Reigning US Champion Dustin Evans has won an exciting second 2WD Buggy A-Main at the Euro Offroad Series in Belgium, the TLR driver afterwards describing his battle with Joern Neumann as ‘awesome’. Having been handed an early break in the opening leg, Top Qualifier Lee Martin had contrasting fortunes in Leg 2 when he touched the corner on the first block section of the track which put his Tamiya on it roof and leaving him last at the end of the first lap. Recovering to finish 6th the European Champion said he could have been no more than 2mm off his regular line through the corner but added it was his own fault and he is now going to have to try harder in the deciding leg.
Making his debut on an astro turf track this weekend, Evans said the race was ‘probably one of the better finals I have driven’. Getting more and more comfortable on the surface which to an American racer is very alien, he said his Orion powered TLR22 once again felt really good, proven by his fastest lap of the race. Getting away with bouncing his buggy off the wall through the sweeper at the end of the straight after he had to go offline to pass an out of shape Cockerill, Evans said he practiced his pass on Neumann a lap earlier. Taking a run at Neumann up the ‘Horizon Hill’ to see if a move would be possible he backed out confident he could pull it off next time round which is exactly what he did to take the lead.
Fitting a gear diff to his Speed Passion powered DEX210, Neumann said his buggy was a lot less edgy than in the opening Main but was still difficult to try. Trying as hard as he could to keep Evans at bay he said he knew the the TLR driver would eventually find a way passed.
Starting sixth on the grid Mike Truhe completed the Top 3 just ahead of TLR team-mates Darren Bloomfield and Oskar Levin. Third in Leg 1, Cockerill pulled up his Cougar SV2. Having changed rear tyres, the British driver said they were not bedded in enough giving him too much grip and to save his front tyres he stopped early. For Leg 3 Schumacher’s Design, Development & Race Engineer will revert to the same set of rear dBoots run in the opening final.
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.