Category Archives: People

To Win At Any Cost – Try Traction

Spy photo of the new Pro-Concept Diamond Suburb, Hole Bars, Diamond Fighter,  Crime Bars.

Just in case no one reads the whole thing, let’s just put this out there:

Ty Tessmann is ProLine’s poster child, and he ran JConcepts Diamond Bars in the NeoBuggy nitro main. Why is this big news? For a few reasons, but if you want to know them, you have to read on.

After transitioning from racer to designer and owner, well sort of, I do all those things at the same time, I have had the opportunity to look at things wearing all those hats. At the end of the day, we go racing to win. I have written a lot about the mental approach to racing, how to practice, and test, and just about racing in general. I realise that all the drivers at the top, go to the race looking to win, and anything else is a failure. The question everyone has to answer for themselves, is where to draw the line, do you cheat, or do you put personal relationships, and your integrity on the line in order to do so, or do you play by the book, and simply do your best with what you have?

This post isn’t really about cheating, but rather about this mentality that drivers have:

  1. I am getting beat, my equipment is holding me back, I need to have different car/tyres/engine/other, or else I can’t win.
  2. I am getting beat, obviously these other guys beating me are cheating.

The number one reason for team drivers to leave JQRacing has been, “It doesn’t suit my style”, which is code speak for, “I think your car isn’t very good, it’s holding me back, I will do much better with another car”. Without exception, these situations have resulted in no noticeable improvement in results, and in the best cases, worse results. The reason for this is, that after a certain level of product quality, the difference isn’t the product, it’s what you do with it. Let me make this absolutely clear:

Almost without exception, the difference between winning and not winning is how well you can maximise the performance of the products you have. Everything works together, and changing one thing throws off the balance. Looking for shortcuts is not the way to move forward.

So now we have a high profile case of mental meltdown, in the form of Ty Tessmann resorting to running a different brand tyre, because he was convinced that ProLine tyres were holding him back. This is an understandable reaction, but one that should be thwarted by the surrounding team, not encouraged. Let’s look at some facts:

  • It didn’t help that he ran JC. 20-20 vision I know, but these things don’t work out. Really.
  • On the other hand, what if he won? How do you hide that?
  • Boots finished 2nd with ProLine tyres.
  • If you are going to run something else, why would you not run AKA’s that were arguably the best tyres at the event?
  • If you are going to run something different, why on earth would you sneak new tyres on after the race, at least go all the way and have a set of used PLs ready.

I had no idea of this until I went to check the tyre wear after the main, and Ty’s tyres looked brand new. I know Ty is a smooth driver, but this was ridiculous. I immediately put my CSI hat on, and began investigating. I found out that Maifield handed Gord the JC tyres in the pits. They were glued up in the DXR tent, before the main. Photos were avoided before the main, and they were immediately switched out after the main. This is obviously not an awesome look for the righteous Tessmann family. However, the pressure to win can corrupt the best of us, specially if the pressure is coming from you chassis manufacturer (pure speculation, based on past events). My point is, the Tessmann family are good people, this isn’t a personal attack on them, rather a highlighting of a way of thinking that racers employ, regardless of level, that is in my opinion flawed.

What makes it worse is the fact that ProLine has cracked down on team drivers using other brand tyres at other than control tyre events, actually going as far as posting about this on their Facebook group, and cutting a driver(s) off the team that have been caught doing so.

Will Tessmann be cut? I highly doubt it.

Will he ever do this again? I highly doubt it.

Not with this blog around.

Leaked footage of Gord at ProLine post NEO de-brief.

Our team of investigators uncovered this final piece of ‘telling’ evidence in the Try Traction Scandal.

Neo17-Day 3, THETeam Supper

On this day of celebration, I have outsourced my blog to Fat Jesus, as I have to focus for tomorrows mains. There will surely be more juicy blogs next week. For now, enjoy being told what to do.

Fat Jesus’ 10 Commandments:

1. Thou shalt all go BLACK Edition.

2. Thou shalt not covet your neighbours car.

3. Thou shalt not marshal like Spaniards or Italians.

4. Thou shalt run eTruggy. Tis brilliant.

5. Thou shalt only drink hot chocolate with coffee.

6. Thou shalt never case THE Quad.

7. Thou shalt enjoy THE Team Supper.

An Opportunity Is All You Need

I look at Fajar staring at me, and I remember that we got this life, and that’s it. Everyone starts at a different place, but we all deserve a chance. Be a good person and you will become surrounded by good people. It’s just how the world works. I have been given a lot of opportunities by a lot of good people, and you can be sure that I have made the most of them. I am extremely grateful for all the support I have received, and I hope the favours get returned over the years, and that I can pay it forward to others too.

