60th Australian Nationals 2006-2007

Albury / Wodonga
28th December 2006  - 6th January 2007


Photos courtesy of John Hallowell

  Click on image for enlargement
Twin Cities Model Aircraft Club - HARD CIRCLE events
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Twin Cities Model Aircraft Club - HARD CIRCLE events
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Alexander Park - GRASS CIRCLE events
  CD – Mark Ellins  
    State rd 1 rd 2 rd 3 km/h
1. Ian Gapps NSW 12.940 12.593 N/T 285.95
2. Richard Justic NSW 12.940 12.683 13.050 283.92
3. Andrew Heath NSW 12.810 12.833 N/T 281.10
4. Andy Kerr NSW 13.120 13.196 N/T 274.46
5. Noel Wake VIC N/T 15.580 15.300 235.36

Report from Noel Wake

Once again the weather was hot and dry. Overnight the ducks had used the circle for target practice, This required considerable sweeping. Contest director was Mark Ellins; with only five competitors this event was fairly short.

Four Profi engines and models were used and one Irvine 15R. Andy Kerr returned to FAI speed flying after many years absence.

Andrew Heath set the fastest time in the first round, with all four times being very close. I failed to record a flight due to a flat battery. Both Ian Gapps and Richard Justic improved in the second round, moving into first and second place respectively.

Only 2 times were recorded in the third round, both Andy and Andrew had problems.

Ian Gapps did not fly in the third round as he had already set the fastest time.

  CD – Keith Baddock  
    State rd 1 rd 2 rd 3 rd 4 final
1. H.Simons/G.Potter NSW dnf 0 4:56.34 3:20.53 dns 6:43.56
2. R.Fitzgerald/M.Ellins SA/VIC 3:18.16 3:10.75 dns dns 6:44.75
3. G.Wilson/P.Stein VIC 3:21.50 3:20.09 dnf 87 3:20.81 dnf 86
4. M.Wilson/M.Poeshkens SA/VIC 3:27.84 dnf 69 3:26.54 3:48.22  
5. C.Ray/N.Baker VIC 3:57.34 4:44.72 dns dns  


  Pilots  Pilots  Grant Potter  Mark Ellins  
  CD – Jim Ray  


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 pts
1. Murray Wilson VIC W L B W W W W 5/1
2. Robert Owen NSW W W W W B L L 4/2
3. Graeme Wilson VIC W L W W L     3/2
6. Mick Comiskey (s) NSW L W W L       2/2
6. Ryan Comiskey NSW L W W L       2/2
6. Rod Smith QLD W W L L       2/2
9. Michael Crawley QLD L W L         1/2
9. Peter Norrie NSW L W L         1/2
9. Greg Pretty SA W L L         1/2
10. Mick Comiskey (j) NSW W L W/D         1/1
12. Brian Burke QLD L L           0/2
12. Peter Wallace QLD L L           0/2
Mark Ellins - Murray Wilson - Keith Baddock


  Line-up  Prep  Rob Owen  
  Owen/Wilson  Ellins/Comiskey  Owen/Wilson  Smith/Wilson  
  CD – Mark Ellins  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. G.Pretty/M.Poschkens SA 4:37.72 4:14.38 8:24.00
2. R.Fitzgerald/L.Smith SA/VIC 4:12.03 4:30.12 8:35.97
3. P.Stein/K.Baddock VIC 4:27.75 4:15.29 dnf 106
4. G.Wilson/M.Wilson VIC 4:54.78 4:40.30  
5. J.Hunting/K.Hunting VIC 7:13.53 5:48.50  
  1/2 A Team Race  
  CD – John Hallowell  
    State heat final
1. H.Simons/G.Potter NSW 3:57.44 12:58.47
2. R.Justic/R.Owen NSW DNF DNF 38
3. C.Ray/N.Baker VIC 5:19.25 DNF 34
  2.5 Rat Race  
  CD – Paul Stein  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. R.Justic/R.Owen NSW 277 dns 534
2. G.Wilson/A.Lumsden VIC 284 dns 531
3. M.Wilson/M.Ellins VIC 289 dns 500
4. C.Ray/J.Ray VIC 225 255  
5. J.Hunting/K.Hunting VIC 222 208  
  CD – Ken Hunting  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. M.Wilson/R.Owen VIC/NSW 3:45.63 dns 7:55.94
2. J.Hallowell.K.Baddock VIC 3:29.06 dns 8:24.94
3. C.Ray/J.Ray VIC 4:21.25 4:10.22 8:50.28
4. T.McDermott/J.Taylor QLD 4:20.72 dnf 55  
5. G.Wilson/M.Ellins VIC 6:27.68 4:34.31  
Report from John Hallowell VH 1984.

