Cody King Report – 2014 Worlds in the Books

Worlds Track

Giardini Naxos World Track, Messina, Sicily, Italy

Well the jet lag and race hangover are slowly going away, so I can write something. This race was pretty crazy even before it got going. Some people were waiting for lost bags at the airport, but we were lucky. After a short delay all our bags showed up and we were on our way. There were still some unanswered questions if we could run our fuel or not, and we had to wait until that got sorted out. In the end thankfully we got to run our own fuel. As far as race track and surface, I thought it was awesome in my opinion. The track had tons of grip and was not breaking apart. Even when it rained, the track held up and drained well. Of course when the base material is concrete you would expect that. The track basically had a coat of brown colored stuff on top and most of it wore away, especially after the wet weather running.

As the race started, we were still making set-up changes even after 5 days of practice! Some people were complaining about the race being too long, but I don’t think so. My pace was improving all the way until finals day. It was pretty obvious the local drivers had better pace, for example I had to work pretty hard to get around the young Italian David Ongaro in the 1/4 final. Not taking anything from David or his great drive, but my car was much better in the semi with better pace. I was tweaking the set-up all the way to the final. The main thing we could not get used to was the ridiculous stiff sway bars we needed to run. I ended up with 2.8mm front and 3.0mm rear sway bars. It’s just hard to trust that it will work and put the car on the track like that to try it. In my opinion, getting the sway bar stiffness right was the biggest part of the battle. With a lot of hard work and talking to my Dad and our team mates, we did get it right on finals day. In the quarter final my car was better, but nothing to write home about. I did win the race but had to work harder than I wanted to. We learned a lot still in the 1/4, and with a couple tests and little tweaks in the semi practice, the car was awesome. It was game on for the semi and final. At this point I was 95% sure I would be in the final.

At the start of the semi, I got into a transfer position pretty quick. I had just passed Wernimont and got back into the transfer position, stopped for fuel, but then rolled over on the back sweeper. The corner marshal ran across the track in the opposite direction and left my car there. After finally getting turned over, the crash would cost me around 12 seconds! I would only have about 10 minutes left in the race to make up the time. sat-presentationWith other drivers having mistakes and crashes all over the place I would put my head down and run a clean 10 minutes to get the last auto-transfer spot to the main final. I could not have been happier with the way all my stuff was working and was really looking forward to the main. I thought I had a chance to win again. The long crash was a shame, because it cost me a few positions on the grid going into the final. I probably would have gridded up 5th or so without that long crash. Still I was happy to be in, and with car #9.

Getting ready for the final is always a little crazy. My dad was working hard getting the car ready, and I was mentally getting myself ready for the hard 60 minute final. We only get an hour to work on the car after the semi and its stressful making sure we get everything right. As we headed out to the track for the main final, I had to think about the last 8 years. It felt so good to be going out for my 4th worlds final in a row. I have made the final at every 1/8th Worlds I have attended, and have the 4 race streak going. I know not too many drivers can say that.

At the start of the race, I got pinched off at the start by a car that started late. I moved wide to avoid a crash and as my car moved toward the right side of the track, it disappeared behind the pit lane. I hit the brakes and turned left, but I think the car was airborne after hitting the pipe maybe? Anyway, my car hit the fencing and pipes under the pit lane area and broke the car. I only drove literally 40 feet and my race was over. Two years of preparation, all the work all week to get the car right, my car was improving through the ¼ and semi, and I was out of the race without making the first corner. Nightmare! I was in shock and disbelief as I saw the broken car carried to the pit area. I just couldn’t believe what was happening. At that point I was just sick to my stomach as my Dad worked to get the car fixed. The sick feeling would continue through the night and hang on into my trip home.

In reflecting about what happened, I have to wonder why. I really wish there was some plywood in front of the pit lane area to prevent broken cars. I don’t know if any other cars broke in this area of the track, but it was extremely dangerous on the outside of the track. It was a very high speed section and really crazy with the pit lane structure and fencing underneath. There were banners in front, but behind the banners was the bad stuff.

After all the work everyone put into this race, I really regret not having a chance to compete after getting into the final. We feel strongly that we had a top 3 car for sure, and who knows what might have happened if I could have run the race. I really want to thank everyone who put a huge amount of work into the race. Of course I have to thank Kyosho who always provides the best support you could ever want. Their focus on this race has helped me focus in the right place. Reds Racing Engines.. Marco and Mario Rossi really worked hard leading up to this race and the engines were fantastic. Pro-Line, thanks very much for the hard work and putting the best tire on the track. The new Fugitive tire in X1 compound was clearly the tire to beat. Congratulations to Pro-Line on the World Championship. Everyone at Byron Fuels, thanks very much. There was a lot of hard work behind the scenes nobody knows about. They pressed the issue to get the fuel to the race. Absolute Hobbyz, KO Propo, and Stickit1 Racing all went over and above to get us what we needed for the race. Also Hella Graphics, LiveRC, and OCRC Raceway, thanks very much. Last but not least, thanks to my Dad for the best cars anyone could want. The stuff worked flawless all week. Thanks everyone for all your help!

