VMPRA Race Report

Bairnsdale, Victoria

18 -19 November 2006

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The Victorian Miniature Pylon Racing Association (VMPRA) held the Gippsland Pylon Bonanza in Bairnsdale on the weekend of 18 – 19 November 2006.  VMPRA has been holding races in the area since 1986, and this year the venue was moved to a new location known as “Bazza’s Paddock”. 

The schedule called for Quarter Midget and Q500 sport to be flown on Saturday on the “short course” with FA1 and F400 on Sunday on the FAI course.  Summer finally arrived in Victoria and the weather was hot.  All events consisted of 10 ½ laps to reduce the number of workers required.

There were seven entries in Quarter Midget.  Seven rounds were flown and there was plenty of action.  Terry O’Connor and Ranjit Phelan had a mid-air, which destroyed Ranjit’s record holding plane.  Terry was able to land, and continued to win the event using his back-up aircraft.  His score was 391.1.  Ranjit posted the fastest time with a 59.88.  Brian Steele placed second with a score of 404.5.  Eddie Rich was third with a score of 454.2

There were five entries in Q500 and seven rounds were also flown.  Danny Martin made a fashion statement – showing up with orange hair to match is aircraft.  There was close racing through the day and Tom Wetherill finished in first place with a score of 514.0 and the best time of the day, with an 81.76.  Eddie Rich, who was doing double duty, finished second with a score of 530.1.  He was closely followed by Mike Kellet with a score of 534.4

The days racing was completed by mid-afternoon, which gave plenty of time for the FA1’s and F400’s to get some practice.  Two members of the AUS team to the 2005 World Champs were present - Ranjit Phelan was showing good speed with radar gun readings well into the 340 kph range.  Barry Murphy was in the 330’s and was flying a good course, as this was his home field.  Saturday evening most people headed to the local RSL club for dinner.

On Sunday the course was set up and racing got underway.  There were nine entries in FA1, and the Ranjit and Barry were in the same heat. Ranjit posted an impressive 59.9 to lay down the gauntlet.  Frank Cassella ran 64.4 and Brian Steel ran a 67.8 – everyone else had a cut or a 200!!!

However, after the first round was flown there was a meltdown of the lights and timing system.  Glenn Matthews was able to resurrect the system in the old configuration and racing was able to continue.  Meanwhile the wind direction changed – so it was decided to change the course and then stop for lunch.   As a result, only five rounds were flown in the afternoon.

Once things got underway again – consistency paid off for Frank Cassella, who took the win with a score of 266.3.  Brian Steele was right behind in second with a score of 267.2 and Leigh Hocken was third with a score of 273.5.  Others were plagued by cuts and DNS/DNF’s.  Barry’s plane went home in a bag – after running out of air rounding pylon 3.

There were five entries in F400, of which two were Q500’s in for extra racing/practice.  Danny Martin took first place with his Polecat with a score of 318.0.  Tom Wetherill was second with a score of 342.8 and posted the fastest time of 75.3.  Eddie Rich, flying a Q500 sport entry, was third with 444.9 points.

Lunch each day consisted of an excellent barbeque, served up by Barry’s wife Lynn, her mother and Fiona Hocken.  The local newspaper sent a reporter and photographer who took photos and wrote a story about the local Gippsland racers.  A portion of the proceeds form the event was donated to the Lindenow Fire Brigade, who are raising funds to purchase a new tender.

                                    Click on image to enlarge


               Danny... Nice                           Leigh Hocken                         The "locals" and F3D
               color scheme!                                                                                   models