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The 2012 International took place on the 14th and 15th of January. Hosted by the North Harbour Radio Control Car Club, the annual event attracted 108 cars in total, including two drivers from Australia. The North Harbour track is purpose built for 10th scale with a fast straight and technical infield. Its layout provides some spectacular racing with plenty of overtaking opportunities and a high speed straight leading in a near full throttle 270 degree sweeper. Getting a car setup to suit all aspects of the track can prove to be a challenge but once mastered the rewards are well worth the effort.

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Team Xray were well represented at the event with 19 out of 78 cars running in the open chassis classes including over 50% of the field in the Modified class.

The meeting had changed substantially to the format used in the past. We were now greeted with 5 rounds of qualifying and 3 finals, both based on a points system. In additional an increase in qualifying rounds we’d see the introduction of night racing for EP on-road, something not seen in New Zealand before. It would be a unique experience for all competitors with the possible exception of the Australian visitors. The MuchMore 32deg control tire from the past two events remained the same which is a positive move considering how effective it is in most track conditions.

Friday was open practice and an opportunity to get both my Super-Stock and Modified chassis’ sorted before qualifying. The Super Stock straight out of the box was fantastic to drive, super consistent with plenty of traction. The control tyre really suited the power of the 13.5 motor and â€out-of-the-box’ chassis setup. I opted to really focus on optimizing the setup however and started to make some changes to find the limits of what was possible. I started off by thickening up the rear differential to 1500cst which helped with high speed cornering and corner exit speeds, in particular the corner leading onto the main straight. I then moved onto finding a bit more steering in the slow sections of the track. I changed to the two piece suspension blocks at the front-rear of the car, lowered the roll center by .75mm at the front-front of the chassis and lowered the front ride height by .5mm. All of these adjustments which helped gain steering. I was satisfied with the cars performance so I left chassis setup there and moved onto ESC and motor setup. After a few adjustments to boost and turbo the car was flying around the track.

A fairly early start on Saturday and we were greeted by some changeable weather conditions. The wind had picked up and was moving the cars around on the track making it very difficult to get a consistent run. The wind was also bringing with it some rain and this meant a few delays while we waited for the track to dry. The showers didn’t appear to be affecting grip levels too much so that was pleasing.

With a best 3 of 5 points system in place for qualifying, pole position could be secured early if anyone managed to get 3 wins in the first 3 races. Luckily enough for me, that’s exactly what happened and I â€d secured pole position after just 3 rounds. The T3 was in dominating form and was the only car to complete 15 lap runs in the first 3 rounds of qualifying. This meant the bonus of treating the night runs as an opportunity to try some experimental setup changes.

I opted not run the 4th qualifier as the call had been made to continue racing even though sun was sitting very low and had the potential to cause sun-strike around certain parts of the track. It was a necessary call by the organizers due to the delay caused from the rain but I didn’t feel it was worth risking the car with pole position already secured.

The 5th run of the night took place around 11pm. The lights were working well and the track grip was phenomenal. Everyone was improving their lap and overall times compared to the day runs. I decided to keep the same setup on the car and just concentrated on getting in a clean run. Unfortunately my lack of any experience driving at night showed and I found picking lines, braking points and corner entry speeds had all changed. It took me a few laps to learn the track again and by that time, any chance beating my day runs was over. There was serious potential for a record breaking 5min run though as I did set a new lap record for Super Stock at 20.256, knocking 3/10ths of a second off the old record.

Top 10 Qualifying List:

1. Andrew Webber – T3 2012
2. Jonathan Thompson – T3-2012

3. Stephen Li
4. Simon Noton
5. Murray Watson
6. Rob Stephens
7. Ainsley Howitt – T3 2012
8. Colin Storey
9. Richard Pease
10. Craig Pullar

Sunday felt like it came far too quickly but that’s life of an R/C Racer. A lack of sleep was quickly forgotten about once the racing got underway though. First final up and the car was the best it had ever been in warm up, absolutely perfect.
The first final was completed with a win of over 14 seconds and included a new track record for the class of 15 laps in 5minutes 7.628 seconds.

