Sanford and Son RC headed out to Heritage RC Park in Chula Vista, CA on August 30th for Round 3 of the Mugen Grand Prix Series. The Heritage RC crew provided an updated layout for this race, and for being a new layout, traction was really good. There were two rounds of qualifying, with single A-Main events. The track was watered every other heat.
My chief competition for this event would be Team Associated driver Ryan Cavalieri, AKA/TLR living legend Mark Pavidis, Mugen’s Drew Moller and Jaime Boquiren, Mike Moralez from XRay, TLR’s Don Vinkemulder, Kyosho teammates Cody King and Colin Herzig, and a number of very fast local racers.
1/8 Scale Expert Buggy
I would have the wet track for Round 1 of qualifying, and I bolted up a fresh set of AKA Soft GridIrons. My Kyosho MP9 TKI III was fantastic, but the new layout contained a very difficult double jump in the far right corner. Immediately preceding the jump was an uphill 90-degree right-hand turn, with a short runup to the 40-ft (or more) double. If you went wide to generate the speed needed to clear the jump, you could get out of the groove, and lose traction. If you went inside on the uphill, it was very difficult to generate enough speed to clear the jump. To top it off, there was a bad kicker in the middle of the takeoff that just got worse as the day wore on. I was in the second heat, so I was able to watch the first heat to see what they would do on this part of the layout. Nobody handled this part of the track flawlessly, and even the best drivers found it difficult to clear the double every time. I knew that to be competitive, I would have to try to clear the double. In my two 9-lap qualifiers, I crashed twice on the double in the first qualifier, and once in the second qualifier. I would qualify fifth for the A-Main, just missing fourth by less than a second. Qualifying in front of me for the A-Main would be Cavilieri, Moller, King, and Moralez.
I knew that to have any chance for a podium spot in the 30-minute A-Main, I would have to keep it on all four wheels. I decided to do single-singles for the tricky double jump. It would later prove to be a good strategy. I got a great start, but heading into the long uphill sweeper in the left corner, Moralez and King got into each other in front of me. It was all I could do to avoid them. I managed to get around Moralez without getting tangled, but I lost valuable time while Cavalieri and Moller pulled away from the pack. When King flamed out in the pits, I moved into third place. I stuck with my plan to single-single the monster double-jump, but I stayed clean everywhere else. My pit-man’s flawless pit stops helped me hold off a hard charge by Pavidis late in the race. I ran the entire 30-minute A-Main without the need of a turn marshall, and never relinquished 3rd place. My Kyosho MP9 on AKA Soft Impacts could not have performed better, and I finished third on the podium behind Moller and Cavalieri.
1/8 Scale eBuggy
AKA Soft GridIrons worked very well in the qualifiers, so I decided to go with a fresh set of the same for the 10-minute A-Main event. I didn’t want to risk the difficult previously mentioned double-jump, so, as in the Expert nitro A-Main, I decided to take the safer single-single route. I ran a flawless race, and finished second, on the same lap as Cavalieri. Boquiren took the final podium spot. My Kyosho MP9e TKI, with the Tekin RX8 Gen2 and Redline T8 Gen2 1900 motor performed perfectly all day.
I would like to thank all of my sponsors for making it happen: Sanford and Son RC, Kyosho, AKA, DE Racing, Tekin, TTN Racing and Upgrade RC.
I want to add a special thanks to Robert Morris and my newest sponsor, KO Propo. Radio duties were handled by the KO EX-1 KIY transmitter and KR-413FH receiver in both cars. The nitro car was equipped with the KO BSX2 Response H.C. servo for both throttle and steering. The E Buggy was equipped with the KO RSX2 Response H.C. servo.