By Tyler Hooks
The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LiveRC.
All right guys and gals, it is officially the season I get most excited about each year for a number of different sports and hobbies, and I do not mean spooky season, I mean contract season - "Silly Season" if you will. For supercross Cooper Webb goes to KTM, looks like Malcolm Stewart will be on a MotoConcepts Honda, but lets talk about RC cars for the rest of this piece.
For the record there is absolutely no confirmed validity to these rumors, these are just things we have heard through the rumor mill, and we are grasping sometimes to connect the dots. We have added our opinions on what is most valid, and what probably won't happen. Mike Garrison said I get $50 if I get this all correct come January, he just doesn't know it yet.
CJ Jelin to Yokomo/Mugen
News broke last week that CJ is no longer apart of the Xray team. The rumors flying around so far have Mugen Seiki and Yokomo being the most interesting choice. Other notable mentions include Tekno and Serpent, but my own personal money is on Mugen and Yokomo.
Lee Martin to run Agama for Infinity???
On instagram this past weekend, Lee Martin sent out an update highlighting some carbon bits on a car that looked to be his personal ride. The car has expert servos which he runs. People like me probably know far too much about specific cars if we can tell what car it is by a medium quality photo of just the radio tray and center diff but the car is an Agama buggy. He did hashtag #infinity still though so I guess it is possible that Lee will be running the Agama buggy for Infinity racing. I guess we will see for sure later this week.
View this post on Instagram
Ryan Cavalieri to Yokomo
This rumor has been going for most of the year now, having both long time friend Ryan Maifield on the team, as well as a close relationship with team manager for Yokomo USA and Muchmore Racing USA (Joe Pillars) would make this a relatively smooth transition for Ryan. Possibly a move to extend his already extremely well decorated career well into the 2020s.
Ryan Cavalieri to Infinity...JQ Racing...Mugen Seiki
I would assume the move to Yokomo would come with a pretty stable pay check, but it would leave Cavalieri with a major gap in his program for 1/8 scale. The most obvious choice would be Mugen Seiki to match Ryan Maifield, but with Maifield, Drake, and Truhe all on the USA lineup is there really much budget left? It is possible that funding could come from Europe or elsewhere, but as of now that seems to be the issue for the rumor.
This seems to be the same issue with the JQ Racing rumor. JQ and Ryan have been seen together casually on different occasionally and seem to get along pretty well together which could translate to a sponsorship for the 1/8 scale only JQ Products. The major issue would be budgeting as far as we can tell as well as maybe not having the same level of support that Cavalieri is accostomed to.
Lastly, Infinity, which has not been thrown around much, but they seem to have no problem spending money for off-road drivers even without even a hint of an off-road car. Lee Martin has been sampling cars for the company for a bit, so I don't see why Cavalieri couldn't do the same.
The most recent rumor I have heard from a respected source is that Ryan may have inked a deal with Serpent for 1/8th scale and Yokomo for 1/10th scale. To be completely honest this makes very little sense to me, but no one asked me if it made sense so that's null.
Spencer Rivkin to TLR
This has been a rumor for over a year. Rivkin has been with Team Associated since he emerged as a superstar and has won all his major championships with the brand. Maybe it is about time for a major change for the teenager. The confusing thing would be going to a company with great recent success in all classes to a company that has arguably been having a rougher time. Maybe Rivkin is what is needed to help TLR regain some dominance.
Spencer Rivkin to Orion...Muchmore
With a departure from Team Associated, that would inherently see an end to Spencer's Reedy deal as well. The most obvious choice for TLR drivers in the past has been Orion, but with Tanner Denney recently joining Muchmore Racing that could also be a very viable option.
Ty Tessmann to Team Associated
This is the most recent rumor I have heard. The Tessmann clan have been rumored to possibly be looking for a different brand to call home. With the possible departure of both Rivkin and Cavalieri, this leaves a void in both budget and elite drivers that we could see filled with Tessmann. He would join the likes of Ongaro and McBride in 1/8 scale, and Evans and Haatanen in 1/10 scale as well as Neil Craag in all deciplines.
Jared Tebo to Serpent...Infinity
Rumors for multiple years have hinted a Jared Tebo leaving Kyosho, but finally this year his contract is up. The most prominant rumor I have heard has been for Serpent Racing which would allow Jared to race all the classes he currently runs. He would also fill the void in the United States and join up with veteran racer and engineer, Billy Easton.
The lesser heard rumor would be again Infinity. This seems like a stretch though as there isn't anything floating around about Tebo having anything solidified for 1/10 scale. Still a rumor none the less though.
Ryan Maifield to Muchmore Racing...Hobbywing
What was seen as a fairly messy attempt at a divorce at the beginning of the year saw Maifield sign with Hobbywing only to return to Team Orion conspicuously. The move to Hobbywing confused me in the first place, but with Maifield's contract actually up this year I believe maybe he will go back.
