Round 2 of the BRCA National series was held at Kidderminster Off Road car Clubs venue. It really is a superb venue, being an old bowling green that has now been turned into one of the most challenging off-road tracks in the country. It would be very difficult to play bowls on it these days as it has all manner of elevation changes, man made features and surfaces. The track is primarily astro-turf, with a little dirt, tarmac and brick-sets thrown in for good measure.

Paul Worsley and Tony Meredith had spent 180 hours preparing the track since Christmas and it could be seen. At drivers briefing Paul informed the drivers that the weather forecast did not look good, and that for the meeting to count towards the championship a minimum of two rounds needed to be run.

During the first round of practise the track was almost bone dry, with many people even venturing out on ‘Yellows’ in the later heats. Tom Yardy was in heat 4 running the brand new X11 for the first time, Tom had only got the car on the Friday morning, so it really would be a baptism of fire for the car. Many people turned out to spectate during Tom’s first practise to witness the car absolutely flying round the track. It is hard to say how fast when there is no official timing but the car was certainly fast. Tom commented after he came off the rostrum that he’d never gone round some of the corners as fast before!

My own first practise went well, I was running a prototype 1 way front diff in my car, but apart from that it was a standard X10. I ran a set of partially worn Ballistic Green spikes, and even with worn tyres the car felt very fast and direct around the challenging track. The extra on power steering of the 1 way diff caught me out a couple of times on the same corner, but apart from that the car had been very easy to place on the track. I came off from practise one happy, but perhaps looking for a little less overall steering.

Before round two of practise started it started to rain, so all my attention turned to waterproofing the car. With only 2 minute runs, it would soon be time for my second practise even though I was in heat 11 of 12. Due to waterproofing the car I missed Tom’s second practise and didn’t get chance to change anything on my own car, not even the tyres. I have wanted to run a new set to get see what the car did on new rubber. The wet track had however solved my too much steering problems, but on the worn tyres the car was now drifting around the track. It was still fast but just not hooked up. I realised though that I was driving the car harder on the wet track, using the 1 way front diff to pull the car out of the slippery corners where it would have tended to understeer with a standard diff in.

Just after practise I met in the flesh for the first time the new owner of the Predator brand, Lewis from Xtreme RC. A really nice guy, he’d been kind enough to bring me the new front end parts from the X11 to fit to my car. It was really exciting as these parts had made a huge difference to Tom Yardy’s car at Tiverton. I fitted the new aluminium XBrace, Graphite gearbox top, and new aluminium rockers.

Round 1
The rain looked set in for the day now. I bolted a new set of Ballistic Buggy Green spikes to the car and double checked the waterproofing. No changes were required to set-up other than the new parts I’d fitted. With steady rain now coming down running in a later heat was certainly not an advantage, but I knew I just had to get on with it. With some biggish puddles on the track that were not possible to avoid, I knew I needed a clean run to set a decent round score. I made sure I drove within mine and the cars limits, using its raw pace to set the time. Looking back at the laptimes I did not drive hard enough at the beginning of the race, but towards to end was setting good lap times. I finished 4th in my heat and 51st in the round, I knew I could do better than that.

Tom Yardy Round 1
Tom decided to run on Ballistic Buggy Green spikes for round one which he felt was a bad choice. The car was trying to work well, but the rear end lacked a little grip, the tyres were too hard and too worn as they had been used in practice too. A small mistake in the run which cost him time, without it he would have been 6th in the round, as it was, he was 11th in round 1. The rain was getting heavier and heavier, so he decided to run pinks for round 2 and soften the rear shocks.

Round 2
I had decided to remove the Brushless system from the car as they seemed to be more susceptible to stopping due to water ingress. I replaced the Brushless with my trusty old brushed speedo and motor, the speedo is marketed as ‘Waterproof’. Well I think that the second run would defiantly test that bold claim.
The track was now partially submerged in deep puddles, so the decision was taken to alter the track to miss some of the standing water, wise move in my opinion. The track was swept of water between rounds one and two, but that would not help me in heat 11, as BRCA rules state the track cannot be altered during the round.
No changes to the car I just knew I needed to push more. Despite having the worse of the track conditions the car was really flying. Only 4 cars finished the heat, but I was fighting for the lead the entire race, setting 5 of the top 10 fastest laps of the race with a fastest lap 0.41 seconds faster than my round one fastest lap! I finished first in my heat and 37th in round, much better, but I did wonder what I could have done on a dryer track.

