Race Report: McBride Dominates GP Off-Road Aussie Champs

Brisbane’s Kyle McBride has defended his Australian Championship in GP Buggy, and added to it the GP Truggy title to double up at Logan Raceway for the 2014 Aussie Nats this past weekend.

McBride was utterly dominant across both 60 minute finals, leading throughout and winning comfortably. The combination of inch-perfect driving, unbelievable pace, incredible consistency and perfect preparation proving too tough for a high quality field.

In the Truggy final it was defending Champion Craig Laughton who took second with his TLR, while Townsville’s Zachary Cambetis got the better of a 60-minute duel with Andrew Gillott and Josh Pain for 3rd. Heartbreak for the Townsville youngster however, with his truck failing technical inspection after the race promoting Gillott to the podium. That’s a shame, but shouldn’t detract from a breakthrough performance after a strong weekend in both classes for Zachary.

In the buggy final it was an epic battle between Aaron Stringer and Craig Laughton, eventually resolved in that order behind McBride. Jason Dyckhoff in fourth from Andrew Gillott and Shane Kelly (who stretched to 10-minute fuel stops to help vault up the order).

It was, from where I sat, a thoroughly fantastic Australian Championship event.  Here’s some of the highlights from my seat.

Logan Raceway

The track, in my view, was brilliant.  A flowing combination of high speed, big (but safe) jumps and some real technical challenges all with a low-medium traction provided the arena for some spectacular racing.  The surface barely crumbled at all, retaining perfect condition right to the conclusion of Sunday’s Championship finals.

I particularly loved the high speed gap-jump to the back straight, and the full-bore left-hand sweeper to another gap jump right through the heart of the track. Engines screaming, cars cranking over on the outside rear wheel and blasting through this part of the track was a sight to behold.

Tight and technical stuff is great, and big jumps are fun, but give me high speed corners any day as a real challenge to chassis and driver. And this track had them in spades.

Brilliant.

Organisation

While I haven’t been to many major nitro off-road events, I’ve done plenty of big races over the years – and I think this was one of the best.  Preparation was good, organisation and systems worked well over the weekend, and the Logan club should be rightly pleased with their excellent event. Catering, watering, scrutineering etc all seemed well staffed and organised. That speaks of a quality effort in event planning. Well done to the host club.

Race Director/Timekeeper team Jarrod Currie and Brad Davis did a great job to keep things flowing and very close to schedule over four days of racing. Communication with racers was good, and I’m always a fan of having a race director/referee on the driver’s stand with the drivers.

The Kiwis

Great to welcome a bunch of Kiwis from across the ditch, and with some good performances from the crew. I was particularly impressed with 12 year old Gage Peters. He ran strongly through qualifying, and then put in some powerhouse performances to bump from Quarter to Semi-finals and only miss the Championship finals by a small margin.  Great stuff (Oh, and happy birthday to Gage for Monday)! Trust me when I say you’ll hear more about this young man in the years ahead.

It’s not just the winners that matter

Quite often at these events, attention focuses on the outright results – and fair enough when one of the main purpose of the event is to crown national champions. That shouldn’t detract from those placing a little further back however, where we often see some cracking performances.

Dane Ryan was one man who put on quite a show this weekend. He qualified a little lower than he might reasonably have expected (through a range of circumstances), but then came out and won two finals in a row (the 32nd and 16th for the record) before jumping straight into 2nd place in the 8th final and looking every bit like he would bump again into Sunday’s quarter finals before mechanical failure put him out.  Superb driving from Dane.

There were a few who made the Championship finals too, who deserve a pat on the back.  In Truggy we saw excellent performances from Darren Lord, Matt Templeman and Brendan Wade for example, while over in buggy land, top 15 appearances for Ben Sterling, Chris Sturdy and Steve Smith are to be applauded. Double-main starts for Tim McKay would send him home well pleased with his weekend.  I think it’s worth observing Shane Van Gisbergen’s efforts too – a semi-final appearance at the Nats in his first nitro buggy race a fine performance.

The Aaron Stringer Story

Brisbane’s Aaron Stringer would be expected to be a front-runner, and came to the event with high hopes. He endured a horror qualifying run with all sorts of problems cruelling his hopes and seeing him sit 51st at the conclusion of Saturday’s final qualifier.  He would start mid-field in the 8th final, win comprehensively before doing likewise in the quarter final to get to the semi final.  A second place to McBride would complete the powerhouse recovery.

