Team Durango’s Joern Neumann maintained his winning streak in the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series as he held off an impressive challenge from series debutant Naoto Matsukura in Langenfeld, Germany, the defending champion securing his fifth straight victory at the event which was hosted just 10-minutes from his house. Going down to the third & final leg, after each driver notched up a win & a second each in the opening two finals, there was drama on the first laps as the pair tangled with Matsukura having to wait on Neumann who was swallowed up by the pursuing pack. While Neumann was able to recover to take the win ahead Team Xray’s Martin Bayer who led for 4-laps, the reigning Japanese National Champion could only recover to 4th eventually finishing 6th. Repeating his Leg 2 third place finish in the closing race, TLR’s Darren Bloomfield completed the overall Top 3 to claim his first EOS podium.
After the podium presentation a relieved looking Neumann said that this was by far the hardest win in the EOS and he was delighted to keep his perfect record of TQ’ing & winning all five events since the inception of the series intact. Impressed by the speed of Matsukura who before this weekend had never raced on a carpet offroad track, Neumann said that to maintain his run of victories is going to get harder with Yokomo expected to attending the rest of the series. Apart from the challenge mounted by Matsukura, the European Champion said he had to battle with the set-up on his Speed Passion powered DEX410, the mixed surfaces of the track making the window in which the hand out dBoots tyres suited his buggy very critical.
Having tasted victory when he stood on the top step of the 2WD Buggy podium earlier in the day, Matsukura said he was ‘still happy’ with second overall in 4WD saying it was a ‘good race’. Keen to highlight it was his first race on carpet the 19-year-old, who is 3-time back to back World Champion in 1:12, said he is going to practice before the next round and with a bit more track time he is confident he can do the double in Austria.
Running a buggy that was designed two decades ago, Bloomfield was surprised to come away with a podium finish saying he wished he could have driven his 2WD buggy as well. The 1:8 Offroad European Champion had a funny moment in the opening A-Main, with all the buggies set on the grid ready for the start Race Director Scotty Ernst noticed that British driver had not checked in on the timing monitor. Getting him to drive over the loop to ensure the transponder was working, when it failed to register the body was removed from the buggy to check that everything was connected only to discover Bloomfield had forgot to transfer the transponder back over from his TLR22 which he raced earlier in the day.
Making the international race debut of Xray’s XB4, which is the Slovak company’s first entry into the EP offroad market, Martin Bayer will be encouraged by his second in Leg 3 which secured him fifth overall. With the Czech ace set to be joined by Renaud Savoya for the rest of the series he will be looking to build on what was a promising first EOS outing for the Juraj Hudy designed buggy.