I’m done with it, at least for the next month, maybe more. I have a few blogs to post still, and then that’s it. Tired of it tbh. No blog tomorrow. It’s been over a year. Read old ones if you miss it 🙂
Robert Battle is one of the 1:8th Nitro Buggy specialists out there. He has raced some other classes slightly, but for the most part, 1:8th buggy is where he spends most of his time. He is a World Champion, double European Champion, as well as multiple national champion. He is a driver that you can never count out once the final rolls around, regardless of how his qualifying, or even semi final goes. He has a knack for finding a rhythm and if need be, un-lapping himself after the halfway point in a main, and finding himself in a battle for the win at the very end. I sent him some questions a while ago, and this is what he had to say.
You are one of the most successful drivers in 1:8th offroad, I don’t even know your best achievements, please list them here:
First of all thank you so much to make this interview and your blog, some people hate it but I think it is because it’s true things coming out.
My best achievements are:
World Champion 2012
2 x European Champion 2007/2011
2nd at World Championships 2016
2nd twice at European Championships
11 x Spanish Champion in a row (edit. we heard a record breaking 36 national race wins in a row)
You were clearly talented as you were fast ever since the beginning at your first Euros, I believe in 2002, but since then you progressed to become one of the most consistently fast and successful drivers, regardless of the equipment you were running, be it GRP, Proline or ProCircuit tyres, AXE, or Novarossi Engines, HoBao, AE or Mugen cars. How did you pull this off? Was it easy or did you actually have to put some work in?
From my point of view to be in the top of any sport is super difficult, you have to work a lot and be consistent in what you are doing. But you also need someone who guides you specially when you are young. It has been really difficult most of times mainly when you see your friends going out, holidays,… but you cannot go with them as you have to race or test.
How much did you practice in the early years, and did you have a plan, or did you just drive gallon after gallon? Do you practice less or more now than before?
I really didn’t practice a lot when I was young, but I made a looot of races, that’s the best way for me so you can drive in a lot of tracks and you can set-up the car in any condition. Practice a lot in your home track doesn’t make you improve your skills from my point of view. Now I practice more than ever, specially because I have to test a lot of prototype things but also because I’m getting older…. so you need to practice more to be still alive!
Some drivers switch a lot from car to car, searching for some magic. You have raced for 3 different car brands in your career, what is your opinion regarding this?
I don’t like at all, if you are confident with your car and you think that it is the best, you can win whatever. Changing too much can confuse you I think, I feel great with Mugen and all people there, I know the car and they take always a line from so many years ago… so I’m confident with it. As we all know, you never know what’s gonna happen, but that’s what I think right now.
What exactly is Marc Ibar’s (Ultimate Racing) contribution to your success? What is his contribution? And what about your father?
What I am now, it is thanks to both 100% and Javi Muela who helped me in 2002 to race, making Hobao believe in me.
Marc helps me a lot to understand the race itself, how to manage the difficult situations and things like that, we could say psychologic terms.
My dad as the word says is my dad, so he helps me everywhere, and he taught me all I know in RC and outside, always helped with my mom who never came to a race because she becomes too nervous haha.
What are the main changes you make to your car at a race, and why?
We normally work with swaybars because I feel a big change anytime we change. We work also on tires as it is a key thing in the setup.
Shocks are also a main thing so basically these three items, as the others from my point of view just change a little your feeling and they are more “psychologic” than any other thing.
Do you sometimes end up with a car that’s less than ideal, and you just drive around it?
Yes. So many races I had a difficult car and I had to drive more than 100% to win or to finish in a good position. Although it has been races where I had an awesome car and I made stupid mistakes to ruin the race lol.
Do you think about what you are doing when you drive, or do you just drive? Do you think about the car and how it is handling, or your own driving, such as line choice or throttle control? Do you consciously make changes to your driving, or your line choice during races?
Yes, my team sometimes says to me that I think too much. I always think how to improve the car, how to find a better line to go faster, changing my driving style in some parts to get some tenths…. I think all drivers do that as this is the only way to learn the track as it changes a lot during even a main final.
You are known as a main final driver. Somehow you manage to put it all together in the mains, even sometimes halfway through the main. How? What’s wrong with you, why not all the time, why wait until the last 30 minutes of the main?
