by Randy Pike
The 2011 Silver State Nitro Challenge is shaping up to be one of the premiere true "off road" events in the west. World champions, National Champions, and the top guns from each and every manufacturer were in attendance. All were coveting the podium in the Sin City desert.
The track was a very cool layout with jumps of all sorts. Step ups, table tops, nasty rhythm and "no" rhythm sections, along with some big air time sections, and a sweeper that would prove to a patience tester. The track started out in top shape but soon after the first day of practice you could tell it was going to be evolving as time went on.
The race had a unique opportunity hosting both Pro 2 2wd Short Course and Pro 4 4wd Short Course alongside the standard 1/8 Electric Buggy. I entered in both classes for some "fun" racing.
Getting settled in I made my rounds touching bases with the team drivers making sure they had what they needed prior to practice, etc. Everyone was pretty much on track save for a few guys new to the Tekin system, notably Adam Drake and Mike Truhe both TLR drivers choosing to run Tekin at the Silver State Nitro Challenge. Speaking with the both of them I suggested a 1900 T8 motor and gearing for the track along with a standard esc setup that I know works well.
After the first round of practice I again walked around touching bases with my team drivers making sure all was well. Made a few adjustments for those who needed them and back into scheduled practice. The day would end a lot sooner than I'd expected as I missed a round or two of practice myself!
Qualifying began the next day, on schedule as always when Jimmy Babcock is at the helm. The track was in top shape for quals and off we would go. After Round 1 of qualifying TLR's Mike Truhe was the man to beat in E-buggy, setting fast consistent laps followed by Tekin/Xray driver Josh Wheeler, and TLR teammate Adam Drake. Round 2 would have the TLR teammates Adam Drake and Mike Truhe swap positions going 1-2. Round 3 ended with Truhe in the top spot, TLR teammate Phillip Atondo(also running Tekin) 2nd, and Tekin/Mugen Driver Dylan Rodriguez rounding out the top 3. Overall Tq would be a TLR/Tekin sweep with Mike Truhe Tq, Adam Drake 2nd, and Phillip Atondo 3rd. Tekin would have the Tq down to the 5th spot in qualifying and have 8 out of the 11 drivers in the Expert Electric Buggy A-main.
Pro 2 Short Course was quite interesting with the rough track and winds that would literally pull your car backwards on the track if you gave it half a chance. TLR's Jeremy Blodgett took Round 1 followed by TLR/Tekin Kevin Gahan, and Amain's Marty Korn in 3rd. Round 2 was all TLR/Tekin, as Kevin Gahan was the only driver to do 9 laps this round. TLR's Jerry Blodgett and Casey Peck would take 2-3 for a TLR sweep. Round 3 was again TLR/Tekin Kevin Gahan followed by TLR's Casey Peck and Amain's Marty Korn.
With the weather going from Sunny and windy to overcast, rain, and even SNOW, there was an inevitable weather delay forcing a minor schedule change for all electric mains to be run on Sunday.
Mains were under way and Pro 2 Short course was up first. TLR/Tekin Kevin Gahan was dicing it up with TLR's Jerry Blodgett, Marty Korn, and Mike Kennedy off and on throughout the race. Kevin held is Tq position to the end taking the win for TLR and Tekin. Jerry Blodgett held out for 2nd, and Amain's Marty Korn took 3rd. I can't stress enough how the weather, wind and rough track would test the drivers in the short course classes.
Expert Electric 1/8 Buggy was up next and this was going to be one to watch. With an A-main filled with multi-national champions and worlds finalists, to say that this main was stacked was an understatement.
TLR's Mike Truhe would get out early followed by Adam Drake and Dylan Rodriguez along with Phillip Atondo. The top 4 would miss a lot of the mayhem in the back with guys fighting to get in the front. This would allow them to get some spacing and run their own race. Truhe was rock solid only having a few issues on the track. This race would be won by the driver who had the patience and the least amount of mistakes. In the end this would be TLR/Tekin powered Mike Truhe in his Losi 8 E 2.0. TLR's Tekin powered Adam Drake would finish 2nd , and Tekin/Mugen driver Dylan Rodriguez in 3rd. This would give Tekin not only a Tq sweep in all rounds of qualifying but top 3 on the podium!
Tekin would like to extend their congratulations to the winners and top 3 of the Expert Pro 2 Short course class as well as the 1/8 Expert Electric Buggy.