Guest writer Craig Drescher sinks his teeth into this year’s Euro-B, held 2 weeks ago in Lyon, France…

Bang Tidy Racing
It’s all over too quickly these days and the results are forgotten in a hurry so I’d like to slow it down and stretch it out and give these fantastic young drivers from the Euro’s B a bit more credit where credit is due.

Wow….. What a race…… I have to take my hat off to the French and the way they organize these events. The Lyon club put on a brilliant event. Par excellence. They always manage to put on a class show. I thoroughly enjoyed attending this race and the atmosphere was fantastic. The band after the opening ceremony, the free wine and food, the facilities. It was all good from where I was standing and a pleasure to be part of.

For me attending these races is becoming increasingly more important as a company representative and also a driver. It delivers a different atmosphere and flava because the pressure isn’t as high, the intensity in the pits is bearable and the people are much more relaxed. The racing is still fast and furious out on track and that’s the most important part. Its the perfect stepping stone for the young drivers of the future and a testament to the structure of the racing class in 1/8th. The French have operated like this for many years now and its understandable why they have so many good young drivers coming through in 1/8th…..
Click ‘Read More‘ to continue…

The level of drivers at the top-end was exceptional and the final was a fantastic battle right to the end. With almost all the manufacturers represented it shows the importance of the competition at this event. A whole bundle of A listers were present to help drivers and countries out with car set-ups, tires and engines.

 

Yannick Aigoin, Jerome Aigoin, Robert Batlle, Jerome Sartel, Jon Hazlewood, Craig Drescher, Adrien Bertin, Rody Roem, Bernard Durand, Joseph Quagraine, Dani Vega
To mention a few…
 

 

The track
In my opinion a very difficult track to go fast on and not one that I would have enjoyed. A track where there is lots of time to be lost and not-a-lot to be gained. In my experince the tracks that look easy are often the ones that prove to be the most difficult and the bigger tracks are, the harder the challenge is in whatever class of racing you do. Throw in some rubber matting, chop it up, dust it up and sprinkle with some hard racing and you have the Euro’s B race track. A track of two halves. The right side extremely high speed and tough to pin point your line because of the bumps where you need a car that is stable and easy to place with a ballsy double that could decrease your lap times by 3/4 of a second if you nailed it. The left side was a more fluent and slower section with varying levels of traction, beautiful cobbled corners and some tricky landings to spot. This side was where the drivers attacked the track to try and make up time. A good track always creates a good race and whether you liked this track or not it certainly created an impressive race and some brilliant finals on Sunday.
 

 

Cars
It was a Mugen white-wash throughout qualifying and the MBX6 looked awesome on this track. The number 1 choice of car by a long shot at this event. Showing the strength and depth of the brand throughout Europe and with fantastic support tracks-side it was easy to see why. The car looked easy to drive on this tricky high speed track and the stability was exceptional. In my opinion the Mugen car on track was by far the best performing. Its reported to be one of the heaviest cars on track and perhaps this is why the car loves these choppy higher speed tracks. Its an abusive car and Batlle says exactly the same since making the switch.

Kyosho
This would be my second pick at this venue with a good number of cars present in the paddock. With some better luck you would have seen more of these in the final but it wasn’t meant to be. The cars went away slightly as the track chopped up but they were still more than competitive in the right hands. For me the best all rounder as a car on most tracks you go but the Mugen pipped them this weekend with a more stable car for the conditions. I’d never taken a close look at one of these cars before this weekend and I’m impressed. Over engineered in places and no expense spared which is all reflected in the price but you can’t deny its performance. Buy cheap, buy twice as a good friend once told me. Sh-iiiiii-tiiiing as Keith Lemon would say.

Agama.
A lone rider in the final. As the winner I’m sure you would normally presume this was the best car. No, this car had the best driver on the day and you only have to look at his lap times to see this. Consistency was the name of the game and what a fantastic drive to get in the position to win and then have the nerves to see it through. Awesome job for Bacro who was one of the hot tips going into the event. Qualifying was a struggle and nerves perhaps played a part in this but Jonathan came good when it mattered to take the win and had a car that allowed him to do this. Not the fastest but this doesn’t matter when its easy-to-drive. He looked good all weekend and it was nice to see it all come together. A well deserved winner with a stunning performance. Nemo putting in the leg work where the french market is concerned and are now starting to reap the rewards.

