The Launceston R/C season for 2011 kicked off in fine style last night at Rutherglen raceway. Wins went to Graham Viney (Touring Cars), Sam Wells (Short Course Trucks), Rocket Houghten (Tenth Buggy), Josh Fogarty (8th Buggy) and Adam Tenteye (Novice Buggy).
Paddy Hume and Graham Viney (at least….possibly others I missed) laboured hard to continue to improve the raceway, putting down a whole new track layout which included new cutouts for offroad cars. With now three separate jump sections for the offroad guys, and a still worthwhile layout for the touring cars, we’re getting closer and closer to the kind of multi-class track we have always imagined. The new obstacles – including a three-jump “crows foot” and a small quad/stutter bump section proved challenging, while the big double-jump “shock-popper” continues to produce some spectacular action.
We’re hoping just to tweak the layout slightly for the TC guys for next race meeting, and then the layout will stay as is right through our Autumn Season (Feb-April). Get down there for some serious fun.
Full results are uploaded here, or click through and read about all the action:
With a few regulars missing, and a couple of others experimenting in different classes, it was a smaller than usual nine trucks fronting for the starter last night, ably led from the front by experienced SC racers Sam Wells and Andrew “Greenie”. These two (both driving the HPI Blitz) would be fastest throughout qualifying, chased by newcomers Alex John (SC10 & regular racer at Latrobe’s NWRCCC) and Andrew McKenzie (SC10). Aaron Peck returned to lead a trio of Traxxas Slash pilots, edging out James Atkinson (who continues to improve) and Alexander Wade (excited with the addition of some new batteries to his arsenal). Ian Scott (Blitz) was going consistently well in qualifying, and Carl Taylor continued his learning curve with the Slash.
Come finals time, and when Sam Wells jumped away to a good start, it seemed the battle would be for second place. Anything but, with traffic and small errors from all the leading contenders leaving us with a cracking race over the first few minutes. Wells, Greenie, John and McKenzie were all in the mix, and all took a turn at the front. Eventually Wells settled down to the task and drove a strong last 3 minutes to a good win. Behind him Greenie settled into second, but a mechanical issue sidelined him, Alex John and Andrew McKenzie delightedly grabbing the podium spots behind Wells, with Alexander Wade putting in definitely his best race yet at Launceston R/C to come home a strong fourth (and improving by a whole lap over his best qualifying time!). Greenie recovered to fifth, from peck, Scott and Taylor, with Atkinson broken down and not making the start line.
Eighth Big Bangers
A small, but quality field of five 8th scale EP buggies faced the starter tonight, with interest in how the performances of Josh Fogarty (Kyosho) and Ben Wilson (Hyper ??) might continue to improve, and in the debut performance of Bec Phillips in the mighty pink RC8e buggy. Bec has been doing some racing up at Latrobe, but was a first time visitor with us at Launceston R/C tonight. These three would face up to front-runners Rocket Houghton (LRP) and Steve Madziara (Kyosho).
Qualifying provided some absorbing duels between Rocket and Fogarty, with Rocket fastest to lock down pole position. Madziara and Wilson were close by at times, with Phillips steadily improving throughout.
The final was a fascinating race, with traffic and errors again playing a significant part in the end results. Rocket jumped away well, leaving Fogarty upside down in turn one, and staring down the barrel of a 9 second deficit by the end of lap one. Rodney was being chased hard by Madziara, and the two tangled more than once over the big double jump – running different jump strategies and lines, with Madziara making some big air attempts to get by Rocket, but bringing both undone. Wilson assumed the lead briefly, with Fogarty getting closer and closer as the front runners battled. Josh swept to the lead just on the two minute mark, and drove a fine race from there, free of major mistakes and getting to the line clear of Rocket, with Madziara third, Wilson fourth, and Phillips turning in her best run of the night in fifth.
Fantastic to see a group of six novice buggy pilots tonight, ranging in age from seven through to, well, lets just say “experienced!”. Taylor Barwick (RC10T4) was the quickest throughout early qualifying, before Evan Cornelius (Rocket) arrived and got going to set the TQ time with a good performance, and Adam Tentye (4wd Truck) sharing the front row of the grid. Jade Chandler enjoyed his first race meeting to qualify fourth in a Traxxas Bandit, ahead of youngster Mitchell Guyatt’s Holiday Buggy and Troy Taylor (Rocket).
