Every 2 years, the RC world awaits a race held so special to many in the industry including the world’s best 1/8th nitro drivers. However, it’s not only the biggest race for the guys and gals behind the radio but for the entire team. It’s also the most important race for chassis manufacturers, tire, engine, fuel companies as well as team managers, pit crews, and mechanics. After a grueling 1 hour long main, a very deserving World Champion was crowned.
This year, the IFMAR Worlds was held in Perth, Australia at the amazing MORBC track over an extended period of nearly 10 days. The track crew at MORBC wanted to make this race standout from previous worlds by building a track that was unique and challenging and they did exactly that. Every racer in attendance had only positive things to say about the layout. Mixed with features that kept things interesting and entertaining, the layout was hugely popular and a pleasure to drive on by drivers of all skill level.
The unusual track shape at MORBC is different from most tracks that allowed the crew to create a lot of interesting features with a massive infield. From the tricky step downs to the off-cambered chicanes, the Worlds layout had a bit of everything, but just having everything doesn’t mean that it’s always good. The key was having each feature naturally flow into the next resulting in an indescribable feeling of goodness and flow. The real trick to the MORBC track was the evolution of the surface as the event progressed. After 10 days, the track had a plenty of character that many weren’t accustomed to making it all the more special. Great job by the crew for the amazing job on keeping to a tight schedule and for all the hard work and maintenance required to hold a Worlds event.
After 6 rounds of qualifying and taking the best 4 rounds to score all 266 drivers, the 1/8th Nitro Semi’s were set requiring all racers race into the A-main. The show didn’t disappoint! What a battle in both Odd and Even Sem-finals and after two exciting 30-minute semis finished up, the A-Main was set marking these 13 drivers the top 13 in the world on this weekend.
From the sound of the tone, Mugen/JConcepts’ Ryan Maifield would lead the elite field around defending attacks from Xray’s Ty Tessman and AE’s Davide Ongaro and controlled the gap from his competitors. After building a comfortable margin of a few seconds over his competitors, Maifield looked poised to add another WC title to his resume. Unfortunately for 2nd place qualifier and current World Champion, HB Racing/JConcepts’ David Ronnefalk, had issues with his clutch slipping because of bearing grease and was forced to pit on the 2nd lap to re-burn in his clutch system. The reigning champ was in for an uphill battle for the entire hour-long main having to rejoin in last place.
Maifield looked to have the winning pace for the first 1/3 of the race, but the young Italian, Ongaro turned on the afterburners and started to mount his attack. With a small mistake on Maifield’s part, Ongaro seized his opportunity and took over the lead. From there, Ongaro pushed hard for the next 10 minutes to distance himself from his rivals and really started to build a nice rhythm. As the gap widened, Ongaro got stronger each lap and eventually stretched his lead to the point that only a flameout would give his opponents a chance at a win. Flawless and without issue, Ongaro completed the 1 hour main demonstrating his next level skills earning him his 1st World Championship title.
Ryan Maifield would ultimately put himself on the podium in 3rd place making it his 1st ever podium finish in nitro 1/8th. David Ronnefalk drove out of his mind to recover from last to finish 4th and close to a podium spot. AE/JConcepts’ Ryan Cavalieri put it together towards the end with great final rounds of qualifying and semi-final runs to get him 5th overall. Naoto Matsukura, the newly crowned 200mm Nitro champion put in a solid run to finish 10th with TLR/JConcepts’ Reno Savoya taking 11th with a remarkable final day, much like that from 2016.
Congrats to Davide Ongaro, his team, and to his family on his amazing performance delivering a spectacular race to earn him his 1st World title. Check out the race video below.
The 14 and under class is always fun to watch as it gives a huge insight to some of the future stars of the industry. In a quick 15 minute all-out battle, it was Caleb Noble taking the win over HB Racing’s Hampus Berg and Harry Sims. The three competitors were evenly matched and provided a close battle for the entire duration with Noble taking the win in the end.
Flip through the event gallery to get a better perspective of the amazing Worlds in Perth!
Here are a few other fun videos talking with Ryan Maifield and also the debut release of the Blocker tires and S15 body.