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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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I missed getting the last column out on time simply because there was no time for me to get into the office behind the computer. It has been constantly busy but the last few months outdid everything that we experienced before. Not only did the summer season start – which means that most of the time we are out of the factory at races all around the world – but there was also one very special project that I have been working on for 8 years for another company and another brand name and a completely different product line but still within the RC model racing cars hobby I love and now this project is in the final stage when everything is being finished up. After so many years I needed to put all the time and attention to get the project to the final stage no matter what. This project has taken a lot of my time in the last few years, as well a lot of resources invested from many people involved in this project and at some times it seemed that we would fail on this project.

But the project has been such a hugely interesting professional and personal challenge for me that I simply could not give up regardless of the costs involved. I know it is not a smart business decision, and many times I had internal discussions if it still made sense to continue to invest time and resources without an upcoming result. But sometimes there are challenges in your life when you must persevere and do whatever it takes, and this was exactly the case. I am happy – despite the difficulties we faced during the years – that I have successfully brought this project to the end. I am sure you are keen to know what I am talking about, but it is not the time yet and also not a good place to give any more details. The time will come and when it does I will give some more detailed insights. These few lines I write now are just to give you an idea why there was a bit of silence in the last months. A now let’s go back to XRAY…

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With the scheduled races for the 2012 season and the new projects we have been working on, it was impossible for both myself and Martin to do everything and also be at all the races together. Since my involvement in the new company with all the new product line made my time extremely limited, it needed a different approach. As such, at the beginning of the year we decided to try to split the responsibilities: Martin will focus on the on-road category and will develop the T3, NT1, RX8, X12 and X10; while I will do just the off-road category - XB9, XT8, 808E and some new off-road projects. This will allow us to divide responsibilities and allocate our limited time more efficiently and effectively. Of course I will travel to the important on-road races to stay in touch and provide support, and personally experience the latest developments as still as “regular” driver; I can provide valuable feedback from the perspective of a regular driver. Martin made and managed the last T3 and X12 projects completely on his own with feedback and input from the team, so I have full trust that further development of these cars are in the good hands so I can now fully concentrate on “dirty” racing.

In the last three months there were just too many races so it will not be possible to cover them all in some details so I will just shortly review our latest battles:

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ETS Grand Canaria – The organizers made the decision to move the ETS to a more special and “exotic” place to Grand Canaria which was very nice but also brought some troubles with logistics for the teams. Despite the lower number of drivers at the event, still the top drivers in both categories were there and the race was as usual highly competitive. In a nutshell, Alex qualified in 2nd place and finished on the podium in 2nd place.

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LRP Masters, Germany – The indoor race took place at the end of March and we were well prepared for the race. In practice and qualifiers Alex was super fast in Modified class and Tony Streit in Stock class. In the finals Alex gave a great performance and achieved a final 2nd position with Tony Streit also making it onto the podium in a final 2nd position in Stock class.

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Indoor Carpet Nationals, USA – While a strong racing season was running in Europe, the indoor touring car season was running in US as well with the indoor carpet nationals. Team XRAY USA already had 33 US National titles on account, and these nationals did not leave anything for coincidence. Paul Lemieux set the TQ in the Modified class and also took final victory, and Chris Adams won the Stock class. Team XRAY USA added another 2 national titles, making it a total of 35 titles - an unbeatable and respectful achievement.

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Psycho Nitro Blast, USA – Reno Savoya flew to the USA for the annual Psycho race to put the XB9 in some serious competition in preparation for the summer season. Reno ran in both buggy and truggy classes, finishing on the podium in 2nd position for both classes.

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Neo’12, UK – This race is getting more professional every year, and the organizers keep making the race better all the time. It could easily be said that the Neo race is now the unofficial indoor off-road World Championship which you can easily confirm by seeing all the names on the drivers list. This year I was very confident for the Neo with Bayer, Savoya and Wheeler running with the XB9, and we did some great showcasing. Everyone was doing very well in the qualifiers and semi-finals, and we were on the same pace as everyone else. In the semi finals, Savoya and Bayer finished in the front on the same lap as the very best drivers, and Wheeler even easily won the last chance final so after previous years when we had no car in final I was happy to have 3 cars in the main final. Since we were on the same pace during the event, we were somehow out of pace in the main final. We did not change anything for the main final but we simply could not keep up and as such we finished at the back of the field which was a bit of a disappointment considering the top performance we had the entire week; nobody among us could understand what was wrong as we did not change anything. And probably this was the fault as it seemed everyone else had to change something on the tires because the pace from the semi to the main final lifted somewhere else and this could only be made with the tires. Still, having 3 cars in the main final at the unofficial Worlds was a great result we will build on in the future.

