This year saw 4 WD buggies hitting the track first for the Invitational class.
There was a lot to see, with spectators making all sorts of predictions,
amplified by many of the top drivers scrambling in unfamiliar vehicle territory.
Highlights included TLR’s Dakotah Phend showing impressive speed with
extremely confident driving, and Yokomo’s Ryan Maifield who, in spite of
losing one round due to a failed idler gear, was equal in points with XRAY’s Ty
Tessmann with his XB4, which many thought wouldn’t be easily adaptable
to clay-type surfaces. The last round of 4WD was a great race between 2016
2WD Open champion Joona Haatanen and Tessmann. The drivers battled nose
to tail, with the lead changing in spectacular fashion, all with the crowd erupting
in huge cheers of praise for the victorious Haatanen. With six rounds of 4 WD in
the books, the leader board was starting to take shape with Tessmann, Phend,
and Maifield all gridlocked with nine points, and with AE’s Ryan Cavalieri and
Alex Kosciuszek within striking distance, each having 11 points. But in spite of
some exciting battles and close racing, 2WD buggies had yet to hit the track,
and this surely was expected to shake things up.
Overall TOp 10 resul Ts fOr
InvITa TIOnal Class af Ter 4WD
1. Ty Tessmann/XRAY, Dakotah Phend/TLR, and Ryan Maifield/Yokomo ( 9 pts.)
4. Alex Kosciuszek/AE and Ryan Cavalieri/AE ( 11 pts.)
6. Spencer Rivkin/AE and Joona Haatanen/AE ( 13 pts.)
8. Jared Tebo/Kyosho and Dustin Evans/AE ( 14 pts.)
10. Cole Tollard/AE and Chad Due/AE ( 18 pts.)
As the 2WD portion of the Invitational class got under way, it appeared that
Phend was going to take his momentum and run away with it. And as the
initial 2WD round showed, it was a good bet, with his TLR 22 3.0 looking fast.
But later rounds weren’t as favorable for the young driver, and his results
moved him down in the points race. The other big names were making moves,
however. Once again, a “Ryan showdown” between Maifield and Cavalieri
developed; they were clicking off wins and showing their trademark fast and
consistent style. When taking dropped races into account, the Ryans had all
wins in 2WD heading into the final round. As luck would have it, both met in
the final race, with Maifield holding onto a precarious one-point advantage.
A win was the only option for Cavalieri. He started up front in the outside
spot on the grid, with Maifield starting on the second row. As the start got
underway, Cavalieri’s reputation of having ice in his veins played a key role.
He grabbed throttle at the horn and moved up front from second on the grid,
but Maifield was also on his game and moved pass Spencer Rivkin in the first
corner in what must have been some frustration for Cavalieri. Rivkin also had
a lot at stake, and a win would grab the last step on the podium, complicating
the results even further and casting doubt on his ability to use team tactics
in order to help Cavalieri secure the overall. The three were racing hard, with
Cavalieri up front clicking off fast laps, and this pressure may have caused
Maifield’s undoing as he made a mistake and hit a pipe. Whether this caused
his mechanical or not, the end result was a broken e-clip on one of his shock
shafts, which relegated Maifield to the sidelines. Cavalieri didn’t miss his
opportunity and drove away—and, with it, the overall, earning his record-setting fourth Reedy Race Championship title to date and leaving Maifield to
play the bridesmaid. With Rivkin coming up short in points, Tessmann had
enough to take the third spot overall.
TLR’s Dakotah Phend was showing
great speed in 4 WD. Although he came
out swinging in the early rounds of
2 WD, he couldn’t find the consistency
needed to repeat the performance that
earned him the overall title in 2016.
Ty Tessmann surprised many
by switching to XRAY at
the beginning of the year.
He adapted well to the new
buggies, earning third overall.
Here’s the final race between Cavalieri,
Maifield, and Rivkin as they headed into
the infield on the first lap.
2017 Reedy InteRnatIonal off-Road Race of champIons