JConcepts takes 3 positions in the A-Final at 1:8 Off Road European Championship.

by Rich on July 15, 2010

Event: 2010 EFRA 1:8 Off Road European Championship
Date: July 6-10 2010
Location: Just outside Guarda in Portugal

We opened up our blog of the Euros after day one and unfortunately
thereafter we got sucked into the hard work and long days of the event
to not be able to continue with our daily reports.

Having now got home, I am able to reflect on what was a successful event for Team JConcepts…

After the untimed practice on Tuesday, We then had 2 timed
practices on wednesday, the re seeding of the heats and then a final
practice run in the new re seeded heat order. The timed practice gave
us a change to see who was laying it down together with the target to
get in the top 60 and be placed in a qualifying heat with the top
drivers. One round of the two was to count toward this, but the most
important thing was to learn the track and get the set up right.

For the first run we wanted to test Subcultures in yellow. The yellow
compound worked well in untimed practice, we just needed to know if
the smaller pin worked better than the blocky Crossbow or Crowbar, as
so many other drivers were using a pin type tire of other brands. As
it turned out, the smaller pin did not work out for us, proving that
on the dusty sections, it did not cut through and on the smoother
sections, the pin rolled over providing less grip. In order to balance
this out, other drivers were now looking at softer compounds to get
grip. Long term, I saw this as a bad move as the softer tire would be
worn out after 10 minutes and also to start over heating. I needed to
get a tire on Lee’s car that was good for qualifying but also a tire
that we would use for the longer finals. Well at least that was the
plan.

For the 2nd timed run, Lee had the great idea of cutting out a centre
bar of the Crowbar tire, in order to open up the block sections of the
pattern. We ran this cut with Crowbars all round in the yellow compound
and hit the track. Standard yellow inserts were being used for all of
our runs as this would help with the bumpy conditions. With Lee still
learning the track, a few mistakes were made, but posted some good lap
times and an overall 5 minute run that was good enough to be placed
30th after time practice. Although not at the top of the tables, we
were now getting pretty confidant that we had the right tire and the
set up just needed tweaking a little. Elliot Boots had concluded
pretty much the same thing, but had chosen Crossbows instead. Elliot
was also placed inside the top 60 and would run in the same heat as Lee.

For the final run of the day, we used the same set of tires and made
some car adjustments. The run was just a quick go, but proved that we
now had a race car and Lee was getting pretty hooked up with the now
bumpy track. I’m sure most of you would have read about the condition
of the track and will get the idea. For me it was not as bad as
expected, and Lee’s super smooth driving style was really working out
as he could take the shortest distance from corner to corner without
getting the car out of shape. Wednesday night was spent watching the
Germans get knocked out of the world cup…. we all got a bit upset
about their exit!!!!

For Thursday we had 3 rounds of qualifying. The heats would rotate to
give everyone a fair crack within the round. With Lee and Elliot being
in heat 5, they kinda got a ruff deal as they would run last of the
fast guys in 4 of the 5 rounds, but thats life. Round 1 went really
well and Lee placed 8th with no major problems. Elliot struggled,
making a few errors and was in the twenties, but looked fast…. if
anything to fast for the track conditions. Round 2 was quite a wait as
heat 5 concluded the round. A new set of yellow Crowbars was fitted to
the car and for the first few laps Lee was on TQ pace. Unfortunately a
slight miss of line over the final double jump caused a roll over. The
car was in no mans land and after what seemed like ages, the marshall
got to Lee’s aid. Another mistake a lap later killed what could have
been a storming run and had to settle for 22nd in round. Elliot had a
servo fail during this run which put him out.

With the temperature now around 34C for the final round of qualifying
we chose to run the prototype platinum compound crowbars. The platinum
is slightly harder than a yellow and it was hoped they would last
longer in the hot conditions. The track was now at the point where you
had to hit every right line lap after lap. The jumps had now getting
blown out and the driving was now at another level. Lee ran well with
one mistake over the 5 minutes which gave 13th for the round and
another coulda shoulda. A top 5 time was well within Lee and the car
and all was god. Lee commented that the platinum’s had less traction
than the yellows, but did not get edgy during the end of the run,
allowing him to push on for the whole 5 minutes. This was excellent
news and looked like the right choice for the finals.

