AOC Round #2 – Melbourne, Australia

July 8, 2013 1 comment

It was a HUGE weekend of racing this weekend with the inaugural AOC event in Melbourne. This was the first time an international event like this had come to Australia so the entry list was impressive. All the top locals from all over the country were there and we were joined by international drivers Ronald Volker, Keven Hebert, and JJ Wang. The event was also the first time an Australian event was being held on CRC race carpet, so apart from the 3 internationals very few of us had ever run on the rug before.

The first day groove, no filter #aoc2013

A post shared by Craig McPhee (@creg_au) on

Having only ever heard Scotty Ernst commentating on videos, it was a bit surreal to have him there in person. He runs an AMAZING event, it’s definitely the slickest show I’ve ever seen with top notch organisation helped by the assistance of a hoard of volunteers from the SERCCC club and other clubs from the Melbourne area.

I put my car down on day 1 with a guessed setup and it was actually surprisingly good first run, the carpet was green and there was no groove but I was able to lap cleanly from the outset. As the grip came up the car kept getting better and better so I focussed mainly on getting my power right and learning the track.

The pits half full on day 1 #aoc2013

A post shared by Craig McPhee (@creg_au) on

Day 2 was 4 rounds of controlled practice with the best 3 consecutive laps to determine the seeding order for qualifying. My car was still really nice to drive and I was able to seed 6th for qualifying. As the grip came up the only changes I made were to harden up the diff from 2k to 3k, increase the rear droop slightly, and lower the height of the front camber link to get the car to react quicker.

Fist pump! #aoc2013

A post shared by Craig McPhee (@creg_au) on

In round 1 of qualifying I put in a decent run to 7th on the grid, but not making 25 laps in the cold early conditions I knew the time would not stand. The next run I tried a softer spring and was on pace for a good time but I had a roll costing 1.5 seconds so even with a 25 lap run I dropped ¬†down to 11th overall – rocket round is dangerous like that. My next run was better but not perfect, I was able to make 25 laps and bump back into the top 10 but only 9th which meant the 4th round was going to be tense! As the lower heats ran many of the people who could knock me out faltered, but my time was slightly bettered so I was dropped to 10th on the grid before my last run. It wasn’t to matter because I delivered in the last run, bettering my previous time by over 3 seconds and jumping up the order to start 6th for the amains, behind Ronald, Keven, Tim, Simon, Ryan and in front of Ari, Ben, JJ, and Sandy. Not bad for a privateer!

The TC Mod A Main boys hard at work along with Scotty's great calling…. #aoc2013

A post shared by Ant_New_Ham (@ant_new_ham) on

I was so happy to make top 10 I really didn’t care how the mains turned out, I just wanted to drive the best I could and not take anyone out and I mostly succeeded. A1 my car was AWESOME, I followed Ryan around for a few laps while he was being held up by Simon who had lost pace by running on a fresher set of tyres. Ryan went for a pass on Simon but it didn’t come off, which let me sweep around into 5th and gave me a better line coming onto the straight to pass Simon for 4th. Simon dropped back into a 3 way battle with Ryan and JJ which let me pull a gap and cruise to the finish. The next final was no so good, my driving was not as clean and after having a close battle with Ari I dropped back to 8th and that’s how I finished. A3 again was not so great, there was a crash at the start which I got caught up in and my body tucked. I was able to come back to 7th, which meant I finished 7th overall, JJ taking 6th from 8th on the grid with a 4th and a 5th. A great result for and a real pleasure to race wheel-to-wheel with a field of world class drivers.