The story didn’t end there however, Team Stringer having to call a delay before the main final, resulting in a rear-of-field start for Aaron.  I’ve already mentioned above how his battle with Laughton was one of the highlights of the weekend, and to eventually finish second behind the peerless McBride was a remarkable result. Kudos!

In Praise of the Mechanic

For those running two classes and hoping to run up front, Sunday at these events gets pretty frantic.  A pair of 30 minute semi-finals followed by a pair of 60 minute championship races and with very little turn-around time in between really compromises the capacity to maintain and prepare good race cars.

I can’t help but wonder if the advantage then passes to those who are only running the one class – or who have full-time or dedicated mechanics.

A case in point, Matt Griffin started both finals out of position two before failing to finish due to mechanical issues. Meanwhile Stringer, McBride and Laughton all had team support to help keep things moving.

It has to eventually make a difference doesn’t it? it goes to show, I think, that the GP side of our sport has a particular team character about it (or at least it does for those running multiple classes).

Fuel Strategy

One of the things I really enjoy about the long finals is how fuel strategy plays out. There’s the balance between pure performance and tuning for economy, and also the variances between different engine manufacturers and fuel suppliers.

Take the Truggy final, for example, where we saw fuel mileage as short as seven minutes, and as long as twelve (yep, Darren Lord ran 12 minute stops through the Truggy final to stop just four times. Meanwhile Josh Pain in a huge fight with Gillott and Cambetis had to try and overcome a one-stop disadvantage.

Even in the buggy final Canberra’s Shane Kelly rode a 10 minute stop strategy into the top 6.  Up front, Kyle McBride seemed to be able to run an extra lap on most of his rivals, while Aaron Stringer likewise picked up a one stop advantage in his battle with Craig Laughton who had to pit one final time with two minutes to run while within sight of his target.

Low Grip = Cheap Tyre Bills!

There is such a trend toward high grip tracks in off-road (and on-road to be fair) right now, that a low traction surface is unusual. The Logan surface has been similar for years – even when it grooves up, traction levels stay at the low-medium level. One of the benefits here is the capacity to run super-soft compound tyres but still only have low tyre wear. For most it was a cheap weekend in terms of tyre bills (compared to other races where it can be anything up to a new set ever run).  I don’t think the racing suffered at all – with a little bit of slide offering some spectacular action, and still plenty of drive to get over the well-spaced jump combinations.

I think in low grip a particular kind of driving style pays dividends too. There is always the temptation to keep the car sliding, drifting and wheel spinning. It’s fun and it looks spectacular. But (and it’s a ‘big but’) it’s not always fast.  Being very precise with throttle and steering inputs, being meticulous about keeping the car flowing, keeping mid-corner speeds high, and above all staying on the swept clean racing line pay dividends.  McBride never looked out of shape all weekend. Matt Griffin too in his easy semi-final wins kept things all gathered up and under control. A lesson there for all of us who like to drive just a little on the wild side!

It’s a Wrap

You can check out the full results over here. They’re from the backup timing system rather than the official system, but with the exception of the Cambetis DQ from Truggy final, should be complete and correct.  You’ll find a full race report in Racing Lines in a month or two, including a heap of action photos.

If I find videos or photos appearing, I’ll add links here later.

It was Kyle McBride’s weekend in terms of the two championships on offer. But beyond that there was a whole lot to like up and down the field. I was glad to be there.

Kudos to the Logan club, and their major partner the Logan City Council for bringing such an excellent event to life.

Now, over to you. Were you there? What did you make of it? Who were the guys you think worthy of note?

Logan 6 Hour Enduro: Through a driver’s eyes

So, we’ve said plenty about the results at the Logan 6 Hour TC enduro held last weekend. Check here for our race wrap.

But what was it like?  How did one team (Dominos) approach the event?

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I thoroughly enjoyed my Enduro experience. It’s the first time I’ve ever raced over such a long period, and the challenge of lapping consistently quickly, being gentle on the car, keeping the systems ticking along and having a bunch of fun all at the the same time I found very rewarding. Continue reading

Race Preview: 2014 AARCMCC GP Off-Road Australian Champs

Photo 15-09-13 4 48 05 PMThe eyes of Australia’s R/C community are turned on Brisbane this week, with one of the most important race meetings of the year just about to kick into action.

