Gunnedah 2015 was destined to be a great event and in reality, it didn't disappoint! Earlier in the year this event was nominated to be the NSW vs QLD State of Origin. The format was quite simple whereby all participant final scores were to be averaged to determine the winner. Now one might naturally assume that NSW would walk it in with higher numbers... This was proven not to be the case! More on that later.

It wasn't arranged but John Payne brought the Alfred Pye Memorial trophy down to Gunnedah with him. This being the case and the fact we were in close proximity to where Alf grew up (Coonabarrabran) an executive decision was made to also make this event the Alfred Pye Memorial. As in the past, the winner of F3A would be awarded the memorial trophy.

Now trips to and from our events are normally uneventful and we all make a point of saying to each other "have a safe trip and drive safe". Well, for Tom Collinge and myself, the trip to Gunnedah turned out to be anything but uneventful. In fact, it turned out to be quite an adventure! Rather than go into great detail all I will say is that it involved the following:

  • Shredding a rear tyre 45km south of Singleton.
  • No spare tyre, jack or tyre brace. We did have a puncture repair kit.
  • No mobile phone coverage.
  • Very little passing traffic.
  • Hitch hiking to Singleton.
  • Walking all over downtown Singleton trying to find a spare tyre.
  • Numerous calls to NRMA resulting in adding the car to their premium roadside assistance package to get a tow truck to collect the car, trailer and Thomas.
  • Joined Mr. NRMA Singleton with his family on his verandah.
  • Then the first tow truck broke down. Overheating. Emptied all our water bottles into the truth. Then needed more from a resident. Again, no phone coverage so flagged down another driver to see if they had coverage to call for another tow truck.
  • Get to Bulga pub to wait for second tow truck.
  • Transfer car and trailer to new tow truck.
  • Arrived at Jax Tyre Centre Singleton 20 minutes before closing.
  • Finally all good to head off to Gunnedah at 5pm. Phew!

We eventually arrived into Gunnedah at 7.30pm to which we then discover that almost the whole town had lost power due to a transformer fire.

Ok, back to the competition.... We had a total of 21 entries although only 20 actually participated. The spread across the classes made judging a small issue so it was decided to group Sportsman and F3A together in one big group and Advanced and Expert together in a group half as big. This allowed us to have a mix of experienced judges and those learning the straps so to speak.

The weather prior to the event was somewhat dodgy to say the least but the forecast for our event was looking fantastic. As it turned out, conditions couldn't have been much better.

First up was Sportsman with six pilots doing their thing in front of the judging panel. First up we had Francis Bennett from Gloucester. Unfortunately, Francis had a motor vibration issue which prevented his participation continuing. Another pilot to have issues was Roger Chapman. I believe all was going well until the two outside loops from the top when at the bottom of the loop the battery pack decided to part company with the model taking the canopy with it. Surprisingly, the model landed safely and actually looked more stable without a flight battery. It was fortunate that Roger came prepared with a back up model to complete the event.

Rod Bailey flew his 2m ex Brian Dooley Integral for the first time in anger at Gunnedah. Her certainly put in some great flights and has now been rewarded with his final promotion point to move up to Advanced. Congratulations Rod!

Advanced class saw five pilots duke it out for the win with young gun Ben Bird winning all but one round. He was closely followed by fellow Winghamnite Peter Besant with the local guru Dave Pa Tiernan taking up third place after a few coughs here and there. Young Ben also achieved a promotion point!

In Expert we had two competitors vying for the placings. Jeremy Campbell was the resounding winner taking out all five rounds and wasn't that far from promotion point territory. Not far behind Jeremy was Tom Collinge with his OS Belt driven Cyclone. Tom missed winning the first round by a mere half a point!

F3A saw seven pilots take to the air over Gunnedah with Steven Bird making his first foray into F3A after his recent promotion. It was an interesting final result whereby consistency was rewarded with Shayne Lysaght taking the win from Jason Arnold in second and Brian Dooley in third place. If you look at the scores below you'll see that both Shayne and Brian won a round each and I won three. That's where consistency across the rounds comes into play. With Shayne taking the win that also meant that he was awarded the Alfed Pye Memorial. Congratulations Shayne!

Now onto the state of origin.... As it turns out, four Queenslanders made the trip down to Gunnedah. The natural thought would be that four pilots going up against sixteen couldn't possibly expect to win... Think again! If you have four quality pilots and they finish high in the standings your average score is going to be high. Queensland finished on 3800 points and NSW finished on a measly 3200! That's what you call a cane toad thumping! Anyway, next year NSW needs to pull up their socks. Hopefully more Queenslanders can be enticed to come down south too...

Overall the event ran very smoothly with all participants having a great time. The local members kept us all well fed and watered which was very much appreciated. A big thanks to GDAA for hosting our event and we look forward to coming back again next year.

Competition Results:

  • F3A-FAI: Shayne Lysaght

  • Expert: Jeremy Campbell

  • Advanced: Ben Bird

  • Sportsman: Rod Bailey

Competition Promotions:

  • F3A-FAI:  Shayne Lysaght

  • Expert: Nil

  • Advanced: Ben Bird

  • Sportsman: Rod Bailey

Competition results: HERE.

Competition promotions: HERE.

Judging Analysis: HERE.

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