Chuffed! #aoc2013

A post shared by Craig McPhee (@creg_au) on

Here is the setup I ran

TRF417 setup – craig mcphee – AOC Melbourne 20130707

Advertisements
Categories: Racing News

RROC finals

May 27, 2013 Leave a comment

image

Finals day at RROC 2013 started out cooler and overcast, something I was glad about because my car had been better in the cool and lower grip conditions so far. The day started out with invite on a track that had seen very little practice that morning so was maximum loose.

image

The invite guys have controlled tyre prep. To me this is an awesome idea since it provided a level playing field for all drivers but also gave them the grip of traction compound. It was not a hassle at all for the drivers or officials so I think other events should take notice. The tech process in general worked great all weekend, much better than it does in Australia.

image

By the time my heat came up the sun was out and the grip levels were up. So far I had a 7th, a DNF, and a 4th so my goal was to keep it clean and lock in an a-main position. After some more advice from Marc I made a few small changes and the balance of car was greatly improved but still lacked corner speed. I was still able to win my heat and 6th overall for the round gave me 7th on the a-main grid. I had also reverted to my refreshed 4.5 which gave me back the power I was looking for.

image

For the first main I went to a harder diff and I could tell from the warm up lap that I had a car that was going to be competitive. I played it cautious into the first corner but tagged Steve Weiss and waited while he was marshaled. I quickly passed again and took off after the leaders who were battling hard. The car was by far the best it had been and I was driving great to boot. I passed another couple cars and was closing fast on Shaun C when he got loose coming onto the front straight, and I went up the inside glancing his car as I did. Charlie must not have seen Shaun slide out because he called me to give the place back which I did, next corner Shaun overshot and I was up into 4th or 5th. Next lap THERMAL! Disaster, the same motor as in qualifying. Still I set the 2nd fastest lap and my fastest of the event.

image

For A2 I changed to my spare speedo and borrowed a different 4.5 off. Viktor also told me my car was chattering on power, so Marc gave me some driveshaft blades to use in the front instead of the steel diff outdrives which were getting a bit worn. This gave me even more steering, and after a better start I picked my way through into 4th with a big gap behind me. TQ man Ethan caught a dome and I was now into 3rd and closing down on 2nd. My car was clearly better and I was right on their tail, unfortunately a bit too tight as I was caught out exiting the chicane and again had contact dropping me right down the field. It was looking pretty grim until the guys in front started battling and Lex got together with another car allowing me to pass both of them then put a move on another car on the last lap to take 4th. Hairy stuff!

image

I had used 2nd run tyres for a2, hoping that fresh boots would help me get thought in a3. After collisions in both mains I was way too cautious into the first corner and fell right to the back of the field along with another fast car. We battled close for many laps while slowly catching the cars in front, eventually I was able to put past and take off but I had lost 3/4 a lap on the leaders. Next up was Scuba Steve again, and he was keeping it super tight making it near impossible to get by. Eventually I made it past, but only progressed as far as 7th, which left me 7th overall. Ethan took the leg win to seal the victory – I’m really happy for him, he’s a nice guy and was fastest all qualifying so well deserved. As a consolation prize, I set the fastest lap of the final and my first 14s lap of the event.

In invite Marc started the day with a win to add to his 4 from day 1, with Viktor only managing 3rd. Paul L won also, so Marc was firming as favourite with Viktor, Paul and Chrissy the only ones with a chance of denying him. Rounds 6, 7, and 8 saw Akio come out and romp the field with 3 straight wins to put him up into 2nd overall! I tried to congratulate him, but he doesn’t speak English – I think he got the jist though.

The last run of invite saw a great battle between Marc and Juho, which ended with Marc taking the inside line into the amoeba and a drag race to the line. Juho kept it pinned and the cars glanced with the associated doing a wheelie the length of the straight then plowing into the boards. Marc took ended up taking the place by a thousandth of a second or something like that. Both drivers came off the stand laughing and high fiving, and afterwards Juho joked that they had 3 prototype cars, but “now we have 2”.

