January 30, 2015

Martin maintains pace to top seeding practice

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Lee Martin maintained his early pace at the Euro Offroad Series in Berlin, with the Yokomo driver topping both rounds of timed practice to become the top seed for 2WD qualifying tomorrow as drivers now switch over to 4WD practice.  Behind the British driver, it was David Ronnefalk who was second fastest with Robert Batlle, also driving a Team C TM2, completing the Top 3. While up front the order had no surprises it was the lack of pace from both Hupo Honigl and Joern Neumann that was the biggest surprise with their fastest 3-consecutive laps only good enough for 13th and 16th fastest times respectively.

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Other than adjusting the front link on his new Muchmore powered YZ-2, Martin said he hasn’t felt the need to change his set-up as it is working really well from the first lap out on the track.  Focusing on evaluating the difference between new and used tyres he said everything has been ‘pretty consistent’.  The only driver to run regular 19-seconds laps with his 3-consecutive lap time the only one under 1-minute, he declared himself ‘happy with it’ adding ‘everything feels good’.  Looking to qualifying he said ‘everyone knows racing is different but at least going into it we are at a good place’.

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Almost 6/10ths off Martin’s pace, Ronnefalk was content with his pace.  Having ran with Martin for the first part of the final practice, he said halfway through the 5-minutes his tyres which were on their third run faded.  This caused him to lose grip out of the corners on the carpet but gain grip on the wood sections. Having set out to see if three runs where possible he said now he knows for qualifying that 2-runs is the optimum per set.  Describing the car ‘good’, the DHI Cup Champion said he will have brand new tyres for Q1, which, while tricky on the wood for the first couple of laps, should be an improvement.

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Batlle was pleased with his ever improving pace but felt he was losing time in the corners due to lacking a little steering.  Describing his TM2V2 as ‘quite quick’, the Spaniard hopes an adjustment to less rear toe in might improve the steering but he is also concerned about tyre wear which he said was ‘high’.

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Failing to improve on his time from the first timed practice, Xray’s Martin Bayer ended up 4th.  Running the Slovakian manufacturer’s still under wraps new XB2 chassis, the Czech driver made a change for the final practice but said afterwards it made it too easy to drive.  Declaring himself ‘happy’ and ‘feeling (he) has the speed’ he will revert back to his free practice set-up which makes the buggy rotate better.

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Behind Bayer was Xray team-mate Martin Wollanka with the Austrian saying he ‘can’t believe how easy the new car is to drive’.  ‘Trying stuff every round as the car is so new’, he said with a fresh set of tyres for Q1 his pace should be even better.  The third of the Xray’s factory team drivers, Miguel Matias is not having as good at start with the new car.  Having to build the car with no manual, the Portuguese driver has only completed one full practice run due to ‘little problems’ but said he was ‘getting it figured out’.

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Completing the Top 6 with team-mate Simon Moss taking his example to the 8th fastest time, Schumacher’s Michal Orlowski said he ‘overall very positive’ with his KF2 with this morning his first time to put laps on the new car.  His only issue with the car is on power traction but having added weight to try cure this in his second timed run he said this resulted in the car stopping in the corner.  Set to remove the weight, the Polish youngster said he has some other ideas he will try for Q1.

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Here to support Martin and build up as much set-up data as possible for Yokomo’s latest 2WD chassis release, Shin Adachi still managed the 7th fastest time.  The accomplished Japanese driver said ‘I’m just here to learn not to win, thats up to Lee’.  Describing there being a ‘huge difference’ between the new car and its predecessor he said he was very happy with how Day 1 had gone for the team.

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Usually right in the mix, Neumann said ‘doesnt matter which car I drive I am too slow’.  Using the Yokomo in the first timed run and then switching over to the Team C, the European Champion said the YZ-2 has understeer while the TM2 has no rear grip.  Also not entirely happy with the way he is driving on his return to carpet having raced on dirt at the Reedy Race of Champions last week he said maybe after 4WD practice he will be better able to drive his 2WD and find some pace.

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Having made the switch from Team C to Serpent since Round 1 of the championship, Honigl said his Serpent feels ok going around the track but it is ‘too lazy’ with the Austrian adding he ‘need(s) 50% more steering’.