The win in race one really took the pressure off as it meant I was one step closer to taking the title with two chances remaining. The second race wasn’t a record breaker by any means but it was a win and the title of 2012 Super Stock International Champion was mine. A fantastic result for the Team Xray T3 2012, completely dominating the class with 7 wins from 4 qualifiers and 3 finals plus a podium position to Team Xray driver Jonathan Thompson.

Top 10 Final Positions:
1. Andrew Webber T3 2012
2. Jonathon Thompson T3 2012

3. Stephen Li
4. Rob Stephens
5. Simon Noton
6. Murray Watson
7. Ainsley Howitt T3 2012
8. Colin Storey
9. Craig Pullar
10. Richard Pease

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The modified class would be the main title I was hoping for but just like pervious years the competition was super strong. As defending champion I was feeling just that little bit of extra pressure to do well. The two drivers from Australia had both entered the modified class and were guaranteed to be super quick. Past experience has told me that the 32deg MuchMore control tire can be pushed beyond its limits in the modified class. The combination of low wind motors and hot track temperatures means that over driving your car can result in overheated tires and a considerable drop in traction. I opted to run a fairly conservative esc/motor setup hoping that an easy to drive car which would bring consistent lap times.

It was a similar story with the Super Stock car when it came down to chassis setup, just concentrate on finding rear end traction, on and off power, and then slowly dialing in the correct amount of steering. Unfortunately I just couldn’t seem to find the rear end traction while applying the brakes. The rear of the car kept steeping out. What made the issue worse was the fact that the car was excellent everywhere else. I ended up driving around the problem the whole weekend so to say the car was dialed was far from the truth. After getting back home on Monday and putting the car on the setup board I found the front of the car was far too low for what I should’ve been running. This is a lesson learnt for me and I will be checking ride heights after every run from now on.

Anyway, back to the racing. So after settling with the chassis 99% sorted, I entered the first qualifier even more nervous that I should have been. Anthony Atack from Australia (Xray T3 2012) and local drivers Karl Meyer and Sam Cooney were all putting in extremely quick laps in open practice. The difference between the top 4 was looking like it would come down to 3 or 4 seconds at most.

A staggered start qualifying system meant finding some clear track was relatively easily and allowed you get into a rhythm almost immediately without the pressure of another car on your tail. During the qualifying run I was paying attention to the track position of my competitors and noticed that we were â€crossing’ the same parts of the track at each lap. I knew then that the times between us all were going to be close. At the end of the run I was surprised to see a TQ run for round one was mine, 3.2 seconds ahead of second place, Anthony Atack, and the fastest lap with a 19.794.

Round 2 and 3 were also wins which meant I had secured TQ for the finals with 2 rounds, both to be run at night, remaining.
Just like Super Stock, it meant I could try experimenting with some setup changes. Round 4 ran at around 10pm which meant darkness has set in and the lights were in effect. In the modified class, the visual difference between the speed of the cars at night vs daylight was amazing. They appeared to be doing 20-30km/hr extra down the straight and were accelerating at rocket pace. It was the same situation to Super Stock where the first round at night was an opportunity to learn the track, its new turn in points and braking markers. At the end of the 4th run I finished second to Anthony. Anthony completed a 16 lap run in 5mins 19.707 with me 4/100ths of a second off a 16 lap run. I did set a new lap record with a 19.456 which I was extremely happy about.

Round 5 got underway around midnight and every driver was now pumped about how quick the track was. The final round was going to be the quickest thanks to everyone gaining experience under lights. I settled into a rhythm as quickly as possible and tried to concentrate on a clean run rather than outright pace. I was on for the quickest run of the weekend until I made two small mistakes in the final two laps. It was however good enough for a 16 lap but I lost out to Anthony by only 3/10ths of a second. It was excellent racing and something I really enjoyed. I quickly got my car scruiteneered and headed back to the hotel, getting to bed at around 1am.