Viktor had a few bad runs, as did Paul and Chrissy which meant Marc took the win, Akio 2nd and Viktor in 3rd. A great result for team tamiya!

image

With RROC now in the books we pack up and say goodbye to a heap of new and old friends. Everyone was incredibly nice and friendly, and massively helpful! Here’s my mate Sean Williams,, one of the nicest guys in the pits and a great racer, he didn’t have the event he was hoping for but that didn’t take the smile off his face.

image

This is Hiro who is actually the hot bodies team manager. He spent the whole weekend helping people, myself included, and still managed 2nd place in the mod b-main.

image

Here’s the invite scoreboard. A lower turnout than previous years, but a class field nonetheless. You can see Marc’s domination, and how Akio had a near flawless day 2. For Chrissy it all went wrong in rounds 1 and 2 and despite having a really fast car he couldn’t come back from 2 DNFs.

image

Here’s the “poker chip”, which besides looking cool is the second apex of the chicane which is the hardest corner on the track, if you had good steering you could pass on the short front straight on the way in, the curb on the way out is really unforgiving though!

image

No trophy for 7th, but I probably wouldn’t have been able to take it home anyway with my luggage allowance.

image

The mod a-main minus a couple out of shot. Big thanks to Lex Tyler for the loan battery for a3. I asked why his body had a sunroof painted on it, if it was to see his speedie or something like that, “nah man, that’s just how I roll”. Classic!

I was beaten by xrays and associateds… Just like racing at home really!

image

Tyler Vik – no explanation needed

image

The champ! Near flawless all weekend and so helpful. Thanks again Mr Rheinard!

image

I had met Marc, Viktor, Kiyo, Juho and Keven at TITC in 2012 but this was the first time I’d met Chrissy and he is a really friendly guy and an unreal racer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him taking more trophies this year at ETS and other events

image

Invite top 10. Well done guys!

image

Invite podium, GO TAMIYA!!!

image

The fastest cars of the Reedy Race. The pace of the tamiyas had a lot of people scratching their heads.

image

I couldn’t resist taking this photo.

image

Categories: Racing News

RROC qualifying

May 26, 2013 2 comments

image

On Saturday RROC officially kicked off, and as most meets do it began with a drivers meeting. It was good to see that it is just as hard rounding the drivers up here in America for a drivers meeting as is is back home.

image

After the formalities were done a guy came out and played the national anthem on the sax. There’s just something about the US anthem and hearing it really got me pumped up to go race rc cars! It was made better that the Aussie flag was also blowing gloriously in the wind.

image

First to hit the track was invite. I’m not going to cover much of the invite, you can watch all the videos online, but I’ll mention the memorable stuff. From the outset it was clear the tamiyas were fast, as was Krapp and Paul. Everyone else was playing catch up. The first round was an all tamiya affair with Marc and Viktor both taking victories. Chrissy got tagged at the first corner, then while battling his way back clocked the boards and broke his car. He persisted for a few laps but then broke it even worse.

image

On to open, and things didn’t go exactly as planned for me. Grip had come up a lot from the mornings open practice and my car was really locked in with no corner speed. Early nerves also meant I had a roll and lost 5 seconds, meaning I would finish 7th overall. For round 2 I changed to the harder bottom deck and things were going well until something started binding under power causing the car to spin out. Closer inspection showed I had not fully tightened the bulkhead clamp at the rear, so I cost myself a potential top 3 run.

The second round of invite saw more trouble for Chrissy, not noticing an issue with his driveshaft from the first race incident meant he was a non starter. Another win for Marc and one for Paul. The third round of invite saw one of the best races I have ever watched with an epic battle out front between Akio, Chrissy, and Marc. Marc started well back, and slowly picked his way through, while Akio did an awesome job leading out front. Chrissy in 2nd had a faster car, but Akio didn’t put a foot wrong. Their battle allowed Marc to catch up, and a great 3 way race followed. Marc got by Chrissy and then past Akio, with Chrissy also making a late move to take 2nd. Akio would be disappointed with 3rd after leading for 4 mins, but man did he do a great job.

image

For the last round of open for the day a regrade based on fastest run was done. After my mediocre rounds I was BQ, which at least meant I had the number 1 on my car and a clear track for the run. My focus was to put in a clean run and I was able to do so setting a reasonable 24 lap run. My car was again not the best in the highest grip of the meet so far, but it was good enough for 4th overall. Tomorrow I’m hoping to zero in on a better setup for the higher grip conditions.

