Category Archives: driving

NEO17 – Day 2 – Qualifying Part 1

Well, it’s slightly challenging to write about the top guys, because I am busy smashing into them in the top heat. So far the highlights of my qualifying.

  • Waffle stomping on Tessmann in the quad, creating the even lower low profile cooling head. Sorry Ty!#godworksinmysteriousways
  • Marco Baruffolo Special (MBS), 9 second marshaling in a 3 second crash. Please see Neil Cragg for marshaling advice.
  • Ruining Ongaro coming onto the straight, absolutely perfect showing of the wheel. #wrongplacewrongtime
  • My 10 second heavily assisted last lap crash in eBUGGYYYY after a good run.
  • Quading over Coelho like the Touring Car With Jumps Champion he is. Winning.
  • Beat Maifield in warm up. Later he told me he was on the phone. Just kidding. He said he just putts around.
  • Only REDS to do the quad, until Marco Rossi showed up and yelled at Maifield.
  • Best looking car in the woops. #stewable
  • I mainly crash on flat sections.

A lot of engineering going on in this hall!

Ironically, I am at the moment exactly where I normally am, around 20th. A year ago I wrote “It Sucks to Suck” and around the same time publicly announced that I would rather not suck anymore, and that I would try and improve as a driver. Well, one year later, same result, so FAIL you might say, but I’m actually not too unhappy. The reason is, that before I had this 20th or so pace when driving perfect heats, and not crashing. This year, I am having meltdowns, or crashes of epic proportions at times, and I am still 20th. The thing is, that I am in fact a lot faster, and also pushing more, and I just end up with one or two crashes, or traffic issues, and my time is basically about 10-15 seconds slower than a clean run. What that means, is that I basically have a 10-15 second better pace now, and if I can eliminate the mistakes, I will be much better. And it’s not like it’s impossible. In the 2nd round, I had 10 great laps, and one crash on one lap leading to a 9 second loss.

Having said that, I always drive a lot better in finals, so with the speed I have now, I am quite confident for the finals, I think I can do well if everything works. It’s going to be great fun to do battle (NO pun intended) in the mains.

On another note, JQRacing had a driver (no, Fat Jesus) in the old man final, and another, Max Mört in the Junior Final today, which was great. Too bad I had too many mistakes to make it 3/3.

The Batmobile attracts chicks! Also, please someone tell all women in the whole world that high cut jeans are terrible. Thank you.

We Talkin’ About PRACTICE!

A very good article about a lot of the things that I keep writing about on here!

How to make your kid good at anything, according to a world expert on peak performance

As I Said, 2 Options, Give Up or Try Harder

Three increasingly fast laps as I close in on the limits of the car, and hit my lines better. And yes, I did make 10 laps now, 3 times, in different conditions, as well as a 32.1. At least I am capable, now I just need to be able to do it with less practice, and at the race.


Fulfilling Yesterday’s Promise

I just refuse to face reality.

1. How it feels to suck:

To do your best and still get beat badly, to fall short of your goals, and to fail in general, is a terrible feeling. There are only 2 possible outcomes, there is no middle ground. Everyone hates the demoralising feeling of failure. The more you have invested, and sacrificed, the worse the feeling is. Option one is to quit. Most people do that. Others get motivated to work harder and succeed. I guess there could be a 3rd category, reserved for idiots, who change nothing, and just go through life failing repeatedly and hating life.

For me I think setting goals and constantly failing to achieve them is really motivating, it pisses me off so badly. I feel so terrible already that whatever spiteful stuff haters write, really doesn’t get to me, because they can’t make it any worse. Friendly banter and shit talk helps to lighten the mood a bit.

Having said that, looking at the big picture, THECar and my driving have improved a lot in the past year. I am now able to match the best on lap time when things are right, and am able to stay within a few seconds over a qualifier, and occasionally beat them, which was not possible a year ago. Even at this race, although I did not achieve it, due to another car cartwheeling across the track taking me out in the process, I was still on a 10lap run on the 5th lap of the 2nd qualifier, and my best lap was a 32.6 vs 32.3 from David. Had I achieved that 10 laps, I would have been 3 seconds or so behind David’s TQ time. 3 seconds over 5 minutes is in the ballpark. That was not possible a year ago. So there is that.

