There are only a few truly iconic cars and names in the RC racing world, two that are mentioned in the same breath are “Cecil Schumacher” and the “Schumacher ‘C’ Car”.
The revolutionary ‘C’ car emerged from the Schumacher stable and won multiple European Championships in the 1980’s. This was just the beginning for Schumacher Racing, and after a gap of nearly 35 years, we are excited to announce the arrival of the latest 1/12th circuit car to bear the Schumacher name, the ECLIPSE.
The ECLIPSE breaks the mould of 1/12th circuit car design and features a full length carbon fibre chassis and high quality engineering polymer mouldings throughout. The ECLIPSE is durable, easy to maintain, but above all, fast! The design makes the ECLIPSE forgiving and easy to drive. Your best bet for the top step of the podium.
14: People in the various teams we were connected to
3: Times the burger van sold out of food!
1: Times I’ve now competed in a 24hr mtb race
0: Number of punctures for our squad
Second, the story:
The event, of course, is the Merida 24Hr MTB race, hosted at Hiddenvale Adventure Park. It’s a regular feature on the SEQ mtb calendar, but as relatively recent arrivals in the ‘regular mountain biker’ category, the first that I (and many of our crew) had attempted.
At the front, the pace, performance and professionalism was genuinely impressive. Tineli Racing, for example won the four-person teams event with a dominant performance, leading from the bell to the flag and never looking in doubt. They finished just 11 minutes behind the leading 6 person team, Chip and Dales, another team to bank an impressive performance.
And then there’s the solo riders. 24 hours. Non-stop. Body pounded from pillar to post on a rocky, dusty course. Amanda Reddy swept the womens field, while mens went to Peter Bigalia on 23 laps. That’s more than my 4-person team managed. Something like 380km of tough single track. Incredible. Truly. All the results are here.
But the thing about this sporting event, and so many like it, is that the stories are just as good at the tail of the field as the front. I mean, kudos to the ladies, gents, teams that won and took podium spots, but likewise to those that just did it for the fun of it.
Like a father/daughter combo I met, racing as a pair. What a great experience that must have been for them! Like the team we were locked in combat with right down to the wire, just seconds separating us with a couple of laps to run, battling over our anonymous mid-field position. Like those that entered into the spirit of the event, smiling, laughing, crying, falling, getting up, pounding the pedals, bombing the descents. All of it, a wonderful mix of serious and celebratory. A great race.
We were loosely connected with three teams and four individual riders in various categories across the weekend.
Rory, Ethan and Mitch took on the 24min Kids Race on a shorter 2.2km loop, all in the U13 category. Rory snapped up third to grab a podium spot just a handful of seconds ahead of Ethan, while Mitch celebrated a top-10 spot in his first bike race.
Dave Lawrence lineup up in the four-hour solo category. Starting with the 24 hour field, this race-within-a-race took place from midday to 4pm Saturday, blazing sun, 30+ degree temps, super hard work. Dave rode a great race and enjoyed the experience…..right Dave? 😉
Our good mates Chris & Greg Lander, Darren and Steve Perry (well known to all you R/C racers out there) running as Team L&P were awesome – running solidly in the top 10 throughout, and climbing forward to a fantastic fourth place in the four-person category (27 teams) in the closing hours. Consistency, speed, preparation and Steve’s shiny new bike all contributing to a great performance. Chris battled flu all weekend but banged in the lap times anyway. Kudos guys!
Brett and Mark Farren-Price (more R/C racers, though retired now) with Simon and Sheree Stewart made up “The Big Rings” and put together a race plan that included blazing speed, consistency, and a short early-hours rest period for their first ever 24hr experience. Each rode fantastically well, with Brett and Mark punching out some very competitive sub-60 minute lap times late on Sunday morning to put an exclamation mark on the race. That early hours rest-period might just have been the difference between finally finishing 15th, and just maybe a top-10 position, or a podium in the mixed-fours. No sleeping next year!
“We might be Giants” was our final team, with Adam Lynch, Peter Joyce, Kevin Coleburn and myself. We had, it must be said, a chequered run. I was laid low with flu Friday and almost didn’t make the race at all, but managed to put down a few (slow) laps. To add to our woes Peter crashed on lap one, tearing a muscle in his chest and putting him in a world of pain and off the bike for the night. That left Kevin and Adam to carry the can, hauling us up the leaderboard with middle-of-the-night heroics and multiple double-lap stints to bring us into the morning in a great (for us) mid-field position. They were an amazing pair of team guys, giving their all to keep us in the game. Peter and I managed to combine for a couple of Sunday morning laps and we got home in around 13th place (its a little unclear due to a hilarious finish line incident that resulted in two of our riders crossing the line instead of one….but we’ll save that story for another day, right Peter?).
Thanks from our team too, go to Matt Guyatt. Matt hooked us up with some gels and rehydration formula from Endura. Good stuff….get on it! Definitely made the 3am lap a little more palatable with a bit of Endura gel supplying the energy!
