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WC offroad: Eastons report on Thailand (16/12/2010)


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Cobra 811 1/8 4wd buggy, Cobra TE 1/8 4wd buggy, Cobra 811 Buggy 2.0 1/8 4wd buggy, Cobra Buggy 2.1 4wd 1/8, Cobra Buggy 2.2 GP 4wd 1/8, IFMAR 1/8 offroad WC 2010

Rc Powerboat Arena

The Ifmar  World Championships were here again, only this time it was going to mark one of the most challenging Worlds Ever in 1.8th offroad buggy racing. The race was to be held in Pattaya,Thailand, at the RC Power Boat arena..This venue has one of the most grueling tracks known to man for offroad racing. They have the most challenging layouts, difficult jumps, lots of elevation and they use Oil on the dirt for traction additive.  Aside from the track, many racers globally were very hot this time around.  With the 1.8th class becoming more and more popular as well as more and more competitive,  this class is truly becoming a different version of F-1 racing, only for the little cars.

Practice :
As the practice day started the track was fairly fresh and the earlier heats had to contend with puddles of oil and a non grooved track. Unfortunately I was one of those heats. The goal was simple, learn the layout and try not to crash. I had good confidence in my car and the basic setup has proved to be quite reliable over the last few weeks..The track was actually really smooth at this time my car was actually pretty good.  After the 1st and 2nd rounds the track was in good shape and I really did not feel that my car needed a whole lot of changes.  On the second day in the 3rd practice I tried 10 hole pistons, but felt the car did not corner as well  but also struggled in the triple double section ,so  I opted to try a little different setup. In the 4th round I switched over to the webbed bladders and then the original 8 hole piston setup.. I thought this was very stable in the jump sections and the cornering was pretty good.  I felt overall pretty good with my car, but with only 4 practices its difficult to really dial in a car

In the 1st round of qualifying I went out with what I felt was the best setup I had found from my practice runs.  The run was pretty good, I could have driven a little better, but I still needed to look for something to improve my speed. In the 2nd round I tried a little different rear anti roll bar setup. I mounted a 2.7mm roll bar on a hole further in on the rear arm.  I thought it might have been better, but overall I was the same speed. I would say this was a wash.. Going into the 3rd round I went back to a standard 2.3mm rear roll bar in the standard hole as well as went to the longer rear link. This handled pretty good, but I had lost a fair amount of steering in the tight little turns.. The 4th round I really did not try anything but the track was getting really bad, the track was forming pot holes everywhere and my car felt very unstable.  I felt that I needed to do something for the 5th round to better my chances; otherwise my quest for the final would be shot. So, in that round  I tried a little different rear suspension package by going out one hole on the rear arm to the #2 position.  I thought this was better , or at least it seemed as if I could drive it better in the rough sections.  In the final round I used the B hole on the rear arm but went to a 2.5mm rear anti roll bar and went to a softer rear spring. This seemed to be the most difficult to drive and it was actually one of my worse runs.
After qualifying was over, I felt that if they did not fix the track, my car simply was not handling the rough as well as I needed it too. At that point I decided to create a 3rd hole on the rear arm a C hole. I went down 2 spring rates and then went to 8 holes pistons with 25% pressure. On the bench it actually felt really good.  Based on my previous testing, this was something that could help me out, but it was a long shot.
As the mains came around the track had been prepped, the bumps were all filled in with concrete and the track had been oiled beyond belief. Now we were racing on what appeared to be a parking lot with jumps.
I was in a quarter final so this was going to be a very, very long day for me. The final started off ok, I got near the front, but was hit from behind at some point and my rear sway bar link had been popped off. So, when I was on corner exit the car was rolling all over the place and made for a very difficult situation. I managed it as well as I could, however my transfer position was not as safe as it once was. A fellow racer was closing in on me as I struggled to manage my car, the final lap was up and he was all over me. We went through a off camber turn and he managed to bump my front end and send me down the hill, I gave up the position but was still determined to get it back. I raced hard the next few turns and new that the only way I could overtake him was in the jump section. Sure enough for me, we went through there and I nailed it perfectly spitting me back out just in front of him. Thank goodness for a lucky roll just after and checkered flag here I come.. So, I transferred into a semi final.
The semi final was actually a much better race for me. We were able to maintenance the car fix the roll bar and it was really quite ready to go. The horn sounded and I blitzed to the front of the pack. I raced with Tebo back and forth a while and actually felt quite amazed with the car. It was handling better than it had and my chances were really starting to look up. This main was a actually quite uneventful, I held my position and safely transferred into the final.

The main was here, and I can honestly say I did not even think this was possible. It was a great relief though and so many good things had to come together in order for it to happen. The car came around, the engine ran well and the tires were competitive. The final had started and I ran up to the front and was actually fairly close to the leaders. The car was good enough to compete, however nerves got the best of me a couple times and next thing I knew I was losing ground on the leaders. I tried to put together solid laps, but something stupid would always cost me ground.  In the end, I ran a steady race, but simply was not at the top of my game in the driving department to go head to head for 2 hours of constant racing.  I have to say, after 2 hours on that track my car ran flawlessly with no troubles what so ever at all. I am very impressed with its durability and also performance. I felt that if Cody King had my car he could have also won. In the end, I want to say thanks for Serpent, RB engines, Airtronics, Byrons fuel, Hi tec servos, Proline tires, Protec RC, and A main hobbies for their contributions this season. Thanks to Joaquin Desoto for great pit-work at the Worlds.

Congratulations to Cody King for becoming the newest IFMAR World Champion.

Billy Easton