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Race report by Greg Hill
XRS Off-Road Rd1 - Midlands Raceway

We had a full house of drivers booked into the first ever UK based 10th Off-Road “XRAY Racing Series” (XRS) at Midlands Raceway in the heart of the country. Midlands Raceway is one of the only permanent indoor off-road race tracks in the country and is a fantastic facility, however the club took the decision recently to extend the track size by moving the indoor pitting space to another area in the building, giving approximately another 25% of track – a good call I’d say, as not only does it make a bigger, longer lap with greater layout options, it allows a wider track which aids passing opportunities and marshal safety.

Track improvements aside, the fact that Midlands Raceway is a permanent venue and one that the XRAY Team has held a number of Team building events at, meant they were first on our list when we wanted to organize the XRAY racing Series – we were super thankful they trusted us enough to say yes and partner up for the series. With the full support of the XRAY factory behind RC Disco to sponsor this series the club got cracking on further improvements to the whole venue including a insane double layer (3d style) table-top rhythm section, huge wall ride, loads of jumps along with the favoured, high grip EOS carpet, new orange colour corner (carpet) inserts to make the track look super neat and a tonne of XRAY, HUDY & Hobbywing (joint sponsors) banners to decorate the walls of the venue to give it that awesome professional look – it really looks fantastic and we would be ready for Rd1!!

The XRS series has been designed for all levels of driver skills - unlike many series where just the very top drivers are wanted and newer drivers or club level drivers can feel intimidated – we have the 2wd “13.5 Stock Class” with the Hobbywing sponsored Hand-out (XRS) motor that everyone uses to control the speeds. However if you want the all-out modified classes, we have the Modified 2wd, 4wd and Stadium Truck classes were you are free to use whatever motor you feel is best. Another level of (cost) control is the introduction of ‘Control Tyres’ in the form of the new (Schumacher) Cactus in Yellow compound – this tyre has been designed for EOS carpet and gives excellent grip and wear rates – having just completed the race, i am not aware of a single racer that used more than 1x set of tyres – which massively brings down the overall cost of going racing... in fact, i think i could maybe get another race meeting out’ve the rears i used all day on my XB2 (2wd), or at worse, they’d be good for some decent practise at the next opportunity to use them. Good choice guys, we like to try to keep the costs down to race XRS if we can!!

So with 2wd Stock Class, 2wd Mod, 4wd Mod and Stadium Trucks we had a full pits and we were ready for a Drivers Briefing and off into 4x rounds Qualifying and then Finals at the end of the day.

2wd 13.5 Stock Class
This was limited to 2x heats as we only had a limited number of 13.5 Hobbywing Handout motors, but what a cracking idea and the popularity was just reward for putting the class into the XRS. Qualifying was extremely close between the Top 4 drivers and the A Final proved as much as the finishing drivers were – Jonathan Willey (1st) Anthony Drayton (2nd) and Pole sitter Daniel Hopkins (3rd) – the whole A Final fastest lap times were separated by less than 1 second between the fastest and slowest in the final, showing that the control motor really did control the speeds meaning good driving and tidy laps made the difference.

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2wd 13.5 Stock Class
1. Jonathan Willey
2. Anthony Drayton
3. Daniel Hopkins

2wd Modified Class
With a strong XRAY Team presence we hoped for a good result, but with local hero Jamie Beasley racing and (ex XRAY team driver) Paul Crompton attending we were clearly up against it. The A Final had a majority of XRAY XB2 Carpet cars – many of them here testing possibly 2018 spec upgrades, but we couldn’t upset the local resident Jamie as he stayed focussed and brought home the victory in front of Paul Crompton and 3rd XRAY’s Mark Smith in what was probably the closest race of the day – until the last lap were the Top 3 basically piled into each other ‘like a train’ on the tricky table-top jump section, so the finish times were separated by 4x seconds, but this was the time the poor marshal took to individually sort of the cars, otherwise they would have been split by 10th’s of a second – a great race and pleasure to watch the top guys in action, well done!!

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Top 3
1. Jamie Beasley
2. Paul Crompton
3. Mark Smith

4wd Modified Class
The fastest cars of the 10th buggy world were no let down here, the pace and traction is just staggering.... we had a high level driver (Conor Cocker) privately testing an XRAY XB4 today and alongside XRAY Team Member Mark Smith they put on a 1-2 demonstration in the Final with Clive Maland a slightly distant 3rd

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Top 3
1. Connor Cocker
2. Mark Smith
3. Daniel Hopkins

2wd Modified Stadium Truck Class
One of the most fun classes and a personal favourite for me this year, the Stadium Trucks are fantastic fun to drive – and worth noting, a bit easier than the smaller 10th buggies, even though they are still surprisingly fast!! Qualifying went my way with TQ with my XRAY XT2 but in the final i couldn’t hold it together and Daniel Hopkins took the deserved victory – we’ll be back for the next round to try level that back up....

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Top 3
1. Daniel Hopkins
2. Greg Hill
3. Ben Kirkham

It is worth adding that in between Qualifying and Finals Nathan Ralls organised a test session for the Junior drivers for a good 30 minutes - with on track coaching and training and some additional set up advice off track as well - this was really well received and great to see the experienced XRAY Team drivers helping the younger drivers out. We will do this at every round as it seemed a great idea for the future racers. Thanks Nathan!!

So a fantastic day for the first ever XRS series and a massive thank you goes out to the club for their hospitality (and Curry on the Saturday night). If you ever want to get some practise in before the next round, pop along on a Friday evening or Saturday for practise and Club racing or check the calendar for Sunday race meetings – which obviously now include our XRS event. We’ll see you at the next XRS, i dare say we’ll have 2018 kits to run at the next round which adds to the excitement.