After this event, I can say its one of my favorite races that I’ve attended. It was great to meet so many people and making new friends this past week in Melbourne. People were super nice and the race venue was top class. I was surprise to see so many drivers attend this race and there were also lots of spectators on the final day. I think Scotty puts on fantastic events and local organizers really worked hard. AOC Melbourne round is definitely one race that I will come back again for.
Now to my race report – I entered AOC round 2 in two classes, the FWD (FF) class and the Modified Touring class. The start to my race week was horrible, my 3Racing prototype FF chassis caught on fire during charge and totally burned to the ground, so without putting any laps down during the practice day, I had to withdraw from the FF class. So my focus was on Modified Touring.
I don’t normally race on carpet so I am very unfamiliar with car setup and overall driving style needed for the CRC carpet track. I spent all of practice trying to find the right setup but it was difficult. The weather was cold and with rain on and off, the indoor temperature was up and down, thus affecting the traction on the track quite a bit. The layout was not difficult, but because the carpet was laid on top of the gym floor, when temperature got cold, so did the track. Throughout the qualifying rounds, I struggled a bit on getting my car to work on this track. I managed to squeeze into the A Main at A8, but honestly, the car was very difficult to drive. Making all adjustments possible, I was able to get the car to drive well for the first 3 minutes, but then the final 2 minutes, somehow unable to get heat into my tires. I was the only driver in the A Main warming up tires for the heats, Lol.
In the first final, I had an ok start and was chasing Ryan and Simon until they had a slight touch which I was able to get past both of them and in 5th overall, but the last 2 minutes kicked in and I was chased by Simon and simply could not hold my lines without grip, after a slight hit, several cars got by and I ended in 8th place. Second Final, I knew that the first 3 minutes were important, and I had a good start and made a few good passes and ended the race in 6th. The final round of the A Main finals, I was not going to make podium but I wanted to finish top 5 in the heat so right off the starting line, I was aggressive and moved into 5th behind Ryan Maker. I stuck close to Ryan and was catching him but then my car dropped in traction again, I tried hard to stay with Ryan and was close but then a back marker hit Ryan, and I was able to pass in front of him. Not being able to generate enough heat into my tires for some reason, I struggled but managed to stay in front of Ryan to finish 4th in the final heat and my best finish in the A Main finals. Overall, I came in 6th for the Modified Touring class; I was not terribly disappointed given the difficulties I faced with lack of grip all week. Ronald and his Yokomo was in a class by himself, Keven’s AE was also quite good on carpet but was not really challenging Ronald.
Competition aside, I had A LOT of FUN! It was great to pit with many of my Australian friends, Ryan and his Dad, Ben Sterling, Shaun, Tom and Chris. I also had fun helping Ryan and Ben on their F1 cars (They finished A1 & A2!). It was really great to hang with Ryan and Ben this week, thanks guys! To fellow HB driver Greece, I hope I was of some help to you. Special thanks to Lee Speed brothers, Hans and my old Shanghai friend Ed Clark for helping me during this event. It was just a GREAT event that I hope more people will join next year, I will for sure!
On my departure day from Melbourne, my Dad and Mom wanted to show me a bit of Melbourne before leaving, so we visited the Melbourne Zoo as well as city center. I really wanted to see a hopping Kangaroo but no luck, the Kangaroos at the zoo were lazy as anything, would not get up. And when one finally got up, it quickly laid down again to soak up the sun. But Kangaroos aside, I saw the biggest turtle ever, which was cool! Anyway, I like Melbourne and will be back!