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Report by Brennan Ralls

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Its nearing the end of 08 already and its been a productive and busy year for Team XRAY UK. It was announced for the start of 2008 the UK team consisted of Brennan Ralls, Kevin Brunsden and Lee Taylor. With plenty of racing over the winter and Kevin joining the Team XRAY we worked together finding more pace with the EC but knowing at some point the XB808 would be with us..

I opted to race at my local club over the winter and compete in the Proline Badlands series at DRT. One it would be a competitive series, but also an opportunity to give help to the club guys and raise the XRAY profile. For this series I won 3 out of the 5 events and took the overall victory in the series. The goal was also achieved with most of the club members now running XRAY cars.

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With the XB808 now in proto type stage the UK had one for test so all racing stopped for me as I spent hours at the track testing parts for feed back. With this input and that of other team drivers around the world ended up with the XB808 as you see it now. Piraterc.com was lucky enough and the first to picture the car in testing during its very early stages of development, when this news story hit the web was the highest hit article to date on the site and to this day is still viewed and hit global wide.

On to Neo Buggy 08 and a very high profile event with many top team international drivers attending. Because of design changes cars were limited and Kevin was to use the UK's only XB808. I was lucky in another team driver sent there car so I also had one for this event such is the commitment of the Xray Team, this was to arrive on the practice day. Kevin and French driver Jerome Sartel made the Semis with Kevin missing the main by only a few seconds. The interest in the car was amazing and with a date set for delivery knew sales would be good.

After Neo Brennan took on the roll of UK Track Side Team Boss to help guide the team through the season but also recruit more drivers of all abilities to promote XRAY and also other Mirage products through the clubs.

Next up was the GRP dirt challenge at Deerdale. In buggy’s the XB808's were fast with Brennan finishing 3rd overall and Kevin further back in the main. In the truggy's Bren took overall TQ in qualifying, Lee was having a few radio issues but sorted them for the finals and bumped up from the bottom into the main. For Lee track time was king on this now very wet track and took the lead mid race. This is how it finished Lee 1st, Bren 2nd.

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To the Nationals for Buggy the competition has hotted up even more this year with all manufacturers getting there top drivers from all classes to now race 1/8th offroad so the competition is very tough. With World champions, multiple Worlds and European finalists competing at each event, at least 40 drivers are all capable of making the main so its very tight, so with even a perfect run can still se you down the list.

The 1st round at Herts was one to forget by all in the team, with a very wet event all suffered problems of one sort or another so will end up a throw away event.

The Panther cup was next up at Frankley on the astro turf track. Kevin unable to make this event Bren used it to gain setups for the following national and in doing so finished 6th overall with the XB808.

The 2nd National was held he following week again at Frankley and the setups gained allowed Kevin and Lee to get into the A final. The Finals were again very wet, Brennan was to finish in the B and for the A Kevin was to go out early due to water in the electrics but Lee was to bring his XB808 home in 4th and a great result.

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The 3rd National was a 2 day event at Clows Top. Kevin was fast all weekend and went through his semi straight into the main Brennan worked through the 1/4's then the semi to also make the main. A problem for Kevin put him out but Brennan from 9th on the grid drove through to bring his XB808 home in 5th.

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The 4th National at Clanfield the cars were dialled from some prior testing the week before and all the team needed was the luck on the day. With Jon coming back from his walk about was now back with XRAY. Jon, Kevin and Lee all went straight into the A. Brennan was in the B and narrowly missed the bump up spot. All the drivers drove well in the A with Jon coming out on top and taking the Win first time out with the car.

The 5th National was at Shrewsbury on a flat grass track. Jon went straight into the A and Kevin was to bump in. Track conditions caught the team out and we was to finish mid pack. Bruce Thompson had now joined the UK team and brought with him a vast amount of knowledge and skill to the team, strenghtening the team yet further.

The 6th National was Talywain south Wales on an undulating grass track. An off day for the team during qualifying, Bren with radio problems all day and not getting a run in at all. Bruce, Kevin and Jon making the B all having good runs with Jon and Kevin bumping into the main. For the start an engine cut for Kevin put him out of contention. A radio shut down for Jon mid race gave him a run away and a non finish.

