End of August signaled time for the annual spring pylon races. The event always attracts a lot of pilots and spectators and on 31 August pilots from over the country traveled to RMAC in the south of Johannesburg to compete.
Early morning in the pits
The FPV pilots
With strong wind and conditions still showing winter is still not over, the pilots at least had hot racing to warm them up. Just after 08.00 they had their briefing and the day started soon afterwards with two electric classes running. For the first time, line of sight was included in the FPV class bringing the Electric class a step closer to being recognised in the sport.
Pilots in FPV getting ready to go.
A pole dancer, a locally produced electric racer.
The next class up was Hot Quickies with Jonathon Willcox making his debut to the class. It was clear from the start that the class would be closely contested. The racing was tight and saw a few close misses. After the hots the electrics were up again and saw the guys starting to get their lines right and saw improvement from the first round.
ID being done on Hots.
Trevor Budd showing us how low he can go.
The Q40's were up next. The Q40 class is also seen as a semi scale class as the planes look like full size aircraft. The class was also closely contested with scale replicas like the Avion Caudron and the GR.7. The planes being so close in performance showed the pilots skill had everything to do with the end results.
Steven Black showing the judges his plane.
A Caudron owned by Wayne Willcox
The next class was the Standard Quickies. It was also the biggest class of the day with the newest pilots flying in this class. The racing was also reduced from 6 rounds to 4 rounds as time had started to catch up. The class was close and in the end most positions were separated by just two seconds. Jan Coetzer said that 'it was the most fun he had in racing ever'. This class is also the first class allowed to add a tuned pipe to the engine.
A standard quickie with a Rossi.46
Matthys Botha, Steven Black and Wayne Willcox's Quickies in the pits.
The last class was sportsmen, which entice any sports plane with a max engine size of .55 to a .40. Only five pilots competed in this class. It also saw a few new faces to the pylon circuit. The class also had to be reduced to a shorter format. The class saw tight lines and even saw a few big surprises when it came to who ended where.
Gerhard and Jaco in a race.
Gerhard helping another sportsmen pilot.
The day was an overall success and saw everyone enjoying a braai afterwards and swapping out their best flight stories and a joke or two. The next race will be the summer race, which will also be held at RMAC in November.