April 21, 2012

Bloomfield tops opening Qualifier

Darren Bloomfield has topped the opening round of 2WD Buggy qualifying at the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby.  The Team Losi Racing driver took his Team Orion powered 22 to a fastest time of 15 laps in 5:09.191 to take the first of the four scheduled qualifiers ahead of the three title protagonists, Joern Neumann, Dustin Evans and Lee Martin who took the next three positions on the time sheets at the Dortmund event.

Describing his run as ‘kind of safe’, Bloomfield said the run was not very fast but was clean and this played in his favour as the others suffered crashes.  In terms of his buggy, the British 1:8 Offroad National Champion said overall it felt pretty good but for Q2 he will raise the rear links so as to try and make it ‘pivot’ better in the corner.

The fastest man in yesterday’s practice, Neumann said his run started well but a coming together with Bloomfield’s team-mate Mike Truhe on the penultimate lap cost the German 3-seconds and ultimately the TQ for the round.  The Reedy Race Champion said his Speed Passion DEX210 feels really good, endorsed by his fastest lap of Q1, and added once he can get a clean run he is confident he has the edge over his rivals.   Team-mate Hupo Honigl, who was sixth fastest, said he should have done the morning’s free practice as after running 4WD for the second half of yesterday’s practice day he didn’t re-adapt to his LRP powered example of the 2WD buggy but added he thinks it was good to drive and everything should be fine for Q2.

Evans said he was actually happy with third considering how hard his buggy was to drive.  Very edgy, the US Champion said he is still struggling with how sensitive the front tyres are to the handling of the buggy.  This led to a crash by the Team Losi Racing driver early in the run but Evan hopes that by clipping down the pins on his front set of controlled dBoots tyres he will have a safer buggy for his next qualifier.  Truhe was another to get caught out by his tyres. Running a used set in the morning practice he was very comfortable with his buggy he switched to a fresh set for his opening heat but said it was very edgy.  With just a minute to run the American had a ‘huge’ crash on the straight which cost him 8 seconds after which he said he was left frustrated leading to further mistakes dropping him to 8th for the round.

Tamiya Racing Factory’s Martin was much more positive this morning after a tough opening day yesterday. The European Champion had to come through traffic due to starting 8th and with too much steering on his Vega converted TRF201 he suffered an early mistake.  Set to start 4th for Q2 having set the fourth fastest time ahead of team-mate Marc Rheinard, the winner of the preceding round of the EOS said he is in better form and feeling more connected with the track today and so the day should get a lot better.  Rheinard said he buggy was ‘fine’ and he just needed to cut out crashes after he put his buggy, which is Martin’s spare mid motor mounted chassis, on its roof which cost him 3 seconds.

Paul Bradby was fastest of the Team Associated squad as he took his C4.1 to seventh just ahead of team boss Brent Theilke.  Bradby, who along with Thielke is running in the second fastest heat grouping, said he struggled a little with traffic but said it was own fault for being too slow in timed practice yesterday.  Happy with his buggy he said it was down to him to drive it.  Just missing out on making 15 lap with a 5:00.889, Theilke said Q1 was his first clean run since arriving in Germany and he was happy to take 8th for the opening round.  Starting 8th in his heat, he said once he passed some traffic he was out on his own and he was not sure how hard to push as he had no one to pace himself against.  Starting 2nd behind Bradby in Q2 he said he should be able to judge his pace better and hopefully improve his time.  Changing the set-up on his C4.1, which is belonging to Neil Cragg, three times before his opening qualifier Theilke switched to big bore shocks and was happy with their performance.

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April 20, 2012

Day 1 of EOS finale ruled by Neumann

Joern Neumann made his intentions for the finale of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series very clear on the opening day of the event after he backed up his run to the fastest time in the morning’s 2WD Buggy practice to top 4WD Buggy and Short Course this evening in Dortmund, Germany.   Topping 2WD Buggy from Team Losi Racing’s Dustin Evans, Neumann posted the three fastest consecutive laps in the 4WD class ahead of team-mate Hupo Honigl meaning the German will carry the No.1 race number on all three of his Durangos in qualifying tomorrow.

