2WD Practice and opening ceremony
2WD Practice and Qualifiers
2WD Qualifiers and Finals
2WD Trophy presentation
4WD Practice and Qualifiers
4WD Qualifiers and Finals
4WD Trophy presentation
crazy photos collection
EFRA European Championships 2006 - 1/10th Off Road
Euros Day -2 (minus 2! get it ?) [Saturday 12th August]
Writing from a Hotel in Manchester Airport when we should be arriving in Austria tonight. The current security situation had already put a dampner on things and caused a lot of stress over transporting the cameras and this laptop. Still, with our clear plastic bags and very little else we sat waiting from mid day in the departure lounge only to eventually be told that the flight was being cancelled due to maintenance issues at around 6:30pm – joy.
KLM booked us into a nice hotel at the airport which coincidentally we stayed in on the first night of our honeymoon. Free food and wireless internet, what more do you need ?
The dream of an entire day of exploring Vienna before the racing is most certainly gone, which is a real shame. Indeed it’s not even certain when we can get a flight tomorrow, if at all [pessimism mode engage], we will see. At least I know the laptop is safe in a suitcase and I can update the site with it, lets just hope I get something to report on.
It's all good fun really - forced smile. :]
Euros Day -1 [Sunday 13th August]
Well the flights were eventually sorted out and we got to Vienna safely around 3pm sunday. It seems a few people had similar problems and switched plans to drive instead of hoping for a flight so even late sunday night people from the UK are still arriving.
A few pictures from the track at around 9pm. Hard to see from these photos but the track was quite wet looking. The pitting area is in a large marquee, and looks great with decent space and plenty of power and lighting.
Euros Day 1 [Monday 14th August]
2 Wheel Drive: The first day of the Euros consists of 5 rounds of practice, the first and second rounds were not timed due to problems with frequencies and other issues so it was hard to tell who the fast guys would be from the outset. Timing came in round three and it was local hero Hupo Honigl driving the Losi XXXCR that was quickest in round 3, followed closely by Neil Cragg and Paul Bradby – Peter Pinisch has had some fast laps too [all using the Associated B4]. Hupo looks like the man to beat at this years Euros. His experience on the track seems to put him in good stead for a top place in the finals.
Round 3 of practice suffered a slight rain shower toward the end, I say ‘suffered’ but this probably isn’t the case since the rain settled the dust and made the track a little easier to drive. The track had mostly dried up by the time round 4 was under way but a thunder storm and heavy rain put an end to the 5th and final practice session after 4 heats had run in progressively worse conditions, the track was still fast but the marshalling was unpleasant and dangerous.
The track runs anti clockwise, with a large sweeping corner after the straight and over a huge table top jump. This, just like all ‘features’, is covered in thin blue carpet. The table top landing is a little hard to see and judge. The double-doubles are next and require good timing. A corner jump with up slope and down slope is catching a few people out who try to jump over the corner and down the other side. Lastly the wall of death, this is fairly easy to drive, just aim the car and go full speed, then let off the power half way up and turn – no problem.
Some big names are missing, no Jukka Steenari or current 4WD champion Ellis Stafford. Former champion Chris Doughty was meant to be racing but hasn't turned up. There are still however some top racers in attendance, Neil Cragg, Hupo, Pinisch and touring car superstar Marc Rhienard among others. Multi-time euro chamion Craig Drescher is here and is pitting for Neil Cragg as well as racing himself.
Euros Day 2 [Tuesday 15th August]
Two rounds of practice are first up today, then three rounds of qualifying. The first round of practice started off slightly damp from the previous days rain but the sun soon dried things up. Rain started toward the end of the round which again didn't slow the racing down.
The order in the first round of practice was as follows:
Round 2 of practice on Tuesday was the last before qualifying and the order of the top 5 was the same with only Hupo managing to break the 12 lap barrier. Neil and Peter were close behind. Since the rain started earlier it hasn't ever really stopped for long, with light rain every few minutes. The track isn't so wet though and grip is good.