The race-track itself was 16.5km of variety. Some beautifully built climbing trails, fast sweeping, banked and bermed descents, rocky, stony technical climbing pinches, rough, blown out sandy and dusty chutes. Four decent climbs and four good descents each lap with the course passing through the pitlane to start/finish each time around, and returning to the edge of the main pit area at the half-way point. Super dry conditions means some parts of the trail blew out, and the dust was, in places, inches thick. Great sense of fun from the organisers, with different trail-side decorations coming and going during the night. Arriving at the Dinner Camp (a remote paddock at the furthest reach of the race track) to a full-on disco sound and light show was one way to wake up at 3am!
On the whole we loved it. Glad we raced. Disappointed that illness and injury that hampered one of our team’s efforts. Sad for a couple of people in the whole field who suffered significant injury. Stoked to have been part of it.
Would we do it again? The planning is already underway. If you want to be part of the squad for 2017….there’s always room!
It’s a big week, this one. It’s the build-up to the biggest race of the year so far.
We’ve been practicing hard, testing, training, learning, getting faster. And we’ve been working on suspension setup, tyre choice, weight distribution. And now the chassis is clean, checked, packed and ready to go as the count-down clock hits four days.
The driver lineup is impressive. Darren Perry, Steve Perry, Chris Lander, Greg Lander, Mark Farren-Price, Brett Farren-Price, Adam Lynch, Peter Joyce, Dave Lawrence, Scott Guyatt to name a few. Anthony Atack was an unfortunate late withdrawal.
Uniquely, it’s a team race – teams of four competing head-to-head on a track that has a bit of everything. In places it’s tight and twisty, with some savage bumps, but in other places so fast and flowing that you can’t help but smile and put the hammer down.
Some of us will make it in Friday afternoon for last-minute practice, while for others it will be a Saturday morning bump-in to setup pits and get ready to race. I can’t wait for that buzz that always fills the pit area at big races.
There’s a junior class too…with my son Mitch in the U13 category over a shorter race duration. It’ll be a new experience for him, and he’s a little nervous.
By Sunday, a little after 12, it will all be over. We’ll know the winners. We won’t be among them. For us it’s about fun, learning, trying not to crash too much, and staying out of the way of the fast guys. I’m looking forward to my first head-to-head race with Steve Perry for quite a few years.
The event of course is the Merida/Hiddenvale 24 Hour mountain bike race. A host of ex (and current) R/C drivers lining up on the start line, nearly filling three teams (it’s relay style, one rider at a time on a 16km lap). The trails are magic fun, though the thought of a 3am lap is a little daunting. Twice around the clock is a long way!
We’ll publish a race report after the event. For now though, here’s a little footage from our practice session last weekend:
It’s been coming for a while, with very little racing over the last 18 months, but now it’s official. I (Scott) am hanging up my transmitter for the foreseeable future. R/C is of course deep in the blood, so I wouldn’t dare say “never again”, but for the time being, it’s family and mountain biking that’s going to take priority. David is just as motivated as ever, so he’ll definitely continue hitting up the race tracks.
R/C has been great to me over many years (including the last 12 or so since I came back from my first ‘retirement’) and I’ve had a heap of fun, and made many friends along the way. Thanks to all I’ve had the chance to race and have fun with along the way. I’ll definitely be dropping by the tracks from time to time to say g’day, hang out in the pits, and try to beg a drive. 😉
To ensure I don’t fail to temptation to return too soon, I’m selling most of my gear. Take a look, and if you are interested in anything, drop me an email, or sms me on 0429 043 851. It’s all my own personal gear, well looked after, and very much race winning gear.
I’ll put the whole list over on our second hand page, and maybe on rctech in due course. If you want a photo, let me know. Prices are for pickup (Kenmore), with payment by EFT or cash. Postage is added. I may be able to arrange pickup from Brisbane race track by negotiation.
Schumacher Mi5evo: $275 incl spares, used tyres, used custom body, box, manual, tuning parts, spare front/rear diff, springs etc. As raced at Logan last week. SALE PENDING
ORCA TX 13.5 motor: $30
Thunderpower 4.5 motor: $30
ProAmps 8.5 motor: $30
ORCA RX3 13.5 motor: SOLD
Proline Hauler Bag: SOLD
Muchmore Type L Tyre warmers and 3080 temp controller: $60 SOLD
LRP Pulsar Touch Competition charger/discharger: $90 SOLD
LRP 20amp power supply: $80 (dual outputs, usb output)SOLD
I’m excited to be returning to the AARCMCC GP Offroad national scene in 2016, to work with AARCMCC in race control and on the microphone. The first race of the season is set for Tasmania in February – and it’s the big one, the 2016 GP Offroad Nats. With the race now just less than two months away, it’s time to cast an eye over what might make it an event not to be missed.
There are three factors that make the 2016 GP Offroad Nats a race that I’m really looking forward to.
Firstly, the event is being hosted by Tasmania’s North-West R/C Car Club – the first time the event has ventured south to the Apple Isle. NWRCCC have emerged over the last 5 years or so as a small, but committed band of racers who not only race hard in Tassie, but travel regularly to mainland events. A series of Tasmanian Championship events have cemented the reputation of the track, and it’s sure to be a fitting venue for a National Championship battle. We’ll take a look at the track in a little more detail below, but suffice to say, it’s always a venue that produces fast, close and exciting racing.