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ETS Round 4, Poland – The most popular electric touring car series continued in Poland the week after I returned from the UK. Because I had to prepare for another race, Martin traveled alone to Poland to join the touring team with Alex and Zdenko. The T3 continues to showcase some great performance and in a race loaded with all the best touring car drivers, Team XRAY was doing very well. In Modified class, we managed to get 4 cars in the main final and in Stock we put 2 cars in the main final. It was a great result when Alex won the Modified category and when Zdenko won the Stock category. We have managed to win the Stock category many times already, but this was first time we won both categories.

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EC 1/8 off-road Warm-up, Austria – Preparation for the summer season was on schedule in Austria at the EC track with the official warm-up, but unfortunately the weather was rainy. The XB9 was working well the entire event. The team worked on the set-up which everyone had after some tuning. Only Reno and I used the new 10° kingpin steering blocks and 10° caster blocks which were a big improvement for this particular track. Switching to this new set-up, the car became more stable and easier handling, especially in the long sweeping corners under power. In the semi, Reno flamed out at the start but still managed to qualify into the main final together with Bayer. After several minutes of main final race, Bayer got into 2nd and Savoya was in 4th, but due to the heavy rain the organizer canceled the race and the final positions were based on the semis. This was a bit strange because the Euros will be run in case of rain, so it would have been good practice at the warm-up.

EC 1/10 electric buggy Warm-up, Austria – Just after the week I returned to Austria for the 1/10 electric buggy warm-up for EC, and I spent some time in both 2WD and 4WD. There is not much to tell…yet. 

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Astra Nitrocross, 1/8 off-road, Czech Republic – The annual Astra race was run at a nice track in Brno, and this year again saw plenty of top European drivers. I was at the race to work with Bayer and Savoya, and to continue testing and preparation for the EC. The race was run in both nitro and electric classes, and Team XRAY did a very good job in both. Savoya won the nitro class and Bayer won the electric class. In the main final we had 6x XB9 with final position 1,2,3,4,5 and 7, so the entire podium and first 5 places went to the Team XRAY. My car was perfect the entire event and I started with the same set-up from EC warm-up. I have bumped 2 sub finals until the semi and despite the car and engine performance were great in the semin my hands were not that great anymore for the guys in this final.

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XRAY Grand Final Challenge, Slovakia – Early in May we held the annual XRAY Grand Final Challenge in on-road classes at the factory tracks. The weather was perfect and more than 120 drivers from six countries enjoyed a great and friendly race. I was there with Martin to provide technical support, and to make the race more competitive we had Alexander Hagberg , Dirk Wischnewski, Francesco Martini and many other very good drivers at the race to set pace. During the three days we had a lot of fun and relaxed racing, and I am sure everyone had a great time. On Friday, the rain did not cause any troubles as we moved the practice at the indoor track so everyone could get some practice done. The weather on Saturday and Sunday was more friendly so the race could be run outdoors and everyone enjoyed it. Alex won the Modified class, Zdenko won the Stock class, Francesco won 1/10 Pan Car, and Dirk won the Nitro class. We will run the same race next year, too.

Worlds 1/10 electric touring warm-up, Netherlands – We left for the WC warm-up from the ETS in Apeldorn, where we arrived late and had no practice which resulted in not the best results. Adding to this the rain on Sunday, the entire race was more difficult this year and for our team even more difficult since Paul and Alex experienced technical problems. To get track experience for the Worlds we had Paul Lemieux flying over from USA to join our European team. Arriving at the WC track, we had the same starting position as the rest of the teams and right from the first laps Team XRAY was on pace with Paul, Alex and Martin having the same lap times as the other top drivers. We worked very hard to test all the different set-up ideas for this particular track and with continuous refinement of the details we finished with a very well-working set-up and the car was super fast. In the qualifiers, Paul set the TQ with Alex getting into the main final as well. Considering that all of the world’s best drivers were at the race, it was a great result already! I was very nervous for the finals but Paul was calm and confirmed the performance of his XRAY car by easily winning not only the practice final but mainly all the 3 finals to take the pre-Worlds title. It was an excellent result for which I am very happy and proud, and I just hope that we will keep our good luck at the Worlds as well. There are still several ideas on what we should still try for the Worlds, so now several weeks of work are ahead of us and not much time left to prepare everything for the most competitive race in this season.

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This event clearly showed how a good result is influenced by the work of the team on the set-up and lots of practice. It also gives a better comparison to the performance of the teams when everyone starts the practice at the same day so you can see the progress and compare your standing. Right from the start, Team XRAY worked very closely on the smallest details to make a perfect set-up. We brought several new parts and ideas to test specifically on the MACH track which has angled corners and the track is “wavy”. We needed to test some new ideas that would make the car work well at this track and of course this required a lot of work. We wrenched from early morning till late at night, compared all the test results and data recorded and continued to work on the set-up. At the end of practice we had a very good starting point and my car drove perfectly as well. In the first run I was able to finish among the Top 20 of the best drivers, which was a proof that the car was working well and compensating for my hands.  Though despite my not having any troubles in practice, the rest of the qualifiers were terrible as I had electrical and technical problems and could not almost finish any other qualifiers. As such I finished very low at the end. After I fixed the problems for the finals, I won my low finals easily though it was too late for the bug fix but another experience for the future.

