European Champion Lee Martin cruised to an easy win in the opening leg of the 2WD Buggy A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series in Belgium this morning. Top Qualifier for the race, the Tamiya Racing Factory driver was handed a very early break when the No.2 starting Durango of Joern Neumann got out of shape and was hit by Tom Cockerill causing the following pack to be slowed up. Taking victory by over 5 seconds from TLR’s Dustin Evans, Martin said once the pressure was off following the pack coming together on the opening lap he just tried to stay focused and drive a steady race.
While Martin checked out up front the big battle of the race was between Reedy Race Champions Neumann & Evans. Evans, who started fifth on the grid, pulled off a move on the German through the sweeper to take second and was afterwards ‘stoked’ by his first ever heads up action on astro turf. Having changed his tyre prep since the morning’s final qualifier the US Champion said his Orion powered TLR22 was the best its been all weekend adding that he felt if he could start along side Martin he thinks he could give the Brit a run for his money.
Contact with the rear wheel of Evans buggy during the pass for second, Neumann got caught up on the track piping allowing Cockerill though to take third. The winner of the host club Euro Indoor Race earlier this year, Cockerill said while things did not get off to a good start he was happy to be able to come on strong mid way through the race. Finishing fourth, Neumann said he wasn’t comfortable with his DEX210 in the race as it was very edgy and he hopes he will have a better buggy for the second Main.
2WD Buggy Leg 1 Result
1.(1) Lee Martin (GB) – Vega Tamiya – 15/5:10.873
2.(5) Dustin Evans (US) – TLR22 – 15/5:15.896
3.(3) Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher SV2 – 15/5:17.419
4.(2) Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango DEX210 – 15/5:17.812
5.(4) Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR22 – 15/5:20.266
6.(8) Hupo Hönigl (AT) – Durango DEX210 – 14/5:00.974
7.(6) Mike Truhe (US) – TLR22 – 14/5:05.059
8.(7) Oskar Levin (SE) – TLR22 – 14/5:07.440
9.(10)Wouter Wynen (BE) – Associated C4.1 – 14/5:13.026
10.(9)Nathan Ralls (GB) – MCS Kyosho – 14/5:14.684
Schumacher’s Tom Cockerill has TQ’d the fifth & final round of 2WD Buggy qualifying at the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series presented by Horizon Hobby. The British driver became only the third driver to run 15-laps around the Black Country Arena and will line up third on the grid behind Tamiya’s Lee Martin, who had already secured TQ honours yesterday and Team Durango’s Joern Neumann, who managed only the 12th fastest time this morning.
TLR’s driver Mike Truhe pushed Cockerill hard over the 5-minute qualifier but rolled on his final lap. Despite losing over 3 seconds, the American still managed claimed third for the round with his fastest run of the weekend. Team Losi Racing have four of their TLR22s in the final with Darren Bloomfield the highest starter in 4th followed by team-mates Dustin Evans, Truhe and EOS Round 1 podium finisher Oskar Levin.
Today has turned out to be a day for Offroad’s European Champions with 4WD Champion Joern Neumann wrapping up the TQ honours for 4WD Buggy at the Euro Offroad Series much like 2WD Champion Lee Martin did this morning in the 2WD Buggy class. Driving his Speed Passion powered Durango DEX410, Neumann secured pole position for tomorrow’s triple A-Main at the Black Country Arena when like Martin he made it four TQ runs from four qualifiers. Looking like he might complete the clean sweep, the German made a mistake in his fifth & final qualifier allowing team-mate Hupo Honigl to TQ the round which means it’s will be an all Team Durango affair at the front of grid.
Behind the duo, who dominated the first opening race of the inaugural EOS season last month, 2WD Top Qualifier Lee Martin will line up 3rd for Tamiya. The British ace admits that Neumann has a distinct advantage thanks to the corner speed his buggy is able to carry on the astro turf track but added he still thinks he can challenge the Reedy Race Champion for the overall 4WD win.
A man who has tasted success here in Charleroi already this year having won the Euro Indoor Race, Schumacher’s Tom Cockerill starts fourth ahead of American stars Mike Truhe and Dustin Evans. Driving TLR’s aging XXX-4 they are joined by the teams lead European drivers Miguel Matias, who was a podium finisher in the Czech Republic and starts 7th, and Darren Bloomfield, who many expected to be a stronger force, but only lines up 9th.
Mixing it with the World class line-up of team drivers in the final will be France’s Sebastien Wartelle whose Kyosho will carry the No.8 and British driver Nathan Ralls. A regular racer with the host club, Ralls takes the final spot of the grid after a tie break with Round 1 finalist & TLR supported young gun Oskar Levin.
