Vintage Combat, Classic Stunt, Team Racing & Speed. The control line lads were blessed with perfect flying weather over Saturday and Sunday. They took full advantage of it and both the hard and grass circles were constantly in use. That’s the way it should be when we come to Albury
17th - 18th May 2014, Vintage Combat, Classic Stunt, Team Racing & Speed
Racing was soon under way Saturday morning with 27 Goodyear first up. It was immediately apparent how the top teams had got their equipment sorted to run in the very low 27’s… sailing close to the wind but avoiding the dreaded Speed Police and the compulsory extra pit stop!
Among the 7 entries, there were three absolutely stunning heat times. Rothwell/Sculley on 5.04, Stein/Justic on 5.05 and Wilson/Wilson on 5.07. This would definitely be the fastest collection of times ever to make a 27 G/Y final. The times were achieved with a Fora, PAW and Nelson respectively. It is the variety of engines used that really makes this class of racing just a little bit different.
Paul Stein finally unveiled his new Argander racer finished in, surprise, surprise, bright red! Must have run out of battleship grey… Like all Steiny models, it was beautifully finished, light and fast. A PAW TBR GTS complimented the set up.
Of the others, Hallowell/Ellins used a Timmy Tiger that was held back a bit too much. Will work on prop/venturi for extra grunt next time! Kerr/Parsons used a Rossi rear which is now starting to show some real promise for fast times. Bailey/Hunting doubled up with dual entries but on this occasion, did not have the outright performance to frighten the front runners.
An incident took place that we never like to see… The Wilson/Wilson entry was in the process of take off during a heat when the model clipped the pitman’s knee. Away it went into the air before it snapped the lines and went free flight over the stunt circle. Gavan Opperman was flying aerobatics at the time and he later said he saw out of the corner of his eye this shape flash past above his head. He thought perhaps it was a bird, a wayward radio model or some kind of UFO! He then heard a loud thud … and thought he had crashed his stunter before he was jolted back to reality! When he realized he could still feel a tug on the end of his lines, Oppy felt relieved. The impact nose was just the Willow’s 27 G/Y imbedding itself into the nearby ground. Fortunately, no damage was done but, on reflection, we all need to take extra care as these type of accidents have the potential to come back and bite us hard where the sun don’t shine…
Final time and the 27 Goodyear one was a beauty! Steve Rothwell and Chris Sculley grabbed the chocolates in 10.21.03, a mere 2 seconds ahead of Graeme and Murray Wilson. Ric Justic and Paul Stein went off tune and finished an unusual (for them) distant third. This truly is a popular event and there is no doubt many more teams will be jumping in to make hay while the sun shines on this fun filled team race event.
Next on the program was Classic B. Just four teams fronted and as usual, the racing was fast, furious and close! It was nearing the end of a long and very busy day and we were soon to run out of daylight. So we ran just one heat and a final.
There were highlights and lowlights. A highlight was the stunning heat time of Rothwell/Sculley… an amazing 2.51.81 with the Rocket and Sculley prepared OS 25FX. It was a PB for them and the second fastest heat of all time behind Justic/Stein’s 2.50.60 at this year’s SA State Champs. As Classic B has been going for over 20 years, that’s a pretty good effort! As Steve and Chris were timed as fast as 14.5/7 in practice, it is not hard to see they have the ability to get into the low 2.40’s at least. They just have to do it on the day. And isn’t it why we come back time and time again to try and nail that perfect race? I think it is!
Harry Bailey was getting good speed from his Backtrack design racer. His Lance Smith prepared Magnum .25 engine had plenty of revs on board and this was translating to airspeed. With assistance from Ken Hunting, they were looking dangerous. Paul Stein and Ric Justic had what was later described as ‘technical difficulties’ that caused them to be way off their usual times. John Hallowell and Murray Wilson were a bit down on airspeed, but soldiered on.
The final saw John and Murray home first with the OS 25FX by over 20 seconds from Harry and Ken. At the second stop front runners, Steve and Chris had a mishap on landing prematurely ending their race. Perhaps it was the weight of expectation that literally broke the back of their super fast Rocket. I’m looking forward to doing it all again in Albury in October as part of the NSW F2C and F2A State Champs.
Sunday morning again saw hardly any wind at all but a few clouds were now creeping over the Twin Cities Aero Club field. Time for the much anticipated Vintage A. Six teams rolled up for the contest. Will there be good racing? Of course there will… there always has been ever since that very first Vintage A race at Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne way back in October, 1988., a mere 26 years ago! Just like us, time flies too.
Murray Wilson has had the fastest VTR racer in the country for some years now. This time it was Mark Ellins helping out at the oily end of the lines. They showed flashes of brilliance and ended up with the second fastest heat time of 3.14.56.
Not to be outdone, Ric and Paul then carved up the sky with a jaw dropping 3.12.12. Paul’s DD is soooo consistent! Running a slightly trimmed APC 7×7, Paul’s engine sounded the best of any R250 there. And that included Steve Rothwell’s own engine. Steve and Chris posted a best heat 3.22 in CD Graeme Wilson’s notebook. It was good enough for the top three.
Of the others, John Hallowell was flying his old Pluto with Ron Lacey but dropped range in the first heat and could not get that elusive perfect setting in the second heat. Harry Bailey and Ken Hunting again performed their double up act and both teams flew well without recording the sort of times needed to make the top three. I think Harry might be saving his good gear for the upcoming European contests he plans to fly in. Poland and England, watch out!
The final proved a disaster for Murray and Mark when the controls on the pink and black DD seemed to bind up after two laps causing the model to hit the deck and retire. A crying shame, as this 3 up final would have been fabulous to watch.