The work did not finish for us after the prize ceremony. We still had still several ideas and even brand new experiences from the final runs that we wanted to test and make side-by-side comparisons, so instead of celebrations we went back to work. I am convinced that we made even better improvements and the car will be even better. The basic set-up among the team was the same, but of course everyone adjusted some very small and specific details to his personal preferences and racing style so some details were different. Especially Alex and Martin made some serious improvements, so I will be very excited for the Worlds. Of course we will prepare a basic set-up and will provide it to all XRAY drivers at the upcoming Worlds so everyone can enjoy the results of our hard work.

Besides the above-mentioned events, there were of course plenty of other national and international races which were run in the last months where the XRAY team and cars were successful. Since there were so many races it would be impossible to mention them all, so here is just a short outline with links where you can get more information:

Paul Lemieux & Ralph Burch 2012 Winternats 1/10 & 1/8 on-road USA

Meen Vejrak 2012 TITC 1/10 TC Thailand

Alex Hagberg R1GP Indoor Master 1/10 TC South Korea

Andrew Webber 2012 New Zealand Nationals 1/10 TC New Zealand

David Bowen Innaugrual iMC 1/10 TC UK

Bowie Ginting 2012 Indonesia National Championship R1 1/10 TC Indonesia

Kyle Spiteri 2012 M.M.O.R.R.C. Buggy Championship R1 1/8 off-road Malta

Walter Salemi 2012 Fiorano Trophy 1/8 off-road Italy

Paul Lemieux & Chris Adams US ROAR Carpet Nationals 2012 1/10 TC USA

Rico Krober 2012 German National Championship 1/12 pan car Germany

Martin Wollanka 2012 Austrian National Championship 1/12 pan car Austria

Valentin Hettrich 2012 German Junior Indoor Champion - Stock 1/10 TC Germany

Team XRAY Malaysia 2012 Endurance Challenge 1/8 off-road Malaysia

Mark Wallin 2012 AARCMCC ACT EP On Road 1/10th Titles 1/10 TC Australia

Petr Grof & Jakub Simurda 2012 Czech Championship 1/10 TC Czech

Rick Vrielijnck Dutch Nationals – Round 1 1/8 on-road Netherlands

Remi Callens French Nationals R 1/10 TC France

Jakub Simurda 2012 Czech Championship 1/10 TC Czech

Alex Hagberg & Zdenko Kunak ETS R4 in Poland 1/10 TC Poland

Schär Traugott & Pesenti Mattia Swiss Nationals R1 1/10 on-road & 1/8 on-road Switzerland

Mirko Salemi Italian Nationals R1 1/8 on-road Italy

CJ Weaver & Jerome Treigner 6th Annual Canadian Off-Road Shootout 1/8 off-road Canada

Rick Vrielijnck Dutch National Championship R2 1/8 on-road Netherlands

Claus Ryeskov Danish Nationals R1 1/10 on-road Denmark

Menicucci Alesio AMSCI Italian Nationals R1 1/10 TC Italy

Francesco Martini & Gianluca Radaelli UISP Italian Championship R2 1/10 TC Italy

Mario Rigert Swiss Nationals R1 1/10 TC Switzerland

Francesco Martini Italian Champions UISP TRUCK / FWD / F1 1/10 TC Italy

Keith Chui 2012 Much More Masters - Stock 1/10 TC Australia

Kyle Spiteri 2012 Maltese Championship 1/8 off-road Malta

Reno Savoya French Championship R3 1/8 off-road France

Markus Hellquist Swedish cup R1 1/10 on-road Sweden

Pedro Rombouts Dutch Nationals R2 1/10 on-road Netherlands

Alessio Valentini & Massimo Fabiani & Alessio Menicucci CSEN Italian Final 1/10 TC Italy

Martin Bayer German Championship R1 1/8 off-road Germany

Maciek Brzozowski Polish Nationals R2 1/8 off-road Poland

Thomas Stockman & Wesley Belaey & Michel Mahieu Belgium Nationals R4 1/10 TC Belgium

Robin Frischkopf Swiss Championship R1 1/8 off-road Switzerland

Martin Bayer German Championship R2 1/8 off-road Germany

Claus Ryeskov Danish Nationals R2 1/10 on-road Denmark

CJ Weaver The Big One @ LCRC 1/8 off-road USA

CJ Weaver & Johny Lai Pro Series - Northeast Division R1 1/8 off-road USA

Dirk Wischnewski European Nitro Challenge 1/10 on-road Germany

See you around the tracks!

Enjoy the ride and ‘til next time,

Dipl. Eng. Juraj Hudy
XRAY Chief Designer

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!
Column #56 - Summer is Gone…Euros are Done
Column #57 - Never-ending Development
Column #58 - From XB8 to XB9
Column #60 - 2012 Season Running