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Race report by Chris Banham
I received my new XB8 buggy just a bit over a 2 weeks before the North Islands and the pressure was on to get it built/setup and running to see what this new beast could do! After a 4.5 Hr drive we arrived at the track on the Thursday before racing started on Friday I could see Taranaki Radio Control car club had put together a really nice looking challenging track and they had managed to time it so weather was supposed to be amazing for the entire weekend – Awesome!

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After practice on Friday morning I had come to grips with the layout of the track and was starting to get confident enough to push the XB8 and XT9 harder. The XT9 I had only just finished building a few days before the event so it was to be the first run of the car. We started in to the first round of qualifying just after lunch on the Friday, the first two heats in buggy went really well. In the first two rounds I managed to complete 2 x 10 lap runs in buggy with no other cars able to complete 10 laps that afternoon. In Truggy managed 2 second place runs in the first two heats working out what I wanted to change to find a bit more speed.

On Friday night on the truggy I moved the rear upper link to the outer hole shortening up the arm to make the rear end react a little quicker by reducing the roll. I also moved the shocks in one hole on the rear arms to soften the shocks up a little. I didn’t do too much to the buggy as it was already feeling so good so a simple clutch bearing change and clean was sufficient.

Saturday came and I was feeling good after producing some strong qualifying results on the Friday, after the changes I made in truggy I managed to TQ the next 3 rounds securing the overall TQ in truggy. In buggy I managed to maintain the pace and TQ’d 5 out of the 6 rounds which gave me overall TQ.

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After a long night of wrenching we arrived bright and early on the Sunday to start working through the finals. Truggy finals were up first, I wanted to make sure I got a clean run and maintained the truggy pace Gage Peters a young local took the win in the first Semi in truggy and I was up next. At the start of the race I had a few wee bobbles which put me back to 4th in the 2nd lap, after recovering and settling the driving down I managed to settle in to the groove and consistently string fast laps together. I managed to win the semi in truggy and set the fastest time. This meant starting from pole position in the 45minute A main. In buggy I was feeling very confident after the truggy win and was able to continue my good fortune to win the semi-final with a time that allowed me to start from pole position.

For the 45 min main finals truggy was up first, I started from pole and made a mistake on the 2nd lap allowing young Gage to pass me. By the 7th lap I had settled and was able to catch up and get back in to the lead the truggy was feeling awesome and by lap 35 I had just over 20 seconds lead on 2nd when my engine flamed. The pit crew grabbed the car and after trying to restart we diagnosed the plug had given up. The plug was replaced and got back out on the track and managed to finish 5th and to set the fastest lap on the track for the weekend.

The main in Buggy I got off to a good start and was in cruise mode in first place, I had opted for a 9 min pit strategy as it was a 45 min final and it was easily achieved in the semi. As I was racing around I started to get concerned with how rich the engine was and on my pit lap I ran out of fuel!! I thought my chances were all over, my pit crew was quick to respond and get my car fuelled up and started again but I had lost just over a lap on the field. I went from cruise mode to full on chase mode and started putting in some quick fast laps. We adjusted the pit strategy to account for the engine running a bit rich and it was all on again. I was finding I was able to catch car by car and with a few drivers suffering some similar problems I was able to get back in to the lead and win the 45 minute main. Throughout the entire race the XB8 was consistent and fast I couldn’t have asked more from the car!!

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Final results:
Buggy results:
1. Banham Chris - XRAY XB8

2. Field Perry
3. Thompson Jonathan
4. Peters Gage
5. Coluccio Jonathan
6. White Neil
7. Weyers Basil
8. Hills Darin
9. Adams Shane
10. O'Loan Gerard
11. Davidson Gavin
12. Everton Russell

Truggy results:
1. Peters Gage
2. Thompson Jonathan
3. Coluccio Jonathan
4. Jenkins Grant
5. Banham Chris - XRAY XT9
6. Van Doresten Roger
7. Weyers Basil
8. Jones PJ
9. O'Loan Gerard
10. King Mike - XRAY XT9
11. Vercoe James
12. Peters Shaun