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Race report by Tim Lee
The Racing Lines Summernats are held every January at Fairy Meadow in Wollongong, Australia. Over the years the event has become a bit of a classic and in the past has attracted many high profile International drivers. It is a three day event, with practice Friday, Nitro Saturday and Electric Sunday. Lately the host club has suffered from a lack of member numbers but put in a massive effort to get the track ready for the weekend which included a new racing surface painted down and the replacement of some infield barriers.

Entry numbers for the event were the largest in years. I think this can be attributed to the recent demise of the Super Stock class, which has greatly increased the competitiveness of the mid-field in the Modified and Stock classes. There were 49 entries in nitro and 105 in the combined electric classes. For electric we also had a new control tyre, The NOSRAM 30X which proved to be very good offering great traction and consistency.

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On Friday the aim was to get both cars to a competitive level but not to get caught up chasing an ever changing track. Even the best setup on Friday can easily become un-driveable on Sunday once the traction changes.

I knew it would be hard if I had to commit more time to one car or the other due to unforeseen problems. Fortunately both the NT-1 WC and the T3-11 were both very good with my normal setups and I decided to concentrate on the NT-1’s clutch and engine setup and wait till open practice on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to try a few things and get a Final setup on the T3-11.

By the end of Friday I was very happy with the NT-1.
My engine and High Dynamic clutch were working perfectly together after changing to XRAY’s hard clutch spring and red clutch shoe.

The only things I tried on the T3-11 were to change from the Protoform LTC-R to a Mazda Speed 6 which settled the car down once the grip started to come up, and I went from 1mm of shims in the steering rack to 0mm which smoothed the car out on the change of direction.

Saturday Nitro
We arrived at the track on Saturday morning and the track was fairly wet with a number of puddles, the club members worked really fast so that the track could be ready for morning practice. The short delay was good as it gave everyone a chance to cut tyres for qualifying and finish any work on their cars without having to worry about missing out on any practice.

In about an hour the track was completely dry, I only went out for about 5 minutes to check the gearbox and engine which were perfect. Everyone’s cars looked really good after the rain which had settled the new surface, unfortunately Ari’s engine failed in morning practice making it a struggle for him to even get ready for the first qualifier.

By about lunch time it was very hot and the air was incredibly humid, so not ideal conditions for making good horsepower.

In qualifying Phil Woodbury was the one to chase. Phil finished 6th at the 2010 IFMAR 1/10 200mm worlds and looked very fast and consistent from the morning warm up onwards. We were making changes every round to make up the gap and in the third round I decided to try a larger tyre split to get more on throttle steering. The extra split made a big difference and in the final qualifier I drove the car super hard and only missed Phil’s TQ time from the previous round by 7 tenths of a second.

Finals Grid List

XRAY was the most popular car in the final with 6 out of 10 drivers choosing the NT-1.

1. Phil Woodbury
2. Tim Lee – XRAY NT-1 WC
3. Andrew Bardetta
4. Alex Koussas – XRAY NT-1 WC
5. Ari Bakla – XRAY NT-1 WC

6. Aaron Lee
7. Kyle Hazell
8. John Germanos – XRAY NT-1 WC
9. Greg Brooks – XRAY NT-1 WC
10. Joel Casey – XRAY NT-1 WC

Tyre wear was bad, so for the final I decided to go to a harder tyre all round and make them slightly larger than needed as not to run out of tyres. This proved to be a bit of a mistake. The start was good, I got away cleanly behind Phil but he was pulling away slowly. At this stage I thought this was okay because I saw that he started on much smaller tyres and could still be cutting it fine at the end. Ari quickly threaded his way through the field in minutes with his NT-1 and was in a comfortable third when the screw mounting the rear camber link parted company ending his race.

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I was struggling a little for steering with the harder tyres and later after looking at the lap charts I saw that the decision cost me about .2 per lap in the final, and I finished with plenty of tyre left. The tyre wear definitely decreased in the final with the edge being worn off the new painted surface.

Also the engine started to sound a bit flat out of the corners after the first fuel stop, later I discovered that the main clutch bearing had gotten very lumpy but thankfully held on for the rest of the race.

Greg Brooks and Joel Casey were also able to improve their positions during the final to 4th and 5th with their NT-1’s. So it ended up being a predictable race for the top three spots, due to my loss of lap speed I was not able to pressure Phil enough for him to run out of tyres, but he didn’t have much left at the end.