Fastest by 7/10th of a second from Honigl in 4WD Buggy, Neumann said his DEX410 was easy to drive with his standard carpet set-up needing little or no adjustment over the five practice rounds and he added that he just hopes he can do the same tomorrow as he goes for the perfect score.  Having TQ’d and won in the Czech Republic and Belgium, which already gave him the honour of becoming the first champion of the EOS, the German’s motivation this weekend in 4WD Buggy is to complete the clean sweep.  Neumann said his buggy has always been strong on carpet and it was just up to him now to deliver the result.

Honigl said he was pleased with his day and pace despite breaking a few things, something he was not alone in doing.  The Austrian, who is in a battle with his team-mate for the overall 4WD Short Course title, said the breakages were nothing to worry about and he is looking forward to qualifying getting started.

The surprise of 2WD Practice, Marc Rheinard again showed well in 4WD, setting the third fastest time.  A former European Champion of the class, the Tamiya Racing Factory star said the surface suited his driving but added that the key to qualifying was going to be about who can do the full five minutes without a mistake rather than who can run the fastest lap. Setting his fastest time in the first of the two timed practice runs, the Touring Car World Champion ran a brand new set of the series’ controlled dBoots tyres in the final practice run which he said made his TRF511 edgy.  Having not run or touched the buggy since his last main at last year’s World Championship he said he just put fresh oil in the shocks this morning and switched from a 6.5T to 5.5T Speed Passion motor.

Team-mate Lee Martin summed up the day saying he just wanted to ‘deleted today and start fresh tomorrow’.  The reigning European Champion was clearly frustrated with his performance today which got off to a poor start when he managed only the 8th fastest time which is not a good start to his challenge against Neumann and Evans for the overall title.  The day didn’t improve much for the British ace who enjoyed a double win at his National Championship opener last weekend as he broke his Tamiya in the first timed practice and then lost a wheel nut at the start of the second.  Eventually he managed the 5th fastest time despite discovering afterwards he had put on the wrong set of tyres which he had not yet finished gluing.

In between the two Tamiyas, Darren Bloomfield said his XXX-4 was ‘surprisingly good’. Setting the fourth fastest time in the first timed round after the front diff loosened on his second run, the Team Losi Racing driver said he did not think he would be able to make the aging chassis much better.  A buggy which first hit the market in the 90s, team-mate Mike Truhe took his example to the 8th fastest time while Evans, whose main focus is on the 2WD title, posted the 11th quickest time.

Setting the sixth fastest time Paul Bradby was top Associated.  The former World’s finalist said he did little with his Reedy powered B44.1 over the five practice rounds and it was a case of just driving it as the buggy felt OK given the high bite track conditions.   Team boss Brent Thielke continued his learning experience as he got his first sample of 4WD on carpet.  The Californian was surprised by how little a difference there was between his 2WD and 4WD on the track compared with the difference he is used to racing on dirt.  Running the same set-up as he used at the Reedy Race the only changes he has made was to fit a front sway bar and go up 5 weight in shock oil.  With his first day of EOS action in the bag Theilke said he is having fun and in particular happy with his 4WD performance as he will be in the second highest heat grouping together with fellow American Evans.

The Top 10 featured a number of drivers better known for racing Touring Cars rather than offroad. Factory drivers Yannic Prumper, who drives for Yokomo, and Kyosho’s Christopher Krapp, who recently won a round of the Euro Touring Series, set the 7th and 9th fastest times respectively with up & coming 10-year-old Polish talent Michal Orlowski completing the Top 10 at the controls of his Tamiya. Elsewhere Schumacher designer Tom Cockerill, who qualified third in Belgium, ended the day down in 17th.  After a poor run in the first timed run, the British driver made a sudden exit from the final round when on the opening lap he tried to clear the table top but the Cat SX touched the jump spinning it onto its roof resulting in the front shock tower being sheared clean off on the landing.

