For the 15th year in a row, Hot Rod Hobbies in Saugus, CA played host to the Off Road Shootout. As has become the custom, racers were greeted with the desert heat and triple digit temperatures throughout the event. However, given the track layout, surface and competition it didn’t seem to damper the racing any. With entrants from across the Nation and World, many of the top 1:10 electric off-road racers challenged for the wins.
On day one of qualifying, everything seemed to be the status quo. The regular group of guys dominated the top of the standings. That was until the second day of qualifying and Team Associated/Reedy/LRP’s Steven Hartson found his groove with his Factory Team B4.1 Worlds Edition. Hartson would battle with the some of the top racers in the world and hold off their charges in Q3 and Q4 to secure his first major overall top qualifying effort. Not to be left out of the mix, Ryan Maifield put his Factory Team B4.1 just behind Hartson in the 2nd grid spot for the triple A-mains in 2wd Modified. Maifield would also dominate 2wd Modified Short Course qualifying with his Factory Team SC10 and Reedy Sonic/LRP SXX V2 combination taking the overall top qualifying position in that class.
As the mains got underway Sunday morning, the major buzz around the pits was if Hartson could match his performance from the previous day. A good jump in A1 was all the Team Associated driver would need to gap the field. Driving with an ease and comfort few ever have, Hartson set a pace that only teammate Ryan Maifield could keep up with. At the end of A1, Hartson secured the victory by 4 seconds over Maifield. In A2, the Associated duo got another good jump on the field and Hartson again set a blistering pace that only Maifield could keep up with. This time, Maifield stayed a bit closer and kept the pressure on his young teammate only to come up 2 seconds short, thus earning Hartson his first major victory.
Even though most of the eyes were on the 2wd Modified mains, Maifield and Hartson weren’t done contesting for wins. Maifield made it look easy in 2wd Short Course Modified with his Factory Team SC10/Reedy Sonic 7.5/LRP SXX V2 TC spec combination. He checked out from the field in both A1 and A2 to secure the title. In 4wd Modified, again Maifield was on point getting a hard fought victory in A1, a close second in A2 and a walk-away win in A3 for his second title of the weekend. In the Truck Modified class, Steven Hartson and his new found confidence improved each of the triple A-mains. Getting a 3rd in A1, a 2nd in A2 and the win in A3 he tied for the overall victory, however lost the tiebreaker by 0.1 of a second. Not to be left out of the victory celebration, Team Manager Brent Thielke found his way to the winner’s circle in the 1:8 eBuggy class with his Factory Team RC8.2e/Reedy Sonic 2100 kV/LRP iX8 combination. Also taking victories with Team Associated vehicles were Kevin Motter in 2wd and Truck Stock and Tyler Sweeney in the Rookie class.
A special thanks goes out to the whole Hot Rod Hobbies crew for a great race, flowing track and great racing surface. Team Associated would also like to congratulate Steven Hartson on his biggest win to date and look for the team to contest the ROAR 1:10 Off Road and 1:8 eBuggy National Championships here in the next few weeks.
For more information, visit www.teamassociated.com