Tom Yardy Round 2
Round 2 started very badly for Tom, on lap 1, the tyres ballooned under power down the straight and both front tyres came unglued... making the front end very difficult to be precise with as the tyres were unseated from the rims. Despite this, the car was pretty good except Tom was only able to use 3/4 throttle on the main straight to keep the tyres from flicking the car everywhere, it was costing him a lot of time, but he still managed an 8th in the round, just 5 secs off winning it.

Tom decided he needed to fit the new 1 way diff unit up front and sort the tyres sort the tyres out, with these changes he knew the car would be very very quick.

With the track now totally flooded and getting worse it was decided to abandon the meeting and results would stand from qualifying, your best one round and ties decided by the fastest time.

I eventually ended up E7, a little disappointing really, the car was capable of much more, and so was I for a change! I was pleased with how the car had gone though, the 1 way front diff had made the car really good on a difficult track to be quick on.



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Interview with 'Team Extremes' Lewis Dickinson and team driver, Tom Yardy

Interviewed by Vicky Storey

How long have you spent developing the X11?
Since the X10 was released, data has been collected from customers and team drivers to determine the necessary improvements needed to make the predator a more versatile and efficient vehicle.

The X11 is an evolution of the X10; the aim of the project is to make the care more user friendly and more versatile handling.  This is achieved by including a variety of set up adjustments.  "Work on the formulation of the car began in January"

What special features does the X11 have that aren't seen on other 4wd cars?
The X11 has the longest wishbone travel of any 4wd car on the marked. It has traditional in-board suspension, which results in a lower centre of gravity.

What hop-ups or special set-ups are you using?
The set up from the X10 is being used, as the cars characteristics are very similar.

When will the X11 be released to the general public?
It should be available in early June, although pre-orders are now being taken via the website.  The retail price is £399.

How much practice have you had with the X11?
Today is the first time I have driven the car, so three races: one practice run, and two qualifying rounds.  The car is capable of making the top 3.  The weather today has been unfortunate as we haven't been able to test some of the set ups.

What else is planned for Team Extreme in the future?
We have a 2wd car planned, no prototype parts have been made but the car is all drawn out.  Ideally this will be produced by this time next year.  Lewis has only been in charge of the company for three months and has already completed one car.

Do you like racing in the rain?
I don't mind racing in damp conditions, but when it is raining continually it's no fun, constantly trying to dodge puddles, and the track has more resistance.  These conditions have not been a fair test of the new car, and when the car goes on the market it will be at its optimum performance.

Who is your number one pit bitch?

My Dad.

Interviewed by Graham North (Northy)

What's your favourite cheese?
A type called Tinton; it is a soft creamy cheese with chives incorporated within it.  It hales from Wales and can be purchased from the deli at Sainsbury's

Along with the new car and new ownership, you also have a new brand name behind the car, the Predator has always been synonymous with Tenth Technology, so why the change?
The name change is necessary to reflect the fresh start for the car and the people behind it.  The car is an evolution of all Preds that have been before and therefore it is necessary for the brand to develop also.  Team Xtreme is the new brand for the X11.

What do you feel is the single biggest improvement the X11 has to offer over the X10?
Personally I think the biggest advantage the X11 has over the X10 is its level of tunability for different surfaces.  The biggest single change which is most advantageous is the ability to reduce the level of anti squat and kick up on the car.  Traction and side bite was always an area that I considered the X10 to be slightly lacking in, with the options now on offer, this will be overcome with mini.

Do you like the new orange wheels? 
I’m a big fan of the orange wheels yeah.  It happens to be my favourite colour.  Obviously I know they won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the wheels reflect the originality of the car.  Xtreme could be like a number of other manufacturers and use wheels made by other companies on their car - but that's not their style!

What would you like to see in the future for team Xtreme?
National wins! and with a bit of luck, with me driving their car!  The team have a number of big plans and if they come to the fore I'll be really proud to play a part in developing the team and the cars they produce.  Obviously I won’t be offering much help when it comes to production and design, but that’s not what I'm needed for, I'm just there to test, and offer opinions which Xtreme are more than happy to listen to, and I cant ask much more than that

Can you sum up your day at Kiddy (Kidderminster National) and if you are happy with your result?
I'm pretty hacked off with how I did to be honest.  I had a great result at Kiddy last year making my debut with a predator, this year I never got it done.  The weather was obviously unfortunate and played a part but we didn’t quite do enough, we didn’t make the critical set up changes soon enough that we knew were necessary and poor tyre choice and tyre prep let me down badly also.  Despite everything the car was undoubtedly capable of a top 5 finish in each round of qualifying, unfortunately I didn’t drive well enough.  I haven’t started the season on great 4wd form but I'll get it sorted by bury hopefully.  We'll work hard on getting the car perfect for release and then I'll concentrate on getting’ her in the winners circle.

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