Category Archives: JQ Europe Tour

Back in Finland

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Midnight in Vasa. As you can see no lights needed. Now it’s coming to 5am, just made it home. Almost 11000km, well worth it!

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LRP Electronic – From a Basement to Multi Million € Company

Jurgen is into wine. Not quite in the alcoholic way, but the wine connoisseur kind of way. He introduced me to the art of fine wines last year, and he is still pushing the issue.

Jurgen is into wine. Not quite in the alcoholic way, but the wine connoisseur kind of way. He introduced me to the art of fine wines last year, and he is still pushing the issue.

I first started racing RC Cars in 1999, and I bought a car with an LRP speed controller. Ever since then I have been running LRP! At some point I somehow got sponsored by LRP, and have been ever since. I have never actually visited LRP, so on the way back from Spain, Max and I decided to drive via Stuttgart, as LRP is located close by.

We had a short meeting after our tour, and a few good laughs.

We had a short meeting after our tour, and a few good laughs. Jurgen on the left was trying to convince me to go to the 1:8th Euros. Andy on the right was just laughing because he is Andy, and that’s what he does.

We were greeted by Andy Kramer, LRP’s own team manager/customer service/R&D/nice guy – guy. I hope they pay him a lot, he is worth it for the brand on the racing side at least! That would be my critique of LRP. For a while there during the last few years it looked like they were drifting away from the racing side. When I stared racing, LRP was this cool world championship winning, innovating brand. Then the last few years I got the feeling it had become this RTR quad copter monster truck backyard bashing lame toy brand. Then not so long ago LRP re-vamped their race image, signed some drivers, got a bit more of a presence going, and I’m back thinking it’s a cool racing brand. Andy is the Nitro guy, and Ales Dobnikar who I met for the first time last year is the Electric guy, and they travel to the big races for support. I hope Jurgen Lautenbach, the founder and GESCHÄFTSFUHRER (CEO) of LRP keeps racing close at heart and maybe even pushes the racing side a bit more as the market improves!

Waiting for the

Waiting for the GESCHÄFTSFUHRER

Anyway, Jurgen has come a long way, really impressive if you ask me. From soldering his own shit together in his parents basement to running a multi million euro company both producing and selling their very own products, and distributing others. It takes a lot to pull that off. And not only that, he is also a European Champion in 1:10th offroad. We got to see the multistory office building, all decked out with blue carpets and no photo signs. German, organised, and more than likely efficiently running, and of course non-airconditioned. That’s a thing in Germany. Maybe it was optional, some people had it in their offices.

All the LRP World Championships were listed impressively with plaques in the stairway of the office building.

All the LRP World Championships were listed impressively with plaques in the stairway of the office building.

Just down the road was an even bigger warehouse, far larger than you probably imagine, with rows and rows of pallets and boxes full of RC stuff. We picked up an order I had made for the 1:10th scale offroad euros, and I got a head ache imagining taking care of the stock control, product lists and webshop details for all this stuff!

So there you go, great example of going for it, pulling your sleeves up and getting to work on your passion. It’s possible people, it’s possible!

Entering the Sales Manager's office. Memories from Berlin clearly.

Entering the Sales Manager’s office. Memories from Berlin clearly.

Security levels were high. This was all the pictures I was able to sneak out.

Security levels were high. These were all the pictures I was able to sneak out.

You can read some more about LRP here.

 

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Euros 2016 – Recap

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This years Euros has got to go down as one of the best I have attended! Let’s list a few things about this years event

The track was epic, although I don’t agree with fixing it with concrete, that wasn’t cool. Actually even between the qualifying days which I thought wasn’t allowed. But overall, it was epic, good fun.Maybe not the best track to race on, but fun to drive around, and it definitely looked the part.

The facility was very good. Good pits, awesome restaurant with a lot of different food, a beer tent, good use of space, great viewing, big drivers stand. It was all very well laid out and looked great.

The weather, apart from some strong winds and what looked like a risk of rain on the first qualifying day, it was hot and sunny. Great for racing.

WE LV Setup and Pace on High Grip has always been an achilles heel, but with the past months focus on improving it for high grip due to what was expected to be a high grip Euros and high grip Worlds, (neither coming true though), the weak point has now been turned into a strength. THECar is now solid on high grip!

JR Drivers Pace. As bad as it is for me, there are a lot of fast young drivers in Europe now, Ongaro, Baruffolo making the main now not in their home country, Burak Kilic just missing the main, etc.

Yannick’s pace and superb 2nd place at his 20th Euros was a nice boost of motivation for anyone a bit older 🙂 It is possible!

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Rules Are Rules (Unless You Are Special)

If there is one thing I hate, it is injustice. You can see it in any topic I get into, be it how you get thrown in jail for weed possession if you are a lower class nobody, and you get nothing if you are rich. Or how if you can afford the right lawyer you can quite literally get away with murder. The same trickles down to smaller things. RC Racing for example.

