“If you ain’t first, you’re last!”
Ty Tessmann’s winter-switch from HB Racing to XRAY was probably the biggest news over the off-season, at times even unseating Donald Trump from the headlines. We sit down with the Canadian star to talk about his biggest career change to date.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room Ty, you have left a winning team, having personally finished on the podium at each of the last 3 Worlds with HB, talk us through the hottest news story this winter!
We have been with HB for 12 years and developed a lot of platforms with them in that time, we have had many successes with them. I won’t say that we felt that we were getting into a rut, but we just felt that we needed a change and new challenges, we wish the best for everyone at HB Racing. We are excited for what the future holds and we are committed to taking Xray to the top.
We understand during the ownership transition phase earlier this year, you tested and were in contact with a few companies regarding options, why choose XRAY now ?
When Hotbodies started having trouble in the spring, there were a lot of uncertainties over what would happen so we contacted a few companies to see what was available should we need to make a switch mid year. When Philippe Neidhart purchased the company in June, everything once again was going well and we put the other options on the back burner. During the short time when we tested other cars we were blown away by the craftsmanship and precision of the Xray cars. Xray’s attention to detail is second to none.
Testing the different brands how do you compare them to your previous car you knew perfectly?
I am becoming more comfortable with the Xray cars and am very confident with them.
Did you consider to split the sponsorship between the classes to multiple brands?
I did consider it but I felt that running for one company that made platforms for all the classes that I wanted to run would be a better option and Xray had strong platforms in all the classes that run.
In December, the traditional ‘Silly Season’ was simmering gently , only to be set ablaze when your apparent resignation was leaked on social media, what’s your take on how that played out ?
When we decided to not renew our contract with HB Racing, we contacted Philippe Neidhart first to let him know and the next day we contacted Torrance Deguzman and told him out of respect and our long time relationship with him. It was never my intention for the news to be leaked out as my contract went until the end of December and I honoured that.
Any other sponsorship changes for you for 2017 season?
Yes I will be running MKS Servos and StickIt 1 will be making all my decals.
At HB from the outside it appears as if much of the car was developed for you, and indeed the platform is a back-to-back World Champion, is it a case of replicating this now with XRAY?
Definitely not, while the Xray cars are already proven to be very competitive, our goal is to make the Xray cars adapt more easily to North American tracks, but we will definitely be working hard to win as many races for them as we can with the ultimate goal of the world championships.
Many armchair fans would have tipped you in the event of a switch, to join a N.American company, what attributes attracted you to sign for XRAY?
Well, like I said before the quality and precision of the Xray cars as well as their attention to detail was a huge drawing card for us, this fits perfectly with my particular race program. Also the fact that they do their manufacturing in house and it is extremely fast is another huge asset. They are highly motivated to make the best cars on the market which is very appealing to us and we are excited to begin working with the team.
As the driver that has almost continuously occupied the #1 ranking spot over the last few years, how confident are you in your new team of being on the frontrunning pace to win races from the word go?
We are driven to be on pace right from the start, we headed down to California early on the morning of January 1st and arranged to have the cars shipped there to be able to get them built and get on the track as quickly as possible with the new cars. We already had a great race at Reedy Race where both XB2 & XB4 were great.
As we always do we will be working very hard to retain the #1 spot and win as many races as we can. Our goal is to win every race we attend, there is no room for 2nd, in the great words of Ricky Bobby “if you ain’t first, you’re last!”
What classes will you run for XRAY?
For 1/10 I will be running 2WD Buggy, 4WD Buggy, 2WD Stadium Truck, For 1/8 Scale I will be running Nitro Buggy, Electric Buggy and Nitro Truggy.
What is your racing calendar for 2017?
There may be adjustments made to this schedule:
Off-road Reedy Race – Jan 19-22
Dirt Nitro Challenge – Feb 22-26
Desert Classic – Mar 10-12
Silver State – Mar 16-19
NEO – Apr 14-17
Proline Gas Champs – May 20-21
Roar 1/8 Nitro Nationals – June 22-25
Hotrod Shootout – July 14-16
1/8 electric nats – July 20-23
The DUAL – July 29-30
1/10 electric nationals – Aug 10-13
Surf City Classic – August
Sikcross – Sept 2-3
Southern Nationals – Sept 15-17
1/10 electric off-road worlds warm up – TBA
1/10 electric off-road worlds – TBA
1/0 electric nationals warm up – TBA
1/8 nitro nationals warmup – TBA