My impression of Club 2000 Pylon Racing - - - by Richard Rogers

How's your flying? Have you dropped into the trap of routine? Do you go to your Club, have your fix and then go home? Do you find yourself getting, dare I say it, bored? 
Do you remember the thrill of your first takeoff? Can you recall the first time you realised you were flying on your own?
I recall the most exciting and rewarding parts of my flying, the learning curve when first starting out, the thrill of taking off the latest addition to my fleet or the chance to fly at another Clubs field.
What have these things in common?  They are all different to our normal routine.

Back around the millennium, flying at my then Home Club, I found myself surreptitiously beginning to creep up behind some innocent soul and matching his turns. (I do of course refer to our Models)!
Suspecting that I was a closet throttle bender, I gave some thought to this innocent incident.
Suddenly my flying had purpose. I was flying "in formation", matching speeds, turns, lines of flight. This was a definite improvement on my normally fairly aimless wandering around the sky.
The next occurrence was an article in Model Flyer Magazine, the launch of something called Club 2000 Racing. 
Examination revealed plans for a simple airplane drawn by the Man, Boddo, a list of standard .25 cu in engines allowed, instructions on the basic rules of the game and the date of the first meeting.
Apparently you flew around three poles, (pylons), with two or three other likeminded throttle benders, for ten laps with others calling turns and generally assisting.
The laps were timed and collated through the day, with semi finals and Finals.
Needless to say I was hooked, particularly when the Man himself turned up at the first meeting.

A normal race day see's you arrive about 9.00am at the chosen field.  All hands set up the course, consisting of three Pylons with flags affixed to the top set out in an elongated triangle, the two base pylons being 120 feet apart with the Number One pylon 380 feet distant.
This is flown in a left hand circuit. The assembled company is split in to two equal groups, one to fly, the other to man the course, (Wait! they get a turn as well)! The Guys manning the Course are then arranged thus, 
A Marshall on each base pylon with a buzzer and three more hardy souls down at number one pylon with a flag each. Their collective job is to make sure you go round the pylon, not inside. (No short cuts allowed!) 
There are three or four time keepers who time one plane each. 
The four start points just forward of the base line are where those flying (you) stand with your caller.
 
Now here's the best bit, the Race. You stand clutching the tranny, the flag drops, your caller launches your model forward.
You watch your model go hurtling down towards number one, your Number one flag man, watches and waits.....
You arrive level with number one, down goes the flag, "turn!!!" screams your caller in your left ear, you bank and yank, (yes, that is a technical term.) and suddenly you are racing back towards number two pylon off over your left shoulder.
Now comes another fun bit. You continue to pirouette to the left, fly around the base pylons and go hurtling back up to number one. 
Have you noticed something? You have flown AROUND YOURSELF! Only allowed in pylon racing, (and control line!)
Whew, exciting innit?
Ten laps later you stand triumphant having left the opposition in the dust. 
Hold it.
One of your U turns around number one was short, inside the Pylon, you got over excited and turned before the flag dropped, sorry 10% added to your time.
Drat. Next time......... But you can still get in the final because your best four times are taken from six or seven heats.

After you and your fellow racers have flown three or four heats, its all change and you are manning the Course.
This is great fun. Please note the key word. 
You get to timekeep, man the base pylons, call for your fellow competitors or be banished from the assembly, e.g. sent to Number one as a flagman.  (Only joking, this is actually my favourite bit of Marshalling).
After lunch is a repeat of the morning plus the Semi's and Finals
The day is never dull, flying is pretty well continuous and its rare the you have nothing to do.

The Sport has developed over the last 13 years, including the introduction of Electric motors, but the basic premise remains the same.
All of the planes and power plants must comply with the simple rules and therefore the Winner should be the best flyer on the day.
Engines, motors etc are all specified to be economical to purchase (cheap!)
As with most sports, we have three classes, based on previous race times.
Group One (for the fastest flyers), Group Two and Group Three which is were all newcomers start.
Now something I find particularly beneficial is that during the Heats you can be flying with others from any Group.
This means you are right there and can follow the lines of the fastest Guys, (you may not keep up at first)!
Come the final your are amongst your Group Three peers and have the same chance of winning as they do.
You even get trophies to show off!

The planes can be purchased as a Kit with a grp fuselage or balsa components, plus a foam wing. Or you can down load a free plan from the E2k link at the Website below and build your own. If you like to experiment, you can try Vee tails, one aileron wings (well you are only turning left!), dihedral, negative dihedral, the list goes on.

Because only standard engines are allowed, with a specific prop, you can fly them at your Home field and noise levels will be equivalent to a normal sport model.  The electric version of course is even quieter.

 
If you are ready for a new experience, would like to develop your flying skills and generally have FUN with other modellers, this could be for you.

I guarantee you one thing, you will never view your flying the same afterwards.

Happy Landings (No wheels required)