Commentating on the European Championships is Scotty Ernst from the USA. Scotty was brought over for the week for his great professional commentating skills, which really adds to the racing and gives everything a profesional feel. "Caution over the double-double" - class.
Two guys with the biggest cameras ever turned up today. One [pictured above] with a huge 600mm f4 Canon with tripod / cage around it. I'm not sure what they were taking photos of - but it must have been far away! These guys do it just for a hobby - and I thought 'I' took it seriously!.
Round one of qualifying saw Hupo Honigl lose his dominant position at the top and have to settle for second in the round behind fellow Austrian Peter Pinisch on the only 12 lapper. Neil Cragg took 3rd in round 2.5 seconds behind Hupo, followed by another two Austrians - Michael Gadermayer and Roland Hauletiner.
By round two of qualifying the cloud, and with it the rain, had gone and strong sun soon dried out what little dampness was left. The dust didn't come up enough to slow lap times - indeed this round saw 4 people break the 12 lap barrier. Again the Austrians were taking the top two spots.
Round three of qualifying saw the quickest times of the day, heat 13 with Neil Cragg and Hupo Honignl was the one to watch. Neil and Hupo swapped the lead and fastest laps of the day constantly - Neil tangled slightly with a back marker which was enough to let Hupo finish 0.20 seconds ahead. Neil ended the day with the fastest single lap - maybe a good sign that Neil is starting to put pressure on the Austrians.
Rob Nelson [above right] from BBK-Timing in the UK is timing the event on behalf of the RMC-Wien club. Rob develops the BBK timing software along with selling AMB systems - but along with this he travels to many big events to provide a first class and reliable timing service. Rob flew to the European Championships right after timing a world R/C boat championships in Norway.
With three rounds of qualifying now over and two more to come tomorrow, Hupo is on top followed by Pinisch and Cragg.
Results after 3 rounds on round by round qualifying - best 2 rounds to count
Euros Day 3 [Wednesday 16th August]
The RMC venue is excellent. The track is superb, you can see a lot of effort (and money) has gone into the track. The entire site is protected from vandals by huge permenant fencing and during the Euros event there is 24hour security patrols to keep people safe, and they have guns! Due to the tented pitting area though, most people take all their valuable racing gear away every evening just to be safe.
Day three would decide the 2WD champion and started with a quick 2 minute practice round for everyone. This was mainly to help dry the track out from the early morning dew. Round four of Qualifying saw two of the top drivers from the previous day, Neil Cragg and Hupo Honignl both crash out on the same lap. Jorn Neumann was fastest in the round only just missing out on a 12 lapper.
The 5th and final qualifying round for 2WD saw Neil again make a mistake and finish 10th, the top 5 were so close with less than a second seperating them. Paul Bradby narrowly missed out on TQ for the round - with that man Hupo again on top.
Final top 10 positions in qualifying are as follows.
The A finals are run over 3 Legs and these drivers also get a practice final which is run just like the real thing but does not count. Neil Cragg made a mistake / was clipped by another car so he waited for Hupo and Pinisch to come round then these three made the end of the practice A final very interesting. Neil got past in this battle on the last corner though he was a lap down, still, its interesting to see how hard Neil can push when he is chasing Hupo. There should be some very exciting finals to come.
A final leg one was lead all the way by Hupo with young Jorn Neumann challenging for the first half of the race. Neil cragg went off line which allowed Lee Martin past, Peter Pinisch also crashed out. Some great racing didn't change the order so Hupo won for first leg followed by Jorn and Lee Martin.
Scotty Ernst - commentating for the week has really stepped up the level during the finals, the excitement and enthusiasm he shows is insane! He is cracking jokes constantly and he is doing his best to create a great atmosphere - some of the finals were amazing to watch with so much cheering and hype.
Leg two of the A final was as exciting as they get, Cragg made up the distance from 4th to 3rd after Neumann crashed on the first corner. Neil chased hard and after a few laps put the move on Pinisch, then closed on Hupo. Cragg made an error which pushed him back to 3rd and Lee Martin took up the chase on Hupo. Lee made up some distance but didn't have enough time to challenge for the lead and Hupo won - and with it the European Champion title with one leg to go.