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January 30, 2015

Chassis Focus – Lee Martin

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Chassis: Yokomo YZ-2
Motor: Muchmore
ESC: Muchmore
Batteries: Protek RC
Radio/Servo: Sanwa/Xpert Lee Martin Edition
Remarks – The main Yokomo driver here in Berlin, Lee is running the latest YZ-2 buggy fully prepped by Shin Adachi. His car is pretty stock, although it features some lightweight options such as titanium turnbuckles, titanium screws to help the flex and is equipped with machined shock pistons and 20g of additional weight in the front. It also sports a MRT transponder, an LMR Avior wing and an additional front spoiler secured in front of the cab of the “Puppy Paint”ed bodyshell.

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January 30, 2015

Martin sets early pace in Berlin

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Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series takes place in Berlin this weekend with Yokomo’s Lee Martin setting the early practice pace in the German capital.  At the end of the three rounds of free practice, the British driver topped the times for fastest 3-consecutive laps with his new YZ-2.  Behind it was Martin Bayer, debuting Xray’s new XB2, who was closest 3/10ths off with new HB signing David Ronnefalk completing the Top 3.

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Asked about the new car, Martin said he hasn’t done much in terms of set-up changes other than tweak the steering as the Shin Adachi built buggy has felt good from the first run.  With the original track causing some drivers issues at the crossover, organisers decided to remove it after the first round of practice with Martin endorsing the decision say ‘the track is better now without the crossover’.  With this weekend being the first time that racers are running pre-glued sets of the championship’s handout Schumacher tyres, the Vice World Champion said their big focus for now is to see how the cars changes with the amount of wear on the tyres.

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Having only got his all new 2WD kit on Tuesday night and had just one day of practice with the car at the Hudy Arena, Bayer said they are still finding their way with how changes effect the car.  Having contested the previous EOS encounters with the XB4-2, which was based on their success 4WD platform, the Czech driver said the new purpose built 2WD chassis ‘feels fast’ and while it is still ‘early days’ he is ‘happy so far’.

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Due to HB not yet having a 2WD buggy, Ronnefalk is running the same Team C buggy that he used earlier in the month to win the DHI Cup from Joern Nuemann and Michal Orlowski.  The Swede said while the EOS track has a little less traction than the DHI he is running the car unchanged and the first time he will touch the car is for the first timed practice for which he will rebuild the geardiff.  Like Martin, he also thinks the removal of the crossover has improved the track and while ‘not super difficult to drive’ he feels is going to make for good racing.

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Driving the same car, new Team C signing Robert Batlle has been benefiting from Ronnefalk’s input in terms of setting up his TM2V2.  Having prepared for his first EOS outing of Season #4 at his highly impressive looking RBR36 Arena in Barcelona, the former 1:8 World Champion said while it seemed like a good plan at the time the difference between his astro turf and the carpet being used this weekend is ‘huge’.  Changing the car set-up completely over the 3-runs he said he is pleased with how it is now running and having run the same set of used tyres all morning he is confident of further improvement when he fits a brand new set for timed practice.

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Switching between a Team C and Yokomo’s new YZ-2, Neumann said there was little between the two cars and it was his driving that was his biggest issue. Describing his early performance as ‘medium’, the championships most winning driver said ‘(I) didn’t drive very well’.  Planning to run the Yokomo in the first timed practice he will then decide which of the two options he will run for the rest of the event.  On the track layout, the German said it was ‘not my favourite EOS layout’ adding it ‘does not have a good flow’.

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Making his first EOS appearance with new team Serpent, Hupo Honigl said overall his SRX-2 MM feels good but he needs more steering.  Although he got to run Serpent at last weeks Reedy Race of Champions in California, the Austrian said its difficult to come to the EOS with a new car and no practice.  Despite this, the former 2WD race winner, who threw away a potential second EOS win in Berlin last year, is confident that he can have a competitive car for qualifying and racing.

