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Race report by Chris Banham & Kent Perry

Chris Banham:

A week out from the event and everyone had the same concern on their mind – Will we get some racing? The track had been changed dramatically and the new layout looked exciting and very challenging. There were 52 entries for buggy and 34 for truggy and there was a high quality field so it was shaping up to be a great event.

Friday was a practice day and was my second run with the 2013 XB9, I had retained the basics of my original XB9 setup and it was going well. The truggy I didn’t get to run as the weather ended practice a little early.

Saturday was a difficult day with the rain absolutely hammering the track over night, the track was muddy and incredibly boggy in certain area’s. It was about keeping it clean and also making every round count! After 2 rounds I managed to qualify 4th in buggy and 2nd in truggy with Kent sitting in 3rd place in buggy. It was pretty difficult with only 2 rounds counting as an average round had a massive impact on qualifying position.

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Sunday again started with an absolutely water logged track, we just didn’t get any luck with the weather, I was lucky to have qualified directly in to the A-Main for both classes so it was a matter of hoping the weather was going to allow us to run finals. Luckily we had a bit of sun and the track started to dry and give a high level of grip. The truggy main was up first and I was starting from position 2, It was a bit of a messy start but once a few laps had gone by I settled in to 3rd. I managed to claw my way up in to 2nd on lap 14 and then up to 1st on lap 18. The truggy felt awesome on the AKA girdiron tires with high grip levels and lots of steering the car was an absolute pleasure to drive, once I had pulled in to the lead I managed to keep it clean and put it some quick laps taking the win by just over a lap.

In the buggy final I started from 4th position on the grid, again it was a little bit of a messy start and I had a few rough laps to start off with by lap 6 I had settled in 2nd position and started to hunt down first by this stage Jerry had about a 12 second lead so it wasn’t going to be easy to catch up! On lap 11 I managed to get past Jerry and claim first I came in for fuel and got out and I was in front with plenty of time to spare. As I jumped over a large jump and landed the car stopped, my pit team were quick to react and tried to restart the car initially with no luck. When they investigated they found a big clump of clay had squished its way up in to the flywheel area and stalled the engine. Unfortunately this spelt the end of my contention for the win in the final. Luckily Kent fellow XRAY buggy driver was having much better luck and was having an epic battle between him and Jerry for 2nd place. Kent managed to finish in 2nd place in buggy which was a great showing for XRAY.

Throughout the entire event not a single part on the XRAY cars was broken and the cars showed they are one of the best cars for both performance and reliability – Thanks XRAY

I’d also like to Thanks the ARCCC club for running the meeting and doing the best they could do with the weather that occurred, also thanks to all the guys that travelled from all over New Zealand to attend the event.

Kent Perry:

The 19th - 21st April was the date for the Auckland Champs held at the ARCCC Club in Auckland, New Zealand. This is always a highly contested event on the race calendar with people from all over the country going to race on the last big event before the winter season sets in. The weather was a major factor for the event this year with rain posing a problem all 3 days, but we did however get racing in every day so all wasn't lost.

With day 1 being a practice day the format was your 3 fastest consecutive laps were seeding for the heats day. The new track layout was very tough on both setup of the car and mental toughness on the drivers. If you had a lapse in concentration for just a moment you would be down in your lap times.

Having said that my new Xray XB9'13 was running well right from the start, as was fellow Auckland based team driver Chris Banham. Both cars were looking fast and lap times were improving every lap, but with the ever present rain looming in the distance, you always had the next setup change in mind as we weren't going to get to many runs in. After 2 good runs I was now getting the feel for the track so made a few changes with thicker shock oils, 3 stripe springs, 2.6 sway bars and put a hard set of springs on my Thunder Innovation clutch.

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In the 3rd run, down came the rain after only a couple of minutes, so that was the end of testing for me but all the changes I made were good ones, Chris B was also showing why he is one of the best in the country with fast times.

Saturday was the start of heats and boy what a wet muddy track we had to deal with. Thankfully with my good laps the day before I was not due out until the last heat of buggy. The decision to run a hard clutch was the right one with the track being very tacky and I also stood my shocks up to take some side bite away and this combined with the other changes worked a treat. The tyre choice was AKA Gridiron 2's and they were fantastic, so after Q1 I was sitting P5 and Chris in P3.

Heat 2 was very good for me with the XB9 handling superbly through all the rough rain soaked conditions the track had to offer, ending in a win for me with the only 7 lapper of the race and Chris taking 6th.

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The 3rd race the qualifying got called off, due to our friend the rain, so the end results for heats were myself in P3 and Chris B in P5.

Sunday proved to be better than expected with lots of broken patches of blue sky so we got away after the track crew did a great job to get the track into a raceable condition. The ARCCC Club decided to seed the top 8 drivers straight into the A main so we had to play the waiting game again.

In the final I got away to a poor start getting hit from behind in the second corner pushing me to the back of the field, but with the track conditions I had 30 minutes to fight my way back up the field. Chris B was in a very handy position moving into 1st place at the 10 minute mark but had some bad luck with a piece of clay going through onto his flywheel and stopping his engine. That flameout cost Chris a lot of time. My New Argus R8 engine was running flawlessly all weekend in the tough conditions which made driving the XB9 a lot easier with no doubts about consistency in the engine. Sitting in 3rd at the 8 min mark I just tried to keep consistent which paid off. With only 3 minutes to go I moved into second position which is where I finished the race. Chris came back to 5th and showed how fast the XB9 was in these very tricky track conditions. My Xray XB9 also won the concours trophy too with my flame, chequer and orange paint scheme so a good weekend for my new XB9'13 / Argus powered machine.

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A big thanks to all my sponsors for all there wonderful products : Zoom Resources - Xray XB9, TBH Racing -Argus R8, Thunder Innovation, Byron Fuel and H.O.T - AKA tyres See you all again soon, Kent Perry

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Final result truggy:

1. Chris BANHAM - XRAY XT8

2. Jonathan THOMPSON
3. Basil WEYERS
4. Jonathan COLUCCIO
5. Jerry DAVIS
6. Gerard O LOAN
9. Grant MOON
10. Murray WATSON
11. Jackson PROCTOR
12. Grant JENKINS

Final results buggy:

1. Alan LOOI
2. Kent PERRY - XRAY XB9
3. Jerry DAVIS
4. Andrew WEBBER
5. Chris BANHAM - XRAY XB9
8. Jackson PROCTOR
9. Neil WHITE
10. Jeremy MACMAHON
11. Jonathan COLUCCIO