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Race report by Greg Hodapp. click to enlarge
(click to enlarge)
Howdy Folks,

The 2nd annual KO Grand Prix was held August 7th and 8th at the prestigious Tamiya USA circuit in beautiful Aliso Viejo, California. I had been looking forward to this race ever since the end of this years Reedy Race. It was limited to 100 entries and was attended by such drivers as Atsushi Hara, Brian Kinwald, Billy Easton and local ace, Dave Jun.

Since the Reedy Race, I have been working on getting some more traction and corner speed out of my car. It was pretty good at the Reedy Race but I think the setup was a little too stiff. Sometimes when I had to push the car hard, the rear end would whip and slide out on me. My new setup is much softer to gain traction and has sway bars to control chassis roll and gain corner speed. The new front shock tower also made a big difference. I ran the bottom outside camber location and the shock was mounted one hole in from the outer most hole.

Saturday morning we had a couple of hours to practice and get used to the track. Oneways were allowed at this race, unlike the Reedy Race. So just about everyone had oneways in their cars, myself included. After about 4 battery packs my new body that I had painted the night before, wasn't new anymore. I just could not drive my car with the one-way. With 30 minutes left in practice, I ripped my car apart and threw my trusty ole spool in. I got on to the track with about 10 minutes left in practice and the car was awesome.

After four rounds of qualifying, I wasn't quite able to get TQ and ended up in third, just 5 tenths off of Hara's TQ. Dave Jun was second, just 2 tenths off of Hara's TQ. Brian Kinwald was 2 tenths behind me in the fourth position and Billy Easton qualifed fifth, a couple of seconds off of Brians time.

In the first A main, going into the first turn I was able to dive underneath Dave Jun with the spool and use the brakes while he swung wide with the one-way. I made a few little bobbles in the opening laps and Hara was able to pull out a couple of seconds on me. As I got it together, I started to make up a little bit of ground but wasn't making up enough to catch him with the time that was left. With one lap to go, Hara suffered a mechanical problem which allowed me to take a somewhat hollow win. I don't like winning like that, but that is racing. Trust me, I have been on the other side of that situation before and it is not fun. Dave Jun finished the first main about four seconds back in second place.

In the second A main I got the holeshot on Dave Jun and was able to outbrake Hara into the first turn. I overshot turn two and Hara jumped back into the lead. He was one second ahead of me and I was making up a tenth or two a lap when Hara made a rare mistake going into the chicane that leads on to the straight. He came back on the track about two seconds behind me and it was at that point I knew I had to punch it. For about four minutes I was sweating bullets while I was driving way over my head. Somehow, I was able to keep the lead to about 1.5 seconds and ended up winning the second main and the overall Championship.

Hara won the third main with Dave Jun in second and Brian Kinwald in third.

I would like to thank KO and Tamiya for putting on a great event that is going to keep getting better and better year after year.

Once again I can't say enough good things about the Xray car. It is so much fun to drive and works beautiful. Thanks XRAY!

Greg Hodapp