It’s now just 4 days until the Australian GP Off-Road Championships fires up. It’s arguably the most competitive event of the 2014 racing calendar with competitors gathering from all corners of the country at Brisbane’s Logan Raceway to duel for Championship titles in both Buggy and Truggy classes.

The lineup for this event is mouth-watering.  The Logan club have a reputation for building a good quality race track, and the strong south-east Queensland scene along with drivers travelling from far and wide ensured the event is a complete sellout long before racing commences. It’s very close to a complete lineup of the very best in the country. Ari Bakla, Zac Ryan and Andrew Foord are missing, along with one or two others (and sadly the Tasmania’s aren’t there this time) but it’s an extremely high quality field of 105 buggies and 75 truggies that will fire up on Thursday morning. Continue reading

Logan 6 hour run and won

The winners were grinners but so was everyone else, on a night of incredibly good humour and with a great quality of racing, (in 6 hours hardly so much as a tiny lexan swapping) a new style of RC racing reared it’s head in Brisbane. Now an event with history and a 100% success rate, watch out for details of next years race.

First, The Dominoes. 871 laps. Hot Bodies

Scott Guyatt, Anthony Atack, Jason Dorn and Michael Redman. A team stacked with talent and looking the goods from the first lap – into their 4th driver change and disaster struck in the form of the makeshift quick change battery cage falling out of the car – repaired but down 9 laps on second. From there they gave an awesome display of error free driving to claw back around a second a lap and by the end led by 11 laps. Just one set of the hand out tyres used for the whole race. Brilliant effort,

Second, The A team. 860 laps. Tamiya

Tim Weier, Clinton Livingstone, Johnny LaSpina and Chris Sturdy. A different driver change strategy to all the other teams, this team kept their drivers on the stand for almost the mandatory full driver time of 75 minutes whereas other teams rotated on battery changes. Did that strategy work – well almost, they did lead for a good chunk of the 6 hour but were not quite good enough to beat the Mod drivers in the Dominoes. A great performance non the less. Both sets of tyres used, no other car issues.

Third. Team Argo829 laps – Xray

Karl Kuehner, Terry Norman, Michael Chiam, Michael Belby. Immaculate preparation and great team spirit, the champions of good-natured sledging and a very competent driver line up. Judging from their team banner they were driving some kind of disguised and prototype Durango, whatever it was it ran faultlessly all night, not sure if it was tweaked during the night at all but it was certainly going hard in the last hour or so. Again I think only one set of tyres used.

Fourth, Predators 747 laps 3 Racing

Wayne, Max, Cooper and Mel. These guys had a pretty solid run. Used both sets of tyres and had a servo change during the night

Fifth, Team Schuie 741 laps reduced by penalties to 691 laps. Mi4

Duncan, Ed, Noel,and Robert. Changed the speedie 3 times before realising it was the motor – motor change and the time in the pits cost them a certain 3rd place.

Sixth, The Hypeas 705 laps reduced by penalties to 655 laps. Mi4

Shane, Tristan, Josephine, Kirk.

A night punctuated by problems, mostly electrical but still there at the end and still smiling.

I think the event went very well, I think all the participants enjoyed the event and will be back. An event of few simple and easily enforced rules – a declared success. Maybe some of the drivers will comment here with their own versions of what happened, what didn’t happen and for future planning what we could have done differently. We do have 12 sets of the control tyre left so it should be easy to guess what the control tyre will be next year and that only one set of tyres will be issued to each team.

Roll on RC racing – winner.

 

 

Logan 6 hour

I usually love events with history but today I’m looking forward to a different event.

No history a brand new event – the Logan 6 hour.  4 drivers per team and not the usual 4 cars per team this one is one car – one car for 6 hours and shared driving.

The teams 4 people are responsible for everything, no outside pit crews, no marshalling help the crew has to do it all

  • Car preparation
  • Battery charging
  • Tyre gluing (2 sets of control tyres supplied)
  • Marshalling – one marshalling point to each team – points drawn from the hat
  • Driving – each team member to drive 75 minutes minimum
  • Remain good-natured and bribe the race director (chocolate usually works with Heavy) through the grueling 6 hour ordeal.

So who will win, the mod teams or the guys that regularly race 21.5 or a mix.

Will anyone go the 900 laps or will mechanical failure, breakages, motor burnout or tyre issues bring the likely laps back to 800 or 850.

