A few weeks ago, the big day arrived. After months of practice, and many laps, some joyful, others frustrating, it was time to go for our first race. So Brant and I headed to templestowe on a chilly melbourne morning to see how our f104′s would go against other people.
TFTR was the venue for our debut, and as we arrived it was nice to see so many people who enjoyed what we enjoyed. TFTR are running the F1 class as a trial last season, and we wanted to get out there and see what it was like to get into a race and pick up some tips. After a brief hello, we setup our little area, which unlike most other people was very small. A table, 1 chair for 2 people, some spares and 2 cars. I think we’ll have to expand in this area, as some people had some really cool tools and gadgets to get the most out of the car. Oh well, we’re just starting at this, so our table, car and remote will be fine.
Everyone was very supportive, helping us find our way and get ready to race. Looks of curious looks at our cars, and us having curious looks at theirs. I was running the F104 Pro, and Brant was running the F104W. Both of us had the F104-X1 backend, both were running Pit Shimizu’s tires (mine f104, brants f103), and both were 21.5T brushless with blinky ESC. As the track was cleaned, the excitement grew. After watching a couple of other classes, it was finally time for us to get out there. There would be 10 people entered in our class for the day, how would we go?
As I stood up on the top of the drivers stand, I was nervous as hell. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself, and I didn’t want to take anyone else out. As the countdown was happening I was thinking, don’t bugger it up, don’t bugger it up, then silence. I waited for the go beep, and I heard it. Well at least i thought i did. Unfortunately it was the football siren from the ground behind us, and I was off. When i saw noone else going, i knew i’d buggered it. So i stopped, and the real beep went and everyone went past and I joined in from there. So much for not making a fool of myself.
I took it easy for the first couple of laps. Getting a feel for the car, the new track layout, and running with other people. As time went on, i became a bit more consistent, a bit faster and started to run with other people. The first 3 were fast, too fast, I knew I wasn’t going to be near them today. I just put my head down and tried to not make mistakes. I didn’t have to be the fastest, I just needed to finish with no mistakes. I didn’t make no mistakes, and there was lots of taps, some from me, some from others. That 6 minutes went forever, so much so, half way through I was wishing it would end so that I could say I actually finished. It was intense. 6 minutes later it was all over, i took a sigh and headed down to see how I went. 4th, I was stoked. Unfortunately for brant, it didn’t go as well. The tires he had just had no grip, and he wasn’t able to push hard through the sweeper, and in any bends actually. The backend would just spin around, so he had to coast around for 6 minutes. We’d have to fix that situation.
Pos Name Laps Time Avg Best Consis
1st Omitted 17 6m13.691s 21.832 20.667 0.97
4th Josh 14 6m 6.384s 25.998 23.778 2.88
6th Brant 11 6m16.627s 34.018 29.367 3.87
Time for Qual Round 2. Brant had changed to the foams, and we were hopeful that would change his luck. We were here to race afterall, not just get in everyone’s way. To us, it didn’t matter if we finished last, and 2nd last, as long as our cars were driveable and we got the most out of them. Brants was not in this state, so it was time for a change. Up on the drivers stand we formed into the grid. This was proving to be an issue for us, as the cars would try to roll down the hill from the grid position even with full brakes on. We would have looked like fools, if other people weren’t having the same issue as us. This was something we didn’t solve that day, and something we still need to solve. The go beep went off, and we were off. Racing into the sweeper, it felt like chaos. I went the inside line and avoided a couple of accidents, and went into the infield somewhere mid pack. There was so much going on, cars going up the inside, the outside, the middle. I was trying to overtake, defend my position and be consistent. It was fantastic. Unfortunately, the foam tires were even worse then the PS tires for brant. After 5 laps, he decided to retire as he was only going to wreck someone else’s race. I fought hard, and got up to 4th, but it wasn’t to be, and after some mistakes, I would drop back to 6th where I would finish the race. It felt like a good race, but unfortunately I just wasnt consistent.
1st Omitted 17 6m 9.607s 21.628 20.709 1.02
6th Josh 14 6m 1.274s 25.612 22.189 4.14
8th Brant 5 2m30.213s 29.346 26.470 2.72
These results would set the grid for the main races. I would start 7th, brant 10th. We went back to the pits to see what we could do about Brants car. After some discussion, we decided we would put the f103 PS tires on the front, and the f104 PS tires on the rear. I had some spare rears, and it was worth a shot. We tried to look like we were working on our cars, to blend in, but we hadn’t broken anything, know nothing about setup, so we just waited for the mains.
