So the time of year arrived again, NEO Race time! This Year, NEO X
We arrived on the Thursday afternoon and met up with the rest of the Kyosho team, and caught up on what everyone had been up to.
We went through booking in and went to take our first look at the track. The DXR crew has done an amazing job with the track as per normal. An unique and challenging track greeted us. Big shout out to Wes Myles for a great design!! Every year the whole team of DXR have bought a unique track and created one of the best events of each year. Keep it up guys, here to another ten years of NEO Race hopefully!
In the evening we headed to our hotel, got checked in and pop to the pub next door for some food. Followed by an early night as we knew the next few could be late, so we would need all the rest we could get before the event began.
Friday – Practice
So Friday would bring us 3 Rounds of timed practice with the fastest 3 consecutive laps for all the runs being use to seed for qualifying.
We would be starting with both cars being on the same setup as each other and just testing different Tyres for the first round. We would start with Pro-Line M4 Suburbs on the Nitro, while on the Electric we would start with Pro-Line M4 Hole Shot 2.0 to get a feeling as to what would suit the track. Previous years we have always ended up running Pro-Line Suburbs but the track seemed a little different this year, seeming to have more moisture contained within the dirt.
Round 1 Timed Practice:
So the first time we would hit the track would be with the nitro buggy in heat 17. Round one would be a case of learning the tracks and lines that we could or couldn’t take an to see how the traction level and Tyre choices worked. We took to the track and the car appeared to be working well with the setup when had on the car for the start of the event. The lap 3 consecutive laps we got didn’t reflect our true pace as we were unable to get 3 laps without traffic. We felt the Tyres worked well and that the car had great pace.
Onto the track for the first time with E-Buggy and trying Pro-Line Hole Shot 2.0 to how they felt compared with the Suburbs we ran on the Nitro. The Tyres were a little slower to drive on than the Suburb so for the next run we would swap to run both cars on the same Tyre. We managed to get a few laps together to place 5th overall in seeding for the round.
Onto the second round of practice, we held back in the pit lane to let the other runners go then exited in space to allow us to get some clean laps in a row. We were rewarded with the fastest 3 consecutive laps so far. Seeding us number 1 with one round of practice left to go. The car performing perfectly.
Fitting a set of Pro-Line M4 Suburbs to the car for this run to see if they worked better for us the than previous Tyre we ran on the E-Buggy. A small mistake during warm up however ended the run early for us, after making hard contact with a solid board and damaging the front wishbone. Onto the next round to make up for the error, finding the limits of the track and traction during practice.
For the final round of practice we decided to try a different Tyre, fitting Pro-Line M4 Electrons to the car after speaking with our other Pro-Line Teammates and what they had been running. Upon hitting the track the car was even better, the Tyres providing as much traction as the Suburbs without the wanting to get up on two wheels when pushing hard. Finding space during the run was once again hard managing two very fast laps after having cleared a slower car, on the third we caught a slower car costing us time. We improved on our P2 pace, and ended up number 3 seed for the next day.
After having made the error in the last practice we knew we needed to keep it steady and get some good clean laps to put us in the top heat for the next day. We stuck to the plan and our best 3 consecutive laps gave us number 5 seed for the next days qualifying.
After the day had finished up we left and headed to the hotel for a quick change of clothes before heading for some food with the Sawyers who only race once or twice a year now, for a good catch up on ‘old times’. Reece getting us all in tears of laughter when he said, ‘I’m only 3 seconds of Elliott‘. We all said ‘That’s pretty good over the run’, to which he replied, ‘A lap!’. Always good having friends about again that don’t get the chance to race much anymore. After having eaten it was time for some shut eye.
Saturday – Qualifying – Dash For Cash:
Saturday would bring us 3 of the 5 Rounds of qualifying, and mark the beginning of the whole run counting rather than the three fast laps in a row. Feeling confident about the day ahead as we knew the car had good consistent pace for a run from practice.
Up first would be Nitro Buggy, wanting to get underway with a good score for the round the plan was to keep it calm and clean. As we had during practice we held back in the out lane to find some space on track, which we managed to find hoping it would give us a clear track for most of the run. Getting off to a good start we were on pace with Tessmann and looking like we could take the fight for TQ of the round, however an issue with traffic result in us losing time. We still managed to take 2nd for the round, and looking forward to hopefully more of the same in the next two rounds.
E-Buggy time. We kept the car the same as we found to be working in practice and just fitted a new set of Pro-Line M4 Electrons. Finding space during the warm up proved to be difficult with people stopping on track, even having been told to keep filtering round. We unfortunately ended up with a slower car in front that took a little time to clear, costing a little time but we managed to take 6th for the round. Knowing that there was more to come due to the traffic, we kept positive.