Bendix racing was scheduled for the afternoon. Seven teams had entered but only 5 flew as Mark McDermott found Gremlins had vibrated his Nelson loose in the new racer and Tony Bonello and Andrew Heath’s model caught fire the day before, putting them out of contention.

Graeme Wilson and Mark Ellins had problems finding the right tune on the N.36. Finally on the last tank of the last heat, Mark had it going like the proverbial train, but by then the horse had bolted. Too late she cried!

They should call themselves the ‘Combat Ace Racing Team”. Murray Wilson was piloting for Robert Owen who at last got his Bendix and N.36 to the flying field. It’s taken years of promises to finally happen…and was definitely worth waiting for! They qualified second quickest for the final.

Jim and Colin Ray now have the re-trimmed Ray Cote Shoestring flying as it should. Colin was certainly much happier and now has visions of a Fora .36 in the nose…! Their best time of 4.10 put them in the top three.

Trent McDermott had a really good Nats and must have gained heaps of experience by flying in so many events. With John Taylor flicking, they looked like they were enjoying the experience of flying Bendix, even though they finished about 3 laps shy of making the final.

John Hallowell and Keith Baddock had the Nemesis fired up and made FTD with a 3.29. The N.36 was right on song after a re-fit by Henry Nelson just a few weeks prior.

On paper, John and Keith had to muck up to lose as they clearly had the fastest model. So muck up they did…with a too short landing that broke the prop and then some confusion in the pit at the next stop. So Murray and Robert grabbed the opportunity with both hands to claim a well deserved win. If it wasn’t for a slow stop, Jim and Colin would have been right in the mix as well.

The Bendix event concluded the control line racing in what has been a highly successful 60th Nationals in Albury.



  John Taylor  Wilson/Ellins  Robt Owen  
  ?  McDermott  Jim Ray  
  Class 2 Team Race  
  CD – Rob Fitzgerald  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. G.Wilson/A.Lumsden VIC 3:05.68 3:47.03 7:26.72
2. C.Ray/J.Ray VIC 4:18.94 3:42.81 7:39.28
3. G.Pretty/M.McDermott SA/QLD 3:04.60 dns dnf 105
4. R.Justic/R.Owen NSW 3:52.09 dns  
5. J.Hallowell/K.Baddock VIC 8:06.91 5:11.03  


  Pilots  Alan Lumsden  
  Pilots  Jim Ray  Mark McDermott  
  Classic B Team Race  
  CD – Alan Lumsden  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. R.Justic/M.McDermott NSW/QLD 3:13.50 3:07.28 6:09.10
2. J.Hallowell/K.Baddock VIC 3:11.35 3:10.25 6:15.63
3. M.Wilson/L.Smith VIC 3:23.50 3:16.09 6:56.46
4. G.Pretty/N.Baker SA/VIC 3:26.25 dnf 0  
5. G.Wilson/M.Ellins VIC 3:29.91 3:29.47  
6. C.Ray/J.Ray VIC 4:10.90 4:03.06  
7. R.Smith/P.Morandini QLD 5:55.43 6:11.50  
8. T.McDermott/J.Taylor QLD 6:43.68 dns  
9. J.Hunting/K.Hunting VIC dnf 0 dnf 37  
Report from John Hallowell VH 1984.

The Albury day dawned fine and sunny. Nine teams arrived at the well mown and beautifully green Alexander Park oval ready for the day’s action. Six heats were flown to decide who should fly the final.

Mark McDermott had Richard Justic flying as Harry Bailey couldn’t make it. The beautifully built American designed ‘Long Gone’ was amazingly fast in practice. No one had ever seen a Classic B model dip under 15/7 before. Lance Smith timed it at 14.8 or 121 mph! That’s seriously fast for an OS 25 FP. Their first round time was 3.13.50.

