For those interested in this week’s first ever Tasmanian 8th Offroad Champships, read on for our race preview:
This week marks the culmination of more than three years hard work for the boys and girls of the North West R/C Car Club, with the club hosting the first ever Tasmanian 8th Offroad R/C Championships at their Latrobe facility.
Club stalwarts Rick and Kelvin Marshall, and the whole team from NWRCCC can be justly proud as preparations for the inaugural event enter their finals days.
The Latrobe track, sited in the grounds of the Bendigo Bank Arena speedway is having its finishing touches applied, and looks set to host some excellent racing. The track offers an enticing combination of fast and slow corners, some challenging jump sections and an all clay surface that will change and mature over the four days of competition. While most of the layout is well known to local drivers, organisers have some surprises in store with a brand new pit lane, and re-aligned front straight together with a re-profiled final turn, and an all new high speed chicane turn 1/2/3 set to delight and challenge.
While overall competitor numbers are down a little on what NWRCCC had been hoping for, there are nontheless some enticing battles to look forward to as Tasmania’s best take on some very strong visiting mainland drivers. Here then is how we see it going down:
The EP Buggy demo class has attracted 10 entries, with drivers a mixture of experienced competitors, together with relatively new local drivers. At the front end of the field, the list is strong, and we’re expecting some fast and close racing. Headlining the entry is South Australia’s Andrew Foord. Andrew’s Hobbywing powered Hyper 9 went within an ace of capturing the Queensland Championship this year and he’ll be tough to beat. NSW pilot Steven Drygalla has worked hard at his Kyosho buggy and will definitely be quick, providing a tough interstate double act for the local guns. NWRCCC’s Tim Parsons has been consistently the fastest buggy driver in the state and will line up in the EP class, alongside his preferred GP. Tim will bring his Team Associated RC8e to the battle, joined by fellow RC8e driver and local gun Matt Hodgetts. These two have clocked up many laps around the Latrobe layout and will be tough to beat. Joining them to defend Tasmania’s honour is Launceston driver Scott Guyatt, running an XRAY 808e. While it will be his first run with the new buggy at Latrobe, we’re expecting Scott to be close to the pace. The massive horsepower on display in today’s EP buggies should thrill on the wide open spaces of the Latrobe layout.
The biggest clas of the event, Truggy has 16 drivers confirmed as we write, but with a few more expected in the last few days before competition commences. Here again interstate drivers will do battle with Tasmania’s best, with visiting drivers Craig Laughton (Losi), Aaron Stringer (Mugen), Robert “Flanno” Flannagan (Mugen) and Ron Maya likely to be the quickest of the visitors. Laughton was on fire at the recent Sth Australian championships and would start a deserved favourite, but it’s a very competitive lineup of interstate drivers. Defending local honour are four very quick Tasmanians, all driving the Mugen MBX6T. Matt Hodgetts has been the front running Truggy driver in Tasmania for two years now, and will be determined to add the TAS #1 plate to hsi mantlepiece. In recent weeks however, Jason Heard has been going quicker and quicker – really pushing Hodgetts hard, and has to be counted among the chances. Sam Wells and Scott Guyatt will add depth to the class, neither having run a lot of truggy in 2010, but Wells went close to winning the NWRCCC Club Champs in 2009, and Guyatt has picked up two wins for his two starts in the class this year. There are a few others who could surprise, but these eight are our Truggy drivers to watch.
Long considered the premiere class of 8th offroad, the GP buggy class this week promises to deliver some intense action. A little down on expected numbers, but no less competitive for all of that. West Australian Craig Laughton comes here on the back of a big win in last month’s South Australian Championships and will be tough to beat with his Losi 8ight buggy. Fast guys joining him from interstate include very quick South Australia Andrew Foord, Queensland young gun Aaron Stringer, Victorian veteran Ron Maya and the very experienced NSW duo of Steve and Nick Drygalla. That’s a strong lineup! Defending Tasmanian honours are our two fastest buggy drivers. Tim Parsons (Mugen) has been long our fastest and most consistent buggy pilot and comes into this event well prepared, and determined to serve it up to interstate visitors. Alongside him, Simon Kernan will be determined to do likewise, and if anything, Simon has had an even stronger run into the Champs with some very fast times over the last couple of months. Justin Strickland and Mark Rayner are two other Tasmanian drivers with a heap of potential and we’re looking forward to seeing how they mix it up this week.
Launceston R/C Drivers
Our club at Launceston is well represented across all three classes, and there’s definitely some chances that some of the Silverware will be making its way back down the highway from Latrobe. In the 8th EP Buggy class, el presidente Paddy Hume will line up alongisde Ian Scott, Andrew Green (first time out in an 8th EP buggy…way to make a debut!) and Scott Guyatt (plus Matt Hodgetts who we’ll claim as an honorary LRC driver!). In the GP buggy class it’s Steve Madziara and Graham Viney who’ll battle for LRC’s honour, while the Truggy class sees a stack of LRC regulars – with Dave Holloway, Sam Wells, Scott Guyatt, Graham Viney, Aaron and Michael Peck, Josh Fogarty and possibly Andrew Barrett (plus the previously mentioned Hodgetts.
From us here at Launceston R/C, all the best to all the competitors at this week’s Tasmanian Champships – and in particularly to our regular guys. Give em’ heaps!
Get on up to Bendigo Bank Arena at Latrobe to see the action. Thursday will be practice, Friday practice and qualifying, Saturday qualifying plus possible some lower finals, with the main finals set down for Sunday. It should be a ripper!