Round 3 of the AOC 2018 season was held in Melbourne, Australia on a temporary carpet track that was being set up at the Gloria Pyke Netball Complex located in the Dandenong suburb of the city. The event was run together with the South Eastern Radio Controlled Car Club and the large 38x20m track with a fun and technical layout got praised from the drivers. The Modifed Touring class wasn’t business as usual for Jan Ratheisky for the triple A-Mains. He had pulled off some of the fastest runs of his Modified Touring career to TQ ahead of a couple of former world champions. At the start of the A1 main, Ratheisky wasn’t going to have it easy. With Alexander Hagberg in tow, the racing stayed pretty close all race long as the two pulled ahead of the field and through back markers, Ratheisky was able to edge out Hagberg by 1 second.
It looked to be a repeat for the A2 main as the two battled once again. Hagberg tangled with a back marker late in the race and wasn’t able to close the 6-second gap on Rathiesky and Jan coasted effortlessly to the over all win. In the A3 main, Alexander Hagberg and former world champ, Andy Moore did battle early on, but Hagberg manage to pull a huge lead to take the win, giving an overall top 3 oder of Jan Ratheisky, Alexander Hagberg and Andy Moore.
Jan Ratheisky built up a reputation over the weekend of being the triple threat running strong and dominating the field in three classes. Super Stock 13.5 was no exception as Ratheisky captured the TQ and would start at the front for the main events. The top three in this class ran super consistent in the first two mains. In the A1 main, Ratheisky scored the first win with Antoni Caretti 6-seconds behind in second and Martin Crisp 4-seconds behind. In the A3 main, it was almost an identical finish with the same second gaps between the three. And that’s the way the order would be in the final overall result.
The 17.5 GT class was the fastest of the 17.5’s on the track and with their sleeker than sedan bodies, they were able to more easily pull off 20-lap runs. Christian Atal was sitting on the pole and was intending on taking full advantage of this. In the A1 main, it was Atal and Damian Zarb that broke away from the pack early and proceeded to battle the whole races. Lapped traffic did a spectacular job in staying out of the way of the lead battle. At the end of the race, only 1-second separated the two with Atal taking the first win. In the A2 main Atal and Zarb did battle again, but this time with David Whittam thrown into the mix a few seconds behind. Zarb would strike back and take the A2 win. With the top podium spot up for grabs, Atal and Zarb would put a show on for the spectators as the two sliced and diced through back markers. Luck was running on Christian Atal’s side though and he was able to build up a 6-second lead to easily coast in to take the overall win from Damian Zarb 2nd and David Whittam 3rd.
The 21.5 ISTC had some of the closest racing of the weekend. Baden MacDonald pull off the hat trick to score the TQ spot, but there were more than a handful of hungry racers behind him to steal the overall win. The A1 main started with one of MacDonald’s fastest run. Being the only one to pull off a 20-lap run, MacDonald drew first blood and took the first win. In the A2 main, racing was a little closer as the action was door to door. MacDonald had better fortune than the others and was able to make his way past back markers without any incident. At the end of the race, he had managed to build his lead to 6-seconds over Scott Giles and Phillip Merrick to take the A2 and over all win. MacDonald did run the A3 main to attempt to make it a clean sweep. Scott Giles wasn’t having it and stepped it up to take the A3 win. With a 1st place finish and 2nd, Giles locked up the over all 2nd spot on the podium with Sean Perry taking the overall 3rd.
Though they were small in stature, the kids in the 21.5 Junior class put on a big show for the crowd as the wielded their sedans around the track with great control and poise. Lachlan Pearson was pulling off consistent runs during qualifying that earned him the overall TQ spot for the main events. In the A1 main, showing great patience, Pearson was able to drive a perfect race line that pushed his race time to a 17-lap run that allowed him to take the first win. In the A2 main, Jake Koutsoheras threw his hat into the running and battled with Pearson in the beginning of the race. A couple mistakes would cause Koutsoheras to fall behind allowing Pearson to build his lead up to 7-second and at the end tone, Lachlan Pearson locked up the over all win. Pearson did run the A3 main for a little extra track time and again to take the win from Alex Stefanakos 2nd and Jake Koutsoheras 3rd.