1st main time. Out onto the grid, roll down the hill and wait for the beep. BEEP. Its chaos again, as there are f1 cars all trying to get to first. Its intense, who knows what is going to happen. Brants car is now working and its running great. 2 laps in and he’s in 5th. 2 laps in, I’m in 6th, trying to overtake brant when I make a mistake. I run wide and flip over a barrier into the wrong part of the track. I have to wait for the marshall to put me back where i should be and lose precious time. I’m annoyed at myself, should have focused on my lap, not on catching up, and the next lap at the exact same spot, I do it again. Damn it, now I’m a lap down and feeling the fool. I press on, calming myself, when who should I begin racing with. Its brant. Now he was a lap up, but I knew what he was like, we wanted to have some fun and race. And race we did. Lap after lap our times were almost identical. One of us would get a little ahead, then the other would catch up, maybe even overtake. This kept going for many laps and it was great. this is what we had come to do, what we had started this adventure for. Racing against others was great, but racing each other, and been so even was even better. The race would end with Brant in 4th, and me in 7th. We considered 4th to be the highest we were likely to achieve against the others there that day so brant had done fantastically. From an undriveable car to a rocket, he was back.
1st Omitted 16 6m 3.797s 22.609 20.871 1.99
4th Brant 15 6m 0.485s 23.731 22.375 0.92
7th Josh 14 6m10.412s 26.217 22.785 4.43
2nd main would be the best I would do that day. Onto the grid, rolling down the hill and BEEP. We’re off. Same theme, really tight first lap as everyone battles and tries to settle down. I’m excited, i’m nervous, I don’t even know what position I’m in. I want to look at the board and find out, but I can’t lift my eyes for a second. Couple of laps in, and I’m in 4th. Close behind is brant. I run a little wide, I’m back to 6th, and brants into 4th. He makes a mistake, he’s back to 6th, I’m 5th. Disaster strikes and brants transponder falls out. We still don’t know how, but it did and we wouldn’t know until the end. I’m running what i think is 4th or 5th, and trying to pull out a gap from brant and another car. Every lap, I can see Brant following me, every lap i’m trying to work out if i’m losing ground or pulling away. I can’t tell, it keeps changing. This is exciting. I’m wishing down the time again, concentrating so hard on not making a mistake. My hands are sweating, even though the rest of me is freezing. I just want to have this great finish, hold onto the position I’ve fought so hard for. Finish line, I’m 4th. I’m stoked. Brant is 5th, although he is classed DNF as the computer lost him many laps earlier.
1st Omitted 16 6m 8.799s 22.913 20.879 2.61
4th Josh 15 6m11.546s 24.547 22.796 1.84
8th Brant 4 1m46.383s 25.608 23.644 1.19
The last race of the day. Like the others it was an intense start, and I would drop back towards the rear. This was an odd race, as I felt that I did quite well. Not many mistakes, and I felt I was running mid field. I guess thats what happens when you don’t watch the board, you have no idea where you really are. There were lots of crashes, and lots of position changes. I felt like I was driving around and dodging so many coming togethers. I was even involved in many, driving up the inside of a hairpin, pushing wide through a sweeper, having the same done to me. it was a hell of a lot of fun, and then across the finish line. 7th. Hmmm, bit suprised by that, but I was happy with the race, and the people who finished ahead of me just did a better job, so good on them. Brant would be a DNF of this race. He was involved in a crash that bent his front turnbuckle, well wire thingo, and he was unable to turn in one direction. Thats racing I guess, but would have been good for him to get a strong finish.
1st Omitted 16 6m 8.791s 22.874 21.738 0.75
7th Josh 15 6m23.068s 25.324 22.687 2.89
8th Brant 7 2m58.157s 24.891 22.997 2.06
So that was it. The day was over, and as we packed our stuff into the car, we thought back on the day we’d had. We’d had a great time, finally getting out there and racing. Best part was, we felt like we belonged. We weren’t there to make up numbers, we were in the middle of it, battling it out. We didn’t feel like we were maniacs out on the track (I sure hope the TFTR guys don’t think we were), and it showed that all the practice we had done was worth it. The guys out at TFTR were great, everyone there wants to lend a hand and help you out. You don’t feel like an outsider, but rather someone they want to see again and again, sharing the same love of RC that we have.
The final results would have me finish 6th, Brant 8th overall for the day. Gotta say, we’re happy with those results. A mid pack finish is what we hoped for, and we had achieved it. We had even achieved very similar personal bests for the day:
So now its onto the next race meet. We will be back, and we’ll give another race report when it occurs. Stay tuned as there may be a change in cars, it won’t be far away, thats for sure!
Full results: TFTR