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Several RC magazines around the world have asked us to write a monthly column. With the kind permission we will re-publish the column at our web site too so all of the XRAY fans can read the latest news and behind the scenes information. Enjoy.

Archive:
Column #1 - Behind the Scene Stories

Column #2 - Worlds Flashback

Column #3 - T2'007 Debut

Column #4 - Designing the T2'007

Column #5 - Worldcup Review and NT1 Testing

Column #6 - Developing and Designing the NT1

Column #7 - Developing and Designing the NT1 - Part 2

Column #8 - Back to the Races

Column #9 - XT8 Truggy Development

Column #10 - Touring Car Development

Column #11 - Bling-bling Mentality

Column #12 - Hot Summer Washout

Column #13 - New Electric Touring Car

Column #14 - Off-road Development

Column #15 - My micro love

Column #16 - Back in the Dirt

Column #17 - Worlds Preparations

Column #18 - 808 Tests & Stress

Column #19 - Excited for the Worlds?

Column #20 - Statistics, Expenses Sheets, Production Analysis, Calculations…

Column #21 + Column #22 - Euros + Euros + Worlds

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Summer of Racing 2008 – The Busiest Season Ever
The Summer of Racing 2008 was very busy, the busiest ever and yet the most exciting and certainly the most exhausting as well. For the last three months my support crew and I spent most of the time out of the office on the road and at races. I really love to go to races to feel the atmosphere, enjoy the racing, meet with the team, meet with the customers, and simply immerse myself in the world of RC car racing.

For an RC car designer it is of course his task to be at the tracks, analyzing everything and taking care of his product, team and every other related thing. This summer I really put in a huge amount of my time and energy to make XRAY cars and the team as successful as possible. Now I will have to switch a little bit to the other side – focusing more on taking care of the company, new projects, and new developments… and leading the R&D, production and managements teams – to keep a good balance.

So what was my summer all about? As per usual it had many ups and downs, and I do not want to bore you with the details of every race since we have already invested a lot of time on reports and articles on every race which you can read at the XRAY Web site or in RC magazines. I will simply give the highlights of some races:

1/10 Nitro Touring Euros B:
It all started for Team XRAY at the Euros B and with a great success of placing five NT1 drivers into the final. Dirk took the overall win and Thomas took another podium finish in 3rd.

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Warm-ups:
The warm-ups for Euros off-road and Euros electric touring followed each other so from Greece we flew home, cleaned the dust of the XB808, and then flew to Spain to practice with the T2.

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1/8 Off-road Euros B:
I expected that both Off-road Euros would be very demanding but not because of the car, as I know that the XB808 is at the absolute top… but rather I am referring to the extremely high level of competition. The off-road market is oversaturated with so many companies and so many teams – and everybody has the same desire to get into A final – that it is actually right now an achievement just to get into the A main final. Between 20–30 different teams show up at a race, and if even one driver of a team gets into the main final, it will still be at least another 10–20 teams that will be unhappy with no car in the main final. The Euros B was a similar story for our team with getting just a single car in the final while being strong in the lower finals. I left France from the Euros B feeling very happy about the performance of the car and work of the team, but not so happy with the overall result and hoping for a better result at the Euros A.

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1/8 Off-road Euros A:
Only two weeks after we flew to Greece for the Off-road Euros A, we knew that this would be the most demanding race of this summer. The XB808 worked extremely well during the entire weekend and the team of Alex, Jerome, Teemu, Jon and others were doing very well, but this race was just continuous bad luck of engine problems, electronic failures and radio problems. At the end, from the very good and promising looking start we ended up with only Jon being in the final and almost finding himself on the podium in 3rd when his engine stopped and he was in an “out-of-the-limelight” 4th place. Off-road racing right now is so tough and at such a high level with so many talents and so many teams that it really makes me wonder if this can get any higher. I think the Worlds in September will confirm that it is possible to strive even higher.

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1/10 Electric Touring Euros:
The electric touring racing was scheduled again for the end of July, so this time we flew back to Spain to enjoy the extremely hot weather and the super-fast track. We worked very hard for this race, with plenty of testing and preparation, and I had really high expectations knowing that our car and set-up work was really good. However, at the same time I knew it would be a very difficult race as with the electric touring car racing you have to have everything perfect: car prep down to the smallest details, set-up, tire treatment, tire heating, luck on good sets of tires from race control, luck not to have your electronics burn out, and of course the necessary power for this type of the track. As expected we were doing very well in getting four cars into the main final but luck was not with us this time. Teemu, after finishing 2nd in the first final, was in 3rd place in the second final when a few meters before the finish line his electronics failed and his chances for a podium finish vanished. At the end, a positive result was that Euros warm-up winner and young XRAY talent from UK Eliott Harper won the European Junior title.

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I left that Euros with mixed feelings. Of course I was happy for again having the majority of cars in the racing field, showing the ongoing popularity of XRAY as well as being happy for the overall result. But at the same time I confirmed what I’ve been feeling for a long time already – that the level of electric touring car competition is so far above maximum levels it’s amazing. They are overpowered and for normal drivers it gets really difficult, complicated, and expensive; I expect we will see a step back.

