This was my second year attending the ROAR 1/8 Scale Fuel Off-Road Nationals, held this year at LCRC in Oakland Mills, PA. This race is one to remember with Ty Tessman’s last corner pass to be crowned our 2012 national champion in both Nitro truggy and Nitro buggy divisions.
On Wednesday, my dad and I arrived in Pennsylvania with Curtis and Dave Door at the Harrisburg airport around 6:00 PM. Luckily we didn’t have any issues with our plane and all our baggage was accounted for. There were just a few small issues with the airport check-in person throwing our bags behind the counter in front of us and onto the conveyor belt; I guess they make it known up front they don’t care about your baggage. We met up with Marty Korn, Chad Bradley, Derrick Threatt, and the one and only Barry Baker. We had two rental cars and only about 250 pieces of luggage between all of us. It was like a circus scene getting everyone and all the baggage into the cars but we made it work.
After about an hour drive we arrived at our hotel, checked in, and unloaded all our gear. We were all hungry and decided it was time to eat, so we headed out with new arrival and fellow A Main Hobbies – ProTek R/C team driver Matt Gosch. We headed over to Burger King and had a quality meal as we were trying to get used to the fast food that our diet would consist of for the next few days.
The next morning we woke up at an ungodly time around 4:50am, (1:50 am California time) to drive to the track, a short 20 minutes from our hotel with the rest of the A Main Hobbies team. At first glance I knew this track was going to be a challenge. With off-camber corners, narrow lanes, and an elevated back straightaway, it wasn’t going to be easy. The first rounds of practice confirmed what I knew: this track is difficult. If that wasn’t enough, the weather was something I wasn’t used to: upwards of 100 degrees with 90% humidity. Tuning wasn’t going to be easy to say the least.
Friday morning was the first round of qualifying. I was more than happy with the way both my Kyosho MP9 TKI 3 buggy and Kyosho ST-RR EVO truggy were performing during practice and I was ready for qualifying. Unfortunately in truggy, my first run I ended up 12th overall but was disqualified because my dad forgot to take my car to tech (oops! sorry Dad). In round two, I was about two corners from finishing when my truggy flamed because of motor issues. Later that evening I had to switch motors in my truggy and with the help of Chad and Marty we tried to get a good bench tune without any track time on the motor.
In round one qualifying of buggy I ended up 15th and in round two I ended up tenth, which I was happy about. I think the only thing I changed from practice to qualifying was my front sway bar, and it seemed to help in the corners.
Day two of qualifying was underway and turned out to be my best runs after Marty and I discussed some different driving techniques. After switching motors and only having about a lap to put a tune on my truggy I ended up with a 10th and 20th which put me 21st overall, putting me in the ¼ finals. In Buggy I just wanted to get another solid run to go with my 10th, so I ran smooth and tried to make zero mistakes. It felt like I was going slow but after the round was over I managed to get a top 5 run! I yelled to my dad to make sure he would quickly get my buggy to tech. My car passed with zero issues and I was able to secure a spot in the semis with 15 points, qualifying 14th overall. I was more than happy with how I qualified.
Sunday was “mains” day. I went through both cars and checked everything to make sure nothing could possibly go wrong. First up was my truck ¼ final, and I had team mate Curtis Door in my race. We race against each nearly every weekend so I knew I had my work cut out for me. Luckily we both got the bump spots and made our way up to the semi final with teammate Dylan Rodriguez. I got a rough start and was dead last for the first 10 minutes. I thought to myself, “I didn’t travel all this way just to give up,” so I tried to catch up and see what happened. I was about 20 seconds behind 5th place, the last bump spot to the main. I drove some fast laps making up time and with about 3 minutes to go I finally caught the battle between Curtis Door and Dylan Rodriguez for the 5th spot. Unfortunately I had to come in for a splash of fuel, ending my last chance. I ended up 8th in my semi.
My buggy semi was up next, and the biggest question for me was which tires to run and which compound. I guessed Medium Grid Irons and they ended up being the wrong choice for the 30 minute final. My car was really loose, shattering any chance I had of making it to the front and bumping. Overall I’m happy with my performance; I got the results I was hoping for and made it to both semi finals.
I am truly blessed to be on such an awesome team as A Main Hobbies. Everyone is so supportive and always looking to help each other.
Congrats to Tyler Vik for making it into the final for truggy.
Thank you to Marty, Chad, Curtis, Barry, Matt and Dylan for all of your help all week.
A special thanks to our pit dads Steve, Dave, and Donnie for all your support.
Congratulations Ty Tessman!