Last weekend (OK, week!), the warm up race for the ISTC World Championships took place in Florida. A chance for some of the drivers who will be attending the main event later this year to visit the venue and begin their testing programme. Warm up events are always a controversial topic, so it only seems right for me to throw my thoughts into the mix. Typically, these events attract minimal coverage during the event because, let’s face it, it’s really just a glorified open practice day. Yet there still seemed to be plenty of ‘hype’ and interest about it – I was at another race in the UK that weekend, and lost count of how many times people asked me what news I’d heard from Florida!
Following our exclusive interview with Xray’s onroad designer Martin Hudy about the forthcoming Xray RX8 1/8th nitro on-road car we now have a more in-depth article in which Martin explains the challenges of making an already proven car even better and how he tackled the recent tyre rule changes.
July of last year I opened my first report from the Euro Touring Series Finale with ‘The greatest R/C venue in the World’, that venue being the Hudy Arena. My first time to visit this track and the Xray factory, which are both part of the one facility, on returning to Slovakia 8-months later for the Euro Offroad Series’ first trip to the Hudy Arena I was still just as impressed by the place. This time round I would be working alongside my good Italian friend Ricky Acciari who would be looking after photography and on the 2 hour drive from Vienna to Trencin there was an air of excitement in the rental car. As it was Ricky’s first visit he was super excited about seeing the place in the flesh but I was even more excited about showing him around as if I actually had in someway had something to do with the creation of the place!! I didn’t but so impressive is the place I was proud our sport could boast such a facility. Asking EOS drivers their thoughts on the place all were nothing but impressed. Although I had taken the Xray factory tour on my previous visit Ricky was a damn good excuse for me to take it again and my appreciation for the work that goes into the production there grew even more as I picked up on things I missed the last time – like that each of the teeth on a XB8 diff crown gear are individually cut in a process that per unit takes 20-minutes!!!
The Formula One championship got under way this weekend in Australia. Whether you’re a fan of F1 or not, anyone with any sort of interest in motorsport can’t have avoided the news throughout the winter “off season” – a huge change in the rules bringing about changes in car design and engine configuration – and with that uncertainties over who would adapt best and who may struggle to get to grips with such a huge shift in rules.
Four years ago Red RC made its first trip to the US to report on one of many big annual Offroad races that keep the teams busy each season and I suppose the Pro drivers in a job. That event has since become my favourite annual event but having just covered the 15th edition of the race I don’t actually know why. It’s certainly not because of the well planned timetable, while in Europe a timetable is an expected standard, in the US I have found to be as rare as hens teeth. As a keeper of hens I can assure that pretty much means they don’t exist!!! Its not because of the short days, that’s if you can call a guesstimated 08:00 start time, racing actually kicked off at 09:30 after a few extra late entries were crammed in, and finishing at 01:30 the next morning a short day. It’s not because of the feeling of being outdoors in the sunshine & fresh air, eating dust all day is an acquired taste as is the kick off the nitro fumes that burn your nose and make your eyes water once darkness falls. Returning from a late coffee run on one of the finals days, driving towards the track one could be forgiven for thinking the hovering 2-stroke smoke, lit up by the track floodlights, was the cloud off some sort of nuclear explosion. Despite this The Dirt Nitro Challenge is my favourite annual event to report on and if your an offroad racer I think it’s one of the events you have to do before you die. It’s the Dakar rally of the rc world – a challenge both to man and machine!
I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago at one of my races, which started out with a very simple question – “Are there too many ‘big races’ today?” That started a fairly long debate but, none the less, raised some things I’d never considered before.
This past weekend, two events took place which were of particular interest. One of these was in Milton Keynes, in the UK, whilst the other was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – I’m of course referring to the BRCA 1/12th Scale Nationals and the Motorama event. The thing that links these two events was the fact that they both took place directly in the public eye – in a shopping centre and at a major motorsport show.
After the glamour of the Reedy Race of Champions thanks to the welcomed presence of Monster Energy and their easy on the eye female employees, it was always going to be a near impossible act to follow for the next few races I would be attending. Flying back from California, with a day off before heading to Round 2 of the Yokomo Euro Touring Series, I would receive an e-mail that while not bringing much glamour to the race would certain excite R/C fans all over the world. As press officer for the ETS, Yokomo had given me the go ahead to officially announce that they had signed to their touring car team r/c super star Atsushi Hara with part of his deal being to contest the ETS. With so much talk and rumour as to where or what Hara would do, it was very exciting to be able to let the world know that for the class in which he won his first world title and in a world championship year he was signing with Yokomo, the same manufacturer with whom he won that 2000 title. As press releases go sitting down to type up the announcement was by far the easiest one I have had to write yet for the series.