Victorian State Championships 2002
'SUPER SUNDAY' at the Victorian State Championships is a day of highlights. Speed, combat, aerobatics and racing keep at least 3 circles busy for most of the day. March 31st was a superb autumn day with sunny skies and light winds. Perfect flying weather. The modellers were lucky. It was good to see the stunt guys flying all day as they've probably been blown away in every second competition for the past year!
VINTAGE A T/R
Vintage A was first away. Just seven teams lined up. Some regulars at the Nats, including Harry Bailey and Paul Stein, couldn't make it to the line pit. They didn't fly either. Interstaters including Rob Fitzgerald, Gavin Knight, Ray Harvey, Brian Hoggan and Grant Potter came along to do battle with the locals. Always good to see these guys.
Brian Hoggan was out to defend his big win of last year. His Voodoo 5 was going very fast with a CS motor that he had constructed out of bits and pieces. A sterling effort. Its performance indicated it was put together very well indeed! After a slow first round, Potter/Hoggan returned a 3.33.56 that was good enough to allow them second choice of a segment for the final.
Murray Wilson teamed up with Rob Fitzgerald. They were flying the venerable van Meurs Alien. Pete normally flys with Murray, but a sore hip meant that the S.A. ace stepped into his pitting role. This good ol' model was going particularly well and returned a best time of 3.48.10. Young Murray's flying is getting better every time he takes the handle. He can now mix it with the men on just about equal terms. The question can now be asked... when is his sister Rebecca going to step into the flying circle? This is not without precedent as the Dutch brother and sister combat flyers, Monika and Loet Wakkerman, are among the best in the world. Come on Mum & Dad, it's up to you to encourage Becky!
The Cosmic Rays have not threatened to grab a Vintage A comp. by the scruff of the neck for quite a while. And unfortunately this day proved to be no exception.
Both heat times were a minute away from being competitive. Jim and Colin's pitting and flying are spot on, so it just boils down to finding a bit more speed and a few more laps. Strange, as they always practice really well. Both know this and I'm sure you'll see an improved Pluto or Fury at the S.A. State Champs.
Gavin Knight and Ray Harvey returned a best time of 3.48.47 with the 'Timmy Tiger' and Voodoo combination. Once again, there is loads of potential locked up in this setup. It's really hard to get it all together, even with the vast experience of a Ray Harvey on the needle and compression. I guess that's why most of us keep turning up at comps... hoping like hell that the small changes we made since last time will have a positive effect. At least that's what Keith and I try to do.
Keith Baddock and John Hallowell had a California tuned CS Ollie in Keith's semi elliptical Voodoo 1. Their first round time of 3.35.21 was good enough to sneak into the final. We reckoned that on this day, three others would not beat this time, so we played around with a reserve set up in the second round.
The Dream Team of Ken and John Hunting will never say die when it comes to competing in Vintage A. Two remarkably close heat times of 3.43.84 and 3.43.72 shows just how consistent these guys are. Speaking of consistent guys, Harry Bailey and Peter Roberts were notably conspicuous by their absence from the race circle. Where were they?
Graeme Wilson and Mark Ellins need no introduction. But they did need an 'on the pace' motor. And John and Keith were good (silly?) enough to lend them a spare hybrid motor... one that had recorded a 3.26 heat at the Vic. States last year in the hands of Langworth / Fitzgerald. The motor has a Gillott top end and MRS bottom end. Laps were no problem as Mark counted up to 58 on one tank of his newly constructed Voodoo 5. This motor confirmed that there was no problem with the new model, as they had previously suspected it was not that quick. Their heat times of 3.31.28 and 3.31.13 were super consistant. They had FTD and first segment choice for the final. Not that it mattered, as there was no more than a breath of wind to worry about.
The Wardance was about to begin. Two Victorian teams with an ACT/NSW combo. sandwiched in the middle. No quarter was asked or given. With the heat times, only about 4 seconds separated the three finalists. It had the makings of a tough and close race. At the starters shout, all teams were quickly away. There was not much in it with all three Voodoo's being roughly equal in airspeed. Hallowell / Baddock stopped a lap or two short on their second tank and that put paid to their chances as they now had to do an extra pitstop. Wilson / Ellins continued to do what they do best... fly and pit to perfection, and get the most out of their gear. Potter / Hoggan gave it their best shot but could not match the slick team work of Graeme and Mark who got home first in the smart time of 7.12.78. Grant and Brian were about 10 seconds behind in second place on 7.22.75. Keith and John pulled up 3rd in 7.33.50. Congratulations to Graeme Wilson and Mark Ellins on a professional display.
Results of Vintage A at the Easter 2002 State Champs;
1. Wilson / Ellins 3.31.28 3.31.13 7.12.78
CLASSIC B T/R
Classic B Team race had a really good rollup. In fact, out of all control line events, only FAI aerobatics had more entries. A perfect day on a perfect flying field. After last years amazingly close finish, much was expected.
The pictures at right:
1. Harry Bailey's Backtrack.
As soon as the Vintage A circle was clear, practice began in earnest. A chorus of OS 25's and a lone Enya 29 filled the air. The Rays were reigning champs and were first to try the sky. The Firebrand was just a little slower than last year and other teams, particularly Bailey / Roberts, have found lots more speed and laps. Colin and Jim were like men with a wheelbarrow... they had the job in front of them.
