RC Madness in Enfield, CT, hosted to the first ever Outdoor Turf Nationals. The dedicated track and facility with one of the first Turf tracks in the United States offered up a challenge to all. As title sponsor, JConcepts offered a unique experience to the racer offering controlled (soon to be revealed astro/carpet) tires in the buggy classes while all other available classes used an open tire. Practice began on Friday afternoon after just a little weather had passed though the surrounding area. Jason Ruona and Alex Kosciuszek were among the early test drivers sorting out setup and learning the new layout. As the sun came out over the bright green racing surface, traction immediately came up and the racers were smiling. As the day moved on, racers practised in classes ranging from 17.5 Buggy to Stadium and SCT truck and while the buggies dominated the entry count the trucks appeared to be just as enticing as the buggies.
Saturday morning, Chris Marcy and crew did a fantastic job taking late entries, setting the heats and prepping the track from some early morning moisture. By 10:30am sharp, heat one was off and running and the quick overview showed a terrific response from the grip and consistency of the control tire classes. In the 2WD Modified class, Northeast favorite Alex K jumped to the top and quickly showed why he has great reputation in the regional area. Traveling driver Jason Ruona and on-road ace Mike Haynes finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Alex K dominated the qualifying in the 4WD modified class running the only 15 lap run during the first round of qualifying.
During round 2 it was once again Alex K dropping the hammer in 2WD and 4WD Modified taking a 15 lap run in both classes. In a rare twist, the 2WD run with the JConcepts equipped 2WD buggy was actually faster than the 4WD class for the first time all weekend. A quick check in with the Connecticut native revealed some small vehicle setup changes and some “broken in” front and rear JConcepts tires provided the edge he needed to push the car to 15 laps in 5:13, fastest time of the weekend.
Round 3 showed some promise for Jason Ruona as the first time Turf driver turned in a 15 lap run and TQ’ed the round for the first time establishing a 2nd grid position behind Alex. 3rd overall belonged to Mike Haynes who had been tuning his buggy through the first several rounds and drove a cleaner run in round 3 with a solid 14 lap run. Checking in with Ruona immediately following the run, the driver from Clermont, FL, reported the track felt at its highest grip level of the event thus far and he favored his setup and his control tire choice. Also, a clean run with no driving mistakes didn’t hurt the cause.
With main events set and a small break before the mains, drivers used the spare time to run some additional practice laps outdoors while a few drivers tuned indoors on the RC Madness indoor off-road carpet track. With 6 different tracks on the property, drivers have a unique opportunity to test, tune and race on every track or course all weekend.
Mains started with the typical lower mains starting first while the A-main drivers prepped for the features later in the program. Chris Marcy briskly moved through the heats with the 2WD modified A-main set to start at roughly 4:40pm. TQ driver Alex K bolted off the start to a comfortable lead with Jason Ruona and Mike Haynes in tow. Ruona maintained the pace and placed some pressure on the youngster and a great race emerged for the top position. With about 40 seconds to go a mistake by Ruona would be costly, losing 6 seconds and with that a chance at the victory. Alex kept it clean in front while Mike Haynes and Michael Alberti battled for 3rd and the final podium position. At the finish it was Alex K taking the win, Jason Ruona 2nd and Michael Alberti with 3rd.
The 4WD modified class was once again dominated by Alex K. He got off to the quick start and consistent driving led to another huge lead. Michael Alberti hung in there but in the end K was too much and recorded his 2nd victory of the day. Mike Alberti finished a well deserved 2nd place and Adrien Hanson takes 3rd.