For the 2019 Reedy Race of Champions, I would be making my 1/10 debut with Tekno and Maclan, driving the Tekno EB410 and using Maclan Motors / ESC’s / Batteries in my cars. I would also be racing a Team Associated B6.1 for the first time with help from both Tekno and Team Associated supporting that vehicle.
My new teammate, Joe Bornhorst and I flew into LAX Wednesday, a little before noon and we had some time to kill. We cruised the beach areas and found a taco truck … that’s my EXACT california day right there.
Showing up to OCRC … The race track looked awesome, and the OCRC crew had the place looking great as usual. This race is tough for me, as it is the ONLY title in RC that I don’t hold. I’ve won World Championships, National Championships, every big international race and national race I’ve attended … I did not hold a Reedy Race of Champions Invitational Win. I would say I’m not the favorite coming into the event, but I was feeling like I had a great shot, my best shot in a long time. Practice for the Open drivers would be Wednesday and Thursday, but us Invite guys … no practice until Thursday.
We would get three practice runs with each car, 2wd Mod Buggy and 4wd Mod Buggy, with each run being 5 minutes in length. This race is also a spec tire race, with daily tire impound and a spec tire sauce that must be used. There is no sanding or breaking in tires, so the start of practice is always pretty tough. I mainly just focused on learning the track, figuring out my position that I want to stand at, and a general feel of my cars. For 4wd I had a great base setup to start on with my TEKNO EB410 and it felt great, as expected. I made a few small changes, mainly just softening up my car, softer front shock oil, lighter springs front and rear, and lighter sway bars. The traction in the track seemed less than years previous. For 2wd and my Tekno/AE B6.1 I would start with a base setup from Dustin Evans. Dustin is a great driver, awesome competitor, and great friend … so he helped me get comfortable. We both made some changes during practice, mainly just added grip into the car, going from +2 on all the heights (front axle, rear axle, diff) to +1 in the front and 0 in the rear. At the end of practice, both my cars were amazing and I was very very confident for racing.
Racing the Reedy Race is CRAZY. You race 12 races, all heads up and the starting positions and racers you will battle with are all pre set. After the heats were all posted, All I did was look at my heat number I would race in and the starting position I would have.
4WD : 6th / 5th / 4th / 5th / 7th / 10th
2WD : 3rd / 1st / 2nd / 7th / 1st / 8th
4WD Racing would be up first, we would have 4 rounds of 4WD Friday, 2 rounds of 4WD and 2 rounds of 2WD Saturday, and then finish with 4 rounds of 2WD Sunday.
4WD R1 : I would start 6th and would get a pretty good start, moving forward a few positions. Ty Tessmann started up front and was able to lead every lap to take the win, but I battled thorugh to finish 2nd, it was a great start for me.
4WD R2 : I would start 5th and this would be a crazy race. I was able to get an amazing start and work right up to battle for the lead pretty quick. During the Reedy Race, you battle for positions with drivers that are you are not used to driving with, which makes this race so challenging. I was trying to make a pass for either the lead or for 2nd place, as the car in front of me made a mistake. We got tangled and I got the worst, crashing and going to last. My Tekno EB410 was on rails though and I put my head down to get through the pack again, but again I was tangled trying to make a pass. Somehow with just a couple laps to go, I was still in the fight, running 3rd and catching the leaders. Ronnefalk went to pass Jelin as he jumped wide on the triple, they tangled and Jelin went off track. Jelin then cut the track as he was not happy, and crashed me while doing it. Ronnefalk was then called to let Jelin pass and we were back running 1, 2, 3. I was really mad inside after all that, and the pack was CRAZY tight, probably 7 cars within 1.5 seconds or something. I don’t really remember the last lap, I think Ronnefalk crashed and Ty passed me somehow, but I ended 3rd. I was happy and extremely mad at the same time, my racing luck was terrible and I felt I really could have won that race, but I still managed a 3rd.
4WD R3 : Starting 4th in this race and Ronnefalk starting on the front row. He took the lead and I worked myself into 2nd after a couple laps. We were both super fast and I was trying really hard to catch him, maybe a little too hard. I was making up a little ground, and then clipped the pipe starting the back straight and crashed. I was still in 2nd, but then crashed again and dropped to 3rd, which was a very costly mistake. Possibly letting R2 still effect me, I gave up valuable points again.
4WD R4 : For the final race of the day, I would start 5th and Have Ronnefalk and Orlowski in my race, both who had been some of the fastest guys all day. I had a good start and ran 3rd and 2nd for about half the race before taking over the lead. It was a big battle between myself, Ronnefalk, Orlawski, and Haatanen who lead most of the race. I held on to the win by .2 over Ronnefalk and then Orlowski was only another .2 back, crazy close race.
4WD R5 : Starting 7th, I would try to get a good start, but I would run into another car in the first turn and drop back to last. Clawing my way back up, this race was pretty clean and I wasn’t able to get through the pack very fast. I drove great, but 4th was the highest I would go. I was really happy to hold off both Ryan Cavaleiri and Ryan Maifield, as we were all battling in the points.
4WD R6 : The final race of 4WD and my worst starting position of 10th. I knew my Tekno EB410 was working awesome, so I focused on getting a good start. 7th after lap 1, then 4th after lap 2, up to 3rd on 3 and passed into 2nd on lap 5. Orlowski started up front and was going really fast, so I put my head down and drove aggressive to get fast laps and try to catch him. Not wanting to push too hard and cause a crash like I did in a previus heat, I kept my pace to the end and finished 2nd, a much needed score for me.
