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May 2013

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RC Car Action - May 2013

F I R S T D R I V E

F I R S T D R I V E RALLYCROSS RACER SPECS Length: 13.19 in. (335mm) Width: 7.09 in. (180mm) Height: 4.57 in. (116mm) Ground clearance: 0.83 in. (21mm) Wheelbase: 8.27 in. (210mm) Weight: 2.12 lb. (962g) Chassis: Molded plastic tub Part no.: VTR01000 Price: 0 Most motorsports enthusiasts equate rally racing to watching some brave Scandinavian banzai down a narrow spectator-lined road while peering forward through one of the side windows. It’s perhaps a mix of experience driving in such varied weather conditions, and expertise in navigating the sometimes treacherous roadways of the region, that have made the countries of Finland, Sweden, and Norway a breeding ground for the best rally racers in history. The sport of Rallycross is only slightly more controlled, with the time trials completed on a closed course with the excited on-lookers kept at a safer distance … typically in actual bleachers, rather than standing on the side of a cliff. One of the most famous of these Rallycross courses is located at the Kemora Circuit in Veteli, Finland, a winding ribbon of asphalt with nine turns packed into just 1.7 miles of racing space. And that’s where Vaterra got the name for its 1/14-scale rallycross racer. The not-quite-mini sized chassis is covered with a realistic hatchback shell that surrounds the Velcro-fastened molded cockpit/dust cover and is decorated with aggressive hood and roof scoops, side mirrors, and rear wing - complimenting its WRC-derived appearance. Tucked inside its fenders are white wheels with 15-spokes (counting them can make you dizzy … I know), wrapped with gravel-spec tires that use blocky lugs for grip on asphalt, dirt, snow, or any other surface. The small shaft-driven platform is an exercise in simplicity, with a 1200mAh NiMH battery along one side, and the servo, receiver, and 380-size Dynamite brushless motor on the other; the Fuze Mini BL sensorless ESC is fastened to the top deck directly above the center driveshaft that connects its gear differentials, which adds longitudinal stiffness but makes the chassis off-road compliant for stable handling and added grip. A foam front bumper and molded crash zones for the car’s other three surfaces hint that the Kemora was intended for more than just single-car runs through Special Stage time trials. The perfect place for those heads-up, fender-banging battles just might be your driveway or local parking lot surface; the Kemora’s “gravel” tires meter the right amount of grip to offer tremendous control with enough give to allow you to slide the car around the inside of a corner marker – and beneath a competitor that over-cooked the entrance to the turn. The full-time 4WD and short wheelbase allow the Kemora to whip around tight corners like a barrel racer, with light and reactive steering that makes short work of twisty chicanes and cone-marked courses. The immediate surge of power from the brushless motor launches the Kemora from apex to apex, and keeps pulling up to 25mph with the included battery (up to 45+ mph with an optional 3S LiPo). The fun doesn’t stop when the road does; there’s enough ground clearance for light off-roading, and opposite-lock slides are even more entertaining when they spray pebbles and dirt at your feet. The Kemora takes flight with confidence, flying with a level and controllable attitude that ends in a drama-free landing if you can keep the front bumper and valence from digging into the ground, but you may find yourself too mesmerized by how fun it is to pitch the car into slide-happy figure-8s to ever bother with its jumping prowess. The Spektrum DX2L, fi rst used in TLR’s TEN- SCT nitro short course truck, works well for the Kemora, Kalahari, and Glamis Uno as well. Left: The 380-size Fuze brushless system provides wheel-spinning power. Right: Suspension travel is plentiful despite the short shocks. 36 RCCARACTION.COM

SPECS Length: 13.19 in. (335mm) Width: 7.09 in. (180mm) Height: 4.57 in. (116mm) Ground clearance: 0.91 in. (23mm) Wheelbase: 8.27 in. (210mm) Weight: 2.12 lb. (962g) Chassis: Molded plastic tub Part no.: VTR01001 Price: 0 DAKAR RALLY RACER This isn’t the fried squid appetizer you order at an Italian restaurant – Kalahari is the name of the sandy savannah in Southern Africa (say that five times fast) that covers 350,000 square miles of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Vaterra’s Kalahari pays homage to this otherwise inhospitable land by recreating the rally raid vehicles commonly used for long-distance competitions – the most famous of which is the Dakar Rally, which originally raced from Paris, France, to the peninsular capital of Senegal. Large SUVs that are heavily modified to carry days’ worth of supplies and support equipment are turned loose into the barren wilderness, given only maps and GPS devices to reach their destination during special stages connected by untimed liaisons that take the cars across thousands of miles. Winning in the African desert requires expert navigation, bulletproof equipment, and the guts to keep your foot on the floor when you don’t know what’s on the other side of the next hill. The Kalahari 1/14-scale desert raider is built upon the same platform as the Kemora, and the two share nearly all of their parts from the Spektrum DX2L radio system and Dynamite motor/ESC combo, down to the shaft-driven 4WD chassis and four-wheel independent suspension. The Kalahari wasn’t left out in the looks department either, with an angular and aggressive sport-ute shell covering its Lexan underbody. Aside from different body posts and bumpers, the Kalahari is set apart from the Kemora with its black split five-spoke wheels and gnarly treads that are more intrusive – to the surface beneath them, that is. You still get the NiMH pack and charger in the package, making the Kalahari another one-box RTR that’s ready to go as soon as you are. The Kalahari is somewhat limited in its ability to cope with huge trenches and ruts – you’re better off hitting hills head on and jumping them than you are slowing cresting the top, which can cause it to get high-centered. It’s most comfortable at high speed, blazing across dusty hardpack and powering through sandy washes while keeping the rpms of the brushless system screaming at the top of its range. The raised kick-up of the front bumper means that the Kalahari can charge jumps and survive nose-heavy landings better than the Kemora, which is a good thing when bottoming into the G-out you didn’t see coming while barreling across the desert at full speed. In fact, I found the Kalahari’s jumping ability to be its most surprising strong suit; the body didn’t suffer from the parachute effect of many closed-fender, off-road vehicles, and the truck handled what I put it through with grace and muscle. Top: Despite the limited space, the Kalahari’s electronics are neatly organized. Left: Ample suspension travel helps the Kalahari navigate rough desert terrain. Bottom: Raised front and rear bumpers help with ground clearance when ascending and descending. 37

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