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The 2010 EP On-Road Australian National Titles was held over the weekend of 18-21st November at the Bendigo R/C Car Club. XRAY/HUDY Australia were the major sponsors for the event and in full force even after a couple of drivers bags went missing from their flight... The track was tight and technical but flowing with minimal passing opportunities so a good qualifying session was mandatory for a strong finals finish.

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Stock 17.5 final results
With a strong 43 entry field it was always going to be a hard fought battle. Chris Piastri showed good speed all through qualifying to take the win in the first two finals, James Ainslie has his T3 2011 flying with a strong 4th overall.

1. Chris Piastri XRAY T3 2011
2. Chris Sturdy
3. Matthew Stamboulis
4. James Ainslie XRAY T3 2011
5. Rod Maslovsky
6. Brenton Bull
7. Scott Rawlings
8. Hayden Miller
9. Gab Bankuti
10. Alex Illievski

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Super Stock 10.5 final results
In 10.5 there was some fast times laid down, sooo fast in fact that they were faster than most modified cars... 9 year old Oscar Piastri would have been the highlight for everyone at the event, he can barley see over the drivers rostrum but man can he drive. Oscar obtained TQ in Qualifying and was never headed in the finals, taking the win in the first two mains and sealing the National Title, look out Modified drivers this kid is quick. Third overall was Joe Chiringhelli, his home track experience help him step up onto the podium. Matthew Guidiotto had a very strong showing with fast pace but a little unlucky in the Mains with 4th overall. XRAY had 7 out of 10 Positions in the 10.5 A-Main.

1. Oscar Piastri XRAY T3 2011
2. Ben Maker
3. Joe Ghiringhelli XRAY T3 2011
4. Mathew Giudotto XRAY T3 2011
5. Craig McPhee XRAY T3 2011
6. Bradd Vercoe XRAY T3 2011

7. Darrin Campbell
8. Jason Morris XRAY T3 2011
9. Christian Silva XRAY T3 2011

DNS Chris Kyriacu

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Modified final results
This proved to be a very hard battle with Quality and Quantity making it very hard to make the A-Main. Tim Lee paved the way with a strong 4th Qualifying position and improving to 3rd overall in the Main, Tim held the fastest individual lap time for the weekend at 16flat. .

Ari Bakla finished 6th overall with part time racer Jake Zarb a respectable 8th. First time Nationals A-Main contender Antoni Caretti rounding the 10.

1. Ryan Maker
2. Simon Nicholson
3. Timothy Lee XRAY T3 2011
4. Sandy Iavazzo
5. Peter Jovanovic
6. Ari Bakla XRAY T3 2011
7. Steven Jovonavic
8. Jake Zarb XRAY T3 2011
9. Andrew Abbott
10. Antoni Caretti XRAY T3 2011

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Here is a personal take from the two winners:
Chris & Oscar

We arrived at the track on Thursday afternoon for open practice, we had raced at this track a few times in the past so had some good base setups to use a starting point. It was our first Nationals but we had been to a few large meetings before so we weren't too nervous about the event itself. The weather would play a big part over the weekend as it was forecast to be hot and sunny on Saturday and Sunday so we wanted to make sure our cars were good on a hot track and on old tyres. Friday was timed practice and there was two rounds of pre-qualifying used to decide the qualifying grids. We drove well and the T3 was fast, the end result was both of us taking the fastest times into Saturday qualifying. At this point it was becoming clear that if Oscar could drive at this level over the weekend he would be near the front in the 10.5t class. Saturday saw 4 rounds of qualifying. Oscar was off to a great start, winning 3 of the 4 rounds. We decided to run new tyres after lunch when the track was hot to make sure the car would be good on new tyres in the finals on Sunday when the weather would be even hotter, the car was superb and our confidence was growing.