Justic/McDermott’s second round of 3.07.28 was clearly FTD. People were asking if it could be a record, but it is quite a few seconds behind Hallowell/Baddock’s Classic B heat record of 3.02.92, established at the 2005 South Australian State Champs. You can be fairly sure that Macca and his mates will have that time well and truly in their sights. Over the next 12 months, it would be surprising if somebody doesn’t break the 3 minute barrier, particularly with the new Brodak .25’s promising so much.

Jim and Colin Ray had the new light green and yellow Crescendo with LA 25 cranked up and really honking. It had the necessary speed to make the final. Although restarts were quick in practice, the motor flooded at each stop and took far too long to fire up. These two are really looking forward to the State Champs when a revised starting procedure will be well and truly mastered!

Lance Smith and ‘son of a gun’ Murray Wilson were finalists in South Australia at the last Nats. A good heat time of 3.16.09 ensured they were in again. Lance had an OS 25FP in the Antares. He was running a RAM 8x6 prop and a special fuel brew using ethanol instead of methanol. Starts were instant every time. They will hope for even quicker heats when the Brodaks are up and running in the very near future.

John Hallowell and Keith Baddock were also using a slightly trimmed RAM 8x6 on their two Rockets. The first Rocket in heat one had the new Brodak .25 up front and did a 3. 11.35 before damaging a wing on landing. The next Rocket had a OS25FP and did a 3.10.25 on the same prop, good enough for second choice in the final. The Brodak used was only a Stage 1 motor, but is still a mighty impressive engine with outstanding starting and handling characteristics. The Stage 2 engine should be much faster again and will be finished when you read this. Lance Smith has created a web page with info on the Brodak .25’s. Those interested can view the racing development at: A tip … it’s easy to copy and paste this address from an electronic copy of ACLN ...  http://members.optusnet.com.au/~smithlw/Site%202/Brodak%20B25R%20Racing%20Engine.html

Neil (Nobby) Baker was having a go with the Grassfire and Thunder Tiger .25 combo. Greg pretty was persuaded to be handle grabber with promises of vast riches and glory. After a smart first round of 3.26.25, Round 2 saw a bent wheel caused a run in on takeoff… just when they were about to do a blinder! As both know well, that’s racing. There’s always next time and 4th place at their first comp. Ain’t too bad. In fact any team finishing ahead of Wilson/Ellins has done really well.

Speaking of the dynamic duo, Graeme and Mark were down on speed and desperately need new gear as two 3.29’s will testify. That will soon be a reality with a new Rocket and Brodak.25 combination set to shake the establishment early in 2007.

Trent McDermott and John Taylor were flying Mark’s white Rocket, the one that recorded a 3.06 heat and finished third back at the 2003 Albury Nats. Unfortunately, electrical connections let these potential finalists down. It is a timely reminder to check those connections frequently as they are relatively fragile with corrosion and vibration the main enemies.

Rod Smith had long time B racer Peter Morandini in his corner. However, all was not well with the model/motor combination and a couple of slow times resulted. Rod is determined to improve and is now taking steps to be among the front runners in this class. The Hunting brothers Ken and John were not having a good day and did not mange to post a time. Success in Classic B relies heavily on having a good engine that starts easy, runs fast and is economical. That’s why Ken is keen to join the ranks of Brodak.25 users and take advantage of the highly efficient F2C based AAC piston liner technology.

The teams for the final were decided. Mark and Richard decided to swap their ‘qualifier’ Long Gone for the LA 25 powered Galaxy which had better laps. All were quickly away with the Galaxy having an immediate edge with extra speed. Lance Smith had a mid race crisis due to his hand tangling with the propeller, but acting battery man Mark Ellins took over the catching and this team continued as though nothing had happened. Although Murray was grooving the landings, the Antares was still a few laps behind the Galaxy and Rocket.

And that’s the way it finished, with the Galaxy getting home first by about two laps from the Rocket. Fine flying by Rick and the just reward for many long hours of dedication, determination and practice by Mark and, of course, the absent Harry Bailey. Although H/B models were going for 6 Nats wins in a row, the law of averages decrees it gets harder each time. And so it did! All credit and congratulations go to Mark and Rick. At the trophy presentation some wag was heard to call out “The King is dead. Long live the King!” No doubt a number of Victorians are planning a swift end to the Queensland reign…

Macca’s winning time of 6.09 was outstanding, the best ever at a Nationals and second best ever for Classic B. Before the race, John and Keith would have taken a super quick 6.15 time any day of the week.

