Sanford and Son RC headed out to Heritage RC Park in Chula Vista, CA on Saturday, October 18th for the 6th and final round of the Mugen Seiki Grand Prix Series. Racers would receive double points for this final round. There were approximately 100 entries, and the track was watered every other heat.
The competition for this round would include Mugen drivers Drew Moller, Jaques Ballow, Tim Long, Miquel Perez, Jaime Boquiren and Felipe Martinez, Team Associated’s Spencer Rivkin, X-Ray’s Mike Moralez, and TLR’s Don Vinkemulder.
1/8 Scale Expert Buggy
Some modifications were made to the previous layout for this final round. We would have a wet track for Round 1 of qualifying, and I bolted up a fresh set of AKA Soft Impacts. I knew from experience that the watered track would provide too much rear traction, so I raised the inner camber link on the rear of my Kyosho MP9 TKI3 to get better rotation. The change worked like a charm. I ran a very good first heat, requiring no marshall, and got the first round TQ. However, for the final 2 laps of the qualifier, I got stuck behind a back-marker and finished with a 5 flat (5.00). I knew the TQ would not hold up in the second round. We had the dry track for the second qualifier, so I reset the rear camber link. I made a mistake on lap one, and required a marshall. I ran clean the rest of the heat, but lost the TQ to Moller. Rivkin also bettered my first round TQ time, by 2/10ths of a second, so I would start third on the grid for the A-Main.
For the 30-minute A-Main, I bolted up a fresh set of AKA Soft Impacts. Everyone got a clean start in the Main, but going up the hill in the left hand corner, Rivkin got loose right in front of me and I had to jab the brakes to keep from getting into him. As a result, the car behind me got into me, causing a pileup. By the time the marshall got it sorted, Moller and Rivkin were gone, and I found myself toward the back of the pack in seventh. I drove mistake-free, and at the 8 minute mark I was back up to third, right on Rivkin’s rear bumper. I repeatedly had to brake to keep from getting into Rivkin. He was driving a tight line, but my car had been faster all day, and the Main was no different. Rivkin pitted for fuel, and I stayed on the track in second place. I had been getting over 11 minutes runtime on this layout in practice, and mileage was great during the qualifiers, however the motor ran out of fuel at the 8-1/2 minute mark. The motor was barely running at 200 degrees, so it had obviously richened up. My pit man leaned out the motor, got me refueled quickly and back out on the track, but I was back in seventh place again.
I had some good battles with Moralez and Ballow, but was able to pass both of them and was back up into third place, on Rivkin’s bumper again. About six minutes into my second tank of fuel, the car inexplicably stopped on the track. My pit man retrieved me and got me restarted, but I found myself in tenth place. I raced hard, working my way back up thru the pack, passing Moralez, Ballow and Martinez for position. It looked like I was going to finish the race in fifth, when the car again stopped on the track, 3 turns from the finish line. Martinez passed me for fifth while my pit man got me restarted and back out on the track just as time was expiring. I finished my final lap and finished in sixth place for the race. It turned out to be a busted clutch spring that had caused my motor to die multiple times on the track. The shoes and springs had been replaced before race day, so there was nothing I could have done differently.
Despite the clutch spring problem, I was very happy with my car all day. I kept the car on all four wheels the entire 30-minute A-Main, and finished in second place overall for the series. Considering all the motor issues I had throughout the series, this was a great overall result. My MP9 TKI3 on AKA rubber and DE wheels, with KO radio and electronics was better than any racer could hope for.
1/8 Scale Exert Buggy Overall Series Results:
1. Drew Moller (Mugen)
2. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
3. Felipe Martinez (Mugen)
1/8 Scale E Buggy
Ever since adding additional caster to the front of my MP9e TKI, the car has been so easy to drive. I had a mistake free run on a wet track with AKA Soft GridIrons, and would set the TQ. I would better my TQ with a win in round 2 on a dry track on AKA Soft Impacts, and would start the 10 minute A-Main on the pole.
I got a great start in the Main, and my Kyosho MP9e TKI, with the Tekin RX8 Gen2 and Redline T8 Gen2 1900 motor stretched out a big lead. I ran mistake free, finishing the race in first place, and also took the overall series win.
1/8 Scale E-Buggy Overall Series Results:
1. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
2. Miguel Perez (Mugen)
3. Jaime Boquiren (Mugen)
I would like to thank all of my sponsors for making it happen: Sanford and Son RC, Kyosho, KO Propo, AKA, DE Racing, Tekin, TTN Racing and Upgrade RC. Thank you to Heritage RC Park, to race announcers Billy Tompkins and Dave Brown, and especially to Mugen Seiki for sponsoring this great series.