AMain Hobbies’ Silver Dollar RC Raceway in Chico, California has been selected as the host track for the 2023 ROAR Fuel Off-Road 1:8 Scale National Championships, June 1-4. This is the second time Silver Dollar RC Raceway has hosted the Off-Road Fuel Nationals (previously in 2015) as well as having held the 2013 IFMAR 1:10 Electric Off-Road World Championships and the 2017 AMain Hobbies Manufacturers Cup. Buoyed by a 12-foot high, 55-foot-long covered driver’s stand (with ADA compliant ramp), the 200-foot x 110-foot racing box features the finest dirt available in Northern California and will allow AMain Hobbies Director of Racing Kevin Jelich to mold a race layout that will feature speed, challenging turn combinations, and a variety of rollers and jumps.
Another much anticipated switch up for the 2023 season, Mugen has confirmed that star driver Ryan Maifield joins Robert Batlle in leaving the manufacturer. Officially posting the announcement on Facebook, it read, “Mugen Seiki Racing would like to make Ryan Maifield’s exit from the factory team official ahead of the 2023 season. Maifield joined Mugen Seiki Racing at the beginning of 2017 where he made history being the first racer to do the impossible by sweeping all three pro classes at The Dirt Nitro Challenge. Still being the only driver in history to sweep The Dirt Nitro Challenge, Maifield and Mugen Seiki did it again in 2021. Maifiled and Mugen Seiki’s success together includes multiple Silver State Nitro Challenge titles, winning both classes at the 2021 1/8th Fuel Nationals, winning every ROAR 1/8th Electric Buggy National Championship Maifield competed in during his time at Mugen Seiki, and multiple IFMAR World Championship finals including a podium finish. It’s been an honour to have worked with such a talented and committed racer like Maifield, and Mugen Seiki Racing wishes Ryan the best with his future endeavours.”
Top Italian driver Fabrizio Teghesi has announced he is departing Kyosho after a lengthly partnership with the brand. Joining the team just a year after Red RC first hit the internet, the former Italian National Champion has been a loyal ambassador for the iconic manufacturer. Looking set to have to swap out his red wardrobe for some new team clothing in 2023, he made the announcement on his Facebook page.
Following the announcement last month of his departure from long time chassis sponsor Shepherd, it has been announced that Simon Kurzbuch will drive for Mugen after Mugen Seiki Europe announced the former World Champion had joined the Japanese manufacturer’s International team. Describing the Swiss driver as ‘a strong addition’ to the team, he will race their MRX6X throughout all major and international events. Commenting on the announcement Kurzbuch said, “An existing new journey ahead! I’m delighted and honoured to announce to partner up with the iconic Japanese brand Mugen Seiki for the future! The first insights have convinced me and my team entirely and we are looking forward to a close and fruitful collaboration with the whole Mugen Team, with MSE and Stefan Habbecke and of course with one of my childhood idols and car designer Robert Pietsch.”
Tadahiko Sahashi has gained elusive ‘Double Champion’ status with victory at the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championship in Thailand. Starting 5th on the grid, the Infinity driver becomes only the second ever driver to win both the IFMAR 1:8 and 1:10 Nitro Onroad, Adrien Bertin’s feat finally being matched 18-years after the Frenchman became the first to achieved it in 2004. A final that would see a number of drivers take turns at the front, when it counted most it was 2013 1:8 Champion Sahashi that lead them home. Behind, there was an intense battle for second as Dominic Greiner came under pressure from long time leader Jilles Groskamp but the only non-Infinity driver in the final was able to stave off the challenge. Making his first Nitro World final, Electric Touring Car ace Viktor Wilck had an impressive race to fourth, his trademark colour scheme having been out front during the race. Another finalist chasing ‘Double Champion’ status at RC Addict this week, Dario Balestri had the title in his grasps until he suffered a flame out as he left the pits following his tyres stop. In the end the Italian would finish 5th. Outgoing champion and Top Qualifier here in Bangkok, Naoto Matsukura was pulling clear early on. The tricky conditions however caught him out a number of times. The flip coming onto the main straight that sent his car into the bushes lining the outside of the track ultimately ending his chances of becoming the first driver to defend the title with 8th his final position at the end of the 1-hour encounter.
