By Aaron Waldron
Photos from Upgrade RC:
With last weekend's Hot Rod Hobbies Off-Road Shootout plagued by unseasonable, but much-needed, rain across Southern California, the debut of the long-awaited HB-HPI Racing 2WD buggy platform couldn't have been more low-key.
Since the team was certainly keeping the car under wraps all weekend (from both falling water as well as snooping eyes and camera lenses), the only photos of the HB D216 to make it onto the Internet this weekend were on the track - except for a couple of close-up cell phone shots from Jason Snyder, who managed to get a detailed look at the front shock tower mount - and the driver's side window of Ty's buggy. The action shots of Ty Tessmann's and Drew Moller's buggies were snapped by Upgrade RC's Robert Ibon.
We can’t see much in these body-on action shots, but there are a few details of the new car that are visible here. Unlike the designs of more carpet-minded cars like the Yokomo YZ2 and the Team Associated prototype used at the World’s Warm-Up, the motor on HB’s buggy looks to be mounted as far back toward the rear suspension pivot as possible. The spur gear is on the right side, indicating a stand-up three-gear transmission. The rear arm mounts look to be borrowed (or at least based on) the D413 4WD buggy, and the rear sway bar is visible as well. It looks like these prototypes were built with orange-anodized aluminum front steering blocks and carbon fiber arm stiffeners, but it's difficult to see just what material was used for the chassis.
Both Tessmann and Moller had solid finishes in the triple A-Mains for 2WD Modified but missed the podium. Given the diverse track conditions, this race means basically nothing leading into this year's ROAR Nationals and IFMAR Worlds - but it sure provided quite a buzz!