The most awesome class of the weekend was the Vintage Trans Am VTA group. With only the rumble of a petrol engine missing, these guys were having a blast on the track racing door to door, as it should be. Scott Rawlings was the TQ winner and got the front row view of an open track for the start of the mains. In the beginning of the A1 main, the tightly packed group made their way though the first couple of turns with Rawlings and Stewart breaking away from the pack. Both equally matched, it would come down to which racer ran the cleaner line or left an opening for a pass. Lines remained tight and Rawlings edged out Stewart by one 1-second to take the win. In the A2 main the two would do battle again for the top spot on the podium. Running a bit more consistent though, Scott Rawlings opened up a 3-second lead and would hold on for the over win. Brian would have his revenge in the A3 main though taking the win and the last word bragging rights. Overall it was Brian Stewart from Scott Rawlings and Brett Marshall.
The smallest cars on the track were locked, loaded and ready to take to the track for the mains on Sunday. There was no question who was the fast guy in this slower class where every mistake you make is nearly impossible to make up. Brad Portelli sat in the TQ spot and was crossing his fingers that he wouldn’t be over run by the rest of the mob in the first couple of turns. In the A1 main, Portelli was an unstoppable force blowing the doors off his little Mini opening his lead to a huge 2-lap advantage for the win. In the A2 main, things were a little more evened out at the start of the race. Trading paint and banging doors, Craig Jenner, Steve Wyatt and Brad Portelli were all in the running for the big W. Portelli’s dominance would once again show itself and he pushed forward to the front spot for the A2 and over all win. No chance Portelli was going to sit out for the A3 main and have fun with friends racing. Portelli would lay down his fastest run of the mains for a clean sweep across the board. Steve Wyatt would finish an overall 2nd and Craig Jenner an overall 3rd.
Jan Ratheisky has mastered the art of running and tuning an Formula 21.5 car to a science and is considered the fastest in the world in this class. And Ratheisky demonstrated this on the track as he would take all the wins in qualifying to capture the TQ spot. In the A1 main, Ratheisky ran a mistake-free run and along with not tangling with any of the lapped traffic build up his lead to one full lap over Andy Bishop running the second spot with Scott Rawlings in third. It would be the same finishing order in the A2 main with the not a clear winner for the 2nd and 3rd spots on the podium. Scott Rawlings took note in the first two mains studying Andy Bishop’s moves and was able to finish ahead of him to score the overall 2nd spot on the podium with two 3rd place finish and a 1st.
The 1/12th Modified class was the fastest of the weekend laying down sub 12-second lap times. Looking like slot cars on the track, former World Champion, Alexander Hagberg threw down the fastest lap time of the weekend in the mid 11-second range. In the A1 main, Hagberg put on a clinic running the only 40-lap run of the weekend in this class, which of you could have guessed, earned him the first win. In the A2 class it was looking as if Hagberg was going to do a repeat performance, but a crash crippled his car allowing Jordan Cullis to catch him on the last lap and slip by for the win. By the time the A3 main was up, Hagberg had repaired his car and was once again running in the front. The battle though was between Andrew Shapland and Jordan Cullis running on the same lap at the end of the race though. Being three turns ahead though, Cullis wasn’t able to catch Shapland at the sound of the end tone.
Starting off the Triple A-Mains were the 1/12th Stock and with half the field consistently finishing on the same lap, the competition was fierce and the finishing order was all over the place with no clear racer dominating the class. Displaying excellent driving skill though, Alex Ilievski held the TQ spot with his only mission being winning. In the A1 main, the top 6 were all on 32-lap runs with less than half a lap separating the group. A mistake by anyone could easily change up the order. Ilievski used his TQ advantage fully and opened up his lead to 6-seconds and would take down the first win. In the A2 main a crash would cause Ilievski to DNF opening the door for Paul Sims to lay down an almost identical run as Ilievski in the first main to take the A2 win. Ilievski was 100% again in the A3 main and along with Damien Zarb, would go on to lay down their fastest runs of the main events. At the sound of the end town, Ilievski would beat his A1 time by a full lap taking the A3 and overall win and the overall top 3 of Alex Ilievski, Damien Zarb and Scott Callighan.