Barwick started fastest in the final, but the T4 was making ominous noises, and his challenge lasted just two laps, Tenteye taking over the front running, closely pursued by Chandler. With Cornelious missing the start, Guyatt sat third mid-race before Evan came charging back through the pack to reclaim third, Guyatt fourth, Taylor fifth and the luckless Barwick watching from the sidelines. The race at the front was tight, only a handful of seconds separating Tenteye and Chandler until a slow last lap for Jade let Adam skip away for a well earned first up win.
Three new drivers joined the tenth buggy regulars, all driving 4wd buggies, and all showing plenty of pace. Scott Guyatt (CAT SX2) opened up with a big win in Q1, with Rocket (AE B44) and Hume (AE B44) in close pursuit. Scott broke a motor in Q2 to be out for the night, while Rocket and Hume went quicker and quicker throughout the rest of qualifying. Ben Wilson (Traxxas Bandit) got the better of the two wheel drive battle, out qualifying Andrew McKenzie (RC10 B4) and Steve Madziara (Bandit), and a very welcome return from Michael Peck (Rocket) rounding out the field.
The final was tragic. After a delayed start for repairs to his B44, Hume assumed the lead, and after a brief tangle in fourth lap allowed Wilson, McKenzie and Rocket all to sneak past, he made the most of his opportunities to reclaim the lead and streak away. Sitting on a ten second lead going into the final lap, Hume went big over the shock-popper (as he had done most of the night), on this occasion paying a heavy prive – the B44 locking up on landing, and Paddy able to do nothing by shed tears as Rocket swept past to the win. On returning to the pits, Paddy’s tears doubled, with no discernible problem with the B44, whatever the temporary issue, had cleared itself. Rocket proved that to finish first, first you must finish, and took a debut win with the B44, Paddy having done enough to finish second, with Ben Wilson third (and quickest of the 2wd’s) from Andrew McKenzie and Mick Peck. Both Madziara and Guyatt had not started the final.
Just three cars tonight in our TC class, but some good racing nonetheless. Graham Viney (XRAY) is showing the benefit of sticking with the class, and some visits to the Southern Tas Model Car Club in Hobart, and was fast tonight, just fending off a similarly speedy Peter Hutton (also XRAY and who spent his summer break building up a wild 4wd SC truck!) – the two split by just one second at the end of qualifying. Scott Kopriva (AE?) arrived late, and didn’t get a full qualifying run in, but looked well sorted in the short runs he did manage.
Hutton grabbed the lap one lead, chased hard by the other two, with Kopriva sneaking by on lap two to a lead he would hold for the next five laps, before the ever present Viney stuck a pass, and set sail for the line, running fast and consistent to streak away to a big win over Kopriva. Meanwhile Hutton struck trouble early, and returned to the track well back, but on a mission to enjoy….a task well accomplish on his way to third.
Driver of the Night
Plenty of candidates for our unofficial “driver of the night” tonight. Josh Fogarty for his big eighth buggy win, newcomers Alex John and Andrew McKenzie who placed on the short course podium, seven year old Mitchell Guyatt’s antics in the classic Holiday Buggy (of course I’m biased, what father wouldn’t be? 😉 ).
In the end I have to go with Alexander Wade’s fourth place A final Short Course performance. Alexander got faster and faster all night, and then improved massively in the final to beat out many more experienced drivers. It was an great drive. Congrats Alexander, you’re our “Driver of the Night”
Launceston R/C is back. It was an enjoyable night’s racing, with plenty of new faces, and a lot to look forward to. We look like having enough drivers for a novice buggy class over the next few race meetings, so take the chance to encourage your friends to come out for the first race with us (or invite them back if we’ve not seen them for a while).
Next race meeting Thursday February 10th.
Finally, I took a quick video of Mitch in his Holiday Buggy. If you couldn’t make it to Launceston R/C tonight, here’ s a look at the new (and I think improved) Rutherglen Raceway: