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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.

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1/8 Off-road Euros
After the 1/8 on-road Euros in Luxembourg we headed directly to Germany for the 1/8 off-road Euros. As the track was scheduled to open on Tuesday and we still had two days, we decided to stop at an off-road track close to Frankfurt for some extra private testing. Several other off-road racers had the same idea and as such we joined them at the track for some extra practice and preparation for the Euros. We used the two days to test new parts which we used for the first time at the warm-up in Sand, and it was a good idea as this track was all different with a lot of dust and less traction.

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Monday evening we left for Sand to be on the track from early morning. The track was well prepared and as opposed to the warm-up it was smoother and faster. The track surface suited my on-road style much better so I was looking forward the race. In our team it was Teemu Leino, Carlos Duraes, Robin Frischkopf, Jiri Mara, Ales Bayer, the young Martin Hansen amongst many others. XRAY was the second most frequently used brand which is a statistic that pleased me. In qualifiers, Teemu and Carlos were the fastest from the team and qualified directly into the semi-final. Mara, Bayer and Hansen had very good performance and their cars were handling well, but as is common in off-road if you have a bad start it makes it difficult to recover; besides performance you also need luck. Unfortunately, at the end Teemu and Carlos missed the main final by a fraction and as such all our chances for the podium disappeared.

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Despite XRAY not having a lucky day, I was still satisfied with the big improvement we made over the last year. The car is now much easier to drive, more reliable, and fast enough to compete at the highest competition level. In my bump-up final I had bad luck too so I was looking forward to the 40+ final which is a race where I can compete with the field. Well this year the 40+ final was a disaster for me and I cannot blame anyone but myself for not paying enough attention or actually doing so many things that I missed to build the shocks properly. For the final run I put in some new modified shock parts and probably used not correct o-rings inside the shock cap and as such after few minutes of the final run the shock cap got a free and shock leaked out completely which was the end of race for me. This was an elementary mistake which nobody should make, but we are all human and make mistakes.

1/10 Electric Euros
We left that same evening home as we had only 3 days before leaving for the next Euros. After a 900km drive we arrived very late at night, had a few hours sleep and ran into the office to maximize the time in the office before leaving for the 1/10 Electric touring Euros in Austria. Since this was the last Euros, and since the 1/10 Nitro touring was held on the Monday AFTER the electric touring Euros, we had no other choice but to pack both nitro and electric touring stuff, and enough clothes and other things for both Euros in a row.

The track in Traiskirchen in Austria is only 220km from Trencin, so we were at the track on Thursday early morning. Arriving to the track we joined the rest of the team which included Teemu Leino, Alex Hagberg, Martini Francesco, David Edhbar, Zdenko Kunak and the rest of the team.

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The first runs were needed to switch our brains from off-road style racing back to electric style racing. For me the switch took a relatively shortly but I had to decrease the power on the speed control every run as the track was very narrow with plenty of corners. Since my car was very good in the practice early on, I was around the 30th-40th position all the time which considering the top drivers at the EC pleased me a lot.

My performance luckily continued in the qualifiers as well, and I was able to qualify within the first 50 (which considering that I am a grandpapa) is a very good result. But to be honest it was not only my “skills” but primarily the good handling car which gave me an error-free run. After previous extensive testing of the new parts for the T3 2012, I put in those new parts which I was convinced would help me improve the handling at this particular track. Adding all the new parts I found myself having almost the entire 2012-spec car built. So at the end this was also a great opportunity to confidentially test the 2012 version of the T3 under real track conditions. My performance proved that it is a real improvement! Every year I have a feeling that it will be hard to push the envelope further, but during the year the new experiences and also the constant push from competition we find ourselves pushing the limits all the time as well and end up with plenty of new parts and ideas.

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But back to the race…

Together with Alex we set up his car and in the first qualifier he set an opening TQ. In the next runs, despite the changing track conditions, Alex stayed in the Top 4. The competition level in the electric touring market has been increasing all the time, and besides Alex nobody else from Team XRAY was able to qualify into the A final. Teemu made it into the B final, Zdenko made it into the C and Martin had a very bad day. Despite XRAY having the most amount of the cars at the event, at the end it was only Alex who qualified into the main final to battle for the trophies.

In the main final, Alex started from the 4th place and because the track was so narrow it was very difficult to pass anyone if the car in front did not make a mistake. The first two final runs were relatively clear and the first cars made no mistakes so results were more-or-less according to the starting positions. In the last third final Alex was cruising easily in 3rd place for almost the entire run and was faster than the cars in front, but due to the track size he could not do anything but wait for someone to make a mistake in front of him. As the first cars were a bit slower it allowed the cars behind to close the gap, and the car in 4th place started to push Alex.

But since Alex – like the cars ahead of him – knew he couldn’t be passed if he didn’t make a mistake, he kept up a clean run and the car behind him had no other chance to get by. Then, in the last lap the car behind tried to get by on the inside of a corner and crashed into Alex, which allowed the cars behind to pass him and as such his almost secured podium finish was gone. Despite the guilty driver getting a 10sec penalty, it did not change anything so Alex finished at a disappointing 6th and the trophy flew away. Despite a bad feeling on how this event ended up, these things cannot be changed and life goes on. Now we all needed to clear our minds and get ready for the last Euros of the 2011 season.

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1/10 Nitro Euros
After the prize ceremony we left Austria and drove to Germany to Etlingen for the the 1/10 Nitro touring Euros, the last race of the summer for me and our team. After a 750km drive we arrived late in the night, had a few hours of sleep, and then were ready for the smell of nitro and the high-speed adrenaline.

