Round 2 of the 2018 U4RC Summer Series was held at Apple Valley RC Raceway in Apple Valley, California. I’ve never been to this location before so, for me, it was quite a trek out to the high desert – multiple freeways followed by long open roads and, finally, a dirt path that led up towards the mountains. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into but, after arriving, knew it was going to be a great day. The view of the high desert from this track is absolutely stunning!
Apple Valley RC Raceway – The Track
The Apply Valley track is nestled up alongside the owners property – lots of off-camber turns, rugged rock sections and pea-gravel – TONS of pea-gravel. All of this made for a tricky surface to run on, at first, until the rains came.
Near the end of the first round of qualifying, a light drizzle hit the track (you could see it coming from far off in the distance) that actually added quite a bit of traction and made it really fun to drive on! The rains lasted for a hour or so – just another variable to some fun rock racing!
Axial RR10 Bomber
2.2 Solid Axle – Qualifier 1:
After Round 1 at Cherry Valley, I did some shock tuning to try and get my Axial RR10 Bomber handling a little bit better. The most difficult part is that there’s no Rock Racing courses open for practice, so you can’t gauge any changes until you’re actually at the track on race day. During the first round (after the drizzle hit), the Bomber felt awesome! Lots of grip, however still a little sketchy through the rocks. I just had to remember to keep a slow, steady pace and it was all good.
2.2 Solid Axle – Qualifier 2:
Qual 2, however, was a bit of a different story. The track had dried out a little and, well, I must have ran out of talent because I couldn’t keep the Bomber on its wheels. Horrible 2nd qualifier, however my first run was good enough to post me 2nd on the grid for the main.
2.2 Solid Axle Main Event:
A good launch got me into the lead at the first rock section, then it was all downhill from there. A flip sent me all the way to last, followed by another flip at the next corner, another flip and the next corner – you get the idea – in short, SIX crashes during the first lap sent me WAY to the back of the pack. Thankfully, I was able to settle down a bit, gather it back together and pull off a 4th place finish. It was extremely hard to drive so more suspension tuning is in the works – hopefully I can get it together for the next race!
Traxxas Long Rod Ends – Dyeable White
Traxxas Short Rod Ends – Dyeable White
In Round 1 of the Series, I found that the stock Axial rod ends were, ummm, not that great for Rock Racing. I was breaking them left and right, so I made a call over to RPM RC Products and ordered a set of their long and short Traxxas Rod Ends. These are perfect to replace the ‘straight’ stock rods ends, having a 5mm hole for the stock set screw and are made from RPM’s engineering grade nylon. Let me tell you, these things are bulletproof! If you plan to race your RR10 Bomber, this is a first MUST upgrade item!
The rod ends are available in a few different colors as well (black, blue, green and dyeable white); I chose the dyeable white so I could color match them red to my car. Unfortunately I left them in the dye to long and they turned out more of a dark bloody red than a cool bright red. Oh well, they still work great and should prevent any more rod end failures.
Tekno RC DB48
After the race at Round 1, I had a chance to drive my buddy Rich Morgan’s 2.2 Unlimited class Tekno RC DB48. Two words – this thing drives like a freaking Cadillac! Ok, that’s more like 7 words, but the difference in handling and performance is straight up off the hook compared to anything else out there! The moment I got home I contacted Tekno about getting one of these beasts for Round 2!
The DB48 is not a production vehicle … yet. It’s based on Tekno’s SCT410.3, fitted with a longer chassis to extend the wheelbase (and a few other parts) and topped with your choice of cage; I’ll be using the cage and panels from the Team Associated Nomad (based on Rich Morgan’s DB48 build). The only downside to this is the body mounting options – since these two don’t officially go together, you need to cobble up a mounting system. I used zip-ties to attach it to the shock towers – more on this in a bit.
2.2 Unlimited – Qualifier 1:
Having only 1 practice run with the DB48, I was still a little unsure of its overall handling. The track was tight with lots of hairpins, something I struggled with a bit given the DB48s longer wheelbase. It just didn’t provide the rotation that some of the other, shorter-wheelbase vehicles had. I was still able to pull of a TQ run, but only by a few tenths of a second. This was more of a good, race-pace reconnaissance run to see how this new ride was going to stack up.
2.2 Unlimited – Qualifier 2:
At the horn for Round 2, I was able to get out front again and started pulling away, however things got interesting after my first pass through the rock garden. I was pressing the DB48 a little harder than normal and sent the front straight into a large rock (not on purpose, of course). Normally this wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but my ghetto body mounting setup (remember the zip-ties?) wasn’t up to the task of staying together! I broke the front zip tie (I was only using 1 on both the front and back), causing the dreaded ‘alligator body’ for the whole rest of the run! While it did make the DB48 difficult to drive fast or jump, it actually helped me slow down a bit, resetting my TQ by 9 seconds!
2.2 Unlimited Main Event:
Before driving my DB48 to the line for the main event, the first order of business was more zip-ties. Four on the front and 2 on the back should be more than adequate. I have to find a better mounting system…
At the horn, I got a great jump out front and started quickly pulling away, the DB48 was feeling simply fantastic! By lap 4 I was coming up on some backmarkers and, while trying to make a pass in the rock garden just past the start/finish line, I got tangled up and sent tumbling down the rocks. The marshall that was in the area was busy tending to another vehicle and didn’t see me crash behind him, so I sat there for about 15 seconds, flailing around trying to right myself. Finally, my buddy Jake Wright ran all the way from the other side of the track to get me, however by this time I had dropped down to 5th place. Guess it was time to do some work.
The next 3 laps were awesome! I drove the DB48 as hard as I could, risking bigger jumps and a bit more speed through the rock sections. I can’t express how amazing this buggy is – it seems to be made for the this type of racing! By the end of the race, I had taken the lead and won by over 14 seconds! Now, I’m not trying to gloat, more trying to point out that the Tekno RC DB48 is simply THAT good almost right out of the box (watch for a DB48 tuning article in the near future). I’m really excited to get it back out at Round 3 of the Series!
Futaba BLS175SV S.Bus2 HT Programmable Servo
Being based on a Short Course truck, I knew I could get away with a more moderate servo for steering. I went with Futaba’s BLS175SV servo, a great S.Bus2 servo that boasts a torque and speed rating of 292oz/in/.12 sec respectively. On the track, the BLS175SV did a fantastic job of keep the front wheels pointed in the right direction, even as the DB48 bounced through the rock sections – and it’s not going to break the bank. Definitely give this servo a look when you’re building your DB48.
Tekin RX 8 Gen 2 ESC
Castle Creations 1515 1Y Sensored 2200kV Brushless Motor
I had originally planned to use the Castle Creations Monster Mamba X system in this rig (based on my still excellence experience with the one in my Bomber), but it wasn’t meant to be. The first Mamba X I installed stopped working when I screwed the ESC mounting tray into the DB48, accidentally threading the screw THROUGH the ESC lead wire (the wire routes under the mounting tray). I pulled that ESC and installed a second one, however during my initial fire up to test all the electronics, it went up in smoke. That left me with no other choice but to mate my Castle 2200kV sensored brushless motor to a Tekin RX8 Gen 2 that I had in my spare electronics box – a choice that would lead me to the winner’s circle! I ran this combo on a 3S LiPo and it was buttery smooth, however I might just bump the power up to 4S for the next race. Kind of miss the brutal acceleration!
MaxAmps LiPo 5450mAh 3S 11.1v LiPo Battery Pack
I know that Rock Racing isn’t all about power, so I figured a 3S LiPo would be sufficient. My MaxAmps pack was plenty fast and provided excellent driveability, exactly what I was looking for with the DB48. There were a few jumps I couldn’t make without really setting up for them, but I knew that wasn’t always the fast line around the track. The DB48, though, is a race-proven 1:8 scale buggy that screams performance, so I’ll be loading up a 4S at the next event, you know, just in case.
Futaba 4PX Computerized Radio System
What can I say – my Futaba 4PX is still my go-to radio when I’m out in the dusty dirty (and drizzle). I’ve loaded all my trail/scale/rock racing rigs into it, so I guess this will be the one I bring with me from now on. Excellent radio system, tons of tuneability and that Freqeskinz wrap – man it looks good. Love it.
Pro-Line Racing Hyrax 2.2″ G8 Rock Terrain Truck Tires
Pro-Line Racing 2.2″ Dual Stage Closed Cell Inner/Soft Outer Rock Crawling Foam Inserts
Because the Pro-Line Hyrax tires were so incredibly awesome on my RR10 Bomber, they were a no-brainer for the DB48 as well. I stuffed them with a set of Pro-Line’s dual stage inserts, an upgrade I need to get for the Bomber. This combo helps keep maximum traction while reducing tire squirm, something that you get quite a bit of while powering through uneven rock sections.
Vanquish KMC 2.2 XD229 Machete Wheels
While plastic wheels will get the job done, aluminum has a durability factor you just can’t beat. Oh, and they look awesome as well! I went with the KMC 2.2 XD229 Machete beadlock wheels not only because the look great, but you can alter the width using different hubs. The 2.2 Unlimited class has a width restriction, however the DB48 comes in a little narrow, so adding wider hubs will bring it up to the max.
If you didn’t read it, here’s the recap from Race 1 of the 2018 SoCal U4RC Summer Series: http://www.competitionx.com/news-feed/u4rc-summer-series-2018-round-1/
Axial Racing, available at AMain Hobbies
Tekno RC, available at AMain Hobbies
Castle Creations, available at AMain Hobbies
Futaba, available at AMain Hobbies
Hitec, available at AMain Hobbies
Pro-Line, available at AMain Hobbies
RPM RC Products
Tekin, available at AMain Hobbies
Vanquish Products, available at AMain Hobbies