Top 10 Qualifying List:

1. Andrew Webber - T3 2012
2. Anthony Atack (AUS) - T3-2012

3. Karl Meyer
4. Sam Cooney
5. Jeremy McMahon - T3 2012
6. Jonathan Thompson - T3 2012
7. Leigh Dytor (AUS) - T3 2012

8. Stephen Li
9. Richard Pease
10. Graham Barthow – T3 2012

Finals day and we were back at the track at around 9am and I sat down to give the cars a quick check and greased the ECS shaft before putting some batteries on charge and getting ready to race. I opted to grab a second set of the control tyre for the finals as the day was going to be the hottest of the lot.

Final one and I made an excellent start getting into the first corner still out in front. Anthony appeared to tangle with another car dropping him all the way down to fifth. Karl moved into second place and was right on my tail looking for a pass. I kept my nerve and managed to open up a small advantage. This gap grew once Karl saw Anthony making his way through the field and went into defensive mode. The battle between those two meant I was allowed to race without additional pressure and was relieved to come away with the win, 3.2 seconds ahead of Anthony and 4.7 seconds ahead of 3rd place Karl Meyer. It was pressure racing and the T3 2012 was running the best it had all weekend (even thought it was still exhibited the braking issues to some degree).

Final two was almost a mirror image of race 1. I made another excellent start to the race, again holding onto the lead around the sweeper and first series of corners. Karl Meyer had made his way around Anthony in the sweeper dropping Anthony to 3rd. He was then accidently hit again by another car dropping him down to 5th. Karl was right on my tail again but this time it would be a mistake from Karl on lap 4 that allowed me to open up a gap. He cut the apex of a corner too tight resulting in a roll. All pressure was off at that point and I just concentrated on putting in a mistake free run. Anthony came through from 5th to second again and Karl finished third. Two wins out of three finals meant the 2012 International Modified title was mine. Two years in a row and real indication of how fantastic the T3 chassis is!

Final 3 was a win to Anthony in what would be the closest race of the day. I had changed bodied for the final run and found the car had gained far too much steering. It was a very close race however with Anthony taking the win by just under 0.3 of a second.

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Top 10 Final Positions:
1. Andrew Webber – T3 2012
2. Anthony Atack – T3 2012

3. Karl Meyer
4. Jeremy McMahon – T3 2012
5. Jonathan Thompson – T3 2012

6. Sam Cooney
7. Stephen Li
8. Richard Peace
9. Leigh Dytor – T3 2012
10. Graham Barthow – T3 2012

I’d like to give thanks to both Team Xray and Zoom Resources for their continued support of my R/C Racing. I’d also like to thank Brett Waudby Photography (www.bkwphotography.co.nz) for supplying me with the pictures in this report.

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Pro10 is seeing a real resurgence in New Zealand thanks to new rules introduced last year. Motors restrictions of a 13.5t brushless motor keep the running costs down while keeping the fun factor of the class.

Murray Watson, running a borrowed X10, TQ’d the PRO10 class with a close battle between himself and second place qualifier Nigel Bish. Even though Nigel had the fastest run of the day (1.4 seconds faster), Murray had the consistency and was the only PRO10 to record two wins in the 5 rounds of qualifying.

Finals saw Murray really put some pressure on the other drivers when took out race 1 in convincing fashion, 5.1 seconds faster than second position. If anyone thought Murray would rest on his laurels then the results in race 2 would prove everyone wrong. A win by over 20 seconds lapping the entire field except for second place; Matt Whitmarsh.

The two wins meant that Murray and his borrowed Xray X10 won the 2012 International PRO10 class with a maximum points haul. Congratulations Murray!

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Andrew's set-up sheets