 

Team Associated
Not a popular choice in Europe right now with many drivers waiting for the upgrades but an overall impressive performance come finals day. To bump up 45 places is a good days work and although qualifying wasn’t successful and Truman had issues it all came good in the end. Truman struggled from a loose rear end during qualifying but once the car was tuned to suit the “not normally suitable conditions for the AE car” it was onwards and upwards all the way. Teddy looked impressive on finals day and managed to reduce his lap times by over a second. Another sole trader in the final but an impressive drive to finish one spot off the podium. Truman was disappointed with this because he expected more and wanted more but it was a seriously competitive race and he did an awesome job.

Bump up king in the final was Alberto Navarro- jumping up 46 places compared to 45 from Truman. I just love finals day….

I always look through the stats and see what car was the number 1 choice, what engine was most popular and what tires did people choose. Its always the best indicator to see what’s best at the different venues. Admittedly I only do this for the final usually and the bigger picture is probably way different but its interesting none the less.
 

Engines
On a big track like this I’d normally say that you want power but I have to say I saw some complete dogs running around at a fantastic pace. Its nice to have top speed at a track like this but even more important to have a car that carries speed through the corners. There was no out standing performer in the engine department at this race and as you can see from the results is was a fairly even spread. Novarossi pipped the numbers race in the final but Baldo was the highest finisher in 5th place, matching his qualifying position. RB, Alpha, Orion and OS all had 2 guys in the final with Reedy one. Five different engines finishing in the top 5 spots shows how even the engine game was at this race. Truman with his Reedy was the only one who did 10 minutes when he needed to but nobody else did. Feel was more important so perhaps thats why it wasn’t down to raw power. If it had of been then I still don’t know who would have won the battle.

Tires
Again a mix up although Pro-circuit had the most number of drivers in the final with 5 cars in total followed closely by AKA with 4 cars and Pro-line 3. There wasn’t a single best looking or better performer at this track although AKA once again had qualifying covered. Taking TQ and 2nd in qualifying shows its a good choice for these conditions and its gathering popularity by the day. Pro-circuit are putting in lots of effort and the tech chart looks string in there favor although not in the positions they would have wanted with so many drivers running the product. It could have easily been a different story for these guys but as we all know – thats racing. If you take the final results then once again Pro-line have come out on top. Winning the race and taking top honors shows the brand is still a Top performer and can’t be ruled out no matter who is knocking on the door. If you take the 1st and 4th place positions at a Euro’s B then your doing something right. Not at the top during qualifying, not at the top in the popularity stakes but right at the top when it matters and taking the over-all victory.

Drivers
The level at this race has been exceptional. Quality throughout and a credit to the people competing in this class and using it as a stepping stone to progress further in there racing careers. The structure for these young drivers is exceptional and to see so many young and talented drivers is fantastic. Its worked so well for these young drivers to progress and I’m pleased to see they have limited the people that can compete in this championship. It’s definitely the future your witnessing at these races and the younger they get started the faster they become. 1/8th off road is definitely one of the most challenging classes you can wish to race. Not only from a driving perspective but a mechanical challenge. The cars are not as precise as electric or on road cars but thats where the drivers make more of a difference. They adapt and change from run to run without realizing the subtle but important changes they are making. Reading the tracks is an art form in itself and this is where the younger drivers hold no fear. Big jumps, bumpy high speed corners- they just attack and fortunately this class breads robust cars so they take the abuse they are given. The Majority of Europeans from Spain, Portugal and France that race on this particular style of track look so much more comfortable than the UK guys. They have a much better feel for this surface and traction level and it shows in the depth of Spanish and French drivers that made the final. Shown also by the Nations Cup which I think is a wonderful idea. France 1st, Spain 2nd and UK 3rd. We still have some ways to go in the 1/8th scale class to get the depth of drivers like we do in the electric classes. Again this shows the popularity of the class in these countries. They are born and bread on nitro racing. Its in there blood and DNA.

I can’t credit the driving enough at this race. What tantalizing future these guys have. Sandberg was exceptional all weekend and just lost his way in the last 5 minutes of the final. Tartar was on his game all weekend and will be disappointed not to win but a TQ and 2nd place is a fantastic achievement. Maxime Noble was unfortunate in the final and came across car issues after a stunning qualifying to put it 3rd on the grid. Oscar Baldo was right in the mix during qualification but could make the final work for him. Dominic Bauer was right on his game to put the car 6th on the grid but was another racer that had a poor final. Truman put in a startling finals day performance and had the pace of the top guys but a few mistakes getting through the pack early doors put him down and far enough back to be out of contention for the podium. Once he got clear he ran the same pace as the front guys for the last 20 minutes. Jonathan Barco deserves a medal for his drive:) oh wait, thats right, he won and what a deserved winner.

 

What a fantastic weekends racing and thank you to everybody who made it so pleasurable. I look forward to the next one.