This year for the Cactus Classic we decided to make it a family affair. The whole Tebo family would head out, and we would head out a few days early. Sunday we got on a flight out to Phoenix, and our racecation was started. We weren’t sure how it would go, Cole is getting bigger and more and more wild each day. The flight was pretty good, Cole even napped on the plane. When we landed, we got all of our luggage, all 10 pieces…..then it off the rental car. I reserved a small SUV, praying everything would fit. After a difficult game of Tetris with the bags, we were able to close all the doors and all fit in our seats….we were off to the hotel.
The first day we wanted to have a nice, easy, family day, so we found a hiking area and took the kiddos out into the desert. It was really nice and fun, until we had a slight cactus issue. Cole was getting curious and bolted off the trail, Megan went after him and grabbed him right before we hugged a cactus….during her sprint, she kicked a jumping cactus and was spiked pretty bad. Luckily we had spare diapers and I was able to grab that baby and pull it off, but Megan did get stuck with probaly 30 spikes….ouch!
After that we just headed back to the hotel, the girls went to the pool, and the boys took to the bed…for a nap. I’m not a napper, so I must have needed it.
Tuesday we had more of a planned day. Started the day with going to the Mesa Air Force Museum. My grandfather was a pilot in WWII and flew a B-17, and they had a B-17 that we could go inside, so I was pretty excited. We checked everything out and the kiddos even got to fly a plane their size.
Next on the schedule was to go to downtown Scottsdale and grab some lunch. We walked around some, checked out the awesome bike shop, Bicycle Haus, and got some good food. After lunch we headed over to a really cool train park and the kids had a great time.
Wednesday, our family time of the racecation was over, now the racing portion of the trip started. Wednesday would be open practice, and it would be an interesting day. The vibe of the race was not as exciting or prestigious as in years past. Practice was unorganized and the track was changing a lot during the day. This made practice pretty difficult and finding a base setup for the cars almost impossible. I focused more on just driving the cars and getting the track layout down. The track was high grip clay, and I was running my carpet lay down 3 gear rear end that Kyosho made for the 2015 IFMAR Worlds. I had never ran this car on dirt, so I was trying to get a setup dialed in, but the conditions made that tough.
Thursday would be a seeded practice day, but the first half of the day still open practice, and only one round of seeding practice. They would time our practice laps in the seeding run and the best three consecutive laps would seed you into which qualifier you would be in. The track crew would do a better job and get the track more consistent. The grip was high and now it was staying high grip every time you would drive. All my cars were feeling pretty good and my setups were getting comfortable, so I was looking forward to getting on the clock and really seeing where my speed was at. The track design was pretty fun to drive, and pretty difficult, so I thought it would suit me pretty good. I was trying to learn the RB6 setup with the different rear end, but it was still difficult to see your true pace in practice. Session to session the grip was different, and it was hard to tell if the setup changes worked, didn’t work, or if the track grip level just changed.
Not quite the speed I was hoping for in 2wd and 4wd, but my cars were driving pretty good, racing is always different from practice.
Friday. Qualifying was starting and we had Q1 and Q2. Truck: My KYOSHO RT6 was feeling good in practice, and I had two good runs. Took a 3rd in Q1 and a 2nd in Q2. My truck was good, but I was making a few mistakes and my truck felt a little hard to drive. I was going to change my shock oil and soften my truck for Saturday. 4wd: Q1 was awesome, I was 9th seed, and didn’t expect much, but I had good speed and lead the entire heat to take the TQ. I wasn’t the fastest, but I drove a clean qualifier, that was key. Q2 was not as good, I think I was pushing harder after getting the first TQ. I made mistakes and finished 9th. 2wd: After seeding 13th, I was not in the top heat for Q1 and Q2. I made some setup changes after qualifying and just wanted clean runs. My speed was much better than qualifying and I got a 3rd in Q1 and a TQ in Q2.
