Hosted at IERC Raceway in San Bernardino, CA on December 7th for Round 1 of the JConcepts Top Notch Winter Series. The Top Notch Series (TNS) is an 8-race points based series, run at various tracks throughout Southern California. Last season, TNS averaged 230 entries per round and features race announcer “Notch” Johnson. Over $10,000 in prizes and cash payouts were given out last season. IERC Raceway is one of Southern California’s largest indoor RC tracks.
Top drivers from all the main race team such as TLR’s Brian Sullivan(Tekin), Shawn Blackwell and Ronda Drake(Tekin), Tekno RC’s Rudy Rico and Chad Panek, Hobby Pro’s Andrew Smolnik, Tamiya’s Jimmy Wright, Mugen’s Scott Wolf, Kyosho’s Cody Turner and Lucas Sanford(Tekin), and a number of very fast local racers. There would be two rounds of 5 minute qualifiers, followed by 5 minute A Mains. Announcing would be handled by Notch Johnson and Aaron Wilming. There were approximately 240 entries.
Tekin pilot Lucas Sanford recaps:
1/8 Scale E-Buggy:
“We arrived at the track at 6:00AM, hoping to get in a few practice laps, and to break in some tires. After one battery pack, I powered up the laptop and connected the Tekin RX8 Gen2 ESC to the HotWire and bumped up the current limiter a bit. I ran another battery pack, and the extra speed was noticeable. It took less than two minutes to hook up the ESC and make the change. The car was ready for racing. The first round of qualifying went well, as I took the TQ over Sullivan making only one mistake. In the second qualifier, I made no mistakes and managed to better my TQ time from the first round. Sullivan ran a near-perfect race in his heat, but my TQ held up. I knew Sullivan would challenge me in the A Main, as this was his home track. My thinking proved correct, as Sullivan was right on my rear bumper for the first half of the race. Sullivan tried an inside pass thru the S-section, but hit a corner-dot and flipped. This allowed me to extend my lead and go on to win the A-Main by about 7 seconds. My Tekin RX8 Gen2 ESC and Redline T8 2050kv motor equipped MP9e TKI with DE Racing SpeedLine wheels, AKA clay Wishbones) was consistent and fast the entire day.
1/8 Scale E-Buggy finishing order:
1. Lucas Sanford (Tekin/Kyosho)
2. Brian Sullivan (Tekin/TLR)
3. Rudy Rico (??/Tekno)
Mod 2wd Truck
In the first qualifier, I made a few mistakes, and finished second behind Tamiya’s Jimmy Wright. For the second round, I changed to stiffer front springs to make the truck more stable, and went on to make a perfect run, taking the overall TQ by 11 seconds. In the A Main, I quickly got out to a commanding lead. I made only one mistake in the race, and almost lapped the field when time ran out. My truck was equipped with the new Tekin RSX ESC and Redline Gen2 6.5 turn motor.
Open 2wd Truck finishing order:
1. Lucas Sanford (Tekin/Kyosho)
2. Jimmy Wright (Tamiya)
3. Matthew Pages (Associated)
2wd Mod Buggy
Starting right behind teammate Cody Turner for the A Main, I stayed behind him for the first few laps until Cody myself and Shawn Blackwell all made a mistake over the big triple, landing on our lids. I got marshalled third, and was now trailing both Cody and Shawn. I caught up to within 2 seconds of Cody when time ran out, and finished on the third podium spot. My RB6 equipped with the new Tekin RSX ESC and Redline Gen2 7.5 turn motor worked well, and allowed me to capture a spot on the podium.
2wd Mod Buggy finishing order:
1. Shawn Blackwell (TLR)
2. Cody Turner (Kyosho)
3. Lucas Sanford (Tekin/Kyosho)
I would like to thank all of my sponsors for making it happen: Sanford and Son RC, Kyosho, Tekin, AKA, DE Racing, TTN Racing and Upgrade RC. Thanks also to JConcepts and DE Racing for sponsoring this series, and to IERC owners Debbie and Larry, the IERC track crew, and race announcers Notch and Aaron for putting on this Top Notch event. I am looking forward to round 2 of the TNS Winter Series at Coyote Hobbies on December 28.