What a week! Now we are in Malaysia, catching up with work after being busy with racing at the CNetic Race, and suffering from a super slow interent connection! Below is a bit of a report from the race:
We arrived in Surabaya on Tuesday evening, so our first day on the track would be Wednesday. The track is absolutely amazing. I don’t think pictures or video does it justice. You really have to experience it first hand, to be able to appreciate it fully, all the elevation changes, size of the jumps, and speeds of the cars around the track. Absolutely without a doubt the best track I have ever driven on. Easy to drive around, difficult to drive around fast! It took 4 months to build, and incredibly, it was done by hand, not using machines! Nuts! At least that’s what we were told!
The first two practice days were spent learning the track, and testing some setups. I really do feel that THE White Edition is 2 cars in one. I started with the stock setup, which was good, but it had too much traction for this high speed and high grip track. So I then changed to a setup more suitable for high grip, using the top hole for the front arm on the hub. This helped a lot. I was also using the long rear arm setup, but needed more rotation in the corners, so I went to short arm on the rear. Enter car 2, more suitable for high traction levels, and immediately more comfortable to drive! 2 changes and that was it! I experimented with a bunch of stuff, but those two changes were the ones that counted. Because of the heat, I also went slightly up on diff oils, settling with 6-9-3. As for gearing, I used a 14t clutchbell instead of 13t.
Tyre wear was an issue, as all tyres were done by around 20-30mins. So the car had to work on new tyres, as well as on slicks. This didn’t turn out to be an issue for me, as the car remained balanced no matter what the tyre situation was, with the only clear noticable difference being some understeer in two hairpins.
In my opinion there was way too much practice at this race, and it made the week too long. When qualifying finally started on Saturday, I was already bored! I wish we could limit the time we spend at these races more, for example this race, (thu maybe) fri-sat-sunday would have been fine!
Qualifying was run over 10 minutes, so everyone had to stop for fuel. There was a clear separation of drivers evident, with Hara, Mcbride, Savoya and Battle clearly separating themselves from the others. Mcbride hit the pitwall in his first qualifier and broke, and in the 2nd one he broke again, so he was out of the TQ hunt, eventhough he had the speed for it. Hara ended up TQing after steadily improving throughout qualifying.
As for me, I had consistent runs, earning me a 6th place overall, with the only mishap being a bent front shock shaft after hitting a crashed car on the landing of one of the big doubles. I was the fastest slow driver, with a slightly embarrassing best lap, but good overall times due to consistent laps. Building speed steadily…I hope 😀
The finals were tough, with lower mains being 20 minutes, semis 30min, and the main final 60 minutes! The bad luck of the event prize has to go to Teemu Leino. In the semi, he was bumping up, when he broke a servo. After the semi, he then won the LCQ, but didn’t make the main because his transponder didn’t count! Talk about bad luck! In my semi I had a great race up until the very last lap. I had a clean race apart from when Meen V took me out, but on the very last lap, I jumped off the track in the centre section, and the marshall didn’t see. I lost a record breaking 26 seconds!!! That was pretty crazy, luckily the other drivers had not made the last lap, so I didn’t lose any positions in the semi, but did lose one on the grid for the main. All the top guys made it through to the main, and it was set to be a great race. Kyosho dominated with 9 cars in the main!
The 60 minute final seemed to be a great race judging by the reactions of the crowd throughout the race. As for me, it was a bit of a boring race actually, because I had terrible luck on the first laps, leaving me last far behind the pack. I kind of lost my head, and my rhythym, and only really found it when Tebo lapped me, I latched onto him and we stayed together for about 3 pitstops or so. This helped me to drive up to 6th place, with almost a lap ahead to Stringer, and 1 lap gap to whoever was behind me. We had different pit strategies with Tebo always pitting before me if I am not mistaken. This meant that when I pitted he may or may not re-pass me. After one of the pit stops we almost had a major crash when I completely misjudged the speed of the cars on the straight and entered the track between some cars, ahead of Tebo. I then immediately had to avoid him or we would have hit. That was so close! Later on Meen V took me out again for good measure, with immediate Karma striking him with a broken car a few laps later! I then must have felt to happy about it as the RC Gods decided to punish me for my gloating, as my rear wheel fell off. It did so just before the line, so I didn’t lose a lap, just the time it took to replace the wheel. It was enough to drop me from a sure 5th place finish to 9th. Oh well! The curious thing is, that I suffer from a serious case of WTS (wheel tightening syndrome). I tighten my wheel nuts about 8 million or so times before every race, and this time even used loctite. I guess it was just not meant to be!
As for the battle at the front, Battle was in it until his servo arm broke, Savoya was up there until his receiver pack dumped/broke, which left Mcbride and Hara. Mcbride had the lead but his tyre started coming off, slowing him down. And then finally his fellow countryman created some in team tension by “winging” Mcbride letting Hara through. So Hara for the win, Mcbride 2nd and Tebo 3rd!
Overall this event was one of the more enjoyable ones I have attended for a while. The level of drivers was high, yet the atmosphere relaxed, the track was technical, yet easy to actually drive around, the weather was hot, but they provided fans, the hotel was far, but they had a shuttle service. It was just great and I really hope I can attend next year. Huge thank you to everyone, specially Equator Hobbies, Patrix and Pan(n)ut, Faisal “It’s good laa” Ali, Stanley Wasng…Wangnesi..Wangsanegara, Chopin Yusuf, THE AKA Guy, Speed One RC, and the CNetic crew. Batik Friday rules!