Name – Modelbau Wels Host Club – ERT-Steyregg Country – Austria Location – Wels (200km West of Vienna) Direction – Anti-clockwise Surface – Carpet
Season #3 of the Euro Offroad Series reaches its conclusion this weekend in the small northern Austrian city of Wels with the championship finale taking place as part of the country’s biggest Hobby Exhibition ‘Modelbau Wels’. Run for the first time last year, attracting over 30,000 visitors, the show covers all aspects of modelling with EOS drivers representing the world of electric offroad RC racing, nitro offroad also being represented on a seperate outdoor track. Situated in Hall 9, local club ERT-Steyregg have presented a technical track utilising carpet tiles from the exhibition centre, which are proving very durable together with a good level of grip.
In terms of the track layout some adjustments have had to be made to the second jump in front of the driver’s stand. Originally a quad jump at a push, with the levels of all competing drivers taken onboard the spacing was extended to create a double double during untimed practice. With numerous 180 corners, a good run through the fast mid section of the track is key to a fast lap. Overall driver feedback on the layout is positive with most describing it as ‘fun to drive’.
Lee Martin has won the closing race at the Euro Offroad Series in Slovakia to claim second overall and with it his first podium finish for his new Yokomo team. A former 2WD race winner in the series, Martin won A3 from team-mate Naoto Matsukura with the Yokomo pairing completing the podium at the Hudy Arena behind overall winner Martin Bayer. Finishing third in the final A-main, having had his record run of 9-straight wins in 4WD brought to an end in A2, defending Champion Joern Nuemann would not even make the podium, the Durango driver leaving behind a difficult weekend with the 4th place trophy.
Pleased at securing his first podium, his A3 win giving him the tie breaker over Matsukura who ended the finals on the the same points, Martin paid tribute to his team for their hard work over the weekend. With the Japanese manufacturer’s new head of offroad development Shin Adachi making the trip to the Hudy Arena, Martin said for the final main they found a good set-up. Admitting that it was still not perfect the former multiple European Champion said it was a lot closer to that of their rivals. With the car having been fast but hard to drive, he said they now made it much easier to drive. The next stage he said is to make it a little faster in ‘safe mode’ but overall he said the team is working well together and he is glad to come away with a podium for their efforts.
Matsukura was expected to take the win in A3 but a coming together with Neumann just after the start left him with too much work to do to challenge Martin. Setting the fastest lap of the weekend in A3, he did pull back in the No.3 B-Max4 but Martin held on to take the win by 1/2 a second with Neumann a further 1.2 seconds behind. In with an outside chance of the podium, Kyosho’s David Ronnefalk, who started 8th on grid, would retire with a broken front wishbone having ran second for the first 6 laps.
4WD Buggy Overall Result
1. Martin Bayer (CZ) – Xray – 2 pts
2. Lee Martin (UK) – Yokomo – 4
3. Naoto Matsukura (JP) – Yokomo – 4
4. Joern Neumann (DE) – Durango – 5
5. David Ronnefalk (SE) – Kyosho – 8
6. Hupo Honigl (AT) – Team C – 9
7. Renaud Savoya (FR) – Xray – 11
8. Oskar Levin (SE) – Team C – 12
9. Miguel Matias (PT) – Xray – 16
10.Robert Batlle (ES) – Yokomo – 16
4WD Buggy A-Main Leg 3 Result
1.(4) Lee Martin – Yokomo – 13/5:02.802
2.(2) Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 13/5:03.378
3.(3) Joern Neumann – Durango – 13/5:04.851
4.(6) Hupo Honigl – Team C – 13/5:12.502
5.(5) Renaud Savoya – Xray – 13/5:16.775
6.(9) Oskar Levin – Team C – 13/5:25.731
7.(7) Miguel Matias – Xray – 12/5:07.804
8.(10)Robert Batlle – Yokomo – 12/5:13.602
9.(8) David Ronnefalk – Kyosho – 9/3:34.118
10.(1)Martin Bayer – Xray – DNS
Martin Bayer has pulled off the double at the Euro Offroad Series third round in Slovakia, the Xray driver backing up his & Team Xray’s first ever EOS win in the morning’s 2WD Main by wrapping up the overall 4WD honours early with a convincing victory in A2. With his 2WD victory somewhat unexpected, his 4WD victory has been on the cards all season and for the Czech driver this was the one he wanted most, ending Joern Neumann & Team Durango’s reign as the championship’s only 4WD winners, a record that until today stood for 9 races over 3-seasons.
Having taken a relatively easy win in A1, the second 5-minute encounter would prove even more straight forward for Bayer with him again the only driver to go 14 laps of the difficult Hudy Arena track. Leading from start to finish this time round he would take the A2 win from Naoto Matusuka with Joern Neumann crossing the finish line third. ‘So so happy to finally become the first person to beat Joern’, was Bayer’s reaction to the win which now puts him in contention to also become the first driver to beat the German to the overall EOS championship title. Commenting on the race, the European Champion said he was ‘a bit lucky’ at the start as he went a little short on the first double and his LRP powered XB4 cased the second jump but he would get away with it. Surviving that he said after the first few laps he was able to cruise the rest of the race adding that it was ‘so special to win at his home race’, his father, brother and girlfriend all on hand to watch him take the win that has eluded so many other drivers. Still letting today’s success sink in Bayer said he hasn’t given the championship title much thought but added he is already high motivated for the season finale which takes place in Austria at the end of next month.
Having had his 100% winning record in 2WD ended by Bayer today, Matsukura said ‘Martin was just to fast this weekend’. The 4WD Vice World Champion said he pushed as hard as he could, setting the fastest lap of the race but he just couldn’t close the gap. Set to battle it out for second overall with Neumann in the third A-Main, he said he is confident he can beat the World Championship Top Qualifier, a result Bayer, who will sit out A3, will be hoping he gets to see.
Having held second for 9 of the 13 laps he ran in the second Main, Neumann said he was obviously disappointed to see his unbroken run of wins come to an end but vowed to bounce back and take his 10th win at the season finale. The 3-time back to back EOS Champion said he pushed as hard as he could but admitted even without his flip which dropped him back behind Matsukura he was no match for Bayer.
Fourth in A1, David Ronnefalk again managed to repeat the result second time of asking from 8th on the grid. The 1:8 Offroad European Champion, declared himself ‘pretty happy’ with his pace in the finals saying this is the most competitive he has been in 4WD in the EOS. Having had the opportunity to test for the first time back in Sweden ahead of this weekend with the championship control Pro-Line tyres the 17-year-old said they have made good progress with the prototype car. Feeling there is still a little homework to be done to improve how the buggy lands, he said although he only has an outside chance of an podium today, this evening he will go for it adding that this track has shown that anything can happen.
4WD Buggy A-Main Leg 2 Result
1.(1) Martin Bayer – Xray – 14/5:21.116
2.(2) Naoto Matsukura – Yokomo – 13/5:02.476
3.(3) Joern Neumann – Durango – 13/5:03.639
4.(8) David Ronnefalk – Kyosho – 13/5:08.476
5.(4) Lee Martin – Yokomo – 13/5:11.096
6.(9) Oskar Levin – Team C – 13/5:13.536
7.(6) Hupo Honigl – Team C – 13/5:13.966
8.(10)Robert Batlle – Yokomo – 13/5:15.659
9.(5) Renaud Savoya – Xray – 13/5:16.201
10.(7)Miguel Matias – Xray – 13/5:18.861