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!
The ROAR Fuel Off-Road Nationals are officially in the books, the dust has settled, and the racers have returned home for a few days "off" before heading back to the track for their next event. For this week's Talk It Up Tuesday, we catch up with the newly crowned ROAR 1/8 Nitro Buggy and Nitro Truck National Champion, Ty Tessmann, as he discusses this year's Nationals, the upcoming Worlds, his tips for the rising stars, and more!
LiveRC: Welcome back Ty to “Talk It Up Tuesday”! Let’s start off talking about this past weekend at the ROAR Off-Road Fuel Nationals. You swept the field by taking TQ in both classes and went on to win both (buggy and truck) national championship titles. It was a grueling week of racing, tell us some of the highs and lows you experienced on the way to victory.
Ty: This trip had more extremely high moments and more extremely low moments than any race I have been to. Some of the lows were, travelling to and from Florida which was super stressful, with flights being delayed and baggage being lost. Pro-Line's entire tire shipment being lost by the freight company and the interesting weather in Florida. The highs included extra tires being shipped over night so that the drivers would have tires to run, taking the TQ in buggy and truggy, being able to actually race the final when it didn't look like we would be able to by looking at the forecast and then going on to win both classes.
I can only imagine what the track crew went through to get everything ready and keep the track in shape, the tarp came on and off so many times, I know the track crew was exhausted. Thumbs up to the organizers and track crew for keeping eveything together when so many things went wrong.
LiveRC: Tire compound seemed to play a major role in the racing, what sort of things did you look for when choosing what tires to run when it was time for your race?
Ty: You had to keep track of the air temperature, the track temperature and the amount of moisture in the track to determine what tire you needed. For us it was more about what compound we would run rather than the tread pattern, we always had 3 compounds ready to go for every qualifier and race.
LiveRC: The high temps and humidity made it difficult to tune engines and keep them running cool. What sort of things do you recommend doing in hot and humid conditions to keep the car running fast, get good mileage, and still stay within a reasonable running temp?
Ty: Obviously running a good engine is an advantage, fuel also plays a major role. I think it is very important to run your engine within its comfort zone when it is so hot, we really never tried to tune for fuel mileage, we try and tune for feel as I think having my car feel right is more important than 1 less pit stop. Also being very patient with your engine is important, over revving an engine when coming in to the pits for a fuel stop or when you crash can easily flame out your engine, more so in high heat and humidity.
LiveRC: Spencer Rivkin finished second in buggy only 1.7 seconds back from you by re-fueling one less time. Your parents are a phenomenal pit team who together had your car in and out of the pits faster than anyone we saw during the finals. Had it not been for such quick pit stops, the National Championship could have played out very different. How often do you guys practice pit stops, and do each of your parents have designated roles in the process of pitting?
Ty: We usually have some pit stop practice at home before each major race and then we also practice at the race as well, that way we are all comfortable with pit lane direction and the height of pit lane on any given track. I am very blessed to have my parents as my pit crew, I never have any worries that I won't get called in or that the tank won't be full, I have complete trust in them.
LiveRC: Still on the schedule for 2018 is the ROAR 1/8 Electric Nationals and the ROAR 1/10 Electric Nationals. What are your expectations for yourself going into them?
Ty: To me it doesn't matter if it is a nationals or a club race my intention when I go is always to win. It doesn't always work out that way but that is my goal for any race I attend.
LiveRC: You are arguably one of the most prepared drivers going into any race that you compete in. What genre of racing takes the most work and preparation on your part prior to an event (1/8 nitro, 1/8 electric, 1/10 electric)?
Ty: Without a doubt 1/8 nitro by far takes the most preparation and work, before and during the race. There is a lot more going on with 1/8 nitro and because the races are so long, just finishing the race is a big part of the equation
LiveRC: Obviously the big talk of 2018 is the IFMAR 1/8 World Championship in Australia later this year. Attending the ROAR Nationals Warm-Up previously this year gave you somewhat of an idea of you might expect at the actual ROAR Nationals. What sort of training will you be doing, and how are you preparing yourself for IFMAR Worlds without attending a warm-up race?
Ty: I will be doing my homework by reviewing videos, I am hoping to attend some races that do the same type of prep work on the track as the worlds track will be doing. At this point I feel a great deal of confidence in my cars, XRAY Europe and RC America have been extremely accomodating to give me what I need to perform at the level to get the results that all of us want.
LiveRC: Who do you feel will be your biggest competition at the World Championship, and why?
Ty: Everyone knows who the top drivers are right now in the world but what I find interesting about the worlds is that it seems to bring out the best in everyone and there are always some drivers who step up their game and come out of the woodwork at the worlds. I personally won't be counting anyone out, so my plan will be to head to the worlds and focus on my own program which I have a lot of confidence in right now and I plan to leave everything on the table.
LiveRC: What is one place you have always wanted to go, but have not yet been to race an R/C car?
Ty: I think Hawaii would be an awesome place to go and race.
LiveRC: How many hours and days in a week do you dedicate to R/C racing? When you do take time away from R/C, what are some things you enjoying doing for fun?
Ty: I usually do some kind of work on my cars every day of the week and that can be anywhere from 2 – 8 hours a day, on average I usually have 2-3 days where I tune and test, sometimes more if I am preparing for a big race. On the odd day I have off I enjoy working on my prerunner Ranger with my Dad. I can't remember the last time we went on a holiday but we are talking about going to Yellowstone for some camping and backpacking if we can find a time that works.
LiveRC: For the rising stars in R/C who want to someday be the next Ty Tessmann, what is some advice you can give to remember and use along the way?
Ty: Practice a lot, find a car brand that you would want to be part of a team with and stick with that brand and learn the car. Don't be afraid to ask the fast guys at your track questions, watch how they drive and what they do on the track and try to learn as much as you can. Try to keep your racing fun, I think one of the reasons I have had the success I have is that I really enjoy what I am doing.
LiveRC: Of all the different classes in R/C you have driven and won, what is your favorite class to race and why?
Ty: My favorite class is 1/8 nitro buggy because I feel that it's the most involved class, I love to wrench and for me it give me the biggest sense of satisfaction when I win.
LiveRC: Well Ty we can see as usual that you are very busy wrenching and working hard, and we really appreciate you taking some time to join us today. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Ty: Thanks Mike and LiveRC for giving me the opportunity for this interview and for the great coverage of the races. I would like to thank my sponsors for their amazing support. Juraj and Martin at Xray, John and Bryan at RC America, Tim, Daniel and Matt at Pro-Line, Junichi San at OS, Salton and Mr. Jack Zhang at Hobbywing, Thomas and Kenny at MKS, Tommy at VP Fuels, Barb and Kelly at Lunsford, David at Avid, Brian at StickIt1, Kris at Darkside Designs, A Main Hobbies, Protek RC, Hudy.
Doubling up at the nationals is truly a team effort and I am proud to have each of these individuals and companies as part of my team. I also want to thank my family who are such a huge part of my racing and success, I definitely appreciate all they do for me. I also want to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who has given me the talent and the ability to do something I love to do as my job and be successful at it.