JConcepts Orange Bar Codes strike again. Frank Root picks up big wins in the 2wd and truck modified classes at the Northern California Off-Road Challenge.
Over a period of many years a historic battle has been in place between the best drivers from Southern California and the best from Northern California. Northern California is back with an explosion of new drivers and veterans alike and with tracks such as Norcal hobbies this is only the beginning. For many years it was Kinwald vs. Beckwith or Kinwald and Pavidis vs. Matt and Mark Francis. Today we have a whole new generation of drivers looking to forge the same type of battle.
In a fitting gesture championship belts were handed out at the Northern California Challenge and with victories in 2wd modified and truck modified southern California resident Frank Root came home with 2 Heavy-weight belts. Drawing from his southern California experience and expertise Frank Root pulled off a sweep in qualifying with TQ’s in all 3 modified classes. However with rocket round type qualifying the pace was steadily increasing throughout the weekend with a push from all the heavy hitters.
Northern California did not go down without a fight as a fierce battle heated up in the 4wd modified class. Frank was pushed to the limit by Tyler Vik, Kevin Jelich, Aaron Biner and a host of the Norcal’s fastest drivers. In A-3 it was local and expert driver Tyler Vic who took the win and waved the Norcal banner with pride.
In the hot weather conditions the JConcepts Orange Compound Bar Codes were the tires of choice for Frank Root and many other drivers throughout the weekend.
Frank Root’s Associated vehicles were equipped with the following JConcepts products:
- T4 Hi-Flow body
- B4 Hi-Flow body
- B44 Hi-Flow body
- 6” High down force wing
- 6.5” High down force wing
- Bar Codes – Orange compound tires
- Bar Codes – White compound tires
Photos courtesy – R/C Evil Empire
For more Norcal coverage please read Frank Root’s extended trip summary below –
I headed up I-5 all the way to the Union City in the Bay area for the Norcal Off-Road Championships. Kevin Jelich and Aaron Biner talked me into making the drive for this first annual race. I was rooming with Sean Cochran, but met him up there as I had the long drive alone. I drove up Thursday night after work; it took about 6 hours, not too bad.
Friday morning, I check out of the Motel 6 around 8am and made my way to Norcal Hobbies. I was not really too sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the track. The track had a nice large building, with an indoor carpet track. It was “out of order”, as there were several tables and chairs lined up inside ready to treat the races to some indoor pitting. I had to check out the track before unloading. Walking on the driver stand, the first thing I noticed was how nice the track looked. It was perfectly groomed, had green astro-turf in the in-field sections, and even the white pipes were candy-caned in the turns. I also notice there were 2 “option lines.” After talking to some of the guys I found out the long option lanes were for the 1/8 electric class and the short for 1/10. It really worked out perfectly throughout the weekend, and both tracks were the perfect sizes, and the cars could run together in practice without colliding.
After unloading and getting everything charged and ready, I talked to Kevin Jelich, and he suggested starting with some Oranges Bar Codes so I mounted some up getting ready for my first packs. I started off with the B4, Orange Bar Code rears with 2-stage and white fronts with 2-stage. The level of traction was intense! The track was freshly sugared, and was a nice hard blue groove. The B4 pushed just a little, but was still very stuck. Some setup changes were coming! I ran the truck next, and it was hooked up. B44 next, and more of the same. All the cars were good, I was just learning the track, trying little setup changes to adjust for the super high traction. As I got more used to the track and found some rhythm, I really began to enjoy the track layout. It was fast and flowing, but still had technical spots. Fast lap times for 2wd and truck were in the low 20’s and 4wd in the low 19’s during practice. I had settle on Orange Bar Codes for the rear of all 3 cars, and orange fronts for 4wd and trucks, whites for 2wd. I rebuilt my shocks, and mounted tires to be ready for qualifying Saturday morning. Sean and I grabbed some In and Out, and headed back to the hotel for some much needed shut eye.
Saturday morning we set out to do 3 of the 4 rocket rounds of qualifying, and the sun was out and hot early. The track temp. was climbing and so was the traction. The first round went well. I got by for the 15th lap in truck, but unfortunately broke on the final lap, taking TQ, but not putting in an unbeatable time. I was also able to get the first round 2wd TQ and 4wd TQ. None of the runs were perfectly clean, and the times were beatable, so I had some work to do. The second round of truck did not go so well, as I rolled over on the 2nd lap, and that resulted in my antenna tube falling out, so my run was over. Aaron Biner (also on Orange Bar Codes), put in a 15 lap run also, and finished his last lap to take the TQ. In 2wd, Kevin Jelich and I got out front early and fast. We were well ahead of TQ and battled throughout the race. I was able to pull away a bit at the end, and secure that TQ with a 15 5:10, 1 second ahead of Kevin. 4wd went well too. After a little bobble up front, I was able to push really hard and get to a 16 lap run! This was the first 16 lap run on the track! The 3rd round of truck went better, I was able to run without breaking (lol), and set a new TQ, 15 5:17 about 2 seconds in front of Biner’s round 2 run. In 2wd, I didn’t have my best run and Kevin Jelich did. He stormed through the run having quick, and super consistent lap times taking the TQ down by 1 second, to a 15 5:09. In 4wd I put the TQ away for good. I have a nearly perfect run, pushing hard without crashing, and improved on the 16 laps run by about 3 seconds.