Alfonso Pineda was the Spanish race director of these Euros, and he is quite universally seen as a cancer of RC racing. I don’t mean to say that he is a bad person, but he has an ego problem and no common sense whatsoever. He has for example called the police on me at a Spanish national many years ago, with the result that the race was stopped for an hour, and the police eventually concluded that I had done nothing wrong. He did this because apparently as a non Spanish citizen I was not allowed to be in the pits during the race. Absolutely incredible.

Now I am all for rules, racing in America is a joke compared to Europe, and I appreciate the Europeans adhearance to rules and schedules, but at some point we have to all take a step back and remember what we are doing, and let common sense prevail. Let me tell you a story of the past year of Max Mört, a now 15 year old driver racing EFRA Euros, and after that let’s take a look at Alfonso Pineda’s complete hypocrisy.

Last year Max won the Euros JR final, only to be denied the European JR Champion title. Why? Because apparently even though he won the final, there was a JR in the main, who even though he did not race the final won it. Ridiculous rules if you ask me, but it is what it is. Setback nr 1.

Euros 2016 qualifying, Max makes a mistake in the woops, and ends up wide in the dust, he stops to let another car through, before rejoining. He receives a stop and go due to stopping on the track. This is not allowed after 1 minute has been called. Absolutely ridiculous call, even according to the driver who passed Max in that instant. Juraj Hudy also got a penalty due to slowing to adjust his radio trim. Wake up EFRA.

Finals, unfortunately the Finish team manager did not inform all drivers about the marshaling procedure, and as Max had to marshal the first race of the day, no one had checked this in time. The speaker in the pits was also off so no one in the Finish team heard the calls for a marshal. Very unfortunate, of course as the race director said, “rules are rules”, and yes, in the end we had to accept this. Max was not allowed to race his final. A 15 year old boy from Finland had driven from Finland to Spain, a 4 day drive, spent thousands of Euros on equipment, hotels, etc, and was not allowed to even race his final. We even got all the drivers in the final to agree, that the officials should let Max race, and the final was delayed a few minutes as the officials held a quick meeting. In the end, “rules are rules”, Max was not allowed to race.

GET THIS, exact copy of the EFRA 2016 rule book:

General rules
If competitors are required to marshal Finals, then failure to marshal in a Final will
result in being placed last in the appropriate Final. Failure to marshal is clarified
as: not being at the correct marshalling point 30 seconds prior to the start of a
controlled practice, qualifying heat or final

If the story ended here, tough pill to swallow, but at the end of the day, the punishment was extreme, and wrong, but the  mistake, it was the Finish teams, team manager/driver/father, all to blame. But the thing is, it did not end here.

After the A semi final Martin Wollanka’s car was in the pits. Apparently the scrutineering had for some reason handed out some cars without them going through the inspection. Martin’s mechanic did not remember the rule and brought it to the pits. The wheels were off, and the battery was charging as far as I can tell, when Mr Pineda showed up. Now the rules clearly state that cars have to remain in scrutineering until the other semi final has finished. What was Pineda’s call? “Use well, the information please”. What does that mean? Cover my ass, I made a mistake? Apparently the fact that Wollanka’s car was in the pits for 10 minutes meant that he had to leave it in scrutineering for 10 extra minutes after the cars were released. I thought rules were rules Pineda? This guy is a complete joke and does not deserve being a race official at our races. RC racing should be fun, and Pineda has forgot that. If rules are rules, then at least know the damn rule book. Use common sense and make the best call for fair racing and fun for all. We race RC cars because we enjoy it.

Don't over react you may say.....

Don’t over react you may say…..

until you read the rules.

…until you read the rules.

P.S. I like Wollanka, from VRC to real RC, from zero to hero. Nothing against him, this post is dedicated to Pineda.

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Euros 2016 – Qualifying Day 2

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This has been such a strange race for me. The feeling was great, and also my pace. But from the 1st qualifying round on, I have just been going slower and slower. Today I got a bit frustrated with my lack of pace and crashed in both rounds. With perfect runs I would have either just made the semis, or just missed out, but that’s far from how I was looking in practice. The track got more polished and the grip went down, and I just can’t adapt it seems.

Tomorrow I am starting in the 1/4 final, and I hope the grip is higher, and that I have the pace. I changed pistons and nothing else really, as my car is really good, I just need to drive it like I know I can.

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Euros 2016 – Qualifying Day 1

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I find it rather ironic that the one time I have a plan, my car is good, pace is good, everything is clicking, God intervenes. There is no other explanation for this weather. No one predicted this. We even had some rain drops. Well, the sandstorm, clouds, and lower temps definitely changed the track, and my trajectory.

First round was good, I wanted to do a safe run, and was just a bit too slow, 2-3 seconds from 5th place, so not bad, but I finished 11th. Then I had a 4.5h break before my 2nd round. The track was way different and I was slow. Car felt good, but I was slow. I think we don’t need to scramble the heats on consistent tracks. Makes for super long breaks, and then shorter one another time. No need for that.