1/10 Nitro touring Worlds:
After returning from the Euros we flew the next day to Portugal for the World Championship. With the previous practice and fairly good results at the warm-up I knew that the NT1 would be with a doubt the best performing car. Our team was super strong with the best chances, but at the same time I knew that this race would also be a competition of engine power, tires, and of course luck in the long finals.

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From the first practice days the team was mostly on pace and doing well in the first qualifiers, but we lost the pace in the last qualifier when suddenly some other drivers became super fast. Nobody would find out if it was a better car set-up, better engine or better muffler… but for the last days of final runs some mufflers were prohibited and the performance level got equalized once again. Despite not placing any cars in the final directly, Team XRAY had a strong presence in the lower finals and we worked our way up with some top drivers getting easily into the final with some other top drivers having bad luck and having their chances end in the lower finals.

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From the lower finals it was Paul Lemieux, Martin Christensen and Teemu Leino who bumped up into the main final. A corrected mistake in placement saw Martin Hudy notified that he indeed had made it into the final in 10th position. The 60min final race was definitely one of the most exciting and thrilling for me. As expected, the final race was all about luck, tire strategy, engine reliability and performance but of course also about the car and the driver’s experience. From the early start, Paul got into an impressive lead with Teemu hanging in 2nd place. With our pit master Brano, we tried to coach Martin as best as possible and seeing his calm racing comfort I felt extremely positive. Without any rush or push Martin drove during entire 60 minutes without a single mistake and was extremely consistent and this worked very well for him. From last place he smoothly worked his way to the top and in the middle of the race he found himself leading. This was a very satisfactory and awesome feeling.

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At the same time I was very sad for Paul who was leading by over 2 or 3 laps and during the tire change in pit stop his engine stopped and pit crew could not start him for a few minutes. It eventually was found to be a broken glow heater – a small detail that killed a very good chance for the World title. Similar bad luck hit Teemu who during a pit stop got fuel on his electronics and lost control of the car. At the World Championship, anything and everything can and will happen; small things you cannot even think about just come up when you do not expect them. This was the same case for Martin. He kept his lead position for a large portion of the race, constantly changing his position during refueling with Ielasi. At the end of the race we realized that Ielasi and some other drivers ran longer runs with one less pit stop, while we kept Martin running on shorter runs to keep things safe and to ensure he would not run out of fuel.

At the end with most of the drivers running out of the fuel a few times, Martin never stopped. However, the risk that Ielasi took in running fewer refueling stops worked for him and with a few minutes left he went into the lead. With a few laps to go the front tires were bigger and to keep a safe run Martin could not fight with catching Tosolini, which moved Martin into 3rd place. In the last few laps I crossed my fingers and prayed for no more bad luck, and thankfully nothing bad happened as Martin crossed the finish line in 3rd place. It was an incredible final race with such a close result after 60 minutes and an incredible but well deserved result for Martin and Team XRAY. This was another World Championship where we had been so close to the win and actually were almost holding the trophy for the majority of the final run, but still the trophy slipped away in the last minutes. This is the life of racing, though, and this is what keeps us running and motivated. I was really excited, satisfied, and happy… a very well deserved achievement for Martin and for me, his proud father.

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The summer is gone, the summer racing is all done and I have been analyzing everything. We could have maybe been better, but for sure the entire team and everybody did astonishing work and got fantastic efforts during the summer. The XRAY Support Team was available at every race with the XRAY service van and all the spare parts available for every XRAY driver and customer, and I was very happy to get feedback from drivers and customers on the first level support and help we provided to every XRAY driver. This is what makes XRAY the favorite choice, not only the ongoing development that the R&D team and I put in every product, but for sure the well known performance and quality and the top level support and service. That is why it was no surprise for me and everybody on the team and XRAY support that XRAY cars were many times the most frequently represented cars with drivers during this summer. We plan not only to keep up the good work, but to try to improve whatever and wherever possible.

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I would like to thank to the entire Team XRAY for the excellent work during the summer. I am very proud to have such a great group of people around me and thanks for all the effort that every single driver puts into racing and representing XRAY. Good job. A big “Thanks” goes out to all the organizers, tracks and competitors for making this summer really HOT and for all of the exciting moments at the tracks and races. Thanks to the XRAY Support Team and distributors who helped to provide the best service at all the races, and last but not least, thanks to all XRAY customers and fans for the ongoing support.

If you think that this summer was busy enough for me and that I can now rest, I can ensure you that there is no “rest time” on the schedule as we now prepare for the Off-road World Championship in two weeks, the 2009 Euros Off-road Warm-up, following up warm-up in Thailand for the Worlds and then in November the last big race of this year, the 1/10 Electric Touring Car and 1/12 World Championship.

Am I excited? That’s an understatement! Even after the exhausting summer I am very much looking forward for the coming World Championships.


Enjoy the ride and ‘til the next time.


Dipl. Eng. Juraj Hudy
Chief designer XRAY