Tomorrow’s schedule will see the day kick off with 2WD qualifying before switching to 4WD in the afternoon with the best 2 of 4 rounds counting towards the grid for Sunday’s Mains.

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April 20, 2012

Perfect start to EOS finale for Neumann

Joern Neumann has given his hopes of a securing a second buggy title in the inaugural TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby an early boost by topping 2WD buggy practice at the season finale in Dortmund, Germany.  The Team Durango star, who is in a three way battle for the overall championship crown with Team Losi Racing’s Dustin Evans and Tamiya’s Lee Martin, set the fastest three consecutive laps to head the time sheets by 3/10ths from Evans to secure the top seeding for tomorrow’s qualifying while Martin struggled to gel with the track ending up with only the 8th fastest time.

Neumann who already wrapped up the 4WD Buggy title at the preceding round in Belgium, used the morning practice runs to try different oils in the front shocks of his Speed Passion powered DEX210 and switched to a heavier oil for the fifth & final round said his buggy was now very easy to drive.  Featuring jumps created by the German race engineer Gerd Strenge, Neumann described the track as ‘really nice’ and is confident his buggy is in good shape for qualifying tomorrow.

Evans, who also spent his opening practice runs adjusting his shocks set-up for the high grip carpet track, said his Orion powered TLR22 was ‘awesome’. Making his non-clay surface race debut at Round 2 in Charleroi where he finished a very impressive second overall, the US National Champion said he was a lot more confident with the surface this time round.  Although his buggy was fast in Belgium he said it was hard to drive but making a number of set-up changes this morning it now felt safe.  Needing to take the win on Sunday if he is to have any chance of claiming the overall title for the series’ biggest class, the former Reedy Race Champion believes he is in good shape for qualifying and should easily be able to better his 5th on the grid last time out.

Setting the third fastest time was Team Losi Racing’s Darren Bloomfield. Disappointed with his performance on his EOS debut last month, especially considering the wealth of experience he has racing on astro turf over his rivals, the British driver said he is in much better shape this weekend. Skipping the warm-up race for this year’s 1:8 Offroad European Championship to compete in the EOS finale, Bloomfield said after some work on his shocks everything feels good including his new Orion electrics.  Running LRP electrics in Charleroi, he has since signed for Team Orion and so now runs an identical package to his American team-mates Evans, who signed for the Swiss brand at the start of the year, and Mike Truhe. Truhe, who ended practice 5th fastest, ran used front tyres in timed practice causing him to lack a little steering but the 2010 US Champion said with a fresh set of the controlled dBoots tyres on for qualifying the buggy should work well on a track which he added is the best track of the series.

Causing the biggest surprise of practice to end up fourth fastest separating the Losi’s of Bloomfield and Truhe was reigning electric Touring Car World Champion Marc Rheinard.  Running Round 2 winner Martin’s spare Vega conversion Tamiya TRF201, the German who is not an offroad regular broke the buggy on his first practice run but has since adjusted quickly to the mid motor mounted 2WD buggy, a class the German is openly not a big fan of.  Martin, who ended up being over 2-seconds off his title rivals Neumann and Evans over three laps, said he is not enjoying the layout as he doesn’t feel he is connecting with the track.  Breaking a chassis in early practice he said his buggy may also not be 100% and after this evenings 4WD practice he will give it a thorough look over, adding he might for the opening qualifier run a set-up he knows works well on carpet rather than chasing the problem.

Completing the Top 6, Hupo Honigl said his Durango felt good but he just needs to drive it cleaner.  Running as part of Intermodellbau Dortmund, the biggest Hobby Exhibition in Europe, the former European Champion described the track at as the most challenging of the three venues on the inaugural EOS calender.

Schumacher’s Tom Cockerill ended the 2WD Buggy practice 7th fastest.  The British driver said his SV2 feels alright on the track but on the time sheets is slower than he’d like but he thinks everything should be ok when the times start to count towards something.

