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August 30, 2011

Asia EP Buggy Cup – TD 1-2-3 & TQ

Filed under: News — Stuart @ 9:52 am

Team Durango driver John Ho reports on the recent Asia R/C EP Buggy Cup race in Taiwan.

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(Chinese language version is HERE)

Being one of the power house for EP buggy within the Asia region, races in Taiwan always provide a thrill for me. I had previously race there 2 times, the first one was The Durango Cup held in Taipei when DEX-410 first launch into the market. I have then attended another race which is host by a local club in Kaohsiung, the southern part of Taiwan. Both races were very enjoyable and the manners of the local drivers are great! It was so much fun and ever since, I have kept a close eye on what’s going on there and always hoping to return for some more action!

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This chance finally came on Wednesday, August 10th, when one of the racers I known from my previous race in Taiwan call me, telling me that there are a big EP race coming up and there were already 99 cars register, which is a record in Taiwan! The only problem with me was, the race is held on the 14th of August, which is only a few days away… Determine to make up the magic “100”, I was dialing the number of my travel agent and arrange everything next to no time.

Held in a little town 15 minutes from the Taiwan Taoyuan airport, close to the major northern city Taipei, The Asia RC EP Buggy is special because the track was purposely built for this race only, and it will be completely remove once the race is finish. This provides a very fair playing field with no one having any local knowledge on the track itself. This alone, attract nearly all the know name from all over Taiwan, including racer from the middle and southern part of Taiwan, no wonder the organizer are calling this a National Race! I was on my flight on the 13th, hopping to have some open practice before the actual race. In order to achieve this, I choose the earliest flight possible and when I walk out from my apartment in Hong Kong, it was still dark… Arriving at around 9:40am, my fellow racer friends from Taiwan then pick me up and time for some decent breakfast. Due to heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday, the building up of the track got delay and it will not allow any practice until 1pm, so, it was a great chance for me to taste some of the very nice Taiwan food, which I always enjoy

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When we finally arrive at the track, the pit area were still under construction, and because of this, you can tell why Taiwan are so strong with their racer. Even without any proper table for setting up and wrenching, the tracks was still full of cars and people are talking about set up already! Again due to rain, the constructor was not able to spend enough time on flatten the ground, so the track appear to be pretty bouncy and rough. Some of the propose jumps was also omitted due to time constraint. Again, this was also an opportunity to show how mature the Taiwan racers are. I heard no complains, and everyone just get on with it, and the most important thing is, everyone enjoys it!

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In order to get myself prepare for the up coming DEX-210, this time I have enter two classes, 2WD Mod and 4WD Mod. The 2WD group is the biggest with nearly 50 racer attending. The 4WD group also had a healthy turn up with around 24 racers. There were also 2WD Stadium Truck and 4WD SC competing too. To be honest, I haven’t race with such a big group of people for a long time, and I sincerely wish the booming of the 1/10 EP class lately will also continue through out Asia, especially in China and Hong Kong.

To counter act the rough track, I have done some set up changes. My 410 has performed flawlessly for the last few races and I had all my confident with this class. With the time I have spent on the 410 platform, I was able to found a setting within a couple pack of batteries. I then continue with my 2WD, and for one time in my life, I was able to found an ideal setup in a relatively short time. Pumps up and confident, I then spend some time walking around the track, checking out paces of other racers, and try to learn from others. When the sun finally set, it was time for some Sukiyaki (Japanese style hotpot), did I mention the food in Taiwan are great?

dsc02793 Since there won’t be any assign seat within the pit area, we decide to wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning, and we were at the track at 5:30 sharp on Sunday, and we were not even the first group of people that arrive! After registration and all the necessary timing work, the race was finally starting at 8:30 am. We will all have two 6 minutes round of qualify, and every group will have 3 mains for the final. The best two will then determine who’s gonna be the champion for their class. Except some AMB hiccup, my qualifiers went really well, actually better then I thought.
I was actually on a TQ run for the 2WD class until a miss count of one lap drop me way down the field. This is my entire fault because of the placement of my transponder… I knew I have the pace, but with only one qualify left, I choose a relatively safe strategy and make sure I made the main. Finally I am able to qualify myself for 2nd place for the A-main.

For 4WD class, I am up against some old friends which I knew pretty well. From the first qualify I can tell, some of the known names are still suffering from the rough track and setting obviously are not optimal yet, this is not the case for my DEX-410, I believe my car actually handle the bumpy track really well, specially the main straight where most of us will not dare to accelerate. Again, I had the same problem with my transponder for the first qualify, and I had to rely on my second one. Without any drama, I was again able to qualify 2nd for the 4WD class, not too bad if you consider the little preparation time I have for this race compare with some of my older adventure!