Muchmore Racing would be the much more obvious choice to me (pun intended). He would join his Yokomo USA team manager Joe Pillars, and personal friend Ryan Cavalieri.
Ryan Maifield to Not Reds Engines
I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Ryan won't be running Red Engines next year following the Worlds Controversy. I wouldn't venture far past saying he will be running something OS based. This doesn't automatically mean that he will be running for OS directly like Adam Drake. The budgets have to be right and money has to be on the table. He could potentially run for Ninja pretty easily as well as Protek. Both companies are affiliated with his program already.
Bryan Baldo to Mugen Seiki
While Oscar Baldo has seemed firmly rooted in the Kyosho camp all year with great results, others like myself might have curiously noticed that his brother Bryan was wearing an unfamiliar shirt recently at a round of the Spanish nationals. Maybe this year will see a return for Bryan to Mugen Seiki.
[UPDATE] Tyler put his glasses back on and what looked like Bryan Baldo in the photo quickly turned back into Ricardo Montiero. Thank you to JQ, Ricardo, and Bryan for pointing it out and being light hearted about it. Looks like Bryan will be staying with Kyosho unless otherwise specified.
Atsushi Hara and Ride Part Ways
Atsushi Hara was sponsored by Ride which provides tires, accessories, and tools among other things for over 15 years but in a post this week he explained that they have parted ways.
"I would like to announce for everyone about In between Ride and myself, We will decide separated after long time relationship from now on. It was almost 15years we had partnership since first TITC in 2003.
Special thanks to Mr.Asayoshi Oe and all of Ride staff for great time working for many years in bangkok thailand. I wish best of luck for their futures and time to looking for new chapters.
Thanks for reading." -Atsushi Hara
We aren't really sure what this means for Hara but this could lead him in a different direction as we have seem him with a number of manufacturers in the past couple of years. Maybe he will even be releasing his own products. Only time will tell.
Ryan Lutz changes Nothing...or Everything?
It was brought to my attention that it is a contract year for Ryan Lutz for a few of his sponsors including Tekno, Blok, AKA, and Tekin. I personally haven't heard any rumors regarding Ryan leaving Tekno, Blok, or Tekin, but tires are a different story.
It is really hard to just come out and say that any tire brand has the upper hand when compared to any others, but it does seem like AKA has been on top less and less with exceptions for last year's nitro nationals with Jared Tebo, and the string of wins from Davide Ongaro. Could we see "The Lutzinator" make a move to Proline, JConcepts, or even a smaller brand like Hot Race?
JP Richards to Raw Speed
JP hasn't actually said anything about this, and the rumor is fairly cold still, but his long time friend, Galen McCreary has already made the switch to Raw Speed, as well as his brother Nick Richards running them frequently. Only makes sense that they would be providing JP with information and maybe even tires to test.
Dreighton Stoub to Privateer Team Associated, Fantom, and Raw Speed?
Dreighton Stoub. son of the legendary Chad Stoub, made a move mid year that baffled most people in my opinion. He not only dropped his new chassis sponsor Yokomo, but also his new electronics sponsor with Hobbywing, and his long time tire sponsor JConcepts. A few weeks later Fantom made a post about Dreighton signing, and in the photo was Dreighton holding a Team Associated B6.1. We have also heard rumors about Stoub moving to incoming tire manufactuer Raw Speed, but our spy photo shows some JC Dirt Webs so maybe just privateer for tires also. Big moves for the young wild card.
Paul Ciccarello to....Yeah we have no idea?
Paul made a post yesterday on his facebook that he will be leaving serpent and racing for another brand. We have no idea who that brand will be, let us know what you think in the comments.
[Update] Paul has signed on with Xray and already has his first win at the Fall Brawl in Myrtle Beach.
Mason Eppley Leaves Tekno RC
Mason Eppley according to his personal facebook has officially left the Tekno RC team. I would guess Mason has some options including HB Racing and even just an Amain Hobbies privateer deal. Only time will tell what he decides.
Tom Rinderknecht to TLR
Young Tom "Yes Tom" Rinderknecht announced his departure from Team Associated this week. The rumor with the most speed is that the 2018 nationals finalist will be moving to the TLR squad. We have no reason to believe it isn't true.
Will Cushing to Kyosho
I'm no rocket scientist but I can figure out who is liking posts and commenting more than normal. Going to take a relatively wild stab in the dark and say Cush will be moving from Xray to Kyosho for 2019.
- Eddie Laret becomes Serpent West Coast Manager
- Ellis Stratford to Schumacher Racing
- Simon Moss goes to Xray
- Zach Finley to Schumacher Racing
- Elliot Harper to Xray
- Olly Jeffries to Schumacher Racing
- Max Fluer to JQ Racing
- Yannic Prumper to Infinity Racing
- Sahashi Brothers move to Infinity Racing
- Craag joins Piranha Fuels
- Huang joins Xray Factory Team
- Nielson joins Xray Factory Team
- Ed Kerry joins Inside Line/PR Racing
- Craig Collinson joins Xray