2. How I suck, and what I need to do in order to suck less:

The difference between very good and great is a slight difference in corner speed and controlled aggression. It’s not a massive difference, it is tiny, but over one lap, it builds up. It is most evident in sections of track where there is a combination of corners that require being stringed together. What great drivers do so well, is pinpoint the limits of the car, and then maneuver and dance around the track without exceeding them, but also staying as close as possible to them. This means going as fast as the conditions allow, without loading the tyres too much where they will lose grip, or pushing the car too much to where it will not stay within the pitch, roll, weight transfer, camber change range that provides the best performance.

This means going as fast as the conditions allow, without loading the tyres too much where they will lose grip, or pushing the car too much to where it will not stay within the pitch, roll, weight transfer, camber change range that provides the best performance.

Basically I can’t do the above as well as the best, unless I get my car really good, and I practice a lot in the exact conditions that a race will be in. I can’t adapt as well. I can match the best at times, and those are the times when everything is perfect. So the way I will become better, is to improve my setup, and make it less “knife-edge”, where you lose speed if you make a slight error. I can already go for as long as needed, being extremely consistent, I can hit the same line for a whole main, I can avoid mistakes. That’s not the problem, I need to be a bit faster all the time, and that will come from a better setup, and learning to identify where I am pushing the car past it’s best performance, and scrubbing speed, and focus my practice on avoiding that.

At this race, I already know what I should have done differently. The track had a lot more grip than I expected, so my setup was too soft. I needed thicker swaybars, and thicker diffs. Now I would go into a corner too hard and the car would roll too much and scrub speed, or I got on the gas a bit too hard and the car would squat and diff out, and I would lose drive. Nothing major, we are talking small errors like that. David could have taken my car and done the same as he did, I’m sure, but I can’t do that. I need to get those things spot on, and then I can be more competitive.

3. Why I think David Ronnefalk will be the most successful 1:8th Offroad driver over the next 5 years.

There are a number of reasons for this, I had an idea for a future blog post about this, that’s why I have been thinking about this subject. I will list the reasons:

  1. Obviously, as far as talent and speed goes, he is right up there with the rest of the best , Maifield, Boots, Battle, Tessmann, Cavalieri etc. One thing he has going for him compared to many of his competitors, is that his clear main focus has been, and more than likely will continue to be 1:8th Offroad, instead of spreading out his time on many classes.
  2. Unlike most of his competition, we haven’t seen the best of David yet, because up until his recent switch to HB, he had never been a paid professional RC racer. Kyosho didn’t pay him a salary, he lived with his parents in Sweden, and went to school. The closest track was almost 2 hours a way. Add to this the short Swedish season, you can see that practice has been limited, and it’s not really until now that his program is getting to the point where he truly is well prepared for the races.
  3. He is still only 20 years old, still freshly motivated as a paid professional, and thanks to his parents I would suppose, clearly understanding and appreciative of the situation he is in, and the opportunity he has.
  4. I don’t see anyone with equal talent, that also has the same level of commitment and dedication as David at this point in time. There are no distractions, there is no family, there are no kids, there are no larger plans outside of winning every race, and that’s a scary prospect for his competition. He is looking at possibly moving to Spain in order to be able to practice and race more, against better competition, and all the year round. He is practicing, racing, or working on his cars almost every day now, unlike before. He is investing in his own career.
  5. He has a solid crew behind him, with HB/Orion fully committed to keeping him winning. His father has been his mechanic since the beginning, and Adrien Bertin has been guiding him for a long time, and is a great help when it comes to approaching the races, motor and car set up. It’s a team effort that is working.
  6. Finally, one thing that I think is very important for continued and constant success, is driving style and setup preference. David’s driving style, as well as the way he sets up his car is very solid, and safe. Some great drivers are so extreme in their preferences that it’s just not going to work out every time, or in the long term, if something changes, like the tracks or the tyres we race, or the car they race for example. I’m not saying anyone can pick up his car and go fast, but what I am saying is that it’s nothing crazy or extreme in one direction. The car does everything well, jumps, corners, turns, it has traction, it stays flat and balanced, it’s not super low, it’s not super high, it’s not super soft, it’s not super hard, it’s a good compromise of everything, that will work on any track, US style or European, and his controlled yet aggressive driving style complements it perfectly. You don’t have to hit your marks perfectly, the car will still handle it, and on the other hand, if need be, he is still capable of pushing the pace to a higher level, he isn’t maxed out all the time.