Lastly, congrats to Ty on the win. He has worked hard and I can’t think of a more deserving Champion. He showed why he is rank #1 by the Top 25 RC ranking system.

Looking forward to Vegas in 2016! Please enjoy the pictures:

Cody King Wins Mugen Series Round 1..

TQ and Win for Cody in Chula Vista, CA

Stitched Panorama

This weekend marked the first round of the Mugen Grand Prix in Chula Vista, California. There were plenty of local fast guys in attendance including Cody Smith who won the Hi-Tech race on this layout, and track manager Don Vinkemulder. With only 20 minutes of practice Cody went to work right away with a TQ run in round 1 of qualifying, which would stand giving Cody the pole position.  On the first lap of the 30 minute final, Cody bobbled over the “wooden wash board” and surrendered the lead to 2nd qualifier Cody Smith. The two Codys would freight train around the track nose to tail for the first 6 minutes, separating themselves from the rest of the field. It was obvious King wanted the lead, but he was patient and not making any aggressive moves. King would finally pass Smith in the pits and maintain that advantage for the rest of the race, as the two battled through traffic for 20 more minutes. King would hold on for 1st, with Smith 2nd and Vinkemulder 3rd. Don DQ’d himself as track manager, allowing hard charging young gun Mason Elliott to receive the 3rd place award. The JBRL series will roll into Heritage RC Park next weekend, and looks to be an interesting line-up with King, Drake, Maifield, Moller, and likely others in attendance.

Cody used the following equipment:

  • Kyosho TKI3 Buggy
  • Reds R5T TE Engine, Reds 2104 pipe with XS header and TS-4 plug
  • Pro-Line X3 Lockdown tires, Proline rims and glue
  • Byron Fuels Worlds Blend – 25% Nitro/8% Oil
  • KO Propo EX-1 radio and RSX2 power servos

Cody King ROAR Nationals Wrap-up

Stitched PanoramaWell, we are licking our wounds a bit after Nationals. We came into this race with high hopes and felt really good about our preparation, but to some degree it may have worked against us. We spent a lot of the time waiting for the track to come in like it did for the Lone Star race, but frankly, it never happened.

Truggy

In the truck class, we made a lot of progress with the truck to get on pace. Cody would start 5th on the grid, get into 3rd, and then run out of gas. I have really been scratching my head on that one, because our fuel economy had been around 11 minutes the entire time, and then ran out at 9:20. Even more confusing is making a 9:30 stop the first time and having 25cc of fuel remaining in the gun (about what I expected), then running out at 9:20 doesn’t seem possible. It was really disappointing. That’s the problem when you don’t have telemetry on the vehicles, just looking at the fuel gun to gauge the consumption. My guess is there was a bubble in the tank when I put fuel in and I thought it was full but maybe it wasn’t. We fueled pretty quickly the first time because normally I have confidence in my gun, but maybe it got me this time. If there is an air bubble on a fuel stop, it’s a double whammy because you think the fuel economy is good, but in fact the tank is low on fuel. It’s a slippery slope and a trap that is easy to fall into. Could the cap have opened up on the track, perhaps some fuel spilled out? We will never know, but maybe..

Buggy

In the buggy class, it was a mixed bag. After totally struggling during qualifying, Cody still managed to start 4th in the odd semi, which in my opinion was fantastic. I know there were some significant shortcomings on the set-up, and he had to wheel the heck out of it to get it done. 30I can honestly say now the track never got like it was at the warm-up race. It was unusually slick and loose, sort of polished but with dust around the edges. We made a few changes Saturday night, and just went into Sunday hoping for the best.

The first lap of the semi was a disaster, as another car spun Cody into the pipe and sent him to the back. Cody slowly worked his way through traffic passing some guys as they stopped for fuel. In the end Cody finished a strong 3rd, which would put him 6th on the grid for the final. We were really happy with Cody’s pace in the semi. He had second fast lap to Dakotah in his semi, and faster than the other top guys in the other semi as well by a fair margin. This is normally a good sign when the semi pace is good so we were happy. I honestly felt like Cody had a chance to win the race at that point.

