John Hallowell's description of Vintage A Team Race at the 2001 Australian Model Aircraft National Championships held at Albury/Wodonga.

2001 Nats photosThe Vintage A Team Race at Albury was one of the most anticipated races for a long time. Quite simply, it was an exercise to see who had the best version of the venerable Oliver Tiger.  And to find out who could could get the most speed and laps from it.

Would the winner come from the record holding Kerr / Rothwell specials, the specially prepared Olly replicas of engine guru Stan Pilgrim, or motors that have had the 'laying on of hands' by California engine whiz Tim Gillott?  Time would provide an answer, although most likely a temporary one.

The battle is only just beginning.  Interstate rivalry is a great thing as it keeps everyone on their toes. Yet the spirit of co-operation between the states is alive and well.  Like Andy Kerr helping out the gun team of Wilson / Ellins with specially prepared motors. It will be very interesting to see what Mark McDermott comes up with for Toowoomba. No one in this country has been practising as consistently fast as he has. He is capable of a couple of seconds for ten under what most were doing in Albury. And he gets close on 60 laps.

In practice just before the event, Keith Baddock was goggle eyed when he counted Andy and Richard Justic doing 105 laps non-stop !!! Maybe it has something to do with the Hallowell / Baddock team's struggle to achieve a relatively modest 45 laps on a regular basis with their "Timmy Tiger"!

Pictured at right are:

1. Steve Rothwell, working on the innards of his brightly coloured and competitive Voodoo.

2. Eventual winners, Rob Fitzgerald and Paul Stein display their grey Voodoo V, which showed a slight edge in airspeed over the two Voodoo 1's in the final.

3. Murray Wilson and Peter Van Meurs were half a minute off the pace in the heats of this event.

4. Stan Pilgrim and Peter Camps' heat time of 3.24.36 is a best ever heat at a Nationals.

5. Record holder for this event, Andy Kerr, had his share of problems at this meeting including a wing broken during practice.

6. All the winners. From left to right are Keith Baddock and John Hallowell, Rob Fitzgerald and Paul Stein, Peter Camps and Stan Pilgrim.

The weather was a bit on the warm side for getting the best out of a 2.5cc diesel designed in the early 50's. The times returned bear this out with only Stan Pilgrim and Peter Camps getting under 3.25. The heat times of all 17 entrants were generally a lot slower than those recorded in competition and practice before the Nationals.

As reported in the last edition of ACLN, Paul Stein and Rob Fitzgerald represented the "wild card in the deck". That prediction turned out to be spot on, with these formidable F2C exponents doing it easy to clinch 2nd spot in the final with a relaxed 3.29.

John Hallowell and Keith Baddock had a reasonable run in the first heat, stopping the clock a 3.32. Pre-nats, you'd say "no way to make the final three". However, that sun was hot and the temperature was climbing to about 30 degrees as the event progressed into the afternoon.

The team of Hugh and Dave Simons were not able to reproduce their scintillating form of a few months ago and "bombed out" when the chance of making the top three was offered. Not surprising, as Dave had to rush back to Sydney during the Nats to make sure his home was secure from the threat of the disastrous bushfires.

Stan Pilgrim and Peter Camps saved their best for the last heat when cool experience returned a FTD, a sharp 3.24.36. This do or die time was made when the chips were down and the big losers with this were Justic / Kerr who were knocked out of the final. They didn't get a chance to show how their 65 laps plus could grab a 180 lap sprint by the short 'n' curleys. Stan and Peter's time of 3.24.36 is a best ever heat at a Nationals, beating Potter / Kerr's benchmark of 3.26.58 at Nowra. Considering the unfriendly (to diesels) hot weather, the Camps / Pilgrim time was quite exceptional. There have been more than a few hundred official Nationals flights in Vintage A since the Bendigo Nats in 90/91. Peter and Stan are now on top of the tree in the heats. Take a bow, boys!

Andy Kerr and Richard Justic weren't without their problems at this meet. A broken wing in practice certainly didn't help matters. A cool change may have helped stabilise things. However, it wasn't to be and Andy and Richard were standing among the spectators when the controversial CD began the countdown for the 180 lap final.

All three teams were away quickly. In the centre it was Rob Fitzgerald vs Peter Camps vs John Hallowell. In the pitting segments it was Paul Stein vs Stan Pilgrim vs Keith Baddock. The pressure was intense, and at least in the middle, no one was giving an inch.

Paul Stein's grey Voodoo V showed a slight edge in airspeed over the two Voodoo 1's. Fitzy's experience helped make it easy to overtake without the mandatory warnings. The Hallowell / Baddock "Timmy Tiger" was beginning to sound hard and a long first pitstop with a smokey motor put put an end to their chance of a win.

Peter Camps' good flying and Stan's sharp pitting was keeping them in the race. It was neck and neck until the Fitzgerald / Stein Voodoo pulled away in the closing stages for a well deserved second Nats win, the first being at Toowoomba only a few years ago. Paul only received his "Timmy Tiger" a few days before Christmas, so he did very well to sort things out in so short a time. That's exactly what top operators can do. Now for Andy's record!

That record is less than a second behind the world's best time 0f 6.41.4 belonging to English champs, Allock / Myszka.  It is interesting to compare relative times between the two countries, even though the Brits fly on hard surfaces and Aussies always on grass.  At the 2001 British Nats in late August , the top ten best heat times averaged 3.44.2 while the "down under" teams in January 2002 managed a slightly better 3.40.9  What does that prove?  Nothing much, except there's consistency among the top contestants and we love to fly Vintage A all over the world!

Results of Vintage A Team Race at Albury Nats.

1.   Fitzgerald  / Stein       3.29.78      DNF       7.06.70
2.   Camps / Fitzgerald    3.42.60    3.24.36     7.12.67
3.   Hallowell / Baddock   3.32.80    3.52.72     7.51.46
4.   Kerr / Justic               3.34.00     DISQ
5.   Hines / Rothwell        3.35.95     3.38.38
6.   Wilson / Ellins            3.35.47    4.14.75
7.   Stivey / Bertina          3.51.04    3.55.25
8.   Ray / Ray                   3.59.80    3.54.85
9.   Hunting / Hunting       4.43.88    3.55.69
10. Simons / Simons        3.56.13    3.55.91
11. Fry / Taylor                 3.59.07    3.55.91
12. Bailey / Roberts            DISQ      4.09.59
13.  Knight / Harvey          4.06.68     4.23.75
14.  Wilson / van Meurs    4.08.66     4.12.56
15.  Potter / Hoggan         DNF 80     5.11.03
16.  Bell / Taylor               DNS          DNS
17.  Bellis / -                     DNS          DNS

John Hallowell, VH 1984

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