There is some thought that a kit will be supplied next year which will have to be built, painted etc within the 6 hour or maybe some other innovations, so even before the running of the first event I’m predicting that it’s an event with potential to get some history and to be a hugely successful night. If you aren’t running in the event drop down for a look.

Racing will start at 4 and go till 10 or the last man drops whichever come first. see you there.

Logan Onroad – The Enduro

This Saturday see the inaugural running of the Logan 6 Hour, an innovative event which has fired the imagination of a few racers and which it’s hoped will become an annual event. This years event will be the platform from which future events are shaped, then again maybe we’ll get it right this year and won’t need reshaping for the future, time will tell.

If you haven’t got a team together yet there is still time, drop down on Tuesday night and get in the spirit of the event where teams will be practicing and where there might be late teams forming and possibly looking for drivers.

Date: Saturday 12th July 2014
Schedule:
Practice: 2.00 pm – 3:00 pm
Drivers’ Briefing: 3.15 pm
Qualifying : 3:30 – 4:00pm
Racing Starts: 4:00 pm Finish Time 10:00 pm

At first glance the entry fee of $100 seems a bit steep but when you consider that includes 2 full sets of tyres it becomes very reasonable and divided between 4 it’s not at all bad.

The intrigue surrounds the questions of motor heat at normal gearing, battery life, tyre life/tyre rotation, quick change battery arrangements, diff life (ball or gear), chassis setup – quick or easy, driver fatigue and so on – I am, like others looking forward to doing something completely different.

If you aren’t in it why not come on down and help out in some way or just be a part of the spectator fleet.

I leave for 6 weeks holidays just after the event so it will be my last RC appearance for some time.

 

Bayside Saturday 5.7.14

I think the short story is – good racing in the 3 National EP classes at Bayside tonight.

We’ll have to wait for the results to reveal the full story of the night but I can comment in a couple of the classes.

21.5.  Heavy set the pace in qualifying in the new Schumacher after some great dicing with the old foe, Brad Hall in Q2 and Michael qualifying in 3. Heavy won the first final being the only driver to go 18 laps. In the second final Heavy launched the EVO onto the grass at the end of the back straight, squandering a 3 second lead and being marshalled back into 3rd place, what followed was the best 3 car dice I’ve been involved in for years over 4or 5 laps. Brad won from Heavy and Michael – so the overall win to Heavy, I think Brad or Michael second.

13.5. I think Keith maybe from Cooper and maybe Brad, certainly Karl Yeong had the Awesomatic going much better tonight to be right in the mix as well.

Mod. I really can’t say as I didn’t watch a mod race, I know Terry broke his car and had an early night, I know peter had a front belt failure but apart from that I know nothing.

Anyway a good night, glad I was a part of it, good racing, a few laughs and some good company.

My night. The 1 degree arms on the rear of the EVO certainly gets it on the straight line pace where I was down a bit with the 3 degree arms last fortnight. I ran the Blinky motor mount tonight which I don’t think makes much difference to performance but certainly makes it easy to get the ratios you need in 21.5 without the pinion fouling the motor screws. I think the EVO is a quantun leap over the Mi5 in the corners, in through and out all improved. Havent tried it on Logans sweepers yet but so far very impressed.

 

 

Race Report: Bedzzz AARCCMCC Qld Champs EP Off-Road

Photo 28-06-2014 7 31 57 amI was trackside in 1993 when R/C superstar Darrin Campbell went on a rampage, sweeping one of the best quality fields ever assembled in 2wd Modified, 4wd Modified and Modified Truck at the NSW Championships. Campbell remains a giant of the sport in Australia, and that was perhaps his finest moment.

It’s way to early in a young racer’s career to suggest Mitchell Steer is a new Darrin Campbell, but his performance this weekend was reminiscent of that dominant St Ives showing from the NSW superstar.

Everything Steer touched this weekend turned to gold. He top qualified and won both the 2wd and 4wd Modified buggy classes, qualified second and won the 2wd Short Course Truck class, then backed up with another TQ and win in the demo 4wd Short Course truck class.

On a weekend when there was so much to like, Steer was the standout.  As we already noted in an earlier post, we at Action R/C salute this outstanding performance.

So, what else?