I would draw a comparison to Ken Roczen, young fast, very confident, very strong program, very solid style, with the difference that no injury will sideline David, so I predict he will be the most successful 1:8th Offroad racer over the next 5 years.


B-Main Blues


You were the laughing stock of the live rc chat during the race. Watching you literally choke as bad as you did was awesome. Keep up choking at big races it’s so entertaining.

-Pat Kivin, an American fan

Well, I don’t know what race people were watching, because the one I was in, I didn’t choke.

To understand choking, you need to understand how the brain works, and how we learn, here are a couple of quotes from Michael Gladwell’s post.

“Willingham says that when you are first taught something–say, how to hit a backhand or an overhead forehand–you think it through in a very deliberate, mechanical manner. But as you get better the implicit system takes over: you start to hit a backhand fluidly, without thinking.”


“Under conditions of stress, however, the explicit system sometimes takes over. That’s what it means to choke. When Jana Novotna faltered at Wimbledon, it was because she began thinking about her shots again. She lost her fluidity, her touch.”

So basically, choking means that you start thinking about what it is you are doing, instead of just doing it. Here is a really simple experiment for you. Stand up and walk around. Now stand up and think about every movement and muscle you use to walk and exactly where to put your feet. If you start thinking, you can’t even walk, because it’s supposed to happen automatically.

I have had a tendency to do this right at the end of races, so basically choke, start thinking, and not just doing. At neo I was in the LCQ, and ironically roles were reversed, I caught and passed Savoya from nowhere, with 2 laps to go, then I crashed on the big quad after the burm. At Reedy I was in 2nd in 2wd behind Cavalieri, as good as it’s going to get, and I cased the last simple double. Those mistakes could be classed as choking, because I started thinking, I wasn’t attacking the track, I was being conservative, I was playing it safe, I was “trying to be too butter” like Kirkman would say. Ronnefalk crashed on the last corner at the Worlds, and if he had been really unlucky he could have flamed out on the pipe he landed on. This happens to almost everyone to some extent when they have something “in the bag”.

So why do I think all the haters are wrong about me choking in the B main? Here’s why:

Basically, I was a bit too slow, throughout the race, and at no point did I think that “I got this in the bag”. I knew, as I could see the others catching, that this was going to be a tough race. But as I was out front, I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I went as fast as I could without crashing. First Ogden was coming, then he crashed, then I believe he broke. Then Battle, but he flamed out. Then I saw Savoya and King catching, I had a big lead, but I saw they were catching too fast for comfort. I knew I had to go faster, and actually after the halfway mark, I managed to increase my speed, and I had multiple of my fastest laps right before the last pit stop. After the pit stop I tried to keep up the increased pace but I kept making small mistakes, I regrouped and managed to improve again. I didn’t want to let them catch me, I wanted to pressure them into getting frustrated and crashing. Then I crashed. Up to that point, I hadn’t been marshalled a single time, I had rolled twice early in the race, that’s it. I had an almost perfect race going until that point. Now Savoya was right behind me. The next lap I did the triple the same as I did every other lap I thought, but it launched me nose high, I pushed the breaks but the wind kept it up, and I OJ Simpsoned the jump and crashed. I was so disappointed. I at least wanted to lose with dignity if I was going to lose.

At no point in that sequence did I feel like I choked, I knew I had to go faster to stay in the bump up, and I tried to do that, which lead to a mistake. When you aren’t fast enough, any mistake will be magnified. Truhe crashed more and worse than me, but he was fast enough to still finish 2nd.

