The Queensland Champs is in the books for 2014, and it’s been a cracking weekend at the Fraser Coast R/C Club’s Hervey Bay raceway. It’s the first time the Qld Champs have visited this venue, and I daresay it won’t be the last.
The Championships went to:
- 21.5: Rob Tyler (Schumacher)
- 13.5: Scott Guyatt (Schumacher)
- Open: Jason Dorn (HB)
- F1 Demo: Ed Clark (Speedpassion)
The host club put on a cracking racetrack that had a little of everything. The fantastic high speed sweeper at the end of the back straight leading to a fast infield loop and dangerous final corner, and then a tight and twisty infield section demanding accuracy under brakes and a tonne of low speed steering. Each corner led on to the next in such a way that making a mistake in one corner would have consequences for the next couple as well. Great job by track designer Shev, and the Fraser Coast crew for the perfectly presented racetrack.
The track surface itself is a little older, and the resulting high tyre wear meant that tyre management was at a premium all weekend long. There were those who tried to get through qualifying using just one set (and thereby retaining two for the finals), while others had to burn through two or even three sets just to make the starting grid for the A final championship events (or to fight for a higher starting position).
ORRCA Queensland’s experienced race management team did a good job to keep things flowing smoothly across the weekend.
From our (Action R/C) perspective, the weekend was a success, Mi5evo cars capturing two of the three Championship classes, and plenty more well in the mix as well.
Read on for our view of the race action, and the story of our own race weekend.
F1 Demo Class
The F1 class attracted a quality field this weekend. The experience of Ed Clark shone through and he was a strong performer to TQ and then ease away to a comfortable 1.5 lap victory in the single 15 minute final. Duncan Vaughan finished off well in second, with Michael Lee holding back Karl Kuehner by just 0.4 seconds at the line.
Great combination of experience and youth this weekend, with regular 21.5 front runners Robert Tyler and Michael Chiam taking on a host of young talent. Robert (Schumacher Mi5evo) was too good in qualifying, sweeping all six rounds, but the finals proved a tougher nut to crack. Elliot Hollis (Tamiya) came out of the blocks firing to take A1 over Tyler, before Robert turned the tables in A2 to send it to a decider. Noah Gordon (Schumacher Mi5) drove a cracking third leg to a comfortable win over Hollis and Liam Chadwick. The numbers crunched, the tie-breaker called on and the final order was Robert Tyler, Elliot Hollis, Noah Gordon. Kudos to the whole gaggle of junior drivers taking on this event. Nicole Pike and Molly Taynton did a great job taking on the boys at their own game.
Some of the closest racing of the event, and certainly the most intriguing qualifying duel took place in 13.5 TC. Going into today’s final qualifier, Cooper Porter (XRAY) held a slight edge, before Scott Guyatt and his Schumacher Mi5evo took the last round to sneak home in the TQ spot, Luke Harvey (XRAY) a close-up third. Porter jumped best to lead A1 before Guyatt found a way by mid-way through and the two ran nose-to-tail for the remainder – never more than about a half-second apart. Thrilling! A2 and A3 less climactic with Guyatt grabbing an early cushion to cruise home over Porter with Harvey always close by in third. Perhaps the advantage of preserving two sets of tyres for the finals series paid off for Guyatt with a slight edge in those two finals. Some excellent efforts further back in the field, Mal Pearson continues his recent strong form in fourth and a brilliant fifth for Steve Porter (Bundaberg I think?) impressive given his relative lack of high level racing in this class. Team Argo put three cars in the final too in a rare (first?) road trip for the likeable Brisbane racing group.
Jason Dorn and his HB TCXX swept through Saturday, but Sunday was a little different. Corey Broadstock (XRAY) set the field alight with a fast Q6 win, setting the quickest run of the weekend to serve notice that after a difficult Saturday, he was back in business.