Ending 4WD in a 4 way tie for the lead on points. Dustin Evans, Ty Tessmann, Spencer Rivkin, and myself. We got 1 practice session with our 2WD to see how the track felt and see how our cars were feeling. My car felt awesome, and I knew my 2WD starting positions were much better, so I felt this was a great opportunity for me to finally get a Reedy Race Title!
2WD R1 : Starting 3rd, I knew I had a great chance to log another win. I had a great battle with Haatanen for most of the race, taking the lead just after the halfway mark. Haatanen would stay super close to me, going for a last ditch effort in the second to last corner, causing us both to crash. Thankfully I retained the lead and took the win by just .1 of a second.
2WD R2 : Getting my first front row start of the event, I would lead tone to tone for the win. It wasn’t without a fight though, as Ryan Maifield was in this race and got a great start from 6th to move into 2nd and push to catch me. We both had great pace, and I was managing the race well, until I made just a few small bobbles to allow him to get close. Ryan couldn’t make a pass and then crashed on the second to last lap, so I had plently of gap on the final lap to take the win.
Heading into the final day, I was leading and had a 3 point advantage, but that was not counting throw outs. I was really happy, but at the same time, could not stop thinking about the points I threw away in 4wd during R2 and R3. My AE B6.1 was working great, it was fast and safe to drive, my starting positions were good, I had a great shot at the win!
2WD R3 : Starting 2nd on the grid, it would be a drag race off the line, the inside car bobbled and I took the lead. I needed this win, as Maifield was gain in my heat. I lead almost the whole race, with Chris Sturdy in 2nd and Maifield in 3rd. I was feeling good, just driving smooth and keeping a 1 – 2 second lead for most of the race. With just two laps to go, I bobbled a little, letting Sturdy get close, but I was still safe, then I jumped a little long onto the front jump on and triple off … I got a little wheel spin off the take off, cased the triple and crashed. Sturdy passed, but Maifield cased and crashed too, so I was still in 2nd. My heartrate went through the roof, I wanted to pass Sturdy on the last lap, but instead I clipped a pipe and crashed again, letting Maifield pass and finishing 3rd. I was completely gutted after that race and thought I had just thrown away the Reedy Title.
2WD R4 : Somehow I pushed all the negativity out of my mind, I forgot about what happened in the race before, and was fully focused on the job at hand. I would start 7th, but Tessmann would start 1st, so I knew this win would be tough. I got a great start, getting into 4th, then 3rd, and into 2nd during lap 6, but I was over 2 seconds behind Tessmann. I put in some really fast laps and started to chip away at his lead, and with a few lasp to go, it was within a second and then he crashed. Tessman rolled in the sweeper off the staright and I moved into the lead, and held it to get another win. That win was HUGE for me!
2WD R5 : Sterting 1st again I needed another win. I got a great start and held the lead, but Spencer Rivkin was going really fast and he wanted and needed the win as well. Rivkin would slowly catch me, but I held my ground, drove calm and consistent to take the win by .2 of a second. Heading into the final round, Rivkin would be the only driver with a mathmatical chance to beat me.
2WD R6 : This heat would be COMPLETELY STACKED. Maifield, Tessmann, Evans, Cavalieri, Rivkin, and myself. Rivkin would start 10th and I would start 8th. Rivkin had to win, and if he won, I would need to finish 2nd. With Maifield starting on the front row, I knew this would be a tough race for Rivkin to win, and he had to pass me first. The start would be clean, I would quickly move up to 5th and Rivkin behind me in 6th. I wanted to just stay in front of him, but I jumped a little wide on the triple. I thought … do I just turn into the line, tangle us both and just end it now … no I can’t do that, so I gave Rivkin room and surrendered the position. I stayed pretty close to him for a few laps, but as the race went on, it was starting to get clear that Maifield was out front leading, Rivkin was stuck in 4th and I was going to be REEDY CHAMP. I could barely even drive the last two laps and I finished in 6th … but I DID NOT CARE … I was the 2019 REEDY RACE of CHAMPIONS INVITATIONAL CHAMPION!!!! Emotions hit me right away, I was so happy. The most amazing part came next, every driver in that last race came over and gave me a hug while still on the drivers stand. That was a feeling and an emotion that I will NEVER FORGET!
I could not be any happier to win for Tekno and Maclan in my debut. Both brands might of been slightly overlooked … but not anymore. My Tekno EB410 is the best handling 4WD Buggy I’ve ever driven!!! It’s super fast, stable and easy to drive … plus it’s really durable. My Maclan MMAX and MRR V2 combo is crazy good, also the best ESC and Motor combo I’ve ever used. Really smooth, great brakes, and ran nice and cool all event long.
I have to give a HUGE thanks to all the people that still believed in me. Daniel Lewis, Matt Wolter, Willie Chung, my Wife … you all believed in me and made a believer out of myself again!!! Thanks to Joe Bornhorst, Hooks family, my Dad, Dustin Evans, Rob Gillespie, the Horne family, Brent Thielke, to all my fans … this was AMAZING!!! Thanks as well to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Prayers have been majorly answered and I’m able to keep racing RC Cars for a living and have amazing people supporting me!
Photos by myself and RedRC.net
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