So what now?

I felt like my car was amazing. When I got in the lead I remember going through the centre section and thinking “This is going to be a good year”. What I need is a bit more speed, and confidence in my car and my driving. I think if things keep going as they are now, then this will happen during this year.

DNC Top 10 Thoughts – Part 2

I wrote about the podium yesterday, now the next group of finalists and their cars.


4th Adam Drake

A great performance by Adam, his best in years. When Maifield was leading, and Adam was in 2nd, I can’t have been the only one thinking “no way!” in disbelief. I assume Maifields input has helped with setup and confidence, and we can expect Adam to have a bit of a resurgence this year. Adam puts in the work, and the preparation, just add the perfect setup at the race, and confidence, and he will be up there.

On another note, one unfair advantage he had at this race, was the completely stupid money grab legends class. What a joke that is. Adam basically got an extra practice round before each pro qualifier, and a practice main. A huge advantage at this event in my opinion. Before Adams nut huggers start hating me, just think about it this way. If Maifield was the only pro guy in the legends class, and he did that, and then won the race, do you think the rest of the pro guys, like Boots and Cavalieri on the podium would just stay silent? There is no way they would, they would complain about the DOUBLE track time Maifield got. Think about it.


5th Jared Tebo

After struggling in qualifying, Tebo pulled it all together for the mains, bumping to the A, and securing a top 5 finish. He managed to get up in the battle at the front for a moment, but mistakes and racing incidents dropped him back to around 7th place for most of the main. The most consistent driver based on the numbers on liverc. It just wasn’t happening for him this time.


6th David Ronnefalk

David was really disappointed after the race, after apparently Maifield taking him out early on, knocking him off the track, and then after that having to come into the pits twice to change a tyre. The rubber actually tore off the wheel. He lost around 40 seconds changing tyres, so just based on the times, that would have put him 2nd, so basically in the fight. I did wonder what was going on when he was on track with Maifield, not giving Maifield room and pressuring him. Seems like there is some beef there now! Should spice things up nicely for Silver State.

HB Racing

David was struggling a bit in qualifying, but in the last round they got it all right, and in the main he was also fast. Cody King also looked good, and interestingly his car looked completely different to Davids on track. David’s looks very solid and high on the track, and King’s looked low, soft and plush.


7th Spencer Rivkin

I had picked Spencer as the dark horse of the main, not expecting him to podium, but accepting fully that he could easily do it. For the first half of the main he was up there, then he faded to the back. Apparently he broke somewhere in the main, and the front end was flexing all over the place making his car hard to drive.


8th Cody King

I wonder how good Cody would be if he actually gave a shit about racing RC Cars. I really do. I remember watching him drive some years back, before he was WC, and I remember thinking that this guy is damn good. Just the precision he placed his car, and the accuracy of his throttle and brake input, it was impressive. He still has the talent, as was shown in the B main where he put in a 39 second lap in order to secure the last bump up spot. What he is lacking is dedication, he doesn’t put in the work, and it shows. He will make the main, but he won’t be fighting for wins unless he starts caring. Paul can’t make up for everything with his dedication.


9th Ryan Lutz

Ryan spent the race towards the back of the pack after a few bad laps early on. Relatively consistent, but not fast enough to catch up, and with a few more mistakes thrown in, 9th is all he could manage.


I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. Yes it’s fast, it seems to jump and land very well, but it’s just too hard to drive fast for a main, specially on a difficult track like this one. Lutz drove conservatively within his ability, and Bornhorst and Zanchettin crashed their brains out for 45 minutes. Before you hate me, just consider this fact, Lutz was challenging for the win in Truck, and Joe finished 2nd. In buggy they were both non factors. Are you saying they suddenly forgot how to drive? Exactly, now accept it and move on.

DNC Top 10 Thoughts Part 1


Lets take a look at the podium shall we.