Dominic Greiner and Jilles Groskamp took convincing Semi Final wins at the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championship as the final grid to decide the 9th running of the Championship is set in Thailand. Up first Greiner drove a controlled race with it looking like it was going to be a Capricorn 1-2 as Alex Thurston put in a great drive. Holding second, his dream of a first World Final was suddenly dashed when the British driver ran out of fuel. This promoted Brayden Stanley, who was shadowing Thurston for most of the race, to second with Andy Moore coming through to complete the Top 3 after his car had been on its roof on the opening lap. Unfortunately having looked to be in contention to come from last in qualifying and through to the final, a mistake from Teemu Leino ended his run of bump-ups with the 30-minute encounter also being the end of the road for Meen Vejrak, champion here in 2012, current 1:8 World Champion Shoki Takahata and Takaaki Shimo. The second encounter, the last chance to join Top Qualifier Naoto Matsukura and Super Pole winner Dario Balestri in the 1-hour title decider, Groskamp took the win. A slower race than the previous Semi he starts fourth behind Greiner, who will be the only non-Infinity driver on the grid. Tadahiko Sahashi will again get a go at doing the Nitro Onroad double, the 2013 1:8 World Champion crossing the line second followed by Viktor Wilck, the Electric Touring Car ace securing his first nitro final appearance. With the Top 3 directly progressing, the grid is completed by the next fastest two drivers in the Semi results, Chavit Sligupta and Jesse Davis getting that done in the second Semi with 4th and 5th.
Just as we are about to crown the final World Champion of the comeback year that is 2022 at the 1:10 nitro Touring Car World Championship in Thailand, IFMAR has published provisional dates for the 2023 encounters. A total of four World Championship events will take place starting with 1:10 Electric Offroad which is scheduled for September 9-17th at Hobby Action in Arizona, USA. Added as a new World Championship class and taking place at the beginning of 2020 just before Covid, 1:8 GT will travel to Sydney, Australia from October 8th to 15th. Later the same month the 23rd running of IFMAR’s oldest class, 1:8 Nitro Onroad, returns to Japan for the third time from October 27th to November 4th. The final World Champion will then be crowned in November when 1:12 takes place from the 6-11th. Having covered our first World Championship in 2017 (1:8 Onroad, Argentina) and attended a World Championship every year since then, we are looking forward to continuing to tell the story of how each race unfolds.
Having taken the final qualifier but missed out on the overall TQ to Infinity team-mate Naoto Matsukura, Dario Balestri pulled off a blistering lap to win a thrilling Super Pole shootout to book his place in the 1:10 Nitro Touring Car World Championship on Bangkok. Following a 5-minute group Warm-up for 2nd through 5th place qualifiers, each driver was given their own 3-minute warm-up that would lead them into 6 attempts to set a single lap time and try to secure their place on the grid with defending Champion Matsukura. Qualifying 5th, Tadahiko Sahashi would be the first to go with the former 1:8 World Champion deliver an impressive 14.9 second lap, a time only seen once in qualifying and also set by the Japanese driver. Next up it was Dominic Greiner but it was clear the 2016 Champion was struggling as he rolled a number of times during his warm-up. Things didn’t improve for the timed laps and flipping again he would abort early. Taking the stage next, onlookers cheering each driver as they took up position, Jilles Groskamp would set a new benchmark beating Sahashi’s already impressive time with just one challenger remaining. Step up Balestri, but his warm-up suggested he wasn’t going to do it. A flip would leave the rear wing hanging off his car forcing him to pit and loose valuable warm-up time. Initially his timed laps posed no threat to Groskamp but then out of nowhere the Italian launched his car at the finish line riding the curbs to produce a 14.8 second lap that sent both him and the crowd crazy. Top Qualifier of the previous running of these Championships, he had booked his place in the final while the others will have to race through from the Semi Finals.