The 21st running of the Dirt Nitro Challenge didn’t disappoint as the traditional stateside season-opener delivered it’s usual mix of weather-related interruptions, action, racing until insane O’Clock, watering schedules, JQ banter and a track with ‘character’. After many a year Snowbirding in Arizona at the Nitro Pit along with the retirees in Surprise, the event grew ever more and found a new home at the Fear Farm centrally located only to fall victim to it’s own success and be forced to find a new home. Not many independent events (if any) last the true test of time let alone multiple different locations and 2020 marked the 2nd running of the ‘DNC’ at Perris Fairgrounds, not far from it’s original home, ‘The Dirt’ in Hemet, CA.

In the various classes, Pro Buggy would see a new name take the spotlight – Seth van Dalen, Tekno RC’s exciting talent from Missouri ended up taking overall TQ, the 20-year old would rue his start from pole in the 45min Amain but bright things await. As promised expected at the DNC, weather came through on the Saturday and delayed the program by several hours, ensuring the Pro Truck Amain finished at a time sometime when most nightclubs are calling last orders… But it wouldn’t be the DNC with it 😉 It’s part of the magic, the fairy dust…

Maifield had an epic race in Truck, fighting all the way with poleman Dakotah Phend whilst Davide Ongaro took 3rd with his spray can paintjob-equipped truck, whilst a little earlier, David Ronnefalk completed a successful defense to his E-Buggy title nipping past top qualifier Dakotah Phend, chased home all the way by Maifield.

Last night’s Pro-Buggy final delivered a track which proved a huge test, with cars flying everywhere in one of the most chaotic opening-laps witnessed for sometime. Van Dalen binned it in turn 2, promptly collected by the pack behind and 7th on the end of lap 1, Marco Baruffolo would take up the charge followed by Tessmann, Phend and Maifield. It proved a final of attrition with even 40+ maestro Adam Drake making a cameo appearance at the front showing frenemy JQ ‘how it’s done’. The state of the track and it’s difficulty tested driver and equipment to respective mental and physical limits with multiple dropouts, not to mention the fitness of the marshalls, constantly having to keep on their toes as the deep ruts caught even the best of talents. It was wonderful to watch a variety of lines being taken on sections of the track, not only in jump sections but the banked bowl and corners Joey put in. Ryan Maifield grabbed the race by the throat… 😉 and would be leading 5mins in with sparring-partner Baruffolo stalking him just behind, Ronnefalk having been down in 6th in the opening exchanges. 7 mins in and a small mistake from Maifield allowed Baruffolo to close up, the pair side by side of the jumps Baruffolo coming out better off, his lead however was short-lived as disaster struck as he would crash and flame out, a sad end to his charge at the front. Somehow in that eventful lap, Ronnefalk had climbed to 2nd with Maifieild and Tessmann just behind, only for the Swede to crash 2 turns later and ‘order resumed’ with Maifield in front and Adam Drake up to 2nd, positions chopping and changing constantly.

Adam Drake would run his usual long runtime game, however suffering a little as the final went on on pure pace, Maifield taking over with Ronnefalk there as well 15mins in, 12 secs separating the cars at the top. It wasn’t until lap 24 of 67 where Ronnefalk took over the lead from Maifield, and he would stretch out an unassailable advantage until the end, the last few laps saw plenty of changes as Jared Tebo would complete a famous charge having been down in 12th early on, taking a deserved P2, Dakotah Phend occupying that position late on before also being edged off the podium by truck rival Maifield. Reigning World Champion Davide Ongaro had a quite race by his standards ending up in 5th whilst Adam Drake took 6th infront of Ty Tessmann; so often a Champion at this event enduring a tough podium-less DNC. Sole Kyosho driver Joao Figueiredo taking p7 having bumped from the B Main along with Cole Ogden and Tanner Denney.