image

The last round of invite saw more great racing with Chrissy and Marc again going head to head. This time Krapp was out in front with Marc hot on his heels, and the pair gapped the field and threw down some amazing lap times. Chrissy’s car had mental steering, but Marc’s was super planted with colossal corner speed. At 4 mins in, Marc made his move into the chicane and took the win. Chrissy was clearly frustrated afterwards as you would expect, but again it was an awesome display of racecraft by both of them.

image

In the other invite heat Viktor took the win in a messy race where he had to fight back from nearly the back of the pack. Vik’s car is super fast, but it’s rotating a lot harder than Marc’s so it looks a handful to drive at times – luckily, our boy Viktor has some skill to handle it!

image

Tonight I capped off the day with a visit to the Cheesecake Factory in the Macy’s building in union square. There was a 1hr 20min line for a table but we were able to quickly find a seat at the bar and eat there. Our waiter recommended this chicken pasta dish and it was OFF DA HOOK! Not sure it carried the heart foundation tick of approval, but sure got mine.

image

Categories: Racing News

RROC practice

May 25, 2013 Leave a comment

After a 12 hour flight, a 2 hour stopover in LAX and the 1 hour flight to San Francisco, I finally arrived at my hotel in downtown SF. The wife is joining me for this trip because we have a wedding to attend next weekend in SoCal. Our hotel is great, and we spend the remaining daylight hours shopping before a much needed rest. Thursday is the first practice day for RROC, but since we also have all Friday to practice we decide to spend the morning sightseeing. First up was a stop off at Alcatraz, where we recited quotes from “the rock” the whole time. The audio tour is also excellent and it’s a really cool place to visit! Afterwards we hit fishermans wharf for some clam chowder, before excitement gets the better of me and I demand (ask nicely) to head to the track.

image

First we collect the rental car, a nice new ford escape. With limited LHD experience I drop off the wife and head through downtown SF off towards union city on the bay bridge. The road network here is great, but still the traffic means the trip to union city is anywhere from 40 mins to 1.5 hours!

image

I arrive at the track and its everything I was hoping for. The pit area is huge, taking up the whole inside of NorCal hobbies. I get set up and prepare to hit the track, but unfortunately I arrive right when what would have been my 3rd heat for the day was on, so it’s an hour and a half wait for my first round.

image

Fellow tamiya driver and all round nice guy Sean Williams has saved me a spot, and I settle with him and friends Leo and Hiro opposite. Martin and Tyler Vik are right nearby too, so we have a good crew around us. Also over the isle is the invite table with Marc, Viktor, Thomas, Akio, Kiyo, and Chrissy. All really nice dudes, and they give Sean a great opportunity to practice his Japanese.

image

On to the track and the layout is unreal, not as tricky as last year but still plenty of places to lose time. My first practice is good, my car seems decent and I’m able to lap consistently, albeit a bit off the pace. It’s clear the competition in open is going to be tough!

image

The first day finishes with 3 minute rounds of open practice in groups, with some changes I improve my time to 15.3 from 15.7 and I’m getting closer to the pace at the front.

Day 2 has 4 rounds of practice, so plenty more time to try things. I slept poorly due to jet lag so was not driving the best, but I was able to lap quickly and get my time down to 15.2. Unfortunately I don’t have a single clean run so my 6 minute pace is not what it could be – the curbs are utterly unforgiving and I’m having difficulty adjusting from SMA where the curbs aren’t quite as steep. I also had a bearing let go in my 4.5 motor during one run, so I’m running my 5.0 for now.

image

As the grip comes up my car becomes more and more locked in, so I spend the remaining rounds trying to free it up a bit. In the last run of the day I get my best lap down to 15.1, and while still not entirely happy with the car it is very easy to drive so I think it should be good for qualifying.