At the end of the event, highly experienced pilot Richard Justic declared “it was the best race he had flown in all Nationals”. As any Class B enthusiast will tell you, when all three finalists cross the line with sub seven minute to their names, then it really was an excellent team race.



  Jim Ray  McDermott/Justic  McDermott/Justic  Ken Hunting  
  McDermott  McDermott  Baker/Pretty  Peter Morandini  
  Combined Speed  
  CD – Lance Smith  
    State Class rd 1 rd 2 rd 3 %
1. Noel Wake VIC 5 14.625 14.640 15.560 95.9
2. Merv Bell NSW 4 13.955 ATT ATT 89.2
3. Noel Wake VIC 1 17.595 16.420 16.93 87.2
4. Merv Bell NSW 5 ATT 16.220 N/F 86.4
5. Richard Justic NSW 1 17.540 ATT 19.050 81.6
6. Richard Justic NSW P 19.690 N/F N/F 81.3
7. Noel Wake VIC 4 15.910 ATT ATT 78.3
8. Merv Bell NSW 2 N/F N/F N/F 0.0
9. David Shackleford VIC 5 ATT N/F N/F 0.0

Report from Noel Wake

The weather on this day was hot and dry, rain the night before had made the powder soil around the circle quite hard so dust was not a problem. Entries as with other events were down a bit on previous years. The west Australians stayed home, while Robin Hiern was absent due to the death of his father a few days earlier.

Contest director was Lance Smith with Paul Stein and Andy Kerr doing the timekeeping.

Although separate events, combined speed and jets were flown together, alternating between the two. Those flying more than one class spaced in the draw so they had a break between flights. Nine different aircraft were flown in combined and five different jets.

The low number of recorded flights reflects the lack of “regular competitions for some competitors. I finished up first and third, using Nova Rossi .21 in Class 5 and Nova Rossi .12 in Class 1, while Merv Bell was second with a K&B .40. John Walker set a new Australian record with his sport jet.

  CD – Keith Baddock  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. G.Wilson/M.Ellins VIC 3:44.50 dns 8:01.25
2. R.Fitzgerald/G.Pretty SA 4:46.57 3:33.60 8:07.13
3. C.Ray/J.Ray VIC 4:09.43 dnf 0 dnf 139
4. K.Hunting/N.Baker VIC dnf 23 4:32.54  
5. R.Justic/M.McDermott NSW/QLD 5:34.30 4:55.63  
6. T.McDermott/J.Taylor QLD dnf 61 dnf 41  
7. M.Wilson/A.Lumsden VIC dnf 16 dnf 46  


  Pretty/Fitzgerald  Ellins  
  Mini Goodyear  
  CD – Noel Wake  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. G.Wilson/M.Ellins VIC 3:35.47 dns 7:47.63
2. C.Ray/J.Ray VIC 5:56.75 4:12.56 dnf 136
3. M.Wilson/P.Stein VIC 3:51.28 dns dnf 105
4. G.Pretty/M.McDermott SA/QLD 4:47.90 4:12.59  
5. J.Hallowell/K.Baddock VIC dnf 35 dns  


  Wilson/Ellins  Pilots  Ellins  Stein  
  Jet Speed  
  CD – Lance Smith  
    State Class rd 1 rd 2 rd 3 %
1. John Walker NSW SP 11.465 ATT N/F 108.6
2. John Taylor QLD SP 13.170 ATT ATT 94.5
3. Peter Morandini QLD SP 13.970 13.850 N/F 89.9
4. David Axon VIC SP 14.030 14.959 14.090 88.7
5. David Axon VIC OP N/F N/F N/F 0.0
  Junior 2.5 Combat  
  CD – Graeme Wilson  
    State 1 2 3 4 pts
1. Trent McDermott QLD W W B W 3/0
2. Ryan Comiskey NSW L B W L 1/2
3. Lachlan Hines NSW B L L   0/2