I have been working very hard over the past few years, and at a point lost 99% of all available hope. Now things are looking much better, and all signs point to great things ahead. Motivation and dedication level up to 100% again! Remember that behind almost every overnight success, there’s years and years of thankless hard work.

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that everything starts with you. Your own attitude and your own decisions determine everything about your life. There are no excuses. It’s easy for me to say, posting blogs from my privileged position, but I have met people who have gone through true hardships, and they prove this theory to be true, time and time again!

You know all those things you have always wanted to do? You should go do them.

On another note, I re-discovered pickled beetroot today. Man it’s good!

Silver State – Buggy B-Main – Grab Ass, Deportation, & a French Fry

Well it was another B main for me. Pretty standard. More track time if you make the main, that’s how I see it. The B main was looking pretty good on paper, but I felt like I would be able to bump if I didn’t have issues. Actually, even though I was all the way down in 7th early on, and spent some time in 5th, I was never worried, because this was a 30 minute race, and I knew that I just needed to find my bearings, and I would be ok.

In the end it turned out to be a relatively easy bump, because I made it even though my car went to shit towards the end, it was just too soft and hard to drive. Let’s take a look at all the drivers in the main.

1. Billy Easton

What a great drive from Billy! He said that if he didn’t improve his results he wouldn’t be racing these events anymore, I guess he gets to race some more now! He started off ok dropped off, and then came on strong in the last 3rd of the race. Best race he has had in a while! People don’t remember Billy used to be the man! Billy used to be Maifield. Really. Except he is World Champion! Sorry Ryan!

2. Joe Bornhorst

Started off great, and pulled a big lead, but then his tires or car faded, and he stared falling back, at one point I actually thought I might catch him, that’s how bad he faded. Don’t know what was going on there.

3. ME

I didn’t panic, I did what I had to do, and I bumped to the main. I had World Champion Mechanic Pierre Ronnefalk pitting for me. Sorry for breaking your hand in the first pit stop mate! It helps to have confidence in your pit crew. Tack så mycket för hjälpen!

4. Dylan Rodriguez

This is another guy that could be really good if he cared about RC. Very fast, but too many mistakes cost him a chance to bump. Lack of track time, that’s all.

5. Colin Herzig

The best race I have seen Colin Herzig drive. He never even blew out in the B main, and was challenging for the bump up. You may remember Colin is actually under contract by JQRacing, as we signed a 12 and a half year deal, bak in 2011. Colin has been working under cover, testing other cars, and collecting all of Kanai’s secrets from Kyosho now for the past few years. Everyone is leaving Kyosho, and now Herzig is moving up. Next dethrone Tebo. It’s not gonna be easy!

6. Greg Degani

After the Worlds I stole Greg’s car as I needed it. I then build him a car for DNC. That turned out to be a disaster for Degani. He cleaned up his car and threw it in the van. He unloaded it from the van at Silver State, and miraculously his complete lack of dedication and preparation paid off. He was dialed in Vegas. Complete domination of the 40+ class, and a great performance in the B main, beating many drivers who actually take racing seriously! This, if anything proves how good the new BLACK Edition is. Even Degani can make it look good, and perform at the highest level.

7. Billy Fischer

Got passed and beat by an old man with a DE bumpered JQRacing buggy, and a 150 dollar engine. Not the best race we have seen out of Fish-Daddy.

Kenny showing off his muscles that made sure the wheel nuts were tight!

8. Kyle Johnson

I won’t say anything because Kenny will threaten to kick my ass again!

9. CJ Tessmann

Mini Tessmann is fast, but a bit hit or miss in the mains. I have no idea how old he is, but he is progressing fast, and will surely be really annoying here in a year or two, as he will be stealing a spot in the mains.

10. Steve Harris

 

11. Mark Sousa

I like Sousa, he is a bit too punched out of his mind for his own good. A bit more thought into his driving and he will be good. Just more practice, and setup work, and he can start making the mains. 2nd best Canadian eh?

12. Aaron Gomez

Too punched also, leads to mistakes. Just needs more track time, speed is great at times. We can work with speed. Aaron was posting on FB about not being sure what to do as he isn’t achieving the success he wants. It’s the big question of to try harder or to give up. I think it’s pretty simple. Figure out what you want, and do that. I don’t feel like Aaron has worked very hard at RC yet, so if that’s what you want Aaron, then start working hard at it!

13. Noah Dickerson

Too much grab ass, not enough RC.

14. Cody King

Too much grab ass, not enough RC. His babysitter wasn’t at the race, so his focus was more off than normal. Couldn’t figure out how to route his fuel line so he flamed out. Karma for cutting the track.

