FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Rivkin won stunning IFMAR 2WD World Championship title [VIDEO]
Friday, Oct 6, 2017 06:53am
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!
Spencer Rivkin won stunning IFMAR 2WD World Championship title from third on the grid
Two years ago today, the 2WD portion of the 2015 IFMAR World Champions wrapped up on the astroturf of Yatabe Arena in Japan. The months leading up to the event had been dominated by discussion of the artificial surface — a first for the Worlds — but the months following afterward were all about how then-15-year-old Spencer Rivkin outwitted and outdrove the best buggy racers on the planet, namely three former world champions, in his first entry at the RC world’s most important race.
Here’s what the track looked like, as explained by defending winner Jared Tebo:
The weekend started with Tebo — who didn’t even make the 2WD main at the warm-up race — setting the pace in practice. He carried that momentum into the start of qualifying, with Rivkin turning in the second-fastest time of the first round.
Rivkin’s Team Associated teammate Neil Cragg, the 2007 2WD world champion, had the best run in Q2, while Rivkin was third-quick.
Cragg and Tebo traded TQ runs again in the third and fourth rounds, and then Rivkin came within just one late-race mistake from eclipsing Tebo in the final heat.
While Tebo and Cragg earned the first and second starting spots on the grid, Rivkin had finished no lower than fourth in all five rounds of qualifying to begin the triple A-Mains in third ahead of 2011 2WD world champion teammate Ryan Cavalieri and 2013 runner-up Lee Martin. Talk about esteemed company!
The first A-Main lasted just one lap before drama struck among the front-runners; Cragg over-jumped the tabletop and landed on the outside of the lane, and when he tried to shoot back into the racing line Rivkin had already driven to the inside. The collision sent Cragg tumbling, and the Brit never recovered - eventually finishing sixth. Tebo continued leading with Rivkin and Cavalieri now second and third until just after the three-minute mark, when Rivkin got a run on Tebo through the bumps and applied pressure through the chicane, but crashed coming onto the straightaway and let Cavalieri by for second. Just one minute later, Cavalieri left an ever-so-small amount of room between his buggy and the inside corner marker after the tabletop, and Rivkin forced his way past — knocking Cavalieri to fourth behind Ryan Maifield in the process. Less than two laps later, Maifield went wide at the end of the straightaway and Cavalieri moved by for third to set the final finishing order.
At the start of the second main event, Tebo checked up in turn one and caused Cragg to hesitate — and this time, Rivkin drove to the inside of his teammate after the tabletop for second without contact, but Cragg crashed in the following section on his own. Just 35 seconds into the race, Tebo bobbled in the double-single and following bump section, setting up the opportunity for Rivkin to drive past for the lead in the S-turn. Ten seconds later, Tebo crashed on the front jump section and, although he landed on his wheels, slid to third behind Cavalieri. At the 2:10 mark, Tebo crashed at the end of the straightaway and Jörn Neumann passed him for third, but a couple of laps later both Tebo and Cragg moved ahead of Neumann for third and fourth. With about a minute to go, another mistake dropped Tebo to fourth behind Cragg. Rivkin made it past the finish line for a victory lap to win over Cavalieri and Cragg.
The cleanest start of the three A-Mains had the front of the grid run in qualifying order for one minute until Cragg crashed heading into the front right corner, moving Rivkin and Cavalieri to second and third. The race was relatively calm until 1:55 in, when Tebo misjudged the first double on the front section and bounced off the pipe which allowed Rivkin to close the gap. Just past the halfway point, Tebo crashed upon landing the tabletop and dropped to third behind Rivkin and Cavalieri. With less than two minutes to go, Tebo made another mistake after the large roller and dropped to fourth behind Cragg. Tebo passed Cragg for third on the final lap, and Rivkin crossed the finish line again before time expired to earn another trip around the track to celebrate winning the IFMAR World Championship.