Tekno RC At 2019 Dirt Nitro Challenge
The 20th edition of the famous Nitro Challenge was held this past weekend at Perris, California. Tekno RC made the short trip to the race, which is currently the biggest RC event in the world with more than 650 entries. Joe Bornhorst reports back from the race:
"On Saturday before the race, I flew out to California to get some practice with my 1/8 cars since the Ohio weather doesn’t allow for too much of that this time of year. I landed at LAX around lunch time, met up with Jared and headed to our hotel. We were planning on practicing at Revalation Raceway at least one of the days, so our hotel was close to there. They had a club race going on that day, and Jared decided to throw into the main and give it a shot. I provided a professional pit service, but my driver let me down and lost to Cavalieri. 😂
Not too bad for no practice!
The next day we headed further east to go to Palm Desert Raceway for some practice. I was excited to get on the track because it has been a couple months since I have been able to run nitro. I spent the day not really worrying about setup, but just getting as much track time as possible to shake off the cobwebs. We got rained out a little early and headed back to the hotel, but had a really fun day. That was my first time to Palm Desert and I would definitely like to go back. It was a cool place. On Monday, Jared and I got rolling early and headed to Rev to get some more practice. With all of the rain that had been happening in SoCal, it was hard to find places to get good practice, but Revalation was dry and ready to go. I spent some time getting some tires ready and doing a little work to my car and got on track. It took me a while to get used to a bumpy track again, but it turned out to be really good practice. We even got an hour of rain in the early afternoon which made the conditions pretty epic for the evening. It seemed like it was the place to be that day, at least half of the drivers that would end up being in the A-Main were there getting practice in
Palm Desert R/C Raceway
Tuesday was the first day of really focusing on DNC itself. We showed up early to the track and got to wrenching. Since we ran our cars so much over the weekend, we took the day and tore our cars down to go through them and get them ready for the long week ahead. Not much else happened that day, just a lot of wrenching.
Wednesday morning was time to start practice. The track was looking prime and my cars were ready to go. With a good chance of weather coming later in the day, the call was made that both rounds of practice would be taken for seeding times. Knowing that it was crucial to get up to speed quickly especially since the track was going to be faster in the first round while it was still smooth. In Nitro Truggy I ended up top seeding, 2nd in E-Buggy and with only getting one run in Nitro Buggy before raining out, I was mid-pack in the B heat. I ended the day very comfortable though.
2019 DNC Track Layout
Thursday was Nitro Truggy and E-Buggy qualifying. For Truggy qualifying, my points were 22-3-4 for 3rd overall. The first run was rough with too many mistakes, but the second two were nice clean runs. I felt super comfortable, only changing tire compound and shock oil to match the ever-changing temperatures outside. E-Buggy was much of the same, no setup changes other than to make the car good for the temperatures. I went 6-6-4 for 4th overall right behind Tebo who qualified 3rd. Pretty solid day!
Joe’s EB48.4 In Action!
Friday was Nitro Buggy qualifying. The day went much like my Truggy qualifying did. My speed was good in the first round, but just too many mistakes. The second two rounds were clean and I got good points. I only made one setup change to help the car be comfortable at high speeds, but just spent my day chasing the temperatures. Lots of shock rebuilding was happening! I ended up with 19-7-5 for 8th overall. I was excited to be directly into the main with the extremely stacked field that was in attendance.
Joe tuning his BLOK 21aP
Saturday was finally time for mains to start. Jared and I got up early and headed to the track around 8 am. We wanted to have time to work on our cars and be ready for the A-Main warmups. I spent my morning doing a full rebuild on my Nitro Truggy, and checking everything over. E-Buggy was still good to go, so I just checked it over and it was go time for the warmups. These are super important to get some time testing out lines, getting comfortable, and for nitro classes get a good check on fuel mileage for the main event.
Joe’s BLOK powered NT48.3!
It was just about to get dark and the temperature was dropping rapidly, but it was time to run the E-Buggy main. I started 4th, and had a plan to be patient and let the race come to me. The track was brutal, but with the top drivers in the world, I knew I was going to have to be on top of my game. On the start, a couple guys made mistakes and I got into 2nd on the first lap. I wanted to pass some time and make some consistent laps, but just a few laps later, Ronnefalk made a mistake and I found myself in the lead. I only got to lead a lap before I made a mistake and fell back to 4th. In another couple laps, I made it back to 2nd and that’s where I finished. Solid result!
Pro Electric Buggy podium
Truggy was up a couple hours later. These 45-minute pro mains are thought of as endurance races, but I’m telling you they’re just 45-minute sprint races. The pace is pretty insane lately. I started 3rd and ran up front the entire time. Maifield and Ongaro were kind of on another level, so my battle was for 3rd-5th. It’s hard to remember much when it feels like it happens so fast, but I ran 4th for a while in the middle and made a good push at the end to get 3rd. At about the 25-minute mark my goggles started to fog up and I couldn’t see much, so on the next to last pit, I decided I had to throw them off. When I did, my headset and hat went with it, but my headset got caught up with the goggle strap and got flung off the drivers stand (lol). One of my pit guys, David Scott, retrieved it for me and put it back on my head a few minutes later and it still worked! A testament to those things, cause it took a pretty dang good fall to the ground below haha. But yeah, two races, two podiums. Pretty solid day in my book!
Pro Truggy Podium
Sunday, the last day of DNC. We were on the same schedule as the day prior. Up early, track early, and started wrenching. This one was a bit easier though since we only had one car to work on instead of two. I got my work done pretty quick, and spent quite a bit of time watching the track. Warmups were up right around lunchtime, and I had a good 10 minute run playing with some lines on the brutal track. After warmup, I checked over my car again and waited until closer to the main to make some game-time decisions. I liked the feel of my car, I just wanted to make sure to nail my shock oil for the temperature, and nail my tire compound selection for the track conditions. After that, it was go time and we were on the stand. Rough tracks are hard to drive on, but a super rough track at night time is pretty indescribable. I started 8th, so it was pretty chaotic at the beginning. I got hit a couple times in the first couple turns, and got sent to the back. I was next to last crossing the line for the first time, but kept my head down knowing I had a good car and could run with any of them. In the next 6 minutes, I made a push to the front and was in 2nd by the time of the first fuel stop. I rode around in 2nd/3rd for the first half of the race until an unfortunate incident happened. Another driver hit a hole, and instead of letting the marshal get him, decided to hold his car wide open and flip all over the place ending up on the straight away. As I was coming down the straight, I looked ahead and saw he was close to the pit lane, so I went tight. Unfortunately he started going back to the lane that he was in and went right in front of me, and I clobbered him.
Video courtesy LiveRC.com
It was a racing incident, but I feel like it could’ve been prevented which is what frustrates me. After that, I lost a little bit of focus and fell out of my rhythm making a couple of mistakes and losing valuable time. I fell back to 7th in the last half and that’s where I ended up finishing. I really feel like I had another podium in me that night, and I let it slip away so that’s on me. That’s racing!
Track got rough during the Amain!
My whole program was unbelievable all weekend and all of the support was incredible. I feel like even with the 7th place, I still had an awesome weekend and started off my nitro season pretty dang well! Huge thanks to all of the companies that back me and I'll see you in a few weeks in Texas at the Ice Breaker race! "