  McDermott/Comiskey  Fitzgerald/Comiskey  
  Junior 2.5 Rat Race  
  CD – Jim Ray  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. R.Comiskey/M.Wilson NSW/VIC 93 40 188
2. T.McDermott/M.McDermott QLD 104 85 183
3. T.Linwood/A.Heath NSW 69 90 151
4. L.Hines/D.Hines NSW 83 83  
  Open Combat  
  CD – Graeme Wilson  
    State 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 pts
1. Ian Amaira VIC W W B W L W W 5/1
2. Michael Comiskey NSW W W W W W L L 5/2
3. Murray Wilson VIC L W W L W     3/2
4. Ken Maier VIC L W W L L     2/2
7. Brian Burke QLD W L L         1/2
7. Greg Pretty SA L W L         1/2
7. Trent McDermott QLD W L L         1/2
8. Rod Smith QLD W L W/D         1/1
10. Ryan Comiskey NSW L L           0/2
10. Mark McDermott QLD L L           0/2

Report from Neil Baker

Popular Gippsland controliner and now Australian Open Combat Champion, Ian ‘ Iggy’ Amaira, has at last thrown
away the Bridesmaid dress, after claiming the title at the Albury Nat’s. After taking four years off to chase other interests, Iggy had some unfinished business in the circle and wanted to retire as ‘Australia 1’.

In front of an enthusiastic crowd, Iggy came up against his old foe, Mike Comiskey in the final. Using his old foam ‘Laminator’ models, powered by his faithful OS 40 FSR’s and aided by his expert pit team of Keith Baddock and Rob Owen, Iggy did the job, but had a nervous wait after the bout finished after a protest was lodged, but the CD Graeme Wilson awarded the win to Iggy.

On receiving the winners trophy, an emotional winner said, “Without a great pit crew you are nothing; many thanks to Keith and Rob, and to all who helped. Boys it’s my shout”. Iggy has also been interviewed by the local papers in Gippsland, we’ll send photos, if we can get any after he’s bought them all!




  Nice day for Combat  Line-up  McDermott  
  Amaira/Comiskey  Mark McDermott  Father & Son McDermott  Neil Baker  
  Open Rat Race  
  CD – Ken Hunting  
    State final
1. G.Pretty/R.Fitzgerald SA 4:47.60
2. G.Wilson/M.Ellins VIC 5:25.50
3. R.Justic/R.Owen NSW 6:35.72
4. M.Wilson/K.Baddock VIC dnf 98
  Vintage A Team Race  
  CD – Alan Lumsden  
    State rd 1 rd 2 final
1. R.Fitzgerald/P.Stein SA/VIC 3:15.91 dns 6:42.79
2. G.Wilson/M.Ellins VIC 3:22.50 3:23.57 7:08.15
3. G.Pretty/M.McDermott SA/QLD 3:24.72 3:20.25 dnf 133
4. S.Rothwell/D.Hines NSW dnf 52 3:23.28  
5. M.Wilson/P.van Meurs VIC 3:24.52 3:44.03  
6. J.Hallowell/K.Baddock VIC 3:31.44 3:25.81  
7. R.Justic/A.Kerr NSW 3:34.77 3:31.06  
8. C.Ray/J.Ray VIC 3:50.72 3:48.88  
9. R.Owen/L.Smith NSW/VIC 3:49.13 3:48.97  
10. K.Hunting/J.Hunting VIC 4:32.22 3:57.75  
11. T.McDermott/J.Taylor QLD 4:42.87 4:17.12  
12. R.Edgerton/R.Smith QLD 5:32.78 5:02.84  
Report from John Hallowell VH 1984.

The 60th Nats at Albury was the venue for the most anticipated Vintage A racing in many a long year. The simple reason was the fact that most of the top teams were running R 250’s and this has created a level playing field. Weather was fine and hot with a light and variable wind.

Times were super close among the top 6 or 7 teams. Any could have made the top three with an ounce or two of luck. A light, clean model is more important than ever before and quick landings with one flick stops were essential for a competitive time.

Biggest shock of the event came before the start with titleholders and hot favourites Hugh Simons and Grant Potter withdrawing before the race. Grant had home commitments and they had to leave the day after a sensational victory in the F2C final. No doubt that gave another team the opportunity to show their wares. It is a fact of life for Vintage A in Australia, if you want to do well, you have to beat the very best F2C teams in the country… and these guys are absolutely among the best in the world.

