By Mike Garrison
Welcome to LiveRC's weekly column, "Talk-It-Up Tuesday!" Here we spend a little time talking with industry icons including racers, manufacturers, team managers, developers, promoters, and everyone in between! Sit back, relax, and go behind the scenes as we interview them all!
When I personally think "Mugen Seiki Racing" I think "Adam Drake". Adam Drake is among one of the most iconic drivers in R/C racing, plays a major role at Mugen Seiki Racing (aka Mugen USA), provides arguably some of the most helpful "How-To" videos, and is still an avid and successful racer after spending 20+ years on the "pro circuit".
With last week's release of the Mugen MBX8 ECO buggy and this week's 20th edition Silver State race in Las Vegas, I decided to sit down with The Drake, an individual I felt could provide some of the greatest knowledge towards two of the latest hot topics!
LRC: Late last week Mugen Seiki Racing announced the MBX8 ECO buggy, the electric version of the MBX8 Nitro buggy. What are some of the key new features specific to the ECO buggy?
DRAKE: The MBX8 Eco shares many of the new features from the MBX8 nitro buggy. Including High Traction Differentials, straight cut 13/44 ring and pinion gears, easy access gear boxes, box-shaped suspension arms with stiffeners, lightweight one piece wing mount, clamping servo saver, and high downforce wing. The Eco has a new chassis that is specific to the electric version. The Eco also has a new battery tray, receiver / servo tray and molded 46T spur gear.
(Adam shares an up close look at the MBX8 ECO in full detail.)
LRC: Electric 1/8-scale buggy racing has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and in some areas has actual become more popular than nitro buggy racing. Which do you prefer and why – nitro or electric?
DRAKE: I enjoy racing both 1/8th nitro and electric, but nitro is my favorite. The power of the electric vehicles is amazing, but I really enjoy the longer main events and strategy in nitro events.
LRC: With the release of the MBX8 and MBX8 ECO buggies, the only platform left to be updated to the “8” platform is the MBX7T truggy. Can we expect to see a new MBX8T truggy released soon?
DRAKE: Yes, I finished testing last week on the MBX8T. Now it will move on the design stage, followed by tooling, and then more testing once we receive sample production parts.
LRC: For racers who plan to own both MBX8 and MBX8 ECO buggies, do you recommend similar setups between the two or are the two buggies different enough you recommend entirely different setups?
DRAKE: The weight of the nitro MBX8 is a little lighter then the Eco version, but the weight distribution is very similar. This allows us to run pretty much the same set-up for both nitro and electric.
LRC: Speaking of setups, engine tuning and break-in is a major part of setting up a nitro buggy or truck. You have started your own engine break-in service open to the public. Tell us how that works, and what exactly you offer?
DRAKE: Yes, I now offer a nitro engine break-in service as well as piston / sleeve resizing. The break-in service not only helps increase the performance and life of your engine, but overall it makes nitro racing easier and more enjoyable for races of all levels. Lets face it; the worst part about nitro racing is break-in an engine.
The feedback has been amazing and now many of the world’s top racers are using my break-in service including Maifield, Tessmann, Batlle, Rivkin, and Truhe (just to name a few).
(If you are interested in contacting Adam regarding his engine break-in services, customers may contact him at email@example.com)
LRC: What is the major advantage to your service, as opposed to a more traditional way of breaking in an engine idling tank after tank of fuel through it?
DRAKE: The major advantages to this service are ease of use, increased performance, and increased engine life. After a 10-15 minute process, you’re able hit the track and have a very enjoyable nitro experience. This method allows the piston and sleeve to break-in without causing stress to the conrod.
LRC: What is the most important thing to remember and maintain to ensure a long-lasting and well performing nitro engine?
DRAKE: The break-in process is very important to having a long-lasting well performing engine. It’s also extremely important to change your air filter often, run a good high quality fuel, and tuning is key. It’s best to always be a little conservative with the HSN (richer setting). If the LSN is lean, it’s okay because the engine is operating at a lower RPM, but when the engine is at it’s highest RPM it’s best to be a little on the rich side.
LRC: This coming week is the legendary Silver State race, and this year it is held indoors for the first time ever. What are your general thoughts on indoor nitro racing compared to outdoor racing? Which do you prefer?
DRAKE: There are pros and cons to racing indoors and outdoors. I prefer nitro racing outdoors, but I’m really looking forward to this event. I’m sure Joey and The Dirt crew will do an amazing job. The nice thing with indoor racing is the track should be very consistent.
LRC: How many Silver State races have you attended of the 19 held so far, and when was your first?
DRAKE: I first attended the Silver State in 2000 and don’t believe I’ve missed once since. I’ve attend Silver State races at the VW junkyard, Silver Bowl, Boulder City, R/C Tracks Las Vegas and will be header to the first indoor Silver State tomorrow.
LRC: What do you look forward to the most about Silver State each year?
DRAKE: It’s always a great atmosphere racing in Las Vagas and the Silver State is one of the “major” nitro events of the year.
LRC: What is your most memorable Silver State race experience (whether that be a race result, desert wind storm, or an afterhours Vegas adventure)?
DRAKE: I have so many memories from the Silver State. Like you said, desert windstorms, blown out track conditions, smooth high grip track conditions, Saxton falling through the front windshield of Lance Norick’s rental car, Justin Wheeler getting clothes lined on a mini bike, but the most memorable moments for me was winning nitro truck at the Silver Bowl and winning truggy in Boulder City.
LRC: Adam thank you so much for taking some time with us today, is there anything you’d like to add before we let you get back to work?
DRAKE: Thank you for the interview and the amazing coverage Live RC provides at events throughout the year. Thanks to all my sponsors: Mugen Seiki Racing, O.S. Engines, Pro-Line Racing, Futaba, Protek, A Main Hobbies, Tekin, Flash Point R/C, Ibon Graphics, Lunsford, Cow RC, and Pro Motion T-Shirts.