As with most of the RC world, tire choice in Rally Racing is everything. The big difference, however, is that at or little local Rally spot, there are those that choose to run a ‘realistic’ tire and those that choose to run a performance tire. There’s not been a something that fills both segments.
Why not have both? That’s where Jetko comes in. Their latest Rally tire, the Avantgarde, is a mix of performance and scale realism, looking similar to the Federal G10 Rally Tires uses in 1:1 racing.
We had a chance to take these tires out to a local Rally event and give them a go and, actually, were quite surprised by their level of performance.
Each package contains a pair of pre-mounted Avantgarde tires on either the black Radial or Claw wheels. You’ll, of course, need two packages for all four corners of your Rally car.
1. The Avantgarde tire design looks really good with a standard 1:1 Rally tread pattern for excellent grip. The pattern has cross lugs on the outside of the tire for forward bite and angled lugs on the inside for cornering adhesion. The tire compound was surprisingly soft with just a hint of air gap. Combined with a soft-ish insert, these tires feel more like an offroad tire than an onroad one.
2. Jetko offers the same compound tire pre-mounted on two different sets of wheels – the Claw and the Radial. The tires in the picture above (in Item 1) are mounted on the Claws, these to the right are the Radials. Both have a very Rally look to them with just a slightly different sized ‘turbofan’ wheel disc. They look good in black but, unfortunately, are the only color they come in. Having them also available in white would be a cool option.
For the initial run, we mounted the Avantgardes on our Tamiya XV-02 Rally car and headed to the SoCal Rally Runners course in Riverside, CA. We’ve been wanting to get on course for a couple weeks but, due to an odd amount of rain, the track’s been too wet to race. After a long wait, we were finally met with a stunning course lined with tall weeds, giving the track a very realistic ‘forest’ look.
The race day goes a little like this: there’s a little bit of morning practice followed by a quick break, then each driver lines up (when ready) and takes a timed shot at the course. Each driver gets 3 runs – that’s it – no mulligans. Your 3 times are then averaged and the winner with the most consistent runs takes the top podium spot. If you mess up, well, your time reflects it for that run. That makes each run VERY important.
On a side, note, most people are running the Tamiya Rally Blocks, however there are a few running the Schumacher Rally Pins (including us up to this point). These tires are the bees knees – little mini-pins that dig into the ground for some really great traction.
We knew we might be at a disadvantage since the Avantgardes are quite flat and, after trying the Schumacher tires in practice, felt like we were slightly off the pace. But we love a challenge and, after a few changes to the car to compensate for the different grip level (not bad, just different), we were off for our first timed run.
The first run was decent, however the car was a bit more loose than we’d like. Our posted time was a 1:45.19 second lap. The fast run at this point was a 1:41.06. We’re close, however another quick change to the car was in order.
Run 2 was better, knocking 4 seconds off our time and posting a 1:41.12. The fast time had dropped quite a bit, though, to a 1:37.57. We did have two small mistakes that easily cost us about 4-5 seconds in total – that would put us right in the 1:37 window. These tires were starting to come in and the car was feeling very racy!
Another minor change was made to the car and, in Run 3, we were putting in an absolute heater! The car was ripping through the track, powersliding perfectly and squirting out of every corner with some serious grip. We were looking at a fast 1:37 (or maybe even a 1:36) when we came up on the last part of the track. As we drove through the last berm and headed for the triple bumps, we decided to turn them into a double-single section (like we successfully did in Run 2). However, fate decided that was a bad idea and we took a horrible tumble and landed next to the inner barrier. In our over-excitedness to finish the run, we got all squirrelly right before the final turn and ended up sliding off the outside of the track, only to get stuck on an exterior barrier. Our hopes of a stellar finish were over (see the video above for the final run).
After the dust had cleared (and the frustration for our stupid attempt had subsided), the Jetko clad XV-02 took home the 2nd place trophy for the day. As we sat around doing a little bench racing, there were a few drivers that wanted to give the XV-02 and the Jetko tires a go to see if these tires were really all that. Everyone that drove the car had only positive things to say, meaning that we weren’t the only ones impressed with these kicks.
Oh, and on a side note, we did a timed run after the event and threw down a 1:37.14 with one slight mistake (about a second and a half). Now if we can just do that during our 3 timed runs…
Jetko’s Avantgarde tires are the real deal. They are a bit pricey but, if you’re looking for that mix of performance and scale, you’re not going to find anything better.