Race report by Ty Tessmann (HB Racing):
“This past weekend we headed down to Louisiana to attend the Southern Nationals, the race is held indoors in an expo center, the dirt is made up of clay and sand, the race organizers rent the building, build the track, run the race and take down the track all within a week. They do an amazing job of building an incredible track, the layout was challenging with massive jumps and high speed. It started out very smooth but as it does every year the track gets a little blown out which we thought would be an excellent test for the worlds. The organizers told us that this year the track blew out a bit more than normal, but this was exactly what we wanted to get ready for the worlds.
We started out with our standard setup on both cars for a smooth surface and made adjustments throughout the weekend. I managed to TQ 2 of 3 rounds in each class, buggy and truggy, the last buggy qualifier was at about 9:30 Saturday night and the main would not be run until about 7:30 Sunday night. This left us to watch the track and make adjustments to the car based on past knowledge as there were no A Main warmups. The people that ran in the earlier mains told us that the grip had increased quite a bit.
The truggy main was run first which as usual the HB D8T truck was very good along with Proline rubber, OS engine and VP fuel, I battled with Joe Bornhorst at the beginning of the race. Early in the race I hit the giant stepup in what I thought was the same place I always did but somehow my truck ended up on the backside where I couldn’t see it and I lost a lot of time, Joe made a gap on me and I drove hard to catch up but instead I ended up making a few more mistakes and widening the gap to 15 seconds at which time I put my head down and decided I needed to put in some solid laps or I would never catch him. I got into a smooth rhythm which enabled me to start closing the gap with Joe making some small mistakes I was able to catch up and get by for the lead and started to pull away, my truck felt really good and I was able to drive without making mistakes and take the win by about 22 seconds.
The track was a lot rougher than the day before and a lot rougher than I had suspected so we went to the pits and worked on the buggy to get it ready for the main. In warmup my buggy felt really good, I was trying to find a different line over one of the jumps that was very difficult to make and I shorted it, landed very hard and broke my car. This was very strange as the car never breaks, we ran to the pits to fix it, there were some delays in getting marshals out to the track and we were able to get to the grid seconds before the race was about to start. My Dad fueled me up, the tone sounded and the race started. Very early on in the race, again going over the giant step up, I cased the landing slightly allowing Cole Ogden to get by. My car felt awesome so I just stayed right behind him waiting for the opportunity to get by, one lap later he made a mistake by turning into the pipe early and I got by to take the lead back. My car was really easy to drive and I just kept putting in clean consistent laps and eventually put a lap on the field and took the top spot on the podium.
This was one of the more fun races I have been to for a long time, the people of Louisiana were very hospitable and welcoming, they treated my Dad and I like family, we had a really great time.”