The B Final was worthy of watching, pole sitter and TTech driver Tom Yardy pulled a good lead but was reeled in by Marc Rheinard over the last few laps, it was a nail biter as Marc managed to get past when Tom made a mistake. Tom tried desperately to get back on top - the two touching several times, but it wasn't to be, so Marc took the win and 11th over all at the meeting.
Leg 3 of the A was a battle for 2nd place with Hupo choosing to sit this one out. Neil Cragg took the honours with a great drive which gave him 2nd over all, with Jorn Neumann from Germany taking 3rd place over all.
Trophy girls kindly supplied by Durango (!?) handed out trophys to all final winners and all A finalists, the usual Champange celebrations was preceeded by a dousing of water on the new 2WD Champion by his fellow country men.
Team GB take a well earned rest, along with the Durango girls:
Four wheel drive is next up starting with a full day of practice tomorrow, so we should be able to see who is going to be challenging for the win by the end. Stay tuned.
Euros Day 4 [Thursday 17th August]
Four wheel drive practice day is today. 6 practice rounds with the latter 4 timed so it isn't so easy to compare the drivers right now. Richard Taylor looked fast in the same heat as Hupo and Jorn Neumann, should be a much better event for him than 2WD.
Marc Rheinard is here and is going very well with the Jconcepts BJ4x4 Worlds [below left], a change for him from the Durango. And speaking of Durango - their latest car looks amazing. The entire car is now raw aluminium and looks superb on and off the track. A few drivers are using the car but Hupo Hoenignl and Jorn Neumann are their top drivers.
I blew my beloved Keyence ESC today in the second round of practice, probably over heating. That combined with blowing my other Keyence in 2wd (after landing a jump hard) left me without many options so Jurgen Lautenbach from LRP managed to sort out an LRP brushless system to test out. Jurgen is here to help team drivers and indeed anyone who runs LRP or related brands such as Nosram.
The brushless needs gearing differently to standard brushed motors, so in the BJ4x4 I am using, Jurgen told me an overall ratio of 13.00 (or close) would be about right. Tom Cockerill helped with the BJ ratios and pinions so I ended up using a 15 tooth pinion on the kit 78t spur which gave 13.00.
It took a few laps to get used to the power band of the motor, the top speed seemed similar to my fast brushed motors but the mid range is certainly more powerful which does make it easier to recover the large jumps here at RMC Wien and still clear them cleanly.
Practice heats have been 6 and 7 minutes today so it is not easy to learn who is fastest. Rob Nelson from BBK produced me a list of drivers best 5 consecutive laps from any heat & round - This gives a rough idea of who is on pace at the moment.
Darren Bloomfield had the fastest lap of the day at the time of writing.
The track is still in good condition and is being run exactly the same as two wheel drive, with no changes to the layout. The racing line has developed a 'blue groove' where rubber has been laid down, which did not happen in 2wd maybe because of the very hot conditions today. The heat, combined with the 4WD traction is wearing tyres quicker than in 2wd.
Pitting inside the tented area is not pleasent and a few people are experiencing thermal problems on their cars - the track isn't too power hungry so things aren't as bad as they would be with this heat back in England with our high grip tracks.
Neil Cragg is looking dialed, along with Bloomfield. Hupo's Durango looks amazing around the track, as you'd expect, but he isn't quite as dominant as in 2WD.
Euros Day 5 [Friday 18th August]
Qualifying begins today. After 2 practice rounds there will be 3 Qualifiers today, then 2 tomorrow just like in the 2WD event. The weather is clear skies and, just like yesterday hot!
The first round of practice saw Marc Rheinard take the top position from Darren Bloomfield and Neil Cragg, Neil had the fastest lap of the session. Marc is looking really comfortable on the track and very smooth.