15. Victor Guerrero

A: What is Victor doing in the Pro class?

B: How is Victor still in America? Trump said he was serious about these deportations!

Last of all:

I would like to thank Renaud Savoya for not attending Silver State, so I could finally get the last bump into the main. Thanks, and please don’t go to Neo17 either. Thanks for understanding Reno.

Truck B Main – Operation Richard Saxton

It was Saturday evening. I was the first race up on Sunday, Truck B main. I looked down at my truck, I hadn’t cleaned it, or taken the body off for the entire race. I decided to change the clutch and clutchbell bearings. Degani was complaining that he wanted to leave, and Ryan Maifield had stopped by for a few laughs, sipping a beer. This was to be the only loving care this truck received this week.

The next morning, I got inspired during the A main practices, and glued up a new set of tyres. I was ready.

Early in the main, Greg Degani yelled up to me, ”Operation Richard Saxton!”. Somehow I had managed to make it to the sharp end of the field, and Adam Drake, the truck specialist was behind me. I knew what to do. Soon after this, Adam got side by side with me, and I initiated ORS. I tagged Adam’s rear tyre and he flips over, as I drive away into the distance, and promptly Adam proceeded to blow out for the next 10 minutes.

See, back in the day Richard Saxton was the best in nitro offroad, he would win everything, all the time, and this is why he got the nickname ”The King”. What he would do is, if for whatever reason there was someone actually challenging him in a race, he would run the guy over, and just drive away early in the race. This made the challenger super mad, and when you are mad, you are going to blow out and crash more. Genius.

Drake has now sort of taken over the ORS system back in the California club racing scene, something that I have been a victim of numerous times, so it was epic to be able to get him back here.

Anyway, luckily for me, Drake who was running longer stints and one less pitstop than me, flamed out in the pits and lost some time, so I had a decent lead over him towards the end of the main. I didn’t want him to catch me for the last bump up, so I was punched. Last lap I catch up to Billy Fisher who was in 2nd, and he is playing it safe, he is standing next to me and tells me nothing stupid now on the last lap, and I tell him yes but you have to go go go! I almost lose control, but I keep it together, as Drake has a meltdown in the last few corners.

Getting beat by JQ is worse than getting beat by a girl. Mike Truhe said he would quit if I beat him. That’s how bad it is for these guys!

Special thanks to Team Associated, apparently Cavalieri had told everyone to get stuffed at DNC, so AE stuffed him for a month. Anyway, they needed someone to take his spot in the main, so I feel like I did my job there. Put that truck in the main for them to get the quota up to par, too bad the tank they provided was too big!

Silver State – Qualifying Notes

Maifield blowing a gasket didn’t phase Tessmann. It’s all good eh.

Here’s some notes from qualifying.

  • Degani and his DE 40+ Bumper TQed the old man class over his nemesis Yuichi Kanai.
  • Maifield Neffed out badly after the first day of qualifying. Apparently team Tessmann were employing shady tactics of Ty starting right behind Ryan, even though Ryan was trying to get space on the track.
  • It’s not against the rules, it’s not nice, but this is racing.
  • Cavalieri is struggling, as expected, finding the woops section especially tough. I am confident I can beat him tomorrow.
  • Ronda Drake is trying to start fights in the pits, and then film them for her FB page.
  • If you are going to water, water every race. What a joke to have a schedule, run this dry, that wet. Decide what you want to do and stick to it. It will always be a benefit to either have a wet track, or a dry track, so why the hell would you not water every race?

“It doesn’t take more time or effort to do things right, so why always do them wrong?”

-AdamDrake

  • Re-seeding after the first qualifying round? So stupid.
  • Times were close, so I expect to see some close racing in the mains.
  • The funniest thing so far, was when Kanai cartwheeled big time on the double, and as he was flipping through the air Degani passed him and yelled BANZAIIIII! This clearly fired Kanai up, and even though he was one lap down, the two old World Champions battled on the last lap, with Degani putting Kanai one lap down right at the line.
  • Cody King is in all B mains again. After speculating with Degani about this, we concluded that part of the issue may be him playing grab ass in the pits all day. His babysitter isn’t here.
  • Mike Truhe on the other hand clearly got motivated by my DNC blog. He is on the gas, looking good.
  • Billy Easton got a 4th in a electric buggy round, in between maintaining the driver stand, focusing mainly on the handrail today. That’s a good run!
  • So far we are right that Bornhorst should stick to Truggy.
  • Colin Herzig is driving better than ever. It’s about time. Now let’s see how many minutes into the B main he blows out. Before or after me.
  • Maifield is going to win a lot. Stamp it. Phend, Tessmann, Ronnefalk will make mistakes.

