Final haul from the 2013 Australian National Titles held at the Mildura club in regional Victoria, Australia. With the location chosen being 4 hours from the closest major capital city, and amazing turn out of in excess of 260 entries were received with all classes well represented.
The day began on Wednesday with open practice in the morning that quickly had to be controlled due to the large waiting times that developed for a spot on the drivers stand. The afternoon was controlled with complete clearing of the stand every 10 minutes to allow fair track time for all. The track came up a treat with a smooth fast clay surface that had been treated with sugar to both bind it together and provide very high traction. Some final tuning on the K1 prior to Thursdays practice heats was needed, but i was very happy with the speed and handling of the car from the outset.
Thursday saw practice controlled in heats and allowed for each entry to have 3 x 6 minute runs for final set up and tuning. Temps were in the mid 20's celsius, and in the warmer afternoon third heat I switched to a 2.5wt heavier shock fluid all round to test for the expected 5 degree hotter temps for race day. The car settled down perfectly and I knew I was now onto my race set up.
Friday saw the running of the 2wd classes, with both Stock (17.5) and modified titles up for grabs. I managed to not only TQ the 2wd stock class, but also win my first 2wd title in 25 years of racing!!
Saturday came with the additional pressure of defending the 4wd stock title I won in Sydney last year, and having switched to the new K1 chassis, I had worked extra hard both on the bench and on the track to get the car right for me. In addition to racing the event, I am also the president of the club at which it was held. The responsibility of which kept me distracted all day. For a little over 5 minutes and 30 sec's, seven times during the day, I was forced to clear my head of all but just driving the wheels off the K1 in an effort to retain my title. Q1 gave me the confidence to get through the rest of the day when I set what proved to be the fastest time all day. That form continued, with all four of my runs within 5 sec's of each other, winning every round of qualifying. From TQ on the grid, I made the smallest mistake on the start line within 10 seconds of the start, and after video review by the referee's, was penalized a lap for the infringement. I had incidentally, won the final by about 3 sec's from the 5th qualifier... Rather than drop my head, I became even more determined to secure the title by winning the next two finals of the triple A main format.
Q2 and Q3 were some of the closest and best races of my career, the K1 was solid throughout the day and never missed a beat, seeing me through to victories in both finals and the retention of my 4wd stock National title.
Although with a final drive ratio equal to or higher than my competitors, the K1 ran cooler in the hot temps all day due to its superior efficiency and smoothness, the very reason I chose it as my race car for the 2013 season.
I would like to thank Dave Guyatt of Action RC Australia for the support and Schumacher products, even sending down extra parts for me to have on hand in case the need arose!
I would also like to thank Schumacher for the continued development of their products and for providing a platform, in the new K1, that allowed me to take it all the way to the top, Down Under!