Weekend Wrap up – ROAR Region 11 Championship, Billings, MT

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Had a blast this last weekend, it was educational, and great experience going into prep for Vegas in October.  This was fun R/C racing on a big 60x96ft+ track, held in a Shriner auditorium in Billings MT.   Met some awesome R/C racers, and some real nice Shriners 🙂  

My Race Report:

I went into the race competing in 2 classes, 1/12th 17.5 “Blinky”  Stock (no timing advance in the ESC), and 1/12th 13.5 Boosted (ESC can do timing).   I only brought one chassis with me so I was swapping motors, tires, gearing, and batteries twice every heat.   This kept me quite busy.  Also it restricted me on what settings I can do on the chassis because I don’t want to mess up both classes.  So this is how it went.

Well Friday for practice was a disaster for me…  I was exhausted from the drive (woke up at 6am and got to Billings after picking up 2 other people and their gear at 4pm, and practiced until 12am) and little sleep the night before, and I just couldn’t adapt to the track quick enough.  

I also suffered from my contacts going all blurry every time I drove on the large track and couldn’t plot my corners well at all.  I left Friday pissed and hating the weekend already ( I literally thought in bed that night I should sell all this stuff and get a different hobby).  I broke some bits on the front end of the car  as well – lower arm, caster block, and upright on one crash, and a AE side link in another… BAD day.

Saturday I came in determined to make this work.  I wore glasses instead (HUGE improvement!), and focused on putting myself in a mental state to focus on the race. 

I had some semi smooth runs in 17.5 No Timing, but struggled in 13.5 Boosted as the car was incredibly pushy at high speed and super aggressive on low speed.  With some help from CRC team folks I tuned out the “metric f**k ton” of 1.5* camber I had, changed he damper tube lube, tweaked the car, and adjust my dual rate, and changed the tires I was using in 13.5 and stuff started to come together.  First two qualifiers were throw always due to some craptastic driving and fixing these setup items.

I went into the 3rd qualifier fully focused on 17.5, I wanted to jump 2 laps over my last qual, and really believe I had the pace to.   I sat next to the track in the race before just running through my head every corner and line and how to deal with traffic.  I ran the single most clean race I’ve ever done.  I didn’t touch plastic, another car, and kept the lines clean and tight.   I was only 4 seconds off my goal of a 2 lap jump up and jumped 1 lap + 8 seconds of improvement in that qual.  That put me at that time 2 seconds out of the bottom of the A-main (the top 10 drivers at the race).

13.5 was pathetic, the car handled well but I couldn’t get the speed out of it… I was 4/10 off the pace no matter what I did…  Everyone destroyed me on the straight in terms of raw speed, and punch out of the infield… so far not loving the SP 13.5 1S Motor I just bought…

Sunday (Final qualifier and Race):  Qualifier round 4 – 17.5 I qual’d the EXACT same time I did in round 3, but I was faster, but got tangled with a car I was passing and rolled… I would have moved up another lap if that didn’t happen.   13.5 I improved slightly, but still off the pace and compromised on setup. I think my lap times in 13.5 improved every run by 100’ths of a second… not that big of an improvement.

The race:  13.5 came in last in the B… (of 3 people…) I changed a tire in the rear to Magenta to see if that would remove some of the locking I had of the rear to the track, all it did was make it crazy unstable when I would go any off the grove.   17.5, the car felt faster than it had all weekened and I felt strong going into the upper field in the B.. I got bumped in a big pile up on the 3rd corner of the 1st lap (the 3 cars ahead of me all came together), but drove through off the line, and the tires got skate’y and sent me into a wall on a high speed entrance to the infield straight.   That just barely moved my motor…  I could hear it every lap taking another tooth off… I was curious if I could nurse it to the end by entering the straight softer on throttle… but that didn’t work.  On lap 8 on the infield (still holding 3rd at that point), she spun up, with no teeth left on the spur.   end of race. 

What I learned:  How to focus and organize for a bigger race with multiple classes.   how to adapt for a different track layout/distance/driver stand.  And how to deal with little sleep.   While it was a bust in terms of finishing position, I think it made me a better driver in terms of lessons learned and focus.  

Once i get my second 1/12th put together (once the bits get here from Finland) I will be in a much better position to contest two classes where I can actually make setup changes to benefit both.

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