Maifield Strikes Twice at Sidewinder Nitro Explosion
Hosted by the 2008 ROAR Nationals facility, Thunder Alley Raceway, the Sidewinder Nitro Explosion kicked off its 5th annual event to the tune of 225 entries. With this event falling on the same weekend as the R/C Pro Final, one would think that a lack of competition may be certain, but this was not the case. Those in attendance included Worlds' A Main finalists Ryan Maifield, Mike Truhe, Ty Tessmann, Travis Amezcua, and many more top pros.
In Expert Truggy qualifying Team Associated/Reedy's Ryan Maifield took his Factory Team RC8T to the TQ position in the first two rounds to secure the #1 grid spot for the final event. Following suit in Expert Buggy was Adam Drake.
Both main events proved to be entertaining for both spectators and the racers themselves. In Expert Truggy Maifield and Drake checked out from the field. This proved to be best race on the track. Over the 45-minute main event, Maifield pulled out a 10+ second lead and as pit stops cycled through, Drake would close up to within 3-4 seconds, but Maifield never cracked. With less than ten minutes to go, Maifield put in a few hard laps and stretched his lead to over ten seconds on Drake, who suffered from intermittent vehicle problems. Speculation after the race was that a throttle servo let go. With the victory never really in question, Maifield continued his good success with the recently released RC8T and soon-to-be-released Reedy nitro engine.
As the sun set and the weather turned from crisp to downright cold, the 45-minute Expert Buggy main event went off. TQ man Drake got a good jump off the start and led Truhe and Maifield for the first few laps. Bobbles by both Truhe and Maifield allowed Drake to get an early five-second lead and for the pack to catch back up to Truhe and Maifield. The battle for 2nd was intense -- with five drivers vying for the same piece of real estate something had to give. Truhe and Tessmann separated themselves from the pack and a few laps later Maifield did the same. With approximately five minutes down in the main event the running order was Drake, Truhe, Tessmann, and Maifield. As things settled down Drake again suffered from vehicle troubles and eventually pulled off the track. This moved Truhe to the lead, Tessman to second, and Maifeld to third. A few bobbles by Truhe proved to be costly as he landed awkwardly over the back double and cracked a front arm. Limping around for 3-4 laps Truhe gave up the lead to Tessmann and eventually second to Maifield. Truhe pitted, changed the shock location hole and rejoined in 6th. This allowed the race between Tessmann and Maifield to take center stage and the two didn't disappoint. Swapping the lead multiple times, the two battled clean and worked their way around the now quite rough Thunder Alley track for over twenty minutes. As time dwindled down, Maifield led and Tessmann was charging hard. A few small bobbles, combined with a stellar lap from Tessmann, gave the youngster from Canada an opportunity at victory in the final corner...a drag race to the line had to be decided by the computer and at the final printout, Maifield just edged out Tessmann by 1/100 of a second to claim his second victory of the day.
Thanks to the Thunder Alley/Sidewinder crew (Jimmy Babcock, Rob Jackson, and Rick Hernandez), and track designer Levi Jackson for a very unique layout that tested the skills of pros and beginners alike. As the temperatures drop across the West Coast of the US, the Sidewinder Nitro Explosion unofficially ends the 2008 racing season for most racers. If the opportunity arises to attend this growing event, take it. A great facility, good competition, and a well-run event - what else can you ask for?