With temperatures reaching 35c every day in Albury, it was not what would be considered good diesel weather. Perhaps the times reflected this with a best heat of 3.15 by Fitzgerald/Stein. These F2C honed wizards strutted their stuff in fine style. Paul’s new Dimpled Dumpling was superbly built and the R250 was set to run fast and hard. His engine sounded quite different from Steve Rothwell’s tune, but the result was certainly there. His 7 x 7 APC was slightly modified at the tips and seemed to rev higher than most. They opted out of a second heat.

Mark McDermott was down from Queensland with high expectations. When his Timmy Tiger was on song it was the equal of any R 250. With Greg Pretty filling in for regular handle grabber Harry Bailey, two fast heat times resulted with a 3.20.25 good enough for second choice.

Graeme Wilson and Mark Ellins also had their race faces painted on. These fellow F2C hot shots made it look easy and their first heat of 3.22.50 was good enough for the top three shootout.

If the pressure was on Steve Rothwell to perform, it certainly didn’t show. Maybe he was content to let others showcase his superb engines. After some amazingly quick heats and finals in recent months, it was a surprise to find Steve and Dave Hines out of the final by .78 of a second. A tough 3 up heat saw much time lost by a slightly slower model unintentionally blocking the fast racing line. Had Dame Fortune smiled and granted a two up heat or a three up with equal speed, they would have made it easily, no worries at all.

Finalists last year, Hallowell/Baddock were in the same heat and desperate for a fast time. They had the same problem as Rothwell/Hines and lamented the ‘slow’ 3.25.81. In the first heat, an amazing thing happened. Keith started the R250 first flick and away it went…and went…and went! All the way to 91 laps non stop, thanks to a fuel blockage! It would have been nice to eclipse Andy Kerr’s record of over 100 laps, but it was not to be. The R 250 powered on through the race, albeit at a slightly slower pace, did not go hard and still recorded a 3.31, not a legal time as the Vintage A rules say a pit stop is compulsory.

The prize for the most improved team must surely go to Murray Wilson and Peter Van Meurs. Still flying the venerable old Alien, which seems to have been at the flying field since Adam was a pup, they really raised some eyebrows with a super performance. The old war horse has been giving a new lease of life by an R250 implant. And it worked a treat with Murray’s hot landings and Peter’s fine pit work resulting in a PB race time of 3.24.52.

Richard Justic and Andy Kerr looked the goods in practice, but could only manage a best of 3.31 on the day . Only a few years ago, times like that would almost guarantee a place in the final three. Not any more! Next came the Cosmic Rays wearing a broad smile as they now had an R250. However, the motor was brand new, still fairly tight and needed more running. Rest assured, it will be a very quick Voodoo when things are sorted out for the Victorian State Champs in April.

Lance Smith and combat ace Robert Owen were looking good in practice. Plenty of speed from the ex McDermott Timmy Tiger and Voodoo, but laps were a problem for this team, so a 2 stop 3.48 was the best they could manage. It was good to see John Hunting back in the fray again. He had a new Dimpled Dumpling with a Mars up front. With help from brother Ken, they managed a best time of 3.57. Someone will need to remind Johnno that breaking 4 minutes was only good back in ’94… The Hunting Brothers and their hot PAW were VTR legends back then!

Rod Smith had a slightly heavy Dimpled Dumpling. Model and motor need more practice as Smith/Edgerton’s time of 5.02 showed. Talk about the old dog teaching the young pup a few tricks… John Taylor and Trent McDermott teamed up and showed plenty of promise before the event. However, when things got serious, the boys were missing and a best time of 4.17 was posted. (You would think that Marky Mac would give his son and good mate some faster gear to fly with…)

Time for the much awaited final. And lo and behold, not a highly fancied NSW team in sight! Not even a lone Newsouthwelshman! Victorians, South Australians and a Queenslander were in the mix. Most surprising!

All were quickly away and settled into a close race. Two Rothwells vs the McDermott Timmy Tiger. A Dimpled Dumpling vs an Olympian vs a Voodoo 5. There was not a lot in it until Mark’s pilot Greg was involved in a ‘racing incident’ where he lost control of the model, smashing the wing and at the same time, Macca’s dreams of winning one of the most coveted titles in Australian control line racing.

Wilson/Ellins were performing their usual workmanlike stuff, but Fitz & Paul’s edge on speed told in the end and they could only grab second place.

