tires (looks at self).



A2 of ebuggy was the last main for us of the day. I did the added anti-squat adjustment for this one as well and I think it was better. I had a great start moving into 3rd through the whoops section and I finally found my rhythm going triple-double-double-double. I got into 2nd and then into the lead over the next lap. After that it was making my car wide for the next 3 minutes or so as Tebo was on my tail giving me lots of pressure. But I was able to maintain the lead and as I settled in I was able to pull away ever so slightly lap after lap and come away with the A2 victory. My time being a little slower than the A1 winner would net me 2nd overall in Ebuggy!




Overall it was a weekend of some adversity but in the end the results were solid for me and the WRC crew. A 4th in Nitro buggy and 2nd in Ebuggy were absolutely better than I had expected heading into Main day. I learned a lot more and will continue to apply that knowledge moving forward. Up next for me I have an USRC race in El Paso followed by my 3rd trip to the Tiltyard this year and my first ever FX of Nitro event!

Thank you for reading and your support! :-D

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Notes for Set-up below:

-Rear link has hole drilled below #1 position same distance as other holes are apart. Need to trim away material from bulkhead to have proper upper camber link articulation.

-Front shocks ended with 4 hole 1.5 xv3 pistons from VRP with 650 oil. The 4 hole makes it less critical through bumps and easier to drive.

-The new WRC red springs (one stiffer than kit front and rear)


* Ebuggy same setup but only front aluminum chassis brace. 17t pinion. Tekin 1900 motor.


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