Throughout 2012 and 2013, BMiller Racing’s Brian Strange has been knocking on the door of RC racing’s elite group of drivers. At last week’s IFMAR World Championships at Sliver Dollar Raceway in Chico, CA, Strange proved that he belongs in the discussion when talking about the sport’s premier names.
He finished 22nd overall in 4wd buggy amongst the top 150 world qualifiers and was 36th overall in 2wd buggy. In combining the finish totals from the two classes, Strange finished 25th overall, a true breakout against the best RC drivers in the world.
Sponsored by Team Associated, Reedy, and DE Racing and supported by A Main Hobbies through BMiller Racing, Strange turned many heads in Round 3 of qualifying for 4wd Buggy when he posted the seventh fastest time in the round for the entire field. He would go on to qualify for the C main, where he finished second behind Switzerland’s Patrick Hofer. Strange placed sixth in the D main of the 2wd event.
The United States continued its RC off-road domination at the IFMAR World Championships with Jared Tebo (Kyosho) winning the 2wd title and Steven Hartson (Team Associated) taking home the 4wd championship.
BMiller Racing’s Patrick Zhao has primarily earned his RC success the past two years racing short course trucks. But this summer he focused his energy into 1/10 electric buggies and the effort is beginning to reap its rewards.
At the AKA Off-Road Kings at Nor-Cal Hobbies in Union City, CA, Zhao won the Open 4wd Buggy title and placed second in a stacked Invitational 17.5 Buggy field.
Driving a Team Associated B44.2 with ProTek saddle pack batteries and a ProTek 100T servo, Zhao won the first and third heats of the AAA main format to stand on top of the box in the final standings. The decisive final round came down to a battle of Zhao versus heat two winner Aaron Kelly. The action would not disappoint as Zhao led from start to finish but had to hold off the charging Kelly to win by five seconds.
Jesse Stark dominated the field on his hometown track in Invite 17.5 Buggy, but Zhao was steady as well and outlasted many of Northern California’s best stock drivers to take second place.
BMiller teammate Justin Moon entered the premier class of the weekend, Invitational Mod Buggy, and came away with a very impressive sixth place overall finish after eight rounds of racing against a world-class field. Reigning IFMAR World Champion Ryan Cavalieri finished first and multi-time national champion Jared Tebo was second while Eric Albano rounded out the podium.
Five members of the BMiller Racing team made the short trek to Delta RC Raceway in Antioch, California for the 3rd Annual Short Course Explosion and came away seven podium finishes, highlighted by a sweep of the three expert buggy classes. Eddie Bernal won 2wd Open Expert Buggy while Terry Wickum was first in 17.5 NR Buggy and Patrick Zhao finished on top of the box in 4wd Mod Buggy. All three BMiller Racing drivers were powered by ProTek batteries from A Main Hobbies.
Bernal started fifth on the grid for the eight-minute A main in expert buggy but worked his B4.1 Worlds Factory Team Associated up to third after three laps. Laying down four consecutive 18-second laps, Bernal shortly thereafter moved into second and then first on lap 12. From there he never looked back and took down the top spot by a little more than 10 seconds with the only 27-lap run. Bernal also finished second in SCT Open Expert behind Team Losi driver Phillip Atondo.
Wickum has been on fire all summer in 17.5 buggy, and the Short Course Explosion added to his resume. Piloting his Associated B4 with soft Panther Lynx 2 ribs on the front and soft Panther Raptors in the rear and DE Racing black Borrego wheels all around, Wickum was absolutely dialed in the main. Starting in the TQ position for the eight-minute main, he won by nearly two laps over the rest of the field and posted a 26-lap run that would have finished in the top five in the 2wd expert open main.
Zhao just recently took up 4wd buggy but has found the transition pretty easy after running 4wd SCT for the past year. Earning the TQ with his Associated B44.1, Zhao took home a close win with a 27-lap run driving on Panther super soft Raptors on the front and Panther super soft Rattlers in the rear with white DE Racing Borrego wheels on each corner.
Zhao also took home first place and the $100 winner-take-all cash prize in the Delta Derby, teaming with local standout Dennis Close in a five-minute, 20-car short course shootout, featuring 10 teams of two drivers each racing with no corner marshals. Zhao was the only driver to complete 16 laps and Close registered 15 laps to come away with a two-man total of 31.
The other two BMiller Racing podium finishes came from a second place showing by Troy Hanson in 4wd Intermediate SCT and a third place from Justin Moon in 4wd buggy.