Sunday 23rd June 2019, Aghalee.
- Car: HB D819
- Radio: Sanwa M12s
- Engine: OS 21XZ-B
- Fuel: Piranha
- Tyres: HB Racing Gridlock V2
- Oil: XTR – Ronnefalk v2
This was round 2 of a 4 round series – with the best 3 from 4 to count. We weren’t in attendance at round 1 in Cork at CRCCC due to the birth of baby Bradley that week. This means we can’t afford a poor round in the remaining 3!
Despite the forecast the weather held up really well. It was very warm and sunny during practice on Saturday and Sunday was similar – dry and a little cooler.
We started practice as soon as the track opened on Saturday. Making the most of the time to test the setup, make a few tweaks to suit the dry surface and higher temperatures. A glow plug issue caused some frustration after a few tanks and then once resolved, the Bullitt 222 finally blew up on the very next run – it has served me well. We spent the next 30 mins swapping out the engine and getting the OS engine installed.
Runtime test returned 11.5mins which was brilliant – even though the engine was only returning temps of 245. This was going to set us up for 10 minute stops.
Tyre tests found the supersoft Gridlock v2 from Answer RC were quickest – although the team were having some success with the soft compound. I struggled with these on the track and we were apx 2s per lap slower.
Sunday morning (horribly early start!) allowed an hour of track time for practice. We took the chance to move the front and rear links up to the second hole from the bottom on both towers (where they started on Saturday) and added new tyres for a few laps to check this was ok.
A good round, and with us being out in heat 2 (first nitro buggy heat) we weren’t sure of the target on a slightly shortened track from last year. Delivered 9 laps, with a few mistakes near the end in a time of 421.51s. Only just short of 10 laps (which turned out to be the normal from the fast guys). Finished 8th overall after R1.
We changed the shock config after R1, moving up 5wt all round – this helped the car land better after a few of the big jumps. However, a more mistake riddled round left me 12s slower than round 1. This round left me 9th overall after R2.
The car felt brilliant in R3, having stepped the rear shocks up a hole on the rear shock tower. Lap times were pretty quick up until a mistake late on, in a pretty horrid position in terms of where the marshalls were (though both did a super job getting there so quickly) and then I made a mistake every lap there after! Slight improvement from R2 but finished 10th overall in R3 – leaving us in 9th after 3 rounds of qualifying (top 8 start in the A Main) and needing a 6th in R4 to get there.
We opted to change clutch bearings after R3, knowing we wanted to do the diffs before the final and time was going to be limited. Ryan removed the engine and got everything sorted in there, while I ate a filled soda! We tried a different wheel here – supersoft Blackjacks (We only had one set of supersoft Gridlock v2 which we needed for the final). Took a 10 in round 4, although again some mistakes late on cost us). That put us in 10th after all 4 rounds. This meant we had a high starting position in the B Final – with top 2 to bump – but it was a final full of great drivers and I wasn’t overly optimistic.
Centre and rear diffs had new oil put in and a new glow plug was installed into the OS (just to be sure!). Everything checked and tightened and we were ready to rock and roll.
B Final (20 Mins)
We started in P2, which meant we got a great start and away – until about half way through the first lap where a mistake dropped us into 3rd – behind Jimmy Chan and Greg Cunningham, before Michael D’Arcy took the lead. Sean D’Arcy was pushing hard and at a point passed us too. Once I settled on the rostrum, things started to fall into place, and around lap 8 or 9 we were in the lead. Ryan and Mervyn were updating me throughout, of the gap to 2nd – which was always between 10-15 seconds every lap. As the race neared the end, the gap started to close (I knew this because I wasn’t getting the normal ‘10 seconds’, ‘12 seconds’, shouts and it was Christian Boyle’s coming fast behind. In the end, we managed to steer the car home in first position with just over 7 seconds to spare on Christian in second. The gap to 3rd (which was filled by Greg Cunnginham) was 36ish seconds – although at the time I wasn’t aware we had so much room for making the bump. We two stopped here for comfort – but the OS could have managed a one stop (right Ryan?!) – we didn’t want to take the chance and Ryan made the right call.
The HB 819 was absolutely on point all weekend – couldn’t have been better. Every single heat finished without a single issue and it was extremely easy to drive. A huge shout out to Ryan, who literally worked tirelessly all weekend to make every single change we agreed and nothing was an issue. I think I made one change to the car myself all weekend – what a difference it makes having him and Merv right by my side for a weekend of racing.
I’m a little undecided on tyre choice for the multi surface track at BADMCC still, but first impressions of the HB Racing tyres all round are fantastic – I think we agreed that the Gridlock v2 in supersoft we’re probably the quickest for us all weekend. The Blackjacks in supersoft felt good, but I think the smaller pins on the Gridlock v2s were more suited to the dry surface. Pete @ Answer RC will be able to sort some out if you were keen to try them out.
For me – this was very much job done, as the plan all weekend (at least in my mind) had been to get into my first A Main National Final. But obviously the day was far from over now! Onto the A Main! Ryan changed the tyres, filled the fuel bottle and gave the car a once over.
A Main (45 Mins)
We had 10 minutes to prep for the A Main after securing the first of two bump ups from the B Final. Tyres were an issue – having never ran a final longer than 20 mins we had to go on gut and opted for the soft compound for better longevity. The only tyres we had left in this compound were blackjacks. So on they went.
Car was given the once over by Ryan in the pit lane and we got our for the 2 lap warm up. Everything seemed perfectly fine for a car that had just ran a 20 minute final!
Onto the grid and off the line without issue – got away nicely with nothing mad happening up front and battled with Damien Russell for a lap or two before making a mistake and coming off the dragons back hard against the fence! I kept at it (though mistakes and the wrong lines were a common occurrence), with Ryan using the perfect 9 minute strategy in the pits for the duration and we managed to sneak a lucky 9th, after Damien had some bad luck, losing a shock on his Kyosho car, which allowed us to make up the difference of a lap with a few to go – not really a nice way to finish but I suppose that’s racing. 65mins of finals racing and yet the car remained perfect! In hindsight, tyre choice for me and how it had been going, would have been supersoft Gridlock v2 for the 45 main, which could have had us closer to pack up ahead, but all in all what a great weekend of racing.
A massive thanks to Barkley Abernethy and the whole team who helped out at BADMCC this weekend – Richard Lowry for checking we were all legal, Ian Kidd on the flag and marshalling and to Paul Kane for running the finals.
Already mentioned Ryan on the tools and Merv in the thick of it and in the pits – generally just keeping it all in place throughout! I know I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again – it’s not possible with you both.
Final shout out to Pete at Answer RC for making it possible to run the HB 819, supplying the tyres in great time before this weekend and to the HB Racing team at BADMCC this weekend for the help and advice to fine tune a car that was incredibly easy to drive. 3 HB cars in the A Main and taking home the top spot! Well done Alan Scroggie!
Next stop… Cork (well, after a club round at NIMCC this Saturday!!).