Ryan Maifield, a man on a mission this weekend successfully completed a grand slam sweep of his prestigious home race, the Dirt Nitro Challenge, a feat few would have foreseen going into this event due to the impressive entry field, a contender throughout, Maifield overcame a scrappy start to move into the lead of the buggy final and cruise home to the first ever clean sweep of the three pro classes at the DNC.
Going into the 45 min buggy final, the B main transfers were Jared Tebo, Mike Truhe and Cody King, the latter particularly hard-fought after a late race pass at the expense of Reno Savoya, the likes of Tebo also leaving the stand with a huge sigh of relief.
The first 10 mins of the main final got off to a somewhat uncharacteristically scrappy start, with Ty Tessmann leading them out on pole before Spencer Rivkin capitalised only to lose the lead the next lap to Ryan Cavalieri, with 4th placed on the grid Dakotah Phend moving up to 3rd. The frantic pace continued at the front as Elliott Boots would suddenly hold the lead for a couple of laps only for Phend to string together a series of good laps up front, only until lap 21 when he began having issues did he drop back.
Up to that point, Ty Tessmann had not experienced the final he expected and hoped for whatsoever, as low as 9th at one stage before getting continually shuffled around in the midpack, taking blows and jabs from all sides as drivers struggled not to crash, magnetically run into each other. It would however go from bad to worse for Nitro Challenge royalty Tessmann, as the unthinkable happened – once more battery related issues (following the turck final’s issue with the receiver plug), this time not 100% clear on the issue. Ty was understandably gutted afterward but put on a brave face as he recognised an issue early on and opted to pull it in rather than chance a runaway.
Former team mate David Ronnefalk had also had a bit of a nightmare, this time shuffled down the order due to cars around, only to have to come in twice during fuel stops and change BOTH front tyres due to rubber separation… losing around 35 secs overall.
Out front as Phend was leading he hit servo problems and his pace dropped off a cliff, not able to feel his steering servo return to pointing straight he quickly started making errors and Maifield wasted no time in snatching the lead and never looked back, a far cry from earlier in the main when he was battling with elbows out in the midpack, credit to him for getting though the chaos.
Behind him Mugen’s Adam Drake briefly held onto 2nd, his fuel strategy and multiple classes entered paying dividends for himself, he could not quite hack the pace of the podium towards the latter stages but would take 4th as Elliott Boots would claim second, a beaming Boots clearly happy with that result.
Ryan Cavalieri once past Drake ran fairly free of cars around, whilst having started towards the rear Jared Tebo made it into 5th, 6th a stunning recovery drive from David Ronnefalk despite the two front tyres being changed, he had the pace for a podium finish today had it not been for the tyre issues.
Once more not quite the classic Nitro Challenge final of years past, as high-profile racers were forced to retire leaving one shining beacon of ‘keeping it all together’ and dominating – Ryan Maifield. A hard-fought and deserving title and record-keeper.