Our yearly IRC Proline Cup has come to an end this weekend - and what a weekend it was.
The track was absolutely perfect, the work that our committee and volunteers put into the track was loved by all racers and really showed on the weekend. A huge thank you once again to everyone who helped get the track and facilities in tip top shape.
Back to the racing - Saturday was timed practice, and although the weather didn't look to promising for the weekend, this didn't stop everyone getting out on the track and pushing their cars to the limit. Many setup changes were made by drivers on practice due to the smoothness of the track and the passing showers were leaving the track very damp. Grip levels were huge out on the clay!
As Saturday drew to a close, many of the racers that have traveled from interstate decided to camp at the track and brave the cold. The fire was cranking to keep everyone warm and marshmallows were delicious from what I heard!
As the sun rose on Sunday morning, the weather was looking even more intimidating and the radar wasn't looking to promising either... With the clouds looming darkly, our drivers briefing was underway at 8am and first rounds of qualifying begun at 8.30am. Throughout the 3 rounds of qualifying, many of those that got a good 1st qualifier run in chose not to run in the 2nd as the track was hit with some heavy rain between round 1 and 2 of qualifying. For those that did not get a good first qualifier, it was do or die and the cars were carrying some serious extra weight with the mud on them as they made their way around the track and the drivers pushed for a clean and fast qualifying run to solidify them a spot in the finals. All drivers and pit men were kept busy with cleaning the cars and prepping them for the next run as they came back into the pits completely covered in mud. Round 3 of qualifying was then underway and the track had the perfect amount of moisture in it for this round, leading to some seriously fast runs from drivers.
With qualifying now finished, we had a short break for lunch and were straight back into the racing for the finals. The rain had mostly held off throughout the lunch period and therefore the track was beautiful to drive on. We started with our lower finals in Nitro and drivers were battling to finish in the top 4 of their finals to bump up and get another go in the next final. The lower finals were 20mins long, meaning this was a team effort from both drivers and pit men doing the fuel stops for drivers.
It was then time for the first of three 10min finals for the electric drivers. This was sure to be a chaotic race with all electric drivers from the day placed into one final (15 cars/drivers). As expected, there was serious carnage throughout this race and avoiding other drivers/not getting tangled up with other drivers proved to be the fastest way around the track.
As the afternoon went on, so did the lower Nitro finals and remainder of the EP finals. With the weather once again looking very dark, we didn't want to waste any time and it was now time for the big race - the 30 minute Nitro A-Main final. This final consists of the 12 fastest drivers on the weekend and also included some of the fastest off-road RC drivers in Australia.
With everyone warmed up on the track, it was time to start the big race. All drivers were lined up at their respective positions down the front straight, and the long race was underway. Straight away, TQ driver Ari Bakla and his teammate Jarred King showed they had the pace and started pulling away together from the remainder of racers. After the 7-8 minute mark, the fuel stops began and pit men pushed to get the cars in and out of pit lane was fast as possible with a full tank of fuel. As the race went on, positions 3, 4, 5 and 6 were extremely close battles throughout most of the race, and out the front Ari and Jarred were continuously swapping positions and battling each other with a huge demonstration of respect for one another.
As we hit the mid point of the race, the weather gods set in and rain started coming down quite heavily. The race went on, and track conditions changed dramatically. This would really push the drivers abilities to keep the cars settled as they drifted around the track on the slippery, muddy surface with around 1kg of extra weight, it was amazing to watch these skilled drivers drift the cars around the track, still with incredible speed.
Right down the to last lap of the race, Ari and Jarred were still battling for 1st and 2nd position. Ari managed to claw the win from Jarred, with Craig Laughton rounding out the top 3.
IRC would like to thank everyone who attended this weekend, it was a top day and the vibe from racers and spectators was brilliant. A big thanks to Ari and Proline Australia for allowing us to host such an event.
The podium position for both classes are below:
1st: Ari Bakla
2nd: Jarred King
3rd: Craig Laughton.
1st: Chris Wilson
2nd: Shane Reid
3rd: Chris Lander.
Please note, a full race results download link will be posted when it becomes available.