Secondly, the race marks the first in a new format for Australian R/C, with a three round National Series in place for 2016, kicking off with this Australian Championship event, and followed by two more races in Queensland (June) and NSW (August). With just three races in the series, the hope for AARCMCC is that many competitors will make the effort to travel to all three. AARCMCC are backing this national series with a dedicated race control team to work with the host clubs – ensuring a consistently high standard across the series.
Building on that new concept, the third (and possibly most significant) factor is the recent announcement that Australia is in the front-running position to host the 2018 World Championships. This puts a whole different complexion on this event. Australian drivers will attempt to qualify for a place in those 2018 World Championships based on results in the 2016 and 2017 national series. The lure of a home Worlds is likely to also attract racers from other categories into GP offroad – meaning even bigger and deeper fields. We’ll name a couple of likely “code-hoppers” in our Racers to Watch section below.
All in all, this event offers a mouth-watering prospect, and I’m looking forward to it. What about you? Booked your travel yet?
The Latrobe home of NWRCCC is built on the grounds of the famed Latrobe Speedway, with room to spare and a picturesque environment surrounded by forest. While the final layout for the event is yet to be determined, we can probably pick up some clues from previous layouts.
Typically, the surface produces a low-medium level of traction. A fine clay surface that historically doesn’t break up ensures consistent conditions (weather permitting) through the event. Tyre wear, again historically, is low, with racers able to easily run the softest compound tyres. Just about every tyre manufacturer, too, has been seen to run up front.
The club’s designers typically put together a smooth, flowing layout. Jumps are well-shaped, with good double and triple combos that are rewarding to get right. A couple of flat-out sweepers often dominate the back section of the track – both spectacular to watch and demanding of chassis balance.
The signature though, and a definite for retention in the new layout, is the NWRCCC turn one chicane section. A tight right-left-right combo with an almost (but not quite) straight line for the most accurate (and bravest) drivers is tempting. The consequences of a mistake are high. It’s a corner that might just change the course of a race. As both a spectator, and a racer….I love it.
The spanner in the works for any outdoor event could always be weather. The event is scheduled for the driest time of the year in Tassie, and the good news is that the track has proven incredibly resilient in the hands of the hard-working track crew when rain has reared its ugly head in times past.
On the whole, the track should be a great leveler, and very fun for drivers of all standards. It is pretty well neutral turf in terms of the very top echelon of racers, generally a smooth, predictable surface, no major surprises in terms of jump and technical sections – it will be a great canvas on which this event will be painted.
There have been some pretty speedy drivers emerging from Tassie over the past few years – and while an overall win would probably be a surprise, we can expect to see some local talent running close to the front – including some main final starting spots.
Tim Parsons is probably the best known, and started in the main event at an ACT Nats a couple of years back, and has run up front at Vic Champs events as well. He’s pushed very hard in the local scene these days by Justin Strickland, Mark Rayner and Simon Kernan in particular. These guys will also have a big hand in the running of the event along with the rest of the NWRCCC crew and AARCMCC’s race control team, so it remains to be seen who lines up on the race track.
A possible addition to the event who could shake things up would be EP off-roader Sam Wells. While it’s been a while since Sam piloted an GP buggy, he is very fast, knows Latrobe well and if he switches across would definitely be one to watch.
In the Truggy class, Matthew Hodgetts and Jason Heard have been two names we’ve seen do good things both in Tassie and beyond. Matt is a definite starter, and if Heard makes the start line, prepare to be impressed by his raw speed.
It takes no particular insight to suggest that Kyle McBride will start favourite for this event. Without question the best in the country over the last 5 years, McBride’s performances on the world scene, and his incredible track record in this event stamp him as the clear favourite going in. He has been at this track in the past, so arrives with at least some sense of the place, and well in tune with his AE ride.
Likewise fellow Qlder Aaron Stringer – perennially fast – knows Latrobe well, having visited (and won) here in the past. Other past Tas Champs winners who will start quickly, feeling comfortable on the surface, include South Australia’s Andrew Foord. His first State Champs win came here back in 2011 when his driving style found a perfect match in this layout, doubled up with a Truck win in 2014.
Craig Laughton of course will be in the mix for the win – the journey towards a home World Champs enticing for the AARCMCC front man and TLR team leader.
We’re likely to see a big field, including some who don’t regularly travel and many who’ve not seen Latrobe Raceway before.
Of those who have previously visited, Zac Ryan won in Tassie in 2013 and will be quick. Likewise Matt Griffin is a former visitor and winner on the south island. What about Glenn Breugem – another past Tassie Champs winner who loves the place…could he be lured out of retirement?
Once the final entry list takes shape early in the new year, we’ll be in a better position to start making predictions. What about you? Who do you think is favoured to run up front?