Fitzgerald/Stein followed up their 1999 and 2002 wins with a victory in 2007. Their 6.42.79 was the fasted ever Nats winning final time, eclipsing Simons/Potter’s 6.49.50 from last year. Yet it could have been more than 10 seconds faster, as a bounce and subsequent missed catch with a long retrieve cost at least that much time. Congrats to the winners and roll on the upcoming SA & Vic. State Champs where we can do it all again!


Report from Alan Lumsden 13474 (Contest Director)

Held on 2nd Jan 2007 on a good grassed sports oval that was well prepared by the local sports club. Entrants were from South Aus, NSW, Qld, and the organising State Victoria.

6 teams used the Dimple Dumpling model. 6 teams also used the Voodoo 3 and 5 models. All of the models handled the grass surface very well.

The most popular engine was the Rothwell R250 with 7 teams using them, 3 teams used the Tim Gillot – Timmy Tiger (of US fame), other teams used the Kerr Oliver, and a Mars 2.5.

The Australian made Rothwell R250 (Oliver Tiger replica) seems to be the best engine for this event, as they all
seem to perform the same. It was obvious to me that the teams that make the finals are the ones who have well built models and know how to tune for the weather conditions on the day.

For example – fuel mix, starting procedure, engine setting. These things only come from getting to know your equipment by test flying, fault finding and practice in different weather conditions. Taking notes of these things for future reference is of equal importance.

Taking the model out of the shed once a year does not work.



  Pilots  Fitzgerald/Stein  Hallowell/Baddock  Ken Hunting  
  McDermott/Pretty  Mark McDermott  Mark McDermott  Taylor/McDermott  


  Paul Stein  "VoodooV"  Wilson/Ellins  Steve Rothwell  
  Mark Ellins  McDermott  McDermott  
  Vintage Combat  
  CD – Richard Justic/Greg Pretty  
    State 1 rep 2 3 4 5 pts
1. Graeme Wilson VIC W - W W W W 5
2. Murray Wilson VIC W - W W W L 4
3. Mark Ellins VIC W - W W L W 3
4. Matt Shears VIC L W W W L L 3
8. Keith Baddock VIC L W W L     2
  Michael Lewis VIC W - W L     2
  John Hallowell VIC W - W L     2
  Steve Rothwell NSW W - L* L     2
14. Ian Amaira VIC L W L       1
  Tony Caselli VIC W - L       1
  Robert Edgerton QLD W - L       1
  Ken Maier VIC L W L       1
  Mark Usher VIC W - L       1
  Rod Smith QLD L L* L       0
18. Brian Burke QLD L L         0
  Mark McDermott QLD L L         0
  Trent McDermott QLD L L         0
  Greg Pretty SA L -         0
  * = highest losing score into next round.

Report from Mat Shears (aka Emigree)

Combat Diaries

Phew, the Nats is over - I’m glad the next one is in WA so I don’t have to do it again for another couple of years! I had what I consider to be a very successful 60th Nationals but at times during the run up it felt like a job of work and began to eat into my LOA (Life Outside Aeromodelling) enough to shit me.

I had been looking forward to the event since deciding early in the year that I would make the trip to Albury to compete in Vintage combat. As the club competitions came and went throughout the year and the learning curve steepened I realised that, above all what I wanted from the Nats was to fly reliable planes and GET THROUGH TO THE THIRD ROUND! I had enough ‘loss - loss - out’ experiences to know that another here would mean an unsuccessful trip.

As I spent the last half of 2006 as a more or less full time stay at home Dad I could not justify great expenditure on my modelling. I therefore had to nurse a couple of
elderly PAW engines through the year and hope that they would hold out. What I did have however was time, so ever the optimist a plan was hatched to build spare models to sell to finance the trip.

“Of course I can knock out half a dozen wings during Christmas…” That was my first mistake. If you ever hear me saying things like that in future please break my scalpel fingers! Then I had a crisis of confidence at our regular club day in early December and decided that my engines were going to let me down. Second mistake was buying two engines on Ebay with the money I was going to get from the planes and not telling my partner before the credit card bill came through… Needless to say the engines did not turn up by the day we were to leave for the Nats.

The last weeks of December were spent building Liquidators IIIs, making lines, wrangling the baby and feeling guilty about the time I wasn’t spending with Zoe in the evenings. My new models were still unflown, but that was the least of my worries. I had arranged a ride to Albury with a club mate and his partner so off we set three up in his Ute and arrive on the Wednesday in time to ease ourselves in the groove by pitting for Ken Maier in Open Combat, a class I knew nothing about and of which I had only heard tales of carnage. Even the fact that the comp had started early and was in full swing didn’t dampen my spirits after the initial consternation! I am very grateful to Robert Owen for his ‘Open Combat Pitting 101’ crash course in bladder filling and to Ken for the exercise I got running round the circle after streamers.

I came away very impressed with this class, while it is certainly a spectacle it turned out to be nowhere near as scary as I had thought. There was no more carnage than in Vintage and two models a bout gives you more to think about but makes things flow better – you can be back in the air much faster if you break a prop in a stack, for example.

While I still like the economy of one model per bout it does mean you spend less time flying if you are prone to
‘landing’ during the proceedings. As my skills improve and I get more competitive I find sitting out the rest of a bout due to a damaged model somewhat less compelling than it once was. Engines for Open need not be special either as surprise, surprise, consistency and reliability are more important to having fun than horsepower or airspeed. Pity there are no comps for these beasts in Victoria.

Next day we had decided to get in some test flying after Mark and Ken had flown in Vintage Stunt. I spent the afternoon alternating between flying and cursing my models for not turning and engines for being PAWs. Oh, yes and getting sunburned to within an inch of my life in the true English tradition. Even the soles of my feet felt like I’d done a few laps over the hot coals with the Yogis! Still, by the evening I was feeling better about the planes and the engines were holding a setting of sorts despite spitting out their venturis mid flight with the predictability of fine Swiss watches. I had also sold all my spare models so all was right with the World. On the way back to the caravan park we stopped at a servo for supplies; which in my case meant gasket seal and fuse wire - those venturis weren’t getting loose in the comp.

Sleep was a challenge I had not foreseen. Being tight arses we had gone for the cheapest caravan and not wishing to intrude into Mark and Carol’s married life I had the pick of four bunks up the gloomy end of the van. Being not in any way vertically challenged I don’t normally get on well with bunk beds but these really were something else, ending at knee length in a wall. Having sat on my chosen bunk only to have a hidden hatch under the mattress collapse through the floor I had retired to a top bunk in the foetal position to lick my wounds. What with the sunburn, the trucks on the Hume over the fence and the temperature I was never so glad to see the sunrise.

Friday morning saw us at the field early, armed with a steely resolve and sights set on the modest goal of ‘loss – win - loss’ or a similar combination resulting in a place in the nirvana that is The Third Round. Well, I got there - we all did, Mark, Ken, Tony and I. I even got to fly six bouts and made the fly-off for third place. I was deliriously happy with fourth, it was a big field!

Lessons learned at my first Nats? Preparation pays, even if it is slightly last minute. My planes flew well – not the best but up there and they looked pretty. My old engines are slow but they started when required and didn’t miss a beat thanks to the setting up and fault finding the day before and of course skilled pitting by Ken and Mark.

Most of all though I had a chance to fly lots and that really helped. I discovered the importance of controlling the centre circle and not being intimidated into making mistakes. I found that a model with turn and line tension overhead is a joy to fly; and that you can get out of line tangles without crashing. I took cuts; even in the bouts I lost – so it is possible! Also nylon props are not what they used to be and a broken prop will loose you a bout in Vintage where airtime is critical – ask me how I know.

Highlights included winning some bouts and the three fly-offs between Ken Maier and Steve Rothwell flying identical models with a very similar aggressive style. Far out! Low points were seeing Murray Wilson’s model land
while mine was still airborne – only to have him relaunch with an even better engine run! Yes, and that broken prop.

I have blocked the Hell trip back to Melbourne from my mind. Next time I will travel in air-conditioned luxury and stay in a classy joint. My lovely new engines have arrived and my relationship counsellor says I can begin building again in a year or so.

I would like to thank the organisers, pilots and my pit crew for making my Nats such a thrilling experience. See you in the circle – and watch out for the elbows!



  ?  Mark Ellins  Vintage Combat action  "Ironmongers"  
  "Razor Blade"  Matt Shears  Ken Maiers  John Hallowell  


  Mark Ellins  Keith Baddock  ?  
  Steve Rothwell  Steve Rothwell  Turncoat  Ian "Iggy" Amaira