Valladolid, Spain. Notorious for its fantastic weather, food and wine was the host of the 2016 EFRA European Electric Off Road Championships this past weekend. The six-day event is split into 2WD and 4WD. Each class gets seven rounds of practice, five rounds of qualification and mains.
As usual, the battle for the top spot was a tight and intense affair. Team Associated / Reedy Powered’s Neil Cragg took the overall top qualifying position and backed it up with wins in the first and third legs of the triple A-main events, which gave Neil the 2WD European Championship title with his RC10B6D. Not only did Neil show his world-class grit and determination to win the title, but in his own words said, “It’s one of my best ever wins.” Neil managed to secure his ninth European Championship after a staggering eight-year gap. “Its good to be back on my game and finally break my TQ with no win monkey. I’ve been fighting that for a few years now. The track was a challenge for everybody.”
During qualifying it was a tic tac affair between Neil Cragg’s Reedy Powered B6D and Jorn Neumans. The old-school track threw up some hard questions and demands for the entire field including the front runners. Neil finally managed to get the better of Jorn in the final round of qualification with a nailbiter of a run.
The first main was a hard but conclusive victory for Neil. Feeling that the heat of the day enabled the tires to get better towards the end of the run, Neil opted for Re-runs in leg 2. This was a mistake and this error of judgment piled on the pressure for leg 3. A Main number 3 was the title-decider and Craggy never put a foot wrong, back on fresh rubber, a solid drive from start to finish with a perfectly calculated performance. Not only did Neil take the top step but Team Associated teammate and local Spaniard Carlos Pineda put in a solid performance to secure a phenomenal fifth overall. Young Finnish hot shot Joona Haatanen also made the main in eighth place with his Reedy Powered B6D and a fantastic display of maturity for such a young talent.
Neil said, “I’d personally like to thank the entire Team Associated Team for all the information and set-up advice, without which I’m certain I couldn’t have won. The B6D was new to me when racing on dirt and we all had to learn quick and work as a team. Thank you everybody, Carlos Pineda especially for the help with my 2WD set-up and Karri Salmela for my 4wd set-up. #WeAreAE”
Our congratulations also go out to Neil Cragg, Karri Salmela and Joona Haatanen for making the A-Main show in 4WD and putting up a good fight with the B44.3, showing that the car can still perform against all odds when we race on the surfaces it was designed for.
From all of us at Team Associated, thank you and congratulations. We couldn’t ask for a better group of drivers and friends.
Thanks to Neil Cragg for this report.