1st Ryan Maifield

What I said would happen in my silly season post, actually happened. Maifield was unstoppable. However, it did look really sketchy in the beginning, he made a lot of mistakes, and some really bad ones too. It could have all ended in the first 10 minutes, but it didn’t. Once he got some space, and found his groove, I had no doubt that he would wrap it up, as he began posting fast laps and catching the leaders. I happened to be standing next to his dad who was nervously watching, and I told him he could relax, his son had it in the bag. He looked at me like “who is this idiot”. He must not read my blog, I know this stuff.

Anyway, not a surprise, the Mugen fits Maifield perfectly in my opinion, he can drive it hard. I expect many more wins in the future. Ryan wasn’t really the fastest driver in the main, but he was in my opinion pacing himself, and playing it safe, which is rather unusual for him. It looked like he was driving a calculated race once he got out front, whereas for example Boots who was chasing, was just going flat out. If the roles had been reversed, I feel like Maifield could have turned it up a notch. Impressive performance all round.


Over the last few years, I have often heard the claim that the Mugen doesn’t suit US style tracks and that it’s just not fast enough. It’s a Euro car. I would like to thank Ryan Maifield for shutting those people up. Mugen just haven’t had good enough drivers, capable of winning these races. On this track the Mugen cars looked very good, really safe and easy looking. I think the fact that Adam Drake had his best result in a while also proves that.

2nd Elliot Boots

Elliot was impressive at this race, and once again proved that regardless of what the track is like, and how hard it is, it is in fact possible to drive around it completely punched out of your mind. The most impressive thing about the man with the best ventilated armpits in the industry was however, that he did this with a bloody stick radio. Maybe if he had a wheel radio he would have won. Who knows.

He made too many mistakes in the main, but was constantly up there, even leading for a brief moment. If he can just keep the speed, and eliminate some mistakes, like he does back home in Europe, he could win in America too, and prove us (me and Degani) wrong about our  SRT, (Stick Radio Theory).


Pretty standard, track had everything, the Kyosho handled everything. If there is one thing I would say, it would be that possibly the reason for Boots out performing Tebo, could be that the Kyosho needs to be driven hard, specially on a track like this one, if you want to be fast. Pushing a car to go fast has Boots written all over it, unlike Tebo. That’s why Tebo is so good at Neo, there you have to be more conservative and precise. So I think the way to go fast with a very stable and planted Kyosho on a fast track like the DNC track is Boots’ forte, while Tebo is consistent and smooth, but just a bit slower.

3rd Ryan Cavalieri

I had actually predicted a podium of Maifield, Ronnefalk, Cavalieri before the main, so if we substitute Ronnefalk with Europe, I got it! Anyway, you can’t have a DNC and not put Cavalieri on the podium these days. I didn’t think he quite had the pace to win, so I figured he would just squeak it in. Too many mistakes cost him. He even lead for a while, and was looking like he might check out, but then he crashed in the front triples I believe. Just silly mistakes cost him this time, but still, he was on the podium.


It looked good to me, I honestly don’t know what it is lacking, if anything, compared to its brother, the Mugen. Nothing stood out. I don’t know what to say really. The boys probably just need to work some more on setup.

I’ll write about the rest of the field later, if I feel like it. And of course about my B main too.

DNC – Qualifying


I have said it before, and I will say it again, this is the hardest race to do well at! This time they aren’t watering, which is awesome, but instead the track is very difficult!

I did very average again (7th-20th remember?). I qualified 11th, so in the A in E-Buggy, 22nd so B in Truck, and 15th, so also B in Nitro Buggy. Even though I feel like both my car and my driving have improved, I still ended up in pretty much the same place as before. That sucks on paper, but I do feel like there has been some significant progress.

The biggest problem for me, is that I am not able to reach my potential in a 6min qualifier, after a 5-6h break, adjusting to the track with just 1 or 2 warm up laps. I just don’t seem to be able to do it. I do ok, but I can’t get in the groove and do my best. It’s not an excuse, this is reality. I bet you anything that unless I have some sort of problems, I will do better in the mains, because the B mains are 30min, and I will have time to adjust, and reach my potential. Really good drivers are on it within a lap or two. I can’t do that.