In 17.5 class I had managed to win 1 of the 4 qualifiers, putting me in second place so far, I had made a couple of mistakes but was still confident. On Sunday there was another two qualifying rounds and Oscar set a blistering pace in the 6th qualifier to take TQ in 10.5t with a perfect score. I managed another win and a second which meant I missed TQ by one point but still very confident for the finals. With only one set of tyres for 3 finals in the 10.5t class it would be very tough in the heat. The first round of finals were very exciting. In 17.5 starting from second on the grid I was immediately on the back of the leader, I was faster but the leader was driving a very good race and protecting the line in every corner. I sat on his bumper waiting for a mistake but it wasn't coming - I had to make a move.

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On the second last lap I pushed hard on the inside into a corner making a successful pass but pushing slightly wide, allowing the smallest of gaps that the leader used to come alongside again, I had the inside for the next corner and straight and thankfully held the line tight enough to make it to the front. The roar from the crowd was amazing, I managed to hold him off for one more lap and the race was over. My hands were shaking and I was very happy with the result but Oscar was in the very next race so I had to quickly try to calm myself for his 10.5 final. At the start he jumped away quickly but I could see he was nervous and was trying my best to encourage him to settle into a rhythm and keep his cool. He had made a good gap on the field and was holding strong, then on the 2nd last lap he hit a corner marker and the car flipped, my heart was in my mouth as I watched the car roll then, thankfully, land on its wheels! He continued on to take the win and it was then that I realized we were both halfway to securing our first national titles.

After the race Oscar said the car was losing punch out of the corners towards the end. The motor didn't seem too hot but we decided to change it for a new one for the second final.

During the motor change I noticed that the gear diff had lost a lot of oil and this was more likely the cause of the problem. I replaced all the diff internals and refilled with oil, hoping that these two changes would solve the problem. I had no time to look at my own car before the next final - only time to change the battery, cross my fingers and head out again!

The second final of 17.5 started out the same as the first, I was right on the back of the leader trying to find a way past. In one corner we braked at different times resulting in a touch, I waited for the leader to regain his position but at this stage the rest of the field had caught us and some
minor carnage followed which resulted in the leader in 2nd place and myself in 5th. It took about 5 or 6 laps for us to find the front again and I was catching every lap but he was 5-6 meters ahead. Then he made a mistake, clipping a corner marker and rolling, I drove past into the lead and held on for the rest of the race for the win! I was relieved it was over and couldn't believe I had won the title but again I had to focus on Oscar's race next, this is the one I wanted more than anything.

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Oscar got away to another great start in 10.5, but Joe Ghiringhelli (4th in qualifying) was coming fast. He had crashed out in the first lap of the first final so still had new tyres, he was gaining every lap and had quickly passed the 2nd and 3rd drivers. Oscar was keeping his rhythm and not pushing the car and tyres beyond their limits, the last thing he needed now was a mistake. Joe was attacking and was about 1 meter behind Oscar with 2 laps to go, you could see him braking later and getting more drive off the corners due to his fresher tyres, they both crossed the line just as the end of race warning sounded, Oscar had to hold him off for one more lap!

The lap seemed to be in slow motion, the crowd was cheering wildly and Joe was desperately looking for a way past. It was an incredibly close race but as they came on the straight for that last time Oscar was in front, he crossed the line to take the win by 0.2 sec - the title was his! The celebration and relief on his little 9 year old face was pure gold, it was a pretty special moment for us as he walked down from the drivers stand, all I knew was that I was incredibly proud of my little man and he now had something he'd only dreamed of.

I decided to sit out the 3rd final of 17.5, I couldn't handle any more excitement for today. Oscar wanted to run the third main in 10.5 so we prepared his car once again. During his celebration after the 2nd final he'd blown one of the rear tyres off the car and the insert was hanging out everywhere. We had to replace it with another tyre from qualifying. He went on to win the 3rd main by almost 5 seconds, the icing on the cake for a truly unforgettable weekend.

Set-up sheet
Mathew Guidotto
Chris Piastri
Craig Mcphee
Tim Lee
Jason Morris