It was the end of qualifying on Saturday, we made it through all 45 heats, and there was sun light still left. The track was open for practice, and I was not 100% satisfied with my B4’s handling. Every since we have gone to the light weight setups, there has been a lot more learning about the setup, as the “full weight” car we had really dialed in. I tried several things, like 1* and 0* anti-squat, JC front wing (I liked), green rear springs, black fronts, different wheel bases among other things. The one change I really preferred was going to Orange Front Bar Codes. It gave a car a bit more steering, but was not to aggressive. I though I had gotten the car easier to drive and fast, the best of both worlds.
Sean and I packed up and headed out to dinner with Barry Baker, Jake and Josh Alton, and Jake’s girlfriend Darci. Applebee’s did the trick and after a couple drinks a good dinner we were all ready to get some much needed rest in anticipation of the final day of racing.
We got to the track around 7am, enough time for me to mount tires and scrub in some fronts before the 4th and final round of qualifying. I had the TQ in truck and 4wd, but wanted to get back on top of 2wd. Truck was up first, and I was leading the heat, just ahead of TQ when I broke on a truck that had spun on the straight. Aaron pushed hard to get to the TQ, but my time held up. 2wd was next, and this was the best round of the weekend. Both Kevin and I pushed hard, swapping fast laps. I had a bobble with about 1:30 to go and fell off the TQ pace, but was just ahead of Kevin on the clock. I pushed really hard over the last part of the race setting my fast lap on the last lap, and taking TQ by just under 1 second! I didn’t have much time to relax, as 4wd was up right after. Tyler Vik, Kevin and I all swapped the lead, but in the end no one could get close to the earlier TQ. I was able to TQ all 3 classes with the Orange Bar Codes!
After the mains got setup, we found out we up back-to-back-to-back in the 3 mod classes.
Truck Mains – A1 went well, I was able to pull out about a straight away lead from TQ, and cruise home to the win, Aaron Biner would finish 2nd. In A2, I had pretty much the same start, I got away clean and pulled out a little bit from Aaron. About 3 minutes in, I had a lengthy crash and fell behind Aaron, but was able to close back in, make a pass, and hold him off to take the win in A2, giving my the overall championship! Aaron went on to win A3, giving him a strong 2nd place finish, with Bobby Gately in 3rd.
2wd Mains – In A1, I got off to a good start, pulling out a small lead, and trying to hold on. With about 30 seconds to go, I rolled over on the corner table, falling behind Tyler Vik. I tried to make my way back around, but actually fell back to 3rd behind Greg Dennet. A2 was just a terrible start. I wheelied off the line, and Jelich and Vik collided with me, and we all went to the back of the pack. This spotted Aaron Biner a lead of about half a lap! Jelich and I worked through the pack getting back into 2nd and 3rd, and pushed hard to catch Biner, but just ran out of time. I finished 2nd, and Jelich in 3rd, giving 4 people a shot at a win going into A3. I knew I had to win and set a quick time. I got away cleanly this time, and Vik jumped into 2nd. I tried my best to gap him, know I needed to have a quick time and was able to do it. I snuck by for the extra lap and took the win in A3. When the results printed, I had won 2wd by getting the extra lap over Tyler, who finished 2nd, with Aaron Biner in 3rd. Aaron and I were both running Orange Bar Codes.
4wd Mains – A1, my start did not go very well, and I found myself trying to battle back from the rear of the field, but I was only able to muster a 4th place finish. Jelich won, with Vik in 2nd and Biner in 3rd. In A2, again I had a bad start, but was able to recover better this time and finish in 2nd behind Tyler Vik with Kevin Jelich in 3rd. This again setup up a shootout for the over all win in A3, between Jelich, Vik and myself. I was able to get a better start this time, and I did give up the lead to Jelich as I found my rhythm, I pushed right up on this rear bumper. Unfortunately, that is where my run went bad, as a collision pushed me to the rear of the field again. I was able to push back and get by Jelich for the 2nd spot, but in the mean time, Vik had moved around Jelich and pulled out to a healthy lead from which he would cruise in for the win in A3 and overall. Kevin Jelich and I tied on points, but I won the tie-breaker with fast times, giving me 2nd overall, and Jelich 3rd.
This was a great tune-up for the Hot Rod Hobbies Off-Road Shootout which starts next Tuesday. See you there!