Taking two sets of tyres into the finals proved crucial for Dorn, who eased away in A1 from Broadstock on a second run set of rubber. A2 was anything but simple. Michael Redmond (HB) in the end was the man who stood tall, holding off Jacob Staines (HB) at the head of a marauding gang of cars behind him to send it to a decider, up to four drivers still in the mix as the hooter went for the start of A3. Broadstock challenged early before Dorn found his feet and cleared out. Redmond had one last throw of the dice, almost pulling off the pass of the weekend onto the back straight before running out of grip and racetrack in a desperate drag-race. He found the pipe and exited the race leaving Broadstock to claim second and Brad McDonald (Yokomo) third behind Dorn.
We were really excited to go racing at Hervey Bay. The Fraser Coast crew have been such good supporters of Qld R/C events, that the chance to get up to their place and race meant it was well worth the effort. To top off the weekend with such a brilliant race track made it even better.
Heavy ran F1 and 13.5 this weekend, stepping up from his usual 21.5 class due to ORRCA Qld’s strict eligibility requirements. He did a strong job, locked in a tight battle with Brad Hall and our great mate Grant Macdonald. Heavy would go on to finish fourth in the B final to claim bragging rights in that particular battle. In F1 he claimed a good 6th position in a tight midfield.
My own weekend went very well. A couple of glitches in qualifying gave me a little scare before getting things back on track. I took Q1 before Cooper struck back in Q2. Q3 went to Mal Pearson while I melted a motor (no idea why, same gearing, same timing…just smoked…weird) and then Luke Harvey was very strong to grab Q4. When Cooper ran fresh rubber in Q5 yesterday afternoon he grabbed the qualifying lead, but when we were all on old tyres in Q6 I managed to secure the TQ spot.
Taking the gamble of running right through qualifying on one set of tyres proved a big advantage come finals time. In A1 Cooper and I were very closely matched – he grabbed the lead early but ran slightly wide onto the back straight mid-way through. I managed to hold him out from there but it was very close all the way to the finish. On fresh rubber again in A2 I was able to sneak away early and cruise home, and then in A3 Cooper and Luke both were delayed in a first corner tangle that gave me enough early lead to hold on.
The Mi5evo was very strong all weekend, almost from the moment we rolled out of the trailer Friday lunchtime. I started with pretty much a Logan setup, expecting the high speed corners at Fraser Coast to be similar to Logan’s big high speed sweepers. I did experiment with a front diff on Friday before returning to the spool. On Saturday I added an extra arm brace to the rear suspension arms for the afternoon heats (to help the car rotate better), and we took out a little camber (going to 1.5 all round rather than the normal 1.8 or so I would run) to help with tyre life. I made pretty minimal changes all weekend really – the car was strong from the get-go and just needed to be driven.
The full setup sheet is here: MI5Evo_SG_Qld_Champs_Fraser_Coast
We played a little with tyre treatment on Friday, but ended up just going with a simple Trinity Tweak process over the weekend. Clean with brake cleaner, then apply Tweak, 25 minutes or so tyre warmers (about 55-60 deg C), and then straight to the race track without wiping down. It worked well for me in the whole range of track conditions we encountered. I chose the Schumacher premounts with the standard Schumacher yellow inserts and they proved a good performer.
Motor wise I started with the Thunder Power, geared down slightly after first practice run and felt pretty good. After a problem in Q3 (which I’m yet to get to the bottom of) I returned to the trusty ORCA TX that I’ve been running all year long and it did the business for the rest of the weekend. The new SMC 6000/80c cells from Coast2Coast R/C were good.
On track was a heap of fun, but as always at these events, it’s the chance to hang out with friends new and old in the pits that makes for a special weekend. Loved hanging out with Big Mac on a rare opportunity for us to be at the same race track at the same time!
I’ll post up some other notes later in the week about how to approach an away race on a new track. It occurred to me part way through the weekend that lots of SEQ drivers don’t get the chance to sample a whole new race track all that often – and I think there’s a bit of an art in getting to grips with a new track quickly. Look for those notes later in the week (if you think they’ll be helpful to you).
Kudos once again to the Fraser Coast club, and to ORRCA Qld. A fun weekend for sure.
Now…off to check out the humpback whales of Hervey Bay.