12th Annual Sidewinder Nitro Explosion

Sanford and Son RC headed out to Heritage RC Park in Chula Vista, CA on October 3-4 for the 12th Annual Sidewinder Nitro Explosion. We were able to get in a little practice on Thursday and Friday, and with a couple of minor setup changes, the cars were ready for Saturday. We were a little surprised by the turnout (117 entries), but even with the bad weather, some stiff competition showed up for this race.

The competition for this round would include Mugen’s Adam Drake, Steve Harris and Gil Alontaga, Team Associated’s Richard Saxton, Tanner Denney and Jeff Guest, Drew Moller of Hot Bodies, Tekno RC’s Billy Fischer and Chad Panek, and Kyosho drivers Cody King, Colin Herzig and Anthony Howarth.

1/8 Scale Electric Buggy

The E Buggy was good in the qualifiers, but was a little difficult to drive hard. The track was a little rutted out in places, probably due to a full practice day on Friday. I went lighter on oil and softer on springs, and by the third qualifier, the car was really good. I qualified fourth for the triple A Mains.

A1 was a three car freight train for the entire 10 minutes, with myself, Tanner Denney and Drew Moller all within a car’s length of each other the entire race. I was in third place coming to the finish line, right behind Drew Moller, with Denney in first. The final fifteen feet before the finish line consisted of 15 or 20 metal onroad corner dots, each about 2 feet in diameter. Right after the corner dots was a 180 degree left hand turn, with the loop right on the corner. Moller got too aggressive and got into Denney a little bit, allowing me to slip inside. Denney got first, and I beat Moller to the line for second place by 12 thousandths of a second:

E Buggy A1

I got a great start in A2, and moved from fourth to third on the very first turn. With the suspension changes, I was able to drive the car harder than I did in the qualifiers, and I quickly moved up to the lead. Moller made a late charge, but I ran mistake free and was able to take the win.

After A2, myself, Moller and Denney all had a first and a second place finish, so the winner would be decided in A3. I got a great start and was able to get by Harris and Moller early. Denney went wide on a left hand turn, and I got by him on the inside. He tried to blast past me to the next corner, but caught my rear wheel and flipped. Luckily my car took the hit and stayed on all four wheels. I kept the lead for most of the race, with Moller and Harris close behind.

Late in the race, Moller got into me on a low speed right hand turn, flipping me on my lid. While I waited for the turn marshal, Moller and Harris drove by, leaving me in third place. I charged hard and closed the gap to a couple of seconds, but finished in third place, with Harris in second and Moller taking the win.

Moller and I tied for the overall win, but I lost the tie breaker by three seconds (overall combined time for the drivers’ best two races).

1/8 Scale E Buggy Results:

1. Drew Moller (Hot Bodies)
2. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
3. Tanner Denney (Team Associated)
4. Steve Harris (Mugen)
5. Adam Drake (Mugen)

E Buggy Final

1/8 Scale Expert Nitro Buggy

I can honestly say that my Kyosho MP9 TKI3 has never been better. Q1 was probably the best nitro qualifier I think I have ever run. I ran a near perfect race, but went a little wide in a 180 degree turn and got in the loose stuff, losing about 2 seconds. I finished second to Cody King by a mere 1.2 seconds:

Nitro Buggy Q1

In Q2, I caught a rut on the short sweeper before the S-turn and flipped, requiring a marshal. The rest of the run was perfect, but the one mistake resulted in a 5th place finish. In Q3, I ran a perfect race, but this race was probably the most competitive qualifier, with the 1 thru 5 cars finishing within 5 seconds of each other, and cars 2 thru 5 all within 2 seconds of each other. I would finish fifth overall and qualify 5th for the 30 minute A Main.

In the A Main, I got a great start and got by Steve Harris when he was taken out by another car on the first turn. I got into an early groove and settled into fourth place right behind Drake. I maintained fourth place thru my first two pit stops, then got into third when Drake suffered a flame out. With less than two minutes left in the race, a car crashed in front of me on the back straight, but I saw it early and moved outside to avoid him. Unfortunately, the turn marshal ran out onto the track right in front of me. My car clipped his foot and tumbled about 15 feet and landed on it’s lid on the back tabletop. I sat there waiting for the marshal as Steve Harris drove by me into third place. I ran out of time and finished in fourth place. Despite the bad break, I was very happy with the car and my driving.

1/8 Scale Expert Buggy Results:

1. Cody King (Kyosho)
2. Drew Moller (Hot Bodies)
3. Steve Harris (Mugen)
4. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
5. Richard Saxton (Team Associated)

Nitro Buggy


The Truggy handled very well all weekend, but felt sluggish. After a 5th place finish in Q1, I fine tuned the motor, and it felt better, but just did not have the speed needed. I finished fourth in both Q2 and Q3, and would line up fourth on the grid for the 30 minute A Main.

The A Main was pretty uneventful, but I did run mistake free and maintained fourth position throughout the race. Cody King swapped first place with Drake a couple of times, then would pull ahead for good, taking the win. I would finish in fourth place right behind Fischer.

Truggy Results:

1. Cody King (Kyosho)
2. Adam Drake (Mugen)
3. Billy Fischer (Tekno)
4. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
5. Gil Alontaga (Mugen)


Although I had a couple of bad breaks in E Buggy and Nitro Buggy, everything really came together this weekend. I have never driven better, and my equipment performed flawlessly, so I am happy with the results. I am very grateful to my sponsors: Sanford and Son RC, Kyosho, KO Propo, AKA, DE Racing, Tekin, TTN Racing, Vision Racing Products and Upgrade RC.

Radio duties for all cars were handled by the KO EX-1 KIY transmitter and KR-413FH receiver. The nitro car and truck were equipped with the KO BSX2 Response H.C. servo for throttle, and all three cars used the KO RSX2 Power H.C. servo for steering.

My Kyosho MP9e TKI was powered by the Tekin RX8 Gen2 ESC and Redline T8 Gen2 1900 motor. Both buggies were mounted with AKA GridIron II tires. The Kyosho ST-RR Evo 2 truggy was mounted with AKA Evo GridIron tires.

Thank you to Heritage RC Park, and to track manager Gil Alontaga and the track crew for a great job fighting the rain and keeping the track driveable. A special thanks goes to Jimmy Babcock for running and announcing this great event.

12th Annual Sidewinder Nitro Explosion

Heritage RC Park

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