Final Placings
1. Phil Woodbury
2. Tim Lee – XRAY NT-1 WC
3. Andrew Bardetta
4. Greg Brooks – XRAY NT-1 WC
5. Joel Casey – XRAY NT-1 WC
6. Alex Koussas – XRAY NT-1 WC

7. Aaron Lee
8. Kyle Hazell
9. John Germanos – XRAY NT-1 WC
10. Ari Bakla – XRAY NT-1 WC

Sunday Electric
The morning weather was better and the track was dry, but it was still forecast to be very hot and sunny again.


Once qualifying started it was clear that the track had changed a lot after Saturday. The tyre wear was much better but the cars were very edgy to drive with the extra grip. In modified Ari Bakla led the way for XRAY qualifying his T3’11 in second spot ahead of Jake Zarb’s T3’11 and I managed 4th but was struggling for forward traction. All drivers were getting faster every time out with some chassis changes. In Stock Chris Charalambous was TQ with his T3’11. Brett Douce qualified his X11 link in third spot for the finals. All the 1/12’s were really enjoying the extra grip from the nitro cars.

Modified qualifying

XRAY was again the most popular car with 4 out of the ten cars in the A-main being T3’11’s.

1. Simon Nicholson
2. Ari Bakla – XRAY T3’11
3. Jake Zarb – XRAY T3’11
4. Tim Lee – XRAY T3’11

5. Andrew Abbott
6. Troy Laughlin
7. Justin Vergunst
8. Damien Zarb – XRAY T3’11
9. Antoni Caretti
10. Anthony Atack

Stock qualifying

1. Chris Charalambous – XRAY T3’11

2. Rodney Maslovsky
3. James Ainslie – XRAY T3’11
4. Rick Austin
5. Andrew Sienniak – XRAY T3’11
6. Phil Leeman
7. Grant Booth – XRAY T3’11
8. Shane Edwards
9. Albert Abit
10. Ray Zarb – XRAY T3’11

1/12 qualifying

1. Grant Mount
2. Bradd Vercoe
3. Brett Douce - XRAY XII LINK
4. Paul Hartmann
5. Daniel Maher


In Modified the finals were very unpredictable. In leg one Ari pressured Simon into a mistake allowing the pack through before Jake clipped a dot allowing me through. Completing an XRAY 1, 2, 3 finish.

In Leg 2 Simon took the win on new tyres ahead of Ari and Jake. I finished sixth after being hit from behind by another car, costing me about 5 seconds.

In leg 3 everything happened. The start was good and everyone was spacing out. Ari was on new tyres and looking like he could easily pass Simon but was biding his time until he hit a dot in the back chicane costing him a few seconds. Then at about 3:30min Simons spool outdrive failed and he was out, it was looking like another XRAY 1,2,3 until Jake’s car shutdown a few laps from the end. On the last two laps I thought I was going to lose second because my motor went very soft but was able to hold off Andrew Abbott by about .2 of a second.

In the end we achieved a full XRAY podium and Ari set the fastest lap of the meet with a 12.7.

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Final Results Modified:
1. Ari Bakla - XRAY T3’11
2. Tim Lee – XRAY T3’11
3. Jake Zarb – XRAY T3’11

4. Simon Nicholson
5. Andrew Abbott
6. Justin Vergunst
7. Troy Laughlin
8. Antoni Caretti
9. Damien Zarb – XRAY T3’11
10. Anthony Atack

In stock Chris Charalambous finished the job converting his TQ into a win while Grant Booth and Ray Zarb both improved on their qualifying positions. James Ainslie kept his qualifying position with a deserved podium.

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1. Chris Charalambous - XRAY T3’11
2. Rodney Maslovsky
3. James Ainslie – XRAY T3’11
4. Grant Booth – XRAY T3’11
5. Andrew Sienniak XRAY T3’11

6. Phil Leeman
7. Rick Austin
8. Shane Edwards
9. Ray Zarb XRAY T3’11
10. Albert Abit

In 1/12 Brett Douce was a little unlucky not to hold on to third spot as Bradd Vercoe took the win with TQ Grant Mount second.

1. Bradd Vercoe
2. Grant Mount
3. Daniel Maher
4. Brett Douce - XRAY XII Link
5. David Warner

Overall it was a really great event and the track surface is the best it has been for a really long time. Hopefully if this event continues to be supported like it was this year it will be around for many years to come. I would like to thank HEI International for the NT-1 WC, T3’11 and for supplying the NOSRAM tyres that performed so well.

Setu-up sheets
Tim Lee's T3
Tim Lee's NT1