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I had to rush the last half of the build of the DEX410R because a BRCA national event interupted the time window I'd set myself to get the car finished and race-ready for the European Championship warmup event in Vienna, Austria.  Tuesday night I'd set about painting the shell up - 1:30am and I'm back from the in-laws garage where my compressor currently resides. 

Practice only at the Euros Warmup - weather decided that. But it was nice to try the car on dirt.

The euros track was going to be a real challenge and I wasn't too happy to review the car and try take photos on the sort of track I wasn't really familiar with - times like this are when it'd be good to hand over the car to the tame racing driver and let them show what it's really capable of. Sadly - it comes down to me, and having not raced for getting on for 6 months (moving house does that to you) prior to putting the car on the track for practice - well - it was never going to be great.

The car felt really unbalanced to begin with - my usual setup for the UK obviously was as much use as a chocolate teapot here on a clay track. Through the rounds of practice the car got slightly better but it was when I finally listened to local Team Durango superstar Martin Kriel that the car finally transformed. I could really push the car and although my lap times didn't come down, this was more due to the fact the conditions were getting worse - my round scores went from high 40's to mid 30's in round which I was pretty pleased with.

The track had some large jumps - one huge tabletop in particular. As long as you were lined up straight it was fairly easy with the 4WD cars to clear the jump and land the down slope nicely. I threw the car at this practice session after practice session and given my utter lack of track time in recent months I also had my fair amount of crashes. Thankfully other than a slightly bent wing there was no damage - which honestly surprised me given some of the crashes I put the 410R through.

The main jumps at the Traiskirchen 2010 Euros track. The large table top has such a steep take off that the cars get plenty of air time before landing on the down slope - hopefully!

I was really looking forward to racing the car the following day - this being just 5 rounds of timed practice, so I wasn't even writing any of this down, I just wanted to get used to the car so I could do well with it. Overnight all hell broke loose - the weather turned incredibly nasty and the meeting was cancelled. No 4WD event! Just when I was starting to feel confident with the car - I was gutted.

So - back home I decided to go to a Bury Metro North West regional meeting for a proper race with the car.

Round one was still using the dirt setup I'd used at the euros warmup, just to see how it felt - and the car felt terrible and very unbalanced. A lack of practice since I arrived late and without a battery charged also contributed to my poor run and the resulting series of big crashes and eventual retirement with a corner of the car missing.

John does his best to smash up the 410R for photos

The problem turned out to be the front plastic suspension brace - it had cracked and allowed the hingepin to slip out.  The block didn't look broken on the car - it just looked like the pin had jumped out due to the crash.   I didn't have a replacement plastic brace so used the metal brace from the dex410, including the steel balls.  This was a direct fit. 
I had a look over the car and noticed another break that might have done a lot more damage if I'd not spotted it. One of the plastic rear bulkhead inserts that push the gearbox into place had snapped at the top and was no longer tying the rear of he bulkhead to the chassis onthat side. That could have caused the rear bulkhead itself to break if it took a big hit.
Though I'd given the car some abuse during the run it didn't seem anything like the kicking I'd given it earlier at the euros warmup so I'm assuming the damage might have been done there and only came to light/failed here at the testing bury track.

Round two I'd fixed the car and put new tyres on along with putting a proper shock setup on instead of the dirt setup that was still on in round one. The car still didn't feel great and I couldn't push it at all. It felt fast and indeed was very fast as long as I just drove around the track and didn't push anywhere, but I don't drive that way and wasn't happy. I was last in the heat.

I decided I was well out of touch and sought the help of one of the friendly Durango team drivers, Damien Whittle, who changed the front diff oil to a thicker setup and removed the brass weights I was running.  I also cut another row of spikes from the front tyres and the outside row on the rear to allow the car to move around a little without digging in and rolling.

Round three and with those simple setup changes complete the car was bang on pace now - even if my driving wasn't totally there. I'd finished last in the previous heat and from lap one I was leading this time. I reeled in some cars and made a few passes - the pressure of leading (and hearing that fact over the sound system) on time was too much however and my nerves went, eventually finishing second in the heat.