Having said that, the Black Edition is far better than the LV last year, the jumps at the front of the track didn’t cause me any problems, and I honestly felt like the car was better than me. I just need to focus on my driving. This makes me unusually confident for the mains, as the feeling is good. I’m really looking forward to the season now, as I know I am better than last year.

Now for some observations from buggy qualifying:

Ronnefalk showed why he is WC in the last qualifying round. Needing a good score to just make the main, he went out and TQed with the fastest time of the whole event. Before the last run he hasn’t looked all that great a single time, in any of the classes.

Battle is struggling big time, not managing to make 9 laps in any of his runs, and breaking in practice and qualifying rounds also. But he is a main driver, and now he will get a chance to bump a few times and find speed. Let’s see how it goes. Goes to show you how hard it is!

Tanner Stees was impressive with his new Xray ride and made the A.

There are quite a few drivers who have the speed to challenge for the win on Sunday, so it’s quite hard to predict who will end up being the ones racing for the win. Basically all of the top 8 can be contenders for the win in my opinion. I think the most probable outcome will be Tessmann, Rivkin and Maifield battling it out, with Tessmann and Maifield making it a two horse race towards the end. Cavalieri has been good here in the last years, and did his best in the last heat, so he could make it up there, as did Ronnefalk, but they will both need good starts I think, in order to get in the battle early. The other drivers in the top 8 are all fast, but I don’t see them keeping it together without mistakes for a main.



Killer Instinct


Degani just called me, as JQRacing Chief Strategist, and told me that he figured out one of my biggest issues right now, and said I need to figure it out before Nitro Challenge. He says that I’m actually fast enough to do really well, he has seen it. Maybe I haven’t really shown it at races, but he has seen it. But I’m too happy and nice, I need to get pissed off. I need to “get pissed off and just not give a fuck, and go out there and beat everyone”. I need to not be all facebooked out or trying to be everyone’s friend (not like that’s a problem haha), but I get the point.

Degani says that you need that killer instinct, Maifield and Cavalieri have it, they go out there thinking they will smash everyone, they don’t give a shit. Like Richard Saxton, Mark Pavidis, and Jeremy Kortz back in the day, and of course Degani himself. That’s how he won the worlds he said. I guess he must have read my blog about mindset, it’s similar to what I wrote about before. You have to be successful in your own mind, and you have to be winning in your head before you actually do so in reality.

If you doubt yourself, or if you have too much respect or appreciation for others, you think they are better than you for example, then that isn’t going to cut it. That’s not saying you need to start CTO:ing everyone, but just that in your mind you are thinking “I got this”, instead of in a race when say, Ryan Maifield is behind you, mentally going over your own accomplishments, quickly comparing them to his, and determining “I’m screwed”. Instead you need to be thinking, “so what, I don’t give a shit, today I got this guy covered. Watch this whip.”. Mindset actually does make a significant difference.


Meaningful Practice


I have noticed some progress in my skills here lately, specially now that I have been able to visit tracks that I haven’t been to in about a year. It’s easier to notice progress that way I feel.

There are two things that have improved, 1. I’m able to pull off a hero lap that is on pace with the fastest guys, where during the last few years I haven’t been able to do that, 2. I am able to get in “the zone” more often, pretty much every time I go to the track now. I wrote about getting to that level here.

For me to make any progress as a driver, I basically need to be averaging as close to that hero lap as possible, and I need to reach the point where I am in the moment, and driving to my best ability. Anything less and it just isn’t going to make any difference. The best way to make sure to do this, is to have a 5 minute benchmark time, that I then go out and try and beat, but focusing on every corner and section at a time, and thinking about what I am doing, and not just going through the motions.

Today at Dialed In it took a while to get the mojo going, but as the sun was going down I started clicking off fast laps, all within a couple of tenths. That’s what I need to do, a lot, and maybe further progress can be made. There is still too much of a difference between my average and good runs. I can just take a step back, focus a few seconds, start again, and go half a second faster. I should always be going as fast as I can.