Australian Titles Rd #2 in Melbourne at MORRCC
This past week I made the long journey across the US and across the largest pond on earth to attend Rd #2 of the Australian Titles at MORRCC in Melbourne. A huge thanks to Ben Sterling and the MORRCC crew for having me out to attend and putting on a great show. It was interesting to be a part of this program and to see just how much track time they fit into the program. We started off on Friday with 3, 10 minute practice runs and 2, 10 minute qualifiers. I ran both classes offered being Nitro buggy and Nitro truggy with my Agama rides. The hardest thing was there was just 6 heats in total. So I was racing 2, marshaling 2, and being Nitro was regularly having to be warming up the vehicle during at least 1 of the other runs. So seeing as though I only had volunteer help for putting fuel into my car it made for some very busy days! It was imperative to be sure your car was built solid and ready to go for the very quick pace!
On Saturday we ran 4 more qualifiers to make a total of 6 qualifiers in which they would take your best 4 results based on qual points. The track really got it's groove going as the day went along and with watering just once per round the groove actually started to shrink by Q4 and get some marbles outside the line. The tire choice for Main day was going to be very difficult it looked like. Thus far I had been primarily using AKA SSLW Catapults. I was a little apprehensive to go any harder compound as it was only 55*F outside. After the qualifying dust settled I had TQ'd 3 of the rounds and so had Kyle McBride. He however had a 2nd to back it up and I only had a 3rd and thus he earned the overall TQ and I would start 2nd with super fast Alex Bernadzik starting 3rd.
In truggy I was able to TQ all 6 rounds and would start on pole for the main.
Sunday was main day and even though they watered heavily on Saturday night the traction looked really high! With the clouds and wind and watering before each buggy main the track just got perfect by the time our hour long mains came up. First I had the 1 hour long truggy A-main. I elected to run AKA SLW Impacts and it was a good choice. For around the first 10 minutes Alex kept me honest and we battled back and forth. I wasn't pressing knowing it was a long race and was just running my pace and finding my groove. After about 10 minutes he made a mistake and I extended out a lead and never looked back. I got faster and faster through the mid part of the race and on lap 77 put in the fastest lap on the track all weekend of a 30.4. I felt like I had 2 laps that might have been faster than that later on but both were on my pit in laps. In the end I would cruise to a 2 lap victory with my Agama A215T!
Less than an hour later it was time for the one hour long Nitro buggy final. I opted to run AKA SLW Zips in front and catapults in the rear. Again, the zips up front just take off some of the edge especially when the grip is higher and they are very forgiving. In the rear the catapults don't catch edges either and they offer a little more roll in the rear which is what I was looking for because they are a rounder carcass. On the go I just followed in behind McBride as he led out for the first 7 laps. But he made a mistake allowing me to get by and into the lead until the 16th lap. Unfortunately my bid was dashed early as I ran out of fuel on my in lap and thus lost 50 seconds which was a lap and 15 seconds or so. By lap 41 I had made my way back to third and was putting in the fastest laps of the race. I got my lap back and was again on the lead lap and thought I still had an outside shot at this. But on lap 59 I ran out of gas entering pit lane. Fortunately I got the lap but I did loose about 12 seconds on the refire and thus had to dig once again. I was able to put in the fastest lap of the race on lap 96 with tires getting pretty worn out but I was going to have to settle for 3rd overall behind Kyle and Alex. The two of them battled a lot over the long hour final and it was fun to kind of keep tabs on their battle as I made my laps as well. So while I would have of course liked to not have been plagued by the issue I still know that once again I had the pace and my Agama A319 was cruising!
We also finished the main just in time as within a couple minutes of finishing the skies opened up and it down pored heavily! That would have been interesting had it happened during the race! Overall I had a great time in Australia and showing the Agama's performance on another continent! The trip home for me was delayed a bit as my flight got cancelled so I got to spend an extra day in Oz rebuilding my buggy for my next race which is Southern Nationals!