In May, Dave Clutterbuck from No Limit UK traveled to the east coast of the US to participate in the Largescale Nationals held at Digger's Dungeon in North Carolina. Digger's Dungeon is the home of the Grave Digger monster truck, one of the original and most famous of all the monster trucks in history! This year Grave Digger celebrated its 30th anniversary with the help of largescale and Baja fans!
Sunday 6th May Driving practise with Dave's HPI Blitz at the OCP track (Orange County Paintball) just down the road from the Fascar speedway at Bithlow, Florida. The track was in a clearing in the middle of woodland, trees and hanging moss everywhere, and very hot – high 90's. They ran 2 rounds and finals. Dave finished 2nd in his final, which was good, as there were some experienced drivers at the meeting. On the Way to Digger's Dungeon Tuesday 15th May Travelled the 750+ miles to Grandy, NC with our friend Rick from Orlando. It's really easy driving in the States. We made the trip in 12.5 hours, including stops. We were staying at Barry's, Walnut Island, just a couple of miles from the race track. Wednesday 16th May collected the HPI Baja Trucks and Buggies from Eric and Angie Modlin at the Darc Hobbies store at Diggers Dungeon, Poplar Branch, NC. After seeing our photos and videos from the last few years and constantly telling him how awesome it is at the Nationals, Ashley decided it was time to see for himself, though he didn't need much persuading! He and his Dad Stu flew into Washington and arrived at the Dungeon on Wednesday afternoon. They spent a few hours checking the cars, ready for practise the next day. Practice Day Thursday 17th May Today was practise all day. The team used the day to see how the HPI buggies and trucks were handling on the off-road track. There was plenty of time to make any necessary adjustments to the cars. The layout of the track was really interesting, with rumble-bumps, tabletops, single jumps and straights. A lot of thought had gone into it and Henry Cross and his team had worked really hard to make it so good. The oval was the other side of the rostrum, which was a smooth, high-grip track when watered. Qualifying Friday 18th May First round of qualifying (the weather was really cold, but dry). There were 220 registered entries, making this the biggest Largescale event to date! The off-road qualifying started late morning followed by the oval qualifying. Saturday 19th May Second round of off-road and oval qualifying. Dave qualified 7th in off-road truck, 2nd in off-road buggy, 1st in the buggy oval and should have been in the ‘A' main truck oval but a computer error put him second from last in the ‘E' main. We didn't realise this had happened because after Dave and Ashley finished their qualifying, we went to Dennis Anderson's Muddy Motorsport Park to see the mud bog racing, especially his 2000hp King Sling truck. An awesome night was had by all! Ashley qualified 6th in the off-road truck, 3rd in the off-road buggy, 3rd in the truck oval and 3rd in the buggy oval.
Finals Time! Sunday 20th May – Finals The oval mains were on first, but it was only when we arrived that we found out about Dave's omission from the oval truck A main. The problem was eventually resolved. He was put in at 4th, where he originally qualified, and the laps were counted manually. Oval results – Dave finished 5th in the 5B class and 3rd in the 5T. Ashley finished 2nd in the 5B class and 5th in the 5T class. Off-Road Finals - Could Dave Pull it Off? There were showers during the oval finals, but it started to rain quite heavily for the off-road finals (just like the UK, except it was warmer!), which suited Dave and Ashley. It made the track very sticky and had a lot more grip than qualifying which was dry and dusty. During the truck finals especially, the cars collected so much mud in the side guards that the fuel caps were covered in mud which made the engine bog down. Dave's truck stopped on the run down lap. During the buggy final, Dave and Jady Baumgardner swapped first and second places several times until 5 minutes before the end of the race, when Dave started to pull away and eventually won by 6 seconds to become the US Largescale 5B champion! Off-road results – Dave finished 1st in the 5B's and 2nd in the 5T class. Ashley finished 5th in the 5B class and 3rd in the 5T class. Many Thanks! A big thank you to HPI Europe and HPI USA, also MMR Largescale and Uber RC. This would not have been possible without your help We all had a great time and the racing was awesome! Report by Jo Clutterbuck