Kevin Lewis reports from the recent first round of the 2013 TAS State Title… New Year and new car, HEI International the proud distributors for XRAY products appointed me as a team driver for their XRAY brand of cars for the 2013 race season. To say I was excited about this fantastic opportunity to represent a great product and people behind the product would be a huge understatement, I was delighted. So with a couple of local races under my belt to get to grips with the new car we head to Round 1 of the Australia National Series races in Tasmania. We get greeted by a fantastic race crew and track facilities, The Hodgets family greet me with my tyres and fuel that had been sent prior by Ryper hobbies and everything was set to go, until the heavens opened….So delay after delay was called, but this gave us all the opportunity to meet with new people and have a few laughs and giggles that our 1/8 off road race comradery is always well known for.

XB9 podium finish at 2013 TAS State Title R1

So we start to see blue sky and within an hour the track is open for round 1 of practice. I had my base setup on my car now which is a very easy to drive forgiving setup and I found it absolutely fantastic to learn the new track on. I found myself sitting in 1st place by the 9 minute mark by not making any errors and just finding lines without crashing. However we were doing a fuel run test to see how much I could go and on the 9 minute call I ran out. My pitman threw a bit more fuel in and we completed the race. I wasn’t the quickest but was definitely the most consistent.

So we head into round 2 of practice and I was now using this one to experiment with tyres as the surface even though was fantastic for no tyre wear what so ever it was a bit slippery and required your car to generate a lot of grip.

With this in mind I started to look for more steering but without sacrificing overall stability, the car responded perfectly and with each qualifier the car was getting better and better, in fact we didn’t go backwards once with setup, so we were all very happy about that.

Each qualifier though I would make a couple of stupid errors costing me valuable seconds and at the end of the 6 rounds I would end up sitting in 6th place for the Main.

Main finals time and I spent the night prior fine tuning some minor setup changes and I knew the car would generate a lot of corner speed yet be very forgiving and not taily. Buzzer goes and a 4 car road train start gapping the field. I’m swapping places between 3rd place and 4th place and even though we were probably holding each other up, we both congratulated each other after the race on some fantastic driving without crashing into each other.

I come in for fuel on the 8 minute mark and make a fundamental error exiting pit lane which cost me 20 seconds. So I knew we had a long way to go and just started cutting lap after lap and as the fuel stops went by I found myself at the 30 minute mark battling again for 3rd. I just thought, I’m not going to make any mistakes here and just let the car do the work, work she did and after 45 minutes I ended up in 3rd place with 2nd place 20 seconds in front and 1st got us all by a lap.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the Tassie race crew for putting on a fantastic event and Zac Ryan on his win and to Glenn for putting on a great show to get back into 2nd spot.

Final results:

  1.  Zac Ryan
  2.  Glenn Breugem
  3.  Kev Lewis – XRAY XB9
  4.  Tim Parsons
  5.  Mark Rayner
  6.  Simon Kernan
  7.  Matt Schneider
  8.  Sion Reid
  9.  Shane Hancock
  10. Mick Campion