The 7th National at Slough on the Dirt track, a wet start made it a bit sticky but the team was strong. Jon and Kevin went straight into the Main with Bren and Bruce figthing it out in the B. Bruce was strong but a technical problem put him out of contention, a ten minute fuel stop by Bren jumped him up and just missed the bump up by 1 second. Kevin had a problem so missed the start and would never catch up the time lost. Jon had a great battle having to make up time as the others were doing one less fuel stop. Jons pace would be enough to come home with the win.

Final National at Pendle. We all had to do it the hard way, with Bren bumping up from the C into the B, here I met up with Jon, Kevin and Bruce with Jon and Kevin bumping into the main coming home 5th and 10th after some tough racing.

Euros A, because of legal reasons for work I was unable to attend the event this year so had to hand my space on for another racer. Watching the results via the web is tough. Jon made the trip for XRAY UK and from the word go was very happy with the car. Unlucky during qualifying but felt good for the finals and was to put his car into the Main after some hard racing. In the Main an engine cut because of a stone lost time which potentially was a podium finish but 4th was still a fantastic achievement

DRT Bowtie summer series again Bren gives the Team another race win. With Ricky Burnett completing the whole series a win at the final round gave him the series win.The biggest winner at this event though was XRAY as in the A final the highest percentage of cars were XRAY and the total entry giving a 3:1 ratio of XRAYs against all other manufacturers so what a change in popularity in the car.

The 3rd Novarossi GP held at the Novarossi Raceway on the astro turf track. The forcast was for rain and this it done on the 2nd day. Kevin, Bren, Reece Sawyer and Lee Bunker all coming up from the semis into the Main. Kevin had a servo horn strip so was out but Reece and Bren would keep going in the very wet conditions to come home 4th and 5th.

The Truggy Nationals has also been held between these events and the 1st 2 round was held at Herts over two days. For these opening events Brennan and Lee where holding up the colours for the UK. Unfortunately Lee was to have issues all weekend. Brennan put his XT8 into the A both days finishing 7th the 1st day, on the 2nd a total engine failure mid way through the main when positioned 5th put him out of contention and 11th in the end.

Truggy's Rnd 3 event was clanfield with both Brennan and Lee in France at the Euros B Kevin took up the mantel and with Jon now back on board dusted off last years car and bought it straight home with a win, Kevin was to finish 7th having never raced the XT8. So another great day for the Team.

Truggy's Rnd 4 was NORC which is near Newcastle so a fair track up north. The track is an astro turf style jump track so very technical. Bren trip paid off as he came home 2nd in the main at this event with the XT8.

Truggy's Rnd 5 and again a very wet Frankley. The astro turf saved the event so it could be run, the water would takes its toll in the finals with both Jon and Bren in contention in the main but water stopping play with both retiring. From this result would effect both Jon and Bren in the series as both would have a non finish counting and would end up 4th and 8th respective.

With now the winter racing starting again most events have gone controlled tyres series. Bruce doing well at the CML / Frankley series and Bren Finishing 2nd at the 1st round of the AKA Drt series, the winter racing is looking good for the team.

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With many of the events the team has gone, the XRAYs have always proven very fast and potentially a winner at the event, but sometimes racing luck is just not with you. At any event the Team goes interest in the cars is always high and our policy to always help no matter how busy you are helps to break that barrier.

From this point for me as Team Boss, the team has grown considerably to now include clubman champion and multiple national A finalist Bruce Thompson who has brought in a vast amount of knowledge and just needs that bit of luck and track time. With also over 20 drivers on the Mirage B Team aiming at club and regional level we are starting to cover all areas.

For the guys very rarely mentioned other than on local websites Greg Hill a Mirage team driver winning the 3rd Rnd 8th08 series at Frankley. Winning the 1st round of the National B series or as its known Tyro's with the XB808 and a TQ at the 2nd at Grantham, Greg has been showing good form at these events holding the colours for the other part of the team. Both Simon Tooley and Steve Webb into the main at Rnd 3 of the Tyro's National. Ricky Burnett new to the sport showing good pace with his XB808 just missing out of the mains in the Tyro‘s several times but looking good in Winning the DRT bowtie series.

As a Team Driver and the Trackside Boss, it's not just the track where work is done, but also the forum for XRAY and Piraterc.com where I run a weekly diary and an Xray help and advice section.

Thanks goes to XRAY and Mirage for where we are today with the Team.