Event Coverage News

Montpellier Day 1: Batlle & Savoya set practice pace

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The 2016 running of the famous Montpellier GP kicked off with beautiful winter sunshine. The south of France is of course known for its mild winter climate (and perhaps better known for yachts, playboys, fast cars and faster women 😉 ) and this day will be the perfect example of a bit of that stunning Arizona-esque sunshine that sets Montpellier apart.

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Day 1 Photo Gallery

As usual the club and its president, Franck Caizergues & his team did a fantastic job and prepared a nice track. The track layout has been modified, but not excessively enough to give the illusion that the drivers know the track well which is not really the case.

Many drivers are present for this typical outdoor ‘season-opener’ and amongst them a good bet for the European elite this year – Elliott Boots, the winner of last year, Robert Batlle still fast in Montpellier, Darren Bloomfield, & “Italian gang” with young and supremely faste drivers like Riccardo Berton, Alex Zanchettin, Marco Baruffolo & Davide Ongaro etc … and the french pilots with one that attracts a little more attention as it’s his debut since signing with TLR; Reno Savoya.
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With Friday practice 2 drivers fairly clearly distinguished from the others: Robert Batlle and Reno Savoya. But it must still provide some clarification and explanations. Batlle was always fast in Montpellier and although his speed is exceptional enough is not a real surprise.

The performance of Savoya is more interesting since much of his equipment is new to him – a new car and Spektrum radio and no doubt after the acrimonious split, he’ll be wanting to exorcise some demons and ‘show them what they’re missing…’

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Day 1 Photo Gallery

To put the odds on his side Savoya spent two days at Padova this week getting to grips with the new car and obviously this practice has proved beneficial. He’s going fast and also seems to have still room for improvement. But practice is what it is… Tomorrow, qualifying will likely throw up another story and changing weather conditions could completely revitalize early predictions.

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Under the Hood: Robert Batlle

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Robert Batlle (Spain)

Chassis: Mugen Seiki MBX7R
Engine: Ultimate M4R
Fuel: Nitrolux
Tyres: Procircuit Hot Dices
Radio & Servos: Futaba & Highest DT3000 ‘Robert Batlle’ Servos
Body & Wing: Ultimate Racing & Mugen
Options: FastRace 20g weight
Event: 2016 Montpellier GP, France
Note: thanks to all my sponsors, team and all followers!!

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Under the Hood: Reno Savoya

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Reno Savoya (France)

Chassis: TLR 8ight 4.0
Engine: RC Concept MC5 Ceramic | Picco EFRA 2099 pipe
Tyres: JConcepts
Fuel: Runner Time
Radio & Servos: Spektrum & Highest D3000 Power HV Servos
Options: AVID bearings
Event: 2016 Montpellier GP, France
Notes: Racing debut with TLR after hasty HB exit

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Jared Tebo tyre testing at Sin City Vegas Nitro race

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See: Pro-Line | Product ID : 9057-03 | Buy Pro-Line products

Scores of ‘pro’ drivers have descended on Las Vegas this weekend, not for gambling but to attend the Sin City Nitro Encounter – joining their US counterparts are XRAY’s Martin Bayer and the grandaddy of them all, Kyosho’s Yuichi Kanai – likely distributing new bits and testing setups in time for the October Worlds.

Pro-Line’s newest driver Jared Tebo posted up a photo showing the recently announced ‘SwitchBlade’ tyre mounted on his MP9, ready to hit the track. “A unique directional tire with different tread on the outside compared to the inside, allowing you to mount the tires in the direction that suits your current track conditions.”

This weekend’s event is the first of four ‘major‘ races that will be held at the RC Tracks of Las Vegas facility – the likes of Tebo, Cavalieri & Co wasting no time in ensuring they gain as much runtime / advantage over competitors with the Silver State in mid March, Worlds Warm up in May and finally Sidewinder Nitro Explosion in late July the remaining opportunities for tracktime against their peers.

The pin size and pin spacing of the SwitchBlade is exactly in between the Hole Shot 2.0 and the Blockade, so you know it will work in a variety of track conditions and is destined to become the new go-to race tire.

