Western Port Model Aircraft Club – Sports Pylon & Q500
Written by Andrew Arapakis
Surrounded by two magnificent waterways, Mornington Peninsula boasts 80 boutique wineries and the home club of Dannmann18. After working with the club officials, VMPRA committee and sponsors, the Western Port Model Aircraft Club (WPMAC) was set up to host its very first official Pylon Race in April.
Situated at Crib Point, the great race had 11 pilot entries for Sports Pylon and 16 entries for Q500. Around 25 pilots and 100 spectators and supporting crews attended the club throughout the day.
The field was presented in immaculate condition and the poles set up with Pylon 1 in the south! The weather Gods were true to the forecast yet again with a 25 knotter from Bass Straight on the Saturday which made practice a little tough but the pot belly heater working a treat, jam packed with red gum. The night was a traditional campers Greek feast with sits roasting and beers flowing.
Sunday morning with a 5 knot southerly had pilots arriving early setting up their models, with newcomers in Sports and Quickie carefully observing the set-up of the experienced crews.
The morning flying commenced with an instructional demonstration on the start line on how the clocks and pylon lighting worked, as well as the safety regulatory information and race tactics. All pilots had the chance to fly the course and practice what many had never done before and that was to fly in a circuit around themselves in an anti- clockwise direction for ten laps.
The race kicked off with Sports Pylon and Scanner Racing. Results were staggering and the smiles and sense of personal achievement being the highlight by far. There were no mid-airs and most pilots brought their models home. It was great to watch the event from the start line where experienced ambitious club pilots were still 20 meters from the pylons and told to ”pull it in, pull it in”.
Young Cam Sexton, a rising star who had the opportunity to practice at Baz Burphy’s famous Munro field the week before, was really tight around the poles and had the best style.
Race results were a mixed bag as it’s a bit different to a fun fly. Starting a plane in 60 seconds and flying ten laps around a three-pylon course with no penalties is always a challenge, even for the most experienced teams and pilots. New starters Michael Burston and Mark Jacob flew well for their first efforts too.
Race winner Wayne Newman representing his store Addies Hobbies flew a great race, with second place to Mark Jacob and third to George Angelov.
Q500 commenced after lunch, with entry numbers that this class hasn’t seen in years and a huge talent pool from first timers to experienced pilots best in class. It was definitely a spectator’s race on the day as the speed difference between the two classes was an eye opener for many, as this type of racing hasn’t been on the Peninsula in years.
Mark Jacob from the neighboring club NMAA in Rosebud West with his scratch built model finished in the middle of the pack in his very first race amongst experienced pilots.
The host club members as well as young cool kids such as James Hurley Jnr and Cam Sexton were on the lights in Pylon 1 cage and had a great time with lots of laughs and learnt a lot about racing.
With four rounds of racing across multiple heats, the afternoon was set to be a ripper. Final results showed how close the racing was with only 10 seconds separating the top half of the racers. Jimmy Tiger Orenshaw took out first place and has stretched his season championship lead. Dannmann’s first Quickie race this season recorded the fastest time of the event and best time of the season at 89.59 seconds coming in second place, with John Schmidli finishing third. Great to see Austin Omann finishing fourth (pipping Master Kellet by 0.4 seconds!) with times averaging 95 seconds with a Viper that was donated to him by VMPRA at last year’s AMPRA event.
At a very rewarding presentation, all place getters received a formal trophy for their great efforts. (Dannmann handed down his Q500 trophy on to the next place getter in fairness as the unwritten rule is for accomplished F3D pilots to stand down if presented a trophy at any event).
Many thanks to Model Flight for their donation of six gift vouchers that were handed out to other participants to recognize their efforts on the day.
Many thanks also to the WPMAC committee and club members who supported the event and put Crib Point on the map! The main purpose of the event was to introduce Pylon to local clubs and all pilots abroad with a mission of flying in an entry class and most importantly to have fun! Undoubtedly this was achieved with a top score of a perfect 10!