By Aaron Waldron
Last night, at around 7 PM on the West Coast, Ty Tessmann posted the following to his Facebook page (and the post was shared by HB and HPI Racing official accounts on Facebook and Twitter):
The photo, tagged to have been snapped at the SoCal headquarters of HPI Racing, clearly shows something along the bottom that was purposely edited to be unclear.
Immediately, the assumption has to be that what was obscured in the photo is a new version of the HB 2WD buggy (probably named the D215 going by the brand's current naming patterns) that's perhaps closer to production than what the HB team has been racing for the last year - and that Ty used to win the Cactus Classic:
That car, as has been documented, borrowed concepts from the Kyosho RB6 and Centro C4.2 buggies - evolving over its time as a test mule to include more and more parts designed by HB (including items - like shocks - from the two-time defending national champion D413 4WD buggy). Here's what it looked like at the Reedy Race:
What might we learn about the new car this week? Probably not much. Ty and the HB team have made it clear that the purpose of the project is to be ready for this year's IFMAR World Championships - so not only is this alleged debut a couple of months early, it's also going to be on a blue-groove dirt track versus the astroturf that will be used at Yatabe Arena. The Tessmanns and HB camp did a great job of keeping the original D413 under wraps at the 2013 ROAR Electric Off-Road Nationals before it was allowed to be photographed anywhere but on the track, and they'll probably be equally unlikely to discuss anything about the car before the company is prepared to release everything all at once. At the same time, it won't really be fair to judge the car's performance - or its readiness for the Worlds - simply based on this one weekend.
But if information does become available, you'll know where to come find it!