The Young (or “Emerging”) Guns
Most of the names we’ve mentioned above have been running up front for years in Australia. They’re not necessarily old, just experienced. What chance though, for some genuine young guns (or at least ‘emerging’ if not necessarily young) to put in breakthrough performances at this event?
Any list of young/emerging drivers looking to make a mark has to start with WA’s Kyle Francis. Fresh off a clean sweep at the 2015 WA Champs, Francis has form going into the event, and definitely marks himself as one to watch.
Then there is Shane Hancock. A series of great results in 2015, including sweeping the Vic Champs recently, mark Hancock as a genuine threat at this event.
Perhaps a little from left-field, there are three very interesting young drivers who I think are also worth keeping an eye on. Mitchell Steer, Cameron Zammitt and Alex Bernardzik are relative newcomers to GP8 racing, but each have some big results in the EP10 offroad world. Steer has already taken big wins at State and National level, while Zammit and Bernardzik are very rapidly emerging. If they get to grips with the track and the class, anything is possible for one or more of this trio.
Who else do you have marked down as a young/emerging driver ready to make a big impact in Tassie?
Tasmania is a beautiful place, no question. From the usual highlights of Cradle Mountain, the wild west coast, delights of Hobart and the stunning east coast, there’s tonnes to see and do. Add in a holiday to the racing trip and you wont’ be sorry. The north-west coast (the region around the race venue) is packed with great things to see and do, so you don’t even need to travel far.
If you have non-racing family accompanying you, send them down the road to Launceston over the race weekend, where Tasmania’s second city plays host to it’s annual food and wine festival (http://www.festivale.com.au/ ) for a great day/evening out (if racing finishes early either Friday or Saturday night and you’re a foodie/wine/beer lover, it might just be worth the 45 minute trip down the highway to check it out).
If you haven’t already booked accommodation, the host club have some useful links on the event page. Latrobe is just a couple of minutes away, Devonport less than 10 minutes (and heaps of options), or the coastal holiday village of Port Sorrell/Hawley Beach just about 15 minutes drive from the track. Launceston itself is about a 45-50 minute highway commute.
If you’re kicking around the area the day before the race, and looking for some local flavour to check out, here’s our top 6 options:
House of Anvers Chocolate factory (Latrobe)
The Cherry Shed (should be just on the tail end of the Tassie Cherry season….beautiful!) (Latrobe)
Reliquaire – surely the weirdest, wonderfullest, craziest shop in the state (Latrobe)
Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame
Walk the beach and headland at Mersey Bluff (Devonport) for great Bass Strait views
Check out the wandering wombats and wildlife at Nawrantapu National Park (25 mins north-east)
Bring the family, make it a holiday. You won’t regret it.
As I write, the best EP off-road racers from all around Australia are winging their way to Brisbane, for the 2015 ABT Hobbies AARCMCC EP Offroad Australian Championships.
“The Nats” is always the biggest race of the year, the one that everybody wants to win, and the 2015 edition is no different.
Chargers R/C will host the event at their Redbank venue (Corner Redbank Plains Rd and Cedar Rd) with action kicking off tomorrow (Wednesday 28th) for two days of practice, followed by 2wd (Friday), 4wd (Saturday) and Truck (Sunday) classes.
The track is atypical Redbank affair, sugared surface ensuring high grip and a track surface that should hold together – but with the high tyre wear normal for such a surface.
Always an interesting event, this one has added spice with many of the leading contenders in the modified classes fresh back from the 2015 IFMAR World Champs earlier this month at Yatabe Arena in Japan. Big races that follow after Worlds events always have something a little extra – with those who ran at the Worlds all fired up and in top form….and those who didn’t out to prove that they’re good enough.
In typical un-informed fashion, we thought we’d cast an eye over the contenders and see what the interesting stories might be for this year’s race. We do have to temper this event preview with the honest statement that we’re a little out of touch with the EP Off-road scene – particularly in the Stock classes – so apologies if we miss a few key names. Feel free to expand in our comments section below with your own predictions. Read on for our thoughts:
You know the idea of a bucket list? All the things you want to do or try before you die?
A twitter conversation with fellow RC tragic @RTR085 just got me thinking about an R/C version.
So what’s on your R/C bucket list? What cars or classes do you want to own or race? What race tracks to you want to experience? What events would you love to enter? What experiences or road trips with your mates?
Here’s a few to get you going:
Yatabe Arena: An easy one to add, given that the Worlds is going on there right now. And as one of the World’s most iconic venues, a ‘must’ on the bucket list. Probably 10th off-road by choice – but a 10th TC race, or even just to visit the venue and explore all it’s facilities would be amazing.
XRAY Factory Raceway: amazing outdoor on-road, plus indoor on and off-road facilities, this is one place that would be incredible to race at. For choice, I’d say one of the EOS or ETS races that the venue hosts each year.
NEO Race: If I could only pick one GP offroad event to attend (outside a Worlds), it woudl be the UK’s NEO race. Run annually on a purpose built (temporary) indoor track, it’s build a reputation as the unofficial indoor worlds. Track layouts are always amazing, atmosphere looks incredible. It’s on my list.
