The Pro driver from Mesa, Arizona, was up to his old tricks at the Sidewinder Nitro Explosion. Multi-time winner of the event, Ryan Maifield, unleashed his new TLR vehicles equipped with JConcepts at the Heritage R/C Park in Chula Vista, CA. The annual event promoted and directed by Jimmy Babcock continually brings out the best drivers from Southern California. While Heritage is “home turf” for many famous drivers, Ryan Maifield continually shows his speed at a race dedicated to his long-time fuel sponsor, Sidewinder.
Qualifying started with the Ryan and Ryan show with Maifield taking round 1 of the 1/8th Pro buggy class with Ryan Cavalieri piloting the new AE prototype to 2nd in the round. Truggy qualifying in round 1 also went the way of Maifield taking the 0 qual point for the round and holding an early edge in both competitive classes. The detailed track built by Don Vinkemulder had that distinctive California flow incorporating rollers, floating jump sections and elevation changes. With a slightly watered surface, tire wear was nonexistent during qualifying with only dry sections really forming toward the end of un-watered races.
Moving into rounds 2 and 3, Maifield continued his dominance by TQ’ing with JConcepts Crossbows, Stackers and unreleased worlds prototype tires on his way to locking up the overall TQ in both classes. With TLR representative Kevin Gahan established in the pits, Maifield readied the new vehicles during Sunday morning and afternoon for the upcoming 45 minute A-mains. After a quick A-main practice session, Maifield mounted his main event race tires going with the trusty Crossbows with Dirt-Tech inserts for the buggy and Stackers in truggy, both in the soft blue compound.
The 1/8th truggy main started with Maifield taking a lead and powering down on the TLR 8ight-T 3.0. As it went in qualifying, Maifield stretched the distance each lap with consistency and speed. The blue stackers were locked in for the long haul and Ryan didn’t waste any time building over a 20 second lead. With almost a 1 lap lead, Maifield took to cruise mode and pitting at or near the 9 minute mark each time on his way to the overall victory and his first win of the day.
The 1/8th buggy main proved to be more competitive. A great start for the Ryan’s as they broke away from the pack and began a typical race between them. Maifield made a small mistake at the end of the front straight-away allowing Cavalieri by to take the lead. Maifield caught up quickly to pressure and the drivers raced cleanly for several minutes. Maifield, made a clear pass coming on the straight-away to regain the lead. Cavalieri made a mistake which gave Maifield the cushion he was looking for to open about a 7 second gap.
Cavalieri battled Mark Pavidis for a short time allowing Maifield to stretch to a 12 second lead which he felt comfortable in. Pit stop after pit stop the team worked well together and Maifield maintained his margin. Entering the last session Maifield entered a bit of cruise mode ending the race and taking the victory with about a 13 second margin over 2nd place Ryan Cavalieri. Ryan Maifield takes the buggy / truggy sweep for the weekend and proved to be a successful test and shake down in preparation for the IFMAR World Championships later in the month.
Congratulations to the winners, Heritage R/C Park and Jimmy Babcock on another successful Sidewinder event.
Photos courtesy of Kevin Gahan – TLR, and Brent Thielke – Team Associated