Darren Lord put on his own dominant performance, not only helming the club that hosted the event and putting a heap of work into it, but then backing up to top qualify in and win the 2wd Stock buggy class, then come from 3rd on the grid for a quite incredible 4wd Stock buggy win (and capped it off with a 4wd SCT podium to boot).  Chris Sturdy had earlier completed the set of winners in capturing the Stadium Truck class.

GCRC Raceway, and the Gold Coast Electric Off-Road R/C Car Club (who share a symbiotic and extremely positive relationship) were the hosts for this first stand-alone AARCMCC Qld Championships (there’s a long, complex and currently unresolved story regarding the national association AARCMCC and long-term Qld body ORRCA Qld which we won’t unpack here), and also the first ever to run indoors.

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The track was brilliant all weekend long, matched by the quality of facilities at GCRC. We’re unashamed fans of the track, club and Martin Moolman’s business at GCRC, and were delighted to be part of the event.

As we noted in our preview, tyre choice and in particular tyre treatment were hot topics in the pits all weekend long. Treating off-road tyres with grip-enhancing chemicals is a foreign experience to most off-road drivers, and so for many (except those regular racers at GCRC) this was a first. Some figured it out pretty quickly, others took longer, some never came to grips with it.  For the moment the Australian rules don’t disallow additives, and the systems needed to eliminate it at tracks where it matters (such as GCRC) would be prohibitive. Think tyre impoundment, fitting tyres to your car in a controlled area just before you go to race, removing them again after scrutineering…it’s a minefield and a lot of hard work for race organisers.

There will be those who will say that additive use and knowledge determined the victories this weekend….but I disagree. There will be those who say that local track knowledge determined the winners…but again I disagree. The layout while challenging, was learnable, the surface unusual, but manageable.  Without question there were advantages to local drivers – but there always are, and I don’t believe those were insurmountable on this occasion.  Those that won were the best, it’s that simple. The best prepared, the best setup cars, and overwhelmingly the best driven. As it should be.

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Here’s a few observations from each of the classes.

Stadium Truck

I’m not a fan of this class. There, I said it out loud. It has had its time and place, and long been superseded by Short Course Truck and in my view it’s time for us to remember it fondly, but let it go. There are a small group however who continue to champion it’s inclusion in sanctioned events and so it continues.  In any case none of that takes away from Chris Sturdy (AE T4.2) and his dominant performance. He swept qualifying, won all three A finals at a canter and thoroughly deserved his title.  Event organiser Jaime Cramp came from third on the grid to over-come well-traveled Victorian Andrew Salvaggi who was strong particularly in the finals and knocked off compatriot John Watkins.

2wd Short Course Truck

Biggest class of the weekend, and pretty hard-fought up front between Jacob Staines, Mitchell Steer, Shane Van Gisbergen and Martin Moolman.  Staines took the TQ spot with a 0.1 second win in Q4….it was tight!  He conquered A1 by less than half a second before Steer got going to take A2 and send it to a decider.  Mitchell it was who would prevail to lock up his first win of the weekend with the TLR truck, Staines in two and an impressive Shane Van Gisbergen finding his way onto the podium.  It was a stacked A final, with Jamie Cramp and Nathan Ramsey fast, Casey Stoner impressive in making the main event. Scott Corby annexed the B final win and Michael Griffey the C.

2wd Stock Buggy

This is a strong class at GCRC, and it was no surprise that regular fast guys from the club dominated – they are some of the best in the country anyway. Darren Lord and Martin Moolman shared the qualifying round wins – Lord getting TQ courtesy the fastest time. Lord (Schumacher Cougar KF) was just too strong in the finals to sweep all three wins, with other results quite mixed. Moolman did enough for second ahead of Dave Ruddell, with rapidly improving young driver Nathan Ramsey fourth. Ex-Tasmanian Alex John took the B final over impressive Bob Vardy and Tak Woo.

2wd Modified Buggy

For many this remains the premier off-road class, and the lineup was something to savour.  Nobody told Mitchell Steer he doesn’t have enough experience to win….and so he did.  Quali was intense, tenths in it, and Steer prevailed over Staines and Sturdy. Andrew Gillot looked the most likely of the interstate drivers to challenge, going within a whisker of a qualifying round win, but ultimately just falling short on sheer pace.  A1 went to Staines over Steer, A2 to Steer over Sturdy, leaving all three in the running for the outright win.  An ill-fated passing attempt from Staines on lap two put him into the wall and out of the title fight, Sturdy then took up the challenge, but Steer ultimately too strong rebuffed them both to wrap it up with his Yokomo B-Max 2.  Anthony Campbell was too strong in the B final ahead of Casey Stoner and Sam Wells.