What's a contest without Wilson / Ellins? Probably not much of a one. If it's a control line event, they'll be in it... and most likely they'll do well. Their best time of 3.25 for the 70 lap dash gave them 3rd place in the 140 lap final. When their bright red 'Double Dice ' is treated to an ABC piston and liner, we'll all be looking over our shoulders.
Harry Bailey and Peter Roberts had the Vee tailed 'Backtrack' really circulating. This great looking model was passing just about everything! To me, it was reminiscent of Brian Eather's chocolate coloured butterfly tailed FAI racer that was passing everything on its way to winning the Echuca nationals in 61-62. That's just over 40 years ago, but my memory of it is so strong that it seems more like a few weeks ago... A best time of 3.26.91 saw them qualify for the final.
Dave Shackelford made a welcome appearance in the Classic 'B' circle. He had some experienced help on the handle too... none other than fellow South Aussie Rob Fitzgerald. Dave and Rob were flying the old 'Razzamachas' with a new OS 25 FP up front. The MRS tuned motor was still a bit new to rev out fully, so expect the low 3.40's times to come down at the S.A. State Champs at the end of April. Fiddling with venturis and fuels will probably help too.
John Hallowell and Keith Baddock had their gun machine, the 'Flying Purple People Eater' on the field. The nats winner showed similar form to Albury, reeling off a 3.17.88 FTD in the first round. To be honest, we don't really know why this particular model is so quick and has heaps of laps. Having build more than a dozen 'B' racers to similar specs with the same MRS tuned OS 25 FP's and flown them with Keith, all we can say is that different models work differently and some very similar setups perform better than others! Remember the story in last month's ACLN about Dennis Ward building 26 tanks of which 4 worked properly? No doubt about it... it's the 'numbers game' that helps in the end.
As Nationals finalists, the Hunting brothers were expected to make a bold showing. However, despite having good airspeed, a tank problem sidelined them on ‘Super Sunday’, just like Wilson / Ellins at Albury. Laps were a problem, and a normally one stop 70 lapper became a two stopper. Knock 20 seconds for a stop off their best time of 3.43 and they would have made the last three. Again, South Australia should be a different story for Ken and John. Particularly if the new "Dream Team' modified Thunder Tiger.25 appears! Make no mistake, there are people who claim these motors will go harder than an OS. I say bring them down to the flying field. The Dreamers have already won a State Champs 'B' final in the 90's down at Knox. It would be foolish to suggest they couldn't do it again.
After last years triumph, although crossing the line first by a by a mere 3/10th of a second, the Cosmic Rays went from riches to rags, posting their two slowest heat times for a long while. This with a model and motor that, a year or so ago, recorded a 3.10 for the first 70 laps of a final! It seems that the LA 25 is no longer on steroids. With a best time of 3.38.25, cheerleader, President of the Cosmic's fan club, battery lady and Jim's wife Glenis would have been very disappointed and may have been well justified to go on strike. No tea tonight for the boys. I'm sure their supporters need not worry too much. Jim and Colin are made of stern stuff. They WILL bounce back with a vengeance... It's only a question of when.
Was great to see Ray Harvey and Gavin Knight having a dip at the Vics on their home turf. Their 'Firebrand' was showing a lot more potential since an ABC piston and liner had been fitted to the FP 25. However, two consistent times in the 3.40's were not quite competitive enough to make the final. The other interstaters, Brian Hoggan and Grant Potter also seemed to enjoy the fly, but the Enya 29 wasn't working hard enough to keep up with the free revving 25's.
Word is that a 'Thunder Tiger' is a possibility for next year.
Time for the final. A winner takes all battle against the clock and the other teams. Contest Director Alan Lumsden gave the final countdown out loud and all pitmen had their models quickly away. Harry's FP was a bit off tune in the early laps. Ace pitman Peter Roberts could only stand and watch. However, the MRS tuned FP 25 began to pick up as the race unfolded. Graeme's flying and Mark's pitting were smooth as silk. They needed to be as the 'Double Dice' lacked the outright grunt of the other two. They had to make up time somehow. Unlike other events they contest, these team race icons don't have it all their own way in the Classic B circle.
Keith Baddock had flown back into town from Seattle only a day or two ago. The long flight had given him much time for visualisation and mental practice. Something that is an essential part of elite sportsmen's preparation in the 21st Century. It works a treat for T/R as well.. Both pit stops featured spot-on catching and one flick restarts. Keith's wife Robin was a dynamo on the battery. The team was functioning like Swiss clockwork. Only a flying mishap could have prevented a win and John was trying hard to make sure that didn't happen. Despite Harry's 'Backtrack' picking up speed at the end, the F.P.P.E. romped home to win by almost 50 seconds in the smart time of 6.19.06. In third spot were Wilson / Ellins on 7.26.09.
Another successful State Championships for these popular team race formulas. An interesting statistic is that every team in Vintage A and Classic B recorded a reasonable time in every heat. That's got to be a sign of a good racing day.
Results of Classic B at the Vic. State Champs, 2002.
1. Hallowell / Baddock 3.17.88 3.35.46 6.19.06
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