Reedy Offroad Race: Any Reedy Race would be good – but this one is the big one. Top 24 drivers in the world, head to head racing for 3 days. Always at incredible venues. Bonus points if you get there in 2016 to see Kyle McBride take on the Invite class
IIC Vegas Race: Surely the biggest and best indoor carpet TC race in the world? Scotty Ernst’s brainchild. The track itself doesn’t look anything special (I’d take an indoor ETS venue anyday) but the event, location, size, atmosphere? It’d be a ripper.
World Champs: Any scale, any class, any venue. Always the best of the best of the best. I’ve seen a few from trackside (’89 St Ives and both 10th and 5th at Brendale, Qld in the 2000s) but never quite managed to race. That would be special.
The Dirt Nitro Challenge: Biggest GP offroad race in the world. Completely insane tracks (yes tracks, there are three going simultaneously), best drivers in the world. What a buzz that would be.
Aus Tracks: EP offroad it has to be St Ives, purely for the iconic nature of that facility – it’s long history of holding big races. For onroad, I can’t go past Littlehampton. Such character, such elevation gain. I’ve sat trackside and taken photos, but never quite managed to race there. One day.
5th scale onroad: Just because. They’re big. They look awesome. They move around a lot. I’d love to race one (not to own one…I’m not that rich!) one day.
A fully “mechanic’d” GP buggy at a Nats. I love racing GP offroad. I just hate wrenching them (actually hate wrenching anything). If I have an Aus R/C racing bucket list item, it would be to compete at a GP Offroad Buggy Nats with a fully prepared and maintained car (by someone who knows what they’re doing)!
Call a Worlds: it’s no secret that I love the sound of my own voice, and I love telling stories about R/C. That combined means I thoroughly enjoy race commentary…and what better place to do it that a World Championships? Imagine being on the microphone when the winner crosses the line? When the TQ is pulled from nowhere? Give me a microphone, a place to see the track (and the monitor) and let me at a Worlds.
The 2015 Volante Tyres Qld Champs for EP touring cars are run and won. Logan played host to the event on their new-for-2015 race track on a beautiful Queensland spring weekend. The spoils, in the end, probably went to the four drivers who looked strongest over the weekend, but the story (in most classes) was anything but simple.
In particular ORRCA Queensland’s new rules under which all three finals results count (rather than the traditional ‘drop your worst’ approach of EP racing) ensured that every class went down to the wire with multiple drivers still in the mix.
TC3 (21.5) Touring
It looked for all money that TC3 would be a straight fight between Brad Palmer and Michael Belby after the due split the qualifying rounds three apiece and seemed to have a small pace advantage over the rest of the field. Belby grabbed the TQ spot by being fastest of all.
A1 was anything but simple – the complexity coming when Palmer tagged Belby on lap one and the due dropped to rear of field. Jay Marcon took up the front running (from P4 on the grid) before being run down by a speedy One Tran late, Palmer and Belby recovering to third and fourth respectively.
A2 was yet another unusual one with Belby and Palmer again struggling early, this time Mitch Hardy coming through to take a huge win after Michael Chiam led early. Belby and Palmer again led the recovery efforts to 2nd and 3rd – with first round winner One Tran back in 8th and in deep trouble for the overall.
A3 lined up with Belby, Palmer and Hardy sharing the points lead – and setting up a winner-take-all showdown. Finally we got the Belby vs Palmer showdown – Hardy back in the pack this time – and with Mal Pearson buying in after an up and down finals run. Palmer led for the most part – Pearson getting to the front late for a couple of laps before fading to third. Brad would go right on with the job, taking the win (and the Championship) over Michael Belby, Hardy rounding out the podium.
It was a cracking final series.
TC2 (13.5 Touring)
Keith Mackrill is arguably one of the most experienced in the field, and with multiple Qld Championship wins under his belt in years gone by (and at least one Aus Champs win) is always a fierce competitor. Combine that with a new-found determination in 2015 and a nearly unbeaten run at Logan in the leadup….and its easy to see why he started favourite. TC2 is always close though, and Keith would not have things his own way – Sunshine Coast’s Chris Shevelling making a rare appearance and imediately fast (as always), taking two qualifying wins away from Mackrill and serving notice. Hovering ever so close, Liam Chadwick and Cooper Porter representing the hopes of the young guns and another veteran in the form of Iain Schwartz looking fast as well.
Mackrill dominated A1 from the front. Staying clear of first lap troubles to grab an immediate gap and go right on with it. Porter struggled early, and some midfield shenanigans resulting in Terry Norman slicing through to third behind Shev – the two coming together in the right-hand sweeper and dumping them to rear of field. Iain Schwartz took over the chase and ran fast and clean to the end, Porter and Shevelling recovering to third and fourth.
A2 threw up a real curve ball. Mackrill again started best, this time Shevelling in close company. Shev served it up, and actually got momentarily to the lead before catching a curb and rolling the car – the battery ejecting in the crash to add insult to injury and put the luckless Shevelling out on the spot. From there it seemed Mackrill needed only to stay clean to the finish – with the rat pack of Chadwick, Schwartz and Porter engaged in unholy warfare behind him. It wasn’t over….Mackrill running into tyre trouble, and Chadwick putting on a determined charge to run him down, make the pass and go on to a popular win, Schwartz and Porter also taking advantage of Mackrill’s tyre failure.