Round four came - the final chance. I didn't want to change anything - the car was awesome and already better than me, so I concentrated on putting in another good run so I could make the A final.

I set off third and quickly reeled the front runners in as I lead the heat again.  Eventually passing the front pair on the track I went straight onto my roof in the excitement and ended up third. Never mind.

I qualified 1st in the B final which I was both disapointed with since it was so close to the A final. - but also pretty happy with since I'd out-qualified some faster drivers than myself.
The final started well and I got away nicely but went into the first corner way too timidly, allowing a friend to pass and trying to avoid trouble instead of just nailing the throttle and staying out front. Chaos ensued and I finished 6th in the end after some close mid-pack racing. Next time I'll shut my eyes and keep the throttle planted I think.

Oops! I smashed it up guvnor

The front hinge pin pulled out - cracking the front brace
With the dampers firmly attached at either end there really was nowhere for things to go once I ripped the corner off the car and so the left-front damper cap tore off and needed replacing also.
I had to use the alloy front brace from the 410 since I didn't have a spare plastic brace.
The rear bulkhead insert broke around the top - it hadn't caused an issue but I was checking the car after the frontal damage to make sure things were OK - I think it happened at the previous meeting given the rear-end landings it was taking over the big tabletop.

The car felt great but I could certainly have got more out of it with some more setup time and practice that I'd been lacking playing a big part in my speed.

The car took a good hammering but I did break a couple of things in the end. The front brace lasted through a lot of heavy Impacts and nose-first landings so I might just get a couple of spares. The alloy brace from the 410 is another option but I guess somethings got to give and the suspension arms are so insanely tough that it seems unlikely it'll be those.


For the money, the 410R is a superb bit of kit. The build up is even better than the original 410 so TD have clearly learnt their lessons and improved the build experience further. The manual is low on words and doesn't really guide you through the build process, instead relying on the clear CAD images and perfectly bagged stages to do it.

Despite the obvious cost savings that have been made by the move to moulded parts - these are mostly in areas that you'll not notice a performance difference or where the difference might even feel better on the track. Of course, there's less strength in a couple of areas since we didn't break the same parts on the original car - strength wise, the car is probably still way up there, it's just that the original car was near indestructable in those areas.

I don't like breaking a car whilst reviewing it only because people are so quick to jump to conclusions - I've seen it so many times. Fact is - all cars break if you crash them hard enough (as I proved). So - I'll get some parts on order and carry on.
The front brace is the part that'll take the most forces during a heavy frontal impact and is the weak link in the chain if I'm honest. The suspension arms are just way too tough to give up that easily and even the hinge pin that got torn out was in perfect condition without a hint of a bend. It's nice to have that alloy option available from the start and if you want your R to be even tougher it's a good upgrade I reckon - but you'll also need a couple of steel suspension balls to fit it with the existing plastic brace at the back.

The car doesn't really need anything from what comes in the kit - I thought the shock towers would be the first thing to go but they proved they were more than up to the job, you only need to look at the ones on my car with their many battle scars to see how much testing they've had.
Getting the rubber boots for the dampers and possibly driveshafts also would be about the only thing I'd personally change - but that's purely to cut down on maintenance. If you like working on your car all the time then leave them off and it'll be the same as any other car out there.

Maybe it's the 'underdog factor' or maybe just my fetish for moulded plastic parts - but I really think the 410R is as stunning to look at and handle as the original DEX410. The quality and design of the moulded parts is great and the car is certainly as fast as the original car from what I've seen in my limited time with it - I just wish I'd had time to race them back to back for this review - that'll have to wait.

Finally - people can stop complaining about the price of 'The Durango' and start racing it instead. It Rules! :)


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Massive thanks to Rob Hopkins and the rest of the guys at Team Durango for their help.

Thanks to Tekin for supplying the awesome Tekin RS brushless system used for racing the 410R - and thanks to that guy at the Japan Worlds 2007 who threw the brand new Reedy brushed motors in the hotel bin for me to find!

Thanks to the various racers at the Euros Warmup for helping me sort the car out and get my cells and transmitter charged - whilst also writing a race report and taking photos. Many thanks to all you guys, most of whom I've forgotten.

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