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.

 

Dialed In Raceway – I Made it More Dialed.

The above track is Dialed In Raceway in Victorville. Even though it’s pretty much in Northern California, it is the best track for SoCal residents. Revelation Raceway is in a better location, but the dirt is worse than hemorrhoids (I’m guessing here obviously). Thunder Alley is up there too, but unfortunately it’s never open. It’s like a fucking diorama, look don’t touch.

Anyway, as you can see above, the track has a new lay out. Now, it is really very good, but our World Champ David RONNEfalk had a slight issue. There is a blind spot 2nd lane from the back left corner. See it? Well, Brent ASS-Ton who runs the track, is a really great guy (or so I thought), and he immediately got all emotional because the World Champ wasn’t 100% happy. So this is what he did.

An unreasonable tractor.

First he tricked me to go to the track to practice. Then he got this ridiculous tractor and dumped a pile of dirt in the blind spot, and handed me a shovel. Basically Brent can’t drive a tractor to save his life. I guess he got the pile in the right general area, but there was definitely ample room to improve his skills.

He then forced me to shovel this goddamn pile of dirt for at least an hour, into what resembled a sort of corner spine, hip-roller, JQ CORNER, while he sipped on his Starbucks and verbally abused me.

Btw, Ass-ton, get it?

Brent did however then pack the new section while I rested.

So there you go, Dialed In Raceway is now officially Dialed.

Vote For Pedro! Please Vote NOW!

https://goo.gl/YEH5sU

It’s now been one year of posting a blog EVERY DAY! ONE YEAR! Holy shit. Let’s see if I should continue or not. Because I’m tired of this shit.

DNC Top 10 Thoughts – Part 3

mike

10th Mike Truhe

Truhe was fast, but is sort of in the same boat as Cody King. If he cared about RC Car Racing he could be up there. Talented individual, but doesn’t put in the work, so making the main is about all he can do at this point. I didn’t really watch him in the main, at the back of the pack for the entire race.

joe

11th Joe Bornhorts

Degani says he should stick to Truggy. A lot of mistakes in the main. He will be a contender once he gets his buggy good and comfortable like his Truggy is.

alex

12th Alex Zanchettin

I remember a few years ago at the Neo Race, when Alex was new on the scene, he seeded into the top heat. In one qualifier he had a bad run and proceeded to have a mental meltdown, hitting everything and everyone in the process, for the duration of the qualifier. It’s like something gets jammed in full punch mode in his head at times. This was one such moment again. You would think that after crashing for the 10th time on the same triple you would figure it out, but no. Alex is super fast, but needs to mature a bit on the mental side when it comes to racing. On the positive side, at least he finished, which has proven to be a weakness over the past few years. definitely a great driver, but not as mature as Ongaro for example, who shares Alex’s pace.

13th Tanner Stees

ty

14th Ty Tessmann

In buggy I predicted before the main, that Tessmann would be off the podium, not because of an issue, but because of mistakes. He didn’t look quite as comfortable as normal, making mistakes, miss timing jumps, and crashing. And that’s sort of what happened in the main too, it wasn’t the normal Steady Eddie Tessmann we are used to seeing. No doubt he just needs a bit more time with his car.

On another note, we can now conclusively determine once and for all that praying does not make you win RC Car races. God does not make you cross the finish line 1st any more than he gives babies malaria in Africa. So let’s look at what’s happening shall we.

There is a simple rule in racing, you have to KISS it. Keep It Simple Stupid. Yes a DEANS plug can feel tight, well guess what, so does a screw. Why do you loctite them? Because they vibrate loose. I strongly believe that some things should be made as foolproof and simple as possible. And the radio tray is one of those things. No over engineering allowed, no switches that can break, no funky connectors, KISS it. This is now 3 times Tessmann is out due to power loss at the DNC in two years. Hmmmm.

XRay

To be honest I didn’t really pay attention to the car. I would say the car is fine, Tessmann just needs some time to adjust.

dakotah

15th Dakotah Phend

Dakotah started off strong, I can’t say I expected it. He was on a roll, and it was looking like it would be a Phend Maifield battle, but then an increasingly worse steering servo issue put him out. Such a shame, it could have been a good race. Dakotah was looking solid.

TLR

Not the best surface for the TLR car, what with good grip and bumps, but Phend made it work. The TLR has however always been great on jumps, and that’s something this track had a lot of! The real question is, what’s going on with TLR’s racing program, who is developing their cars, and will they have a team in 2018-19?