HOBBY STATION INVITATIONAL, Scotts Report April 2006.
Well it’s done and dusted. An excellent weekend’s racing for the first annual Hobbystation Invitational/Brisbane Cup. Anthony Atack (Invitational), Brett Ryan (Open Modified) and Damian Barnier (Stock) where the winners after 2 hard-fought days of racing.
Damian Barnier was in a class of his own – driving so perfectly that he was turning lap times tough to match even for the modified guys. He won easily in the end – lapping the field comfortably. Great news for us was the Heavy D was an excellent and deserved second in the Mi2-EC. He was on fire all weekend turning in some of his best race runs ever. Impressive stuff! Stuie Milton in the matching orange bodied Mission was a good third showing that he really knows his way around the tight Hobbystation layout.
Saturday it looked like this would be a Jay Dixon benefit but on Sunday morning Brett Ryan got things going to not only challenge Jay but take away the TQ spot. In the first final Brett lead until trouble with traffic handed the front spot to Jay who then made every post a winner. Race 2 was a close affair but again traffic played a vital role – this time delaying Dixon to let Brett scamper away. In race three a first lap error from Jay handed a big lead to Ryan – who made no mistakes to drive the Big Mac owned Corally to a strong win – and a guaranteed start in the Invitational field in 2007. Dixon was second with Kane Fellows consistently third.
The Invitational class racing had it all. Horsepower, handing, great driving, tight battles. The finishing order:
1. Anthony Atack (Tamiya 415MSX): In the end the pace and consistency of Anthony proved irresistable. Not until the final race of 12 (long after the win was secure) did he finish outside the top 3 – coming from all grid positions to find his way to the front. Well done Anthony on a deserved win.
2. Scott Guyatt (Schumacher Mi2-EC): I was delighted to finish second overall. I had good car speed and drove decently to pick up a few wins and be comfortably second. Read below for my “race by race” report.
3. Andy Cooke (Corally RDX): Had a mixed weekend to run in third place. He battled some mechanical dramas from time to time but when clean runs came showed great speed to also pick up some race wins.
4. Chris Putnam (Schumacher Mi2-EC): Chris put in some excellent performances on the back of a lack of track time in the leadup to the event. He won the opening race and then ran strongly throughout to finish a good 4th.
5. Chris Primmer (Losi JRX-S): Primmer had speed to burn all weekend. Had a few dramas finding clean runs through traffic and could have finished higher up. Highlight was the decision to paint and run a new body just 30 minutes before the first race. Final stickers went onto the all red Dodge Stratus just seconds before we hit the grid!
6. Keith Mackrill (HPI Pro 4): Keith endured a tough start to the event with tyre peeling issues, before coming on strong on Sunday with some good car setup decisions and fast driving.
7. Peter Dooley (Losi JRX-S): Pete undoubtedly suffered the most when it came to finding clean runs. If there was an accident, chances were Pete’s Losi was underneath the pile of cars. He endured with good spirits and showed real pace Sunday afternoon with top 3 race runs.
8. John Perkins (Corally RDX): John had the toughest ask – drafted in to the field at the last minute and with limited track time in the leadup. He displayed plenty of speed – amazingly being faster on old tyres than on new rubber. Some good runs and did a good job in this company.
Other Notes: We ran on control Sorex 36/c-medium/Sorex rims. This has become almost a defacto standard control tyre in Australia in recent years so most have a pretty good idea of how to run them. Nearly everybody ran Paragon Ground Effects goop, with tyre warmers being used at a range of temperatures. I personally was going to the grid with tyres at about 45 degrees. The Sorex rims do prove prone to cracking, but I think Keith was the only invite driver to have that problem.
Power was aplenty, but not overly useful on this tight track. Three guys ran brushless (JP, Primmer & myself), but everybody had more than enough horsepower.
Starts proved critical. The “Lemans” grid with only a short run to turn one made things very important. I personally got some great jumps thanks to the Novak 4.5 grunt and often picked up 1 or more places into the first turn.
Race times and fastest laps were incredibly close. The “fastest” best lap was in the 9.9 secs range, and the “slowest” best lap in the 10.0 secs range. The “fastest” best race run was 30: 5.04 and the “slowest” best race run about 29:5.01 (about 7 sec spread). Quite a few races were won by less than 1 sec.