Back to Nitro, making no changes to the car other than a new set of Pro-Line M4 Electrons once again. Setting off our pace was great and we were battling once again for TQ, looking good for it. We suffered a small over however in the second half of the run which cost us 3 seconds. We ended up 3rd for the round, knowing we would have taken TQ if not for the small mistake. Feeling confident going to the last nitro qualifier of the day.
Hitting the track once again with the E Buggy we fitted the set of Pro-Line M4 Electrons we had ran on the Nitro buggy. Space on the track was once again an issue during the run catching other drivers but they seemed unwilling to move and let us pass by, costing us time. We came out with 7th for the round, knowing the car had much more pace that what the results were showing so far.
Hitting the track once again with an unchanged car other than new Tyres. The track seemed to have changed slightly since the last run and the car seemed to suffer with weight transfer onto the nose which made the car hard to drive and over rotate. This resulted in a few errors, and a long Marshall which ended us with a 12th for the round. Knowing we would need to change the car to suit the now differing conditions. We would try some changes to the car later on in the Dash For Cash.
Knowing the track had changed a little from the last round after the Nitro run we chose to run a different Tyre on the E-Buggy, switching to Pro-Line M4 Suburbs feeling that it may have been partially down to the Tyres. However on starting the heat we realized that the change in Tyres had not been the right one as the lap times were slow and the car felt as though we needed more traction. We ended up with 9th for the round, knowing we would need to try something different the next morning for Round 4.
Dash For Cash:
After struggling a little with the car during the last round of qualifying we made some changes to the car for the Dash For Cash, to see if we could improve the car ready for the next mornings qualifiers. The race has always been rough, and contact always happens and seems to be part of it. We made a good start and ended up 3rd after a couple of laps, however a mistake dropped us back down, leaving us to battle back through the pack. Managing to fight all the way back to 4th but running out of time to get the podium challenge completed. A fun race however and the car changes felt good ready for the next day.
We left the track and headed for food along with the Shakespeare’s, Rossi’s and King’s. Having a nice relax and a good laugh between us all. Always nice after a hard day at the track.
Sunday – Qualifying – E-Buggy Semi Final:
Sunday would bring the final 2 rounds of qualifying and the E-Buggy Semi Final for us.
We kept the Buggy as we had ran it in the Dash For Cash, fitting new Tyres only. The track had been watered after racing had finished the previous day, putting more moisture back into the surface. The changes we had made for the previous evening however didn’t work as well for us in this round. The car being low on steering and traction it would be a round for us to forget. We would change the car back to how it was previously before the Dash For Cash with a couple of small changes.
We changed the front spring on the Buggy to see if we could get the steering that the Nitro Buggy had lacked, the car was still hard to drive however during the run. We managed to get 6th for the round, and decided that we would change the setup back to the previous day with a few small adjustments.
Changing the car back to the setup we had used for the previous day, but changing the front spring to one rate harder and dropping the roll bar down .1 of a rate. Hoping to stop the transfer of weight onto the nose and allow the rear to work more during cornering and through the bumps and ruts. The changes made the car easy, and fast to drive once again. Knowing we needed a good score we kept the run tidy and smooth resulting in 4th for the round. This gave us 3rd overall, and we would line up 2nd in the A Semi Final. Feeling confident in the car now with the changes we had made.
Copying the Nitro Buggy setup that we had just ran onto the E-Buggy we felt confident of a good last qualifying run. Traffic however was an issue once again, and result in us finishing 8th for the round. This would give us 7th overall and would place us 4th on the grid in the A Semi that would take place later on. Feeling confident as we knew our qualifying result didn’t reflect our true pace.
E-Buggy Semi Final
Lining up 4th on the grid the top 7 and the fastest 8 place finisher from the two semis would make it into the Main Final. Our semi began and making a clean start managed to move up into 3rd after the first corner passing Bloomfield round the outside line. We then set about staying with Maifield and Tessmann. Keeping clean and tidy we bought it home in 3rd place, waiting to see what times the other Semi final would manage. After the B Semi had ran we looked to see what times they had managed, they had been slower than our final and we would line up 3rd on the grid for the E-Buggy Main Final.
We packed the gear away quickly and headed to the restaurant we had booked and grabbed some food before heading back to the hotel for a few drinks to relax and chill out before the next day. Finals!
Monday – Mains:
Monday would bring the E-Buggy Main Final, Nitro Semi Final and Nitro Main Final. The E-Buggy Main would be first up.
