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Being the second of January and pretty misserable weather there wasn't much to choose from in terms of racing the JQ car. In fact the only track that looked feasable was Notts & Derby which I went to to test the car out a few days prior. oOple man Stu Evans was over the night before and we sat messing up the kitchen late into the night getting the cars prepared for battle.

We wanted to set off around 7am but neither iphone or ipod touch alarms went off - some sort of problem with the apple products saw us leaving around 8am instead and we arrived late at the track after booking-in was completed. Thankfully the Notts & Derby organisers are kind and re-did the heats to squeeze us in.

I missed practice so had to go out in round one of qualifying without any track time. Conditions were far better than a few days previous when I'd attended for some practice - but on the AKA tyres I was attempting to run I was really struggling for grip and even slowing the car down for corners was difficult. I finished 5th in my heat - the bottom of three heats, so it wasn't great. 7 laps in 5:44

Kev Davies took control of my THEcar so I could get some shots.
.....I nearly orgasmed when I got this shot

For round two I managed to borrow some more suitable 'JC Racing Sawtooth' tyres from fellow northen racer Col Brennan. Whilst they weren't the preferred choice of the top drivers (HoBao angle spikes), they weren't far off.

The car was transformed and finally I could feel how responsive THEcar was. I put in a relatively clean run and finished over a lap ahead of the previous time, on 8 laps in 5:32.

I didn't really have time to play with the setup of the JQ car and whilst I felt the rear was now a little too lightly damped - it wasn't by much and the car was about as planted as I thought I could get it in the slick conditions.

I took the car out for the third and final round of qualifying, foolishly believing the meeting was running to FTD so pushed a little harder than I should, going nearly a second faster on my fastest lap but overall 2 seconds slower over the 5 minutes.

I qualified straight into the A final, 8th on the grid for the 20 minute final - but I'd barely broken the engine in and it was still running a little rich so bogged down a little on the start line but made it up on the first corner as I sailed past a couple of cars. I was going well coming onto the main straight when my race buddy Stu crashed and was sitting across the track, collecting me - sending him back on his way but me into last position.

There was another rough moment on the first lap before the field spread out a little and things calmed down. I started working my way through the field as I got into a groove and the nerves settled. A few minutes into the race I pushed a little too hard in the centre of the track and ended on my roof. The marshal picked the car up and it suddenly died. I'm not sure if the marshal touched the flywheel but that's my guess and I lost a couple of laps on the other drivers before my car w as returned to the pits and restarted. Pretty disapointing.

Back underway the car was going well - I was down a couple of laps on Stu but battled past him on the track and pulled a little lead over him.uble jump in front of the rostrum and the car seemed to be pulling hard to the right.

The roll bar link was the only part I broke in the two days of running.

I landed the double and under power the car again pulled right and into the track marking. I nursed the car to the side of the track and went to inspect the damage. We couldn't see any problems with the car - it was hard to tell what might have been slipping or broken so I decided to give it another go. My great pit-man got the car started and I put down the po

We both came in for fuel and the positions were about the same afterwards with him just in the corner of my vision behind. With about 7 minutes to go in the race I came up the big dower on the pit straight - from this angle with the car right below me I could easily see the steering jerk full-lock to the right every time I put the throttle down so decided to retire with undiagnosed electrical problems, which later turned out to be a faulty Sanwa receiver - I guess it shook itself to death.

Thanks to Notts & Derby for booking us in - after booking in had closed. I wasn't sure about the track when I first drove it but the more I did the more I thought how thoroughly awesome it is. The jumps are great and whilst the tracks a challenge I didn't find it an obstacle course.

Joseph Quagraine has done an amazing job creating a car that mostly sticks to tried-and-tested ideas and doesn't try too hard to impress or wow you with gimmicks. The build was nearly faultless though the manual could have been a little clearer and the lack of any sort of tools, oils or lubes was mildly disapointing - though I had everything I needed, you'd be surprised at how many people want a buggy like this for their first vehicle.

The plastics all seemed mostly fine but there might be some revisions to come with parts like my anti-roll bar mount breaking - it was a very hard landing that would have snapped a 10th scale buggy in half, but you'd not expect a buggy built this tough to have suffered at all.

The one frustrating point was the holes in most plastic parts for threading into were just too tight and I spoke to one chap that spent an hour building one turnbuckle. Ok - I'm sure he was exaggerating but it didn't seem that far fetched to me. That said, it's easy enough to open up the holes slightly with a knife to help get the screw/rod started, and a bit of grease doesn't hurt too.

The manual was 'ok' but was pretty basic in terms of guiding you through the build - I didn't really struggle but I can imagine some things being a big clearer would help some' Having said that, if you have any problems the man himself is quick to reply on any questions via email, and the JQ products website ( is a great resource, with tips and tricks online from the moment the car hit the shelves.

THEcar is as impressive as the dedicated man who almost single-handedly brought it to the world. JQ certainly punches way above his weight in the world of RC - perhaps those manufacturers he approached at the start are now pondering what could have been.

Massive thanks to:

JQ, Pete from Answer-RC, Kev Davies & the other JQ team guys that helped me out. Stu Evans.

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