Combined results put Schwartz one point clear of Mackrill going into A3, Porter a point away in third, and Chadwick another point back in 4th – still in the mix but needing results to go his way. Mackrill did exactly what a Champion should do – a flawless front-running drive to lock his opponents out of the fight and secure his first Championship in EP on-road since 2006. Porter put together his best run of the event for second, Schwartz again impressive in third. Shev and Chadwick tripped over each other and finished back in the pack. Mackrill then, from Schwartz and Porter the final podium.
TC1 (Modified Touring)
It has to be said. Corey Broadstock was peerless this weekend, taking home his first Queensland Championship in the class in what was an impressive performance on and off the track, and from start to finish. Team Broadstock worked to make the car safe and easy to drive – always a priority in the lowish grip conditions that prevail at Logan. The margins in qualifying were tight, with Jordan Kidas impressive in second, and multi-time defending champ Jason Dorn fast at times as well – but both looking a little more on edge to turn the lap times that Broadstock cranked out non-stop.
All three A finals followed the same script for Broadstock: a clean start, withstand the early pressure, and then press home the advantage to drive away from the field. It was, as I said, impressive. Kidas too impressed, trailing Broadstock home in A1 and A3. Only a jump-start penalty in A2 blotted his copybook. The fight for third was a little more complex. Jason Dorn threw everything at his pursuit of Broadstock early in A3, but rolled the car back into the midfield behind a super battle between Michael Redmond and Brad McDonald. These two had previously been glued together almost throughout A2 as well. Dorn bought into the fight late, momentarily getting by McDonald in a full throttle blitz to the finish line – before a 10 second penalty in those final moments dropped him down the order. Redmond then stood tall, the final podium position (and I think the first of his career) just reward for the consistently fast Brisbane driver.
Though officially a demo class, the F1 event was no less hard fought due to its non-official status. Many of the Logan club members who had given up their TC racing ambitions for the weekend to help run the event lined up, along with a few others taking the chance to run a second class. Noel Gordon was the class of the field – only Canberra’s Justin Reddiex prevening him sweeping qualifying – to lineup favourite for the 15 minute final.
The real interest in the final would come from Duncan Vaughan’s pursuit of Gordon. Duncan missed most of qualifying and would start off the back of the grid – but showed in Q6 that he had the pace to be a podium threat. By the time he worked his way through a tightly bunched midfield (Reddiex and Kuehner going at it very hard) Gordon was nearly 10 seconds up the road. Vaughan walked the tight rope, gradually reducing Gordon’s advantage – and when Noel got caught up in a mix of traffic his advantage was slashed to less than two seconds with four minutes to run. From there though, it was all one way traffic – Noel reasserting his dominance to ease out for a four second win, Vaughan a delighted second and Reddiex a deserved third.
On the whole, a good weekend’s racing, despite numbers being a little on the low side. Track conditions looked good, the weather was stunning, and at the end of the day four deserving Champs were crowned. You can’t ask for much more than that.
So the Qld Champs for EP Touring and F1 are just days away, with host venue Logan into the final stages of preparation.
To some degree, conditions for the event depend on how the track comes up after a a surface clean early in the week. Dust from the neighbouring offroad track has ensured grip levels have been low in recent months – but the clean might just boost things, and force some setup changes among drivers who are regulars at Logan. Time will tell as traffic builds on Friday.
I’ve just been reminded too, about one of the big unknowns for this weekend. It marks the first Qld Champs in which the new ORRCA Q finals rules apply. All three finals results count in determining the winner – previously it’s been best 2 from 3. This means of course that every class will go down to the final race – and that finishing finals is an absolute must. Personally, I’m a fan of this rule, but it won’t be universally popular, and it could throw up some interesting results.
The entry list is just about final, so it’s time to cast an eye over the field to see what we can expect on the weekend.
With TC3 continuing under ORRCA Qld rules to be oriented (in theory) around newer and younger drivers, it’s quite a mix of competitors – including some junior drivers (which we are always glad to see. Up front though, the race is going to most likely come down to those with more experience and proven pace in faster classes. We’re thinking Mal Pearson and Brad Palmer might be the drivers to beat. Keep an eye too, on Jay Marcon, Adrian Field, Michael Belby, Michael Chiam and a very real chance for One Tran. Should be some fun, and close racing in this one.
It’s hard to tip against Keith Mackrill in 2015. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Keith so motivated and committed, and he has a tonne of talent to back the experience gained over many years. Nearly unbeated at Logan this year, he will start favourite…but there are at least two others who could easily win without us being surprised at all. First, Cooper Porter – finishing on the podium in 2014, one of the fastest young guns around, and with lots of track time courtesy the 6 hour enduro a few weeks back. And second, Liam Chadwick. Liam is continuing to improve, and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks through for a big one. This week? Just maybe. Then there are a host of others who’ll be knocking on the podium door. Terry Norman, Mal Pearson, Iain Schwartz, Alex Kidas and more. We’ve heard rumours of a late entry from Michael Sherman – one of Queensland’s long term legends – and if he makes the start line, and gets some practice, this class might get a huge shakeup come Sunday.