4wd Short Course (Demo)

Not an official class, but no less hard fought for it, this one ended up being a straight fight between Steer and Van Gisbergen. Mitchell was too strong in qualifying, sweeping all four rounds, but Shane always looked like he had the pace to force the issue if he could just find a way to the front. That’s what happened in A1, Van Gisbergen getting an upset win with a slashing drive, before Steer put things to right with dominant A2 and A3 wins at the wheel of the TLR.  Darren Lord and David Browne argued over P3, eventually resolving the dispute in that order.

4wd Stock

Dallas Gardiner became the first interstate driver to take a round win in Q1, then backed it up in Q2 to really put the field on notice. GCRC owner Martin Moolman responded in the best possible way, taking Q3 in the fastest time of the day, and then overcoming Dallas on the last lap of Q4 to snatch a deserved pole position. In A1 a big first lap bingle delayed the field, and Marty simply vanished out front.  Lord had been on the back foot throughout qualifying but came from the clouds to win A2 and send it to a decider.  A3 was a ripper: Moolman and Gardiner tangled on lap one, putting Lord out front. Marty recovered and pressed hard, but ultimately not able to pass and Darren went on to take the win from 3rd on the grid – Moolman and Gardiner joining him on the podium. Kudos to Victorian Cameron Zammit, WA’s Gabriel Mikhail and Sydney-sider Alex John who really pushed hard in the finals to finish 4-5-6.  Robert Rutledge took an entertaining B final series over Simon Smith and Peter Hickey.

4wd Mod

So to the final class, and my personal favourite R/C class.  Josh Pain started getting to grips with the track today and really pushed hard in qualifying, but Steer just had too much, Sturdy and Staines also edging out the West Aussie as qualifying concluded. A1 went to Steer over Sturdy and Pain, with Staines jumping the start and the resulting one-lap penalty burying him in the field.  Pain came out all guns blazing in A2, applying the blowtorch to Steer early, but Mitchell just too good to wrap up the title early.   Sturdy took the last win to grab second, Pain third.  John Watkins took the B final win.

I’m calling this a really fun, very competitive weekend of R/C action.  Tight qualifying, intense racing, strong fields, great truck. Congrats to GCEORRCCC and GCRC, and thanks to drivers who came from all over the country. I was glad to be there.

Our Race Weekend

As we already noted elsewhere, delighted by Darren Lord’s performance in taking the stock double with the Schumacher Cougar KF and Schumacher CAT K1 Aero buggies.  Team leader Dave Guyatt had an on-track weekend to forget, but fun otherwise.  I really enjoyed 2wd stock with huge thanks to Dad, Nigel, Noel and others who looked after the car while I told stories on the microphone all day.  The Cougar SV2 mid-motor buggy was in great shape and if only for a better driver was easily good enough for a podium position.  I had a blast calling the action, adrenaline was definitely flowing in the commentary box in some of those super-tight qualifying and finals races! Thanks GCRC/GCEORRCCC for having us along.

Finally…here’s a little video gold from Harry. Brilliant mate, don’t know how you knock this out so fast.

 

Lord and Schumacher do the double

Darren Lord does a total shut out of the stock classes at the BEDZZZ AARCMCC Qld Titles, having won 2wd yesterday he continued on to win 4wd in his Schumacher K1 Aero. No TQ today and no clean sweep of the finals but 2 out of 3 was enough to clinch the title.

 

imageDarren also took 3rd in the demo class – 4wd SCT.

Chris Sturdy took out the Stadium truck class on Saturday.

Driver of the event was undoubtedly Mitch Steer – winner of 4 events with driving of the calibre unlike anything I’ve seen for a long time. SCT, 2WD MOD, 4wd Mod, and 4WD SCT with TQ in some of those classes as well. With a great attitude to go with great skill this young man will go a long way, ActionRC salutes you Mitchell Steer.

My performance this weekend, best described as absolutely abysmal – enough said.

