The Dirt Nitro Challenge is one of the most popular events on the calendar and kicks off the major 1:8 event season in the U.S.
With racers from across the world descending upon Fear Farm R/C Raceway, which is located just outside of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the event drew over 600 entries for a weeklong event unlike any other. Team Associated arrived Tuesday afternoon to set up their camp and look over the challenging Joey Christiansen-designed layout. With confidence high, the RC8B3 buggy and soon to-be-released RC8T3 truggy got some final setup tweaks to suit the Nitro Challenge track.
As qualifying began, the steady pace of the team was evident. With multiple top 10 runs from the Pro class drivers of Ryan Cavalieri, Spencer Rivkin and Kody Numedahl, along with more from the Expert class drivers including Rudy Rico, who top qualified both the Nitro and eBuggy categories, the platform was performing well. As the main events settled in, Team Associated was well represented across all classifications of racing, but it was Ryan Cavalieri who would shine the brightest at the end of the weekend.
With Saturday consisting of eBuggy and Nitro Truggy finals, Team Associated had some outstanding results. With a podium sweep of the Expert eBuggy class lead by Rudy Rico and his Reedy-powered RC8B3e, Dayton Brown finishing second and Eddie Laret finishing third, the car was star material. Combine that with a third-place finish from Cavalieri in Pro eBuggy and it’s clear the RC8B3e had the speed to compete. Additionally, a third-place finish from Spencer Rivkin and his RC8T3 had the upcoming truggy turning heads.
As Sunday rolled around, the excitement built throughout the day. With Rudy Rico finishing second in Expert Nitro Buggy along with four other RC8B3 buggies in the A Main, Team Associated occupied 1/3 of the entire field with none of them finishing lower than ninth. As the sun went down and the crowds gathered, the Pro Nitro Buggy Final kicked off. Drama erupted throughout the 45-minute main event with multiple leaders and passes. However, it was the relentless pace of Team Associated’s Ryan Cavalieri that would prevail at the end of the main that others called, “the worst track ever.” Cavalieri’s steady mentality and race craft was on full display as he outlasted the competition to take the first major nitro win of the season for the Team Associated RC8B3 and his fourth Dirt Nitro Challenge win in the premier Buggy class.