May 17, 2013

Asian On Road Championships Rd 1 – report

Asian On Road Championships Rd 1 – report

After much anticipation the inaugural round of the AOC was held at RCI Raceway in Shanghai, China. The race took place at a beautiful facility with a pristine indoor asphalt track that has everything a racer could want. A perfect height driver stand, plenty of pit room and fantastic traction. The asphalt has natural traction as they do not put any sugar water on the track. The size of the track is 38 meters x 16 meters wide.  The layout that was designed for the AOC was a fast but technical layout making for drivers to have to be completely on their game to turn fast laps. The organizers ran 4 classes at the AOC Rd 1. Stock 17.5, FWD, F-1 and Super Stock 13.5. Modified is not normally run locally as Super Stock is the popular class for the top dogs so that is what was the premier class of the weekend.

The weeks leading up to the AOC were filled with anticipation as the organizers were expecting some of the big names in the industry to join the race in Shanghai. Unfortunately the announcement of the H7N9 Bird Flu weeks before the AOC had made some of these drivers decide not to join. It was unfortunate because it was not a problem at all and everyone had a fantastic event with great racing and a chance to get out and see the amazing sights that Shanghai has to offer.

One of the worlds best drivers was not deterred from the reports of the flu and joined in the fun and that was Yokomo’s top Touring car racer Ronald Volker. Ronald made the trip from Germany and made for a great show. Even though his normal competitors were not in attendance, Ronald faced a few new challenges this weekend. First being well know Nitro Ace and Hot Bodies Factory Team driver JJ Wang. This is JJ’s home track and he was up to the challenge to protect his home turf from the visiting German. Also showing they had something to offer in the challenge was HobbyWing’s Salton Dong and former China National Champion and TOP Factory driver Wang Hai Feng. Ronald’s challenge was not only from the other competitors but it also came from the change to Stock racing. Ronald has never raced in this class before and quickly found after his first practice run that he would need to completely change his set up on his Yokomo BD7 from his standard Modified platform to a setup that would allow him to keep pace with others. Ronald worked with the other Yokomo drivers in attendance to share ideas and get suggestions for everyone to make their cars the best possible. Speaking to Ronald after practice he said “He had many things to learn about changing to stock. One of the toughest things was learning the throttle for Stock racing. In Modified I normally use a lot of brake, Ronald said. But in stock you need to keep your corner speed up and that was a challenge to learn a new way to drive”. He quickly got things figured out and by the end of the practice session was on pace and looking forward to getting down to racing.

The program consisted of 5 rounds of qualifying using points taking the best 3 rounds out of 5 to set the finals. The AOC team ran triple finals for all mains. The racers in the lower finals were happy to hear that they will be able to run triple finals just like the A finals normally do.

When qualifying was in the books the TQ’s for each class were set.
In Stock 17.5 it was RCI’S Track Manager Bobby who was at the top of the list. Bobby dominated qualifying taking 4 of 5 rounds. In FWD it was JJ who was the class of the field. Super Stock 13.5 it was Ronald who was able to lay down the consistent laps each round to earn the TQ honors. Ronald was not the overall fastest car as JJ and the others all were right with him, but it was Ronald’s mistake free runs coupled with great pace that was able to get him to the top.

First up was the Stock class. Bobby was the class of the field but trouble in A1 caused him to retire and put the pressure on him that he needed to be mistake free in A2 and A3. Mistake free is what he was in both A2 and A3 to earn the top spot on the Podium.

In the FWD class it was an easy run for JJ taking the first 2 finals without much challenge to win the class.

In the F-1 Division, the organizers used the qualifying and final format they use locally that made for a cool class. The team ran two 20 min qualifying runs with the racers going for fast lap to earn Pole. In the early sessions it was Bob Peterson who was clearly the fastest and after his second 20 min session looked to be a lock for Pole. That was until the second group went out on their final qualifying session and local racer AI bettered Bob’s hot lap by a tenth of a second to earn the Pole. For the finals all 13 cars ran in the 30 minute main. This would make for an interesting final and that traffic played a major roll in the outcome of the final. What no one expected was that one of the top runners would be collected early in the final and caused him to retire very early in the race. At the tone AI got a way clean but 2nd qualifier Peterson got collected on lap 1 and his car was damaged, he tried to continue on but later he had found out his rear axle was bent and after a long pit stop was not able to make repairs and was out. Throughout the 30 min final it was TQ AI who showed great patience working the traffic to survive the long final and take the win with a 3 lap victory.  Rounding out the podium was 9th and 6th qualifiers Lee and Edward.

Last but not least was the much anticipated showdown in the Super Stock division. At the tone of A1 Ronald and JJ were able to pull away a bit from the field and went about a great battle. Both drivers running a great race and having to deal with traffic as the tight technical RCI track kept things interesting. In the end it was Ronald who was able to hold on for the win in A1 by a narrow margin. A2 was not the final that JJ was hoping for. Trouble early caused him to fall back in the field and have to really push to get back to the front but unfortunately pushed to hard and contact with the inside barrier took him out of the race. But that was not the end of the race. Former Chinese National Champion Wang gave Ronald a great challenge matching Ronald’s pace lap after lap but was unable to find a way past and Ronald held on to take the win in A2 by 1.0 seconds. Even though the overall win was locked up for Ronald the racers wanted him to join in A3 and the final battle was on. A great start made it look like everyone was in for a thrilling last final but unfortunate luck again for JJ dropped him back again in the field and this time Ronald was able to cruise to victory in A3. JJ was able to secure 3rd place and Salton Dong was able to get a second place in A3. This second place for Salton made it a tie for 2nd overall. After the tie breaker was calculated it was JJ who was able to earn the 2nd place and Salton would take 3rd.

As the awards were presented and pictures were taken, everyone could look back at the fun we all had this weekend. For many drivers this was their first major event. They had a chance to see some great drivers, learn many tips from these guys and take part in a great weekend. It was really cool to see many of the racers talking with Ronald to get setup tips and advice from one of the best guys in the business.

The mission of the AOC is to bring an exciting series of races to new and different parts of Asia and the Pacific that may have not had major international events before. It is also to showcase our sponsors and get them exposure to these new areas and racers. The organizers want to say a big thank you to Rick Wang and his wonderful staff for the hospitality and fantastic facility they provided for them to kick off the opening round of the AOC. Rick is working very hard with the RC scene in China and the future looks bright for China to host some major RC events.

Up next for the AOC will be July 4-7 2013 in Melbourne Australia which will be one of the largest onroad RC event ever in Australia.

The AOC also wishes to thank all of their sponsors for the support of the AOC, Xray, Top, Yokomo, Leeseed, Ride, Pardus, Viper, Hot Bodies, ARC, Hobbywing, Serpent, Orca,, Gravity RC. MYlaps, RC Scoring Pro,


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