The first time would would hit the track today would be with the E-Buggy. Lining up 3rd on the grid feeling confident of a podium or a possible win. The race got underway and made it round the first turn, however over the next small double we made a small error and crashed dropping into the pack and suffering from contact from the pack. This dropped us down to near the back of the field. Getting our head down we battles back through the pack, finding ourselves in 2nd place and catching Tessmann who was out in the lead. We would however run out of time to get a challenge going for the win, but 2nd after the start was a great finish! The car performed perfect with our Tekin ESC and Motor combo powering us to the podium.
After the E-Buggy Main we heard the rumours of additive being used during the meeting whether it was labeled as a cleaner or something else. Previous years had always stated that additive must not be used due to the fact the college was agricultural. However this year some people had noticed this rule had not been used. The NEO team said they are unable to police it so it was allowable. After hearing this news we still took the decision to run our Tyres without anything being used on any surface other than to clean the bead prior to gluing, as all the items being used were something we know nothing about. We hoped that it wouldn’t affect the race or our result for deciding to stay without.
Nitro Semi Final – Practice
Onto our Semi final practice.
Jason Varley of CML Distribution had found some Clay compound Pro-Line IONs (thanks Jason) and had arrived just before getting everything set for the practice.
Ty had been running clay compound Tyres and been going super fast all weekend, so we rushed to get a set glued up to try in practice along with Pro-Line M3 Suburbs. We chose to go out on the M3 Suburb first and the pace was very good but a suffered with the edge of the Tyre digging in causing grip roll. We bought the car in and swapped onto the Ion in clay compound. Straight away the car looked great and the pace was right there. We decided this would be the Tyre we would run for the semi and main final if we made it.
Nitro Semi Final
So it was onto the Semi final and we lined up behind Ty on the grid. We set off and made a good start staying with Ty and pulling away from the field. We had a couple of small errors and Ty was able to pull a small gap from us. We made two fuel stops due to the unknown of how the Tyres would wear compared with the M4 compound we had been running all weekend and the chance of increased wheelspin. Towards the end of the Semi the Tyres appeared to go off slightly and we dropped to 3rd, keeping it safe and steady making sure we would make it into the main final. We finished the Semi in 3rd, and would have to wait to see the times of the other semi to see where we would line up on the grid. After the other Semi had finished we looked at the times and the other Semi had been faster and we would end up lining up 6th on the grid for the Main Final.
Nitro Main Final
So we had our place in the main final. We took a look at the Tyres from the Semi final and they had worm but not as bad as we expected. We decided we would glue a new set of Pro-Line Clay Compound ION for the Main the same as the Semi. (Leaving them as they came out the packet, no treatment to the tread etc). We knew the final was going to be a hard affair with the possibility of people in front of us using ‘substances’ on their Tyres, but we wanted to stay true to our Tyre manufacturer and not on adding treatment. We set off at the start of the final and made a good start but couldn’t stay with the guys in front. They appeared to have more traction than us coming out of the corner. Whether this was due to our very small pin Tyre or something else we will never know. We drove our own race pretty much on our own, unable to match the pace in front, our Tyres going off after 25-mins, which after finishing the final we realised was due to them turning to slicks! We ended up finishing in 5th place, a finish we were happy but also disappointed with. Happy as we had made the Main and done so without the use of any ‘aids’. Unhappy however as we were told some or even all the others in front of us had aided their Tyres.
In the end NeoX was once again a great meeting organised by Phil (Neobuggy) and the DXR team so a big thank you to all of them for their hard work. Let’s hope we have many more. The Tyre sauce situation and the after mouth is something that will go on but we know we can keep our heads held high for running without anything other than pure Tyre.
Both Kyosho cars performed great and did the job perfectly.
Pro-Line rubber provided us with great traction all weekend and kept us on track.
Our REDS engine ran perfect all weekend and provided great power and runtime. Our Tekin ESC\Motor combination powered us onto the podium and as always ran flawlessly. Byron kept us fueled up in Nitro, while LRP batteries kept us powered in electric.
Thanks as always to all our sponsors as without you we wouldn’t be where we are:
Kyosho, Pro-Line, Reds, Tekin, Byron, Sanwa, Bittydesign, Maugraphix, LRP Batteries, SMD, Inside Line Racing, Ghea, Radio Race Car International, RDRP, Racers Design Products, Muc-Off.
Take care all and see you trackside soon.
Next up for us is Robin Hood Raceway for the first 10th Electric National of the year.
Till next time, thanks for reading.
(Written by Liam Galvin – Mechanic)