With 2WD done and dusted at the 2015 IFMAR World Championships here at Yatabe Arena, we turn our gaze to their 4WD brothers – first up on the preview list is Yokomo’s YZ-4 Buggy. Expect full details in an official press release very soon, in the mean time here are some photos of Lee Martin’s practice buggy he’s been running in the build up to the 4WD event.
The deciding A Final got underway to a less aggressive start as the top 4 all made it round the first lap unscathed, not so for Lee Martin who would retire before even registering a lap, a very sad end to a Worlds where he was one of the pre-race favourites.
Lap 2 and Tebo looked racy, having installed his ‘lucky’ battery, he had the A1 win in the bag although the confidence was with 16 year old Spencer Rivkin having swept to an emphatic win in the 2nd A final. Tebo’s lead was miniscule as Cragg led the Associated charge however his campaign ended in much the same fashion as A1 as he came up short over the table top, and then misjudged the double landing long and bouncing resulting in a cartwheel off, this gave the spectators what they were waiting for, the showdown of Tebo vs. Rivkin, King vs. the Prince.
The defining moment came as Tebo and Rivkin held station, Rivkin faster in the chicane but Tebo looking confident elsewhere, coming round the race control corner, Tebo exited a bit wide and smashed into the pipe, luckily not breaking anything but losing all of his lead, Rivkin’s break came and he closed up to Tebo’s rear gearbox.
Tebo tightened his lines a little bit, preparing to batten down the hatches as he expected Rivkin’s offence, it was however a mistake from Tebo that was the decider, his car landing badly on the table top and going tumbling, Rivkin avoided the crash and could smell open road ahead. Adding further insult to injury, Tebo saw Cavalieri sweep past as well, Tebo would drive like a man possessed, racing hard but fair with Cav, the pair passing and repassing each other over the table top. Another tumble over the shallow triple however and the writing was on the wall, a new World Champion would be crowned and his name… Spencer Rivkin.
A2 and after his dominating performance in A1, many would have picked Jared Tebo to walk away with this one and wrap up the 2WD title, but young Spencer Rivkin had other plans for this A final. Immediately from the sound of the tone he started aggressively, taking a better line over the small floater before the table top, this was enough to push Neil Cragg to taking a wider line, despite jumping short Rivkin had the best line and was able to claim 2nd , Cragg’s terrible start compounded as he had to hesitate than overjumped the double after, landing long and bouncing, losing 5 places.
This meant, Tebo, Rivkin and Cav. Already on lap 2 however a rare mistake from Tebo on the flowy triple saw his car cartwheel but amazingly land pointing in the right direction and on all fours, however his concentration was rattled and he took a worse line through the rumble strips as Rivkin set him up for a classic pass, taking the defending 2WD Champion down the inside on the corner entry to the chicane, the crowd cheered as they sensed the battle was on!
The Hunted becomes the Hunter
Lap 3 on the table top and Rivkin got away with a bit of a bad landing on the table top as Tebo shadowed the Associated buggy infront with Cavalieri just behind him. It was however another mistake from Tebo infront of the drivers stand that saw him lose out to Cavalieri giving Rivkin a cushion of about 1 sec. Yet another lap and a further mistake from Tebo this time in the rumble strips as his bid for A2 faded. Cavalieri now took up the job of trying to hunt down Rivkin but would never quite catch him, he got close early on before edging away and taking a fairytale victory in A2. Game on for the showdown in A3!
Jared Tebo gave himself the best possible chance by TQ’ing and ensuring pole, he kicked off his 2WD title defence in style as he lead (not wholly unchallenge) from start to finish, P2 Neil Cragg had a bit of a cautious getaway and will rue a mistake on the 2nd lapwhere he got the table top wrong going high and wide, and whilst going for the corner Spencer Rivkin took an inside line Cragg kinda bumped off him and his chances in A1 were over. This allowed Spencer Rivkin to mount a challenge, chased by Cavalieri Rivkin managed to get within 3/10ths of Tebo, the chaser looking faster through the rumble strips especially however lap 11 he got the chicane line wrong and caught the last corner pipe, quick marshalling didn’t stop Cavalieri from taking 2nd however.
A few laps later and an eager Rivkin hit Cavalieri’s buggy causing it to flip and eventually overturn, Rivkin hesitated for a fraction but opted to continue no doubt to some annoyance from Associated team mate Ryan Cavalieri. This allowed Maifield to close up to his old mate Cav, and the pair put on a beautiful bit of bump and grind driving showing how it can be done without ending in tears. All the while outfront Tebo kept it clean and would end up with a victory lap, deserved A1 win for Jared Tebo.
Having TQ’d the final round, Jared Tebo ensured himself pole position for the three A finals this afternoon, the big surprise is the lack of any Japanese home nation drivers, Yusuke Sugiura tieing on points with Kody Numedahl but losing out on tiebreakers. Yesterday’s overnight TQ Neil Cragg heads a trio of Team Associated cars with Rivkin P3 and Cavalieri P4, Numedahl making it 4 AE cars in the final.
The final round of qualifying didn’t disappoint, delivering a teaser taster for what will surely come later in the A finals – starting first was Tebo, followed by Cragg followed by Rivkin, Rivkin immediately picked up the pace, only for Tebo to challenge him, however Rivkin held on, the 16 year old completely at ease running and racing with World Championship winners, Neil Cragg, sandwiched by the two leaders was in the mix as well only tenths off. That was until lap 7 where he landed badly on the take off ramp of the drivers stand jump and had to be marshalled – it looked to be between Tebo and Rivkin, or so it seemed until lap 10 where Tebo turned in a fraction too early on the corner after the rumble strips and clipped the pipe and had to be marshalled by a rapid Marc Rheinard, he lost a little more as he was slow through the chicane, that lap alone relegated him from 1st to 6th in the heat, however seemingly down and out the defending 2WD World Champion dug deep.
This opened the door wide open for Spencer Rivkin, it seemed a fairytale story, a TQ well deserved to one of the stars of the show so far, however with Kody Numedahl only 1.4 sec behind he didn’t have much of a margin. Numedahl’s challenge faded as Cavalieri picked up 2nd with Rivkin keeping it on all fours, the heat was his to TQ. That was until Naoto crashed at the start of the straight and was turned back on all fours, causing a chain of events, the multiple WC pressured Rivkin in the end of straight hairpin potentially unsettling him somewhat, landing short on the table top, Rivkin made an uncharacteristic error as he grip rolled on the corner but managed to turn it into a Champion’s roll landing on all wheels, a further wheelie and wrong jump combo cost him the TQ in the end by 6/10ths.
Not distracting from Tebo’s epic comeback, his last four laps alone make for impressive reading, going from 4th to TQ… Lap 14: 4th – 17.56, Lap 15: 4th – 17.181, Lap 16: 3rd – 17.279, Lap 17: 2nd – 16.903, Lap 18: 1st – 17.097