Haha. This is difficult to explain… we always work more thinking on main finals, my car goes better after 10/15 minutes so maybe that’s why in qualifying I am not the best at all. However it is something that this year we want to change and I think we will do it. We work also with harder compounds as I don’t drive smooth… that also helps to be faster at the end. Although we will try to change it this year, I will ask you at the end what you think 😉
I have seen you now have an impressive RBR36 Arena in Barcelona.What is the story? Is this yours or does it only use your name, do you run it yourself? What are the future plans for this project?
This is mine and another partner, this is the story, I spent a lot of money there but sincerely it is not going as expected so I don’t know what will happen with this on next year… will see what we can do, but seems difficult to go ahead….
If you could change some things in RC Racing, or the RC industry, what would they be?
We need professional people leading RC, people who live because of that. Not people with another job then doing this like a “hobby”. Real world championship with some races during the year, same for European Championship… we need to change RC and make it visible for the people as a sport not simply as a toy. RC is a perfect sport for an amazing dad/(son or daughter) relationship, we have to work on this more than ever.
I have seen you like racing real cars too, and heard you used to race gokarts before? Is that so? Will you move on to real cars after RC:-)?
Yes I love real racing cars, I used to go to any track day I can, basically when my pocket can….lol
I used to race gokarts even wining some national races but it was too much money so I had to quit. I will not move from RC, real racing is too expensive and I’m too old to live from that, I love RC and I love my life so I don’t want anything else.
Finally, what does the future hold for you. What are your major goals for 2017 and beyond?
My main goal is to win Euro’s again after last two terrible years…I have some projects in my mind that I’m still discussing with my sponsors that can be a motivation for me, in terms of helping drivers and specially kids.
Thank you so much for everything, and keep going with your blogs as they make RC more alive!
Keenan White ran my loaner buggy in the DR, here is his report:
This last weekend was our RC Fest held at DRC Speedway in the capital city of Santo Domingo , Dominican Republic this by far being the biggest race ever here. The DRC Speedway is a high traction, smooth, small track with metal modular jumps. It is located on the side of a shopping mall in the biggest city in the Caribbean. The race was well promoted in the biggest newspaper in the country as well as on the radio and organized by the owner Luis (Mad Max) Garcia. For this race Luis had arranged for Joseph Quagraine to attend ,this being his second time racing in the DR.
JQ and I where in contact as he had some questions about the north coast of the island where I live and was interested in enjoying a few days here prior to his big European tour. He asked me if I would be interested in trying a JQ Black Edition for this race, The Rental Ride that other drivers had used at The Neo Race and then in Germany at a race a few weeks ago. I was a bit nervous about saying yes because I have driven Mugen cars since the MBX4 days only briefly driving a C hub car during the Jammin Days from 2005 -2007. I thought about it and said I have nothing to lose I am not sponsored by anyone but my wallet and said sure why not. All I needed to do was put my receiver and transponder in the car and race.
The Rental Ride
Friday before the race I met up with JQ and picked up The Rental that I would be using he explained that it was last used in Germany on a completely different track and I might have to change shock oils and some settings. This was not a new car at all it had seen a bit of use so it had normal wear that any other car would have plus it had seen a few different drivers before me. I decided that I will try the car as is tune in the engine and if i needed to change anything I would.
Saturday Morning was practice I got to tune in the engine then run about 4 tanks of practice trying different tires on the track . I found the car very neutral and easy to drive it was doing everything I wanted on the high speed corners low speed 180s and jumping . I found it easy to drive and decided to just adjust for less droop for the first qualifier and nothing else THE Car was good as is IMHO. I did break a right front arm during practice but this was completely my fault as I was trying to throw fat whips like JQ and landed short on the metal jump and metal obviously won that battle. JQ gave me a right arm and within 15 minutes I was back practicing and was very impressed how easy it was to wrench on THE CAR. I had very limited practice as I was running 5 classes and had to get my other cars ready as well.
Qualifying started at 1 pm and it was interrupted by rain and by the time my Nitro buggy qualifier came around the track was still a bit slick at the beginning but I was still able to put in a 4th place finish for that round of qualifiers so I was happy and looking forward to a drier track the next round . Unfortunately that never happened as the rain came and qualifying was canceled but I would be starting 4th on the grid so that was good enough for me.
