Friday my daughter Rylee 'Mini-Machine' Hickerson and I attended Round 5 of the All Out Purge Series Race 5 at Dean's. The layout was the same as the Buggyland race so I already knew the layout. We got there Friday evening after a long 3.5 hour drive and setup camp. I built an Sworkz S35-4 buggy last Sunday and was very eager to see if my SOAR 998 setup would work on this new buggy as SOAR Seiki closed down during the pandemic and doesn't appear to plan to ever reopen again. The build went fairly smooth on the Sworkz nitro buggy and with a few option parts I took off my SOAR buggy and put on the Sworkz, it was ready to rock.

I practiced 3 tanks and by the 2nd tank I was already on pace with what I had done with my old SOAR buggy. It basically felt the exact same going around the track except the VRP Gamechanger shock pistons I put in felt like they had less pack than they did on my old buggy. But I believe that was a good thing because it soaked up the bumps and ruts with ease. I practiced a few more tanks just trying to get my engine fully broke in but it still wouldn't idle well due to a tight pinch. It got dark so I called it a day and decided to wait until Saturday to change the engine.

During qualifying I decided to test some more new tires to see if anything would work better than my favorite tire - the Cactus. They all felt good but none were as stable as the Cactus on the dusty and bumpy groove. The tire that felt the closest to Cactus was the JC Recon and the Pro-motion Blackbird. They both had more forward traction but less side bite and were worse in the dust if you got off line. So if you wanted consistency, the cactus is the way to go. If you simply want one fast lap time, the Recon/Blackbird are faster but harder to handle. I also tried some Hole Shot type patterns and they were decent all around also but not as good and locked in as SSLW Cactus. I ran 2 qualifiers in 40+ and 2 in Open Nitro Buggy. I TQ'd 40+ and qualified 2nd in open buggy due to a flame out in the faster 2nd round. I went ahead and swapped out the engine to one freshly rebuilt by Y'all Industries, and with Ryan LeCuyer's tune, it ran perfect for the A-mains. They ran a purge main to determine 2nd-12th starting positions but I missed it while swapping engines, so I had to start the Open A-main in last place.

The 40+ A-main was up first. It was 20 minutes long. My daughter pit me all by herself all through qualifying and this was going to be her first time pitting me in a main event. She was so scared and didn't want to do it but I told her it was just a race for fun and no big deal if she messed up. We did some practice stops and after a few flame-outs, she got it down. I decided to try a medium compound tire to see how it would work on the medium bite track because it was about 96'f outside. Unfortunately they were too hard and I was loose the whole main event. But I took the lead and checked out. My first pit stop was slow but she did a good job with the help of Jenny Nowak. She needed help because she couldn't hold the fuel gun and pickup and set back down my buggy by herself. So she had a helper catch and release my buggy while she filled up the tank. I came out still in the lead but with 2nd place in hot pursuit. I pulled away again but after the 2nd and final pit stop I made a mistake and dropped to 2nd place. I had a great battle with Carl Lebo for the lead and with about 1 minute to go I got by and held on for the win.

The Open A-main was up next. I switched to SSLW Cactus as the sun was starting to set and the temps cooled down some. I Came from last to 2nd on lap one. A few laps in the leader crashed so I took the lead and checked out. My buggy was amazing through the ruts and was so easy to drive. I lapped the field and went on to an easy win. I want to thank Carl Lebo for helping my daughter pit me to another win. He grabbed and she refueled. I also want to thank Brent Densford at Beach RC & Hobbies for allowing me to test the new Sworkz buggy which was Dialed! I still plan on testing some other buggies as this was the first different buggy I have driven since 2018, but I am pretty sure this is the buggy I will stay with for 2024 as I couldn't be happier with its performance the first weekend on the track.