Jason Dorn and Corey Broadstock will fight this one out. Sure there are others – Redmond, Beckett, McDonald, Kidas for example will be in the podium mix – but these two (given a trouble free run) have the pace edge. The question is, can Broadstock break Dorn’s winning streak in this event? It’s going to take a mighty effort, but it just might be the year.
F1 might just be the most open of all the classes. With a final entry list yet to be published, it’s a little hard to know for sure. But think Terry Norman vs Noel Gordon vs Duncan Vaughan vs Karl Kuehner vs Michael C and you’re getting pretty close to picking a winner. If nothing else, this class will be the scene of much laughter and mayhem.
We’re really looking forward to this event, even if our own participation is very limited. David is involved in tech for the event, and will start only in F1, while Scott’s schedule has precluded his participation (though a visit Sunday for some microphone time is still looking hopeful).
In the midst of cleaning up the Action R/C HQ this week, we came across an absolute gem from our past.
Way back in 1979 David was fortunate enough to compete in the REPCO Round Australia Rally, alongside Ian McCubben and Richard Kelly (both from Townsville) and backed by an amazing support team.
The crew tackled the event in a specially prepared Holden Monaro GTS, eventually finishing 23rd from the 200+ starters.
Here’s the full story, broken into three parts, as originally published in the newsletter of the Townsville Sporting Car Club. It’s mostly in the words of David Guyatt, with an addendum from Ian McCubben.
If you’ve ever fancied taking on an epic motorsport event, here’s a great story to get you even more fired up!
The event takes place at the new for 2015 Logan raceway. With track prep hitting high gear tonight, and a full surface wash-down scheduled for early next week, we’re expecting the facility to be in tip-top shape.
We’ll be back next week with an event preview and some fearless predictions. In the meantime…get the entries in and plan to be there.
While it’s true we spend most of our own time running touring cars (or mountain bikes!), we’re big fans of many forms of R/C.
And this week is a big one for 10th EP offroad with four events we’ll be keeping an eye on as we head into the weekend.
The European Champs are on the UK on what looks like a fantastic outdoor dirt racetrack. Hope the rain stays away! 2wd qualifying is well underway already with finals on tonight (Wed). The whole event is being broadcast live by the team at rcracing.tv. Hit their youtube channel for the daily broadcast streams, their website for all the news, and their facebook page for the interaction. UK superstars Neil Cragg and Lee Martin headline the event.
US EP Offroad Nationals kick into gear this week with the ongoing/never-ending domestic battle for supremacy between Team Associated and TLR. Or could Hotbodies spoil the party in the hands of Canadian phenomenon Ty Tessman? Event should be live from Arizona at liverc.com from today. SRS Raceway facebook page will have some information.
Closer to home, it’s Queensland Championship time – with our favourite indoor track at Gold Coast R/C Raceway the event hosts. It’s a relatively small event this year with many interstate drivers saving their pennies for the Nats (to be hosted by Chargers at Redbank) later in the year. Still, a fun new layout and a competitive weekend lie ahead. What price a Mitchell Steer clean sweep? Keep an eye on GCRC facebook page for news.
Biggest event of the week is the annual Launceston Cup. This event now in its 5th year is one that we’ve loved over the years – and we’re sad not to be there. Running on an indoor multi-surface (but mostly carpet) track, the event has attracted a big entry (around 130 cars) including some of Australia’s 2015 Worlds team who are practicing before the upcoming WC event (to run indoor on Astroturf in Japan). Queensland’s Chris Sturdy will take on Tassie star Sam Wells and Victorian Ray Munday at the front of the field. Launceston R/C facebook page should have some news over the weekend.
If you’ve not caught it, there’s a little gem over at youtube for Australian motorsport fans.
The Aussie Racer series chronicles a couple of guys taking on a widely varied range of race-sports (including 1:1 offroad, rock crawling (r/c and 1:1), mountain biking, tarmac rallying and more) for the first time.
The eps are around 25 mins each, well made and lots of fun. The latest two episodes will have our own Heavy D and good mate Bob Vardy salivating as the team build and run a Mk 1 Ford Escort in the Australian Tarmac Rally Championship round at Mt Buller.
There’s a lot that goes into endurance races – whether they be 24 hour races like Le Mans, 1000km of Bathurst – or even an R/C version in the form of the Logan 6 Hour Enduro.
Of course a strong driving lineup is important – but so too is preparation, planning and a little dose of good luck along the way.
The second running of the Logan 6 Hour Enduro (which has all the hallmarks of developing into a classic annual race) reinforced all of these things – and reminded us that even if the stakes are much lower, there’s still plenty in common between R/C motorsport, and 1:1 racing.
Put simply, The Dominos won comfortably, continuing to extend a margin that was 1 lap after the first round of pit stops out to a race-winning 26 laps when the flag fell.
The Bayside R/C based team Gas Tricks (Cooper Porter, John Taynton, Clayton Hughes) were equally fast (and at times definitely faster) for most of the race – but paid a hefty price for more frequent and longer pit stops, and a couple of minor reliability glitches (a sensor cable coming unplugged in an early accident, and then a battery ejection late in the race when they were getting on a roll). Still, it was a strong effort for a first year team in the Enduro, and we can be sure they’ll be back better again in 2016.
Third place was the star studded Yoko-Ray crew of Mackrill, Broadstock, Belby and Chadwick. The XRAY-mounted team were definitely fast, but suffered with very slow battery changes, and a couple of other minor glitches along the way. This may well be the major lesson learned by another first-time team in Endurance racing – fast changes are free time and that’s not to be underestimated.
Team POP were the quiet achievers – running strongly right through the race, and sitting in podium positions for extended periods. The guys were fast – particularly when Peter Beckett was at the wheel – and it was a good result for another first-year outfit.
Team ARGO had prepared well – and continued to threaten in the early stages of the race. Terry Norman’s opening stint to move from fifth on the grid to a very strong second place over the first 20 minutes was a highlight if the night. The team looked set to challenge until a couple of pieces of unreliability pushed them back out of podium contention. First was an off-sized battery plug resulting in a battery disconnecting during the second stint – and then a servo worked its way loose requiring a long stop for repairs. Still, a lot to like from the lads, and they’ll continue to search for the winning combo in 2016.
Sixth placed Team Schuie had a night of frustration – with the promised pace not materialising and the crew struggling to run the lap times they wanted. Combine that with a series of battery ejections from the team’s quick-change system and then a broken rear belt…. and the laps bled away a little faster than they would have wanted. The driver lineup is good, and with a solid run they can (and will) be genuine podium contenders in the years ahead.
Seventh went to 3HPS, with some good speed at times, mixed with a few mechanical challenges along the way, and some lengthy pitstops for repairs holding them back. I believe the only team to have a motor failure (?).
Team Crash had a similar story – fast at times, but a few long stops (including one to replace transmitter batteries I believe) slowed their progress. Still there seemed to be plenty of laughs and a lot of enjoyment going on incl some pretty funny intra-team sledging!
Finally, Allmates finished in 9th place – and were the only car not still running at the end. That though was down to an accident in the closing minutes, and the car not quite able to be repaired in time to return to the track. The Allmates team included the youngest competitors and are to be congratulated on their first time performance on the Enduro scene.
Once again, overall reliability was good – with all cars running through most of the race. There was one motor failure that we heard of, and a couple of suspension breakages from accident damage – but largely the issues that delayed teams were minor, and fairly quickly repaired. It’s an impressive feat!
Anatomy of a Win
The winning team for the second year running, The Dominos, did all the right things: careful car build with 100% reliability mattered; fast, consistent, safe driving mattered; and, importantly for 2015, very quick and trouble free pitstops made a huge difference.
After being schooled by their major opponents in 2014 when it came to fast pitstops, the Dominos did their research and planning well, with stops this year taking between 10 and 19 seconds – but averaging around 13-15. That’s anything up to 20 seconds or more faster than some of the other leading teams – and with something like 15 stops across the night….that’s a lot of free time.
On track, Jason Dorn, Anthony Atack, Michael Redmond and Scott Guyatt did what they needed to do – Dorn blisteringly fast at times, and the remainder of the team pumping out consistent laps. The team opted for 25 minute stints on most occasions, running LRP 7200 and 7500mah packs, and the ORCA RX3 motor in their Hotbodies TCXX chassis.
Interestingly, the drop-off in lap times across the night was relatively low compared with the same event in 2014. Last year we saw lap times fade by up to 1.5 seconds from the early stints to the last stint of the night – where this year the drop in lap times was around 1/2 a second or so. Tyres lasted well, and the relatively mild temperatures (I’m glad we’re not racing tonight instead!) meant track conditions stayed fairly consistent across the night.
There’s a lot to like about this race. Friendly atmosphere, competitive racing, and just the enjoyment of doing something that is (a) totally different from our normal R/C events; and (b) a genuine team endeavour. The team thing in the fashion of an enduro is not common in R/C, and adds to the intrigue of this race.
We hope that Logan continue with the event – and that it draws an even bigger interest in 2016, with the club willing to accept up to 12 cars. We’d love to see the boys from Fraser Coast, for example, mount a challenge – and to see a team from Brendale’s SST EP scene do likewise. What about a team from Sydney or Melbourne to tackle the local teams?
What we do know is that many of the first-time teams (notably Gas Tricks, Yoko-Ray and Team POP) will come back with a much more robust team strategy….and that’s going to make the 2016 event something very special.
Congrats to the club, and special thanks to David Guyatt for his race directing. Most of all though, job well done to all 9 teams.
PS: We’d invite you to share the story of your night in the comments. What went well for your team? What went wrong for you? What are you already working on for next year?