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Another new car debuting this weekend is Schumacher’s new Cougar KF2.  Having only got his new car in kit form last night, the British manufacturer’s young star Michal Orlowski is very positive about his new chassis.  Suffering electric problems in the opening practice and not happy with the front end handling in the second, the 13-year-old said set-up help from Simon Moss gave him with a really good car for the final free practice with him describing it as easy to drive.  Schumacher designer Phil Booth is also on hand to provide support on the KF2’s debut weekend.

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January 30, 2015

Track Focus – TSV Marienfelde, Berlin

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Host Club – MSV06 Berlin
Country – Germany
Location – Berlin
Track type – Temporary
Surface – Carpet/Wood Jumps
Direction – Anti-Clockwise
Previous key events hosted – None

Making its second visit to the Germany capital Berlin, this year Round 2 of the Euro Offroad Series has switched from being held on the south east side of the city to the south west side to a more modern building. Located about a 20-minute drive from the city centre, built in 2013, the hall is the home of TSV Marienfelde with handball one of the main uses for the hall.  Also used by one of Berlin’s many small rc clubs, who use the venue to hold four offroad races over the winter, it is again MSV06 Berlin who are the official host club of the EOS round.

Covering an area 20m by 29m, the majority of the track layout is replicated from last year with the big difference being the removal of the crossover.  Originally featured in the 2015 design, it was removed during free practice as errors in jumping the crossover was having too big an effect on drivers passing underneath.  The track structure is again made up using the Polish made AzetX plastic modular track system with wooden jumps which this year feature more carpet covering.

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January 28, 2015

All change for EOS Round 2 in Berlin

All change for EOS Round 2 in Berlin

It is all change for this weekend’s (Jan 30 – Feb 1) second round of the Euro Offroad Series as the championship returns to Berlin for a second year. Following a successful first visit to the German capital city last year, the first change is the venue with the race moving to a larger, more modern, building to better cater for the 200 plus entries. Having partnered up with Schumacher as official tyre supplier for Season #4, which got underway in Poland last October, another change for Round 2 is the switch over to pre-glued handout tyres for everyone. The third change comes in the form of the track action after the 2015 brought about one of the biggest team driver line up changes in years.

The championship’s most successful partnership, that of Joern Neumann and Durango, is no longer following the manufacturer’s decision to dissolve its factory race team meaning the German will race his home event without a chassis sponsor. The benefit of being a free agent is that the undefeated 3-time 4WD Champion can choose which ever cars he feels is going to better his chances of adding to his tally of being the championship’s most winning driver. Also effected by the Durango decision, multiple podium finisher Michal Orlowski, will line up in new team colours with Schumacher, who having lost both Tom Cockerill & Round 1 star Carson Wernimont, have snapped up the talented 13-year old.

One of the key instigators in the creation of the EOS, Hupo Honigl will also be representing a new team at Round 2. The Austrian, who last season finished third in the 2WD standings after a successful campaign with Team C, joins Serpent giving the electric offroad newcomer its first full factory representation in the championship. Another manufacturer to be represented for the first time with a factory presence this weekend is HB who have signed EOS regular David Ronnefalk, the Swede having previously been Kyosho’s lead charger.

Team C, while losing Honigl, have gained former 1:8 Offroad World Champion Robert Batlle. Having previously raced in the EOS for 2WD Champions Team Yokomo, the Spaniard did not contest Round 1 and will be hoping to mark his return to championship with a strong debut for his new team.

Having got his 2WD title defence off to the perfect start when he dominated Round 1, Naoto Matsukura will not make the trip to Germany, the Japanese ace having only just signed for Kyosho after his shock departure from Yokomo. Still Yokomo will be contenders for another win through 2WD World Vice-Champion Lee Martin. Finishing on the podium in Poland, the British driver will be looking to claim his first EOS win for Yokomo and while without Matsukura as a team-mate will again have designer Shin Adachi on hand who is travelling from Japan for support as well as racing himself.

One of only three drivers to have enjoyed wins in the EOS in 2WD & 4WD buggy, Martin Bayer is the only front runner who travels to Round 2 without a change of chassis sponsor or loss of a prominent team-mate. Championship Runner-up in 4WD, the Xray driver will be hoping for a strong showing having missed out on the podium at Round 1 and will be spurred on by his battle with Neumann for the win at the DHI Cup earlier in the month.