The event – fantastic, congrats to the club, the GCRC, and all involved and thanks fir the hard work etc from you all.

buggyitup Wednesday night

 

Darren Lord / Schumacher KF TQ and clean sweeps stock

Punching above our weight on a numerical basis Schumacher cars filled 3 places in the A final of stock at the AARCMCC Qld Titles at GCRC today and our own Darren Lord took out TQ and won all 3 finals in his Schumacher KF buggy to put his stamp firmly on the title.

 

image

Scott Guyatt tied for 4th (5th on countback) in a Schumacher SV2 mid motor buggy while Buggy It Up Thorpe finished first rear engined buggy in his Schumacher KR, good work all round and thanks guys for your support.

Mitchel Steer – It has to be said that the absolute Sensation of the days racing was the performance of Mitchel Steer. In SCT and 2wd Mod buggy there were some heart stopping, nail biting, fabulous racing and through it all emerged the prodigous talent of young GCRC driver Mitchel, in winning both classes, beating some of the best drivers in Australia, he has come of age, will be a fasinating career to watch.

There are plenty more stories to be told and plenty more winners from a fantastic day of racing at GCRC and no doubt we will tell them when we recover, but for now it’s rest time because we do it all again tomorrow in 4wd.

 

Event Preview – AARCMCC Qld EP Off-Road Champs at GCRC

A few years ago a bunch of guys gathered on a building site at West Burleigh to kick off a little dirt track racing on a temporary track.  From those typical and humble beginnings sprang the Gold Coast Electric Offroad R/C Car Club.

A year or two later, the club would move indoors, operating out of the brand new Gold Coast R/C Raceway, brainchild of club member Marty Moolman.

Fast forward another couple of years, and we’re about to witness both the club and GCRC come of age as it hosts the AARCMCC Queensland Championship event this weekend. With a great crew of members, the full support of GCRC Raceway and sponsors such as Bedzzz Tweed Heads….all is in readiness.

In three days time we’ll have crowned the champions, the dust will be settling after a huge weekend of racing, and the “what-if” stories will be being told over a cold drink.

So…..what can we expect over these next few days?

The Track

First, the track. It’s 18-20 seconds of sinuous, rising, falling perfectly groomed clay goodness.  Now on their fourth layout, the GCRC track crew have matured their design approach, and the skill with which they work the surface.

While this will be the first time the track has seen such heavy traffic, and so many cars, we will be surprised if the track offers anything other than the same fantastic, consistent surface we’ve become accustomed to.

The challenges?  Timing in the jump combinations is critical – and it’s so easy to over-jump and lose precious tenths.  On-power steering out under the bridge, the ability to hold the car tight in the off-camber hump at turn 5, and a neat, perfect entry to the front straight are all key areas of the track.

The brilliant high speed sweep of turn 1-2 contrast with the demands for sharp low-speed handling through the chicane – so car setup is always a challenge.

The layout in place for the Championships flows well, and won’t take visiting drivers long to get to grips with. All-in-all I think it’s a worthy platform on which to crown a set of Queensland Champions.

Tyres and Traction

Perhaps the biggest challenge is generating competitive levels of traction.  The control Panther Slick tyres chosen for the weekend offer good consistent performance, with very little wear – so everybody starts on an even playing field.

The big unknown is tyre treatment and preparation.  Once the domain of on-road racers, chemically treating tyres is becoming more and more commonplace in off-road, and for this track in particular it’s essential to get it right.

The most common approach will be the use of Stick Kicks tyre treatment (the Blue stuff in particular) but judging by the smells emanating from various corners of the pit area, there are a host of other options being tested.

I have to say, I’m not a fan of tyre treatment.  It’s hard to get around without enforcing very stringent tyre controls (like a tyre impoundment area), but I think it’s a little sad that we’re essentially heading down the chemical warfare track. I know that’s just me and I don’t speak for everybody. It’s also not peculiar to this event, but an emerging issue for EP Off-road in general.

The Drivers

It’s a seriously talented lineup right across all the classes.  There are a host of gun local drivers who already number among the best in the country – but whom with the bonus of home-track advantage will be even tougher to beat.

And then there are the visitors – drivers coming from nearly every corner of the country to tackle the unique GCRC Raceway.  Some of the very best are lining up, including the majority of current Australian Champions.

It would be remiss also not to mention a couple of very high profile competitors tackling their very first Queensland Championship event in R/C racing – in the form of MotoGP superstar Casey Stoner, and V8 Supercars gun Shane van Gisbergen. Both have logged plenty of track time and should go well.