Elsewhere Tony Truman was the fastest Team Associated in 10th just ahead of Paul Bradby while AE team manager Brent Theilke made a very respectable carpet debut to set the 18th fastest time.  Running the CML Centro C4.1 of former World Champion Neil Cragg, which he only got his hands on late last night when it arrived with Truman who traveled over by car with Martin and Cockerill,  the American missed the first practice and then broke on the second lap of his second practice.  Really enjoying his first EOS experience he said the hardest aspect of the track is the transition from the carpet to the wooden jumps.  Finding it hard to be consistent, he said he managed two good laps behind Evans but threw away the potentially quick reseed time when he crashed on the third lap.

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April 17, 2012

Champions set for 3-way title showdown at Euro Offroad Series finale

Reigning European 1:10 electric buggy champions Joern Neumann and Lee Martin along with US Champion Dustin Evans are set for a title showdown at the finale of the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby when the trio will battle it out to become inaugural Champion of 2WD Buggy, the new series’ biggest class. Neumann, the European 4WD Champion, won the opening round for Team Durango in the Czech Republic but had to settle for third at Round 2 in Belgian where European 2WD Champion Martin, who along with Evans was making his series debut, took victory for Tamiya ahead of the American TLR driver setting the stage for an exciting climax to the season in Dortmund, Germany, this weekend (20-22 April).

Having already wrapped up the 4WD Buggy title with back to back wins at the preceding rounds, Neumann is out to do a clean sweep of the main EOS crowns on offer at what is a home event for the German ace. In addition to having a strong shot at the 2WD Buggy title he is also in contention for the 4WD Short Course title in which it will be a head to head battle with his Austrian Durango team-mate Hupo Honigl.

Having just kicked off his British National Championship campaign in perfect style over the weekend by TQ’ing and winning both buggy classes, Martin was impressive on his series debut with the Vega converted Tamiya 2WD which he has shown to be a very strong package on high grip tracks. Martin will be joined by his TRF/Speed Passion team-mate Marc Rheinard for the event and although the German World Touring Car Champion is not a regular offroad competitor he is a former European 4WD Buggy Champion so should be able to mix it with offroads top drivers in that class. Interestingly Martin will also contest 4WD Short Course this weekend with a prototype truck from his new 1:8 Buggy sponsors Mugen who look set to enter the electric offroad market having up to now focused only on nitro competitions.

Sampling a European style indoor track and racing on a none dirt surface for the very first time in Belgium, TLR’s Dustin Evans performance was very impressive with the former Reedy Race champion managing a win in the second leg of the A-Main. Having mastered astro turf and the series’ controlled dBoots tyres, he will now be faced with adapting his driving style again this weekend to suit carpet, a surface his rivals know well, but the 26-year-old has already shown that he is a fast learner. Evans must win if he is to be in with a chance of the title and will be looking to his team-mate Mike Truhe for support as he has the benefit of having raced at the opening round in Hrotovice which was held on a carpet track. TLR, who as title sponsors have been instrumental in making the EOS possible this year, will have an increased presence at the season finale with team-manager Kevin Gahan and TLR engineer Dan Hissam, who was responsible for the design of the 22, also making the trip to Dortmund.

Running as part of Europe’s largest consumer hobby show Intermodellbau Dortmund, which is expected to attract over 85,000 visitors, the concluding round of season one of the EOS has attracted just short of 200 entries including an official factory entry from Team Associated. Associated along with TLR, Tamiya, Durango and Kyosho were staunch supporters of the EOS pilot race last year and will be represented for the first time in the actual series by Brent Theilke, the man responsible for managing the World’s most successful offroad race team, along with World Championship finalist Paul Bradby. Apart from his responsiblity for looking after two of the biggest names in the sport, Ryan Cavalieri and Ryan Maifield, Theilke is himself a very competent competitor recently making the A-Main in 2 & 4WD buggy at one of America’s most prestigious international events the Proline Cactus Classic.Associated Sponsors 2012 Race Calendar