FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Tebo and Hartson won thrilling 2013 IFMAR World Championships [VIDEO]
Friday, Sep 29, 2017 06:57am
By Aaron Waldron
Everybody knows that Friday is meant for reminiscing old times. Each week we take you back in time as we flashback to some of R/C racing's greatest moments, products, drivers, and more!
Jared Tebo and Steven Hartson won IFMAR World Championship titles in thrilling fashion
Four years ago today, the 2013 IFMAR Electric Off-Road World Championships wrapped up at the A Main Hobbies Silver Dollar R/C Raceway in Chico, CA, completing one of the wildest weeks of RC racing in the hobby’s history.
A Main Hobbies built the Silver Dollar RC Raceway specifically with major races like the IFMAR Worlds in mind, and IFMAR awarded the event to the facility before it was even built. With a huge, covered pit area; gigantic drivers’ stand with integrated announcer’s booth, tech inspection office, and media quarters; and super-sized track area, you couldn’t blueprint a better place to hold the race.
Photo: A Main Hobbies
Not only that, but the complex was built within the Chico fairgrounds, and A Main Hobbies arranged a food truck festival, local media coverage, lots of giveaways, a try-me track, and a fireworks show among other attractions to get the local population out to watch the race. It worked.
The course constructed by the A Main Hobbies crew was extreme, covering a huge area with large jumps and major elevation changes. After drivers had complained about a lack of grip at the Warm-Up event in June, the decision was made to treat the surface with sugar — and so the same thing was done for the Worlds as well. The site itself was slightly controversial, as the ROAR Electric Off-Road Nationals had been held there just six weeks prior, also on a sugared blue groove. Not only did that mean the American racers were familiar with the surface, but the layout used for the Worlds borrowed some sections directly from the Nationals track.
Photo: A Main Hobbies
Photo: A Main Hobbies
Like many major outdoor races, weather played a significant factor from the get-go; rain in the days leading up to the race left puddles on the track and pit area, and the crew worked like crazy to get everything in race-ready condition.
Even still, the first 2WD practice runs were mostly about getting the track broken in, and once it did there was plenty of grip.
Sometimes too much.
Once practice had completed, four of the scheduled five rounds of qualifying ran on Tuesday. Jared Tebo, the 2005 4WD winner, burst out of the gate with the fastest time in the first round and repeated the feat in Q3, with Lee Martin and double-defending champion Ryan Cavalieri also earning TQ runs. Despite the perceived advantage for those who had run the ROAR Nationals, the top ten were evenly split between Americans and international drivers with five each heading into the final round.
The final round, though, never happened.
Heavy rain on Tuesday night cancelled fifth round of qualifying and put the main events in danger of being called off. The track crew scrambled to get the course back into shape, but the horizon looked dark and awful. At that point, qualifying results were determined by using each driver’s best 2 of 4 rounds, putting Jared Tebo as the Top Qualifier, and pending the call to abandon the main events would’ve awarded him the world championship without turning another lap.
At 12:30 PM, though, IFMAR officials announced that the finals would be rushed through under the looming threat of further downpour. They felt the need to get a race completed was so urgent, in fact, that what was originally scheduled to be a practice run turned into the first A-Main with mere seconds of warning! The cars were placed on the grid for what was supposed to be a chance for the drivers to take their first heads-up start on the back straight, but the track announcer informed everyone that the race would count toward the championship — and in the case of more rain, determine the title — mere moments before the tone.
Top Qualifier Tebo made a couple of mistakes throughout A1 but eventually fought his way back to the lead and beat former 2WD champ Neil Cragg (who started tenth!) by just a half-second.
Fortunately for those watching trackside and online, the once-imminent rain never materialized — and the second and third A-Mains were run under the lights. Tebo didn’t need a third A-Main, though, to win the title. Again, Tebo made mistakes that made the race closer than it needed to be, racing back and forth with Cavalieri and Lee Martin before the two challengers crashed and dropped back. Sixth qualifier Ryan Maifield applied pressure in the closing stages of the race and crossed the finish line just .253 seconds back.
Martin won the third final, with Maifield and Cavalieri in tow. That set the final finishing order as Tebo, Martin and Maifield.
The 4WD portion of the 2013 IFMAR Worlds served as the public debut of both the Team Losi Racing 22-4 and HB Racing D413 as well as new versions of buggies from Kyosho, Tamiya and Yokomo, which were all revealed on the off-day following 2WD. The practice rounds were littered with broken parts, as drivers struggled to come to grips with the insane level of grip — as well as the size of the jumps, which were not at all changed between 2WD and 4WD after IFMAR granted the track crew some much-needed reprieve following all of the rain.
That didn’t mean they were done with their work, however, as the parking lot was still in need of some attention.
Qualifying brought a few surprises. After impressing with his speed in practice, German star Jörn Neumann continued his hot streak with the fastest time in the first two rounds. Then, newly-crowned 4WD ROAR national champion Ty Tessmann won the third round. After that, reigning champ Ryan Cavalieri topped the charts in rounds four and five; he lost the tiebreaker to Neumann by fractions of a second.
The main events were a total shock, with the battle for the title coming down to the final lap of A3 between the sixth and eighth qualifiers, Steven Hartson and Naoto Matsukura.
In A1, Hartson methodically worked his way up through the field as the drivers in front of him on the grid crashed out of contention. He finished just shy of two seconds in front of Tessmann, with Matsukura less than 1.5 seconds further back after a more frantic climb up the running order.
In A2, Matsukura was even more successful; he raced his way to the front and held off Ryan Lutz on the final lap for the win, while Hartson settled for fifth. The shake-up in finishing spots meant that five drivers were mathematically alive for the title with one race left to go.
Hartson relied on similar tactics from the first A-Main to pick off drivers one-by-one in A3, while Matsukura showed urgency from turn one - and after five minutes of the other eight drivers on the track crashing or otherwise throwing away their own chance at the win, the two title rivals went into the final lap just inches apart while Tessmann was caught at the line for third. Matsukura went for the kill on the final pass through the treacherous tabletop-triple, and the two collided. Matsukura paused to let Hartson resume the lead before discovering the crash had rendered his buggy inoperable. Hartson cruised the final half-lap to take the win and the overall championship.
CLICK HERE to view our full gallery from the race: