Sanford and Son RC headed out to IERC Raceway in San Bernardino, CA on April 26th for Round 8 of the JConcepts Top Notch Winter Series.
There were 175 entries for this final round of the series. My main competition for this event would include Hobby Pro USA’s Andrew Smolnik, Tekno RC’s Rudy Rico, TLR’s David Jenson, Brian McDuffy and Brian Sullivan, Jimmy Wright from Trackstar RC, Pres Ilog from AKA, and a number of fast local drivers, including Kevin Kasten and Scott Wagner. There would be two rounds of 5 minute qualifiers, followed by 6 minute A Mains.
1/8 Scale eBuggy
Unlike previous rounds of the series, we were not able to show up the day before the race for practice, so our practice time was limited to about two hours before the racing would begin. We used our standard setup for the Kyosho MP9 TKI for starters, but the car was dumping pretty badly in the turns, so we went up 2-1/2 weight in the front shock oil. We did not have time to test the change in practice, so we would go with it in the first qualifier. There were two heats of 1/8 scale eBuggy, and I was in the second heat. I ran the first qualifier mistake free, and would take the TQ, but the car was still too soft in the corners, so I added stiffer front springs for the second round. My lap times in round 2 were .7 seconds per lap faster, so the shock spring change was dead on. I would better my TQ time significantly, and would start first on the grid for the A Main.
In the A Main, I got a great start, and quickly pulled out to about a 2 second lead. Traction had gone thru the roof between the second round and the mains, so I had to back off a little bit thru the turns to keep from traction rolling. I went up on two wheels a couple of times, but managed to keep the car on all fours. I ran mistake free and would take the A Main win. My Kyosho MP9e TKI on DE wheels, with the T8i motor and RX8 Gen 2 ESC was fantastic all day!
1/8 Scale eBuggy Final Round Results:
1. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
2. David Jenson (TLR)
3. Chris Burling
1/8 Scale eBuggy Overall Series Results:
1. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
2. Rudy Rico (Tekno)
3. David Jenson (TLR)
2wd Mod Buggy
There were two heats in this class. I would be in the first group. In the first qualifier, I crashed a number of times in the six-pack rhythm section in front of the driver’s stand. You had two options thru this six pack: The slower (but safer) option was a double-double-double. A faster but more risky option was a double-triple-single. The lander on the triple part of the double-triple-single was almost straight up and down, so if you overshot it, you risked lawn darting the landing. I had chosen the quicker, more risky option, and paid the price with the crashes. As a result, I qualified 3rd overall for the first round.
While marshalling the second heat of the first round, I got to see Smolnik make a flawless run in which he took the TQ. I noticed that he took the conservative double-double-double option thru the six-pack, so I decided for the second round that I would take the more conservative route also. It proved to be a wise decision, as I made a mistake free run. However, I had one bobble over the big table top and got caught at the line with a 5:01. It cost me the TQ, but I learned a valuable lesson (how to do the six-pack section) which served me the rest of the day. I would start second on the grid for the A Main.
In the A Main, the track was very dusty, and I spun my wheels on the start. Clay Typos had worked very well all day, but Super Soft Typos would undoubtedly have been better for the A Main. Before the first turn, I was passed by McDuffy and Rico. I went for broke thru the six-pack, but made a mistake and quickly dropped to ninth place. However, I drove well the rest of the race, and would finish fifth overall. Fortunately, my finish would give me enough points to win the overall series.
My RB6, equipped with AKA clay Typo tires and Tekin RSX with the Redline Gen2 7.5 motor was very good, considering the dusty conditions.
2wd Mod Buggy Overall Series Results:
1. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
2. Andrew Smolnik (Hobby Pro USA)
3. Cameron Bash
Mod Truck was not an official class at the TNS series this year, but there was enough interest to run the class at most of the races. I won all five races I competed in, and got the TQ in four of the five. AKA clay Typo tires with DE wheels were the ticket, with the Tekin RSX and Gen2 6.5 motor out back.
Mod Truck Overall Series Results:
1. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
2. John Schultz
3. Mikey Bustamante (Kyosho)
4wd Mod Buggy
I was not in the points race for the 4wd Mod Buggy class, because I had only run in two of the races, however I decided to run my 4wd for this round.
There were two heats of 4wd buggy, and I was in the first heat. I won my heat, but I made a couple of mistakes, and Brian Sullivan would take the TQ in the second heat. My car felt really good, so I didn’t make any setup changes. I drove mistake free in the second qualifier, and would take the overall TQ by almost two seconds.
The track was quite dusty for the A Main, but I managed to get a decent start. Sullivan would be about two car lengths behind as we rounded the first 180 degree turn and went over the table top. A 90 degree right hand turn into the tricky rhythm section would prove disastrous. Going over the takeoff for the first jump of the rhythm section, I was taken out from behind and knocked over the pipe. I immediately went from first to eighth place.
If I had any chance at all for a podium, I would have to tighten up my line and take some risks. I chose to take the risky option thru the six-pack section (mentioned earlier) to try to make up some lost time. Many 4wd cars were broken during the day on this part of the layout, and I had crashed here a couple of times in my first qualifier. The only reason I took the TQ in round 2 was because I backed off and settled for the double-double-double thru this section. Now however, I had no choice but to take the more risky double-triple-single for the remainder of the race.
I pressed hard, and moved up from eighth to fifth, then fourth. Sullivan broke with a couple of minutes remaining, handing the lead to Jimmy Wright. I found myself in third place with two laps remaining. I closed the gap on the second place driver Mathew Pages, and with one lap left, I was on his rear bumper at the end of the straightaway. Going thru the right hand sweeper at the end of the straightaway, Pages tried to close the door to the inside, and he traction rolled. As his car catapulted, I passed right underneath his car. He landed on his wheels, but I had already passed. I pressed hard on the final lap, closing the gap on the leader, but ran out of time and finished second.
Even though I got taken out on lap one, it allowed me to see what my Kyosho Lazer ZX-5 was really made of. The ZX-5 on AKA clay Typo tires, with the Tekin RSX and Gen2 5.5 motor could not have been better. In the three races that I ran this class, I got the TQ in all three, and landed on the podium twice with a second place and a third.
4wd Mod Buggy Results:
1. Jimmy Wright (Trackstar RC)
2. Lucas Sanford (Kyosho)
3. Mathew Pages (TLR)
I would like to thank all of my sponsors for making it happen: Sanford and Son RC, Kyosho, AKA, DE Racing, Tekin, TTN Racing and Upgrade RC. Thanks also to JConcepts and DE Racing for sponsoring this series, and IERC Raceway. Last but not least, I would like to thank all of my fellow racers for coming out to this series, all the track owners and track crews, and the TNS organization. A special thanks goes out to Neobuggy for their continued support throughout the series.
Without the dedication and support of everyone involved, we would not be able to enjoy this passion of ours.