Then for the 3rd round I ran LW Soft instead of medium, and lightened my shock oil one step. This was however not enough, and once again, my car felt good but was slow! For tomorrow I now changed the rear hub insert so the hole is higher, and reduced caster, in order to make the car faster for the looser conditions. I drive early tomorrow, and then I will decide what to do for the last round. But now I should have a good car for the 4th round. Tomorrow I need two good runs so I can make the semis!

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Euros 2016 – Seeding Practice

Today was seeding practice. In the morning we had a 5 minute free practice run, and then after that two 10 minute seeding rounds, where they took the 3 best consecutive laps. I really suck at the 3 laps thing, and don’t like it at all. But at least in 10 minutes you can just run your pace and you will have 3 good laps somewhere.

I stuck with my plan, and didn’t get psyched out by what others are doing. Run this tyre, this guy did that and was fast, etc etc. I don’t care, I know what I need, and I am doing that, I don’t care what anyone else does. Maybe I don’t have their driving style, or talent, so I worry about myself, not them. I have only run LW Medium Impacts. Nothing else. I tried some different wheels today, as they were harder, and liked that. I changed my gearing, going to a 48t main gear from the 47. I am running the smooth gearing here, (43/13) as it has more punch, and it’s needed here accelerating uphill for example.

The only setup change I did was before the first run today, I lowered the front link in order to get more steering that’s it. So total changes at this race are thinner front swaybar, 2.2 from 2.3, 48t main gear from 47t, and front link bottom hole on tower from middle. All changes I have done before and know exactly what they do.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday, was that one thing I am focusing on with my driving, is accelerating straight. On this track there are many places where I tend to still have the wheels turned when accelerating. You can flow around the track this way, but squaring up early and accelerating with the wheels straight is quite a bit faster. That’s one of the things I need to improve on, along with maintaining my speed better in the tighter corners. I also need to be a bit more safe in the places with no marshal, there are a couple of places where you will loose 10 seconds if you crash, and it’s not worth risking it there.

I hope I can keep this going now for qualifying. I seeded 10th and my 5 minute pace is better than that. Let’s see how my head is, and my confidence. My car is very very good. The slower I go, the faster I am, it really is easy to drive, and I just need to not make mistakes and I will be good. Tomorrow we have a short practice in the morning, where I won’t try anything lol, and then 3 rounds of 5 minute qualifying.

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Euros 2016 – Practice

Today was the first day of practice here at the Euros, and so far so good. My car was good from the very beginning. Just what I hoped for. All the work the last 6 weeks since the warm up paid off! Not perfect, but good enough. So I went along with my plan, and didn’t make changes, I just drove. I drove the same set of LW Medium Impacts all day, and the only change to the car that I made was a thinner front sway bar for the last round. As I wrote a few days ago, what I need, is to be comfortable with the car, and to be comfortable I need to drive a lot with the same setup. And I intend to stick with that plan. I have a few small changes I can do if needed, but for now I will only focus on driving.

I got my engine tuned pretty well for the last round, it should be good for the race. I have a good feeling, and now I need to focus on hitting my lines, and braking points. I need to slow down enough and set up for the corners so I can maintain my speed through them. I need to enter the corners a bit wider and not drive so squarely. The car feels good in the chicanes and I need to play it safe in them, and not push it too much. The different between a good and a great line through them isn’t huge, but the difference between a good and a bad run through them is massive. I want to stick with the good ones. That is going to be key. If I am still too slow once I feel like I have done a “perfect” lap, I will see about getting more steering. Until then, I will just drive.

The engine ran 10 degrees cooler with the Bittydesign shell. Much needed as it is so hot here in Spain.

The engine ran 10 degrees cooler with the Bittydesign shell. Much needed as it is so hot here in Spain.

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Euros Track – Amazeballs

The track is amazing! Really really nice, can’t wait for tomorrow. I also like the fact that it’s a real driver’s track. There are a lot of corners and combinations where the driver can make a big difference. Everyone is not able to do the same thing, and a talented driver will be able to make a difference. Challenging track, and it looks great.

The surface is a bit of a question mark. It doesn’t look like it did at the warm up. I think it will be dusty tomorrow, and should groove up. I expect it to be medium to high grip and bumpy in places later on. I hope the grip isn’t as high as for the warm up.

I hope I get my car good early on in practice and get to focus on my driving. Tyre choice will most likely be between long wear medium impact and enduro. Maybe long wear soft to start with, will have to determine that after watching the first heats run.

Some sections are looking like concrete dirt.

Some sections are looking like concrete dirt.

Some...not so much

Some…not so much

 

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Euros 2016, Redovan Spain

Long drive from France. But oh man, does the track look good!!!

Long drive from France. But oh man, does the track look good!!!

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