By Tyler Hooks
The IFMAR World Championships for the 200mm nitro on-road class begin around this time next week. Here is what you can expect.
LiveRC Coverage: Both Mike Garrison and Myself will be onhand to announce the event as well as our normal camera crew who help provide the best video coverage we possibly can.
The Venue: The track has 1000ft of racing line, covered pits with lighting, electricity and fans, nearby restrooms and even wagons are available to help carry equipment to and from the track. The track also has a very asthetic turquoise infield which well contrasts the racing line.
Most interestingly, the track itself is on the grounds of the famous Homestead Miami Speedway. Racing heratige is abundant on this property and this race should be no different.
The United States Team: Having followed the recent 200mm ROAR nitro touring car nationals, I personally expect the team to be lead by veterans Ralph Burch and Paul Lemieux with the latter winning this years national championship. I also am interested to see the progress of young gun Bryce Butterfield as well as JJ Wang who is a former US national champion and worlds finalist but was absent from this year's nationals. JJ is a well established on-road fixture who was able to sweep the ROAR nationals at Homestead and will likely be our best shot at winning the world title on home soil.
Favorites: Having followed the yearly ENS seriies, favorites are obviously found in Groskamp, Greiner, and Mazzeo, as well as Leino who I would consider a wild card. We can not forget the top two finishers in the ENS 1/8th open class as both finished in the A main at the 2016 200mm main. Those two men would be Balestri and Kurzbuch. Others that stickout for me personally would be 2016 finalists Vejrak and Branson, as well as Moore and the Shimo brothers. Being less versed in onroad as I would like to be I am sure I am forgetting some, but I think we definitely covered the hard favorites.
Notibly Absent: The only person I see being strikingly absent from the event would be 2016's 4th place finisher, Bruno Coelho. Coelho has opted to attend the 1/8th nitro off-road worlds in the coming weeks. Mazzeo will be holding the torch for Xray.
Upon further review though it appears previous world champion Alexander Hagberg is missing from practice and it looks like he will not be attending the event.
Brands: For those unfamiliar with on-road brands, here are some of the standouts and favorites. Xray has been in onroad arguably a shorter time than other brands but will be well represented this weekend as well as Serpent Racing. The united states Serpent distribution point being centered out of Florida could possibly play a potential factor in home field advantage. Some of the other prominent fixtures such as Shephard, Capricorn, Mugen Seiki, and WRC all have drivers who could win given the right circumstances. Lastly Team Infinity who have recently acquired insane amounts of talent are very motivated to get this 2018 world's win.
Strategy: For those unfamiliar with hour long nitro on-road mains, the strategy involved with tire changes and fuel stops is extremely facinating. Expect lots of comments on run-time and tire wear as the week goes on.