The 45 min final was to be the final race of the day earlier in the day I decided to change the clutch bearings and the center spur gear of the car (it was a bit worn and did not want to chance it ). Once again THE Black Edition is well thought out and I found it easy and fast to wrench on. 6pm the 45 min final started up to this point with the other 4 classes I ran I had over 2 hours of actual race time on the track (note to self never run 5 classes again its too much). Start of the final I jumped out front and grabbed the Hole Shot !! I was Pumped but a few errors put me back a few spots after a few laps so I calmed down and focused on hitting my lines. The car was great it was doing everything I wanted this track had a few low speed 180s that I was able to get the car on the inside of these turns under other drivers opening up passing opportunities.
The car was great it was doing everything I wanted this track had a few low speed 180s that I was able to get the car on the inside of these turns under other drivers opening up passing opportunities.
On the high speed sweeper I was able place the car where ever I wanted at speed .Jumping was great no problems with any of the jumps THE Car handled everything I threw at it. While I was doing this I had made my way up to the driver in 3rd position who was also driving a JQ but not the B.E. and we started swapping positions back and forth for about 15 minutes the battle was on. At the 27 min mark disaster struck for me as I landed wrong off one of the bigger jumps and crashed into the fencing surrounding the track this caused a rear shock end to snap I was heart broken. I ran off driver stand replaced the shock and got back on the track after 4 minutes but it was too late my race was over I still managed to finish the race and salvage an 8th place.
I am very impressed with this car at how easy it was to drive also the fact that I really did not change anything on the car and was able to be competitive with it with only about 4 tanks of actual practice. I am a racer that all my cars are rebuilt between our races and know exactly what my car has done to it so I went into this race completely blind with THE CAR and it done well. I was also happy that beside breaking the shock end the car finished the final with very little preparation by me.
I am very impressed with this car at how easy it was to drive also the fact that I really did not change anything on the car and was able to be competitive with it with only about 4 tanks of actual practice.
I got to finally meet Joseph and spend time with him and found him one of the coolest guys I have met in RC, he is very smart and passionate about his product and I really admire what he is doing. He went out of his way to help everyone take pictures answer questions and be a great ambassador for RC. I really believe that JQ has hit the ball out of the park with THE Black Edition THE Car is good JQ has sold me on it and I will be making the switch and race THE Car and help promote JQ Racing to my best ability. I admire what he is doing and will support him as much as I can. It will only get better from here . Thank you Joseph for the opportunity to try something new!
All I have to say is AYLYD?
Keenan K White
Keenan K White has been saying I need to get a DR style haircut. It was the last thing that needed to be done, it was to be the final piece of the real Dominican experience.
Can’t upload pictures, have to wait until tomorrow. Balancing my lipos, so I will have max power for the 2017 Euro trip, that begins next week!
A year ago I came to the Dominican Republic for the first time. At that time, I had only known that they race RC on the DR for about a year, as someone had bought a car from me, and that then turned into me having a distributor on the island. RC racing is in it’s infancy on the DR compared to most of the places I have visited, and when I first visited I ended up convincing, and helping the local RC pioneers register in FAMAR, and then convinced the racers that they should go to the worlds. 1 more country successfully added to the RC Racing scene.
1 year later, I go back, and they have a permanent track built next to two 5 a side football fields, next to a big mall, in Santo Domingo, the capital. That means, they have plenty of potential new RC enthusiasts pass by daily. Location is everything. Not only that, these guys had fireworks, flame throwers, live music, sponsorship from Chevy, Redbull, local harware store, local paint store, etc.
What I am trying to say is, if they can do this in the Dominican Republic, then there really is no excuse elsewhere. Yes, it can of course be easier in a country like the DR, due to the demographic of RC racers, compared to a European country, but the key is still the passion, regardless of social or economical stature.
Now for some pics from the event.
Now it’s time to have my Dominican Birthday Party. I always miss my birthday because I am racing. I told the guys, that I’ll do the race, as my birthday present :-). More of a race report tomorrow. I’m out.
At times I feel like I totally Forrest Gump my way through life, at other times I feel like I have a few solid ideas, set in stone, that I made up my mind about, and I have just figured out everything around them. As it turns out, I somehow figured out the modern business style, flexible, super low overhead, outsourcing what isn’t vital, and that has lead to a mobile office. I can be wherever I want, whenever I want, and I can run my business. The only requirement I have, is the need to get online. I can go wherever I want for a year, and as long as they have wifi, I can run the business. It might not be as easy, or as comfortable, but it’s possible. I like the freedom. So when the invitation to the Dominican Republic came in, I didn’t need to organise a holiday, or figure out work, I just said “I’ll be there.”