At this point of qualifying, we had 2 good scores and one reasonable
score (3 out of 5 to count). With a bit of luck we might have done
enough to secure a semi final place already and we went to dinner
feeling pretty happy with the days work. On arrival to the track on
Friday, we were welcomed with foggy/cloudy weather and a slightly
repaired track. The cooler conditions was welcome but this meant that
the yellows needed to go back on. Other racers where still running
softer M3/blue/soft type compounds after trying M2/yellow/medium
compounds. This did make me think we either are doing something wrong
or our tires are really good :)

Round 4 and again had it not been for traffic, top 5 would have been
possible, however 11th was a welcome reward and now a semi final
position was in the bag. Changing nothing for round 5, 7th in the
round was to be our best result and an overall placing of 9th was very
satisfying. Elliot again struggled in rounds 3 and 4 leaving himself
without a shot at a direct semi final place. For round 5 his team made
lots of changes to his set up and to the type of engine. This gave
Elliot lots more control and still on the Crossbow’s, placed 5th in
the round and in the quarter finals. The final round was great for the
team, as both guys had finished qualifying on a high.

Team JConcepts Qualifying Results

9th Lee Martin
19th Jorn Neumann
27th Elliot Boots
36th Luis Rodrigo
95th Jamie Booth

For finals day all we needed to work out was whether to run yellow’s
or platinum’s. After rounds 4 & 5 the pace of the track had slowed
some what and I was starting to feel that the tires were not getting
as warm as in rounds 1 & 2. Going for the platinum’s just might be the
wrong move as more control was needed and the softer side wall would
help the car’s suspension. We had the semi practice to test out our
set up and get used to the track conditions, but before that the lower
finals had to run. From the 1/8th final Luis Rodrigo bumped up and
would now race in the other 1/4 to Elliot and Jorn. Although I didnt
seen the race Luis then successfully bumped to the semi’s. In the
other 1/4 Elliot cruised to 2nd place behind fellow Brit Bloomfield
and Jorn placed 4th, so we now had 4 of the team in the semi finals…
result.

Practice went well and we settled to run yellow Corwbars, with Elliot
on yellow Crossbows. On to the first semi, which would feature Lee,
Elliot and Jorn. Lee did not get the best of starts and by lap 1 was
around 10th, but in touch with the pack. Up front the Aigoin brothers
had escaped and Elliot was running well in 4th. Lee was to have 2 fuel
stops over the 20 minutes which put him at a disadvantage with a few
mid pack runners who were one stopping, so after our first stop Lee
was still no further forward in 9th, but again not far behind the
pack. Elliot had now got into 3rd with his one stop helping out, and
Jorn was having a ruff time at the back of the race. With the second
stop done, Lee was now in a fight with Miguel Matias and Linus Thern
for 5th, 6th and 7th. Top 6 would be prompted to the main and I have
to admit everything was crossed in the pit lane. With 2 laps to go
Matais had edged out a few seconds in 5th and Lee had somehow to get
past Thern. After the back roller, Lee made what was the pass of the
event by getting good drive off the roller and making a move around
the outside of the net corner to now hold 6th. Lee landed every jump
perfectly to cross the finish line in 6th and with it, a place in the
main final. Funny enough, Lee thought he still needed to get Matias
and was still pushing on that last lap. As he crossed the line he
looked down at us for conformation, only to see us jumping up and down
with joy. That moment really was electric and such a rush for us in
the pit lane. Elliot had held onto 3rd in what was a fantastic drive
for him.

Whilst we prepped for the main, the other semi final was on. Luis
finished 5th which made 3 of the JConcept drivers in the Euro main
final. This was equal to AKA and one below Proline showing what a
great products JConcepts have. For the main final Elliot would line up
5th, Luis 9th and Lee 11th. Places are decided on semi final times,
but to be honest it did not matter, being in the main was the weeks
target and now we could relax and enjoy the main event.

Before the main final there was the normal 40+ race for the old men.
Second on the grid was legend Jamie Booth. Jamie was running the same
tire combination as Lee, and Jamie went on to win the EFRA 40+ final.
JConcepts was again EFRA champions, we just hoped that we could do it
again in the big one.

The main was 45 minutes long and with Lee commenting that the car got
better during the semi, we stuck with the same tire set up. At the
start Lee had a great start getting up to 4th after several laps. The
chasing pack was snapping at Lee’s heals and it was not long before
they got in the way and messed up Lee’s pace. Following a number of
mistakes, Lee had drop down the order and was running with Elliot in
8th or 9th. Mid race Luis had a problem with a broken rear suspension
and this proved to be the only failure of the main. Elliot had dropped
way back from Lee, but was now in the groove and catching up. At around
30 minutes Lee’s car was starting to look difficult to drive, and it
appeared the shocks had all gone soft. Elliot soon caught Lee and the
boys now ran 8th and 9th. This is how they finished and at the time is
way disappointing to not have finished higher, but thats racers for
you!!!!

So as the dust settled we came away very happy with the teams and the
tires performance. From qualifying, Lee ran the same tire patten, the
same insert and same wheel in all qualifiers and finals. This was
something that very few racers managed to do and made our life so much
easier by being able to concentrate on the car set up and track lines.
Thanks JC…..

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