September 12, 2011

Q&A with Team Durango’s Jason Dearden

Q&A with Team Durango's Jason Dearden

Following the recent announcement that 3 time European Champion Renaud Savoya had left Durango and the subsequent departures from the team by Elliot Boots and Taylor James we sat down with Team Durango’s Jason Dearden to hear the company’s side of the story.

Q. You have lost a number of star signings in the last 2 weeks with Renaud Savoya, Elliot Boots and Taylor James all jumping ship. Can you explain why they left?
A. Drivers come and drivers go, it’s like football players, it’s no big deal it’s the way goes. Obviously, Team Durango, in fact any RC car company, have specific requirements from a driver, a driver always has his needs and opinions too, then there are also the needs of other sponsors etc. Generally all goes well when all these sides are in harmony, but it does not take much for them to get out of line, especially for pro’s where the influences are greater and stakes are higher. As so much of a drivers performance is “in his head” it’s pretty pointless fighting the situation irrespective of who is right or wrong; we are a small company we don’t have time for that.

I was not surprised to see Reno go to a brand that is distributed by RB, especially as he is now in France again; we signed him as part of the US team. Elliot was fast with our car but the results did not always reflect that for various reasons, so I am not surprised to see him turning his back on electric and going for a known gas buggy. Taylor was on a one year deal to see how things went, so when a deal that suited him better came along we did not see it as an issue to let him go a few months early.

Reno, Elliot and Taylor are all great drivers and great people, Team Durango wishes them the very best for their future.

Q. Less than 12 months ago TD hired some big name drivers in to the team. Do you feel this created too much pressure to deliver winning results in your debut season?
A. We hired drivers after the 8th worlds because that’s effectively the transfer window in RC and we felt we needed good drivers to help us develop the product; we still feel that way, without good feedback at the highest level you can’t improve. To be honest we were pretty surprised by the hype theses signings caused, we are still a small team in comparison to many brands, but yes we do have some great guys. As for too much pressure, no I don’t think so, we just make the cars. For gas buggy its very good car, we certainly have a top5 car in a very crowded class which makes us very proud for being in this class such a short time. For 10th 4wd, both SC and buggy, we feel we have the best cars at the moment, the new 2wd (DEX210) appears to be very strong too. We put pressure on ourselves to always improve our cars, it’s the drivers and mechanics that have the higher pressure job on the day of tyre choices, setup choices and of course driving.

Q. Are you planning to sign any big names to replace those who have left or are you confident with the current team going into 2012, a World Championship year?
A. No, we are not planning more signings just yet, we have very good drivers who give us the feedback we need; so we can focus on developing the chassis and we see what happens after the worlds in the next ‘transfer window’.

Q. With a lot of the big races and National series already done how do you feel the year so far has been for Team Durango?
A. For 10th scale it’s been a great year, perhaps our best – we should have won 4wd worlds, we did win the Euros. The 210 has been winning from its first race. At the ROAR nats we had strong placing in all the mains we contested. The SC is winning all the time.

For gas buggy it’s always tougher, more factors, more attrition, but still a decent year. Ryan was right up there at Neo race and various big US races, Kyle won in FEMCA and dominant in Oz, Jorn and Hupo winning on the continent, Elliott and Chris doing consistently well in UK, with Kev winning the Proline. At the Euros most of our drivers were on the wrong tyres, but only one brand had more cars than Durango in the final and that’s without Reno in there who most would have considered a dead certainty. Plus Hupo was so close to getting in the Euro’s main, the referees not seeing how he was butchered. In the final, like Reno’s servo horn in quail, little issues with engine and tyres prevented Jorn and Elliot from staying at the sharp end. So a decent year, but there can always be more.


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