The track is super clean despite the offroad track next door, this is how my car looked after all the practice rounds – I haven’t used the compressor once.

image

At the end of day 2, I met up with my buddy who moved here a few years ago for beers and burritos. He took me to a place in the mission that was absolutely pumping despite looking very modest. The burrito was HUGE, twice the size of what we get back home and it was great eating! I’ll take some more photos tomorrow. The schedule is 3 rounds of open qualifying and 4 rounds of invitational.

image

Categories: Racing News

2013 Muchmore masters day 2

May 25, 2013 Leave a comment

A big day of racing today to Sydney model Autosports with the 5th round of qualifying and the finals. For me Q5 was a mixed bad, in F1 I was lapping quite well, but ultimately I was to crash and need marshaling.

On the other hand, mod was really interesting. After my trouble early in qualifying I realised I was going to be 4th on the grid regardless, so I essentially had a free qualifier. I decided to try a different spring and shock setup, and the change worked quite well with my first TQ run of the event, but with good confidence going into the A mains thati had a fast car hat was easy to drive.

21.5:
In A1 Scotty G had some issues dropping way back from his pole start, a good fight between Matt M, Max and Scotty ended with Max taking the win from Scott. In A2 Scotty lead the field off and built a good lead. Towards the end Max closed in but Scott was able to keep his lines clean and take the win. A3 saw an easy win to Scott by more than half a lap.

17.5:
In A1 Andy got a great start and took and easy flag to flag victory with Gav in 2. A2 and it was a repeat performance by Andy to lock down the win. A3 saw another win by Andy, but Gav was closer getting into the lead for a few laps. In the end it was Andy from Gav, with Damo in 3rd after some eventful finals.

Mod:
A1 was a real mess, I forgot to set my droop after de-tweeting my car and half-spun on the first lap, and Ari crashed and had to be marshaled leaving Tim and Cristian in the lead. With my car badly tweaked I clipped a curb and rolled, then pulled in to save tyres, which was great because I got to watch an epic battle between Cristian and Tim. CS clearly had the faster car, but unfortunately couldn’t pass cleanly which meant the two got caught up a number of times allowing ari to catch up along with Keith and Lionel. An accident between CS and Tim let Keith through into the lead, which Ari soon took off him and kept until the end of the race.

A2 and my car was much better, Ari and CS crashed at the first corner allowing me into 2nd and Tim was off on a flyer with the fastest lap of the event set on lap 1. Tim pulled a few seconds lead while Ari and I swapped 2nd place a number of times, eventually I pulled a small gap only to be clipped by a back marker, tucking my body and letting Ari though.

A3 was a clean start with my car feeling really good from the start allowing me to put big pressure on CS. After a few laps my car got very edgy and I fell back. Tim took the win and the overall victory, CS in 2 and I finished 4th behind Ari. 4th overall is a bit disappointing for me because car was better than my final position, but at least it’s good going into RROC

F1:
A bit of a debacle to be honest, badman lead the field away with CS in 2. In the 15 min main there was a pit stop required where rules were supposed to be 1 pit man, all 4 tyres off the car before going back on. I pitted on the first lap, which with my pitman lost me 4 laps. Later it was clear the rules had been changed, with the 4 tyre rule being discarded early on, putting me and others way down on people that pitied later. When it was time for the leaders to pit, Brett ended up a lap down because two pit men worked on the leaders car. A pretty pointless end to what had been a very close class, I think this is the end of pit stops in F1!

Overall it was a great event, perfect weather and awesome racing. Personally I didn’t go so well, but I’m happy with my pace and how the car felt to drive. With only a week until RROC, it’s good to have some confidence going into an international event. I’m also glad the event went off without a hitch, with a great control tyre giving up record times on the SMA track… bring on next year, and go the berries!!

Categories: Racing News

Muchmore masters A3 video

May 19, 2013 Leave a comment

A3 video of Timmy taking the win. My car felt awesome early on, but got really edgy after a minute or two – I found the problem to be a screw from the top deck that had gone walkabout. Hopefully that’s my bad luck out of the way before RROC

Categories: Racing News

Muchmore masters 2013 @ SMA

May 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Categories: Racing News