Zac Ryan takes final Pattaya Buggy Party Victory

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The 3rd and final day at the 2015 Maxima-sponsored Buggy Party saw semis that were a feat of attrition as a couple of high profile names falling by the wayside – 2nd placed qualifier Charlee P and 5th qualifier Napatrapee both suffering mechanical issues – a running theme as countless drivers’ cars were returned to the pits to be resuscitated and given a new lease of life. Boy Witsarut in the 2nd semi put on a pretty impressive and daunting pace and took pole for the hour-long final.

The ‘last ever’ final at PRC Pattaya witnessed another race of attrition as Zac Ryan would take a hard-earned victory, the privateer Kyosho driver however quite amusingly, unaware he had won as he came down the drivers stand, believing that mid-race leader Jason Nugruho had gone onto take victory, mis-hearing his pitmen thinking they said he was a lap down on Jason when in fact had a lap’s cushion.

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More photos in gallery

 

The final started out with Boy Witsarut leading the field out, however a badly timed attempt at the triple saw Zac Ryan move into the lead followed by Jason Nugruho & Ben Panic in 3rd – Nugruho the Indonesian teen XRAY driver showing real maturity at this event after years of promise . With Jason and Zac pretty equally matched on speed and errors – it must be said, the Pattaya track in all the years we’ve been here, has always been TOUGH… However ‘Boy’ after a disastrous start was soon into 3rd and catching the leaders, the trio were a clear pace faster than the chasing pack as Panic fell back into the mid pack.

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Hearts sank trackside however as suddenly ‘Boy’ Witsarut’s stricken Agama was marshalled back to the pits, Thailand’s hopes of victory faded rapidly as the pre-final favourite in the rumoured (unsubstantiated) betting ring… 😉 lost any chance of victory.

Boy’s mechanics tried in desperation, eventually switching out the whole front end and getting him out again, the diminutive Thai driver setting the fastest lap, but out for so long he would crawl home in 12th.

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More photos in gallery

 

Out front, mistakes from Zac would allow a charging Jason Nugruho to open up a gap outfront, and looking comfortable and pace, despite a few minor mistakes, he was looking pretty however… first you must finish… and after continuining the riskier line across the back jump section his car flamed out whilst upside down, mechanic dad Michael restarting him rapidly but 30 secs back from Zac. Having lost his concentration Jason made a few more errors and the gap stayed at a lap, Jason would briefly fall to 3rd as Chavit S. put in a spirited charge late on, but it was Ryan Lee who went on to claim the last podium spot.

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A ‘what might have been’ story for Jason and others, including Ben Panic, coming home in 6th but feeling a podium was on if it hadn’t been for the mistakes. Kyosho privateer team mates Ben and Zac, showing a bulletproof mechanical programme, proven by making the final each time they attended a race in Pattaya and with the sun setting on Pattaya, a personal triumph for the Ben & Zac show – no DNFs – no mean feat given how tough this track is on cars.

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The 2015 Buggy Party final proved a fitting finale for a track facility that has few equal peers, a pretty kick ass permanent track, serviced by ‘Charlie’s Angels’ – his PRC Pattaya army of employees here, on site cafeteria, full pitting facilities and air conditioned pit containers surrounding the track. All aspects contributing to a departing feeling of sadness to see this facility disappear from the limited worldwide roster of world class tracks.

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Personally, on behalf of Neo I’d like to thank Charlie & his team, he’s hosted us on multiple occasions and always put on an event worth remembering, the 2010 IFMAR Worlds still goes down as the best ‘event’ as a whole we’ve attended on over a decade of race coverage.

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Pattaya Buggy Party practice

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The ‘P’ for Pattaya may stand for ‘Party’, but whilst for most travellers it represents sunshine, good times and the darker aspects of tourism, in RC Racing, Pattaya means one thing: Charlie’s track, PRC Power boat.

Most readers of our site will remember the team and venue hosting arguably the best 1/8 IFMAR Buggy Worlds in recent memories – another level compared with the ones since – however the first weekend of December is reserved for the ‘Buggy Party’. An event that hasn’t ever garnered a huge amount of international press, but annually attracted some top Asian talent, fast forward however and it appears that the racers here this weekend, will be bidding a sad goodbye to a much-loved facility as the track hosts it’s final event and looks set to close.

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Gallery Photos

 

Losing a facility with infrastructure to rival and arguably surpass any other worldwide will be a step backwards and likely signal a shift away from Thailand as a destination for offroad RC racing. Whilst most of the local fast guys are here as well as some fly-ins (Zac Ryan, Ben Panic, Jason Nugruho, Adrian Wicaksono, Ryan Lee), there are some notable absentees in particular recent SWORKz departee Atsushi Hara – a driver synonymous with PRC Powerboat, calling Thailand his home, the Japanese ace spending countless days, weeks at the track developing and testing.

We were last here in April, attending the ASIA Contest presented by Bittydesign, the track layout remains unchanged, very dusty with no molasses due to the previous two night’s worth of rain, a very loose track greeting racers for their two rounds of seeding practice on Friday with Alex Napatrapee setting the pace followed by Boy Witsarut and Mongkolpan – see practice times.

 

World Indoor Buggy Cup in pictures

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Some highlights from a nice long racing weekend in Italy.

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Alex Zanchettin takes E-Buggy World Indoor win

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Results: A1 | A2 | A3 – (Click ‘more’ for A2, A3 Video) | Under the E-Hood: Batlle, Boots
On the eve of TLR’s 8ight 4.0 nitro buggy release, Alex Zanchettin ensured there was a TLR buggy at the top of the podium at the 2015 World Indoor Buggy Cup at IBR Padova in northern Italy, albeit in the E-Buggy class, no less hard-fought however as he would go onto win A1, retire very early in A2 (which myzzzteriously saw Cody King MIA with a DNS), Riccardo Berton taking the win, on his way to setting a new driving record most likely (ending up with a throttler finger blister having arrived late to the event), Boots chasing him home in 2nd.

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A3 saw Robert Batlle walk away with it as he was handed a huge lead, his huge lead was cut a little as Boots relentlessly tried to hunt him down for a shot at victory however his car gave up on the last lap, promoting Zanchettin to 2nd in A3.

6th – 14th places: Jerome Sartel, Thomas Musso, Cody King, Jean-Pierrick Sartel, Stefano Cantoni, Matteo Poletti, Burak Kilic, Reinhold Gruber, Damiano Muscella.


 

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Robert Batlle crowned World Indoor Buggy Cup Champion

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Links: Results | Photo Galleries | Videos

Robert Batlle would go onto win a hard-fought victory in the hour-long final here at the first World Indoor Buggy Cup at IBR Padova in Northern Italy. It wasn’t until the last stages of the race where the hugely decorated Spaniard driver stamped his authority and kept a hard charging top qualifier Marco Baruffolo at arms length. Darren Bloomfield would finish a strong 3rd after a great fight with ‘latecomer’ Riccardo Berton (turned up yesterday after school, and raced so much he had a throttle finger blister!), Maifield would sneak 4th, knowing it only when he turned round and looked at the timing screens.

INDOORBUGGYCUP partners

The final saw Zanchettin start out followed by Boots, however both encountered problems, Zanchettin some mystery engine issues whilst Boots simply ran out of fuel, Zanchettin however managed only 25 laps. Boots would push out infront with Baruffolo in the mix as well as Berton, multiple drivers taking it in turns whilst outta nowhere Ricardo Monteiro found himself (also to his surprise), leading the way with Robert Batlle also in the mix. Arguably the fastest on the track in raw lap pace Marco Baruffolo would rue some costly small errors that might have allowed him to claw back some of the time lost during the middle of the race to Batlle. However it was a hugely strong 2nd half of the race where Batlle excelled, a veteran of long mains, and a driver that often brings out ‘his best’ when it really matters he seemed to be driving within himself and not pushing too hard – a mental strength developed over many years.

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Take nothing away from Baruffolo however, surviving a flame out scare (running out of fuel in the pitlane) in the semis, the young TLR/Picco driver has a very bright future  .

We’d like to thank Nicola and his team at IBR for a brilliant event, the first of it’s kind and a resounding success and advert for the facility, special thanks to commentator Mau as well. We wish everyone a safe trip home – observing a minute’s silence in respect and solidarity of the recent attacks in Paris at 10:32 was fitting and appreciated by all, ending with a resounding rendition of La Marseillaise.

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Under the Hood: Marco Baruffolo

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Marco Baruffolo (Italy)

Chassis: TLR 8ight 4.0
Engine: Picco Boost ‘Team Spec’
Fuel: Runner Time
Tyres: Modified Hot Race Tyres ‘Bangkok’
Radio & Servos: KO | KO RSX2
Body & Wing: Stock TLR Body & wing
Event: 2015 World Indoor Buggy Cup

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