In 4WD Short Course Hupo Honigl secured his second overall TQ of the series again taking pole position ahead of team-mate Neumann whom he will be hoping he can keep behind him in the finals this time. Truhe will line up third with his Losi Ten-SCTE followed by Evans and Czech teenager Kája Novotny.
While Lee Martin has sewn up the top spot on the grid in 2WD Buggy, the rest of the grid will not be finalised until the morning when the last round of the five rounds of qualifying will take place.
Winner of the opening round of the Euro Offroad Series in the Czech Republic, Joern Neumann had picked up where he left off by topping the opening two 4WD Buggy qualifiers by a substantial margin. The Team Durango driver TQ’d Q1 by 9 seconds from TLR’s Mike Truhe and in the second heat was almost 6 seconds clear of Tamiya’s Lee Martin.
A driver who likes to do most of his talking on the track, Neumann said his DEX410 was perfect and the only thing he needed to do was ‘just drive’. Team-mate Hupo Honigl, who was 8th and 4th fastest respectively in the opening heats, was also happy with his buggy adding he just need to drive better.
Failing to finish his first 4WD qualifier due to a problem with his speedo, Martin fitted a new speedo and motor for Q2 which he said transformed the drivability of his TRF502X thanks to a much smoother power delivery. Looking to gain a little more steering for Q3, the back to back British Champion said he didn’t know how he was going to achieve this without making the buggy want to grip roll.
Improving on his Q1 time which was good enough for 5th, Tom Cockerill was third quickest second time out after he cut the outside spikes on his dBoots tyres halfway down. The Schumacher driver said his SX3 feels horrible to drive but he can still get good times with it. For his third heat the British driver will try a shorter wheelbase in the hope of getting the buggy to turn in better through the 180 degree corners.
Despite running fractionally faster in his second heat Truhe only ended up 5th. The American said his buggy is getting better each run and he hopes changes to his front shocks will allow him to push harder next time out. Team-mate Dustin Evans got his qualifying off to a solid start in Q1 with 3rd but next time out failed to finish the run. Describing buggy as ‘awesome’ he made a mistake just before the 3 minute mark which resulted in a broken front caster block.
Evans wasn’t the only TLR to break as Darren Bloomfield ‘wrecked’ his XXX-4 in the first round. Only 13th fastest in Q2, he said he is finding his 4WD very hard to drive and he hopes by running a similar set-up to Evans for his next run he can post a decent round. Sixth fastest in both rounds, Portuguese 1:8 Offroad ace Miguel Matias said he does not think he can improve his Nosram powered TLR but his driving needs work as he made mistakes each run.
After an impressive opening heat that left him 4th for the round, French driver Sebastien Wartelle couldn’t match his pace in Q2 but once again was fastest of the non-team drivers in 8th spot separating the TLR Team Sweden drivers Oskar Levin and Otto Ausfelt.
In the 4WD Short Course class Hupo Honigl took the opening two qualifiers from Neumann with Truhe third in Q1 while in the second round young Czech driver Kája Novotny made it a Durango 1-2-3.
Lee Martin is Top Qualifier for 2WD Buggy at the the TLR/Spektrum Euro Offroad Series in Belgium after a perfect morning by the Tamiya driver netted four TQ runs from as many heats. Despite one round of qualifying remaining for the class which will take place in the morning ahead of the finals, Martin has put pole position beyond the reach of his rivals irrespective of the out come of the final qualifier as each driver must count their best two scores.
The European Champion produced the fastest run of the day in the penultimate qualifier but only by 6/10th of a second as a much improved Joern Neumann became the only other driver to run a 15-lap heat around the Black Country Arena track. Setting the third fastest time of Q4 was Darren Bloomfield but with the action for the rest of today now switching to the five rounds of 4WD Buggy qualifying he along with the rest of the drivers will have to wait till the morning to see where they will ultimately line up for the 2WD finals.
Qualification Ranking List After 4 Rounds of 5
1. Lee Martin (GB) – Tamiya – 0 pts
2. Jörn Neumann (DE) – Durango – 2
3. Darren Bloomfield (GB) – TLR – 3
4. Dustin Evans (US) – TLR – 3
5. Tom Cockerill (GB) – Schumacher – 6
6. Mike Truhe (US) – TLR – 7
7. Hupo Hönigl (AT) – Durango – 8
8. Oskar Levin (SE) – TLR – 9
9. Nathan Ralls (GB) – MCS Kyosho – 12
10.Miguel Matias (PT) – TLR – 17