By Tyler Hooks
Mark Polistena was in the Australian RC community for 30 years and president of Keilor for the last 10. He was known for his generous nature and kind heart. Sadly, he passed away last year at much too young an age. The rare honour of changing the Keilor Cup to the Polistena Cup was bestowed. A fitting tribute to a rare individual.
A special and significant award was created for the member that contributed the most to the RC community. A fitting selection, Roger Fong the current President of Keilor was given the honour. Roger took over when "Poli" was too sick to continue the role. A good mate and a popular winner the presentation was an emotional ceremony.
Keilor prepared a traditional flowing Dirt/Clay outdoor track with only water and no additives, a wide groove formed, and the layout allowed for some close & spirited racing. The event is also the final round of the Victorian Drivers Series Attracting 92 drivers with 138 entries, the atmosphere was charged with excitement and adrenaline all weekend.
2wd Junior (u16) 17.5t Buggy
With 17 juniors in the field, Shelby Bloss (AE) got the event rolling with fastest qualifier in round one. It was the Camilleri brothers however, who each took a round each to qualify one and two. Claude Camilleri with TQ honours and next Camden Camilleri (AE/RAB hobbies).
Camden from q2 showed his ability to remain consistent and took all three mains finals to take the top step. Brother Claude was next best in 2nd & Shelby Bloss from q3 took the 3rd place.
A panel of respected community members awarded the junior sportsmanship trophy sponsored by RC legend Mr. Masami Hirosaka, Camden Camilleri again was the recipient for his driving, attitude and turn marshalling.
2wd Modified Buggy
The buzz increased at the event as Premier class headed out onto the track. Ray Munday (AE/Reedy/Jconcepts) displayed his credentials at his home track taking the first round. His son 12yo Lachlan (AE/Reedy/Jconcepts/HWW) pushed him hard in round 2 finishing 1.4s behind Ray. The A’s were finalised, 13yo Jordan Isergin (AE/Team Powers) with a thrilling drive was fastest in round 3 giving him q2.
Ray Munday, the TQ showed his class and won the first two finals locking in the overall win. Fighting it out for the remaining podium spots was tight, Jordan Isergin came back and won in style in A3 after a pair of 4th’s. Lachlan Munday q3 ended 3rd with some consistent top end finishes.
4wd Modified Buggy
4wd Mod is the most exhilarating class at our event. Led out by Victoria’s elite drivers, Ray Munday (AE/Reedy/Jconcepts) looked to do the double starting out with the win in round 1 of qualifying. In a welcome return to racing Matt Griffin (AE) made a statement to everyone that it wasn’t going all one way and took out round 2. Not to ever be discounted, stalwart Simon Healy (Tekno/ORCA/AKA) won round 3 by 0.8s over Ray. After qualifying with one round win each, the final positions were TQ Matt Griffin, Ray Munday in q2 and Simon Healy q3.
The first final saw Ray Munday glued to the tail of Matt Griffin in some highly skilled & close driving. The crowd were treated to high level speed and race-craft. Passing attempts thwarted lap after lap. Resisting the barrage Matt Griffin winning by a ludicrous 0.043s. The 2nd final saw 12yo Lachlan Munday (AE/Reedy/Jconcepts/HWW) this time applying the pressure on Matt Griffin. Lachlan was pushed to keep up, the young driver did just that, whilst waiting for his opening. It appeared on the back straight whilst on the last lap, slotting his car inside, he made the ground, with Matt’s car landing awkwardly off the ski jump. A popular win the youngster forced a 3rd final. The last final was full of drama, Lap 2 saw Matt Griffin make a rare mistake. Simon Healy capitalised moving to the lead, Matt Griffin following then Lachlan. Ray with some misfortune had found himself in 7th. The chase was on, whilst Matt reduced the gap to the leader. Lachlan tumbled leaving him out of touch with the lead group as Ray had worked his way back to 3rd. As the last lap ensued all 3 drivers were close enough to apply some pressure, the gaps were too great to alter the outcome. Simon Healy winning by 0.7s to Matt Griffin and Ray Munday 0.15s behind him.
With finals wins each, the overall result gave Matt Griffin 1st, Simon Healy 2nd and Lachlan Munday 3rd.
2wd 17.5t Stock Buggy
A big 2wd Stock buggy field makes for some exciting racing. 34 drivers eager to make the A main. Keilor’s own, Luke Chmielewski (Yokomo) with the win in round 1. Experienced Stock racer Scott Giles (Yokomo/Hearns Hobbies) took Round 2. With a superb round 3 drive another local, Gary Carvajal (Yokomo) had come through with the fastest time and snatched TQ from them both. Luke taking q2 and Scott starting from 3rd the top 10 were separated by 9s in total.
The first final saw TQ Gary Carvajal hold the lead for the first 4 laps till he bobbled finishing 3rd, Luke Chmielewski slipping through for a unchallenged win, Rob Jones (Yokomo/Orca/Hearns Hobbies) 2nd. The A2 Final was all Luke Chmielewski after taking the lead on the first lap he glided home by 4s also claiming the overall win. The field battled each other with some tight racing and Scott Matthews (AE) took 2nd & Scott Giles 1.5s behind in 3rd. A3 saw q6 Ben Howard (AE/Team Zombie/Tekin/SpeedyRC) unlucky in qualifying work his way through the field with an accomplished drive to win the 3rd final. Overall Luke Chmielewski 1st, Ben Howard in 2nd and Gary Carvajal took 3rd.
4wd 13.5t Stock Buggy
A big field in the 4wd stock class of 42 made for incredibly close racing all event. Luke Chmielewski (X-Ray) taking round one, Ben Howard (Schumacher/Team Zombie/Trinity/SpeedyRC) with the round two win. It wasn’t a surprise for the returning, Andrew Adamic (Tekno/Orca) to come through for a lightning fast & flawless run in round 3 to snatch TQ.
The A1 final saw q3 Ben Howard pass Luke Chmielewski on lap 1 and take the lead on lap 3. Taking a 4s lead which he maintained till the final tone over Rob Jones (Yokomo/ORCA/Hearns Hobbies). The A2 final treated the crowd to multiple lead changes, skilled & fair race craft and a tight finish. In the end it was Scott Giles (Yokomo/ORCA/Hearns Hobbies) that won from Ben Howard who charged back through the entire field after an incident on Turn one, then Luke Chmielewski 3rd. The top 3 within 1 metre of each other on the finishing line. Luke took out the A3 final, it was enough to earn 2nd place behind Ben Howard in first overall and then Rob Jones in 3rd.
2wd 21.5t Spec Buggy
This class enjoyed a renaissance this year, a class for consistency and accuracy. Qualifying was a dominant affair with Dale Brown (AE) taking all 3 rounds. After a break from RC, Kerry Chesher (Yokomo) qualified 2nd and Knox based 21.5t veteran Matt Coad in 3rd.
The finals was a showcase for Dale Brown winning all 3 finals, Matt Coad finishing overall 2nd. And with a fantastic set of finals Jamie Chesher (XRAY) came from q5 and finished 3rd.
2wd Stadium Truck
Adelaide based racer Mark Ruta and Andrew Adamic shared the honours through qualifying. Mark taking two rounds, and Andrew one. Junior Camden Camilleri taking q3.
Mark Ruta took the first 2 finals by 7s and 4s respectively. In a popular win for the last race of the day in the A3 final saw UK born, Keilor member Mike Keyes win. The final standings were Mark Ruta, Mike Keyes & Andrew Adamic.