The 2016 1/8th ROAR Off-road Fuel National Championship was decided over the weekend of June 8th – 12th at Thornhill Circuit in Hutto, Texas. This year, the track size was reduced from the previously extra large track size to a more common 1/8th scale size, but the biggest difference was the addition of covered roof that kept the Texas heat from beating on the track causing excessive amount of tire wear. It was a welcomed feature that added to the uniqueness and magic to what is better known as Thornhill Circuit.
The 2016 ROAR layout was designed by master track builder, Joey Christensen and was easily recognizable upon first glance. The elements of berm turns, off cambers turns, doubles and triples, all seem to magically flow together resulting in a driving experience that felt professional, challenging, and most importantly fun. Add in the fact that the crew at Thornhill did a remarkable job in maintenance and preparation making the 2016 Fuel National Championship one to remember.
In qualifying, it was JConcepts’ Ryan Maifield stealing the show by TQ’ing almost every round of buggy and truggy. The cars, the tires, the setup, and driving was beyond exceptional and the results showed as he outpaced his competitors. The only person that was able to deny Maifield a perfect effort in qualifying was JConcepts teammate, Spencer Rivkin. Rivkin was able to TQ the 4th and final round of truggy while Maifield finished closely in 2nd. However, with that win Ryan would claim the overall with his young teammate 2nd on the grid. In 1/8th buggy qualifying, Maifield was perfect going 4 for 4 giving him the overall TQ. This allowed him to skip straight into the A-main without running the semi-finals.
On main day, the 45 minute truggy A-main had everyone on their feet. It was the spectacle everyone was waiting for and from the tone, Maifield took advantage of his TQ position and started to build a comfortable gap to about 4 seconds early on.
After the 1st round of pitstops, the gap was still intact, but it was Rivkin who was starting to find his rhythm and slowly chipped away the gap. After 24 laps, the gap was down to 1.5 seconds and you could feel the battle was heating up among the 2 fastest drivers. Unfortunately, Rivkin would make a costly mistake that also resulted in a flame out. The pressure had lifted and Maifield was able to cruise to a relaxed win of about 14 seconds over 2nd place finisher Ryan Lutz and Ryan Cavalieri who finished 3rd. Unfortunately for Lutz, after tech inspection, his truggy was underweight and disqualified moving Cavalieri to 2nd and Ty Tessman to 3rd.
Spencer would battle back to finish 6th and put in the fastest truggy lap of the race. JConcepts’ Alex Kosciuszek would finish 9th after starting 15th on the grid! JConcepts’ Steven Hartson would suffer a mechanical and finish 14th.
The moment everyone was waiting for had finally arrived…. 1 hour of 1/8th scale buggy A-main. Much like truggy, Maifield would lead the field from the tone. However, that’s where the similarities would end as the two mains were completely different stories.
Before the 1st pitstop, Maifield had made a few mistakes that saw him drop back to 5th early in the race and handed the lead over to Spencer Rivkin. Once Rivkin was in the control, he was able to drive at his own pace and start to break away from the rest of the pack all jockeying for position. Upon the 1st pitstop, as Maifield was getting topped off for fuel, he would suffer a flame out in the pits losing valuable time to the leader and to his competitors.
Putting his head down and charging for almost 40 minutes and laying down some of the fastest laps seen all weekend, it wasn’t until late in the race that Maifield was able to jump back into 2nd as he had to catch and pass the likes of Lutz, Cavalieri, and Tessman; some of the best drivers on the planet. By the time he was able to recover to 2nd, he had a deficit of over 8 seconds to his young teammate, Rivkin. With no time left on the clock, Rivkin was able to cross the line earning him a victory lap taking the win with one of the best performances the Arizona youngster has ever delivered.
Almost picture perfect for 1 hour, Spencer Rivkin would claim his first national title in 1/8th scale! Maifield would finish 2nd just missing that extra lap. Hot Bodies’ Ty Tessman would finish 3rd.
Also congrats to Dillion Caldwell for a wonderful performance in the Under 16 division showcasing his talents as a driver and becoming your 2016 ROAR 1/8th offroad U16 champion!