Interview with HB Racing & Team Orion’s Adrien Bertin

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Hi Adrien, thank you for giving us this interview. We’d like to cover a few topics with you; First off, can you explain a bit more on your position and dual role for HB racing and Team Orion ?

Hi everybody , It’s my pleasure to give some answers to Neobuggy readers!

I know many people wonder how it works so I will try to give some explanation on this. Since I joined Team Orion, I am in charge of making everything happen related to nitro engine side. From development, production, sales, team and so on. During this year, our company Neidhart SA had to step in and save the HB brand for which we were European distributor. Philippe (Neidhart) decided to jump into this new venture and as I was already linked to the brand, I wanted to be part of it.

“Many of the drivers on the market have a wrong perception of what this sector is bringing in terms of economic return…”

Although it brought a lot of extra work, it was worthy in regards of what we did in the past 6 months…. . So I am also today HB product manager and I work closely with Torrance Deguzman to make the new products happening. But I handle both projects separately.

The end of the year is very busy for HB and Team Orion with a few rumors flying. The latest ones concern Dakotah Phend and Ryan Cavalieri. Could you tell us more?

We decided with Dakotah to stop our collaboration regarding his nitro programme after a long and successful relationship with Nationals titles and 3 Worlds A-Mains in a row. The situation of competition and specially of the nitro market is getting really difficult and we couldn’t agree on the contract renewal in this sector.

Many of the drivers on the market have a wrong perception of what this sector is bringing in terms of economic return… I bet in the future that the big team with several paid driver will downsize for sure. Regarding Cav, the electric side is not under my responsibility but I guess situation was similar…

Let us continue with the rumors and discuss the case of Ty Tessmann. It appears he is destined to leave?

Yes he is. Ty has been a great ambassador for the HB brand and it was interesting to work with him even if I regret it didn’t last longer. I can understand his choice even if don’t think his story was over with us but life goes on. When Hara left the brand, the questions were the same and history showed us that the brand came back stronger.

How much influence did Ronnefalk winning in Vegas have on Tessmann’s departure do you think?

To be honest it’s hard to say as I never had really the chance to talk with him about this. Maybe in the future who knows? It’s where I repeat his story was not over as he could have had the wish to take his revenge on David…

Talk us through the whole of 2016, your part in rescuing HB, your protégé David winning the Worlds after a streak of bad luck, the inter-team dynamic with Ty and looking forward to 2017.

Yes, this year has been one of the most difficult in my life but also one of the most rewarding. The HB story has been really hard and I guess with Philippe we could almost write a book on it… At one point the story was over but I have always believed in the brand. I have seen great support from the fan and custumers despite a horrible parts support. When you have this it’s really important and when we have been able to secure the heart of the brand, designer and drivers, Philippe estimated that we had our chance to succeed so we went for it to fight and after 6 month we start to see the result of this decision.

Vegas has been an incredible race as things went like expected with almost a perfect result and having it done with the full package was a great sensation. We all worked so hard to make it happen and after some weeks I take it more like the beginning of a new venture than an achievement.

We have so many new projects coming that I just can have a look into the future and no time for today’s regrets. I am also really proud of our daily work in the company and how we have improved the customer situation and even if there is plenty of room to improve, this victory is as strong for me as the WC win.

Historically HB has never had many top factory drivers. However with a fresh start will David remain alone or do you plan to give him a teammate?

HB had a lot of top drivers last year and the result has been terrible. You can’t replace Ty like this specially when you get announced so late in the year of his departure. Market is closed now for the top drivers specially in the USA even if driving the WC car creates some interest for sure. We have with David the proper driver to go to any races and aim for the victory. Ty showed it was possible in the past so I don’t see any problem in this. All is not closed but I can deal with the actual situation as what we don’t spend for a driver we can invest it in the products and it’s maybe a better deal for the brand.

What is the HB Racing program for the following months? The E817 will soon be available?

We have a huge plan of development and after the RGT8, the E817 is the next car to come out within the end of the year. We plan to have all the line renewed in 2017.

Can we expect a D817 Nitro or Ronnefalk Edition in the coming months?

Yes like earlier explained. The D817 will be our next car to be released. We used it Vegas with great result as also Tanner Stees and Dylan Rodriguez could make the semi. Main changes are 2:

  1. Rear geometry with new hubs shared with the E817 which bring a ton of rear traction.
  2. New chassis , shape and material.

Car has drastically improved and I am confident in how our driver will enjoy it. For the nitro, a new truggy will be in place and should be seen at DNC next year.

We’ve seen David spending a lot of time at his private indoor track. What’s new for 1/10 Carpet?

It’s also a major field where we will put our energy on. Torrance is already at work for a while and some new option will be released early next year as new chassis, slipper, rear geometry for the 413. The D216 will also get his upgrade to fit this surface, we push as much as possible to be on top in this class soon. On dirt, what for the the platform were designed, we are competitive even if the competition is hard there.

Could you tell us about the latest evolution of the Team Orion Nitro engine, the V3?

The V3 has been introduced since the euro with great success. The main change for this line is the new crankcase which is stronger and has new specific internal volume that have really helped in the power delivery and tune of the engine. We have a really competitive product in all fields as also this new line comes out cheaper than the previous V2 line thanks to new process of production. At today, the line has 2 engines 3 ports, Racing V3 and RSV3 (used by David at Vegas) and one 7V3 when it’s all about power!

How does HB debut in the world of GT happen?

Excellent! Return are really positive and we are still learning for this new class. We will for sure continue our development in this field and probably come out with an ep version of it.

Could you tell us about the R8 and what should happen as evolutions in 2017?

R8 will receive a major change in the rear geometry and this will bring us the extra facility that we were looking for. Some nice option will come out soon, specially a lightweight 2 speed system. 2017 is the year of the WC in France close from my home. I am still driving and between all this project I will try to give a nice end to my racing career. 1/8 on road remains still my favorite class to drive.