Qualifying is now underway and the temperature seems to be slowing the cars down slightly, most drivers had their fastest practice times in the first round of practice this morning. The track is holding up well still with just the occasional repair needed when a hole opens up in the dirt or carpet.
The heat means people are cutting holes in the shell to aid cooling, but this has caught a few people out because holes that are "not designed to be cut out" are not allowed to be cut out ! Since only commercially available shells (durango ??) are allowed, this means people can't modify their shells and claim that they are moulded/designed to be vents. Complicated.
BJ4 shells above: The one on the left with completely cut away side pod passed inspection - the shell on the right failed. I would guess that the KMC ZX5 conversion would also be disallowed since the shell needs a hole to fit the chassis. Given the heat today its a little bit harsh on the guys who have already modified their shells.
Round one of qualifying over and newly crowned 2WD champion Hupo Honignl showed that practice makes perfect, just edging out Neil Cragg by 0.30 seconds to take the first of 5 qualifying rounds. 7 british drivers in the top 10 so far.
Tristan Swinden from Germany is here racing what looks at first glance to be an old Yokomo but is actually a totally custom shaft driven design. The car has some really neat features, the wishbones are carbon fibre, the gearboxes are intricately machined alloy. [photos below]
The sun has gone since qualifying started and the temperature has dropped slightly, but clear skies look to be on their way back. Round two of qualifying saw Neil again get 2nd to an Austrian, but this time it was Peter Pinisch driving the Jconcepts BJ4 Worlds who took the round.
Christopher Lof, one of the two Swedish guys at the Euros this year is running electrics from a small Swedish company called 'Advanced Electronics'. This included a neat little, no, 'tiny' esc called the '5.1 PC PRO' which is supposed to be very nice. The most obvious thing is the size, this thing is very small and uses no outside add-ons such as huge power capacitors.
With 3 rounds of qualifying done the top 10 looks like this:
With only 2 rounds to count, and another 2 rounds of qualifying still to go tomorrow, things are still very much open. Peter Pinisch can only possibly drop to 2nd place in the A final right now, so looks to be in a very good position. Neil and Hubert are tied on points currently for 2nd place.
Euros Day 6 [Saturday 19th August]
Results for round 4 of 4WD are as follows, good results for the BJ4x4 and Durango splitting the top four positions in this round. Neil dropped out so no improvement for him.
The final round of qualifying was run backwards with heat 12 off first. Jorn broke his Durango on the first corner, coming off the table top at an angle and into the track markings. Neil Cragg and Darren Bloomfield were neck and neck in heat 10 but Neil made a few mistakes and ended up retiring, Darren Bloomfield pressed on and just missed the 13 lapper.
Overall qualifying was as follows:
A final Leg one was won by Peter Pinisch driving the BJ4x4 with Nosram Brushless system. Neil cragg went off coming up to the hill and dropped to 7th - then he was on a mission. Neil clawed his way back up, staying with Lee Martin and Darren Bloomfield for a while before getting back up to the leaders Peter Pinisch and Hupo. Neil finished a close 2nd behind Pinisch.
A final Leg two was a great battle again with Pinisch and Hupo away, Cragg chased and it was these three that pulled away slightly from the rest. Coming up to the end Cragg was getting closer and made a slight error, Hupo made an error just after going up the wall and Neil went through to take 2nd with one lap to go. Neil reeled in Pinisch but it wasnt enough and Neil finished 1 second behind, with Hupo a second behind neil. Peter Pinisch led all the way and won the leg and with it the 4WD European Championship with one leg of the A final to go.
Well, it's all over. RMC Wien have organised the best race I have ever been to, on the best track with the best facilities and organising. Scotty Ernst put in a stellar performance on the Mic, entertaining the crowds with his non-stop enthusiasm, he really made the event fantastic. The RMC team should be really proud of their work.
I hope you enjoyed this little report, more photos (big ones) will be up in the next few days. I wasn't able to do the interviews and other things I wanted to do. Thanks to those who helped and particularly vicky who held cameras and drove around trying to find wifi hot spots!.... Jimmy Storey