Billy Easton Column – Worlds Warm Up

This year’s Worlds Warm up/Worlds is to be held at the same track RCS in Thailand as the renowned TITC. The race turn out was a little low, but the competition was just as high as it could have been. Many of your known racers were in attendance with the likes of: Marc Rheinard, Andy Moore, Atsushi Hara, Victor Wilck, Shinosuke Adachi, Masami Hirosaka and myself.

The track was newly paved and had a new layout that had never been run on to date. The track owner upon arriving told us that there would be no additive sprayed on the track, and to know surprise the traction was very low. The cars were pretty loose and pushed. So you basically had no steering and no traction. What a nightmare for anyone trying to tune a car. We went through two days of testing and at this point not any one individual looked super awesome, but some cars clearly had more steering than others. Bart and I tested many things, longer links, different shock oils, roll centers, arm lengths and so on. We were having the most difficult time with on throttle traction, but in the end found a great setting to help neutralize rear traction and give us a good balance of turn in steering. I will detail the set up on our web site, so all of our drivers can find it there and take the time to test it.

As Practice was drawing to a close Friday was the last day. They decided this day that they would spray the track with their traction additive. Things then changed dramatically, some cars began to over steer and other were really looking good. The Hot Bodies team seemed to jump to the top immediately. The Tamiya guys once at the top now looked to be struggling with steering. Team Yokomo really had not done a whole lot over the three days, and the traction really didn’t seem to be helping them anymore either. With the added grip it played to our advantage and helped us get closer to the front. With the added traction we were able to pull more trigger out of the corner and increase our lap time. So as things were looking up, Hara continued to distance himself from the rest of the group. It was not exactly sure as to why, but his car just looked really awesome.

The practice Qualifiers were upon us and they were going to take your best 1 out of 2, to place you in your heat. Things went really well for Serpent as I was 9th in the a qualifier and Bart was 6th I think in the B qualifier. So, we were in good heats and would run at the same time as the faster guys. A little unfortunate luck for Andy Moore, being disqualified on his best run for being to light on weight would have to run the first qualifier. This would prove to cost him his shot at the A final.

As the qualification day came, the weather was warm but had scattered clouds. So the temperature was not crazy. It actually was nice for the most part. Bart and I put in good qualifiers and were sitting respectfully in the top 20. I think I was 6th or 7th and Bart was around 15th. The chances of putting a Serpent car in the top 10 and in the A final was looking up for us. We had continued to make some changes to the car as well as fine tune our tire saucing techniques. We were able to find the right combination on tire additive for the heat and for the cold. It was though becoming less important as they were saucing the track every morning. This saucing though continued to help our car. So, the moral of our team was heading up hill rather than down.

The main day came around and we were in good qualification positions. Bart was able to make the B main which he seemed to be happy about and I was sitting 7th on the grid in the A main. I was really happy with the results and the car was handling really great. It had a slight under steer, but it had awesome corner speed.

The finals went off without a hitch and I was able to hole shot the 6th place guy, Jilles Groskamp. I was able to get into 3rd or 4th in the first turn, but later was pealed by an unknown car. It put me back in 6th or so, but I was able to fight my way to the front. The car was handling really well and was very competitive in this final. I made a few paces and next thing you know I was in second. Although the celebration didn’t last long I hit a curb and shot into the air. At that time Mark and Victor were able to get back by me. Masami was able to go onto the win from Mark, Victor and me.

In the second final my start was not as good as the first. I grabbed a hand full of throttle and the car jumped sideways, I counter steered and was able to get going. I ran down to the first turn and thanks to a pile up on the main straight it gave me plenty of room to sit back and wait for some passes. Hara got out front and looked to be in a world of his own, while Mark, Victor and I battled for position. I was able to put a good pass on Victor just off the main straight which put me in third. I think I made a little mistake which allowed Victor to get back by me. In the end though Hara thermally shut down and did not finish.

We went to the third final and the win was still up in the air. With a win by Masami and Victor, all the while having Mark and Hara still super fast, it was still exciting to find out the result. The race went off formed a great freight train. The best start of any main so far and we followed one another around the track like a slinky. All the drivers were fast and it was hard to make a pass. Masami was the first out, something happening to his car. That put me in 5th or 6th place, while Hara was out in front. Well, I made a mistake coming on the main straight and ended up in the trees, so I was now fighting for a back position. It was unfortunate, but how it goes. Hara continued to lead until he thermally shut down again; all the while Mark and Victor were battling for second. Victor went on to win while Mark took second. Congratulations to Victor for his win, Mark in second and Masami in third.

I want to say thank to Bart for his support, inspiration and team Spirit. I would also like to thank Serpent for allowing us to attend the event as well as Futaba, LRP, MIP, Competition products, Full Throttle Motor Sports, Sorex, Xenon for their continued support.

Sincerely,

Billy Easton

Source : Serpent

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