Warnambool, Victoria

 18 – 19 March 2006

 The VMPRA’s second full race event for the year was held in Warrnambool, which is located on the coast approximately 300 km west of Melbourne, on the weekend of 18 – 19 March.  The host club had done a fantastic job in preparing the field with long and wide mowed grass runways aligned for the prevailing winds.  The club also provided the volunteers necessary to man the pylons and most importantly the kitchen.

 The weather on Saturday was perfect for racing – with a maximum temperature of 20 degrees and light winds (10 km/hr gusting to a maximum of 16 km/hr).  The scheduled events were Quarter Midget and Q500, flying 10 ½ laps of the “short course”.  Due a last minute realignment of Pylon 1, the course ended up a bit shorter than the required length…which was reflected in the results.

 The field for the Saturday races was pretty thin – with a number of the regulars having prior commitments.  There were five entries in QM, but this did not detract from the racing.  Seven rounds were flown and there were some good battles throughout the day.  In the end, Glenn Matthews emerged victorious with a score of 355.6, as well as posting the fastest time of the day with a 58.10. 

 Brian Steele finished second with a score of 371.4 and Andrew Davies was right behind in third at 379.7.  Gary Davidson and Mick Kellet finished with scores of 678.5 and 798.9, respectively.  Both experiencing a number of DNF’s.

 There were only two entries in Q500, however David Shackelford damaged his model during practice and could not continue.  This left Tom Wetherill to fly his Slingshot solo – finishing with a score of 474.5 and a best time of 77.90.

 During the evening most of the group gathered at the local bistro for good food and bench racing.  Word was received that additional people were on their way to join in the next day’s racing.

 The weather on Sunday was also excellent – a bit warmer than Saturday and a lot more flies.  The scheduled events were F400 and FAI, flying 10 ½ laps of the “FAI course”. 

 There were seven entries in FAI and seven rounds of very intense wing tip-to-wing tip racing.  There were three main airframes being used – including “local” designs by Glenn Matthews, Mick Kellet, and Barry Murphy using a Bruce DeChastel wing.  The engine of choice was the MB.

 At the end of the day, Barry Murphy was in first place with a score of 354.2.  Barry’s times were consistently below 60 seconds.  He was followed closely in second by Glenn Matthews with a score of 357.2.  Glenn also set the fastest time of 56.70!!!

 Third place was filled by Brian Steele with a score of 375.5, with the remaining order being Lee Hocken (506.3 in fourth, Mick Kellet (521.7) in fifth, Gary Davidson (544.5)  in sixth, and Andrew Davies (932.8) in seventh.

 F400 attracted six entries, which was divided into two heats of three.  There were six different types of models – with Nelson’s being the most popular engine.

 Heat 1 consisted of Marcus Guss, Mark Hunt who was welcomed back to the group after a long absence from racing, and Dave Shackelford.  This developed into a battle between Marcus and Mark, with Mark coming out ahead and finishing in third place with a score of 449.1 to Marcus’s cut impacted score of 818.1.  Dave had problems getting off the line consistently.

 Heat 2 consisted of Barry Murphy, Tom Wetherill and Andrew Davies.  Unfortunately, Andrew lost radio contact with his plane in the first round – leaving Barry and Tom to duel it out in some close racing.  Barry finished in first place with a score of 406.9 to Tom’s 433.5.  Tom posted the best time in F400 with a 64.1.

 Unfortunately, the gremlins that affected the course layout on Saturday apparently stayed for the weekend – as the course for Sunday also ended up a bit short at one end.  However, this was not noticed until the end of the day when some phenomenal times were posted.  Although there was some disappointment as reality set in that world records were not being broken – almost everyone had had a fantastic weekend of racing. 

 Everyone was very appreciative of the host club for their support of pylon racing by providing an excellent venue, course workers, and lunch.  Next up is Hamilton, VIC on 8 – 9 April 2006.

                                                             

   Barry and Tom                             Marcus and Mark                                  "Blown Plug"      
with F400 machines                                                                                 (That's the post hanging
                                                                                                                      on the element)