There wasn’t a lot of “rough” driving, but on such a tight and twisty track, and with competition intense there were certainly quite a few occasions of cars coming together. Noticeable was the different speeds at different parts of corners for cars equipped with spools, or single one-ways or double one-ways. Perhaps a “no one-way” rule for 2007?
The starts featured a rotating grid – ensuring an even spread of starting positions for everybody. It proved critical to make the most of the opportunities when starting “up front” and to limit the damage when starting further back.
My Own Weekend:
Race 1: I started off struggling a little with not enough car speed. The car had a bit of a push and I ran mid-field to 5th (from 6 on the grid), while out front Chris Putnam held off a determined attempt by Anthony to wrestle the lead from him.
Race 2: A couple of changes weren’t enough to make much difference. I had a rough race, but still not the car speed to go to the front. I again finished 5th (from 7th on the grid) while Cookie picked up his first win from Anthony. (I think!)
Race 3: Changes to my car were starting to take effect and I was able to move through from 8th grid to 3rd. Anthony picked up his first win off the front row and was looking ominous.
Race 4: My turn on the front row and a good start gave me a gap to the field. I concentrated on driving consistently and limiting the opportunities for others to close. Anthony broke through into second and chased me down with a minute or so to run – but I was able to fend him off to take the win.
Race 5: I was able to jump past John to lead away and had another good run. This time Anthony closed earlier and after we had a couple of incidents, Cookie closed up as well. A couple of minor errors allowed first Anthony, then Andy past me. I finished 3rd.
Race 6: I got another great jump to get past John, and inside Peter, but then came together with Pete. I was able to continue and lead from Anthony, but Peter lost ground. A mistake early from me put Anthony in front and I eventually came under siege from Cookie & Chris Primmer. I defended and held second before being “introduced” to the wall on the last corner and the second place turned into 6th as a bunched field sped past.
Race 7: From 4 on the grid I got another great start to jump past John, then inside Peter and follow Keith through the first laps. Keith had a little error and I got to the lead. The gap stayed pretty steady at around 1 sec until Keith started to close over the last minute (with Anthony right on him). With one lap to go they were glued to my bumper. We had a little coming together but I recovered to the win, from Anthony and Keith.
Race 8: My weekend’s highlight – without doubt. I still have no idea what happened at the start – other than that I jumped past John, inside Peter & Keith & Chris Primmer to lead after 3 corners – from 5th on the grid. Pete was fast early but a little mistake let me slip away before Anthony found his way to second and closed to my rear bumper after about one minute. For the next 4 minutes he stayed right there (glued, literally glued). I don’t think we were ever more than about a tenth or two apart. I was delighted to stay neat to the finish and hold out Anthony for my third win.
Race 9: A new round of grid draws gave me pole for this race – I jumped away well but with Cookie off 2 there was no room to move. He followed very closely and the racing was fun. At about 4 minutes we had a coming together and Andy got by. I had Anthony right behind me but couldn’t quite find the chance to put a move on Cookie. We finished 1-2-3 very close together.
Race 10: I was gobsmacked to pop up in 3rd place after one lap (from 8th) and then moved past Chris Putnam to second (Anthony was in front and vanishing). Just after the pass Chris and I had a tangle putting us back to 7th & 8th. The field were so fast by this time that recover to 6th & 7th was all we could manage.
Race 11: Another less happy race for me with a few errors and tangles. Again the field was tightly bunched with Anthony again winning and me finishing 6th.
Race 12: The last run was another good one for me. Cookie disappeared off the front and I got through to second to follow home a few seconds back. Anthony finally showed his human side and finished 8th I think!
I really enjoyed the racing, the company and the event. Kudos to Big Mac for the vision, and for the Hobbystation Team for helping him realise it. 2007 will undoubtely be bigger and better. Who’s on the invite list? For now Anthony Atack, Andy Cooke, Brett Ryan & I are the 4 guaranteed spots.
Here’s a few snapshots from the HS Invititational/Brisbane Cup last weekend.