27In the final it seemed like we lost a little pace from the semi. Not sure why, maybe just with the added intensity we dropped off a little? We had a number of mishaps that hurt Cody. We had a miscommunication where I asked him to stop for fuel and he thought I said conserve fuel. I feel bad about that one, I should have been more clear calling him in. He crashed trying to come in to pit lane and had to go a dangerous extra lap when he was low on fuel. Thankfully we had a nice margin for error with the Reds R7 Evoke and Byron Fuel not using a lot of fuel. In another incident, a corner marshal fell trying to get his car and it cost a little extra time. Without those two incidents perhaps he is challenging for 3rd. He kept going into 3rd place when the other guys pitted, but that got out of reach after the pit lane incident. Cody finished up the last few minutes probably watching the lead battle out of the corner of his eye, and finished 5th.

Wrap-Up

Anyhow, this race was a real grind.. hot, humid, and hard work to try and get on pace late after realizing our original settings weren’t going to work. We felt lost on Saturday with the set-up; so to get in the final, have a decent pace in the semi, and finish 5th isn’t totally bad. I thought we were really in trouble Saturday night, but our continued work and adjustments paid off. Truggy was totally disappointing. When you feel like you have a car that could win, but run out of fuel, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

In closing I would like to say huge thank you to Chris Allison and all the Thornhill Raceway guys for a great race. They really transformed their place into a venue worthy of a National Championship. The track was fair and designed properly to let the guys race and duke it out. I think that is obvious from the great racing in both classes. Also the air conditioned tent was amazing keeping it bearable in the humidity. Also, thanks to Joe Pillars, Jared and all the Team Kyosho guys for keeping it fun and making it a team effort. Last but not least, thanks to ROAR and the technical inspection team. They have a tough job and took on the gyro issue head on. Also, congratulations to Cody’s Proline teammates Ty Tessman and Dakotah Phend on their National titles.

That’s pretty much it.. Next stop Sicily for the Worlds in September. We have a bunch of smaller races leading up to that, and we will use those to get ready. See everyone in Connecticut for Cody’s Workshop!

Some pictures for your perusal:

The Dual is Kual ( not really, it was hot)

The second annual “The Dual” is in the books and it was a wild one. The race format is unique because the drivers are racing every time they get on the track. Its done in the Reedy Race format, with random combinations of drivers drawing numbered ping pong balls for grid positions. Every heat is a race, and each position is a point. For the invite class, each driver runs buggy and truggy, with 3 heats and one throw out in each class per day (6 heats per day). Adding yet another twist, the race is run on TWO tracks, the Proline track in Banning on Saturday, and Thunder Alley in Beaumont on Sunday. Each morning you get 5 minutes of practice in each class on the fresh layout, and then race. Pretty cool..

trackpano1

Stitched Panorama

pitI have to say, we limped into this race with being a bit sick, and ran some practice cars because our recent busy schedule has taken its toll on the cars. Cody’s stuff was pretty beat up from all the running at Thornhill. We had a decent practice buggy, and we freshened up his truggy from Texas, and away we went.

The first round Saturday was real rough with the chassis settings a little off, but in round two Cody won a tough buggy heat, so we felt good about the direction we were going. For round 3, they sorted the lowest points together, so all the fast guys were in one heat. After an early tangle in traffic, Cody was shuffled to the back. Our fuel economy was real good earlier in the day, so I decided to go the entire 12 minute main without fuel. It turned out to be a good gamble as Cody was battling for 3rd and took that position with only a few corners to go. It was impressive that his Reds R7 EVO went 12:10 on fuel and still had 10cc fuel remaining. Impressive. It was approaching 11pm when we left the track Saturday, and we had to be at Thunder Alley at 6:30 am Sunday, so we rushed to the hotel for 5 or 6 hours of shuteye.

CInvitePodium50OpenPodium50ody again started out slowly and improved, with 2 seconds in buggy, and a 4 and 1 in truggy. We had unfortunate luck in both 3rd heats with dnfs… Cody would finish 4th overall and collect $170 in prize money. Not too shabby. Big congratulations to Cody’s Proline teammate Ty Tessman on a strong performance and the overall win. I give those guys credit for traveling so far and being well prepared each time they come out. It’s tough to have fresh cars all the time for so many races, and their good preparation pays off. Big congrats to Cody’s Kyosho/Reds teammate Colin Herzig with the dominating expert buggy class win. He posted just 4 points each day to take the victory. Also, Kyosho/Reds driver Mikey Bustamante, hitting the podium in 3rd. Great job guys!

Big thanks to Proline and Thunder Alley putting on this race, and congrats to Rob Jackson for such a fun and different event. Levi Jackson outdid himself once again with two great layouts. All the drivers raved about how much fun they had and how race-able the tracks were. Great job to Jimmy Babcock and his tech crew as well, running things and keeping the program rolling.

Two more weeks of testing and then it’s Nationals! See yall in Texas!