Saturday would be the final qualifying day, Q3 and Q4. They would also do a new seeding of the heats after Q1 and Q2. I would be in all the top heats to finish off qualifying. I softened all of my cars before Q3 would start. Truck: I finally got the clean run I needed and got the TQ. Going into the final qualifier I had a chance at the overall TQ, but I would get 4th and would qualify 2nd overall. 4wd: I had a shot at overall TQ in 4wd too, but I would take a 6th and a 4th. My KYOSHO ZX6 felt great, I just couldn’t get a full run together, I would qualify 2nd overall. 2wd: Now in the top heat, I knew I had the speed to fight for TQ. Q3 I would take a 3rd and I needed a TQ in the final qualifier to start 1st. The track was going away again and with all the heats in 2wd, the final heat had a lot of dust. The track was difficult and I pushed WAY too hard, crashing a bunch and taking 18th for the round. Just like Truck and 4wd, I would qualify 2nd overall.
Sunday Sunday Sunday!!! It was finally race time here at the Cactus Classic, and I was excited and ready to fight for some wins. My cars were all pretty good in qualifying and I thought I had a good chance at winning all my classes. The track crew watered the track a bunch over night and grip was back up, probably the highest it had been all weekend.
Truck: A1 would turn out to be a rough race as I would have a mistake and drop back in the field. It was tough to drive in the back and I just couldn’t get into my flow, finishing 7th. A2 would be a much better race, but not as good as I was hoping. I finished 3rd, but Cavalieri took the A1 and A2 win to take the overall. A3 I started first and was going for a clean race win. My truck was working great and I was leading the race, looking at a win and 2nd overall, when disaster struck on the little step up in the back left. That darn jump took me out in a bunch of my truck races, if I hit the take off with any steering imput, I would get sideways and case the step up, and crash. I dropped back to 2nd with my Kyosho teammate from japan passing me for the lead, and would finish 3rd overall.
4wd: These mains were all pretty wild. 4wd is fast and sketchy when on high traction clay. In A1 I had a good race, finishing 2nd to Phend. A2 would be a more wild race and I would get a taste of the lead, but made a mistake. I was putting on a strong charge to catch Wernimont for the win, and I would get very close to him on the final lap, but came up just a bit short to finish 2nd again. I had a chance at the overall win if I could take the A3 win. My Kyosho ZX6 was feeling awesome, and I got a great start, I was all over the back of Phend, but it all went wrong halfway through lap 1. I landed the back roller, I was hard on the throttle to get a good run down the straight, but my car pulled a HUGE wheelie and went flipping end over end into the corner. I was marshalled, and not broken, but I was in 10th. Phend was leading and I had to beat him and win, so I pushed really hard to come through the pack. My car felt the best it had felt all week and I was driving better than I did all week. I started moving my way through the pack and catching the lead cars. With two laps to go, I was in 2nd and reeling in Phend, the last lap and I was right there, I just needed a mistake. Phend drove smooth and I finished a very close 2nd and got 2nd overall. I was happy with my A3 comeback, but disappointed in my lap 1 mistake.
2wd: I made a small change from qualifying to the mains. A1 my car was good, but I didn’t have the pace to win and finished 3rd. A2 was similar with a similar result, finishing 3rd. Rivkin won A1 and A2, so the overall was gone. A3 I started first, with Rivkin not starting, and I had a great race going, my car driving good. I had struggled with no traction under braking all weekend with my 2wd, and it bit me in A3. I was leading and feeling pretty comfortable, then just lost control of my car braking for the turn one 180 degree corner. I lost the lead and finished 2nd, but with a 2nd and 3rd, I tied for 3rd overall and lost the tie breaker to Cavalieri, so I finished 4th overall.
Thanks to all my sponsors, Kyosho, Team Orion, Proline, MX Racing, KO Propo, Speed RC, JTP, Upgrade-RC, TD Paint, Lunsford, Liverc.com, Joe Pillars, my family, and the Good Lord Jesus Christ. Didn’t have the best weekend, but battled right there in all my classes and tried my best. Came back from not the best practice results to get starting positions for the mains, but just made some mistakes and didn’t get the results I wanted. On to the next race!