By Mike Garrison
Race Report from NEMO Racing:
Nemo Racing USA has just wrapped up a 10 day long tour of the southwest United States that included the 2017 Southern Nationals race in Monroe, LA. Darren Bloomfield was present for the tour, which included stops at Indy RC World in Garland, Tx, Thornhill Race Circuit in Hutto, TX, Gulf Coast Raceway in Porter, TX and T&T Raceway in Shreveport, LA. At each stop, Darren was present to help out new and current drivers of the Agama cars, getting things dialed in to help them compete to the best of their ability
After visiting three tracks along the way, the Nemo Racing USA race rig rolled into Monroe Thursday afternoon to begin preparing for the Southern Nationals that would take place over the next three days. The Nemo presence was huge this year.... Drivers coming from as far as Michigan, to do battle on the amazing layout at this years race. Darren would compete in electric buggy, nitro truggy and nitro buggy. And it was clear right from the start that he would be in contention in every class. Running right along side top US drivers like Ryan Maifield, Ryan Lutz and Joe Bornhorst. Seeding would go well and see Darren near the top of each class. A 6 in electric, a 3 in nitro truggy and a 2 in nitro buggy.
The next day, as quals began, he picked up right where he left off in seeding. Challenging Maifield for the top spot in e buggy from the get go, ultimately starting from 2 nd on the grid for the Triple A final. Truggy specialists, Lutz and Bornhorst would prove to be stiff competition in that class, along with Cole Ogden, but Darren would still see himself right in the mix throughout the day. After 3 rounds, Darren would find himself lining up in the 3 spot for the 45 minute truggy final. Nitro buggy would prove to be a bit tougher.... And electrical issue in R1 would find the Nemo camp picking up a DNF. R2 was much better, with Darren cruising to 2 nd over all for the round, but disaster would strike again in R3. Running within a few tenths of the top spot, a bad crash would leave Darren with a broken car and another DNF. This would leave us sitting in the 16 th spot over all, starting 4 th in the B main.
Finals began for us with A1 of the electric class. Starting from the 2 spot, an early mistake would see Darren drop to the 3 spot. Head down, he motor'd on. The battle for first would eventually leave a window for Darren to pull through and he drove up to the 1 spot and cruised ahead to the victory, ahead of Lutz and Maifield. R2 would prove to be uneventful, with Darren starting 2 nd and finishing second, behind Maifield. So A3 would be the deciding race for the top spot over all. In preparation for the nitro main, we made some changes to Darren's suspension, opting for the 6 1.5 piston from the 8 1.3 piston. The would prove to be the right call, as the e buggy was very fast. Unfortunately we were not able to convert it to a win, and would settle for 2 nd over all in electric, a very good result considering the competition. But more importantly, we knew the right change to make to the nitro buggy.
Truggy main would have Darren starting from the 3 spot. And that's where he would run for the majority of the race. An unfortunate incident with a turn marshal running across the pit lane exit would eventually take us out of the battle for 3 rd, and we would have to settle for 4 th over all. More importantly, the marshal was uninjured, and soldiered on to finish the rest of his duties as well as complete his race day.
Our nitro buggy main began with the B main. Starting 4 th on the grid, with the plan to just run smooth laps and work our way to the top. This would prove to be the right formula as Darren would end up winning the 15 minute race by 10 seconds over 2 nd. This would also help us make some decisions to help the car in the main final, along with the A3 of electric, and we would switch to the 6 hole from the 8 hole piston. The main final would see Darren starting from the 13 th spot on the grid. Within 8 minutes he would move into the 2 nd spot, and run there for the majority of the race, matching Maifields pace, lap for lap, and just barely chipping away at 16 second gap Maifield had secured due to our starting postion. However, with about 15 minutes to go, with the gap down to 11 seconds, Maifield would pull into the pits with a tire that was unglued, and while refueling his team would swap the tire. This would ultimately lead to the gap closing and Maifield and Darren would battle for the remaining time. It was an epic race between the US power house and the European champ, one for the ages.... Darren would ultimately end up finishing 1.6 seconds behind Maifield, after the 45 minute duration, and considering our starting position and his pace, and incredible feat. The Agama A215 SV chewed through the rough blown out surface with ease. Ryan Lutz would round out the podium, 6 seconds behind in 3 rd.
On the whole, an incredible weekend for Darren and the rest of the team. Traveling to all the tracks and getting to meet all the people, the tour was more than we could have ever asked for. The hospitality offered by all the facilities, and the race crew at the Southern Nationals made for an easy trip that allowed us to work and have fun all at the same time. Thanks to all the people that helped to make the weekend possible... without the support of the drivers from all over the country, we wouldn't be able to do what we do, and for that we are forever grateful.