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One reason I was so eager to came because I knew one of the sample of the production version of the DEX-210 will be on display through Durango’s Taiwan distributor, and I finally get the chance to hold the car in my hand. Looking at the photo and imagine how it will feel like is one thing, holding it in your own hand is of cause a lot more satisfying! I just wish I am able to run this race with the DEX-210! It was just….marvelous!

The main itself was full of drama, and I will like to start with my 4WD. The first A-main start for me was a disaster; mis-placing my own car on the starting grid, the jump straight after the starting line was taken in a really wired angle and I was off the track from the first jump/corner! Require marshal help, I was down to 7th place in the first lap. Playing catch up is not exactly easy on this bumpy track and I have made a string of mistake by overdriving my 410. With some crazy stunt, I was finally able to…um… break my car. This is the first D.N.F due to breakage for the whole year! That’s racing my friend!

The second main in comparison was a very different mind game, this time I am able to break away and with a great handling car, I am able to pull away from the rest of the pack. When the 3 minutes mark came, I am already 7 seconds ahead of the second place and begin to lap some of the slow starters, determine not to make the same mistake as my first main, I drive with cautious and refuse to push at all, and later, I am going to pay for the price of doing so.

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Before the 3rd main start, there are actually 3 people who may won this race: Wun Hong (sorry for the spelling, I am not 100% with that) who won the first main, me who won the second, and the 2nd place finisher for both main, Mr. Sum (Our TQ man). I was able to lead the field for the first few laps, but one mistake Sum went through. We exchange places for a few laps and this let the 3rd car catch up to our fight, driven by Mr. Yeung, one of the most re-known EP racers in Taiwan. We then had a fierce battle for a few laps and by this time, Mr. Sum was already long gone. With around one minutes to go, I drove the best I ever did and I was able to pull back considerable time, by the time we cross the line, I am less then 3 car lengths from Mr. Sum. At this very moment, no body knew who’s gonna be the champion just yet since both Sum and me are on the same point, as fate may turns out, my pace on my second race are just too relax and I was bitten because of this! All in all, a great race, and a great result for Team Durango since we clean up the podium by taking TQ, A1+A2+A3! Job done!

dsc02871 4WD A Final – TD 1-2-3! dsc02874 4WD B Final

The B-main for the 4WD are won by Scott, who is also a Durango driver. With nearly 80% of the 4WD field running the DEX-410 platform, it was a big success for us.

dsc02876 Although I did not attend the 4WD SC class due to a very limit luggage space, for once I was able to just watch and enjoy and the SC is so much fun to watch! The race again was dominate by the DESC-410R, driven by Mr. Yeung, he was able to pilot the DESC-410R and clinching both TQ and the A-main, congratulation Yeung!

For the 2WD class, TQ goes to Wun Hong and we battle so hard for the 3 mains. I was able to take the first one, with Hong behind. The second main was won by Mr.Wong with me behind. The third main will be the most important one. With the biggest turn out of the day, the 2WD class was considering the one to watch. Hong shot through the gate and was leading the first lap; we then get into a battle with numerous place changes. One thing I will like to praise Hong, being a contender for the out right champion, we did come together at one corner and Hong are so gentleman and wait for me to get flip back, this is something that didn’t happen that often, as I mention earlier, a big thumps up to my fellow Taiwan racer! At this time, Hong started to pull out a small gap, and the race was finish with Hong crossing the line first. I maintain my second place and finger cross, it’s exactly the same situation with the 4WD class with me and Hong tight on the same point. However, this time I was lucky because my first main was actually faster then the 3rd main won by Hong. Due to this, I was crowned the champion for the 2WD class.

All in all, a great race with great atmosphere. Big thumbs up for the organizer, it was a great race which everyone enjoys. I am hoping the Asia RC EP Buggy race will be a good sample for the entire EP race organizer out in Asia, to encourage more and more races within the region.

Special thanks to DD and Wayne, thank you very much for inviting me to the race, just want to let you know I have enjoy every second of it. Thank you very much to the organizer for this race, top job and I can’t wait for the next one, all the best!

Next up, 28th of August, the first EP Buggy Race in HK, the first in many years, so stay tune!

A Chinese version of the report is online at RCFans.com – Here

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