So now it was a two up final and Steve and Ric were now going to have it much easier in the middle with out the mighty Murray holding his ground. It was serious in the centre, with no concessions asked for or given. It was on for young and old. Both Paul and Chris seemed to use slight of hand in the pits to perform their magic stops. In the end, it was Ric and Paul who demonstrated how to fly an almost flawless race. They ran out winners in the awesome time of 6.29.63, a new record for the 52’ lines. Steve and Chris finished second in a highly respectable 6.48.18. Can’t wait until we can do it all again!
The final racing event of the meet was Classic FAI. This burgeoning event did not disappoint with 7 teams coming to fly. Murray Wilson teamed up with Mark Ellins and these F2C World Champs finalists really proceeded to throw the cat among the pigeons with their airspeed and superfast stops featuring half lap shutdowns. A new Classic FAI record heat of 4.08.41 was the result. Starts were slow as the AAC Parra came down smoking hot but if they ever get their act together, a time in the 3.50’s is genuinely achievable. Where that will leave the rest of us, I really don’t know…
Having Ric Justic on your team can only be described as a bonus! That’s either pitting or flying. Flying for Paul, the team made 4.22.75 and pitting for John, they made 4.22.72. 3/100th of a second decided 2nd spot in the final!! So much for this ‘rounding off times’ nonsense. Ron Lacey had Murray flying for him and they did a best of 4.23.78, just over a second away from a place in the final. Next time, Ron! As this Albury fun fly was very much a ‘mix ’n’ match’ affair, Ron did get a second chance to fly the final, this time pitting for John Hallowell.
Rod Parsons has been looking forward to this meet for some time. He was keen to debut his new and very nicely built Classic FAI. Andy Kerr was helping out as pilot. Test flights the day before confirmed his Fora was right on the pace. Sunday’s racing saw a best time of 4.41 but that will surely be improved on later this year. Again, Harry Bailey and Ken Hunting doubled up but their times were no-where near their best. Harry, just like John Hallowell, left the ‘good Parra gear’ at home for this low- key fun competition.
The Classic FAI final completed the racing on this wonderful weekend. Murray and Mark had the speed and teamwork to win, but would the Parra stay on song? The answer was yes…sort of! They did finish first in 8.57.22 but restarts were slow and they were unable to break Ric and John’s final record of 8.47. Ric and Paul were only 10 seconds away in 9.07.37 and John and Ron were just a few laps short and finished on 197 laps after a run in.
So it was time to wrap up another top Albury meet, go back to the motel for a well earned shower and then head to the Springdale pub to enjoy a top meal with a Garlic Cob and talk of many things, including the weekend’s racing. Many thanks to Daryl for his work on the Albury flying field and also to Graeme and Paul for their hard work behind the scenes that made this memorable weekend possible.
Combined Speed. Ahh … nothing like the smell of nitro in the morning! Only this morning it began with the smell of burnt methanol and castor oil from the F2A which were up first.
Quite a few practice flights for the three competitors only resulted in a few official times posted. Murray Wilson had an unfortunate incident on takeoff where the model seemed to amazingly lift immediately from the dolly and plonk itself down onto the tarmac. Quick thinking by Murray instantly hitting the shutoff averted a total disaster, but the minor shaft run damaged the model enough to require at home type repairs. Sure did sound good for a few brief moments. (They always do when they aren’t yours!)
Andy started off badly with a spinner backplate that cracked whilst doing the prop up! His reserve setup damaged a motor and so Andy disappeared for a short time, eventually re-appearing with a newly cobbled together engine. This combination proved to run successfully enough as the subsequent times show.
Richard had reasonable times, trying unflown props and testing a newly trimmed airframe. His dramas were to occur on the Sunday – literally falling off the circle during the take-off run and damaging a prop – luckily no real shaft run. In between some of the F2A flights, Harry Bailey had some Proto flights with the Nova Rossi 21. Having a shutoff and such an easy running and starting setup allowed Harry to test many needle settings.
Ken Hunting also took the opportunity to get in some 1.5cc Proto flights with an old Mini Goodyear style model. One landing was just inside the concrete circle edge, leading to an ungraceful tumble into the gravel on landing!
Noel Wake was also busy putting flights in. Good to see Noel getting back into going around fast again after an illness. A poor needle setting saw an early flight with his Class5 model graze the ground and trim the prop…again! Sure did sound good for a few brief moments until he hit the shutoff! Subsequent flights got better and better, as the prop load was increased and needle setting refined.
Perky attracted a good number of entries and some entertaining flying in the Pylon. Much like Harry’s Proto (Class 2 racer) the Perkys were generally easy running and starting setups, allowing for some needle twiddling and comp. twisting between attempts. All except Paul Stein’s apparently loaner G20/15. This seemed touchy to tune and hard to start, as well as being a little down on ultimate power. Time for a rebuild… or just give it back and change powerplants? Richard Justic’s monoline 60 model only came out twice. Once with him hanging on (literally) and then with Murray Wilson having his left arm stretched to match his right. Steve Rothwell’s audio tach showed it was only reaching 18K RPM in air so it’s definitely overloaded, but is still a reasonable performer for a stock standard Rossi 61.
|CLASSIC B TEAM RACE||Rd1||Final|
|6||Graeme Wilson||409||422||Blue Pants/CSOliver|
|VINTAGE A TEAM RACE||Rd1||Rd2||Final|
|CLASSIC FAI TEAM RACE||Rd1||Rd2||Final|
|1||Ken Hunting||1/2A P||29.59||29.09||29.38||92.57|
|4||Harry Bailey||1/2A P||NT||37.23||36.43||73.92|