Category Archives: Race Reports

The Merida 24hr: A race report

First, the numbers:
  • 500(ish): Number of bikes and riders
  • 300: Metres in elevation gain each lap
  • 26: Four-person teams in the race
  • 24: Hours in the race
  • 22: Number of laps my team completed
  • 16.5: Kilometres in each lap
  • 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?).

IMG_5996Thanks 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!

2016 GP Off-Road Nats – Event Preview #1

IMG_7343I’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.

IMG_7761

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?

Typical turn one action at Latrobe. Here Justin Strickland climbs the kerb on the way through

 

 The key websites

 The Track

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.

A young Andrew Foord  found Tassie a happy hunting ground, and returns in strong form…his year?
Likewise Aaron Stringer seen here way back in 2010. Past winner in Tassie. Faster, stronger, more experienced now. Definitely one to watch.

The Locals

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.

Matt Hodgetts leads a crew of Tasmania’s best who are excited to host the Nats on home soil.

The Favourites

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?

So many times National Champ. Can you bet against McBride again in 2016?

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?

The Place

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.

2015 ABT Hobbies EP Offroad Aus Champs Preview

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:

Continue reading 2015 ABT Hobbies EP Offroad Aus Champs Preview

Rivkin/AE Take 2wd: Desktop Analysis of a Worlds Win

By now I’m sure you’ve heard, that 16 year old American Spencer Rivkin has driven his Team Associated chassis to the 2wd IFMAR World Championship at Yataba Arena.

WC Podium. Photo from neobuggy.net

It’s a stunning win for many reasons, but worth noting a few of them – and observing some of what it took for that victory to be possible.  Of course this is just a desktop analysis, and we’ll need to wait for those trackside to share their (no doubt more complete) stories. Continue reading Rivkin/AE Take 2wd: Desktop Analysis of a Worlds Win

2015 Qld Champs Race Report

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.

Formula 1

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.

Full results here.  Photos and stories from Team Argo here, and from Logan club here.

2016 Logan 6 Hour Enduro: The Story

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.

Fun indeed.

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?

Logan 6 Hr Enduro

Photo 12-07-2014 10 08 17 pmOne of the best races of 2014 was the Logan 6 Hour Enduro.  In 2015 it’s on again, with the club announcing yesterday that this year’s 6 Hour Enduro will take place on July 11th. Full details here and discussion here

Teams of four drive one touring car, on one set of controlled tyres for 6 hours. It’s a 21.5 blinky class race, with penalties applying for changing motors or tyres – so reliability and consistency are the key. Experience from 2014 suggests battery packs will last 20-25 minutes, with the quickest battery changes happening in around 10 seconds.

Defending Champions Team Domino (Dorn, Redmond, Atack, Guyatt) have been quick to confirm they will be there to defend, but the competition will be fierce with plenty of other teams already being organised.  Places will be strictly limited, so don’t delay in organising a team and getting an entry in.

It’s a fun, and different experience to our normal race meetings, and we’re looking forward to it already.

For those who weren’t there last year, here’s a few tips we picked up along the way:

  • One set of tyres easily lasted the race distance on our car. While we haven’t heard what this year’s tyre is, and we know the race surface is different now, 21.5 cars are pretty easy on tyres. The main challenge was keeping heat in the 36 compound tyres as the night wore on and temps dropped into single figures
  • Double or triple stinting was hard work – being at the wheel for up to an hour or more really pushes the concentration. We changed drivers with each battery pack
  • Car handling changes a lot over the race as diffs, shocks, tyres and track temperature evolve. The first couple of laps of each stint were quite a surprise in figuring out how much the car and track had changed since your last stint
  • There were almost no mechanical failures in the whole field last year – astonishing reliability. Parts wear was low too, with the limited horsepower of the 21.5 motor and the need to drive for consistency making life relatively easy on the cars
  • Motor performance was largely good – most opted to detune slightly in gearing and timing from “normal” 21.5 setup, and I think only one team had a motor failure
  • Modern radios (like the Sanwa MT4 for example) can easily go the distance without changing batteries
  • Thinking through a simple and quick-to-change battery retention system is important. Velcro featured heavily!
  • Sledging in the pit lane was constant…and hilarious. Our team is putting a lot of effort into practicing for this aspect of the race. 😉

 

 

Race Report: The Heavy D Easternational Challenge

With our own Dave Guyatt about to set sail for the wilds of NSW and Victoria for a few months travelling, caravan in tow, last night shaped up as a bit of a farewell/safe travel/get out of town event for the legend as a small crowd braved the weather to run at Logan.

All eyes were on the 21.5 Touring class, with a few additional ring-ins joining the regulars to send Heavy on his way.  10 cars faced the starter, with an additional 14 in 13.5 Touring and 4 in Open Touring.

Practice proceeded smoothly before rain predictably interrupted mid-way through the first 21.5 qualifying heat.  Many said “that’s it, we’re done” with the track wet and almost no heat in the surface after days of rain.  Astonishingly, just 45 minutes later cars returned to the track.  Even more astonishingly, aside from a few very light sprinkles, the track remained dry and conditions good for the rest of the night – when radar revealed rain falling all over south-east Queensland, Logan somehow stayed dry.

Of course just minutes after the last final….the rain poured down once again.

Here then, is the story of the (racing) night:

21.5 Heavy D Easternational Cadbury Memorial Challenge

The pattern of the night was clear from the get-go. Terry Norman stormed away in Q1, only for Karl Kuehner to reel him in late. Terry recovered from his self-inflicted mistake however to regain the lead on the final tour for first bragging rights.  More of the same in Q2 with Norman unstoppable out front, this time chased hard by Duncan Vaughan early before Terry edged away to a deserved TQ over Vaughan and Kuehner.

A1 was one for the ages. Norman had all the speed in the world early while Kuehner stalked Vaughan patiently, easing his way through mid-way through the race. He lit the afterburners, pouring enormous horsepower into his pursuit of Norman, whose own power reserves were strained as motor heat slowed him  late in the race. Karl applied the blowtorch, and there’s no other way to describe it, but Norman cracked under the incredible pressure, putting his car on the grass and handing the win to the speedy Argo R/C team principal.

A2 was even better. This time Kuehner was past Vaughan in a flash and into 2nd in search of glory. Norman though was imperious, eking out a lead that reached the dizzying heights of 1.5 seconds at one stage, before once again Kuehner’s irresistible pace and Normans over-heating motor conspired to bring the pair together again. In what will go down in R/C history as surely one of the most controversial moments ever, Kuehner attempted the pass.  Think Hara on Masami at the 2008 worlds. Think Maker and Bakla at the 2008 Nats.  This passing attempt deserves that kind of comparison.

Norman drifted ever so slightly wide on entry to the hairpin right under the driver’s stand, and Karl did not die wondering, sticking the Schuie right into the tiniest of gaps. Motocross commentators would call it a block pass.  Norman would call it a hack. Kuehner would call it genius.  The resulting side-to-side touch sent Norman on his lid. Kuehner, tears already welling in his eyes, waited for his friend teammate opponent to be marshalled. It was sportsmanship of the most costly kind…..because the following Vaughan swept past both of them and on to a race victory for the ages.

The computer whirred and clunked, the printer spat out some dust and rainfall and finally we used an abacus to calculate the results. A three way tie between Norman, Vaughan and Kuehner!  Qualifying was used to split them, going in that order.  What a race!  Behind those three it was Noel Gordan, Michael Chiam, David Guyatt and Queensland legend Trevor Kerr.

13.5 Tourer

Keith Mackrill has been a dominant force at Logan this year, and in Q1 we saw just why – a smooth mistake-free run in difficult conditions (the track still damp/wet/flooded in places) to take a first up win over Robert Tyler (making a real impression in his entry to 13.5 racing this year). A dry track in Q2 was rewarded with an absorbing duel between Mackrill and Guyatt, the two rarely more than a few tenths apart for the whole run, Guyatt holding the lead at the end to take TQ from Keith, Alex Kidas fast as well for third.

A1 saw Keith delayed slightly on lap one, and the resulting gap for Scott lasted nearly the whole run. A late race error allowed the relentless Mackrill right to his tail, the pair millimetres apart at the finish line.

A2 was different entirely. A tyre experiment from Mackrill went spectacularly wrong, giving up better than half-a-second a lap in pace and consequently spending the whole race in a fruitless defensive mode while Guyatt drove away up front, Vaughan into an excellent second after a difficult qualifying run.

Open Tourer

Four cars fronted and did an incredible job in the conditions – this class seeming to cop the worst of the occasional light showers. Of most interest was the debut of the new HPI/Hotbodies Pro 5 car in the hands of Jason Dorn and Michael Redmond – and they looked good. Dorn too strong in both qualifying and finals to run out a comfortable winner.  His throttle control in the conditions was phenomenal, and a real lesson for all those watching closely. Corey Broadstock added interest with a late switch to an alloy chassis for the last part of A2 and a post-race practice session, the car impressing him with it’s mid-corner pace and particularly it’s strength through the high-speed kink running onto the back straight.

 

All in all, it was a fun night. Rain only added to the atmosphere, with drivers responding well to the pressure to get the races run through very quickly in an effort to beat the rain. Somehow, and I’ll never quite understand how, that final heavy rain stayed away until the last race was done.

Travel safe Heavy D, we look forward to race reports from tracks all over eastern Australian. Or photos from bakeries. Either way is ok.

New Beginnings: Logan 2015 Launch Week

It’s a rare treat, a completely new on-road track to play with.  But that’s exactly what awaits SEQ R/C racers this week, with the launch of the new 2015 Meakin Park circuit on Brisbane’s southside.  It will be the first totally new layout seen in Brisbane in quite a few years.

The previous circuit has served the club well over several years, but for a while now, it’s been time for a refresh.

On this occasion that means not just an all-new multi-option track layout, but a freshen up of the racing surface itself, and a change in style for the track as well.

For the first time, Logan have gone for a full concrete kerb style race track, rather than it’s more typical pipe and dot track markings. The kerbs have been beautifully built and offer racers the chance to really attack the track, going for those perfect racing lines, without fear of damage from a slight mistake.

The multi-option layout takes design cues from the 2008 IFMAR Worlds track, and offers a multitude of optional layouts (including what should be some very fun short-tracks for special events and classes like F1, Mini, or 12th scale) along with the main “Championship” layout.  With 4m lane widths standard all the way around, there’s also plenty of space for the faster EP touring classes – and for nitro tourers if the demand is there.

The surface itself has had a good working over. The team spent hours filling cracks and grinding bumps that have come up over the years as the subsurface shifted, and then applied a new coat of emulsion over the whole track area for a consistent race surface. It’s early days of course, but initial indications are positive.

The level of commitment from the club and it’s members has been impressive to watch – with big numbers turning out for many working bee sessions over the summer to get things ready.

This week, finally, is the week. A preview on Wednesday night’s “Mid-Week” event on a short track will be prelude to the main event when the first official club race night sees racers hit the track on Saturday afternoon and evening. Indications are that it’s going to be a big event, so be sure to get there early and join the fun.

The question, of course, is what can you expect from the new layout?  Based on just a few laps testing before the kerbing was complete, we think you’re going to love it. There are some brilliant high speed sections demanding total commitment, and some rapid changes of direction to really test chassis balance as well. My favourite corner swings right through in front of the drivers stand at high speed, tightening all the way as it turns into the main infield section. There’s going to be plenty of passing opportunities and a few different racing line options in that part of the track for sure.

Kudos to Shayne, Noel and the massive Logan crew that brought this new track from concept to reality.  We can’t wait to see cars hit the track for the first time this week.  With the new Logan layout, the always well-presented Bayside circuit and we hear a refresh on the way for Brendale, there’s a lot to like about on-road racing in Brisbane in 2015.

This week though, it’s all about Logan.  Get there…..any way you can!  We look forward to seeing you trackside.

2014 Qld Champs Wrap-Up: Schumacher wins 2 from 3!

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.

21.5 Tourer

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.

13.5 Tourer

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.

Open Tourer

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.

Our Weekend

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.

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?

Photo 12-07-2014 10 08 17 pm

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 Logan 6 Hour Enduro: Through a driver’s eyes

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.

Bayside Race Report: Sat 21st June

Ultimately weather stopped play mid-way through the finals, but not before we saw an enthralling race meeting at Bayside tonight.

Four kids made it out for the Kids Club class, and with another couple waiting in the wings nearly ready to start, it’s positive signs for this continuing venture. Obviously I’m biased (one of the kids is mine) but I’m a complete fan of this class – and think every R/C club should be offering something similar.  Harrison Don was the class of the field tonight to take the win.

In 21.5 we saw the continued rise of One Tran.  Let me encourage you to check this guy’s story. He started racing just the week before SEQ Interclub Round 1 at Logan earlier this year. He’s been at nearly every race meeting in between, learning, applying himself and improving at a remarkable rate of knots. He’s now running at the sharp end of 21.5, taking TQ and the win in A1 tonight and deservedly so.  Our own Dave Guyatt debuted the Mi5evo in 21.5 and looked good in doing so. Electrical gremlins in qualifying slowed him a little, and a lap 1 mishap put him under the pump in A1, but a good recovery drive to second, and lots to like about the new car.

Stock was a mini worlds. So much talent and so closely matched.  From TQ man Liam Chadwick back to 7th placed Anthony Atack (yep, you read that right…Anthony returned with a guest drive) was just 5 seconds.  Cooper Porter jumped past Chadwick on lap 1 and wasn’t headed for the rest of the single A final – Atack emerged from a very tight pack into second and closed down the leader, getting very close at one point before fading slightly at the end. Keith Mackrill is looking better and better in his return and finished 3rd from Duncan Vaughan (who chased hard all race long). Another great story in this class right now belongs to Mal Pearson – Mal is stringing some awesome qualifying performances together, and it’s only a matter of time before that happens in finals as well. He’ll win soon, that’s my prediction.

Mod was a small four-car field, but marked by the debut Mod performance of Terry Norman. Terry did exactly the right thing all night, working away to make the car comfortable, and driving very nicely indeed. If he sticks with it, there is definitely promise there. It’s a reminder that Mod is not out of reach – and it’s always worth a go.  Corey Broadstock broke in Q1, took the win in Q2 to pick up the night’s victory after the event was washed out just as the guys warmed up for their A final.  Scott Guyatt was second in the Mi5 evo, with Peter Dooley third ahead of Terry.

Just a two car Gas field spent the evening tuning and warming up for a long final, only to be washed out and not get the chance to run.

Track conditions were good tonight. I believe the club washed down the racing surface during the week, and with a clean this afternoon it was good to race on tonight. Probably not ultimately high grip levels, but definitely in good shape.

Kudos to the club who continued to improve already impressive facilities, and to the racers for a fun, competitive night at the race track.

Mi5evo Debut

From our point of view, the event also marked the debut of the new Schumacher Mi5evo.  We’ll have a full report on our experiences in our Build and Drive review in the next 48 hours…but suffice to say we leave the night with a very big smile on our faces. This is a very good race car, and we like it a lot!

I was keen to run Modified tonight to see what the underlying character of the car is, and I was glad to do so. Mod is so very fun to drive.  I don’t think I’m back in the class full time, for all the same reasons I stopped at the end of last year – additional wrenching and practice time that I just don’t have – but I definitely enjoyed driving the evo in the class tonight.  Great fun!

Track Test: Gold Coast R/C Raceway

Gold Coast R/C Raceway (GCRC) has been up and running now for a little less than two years, and with the venue to host its AARCMCC Queensland Championship event shortly, we figured it was time to take a look over the venue and what it has to offer.  Click through for our thoughts on GCRC Raceway!

Continue reading Track Test: Gold Coast R/C Raceway

2014 Interclub #1: Random Thoughts from Scott

So the first of 3 (probably) rounds of the south-east Queensland  interclub series for 10th on-road classes is in the books following this weekend’s event at Logan.  While we’re already published a quick  recap of the days events elsewhere, here’s some extended  thoughts from Scott….to which we invite you to add your own in the comments section:

Continue reading 2014 Interclub #1: Random Thoughts from Scott