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Canterbury Radio Control Car Club hosted the 2010 South Island Champs at their purpose built Ruapuna Raceway over New Zealand’s Labour weekend.

The track would have to be one of the biggest in with world with lap times in for 200mm GP cars in the 21-22sec range. A true test for engines and chassis with high speed handling extremely important.

I arrived at the track on Friday afternoon with an experimental setup on the car. I’d made some changes to my existing base setup with alterations to shock settings, front track width, thinner front swaybars, the new NT1 brass engine mount and the new alloy swaybar mounts.

The car felt OK but it was immediately apparent that the track was lacking traction with the cars coming off covered in a lot of dust. Any true feel if the changes were working would have to be left till Saturday when qualifying was going to take place.

Qualifying was scheduled for 4 rounds of 10mins with the fastest time giving you your positions for the 40min main.

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A quick clean and check of the car Friday night and it was back to the track bright and early for qualifying. The first run, as long as it is uneventful, is generally the fastest run of the day simply due to cooler track conditions. With a fresh set of tyres bolted to the car I found the cars handling to be good but with traction still very low and new suspension settings, the car was a little difficult to keep consistent.

My first qualifier was however good enough to hold TQ honours with a 4 seconds advantage over second place.

Qualifier two was next and I found my engine tune out so I used the 10mins to find a better tune and also made some small adjustments to the clutch. No other drivers made improvements over their first round times so I remained in TQ position.

The sun was really bringing up track temperatures now and lap times were going the opposite direction of what all racers like. Qualifier 3 and 4 would go past with some drivers making improvements but my 4 seconds gap over second place from round one meant that at the end of qualifying TQ would go to myself and XRAY.

Now that qualifying was over it was time to take an opportunity to assess tyre wear and create a plan of attack for the final. With the final scheduled for 1pm, track temps would come into play. We were experiencing very high tyre wear with 4.5mm off the rears in just 10mins. With this type of tyre wear, we planned for a tyre change at the halfway point of the final.

I also made the call to take my setup back to a mixture of my old setup and new. The traction wasn’t improving as quickly as anticipated so we softened the car with dark blue springs and 45cst oils going into the suspension. A quick run Saturday evening and it was an substantial improvement with the car gaining traction and consistency.

It was then a quick check of the car Saturday night with all 3 belts replaced, new spur gears installed and a quick clean and general check of screws.

Sunday morning and with the sun shining it didn’t take long before the 200mm GP final was up.

I held the lead on lap one and slowly started pulling away from second place. How many of the drivers had decided to change tyres was unapparent but I knew that I needed at least a couple of laps to gain back the time lost in the extended pit stop. First fuel stops come around and I’d managed to pull around 8 seconds on second place. Whether the driver in second place missed his fuel stop call or not, I’m not sure, but he ran out of fuel which gifted me a 1 lap lead. The halfway mark quickly came around and my pit guys were ready for the tyre change. I headed into the pitlane with a 1 and ? lap lead.

Old tyres off, new tyres on in 80 seconds and I was back out into the race. I had lost the lead but was on the same lap as the leader. I continued to push and slowly started closing the gap on the leader. Within a short period of time I closed in on the leader and made the pass. From there I continued to pull away and really started to make gains over 2nd and 3rd place who were now suffering badly from old worn out tyres.

At the 40 minute mark, I would have a 3 lap lead over second place and took the title as the 2010 South Island Champion in 200mm GP class.
I would like to give many thanks to XRAY and Zoom Resources for their support throughout the year. Also many thanks to my pit crew of Kevin Davey and Craig Lamb for their help during the meeting.

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Final results:
1. Andrew Webber (TQ) XRAY NT1
2. Andy Ando
3. Jayden Duthie
4. Grant Forsyth XRAY NT1
5. Peter Rohtmets
6. Doug Stratton XRAY NT1
7. Jeriel Ibarra

Andrew Webber's Set-up sheet