How to pick winners in such a tough field?  I’m not sure we can do it with confidence, but we’ve never shied away from having a crack at tipping before, so we’ll give it another shot.  Here then are the names we think will be worth watching:

Stadium Truck

Stadium Truck somehow keeps hanging in there as a championship class, and this weekend it’s the smallest of all – but still some pretty serious talent.  Chris Sturdy will probably start favourite – but John Watkins (Vic) has put in some track time and is an accomplished trucker in his own right. Look for Andrew Selvaggi to be somewhere near the front too, and event race director Jaime Cramp.  We tip: Chris Sturdy.

4wd Short Course Demo

14 trucks in the massively overpower 4wd short course demo guarantees some pretty insane action from the big bangers of 10th R/C.  Not only that but the talent on display is pretty insane.  Mitchell Steer, Darren Lord, Dave Brown, Shan Van Gisbergen for a start are all quick locals – while NSW Dallas Gardiner has done more laps around Australian race tracks than perhaps anyone we know.  Look for him to be right on top of GCRC’s peculiarities by Sunday afternoon and pushing hard. We tip: Mitchell Steer

2wd Short Course

With 24 starters it’s the biggest class of the weekend – and the speed with which the big trucks get around the tight confines of GCRC is nothing short of amazing. This will be one of the tightest classes of the weekend with a long, long list of contenders.  From a local perspective, Mitchell Steer, Marty Moolman, Jacob Staines, Shane Van Gisbergen are among the frontrunners.  But watch out for Ashley Peeler (Vic). Ash is one of the best truck punters in the country and we think he might do something pretty special this weekend. It’s a big call for him to get over the top of such a talented local crew, but I’ll go out on a limb.  We tip: Ashley Peeler

Stock Buggy

18 4wd and 23 2wd buggies will battle it out this weekend. Not only will the fight up front be intense, but even just to make the A final will take serious speed.  It’s a long list of contenders, but right at the front have to be Darren Lord and Marty Moolman from a local perspective. Throw in other fast Queenslanders like Dave Ruddell, Nathan Ramsay…..I give up, the list of fast locals is long and distinguished.  Watch out for ex-Tasmanian Alex John. I think it’s his first visit to GCRC but the guy can sure drive. Dallas Gardiner is a smoky for sure – particularly in 4wd as he gets to grips with the track. Don’t be surprised to see him up front. We tip: Darren Lord (2wd) and Martin Moolman (4wd).

Modified Buggy

The premier classes in EP off-road continue to be modified buggy (in our view).  And this weekend will be special indeed. From a Queensland perspective the list of contenders includes Jacob Staines, Chris Sturdy, Mitchell Steer and Jason Dorn – but it’s the interstate contingent that will make these two classes something to watch. I can’t wait for finals time both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Josh Pain, David Warner, Ashley Peeler, Andrew Gillot, Sam Wells…that’s a lot of talent and not even a complete list. Still, taking on the cream of the locals on home turf is a big ask. We think 2wd might go to a GCRC regular, with the visitors coming on strong in 4wd with the benefit of extra track time playing out.  Could it be the coming-of-age of speedy local Mitchell Steer? The prodigiously fast Jacob Staines?  The legend Josh Pain? Time will tell. We tip: 2wd Jacob Staines, 4wd Josh Pain

The Manufacturers

In terms of car manufacturers, it’s such an open field right now. Yokomo bring 2 great cars and some quality drivers, Kyosho’s latest are very competitive, both Team Associated and TLR have talent to burn, and Team Schumacher  will be up front (particularly in the Stock classes).  Then there’s Durango, Team C…. Such an open field from a manufacturer perspective.

Spectators Welcome

One thing we know…no matter how the racing unfolds, there’s a huge amount of anticipation around this event. It’s the first such event for GCEORRCCC, the first for GCRC, a rare event in Australian history in terms of an indoor venue.  Make sure you find the time to get trackside over the weekend to check out the action.  Racing starts 8am each day, with four rounds of qualifying followed by the finals series. Finals should kick off early afternoon.

We’ll publish daily updates here, and try and keep some news flowing over at our twitter feed: @scottyg_rc.  There should also be regular updates at both GCEORRCCC and GCRC facebook pages.

See you trackside, and be sure to stop by and say g’day.

Team Schumacher Queensland

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