The first practice started early morning on a wet track as it rained during the night. As the track got drier, more drivers started their engine and hit the track. Since the first year of the NT1, the XRAY nitro touring team has been the strongest and most successful team… and to list all of the drivers from the team representing at these Euros would be too long. Our “top guns” to battle for the trophy would include Dirk Wischnewski, Alex Hagberg, Eric Dankel, Teemu Leino, Manuel Huber, and Martin Hudy.

Like in the 1/8 on-road, the main theme and discussions during the event were tire treatment and additives. Luckily this track had sufficient traction so all the speculations about additives did not have such influence like it had in Luxembourg at the 1/8 On-road Euros. This particular track in Ettlingen was the track where engine performance and clutch setting were most important. (Of course a good handling car was vital as well.) This track belongs to those “older“ tracks, so the surface is a bit more bumpy but these conditions perfectly suit the NT1 which was proven from very early on when XRAY drivers occupied all the top positions.

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Young German drivers, especially Rico, showcased some very good performance and were an early surprise. Dirk was very fast from the very first runs as well and was the fastest from the team.
Following the new 2011 rules, everyone has to bump-up to the main final from a semi-final and there was no direct qualifying. The NT1 worked very well during all the qualifiers and sub-finals and at the end we had 8 cars in the main final, which meant at least one guaranteed podium finish.

From the top guns for the main final, it was Martin who was again missing from the final this year. Last year after trouble in the first qualifier and then rain for the rest of qualifiers, he started in the very last sub-final and worked his way up until semi-final where he missed the final very narrowly and finished 11th. This year the qualifiers did not work for Martin either, as he was struggling with engine settings and qualified into the 1/8 final. Luckily the engine problem was solved for the final runs and he won both the 1/8 and ? finals by a large gap. In the semi-final he worked his way to the main final when he was twice crashed off the track and one time the body was stuck in the car which required an extra pit stop. So at the end his final 12th place position was not what was expected… but such is racing.

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The weather was luckily nice for the main finals and the 45min main final started on a dry track. Dirk started in 2nd place and this was also his final position after crossing the finish line. From the very beginning he drove error-free, but each lap he was slowly losing a small distance lap-by-lap until the tire exchange. During the tire exchange his pit crew was experiencing some troubles fixing the wheels onto the car, and moreover the engine stopped which resulted in a lost lap after leaving the pit stop. The second set of tires clearly had much better performance than the first set and Dirk was now the fastest on the track but still had to make up an entire lost lap, which was impossible. Lap-by-lap Dirk was closing the gap but at the end he cruised by the finish line half a lap behind the winner. Teemu crossed the finish line in 3rd to make it a double-podium finish for XRAY.

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Finally the XRAY team has got the European Junior Champion title which was awarded to the young Italian XRAY driver Biago Spataro. Of course I was very happy for this nice victory for Biago and it is a well deserved trophy for him. I am sure we will see some more and great achievements in near future.

The super busy summer is over and we are back in office now after several weeks being away at the races. All the 2011 EC and WC races are all done and unfortunately this year there is no victory in any of the classes for Team XRAY. During the whole year the entire team has done excellent work in preparation for the races with testing car set-ups and new parts. During all the events the team has worked to the limit to achieve the best possible results. Like in any sport, there can be only one winner and this year we did not collect our portion of the luck. Nevertheless I am very satisfied and proud of the excellent work and effort everyone has put in during the entire season, and I would like to thank everyone on the team for all their dedicated and professional work. Thanks to all XRAY fans and customers for the continued support. The 2011 racing season is over and the winter season starts in just a few weeks, then there will be the 2012 season fully loaded with plenty of Euros and several World Championship events. We will be at all events during the 2012 and will continue our ongoing development to further improvement all our products, services, and support.

Remember, we are here for you and any time you have any ideas, comments, feedback or suggestions… please stop by at any event to talk with me.


See you around the tracks!
Enjoy the ride and ‘til next time,
Dipl. Eng. Juraj Hudy
XRAY Chief Designer

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
Column #23 - The Busiest Season Ever
Column #24 - In Between the Worlds
Column #25 + Column #26 - Well Developed or Overdeveloped?
Column #27 - Back to The Future
Column #28 - 2009 Kick-off
Column #29 - Crazy what?
Column #30 - Last indoor race of the season
Column #31 - Getting into summer season
Column #32 - Heading for the Euros
Column #33 - Testing - Always last minute, always new ideas
Column #34 - European Champion - title celebration
Column #35 - Time to move on
Column #36 - National Heroes
Column #37 - 2010 ready
Column #38 - Decade of Triumph
Column #39 - 2010 Racing Calendar
Column #40 - DHI, ETS & Nürnberg Show
Column #41 - World Championship Practice
Column #42 - EC indoor, EC 1/12, Silverstate, LRP Masters, Neo
Column #43 - Nationals All Around
Column #44 - Warm Warm-ups, Challenging Challenges
Column #45 - Electric Touring Worlds 2010
Column #46 - Team XRAY - World Champion!!!
Column #47 - Summer Vacation, 30x USA Champion Title
Column #48 - T3 Saga Continues
Column #49 - RX8 – What? How? When?
Column #50 - The Making of the RX8 – Part II
Column #51 - Shake It, Baby, Shake It...
Column #52 - Racing Season ‘11 Full Running
Column #53 - From On-road to Off-road
Column #54 - Testing and Once Again… Testing
Column #55 - Half of the EC Championships – Done!