A description of the Australian Model Aircraft Nationals Racing held at Albury/Wodonga on the NSW/Victorian state border, commencing December 2002.

2002 Nats photosThe pictures on this page show the racing events conducted over tarmac hard surface at Albury Airport.

1.  FAI teamrace finalist pilots at work. From left to right are Rob Fitzgerald, Graeme Wilson, and Richard Justic.

2.  The same group of pilots as captured by Jim Stivey's video camera.

3.  FAI teamrace finalists from left to right are Wilson/Stein 3rd, Fitzgerald/Ellins 1st, Owen/Justic 2nd.

4.  The Class 2 teamracer of previous year's winner of this event, Harry Bailey/Mark Ellins.  Had to be satisfied with second this time.

5.  Class 2 teamrace finalist pilots at work. From left to right are Colin Ray, Harry Bailey, and Graeme Wilson.

6.  Class 2 teamrace finalists from left to right are Ellins/Bailey 2nd, Wilson/Lumsden 1st, Colin and Jim Ray 3rd.

7.  Alan Lumsden with the model that was leading the 2.5cc Rat Race in the final at the previous Nationals when it crashed with a couple of minutes to go.  Was luckier to make amends by winning this time.

In the background is the popular shade tent that was much appreciated by spectators at this venue.

8.  2.5cc Rat Race finalists from left to right are John and Ken Hunting 2nd, Ellins/Lumsden 1st, Justic/Owen 3rd.

FAI F2C Teamrace

This was the first racing event flown over tarmac at the Airport on Sunday December 29th. The stiff breeze and 33 degree Celsius temperature provided demanding conditions for the nine team entries contesting this international class event.  Models were all variants of the FZCstyle flying wing, and pressurised refuelling systems, engine cutoffs, and specialist built engines seemed to be the essential ingredients of a competitive package.

The team of Rob Fitzgerald/Mark Ellins set the fastest heat time of 3:19.3, closely followed by Graeme Wilson/Paul Stein with three consistent heat times.  In the final Wilson/Stein selected an into-wind pitting segment, and watched helplessly as their model ran into the circle and crashed at 38 laps, following their first pitstop.  Meanwhile, Rob Fitzgerald and Mark Ellins were putting on a masterly display on their way to a win.

1st Rob Fitzgerald/Mark Ellins  6:50.8
2nd Robert Owen/Richard Justic 7:19
3rd Graeme Wilson/Paul Stein  DNF

Class 2 Teamrace

This event was flown in the afternoon following the FAI race with eight entrants and a stronger breeze.

Eight entrants had been processed, but the Hallowell/Baddock model failed the line pull test and was withdrawn without flying.  During three rounds of heats two teams recorded times under 3 minutes.  Bailey/Ellins lead the competition with 2:59.8 after round 2, then in round 3 Wilson/Lumsden were able to overcome their problems of the first two rounds to record 2:57.

The final was an all Victorian affair with Wilson/Lumsden, Bailey/Ellins, and Ray/Ray racing for the title.  Their powerful racers usually have no trouble coping with strong winds, but in the final two of the three competing teams were put out of contention by their models running into the circle and crashing on takeoff. The first pit stop saw disqualification for Ray/Ray at 36 laps and Bailey/Ellins finished at 46 laps when their model ran into the circle.  This left Wilson/Lumsden to continue on to win in 8:09.5, slowed by some long pitstops.

2.5cc Rat Race

Seven teams presented to do battle for this title on New Year's Eve.  Although the weather was a bit windy the stiff breeze did not worry these speedy machines.

After practice the 10minute heats were soon underway.  Owen/Justic were the outstanding team in the first round with their FZC style flying wing.  They managed 263 laps, just ahead of the consistent Hunting/Hunting on 260 laps and Ray/Ray on 200 laps.

The second round started with an excellent 3 up heat.  Mark Ellins, Danny Rich and Colin Ray showed superb piloting skills as they treated spectators to an exciting display of Rat Race flying.  Ellins/Lumdsen overcame earlier problems in the second round, recording 275 laps for first choice of pitting segment for the final.  The Hunting brothers and Owen/Justic were the other qualifiers.

The final was 20 minutes of sheer hard work for the pilots.  Sharp reflexes and lots of experience in the middle are essential for surviving this event, but muscle power to help models along is also required.  John Hunting demonstrated some powerful whipping whenever he moved the flying handle to his left hand, but his model was just not as fast as that of Alan Lumsden, flown by Mark Ellins.  The flying wing of Rob Owen and Ric Justic was briefly even faster, but some bungled pitstops reduced them to 3rd place.

1st Mark Ellins/Alan Lumsden, 545 laps
2nd Ken and John Hunting, 384 laps
3rd Robert Owen/Richard Justic, 269 laps

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