So this past weekend I decided to get out and enjoy a new genre of r/c racing this weekend. I’ve been lucky enough to have other manufacturers value my input on their products. Axial is one of those companies. Axial sent me their latest Yeti kit and some hop ups to build up and go compete with in the 2.2 Open division. U4RC in my area is pretty big and with the coaxing of a few local team drivers I managed to make the final round of the NorCal series hosted at Auburn Performance Raceway.
I outfitted my Yeti with a Protek 4s 3500mah pack, Rx8 Gen2 and Pro4 HD 1850kv for the power system. Control was provided by a KoPropo RSX 2 HV servo and Ex-1 radio system. I used the new Factory RC Yeti Esc Mounting Plate which is not only made from 3mm carbon fiber, but it pre drilled with the Rx8 esc mounting holes in the plate which makes for a super secure esc retention system. The build was pretty basic without any big hiccups to be honest.
I jumped on the track to shake down the truck and can tell you racing these cars is nothing like traditional racing. The track can literally change every single lap! The racing line you take on lap may now not be a good line as the rock garden may have shifted, it’s literally a “living” track surface. I was told my pace was good for not having ever driven the car or track. I tried a different tire setup but went back to the stock kit tires as I felt the car reacted best with them. I took about 20 minutes to practice and get ready for the single round of qualifying.
Quals were up and I was in the second heat which allowed me to watch the others and see how they approached the track. There were many different approaches to be honest but none that seemed any faster than the others. I dropped into my qualifier and started in the back to follow a few guys and see what I could learn. What I wasn’t told and had no idea about was that U4RC runs it’s qualifying like motocross! They take the top 2 directly into the mains, the rest drop into lower mains LCQ style. While I may have had a top 5 “run” since I finished 3rd in my heat I was in the B main! LOL My team driver and liaison for my first time out Michael Pham forgot to bring this qualifying fact up. Oh and he also forgot to tell me I needed my ROAR card as well! 2 strikes! 🙂
Looking at the heat sheets I noticed that not only was I in the B, so was my liaison! So between the two of us we needed to finish 1-2 to bump into the main, no pressure right?! Well this time I was ready and lined up on the outside of the front row of trucks. The lanes width vary from 6ft to 10ft on this track, but we all line up right into a 90 degree corner which is about 6 ft wide, just enough room for 4 trucks. The tone went off and I gunned it using the birm to my advantage and rocketed out to the front. I ran my truck up the hill full wood and managed to successfully make a move to the inside 180 corner at the top. The top of the hill was rutted out big time by now and hooking your inside tire on the rut lip is paramount to whipping the car around quickly, and I managed to make this happen! Woohoo! Out in front with carnage behind me I put my head down and just made sure to take safe lines and not flip my truck over. Corner marshalling on this track is hit or miss as the marshall also has to navigate the track and it’s obstacles. For the first 4 laps I needed no assistance on the track. I got into back traffic by this time and did tangle with another driver and manged to get into each other requiring the cars to be untangle from each other. This allowed 2nd to gain ground forcing me to push a bit to get my gap back. A few more laps into the 8 minute main, I went through the rock garden at a decent pace and managed to lose steering half way through…my race and lead gone.
After the main I took a quick look to see the breakage and found it was the steering rod from the servo horn to the steering rack had pulled the threads out of the link end, damn. I had half a dozen guys tell me that part is an issue and to install a beefier part, after the race though right?! LOL
So what did I learn? I learned that there’s a lot of things I want to do to this truck to make it handle like a “racer” wants it to. The typical setup that was ran on the truck is ok, but as a race I want the car to react quicker to my inputs and handle jumping better. Stay tuned to what I come up with for the Yeti Rock Racer.