|FAI F2C - B T/R - Rat Racing - Goodyear|
Many of the pictures and texts are provided by Pete Soule, who took deep dives in his ol' magazine inventory, his memory and his picture archive. He also has a web site of his own to add his personal views to the story, hyperlinked further below.
The material doesn't represent my view of what's most important, but merely what I have been able to gather. It will remain incomplete forever, as my focus is on the present.
If you have material that would fit into this site, send me an e-mail:
Keith Storey in 1961
In the beginning there was the F.A.S.T. (First All Speed Team) club of the Los Angeles area, California, USA. C/L Speed flying was already a big sport, but something that emulated the Goodyear racing events was envisioned. The creation of Team Racing can be traced to the names of Keith Storey, Les McBrayer, Norm Morgan, the Williams brothers (Granger and Larry) and Keith Conrad. It seems to have happened in 1948.
Read Keith Storey's e-mail to me on the
Funny how this pic was doctored up by turning the lines into
If nothing else, the cars in the rear set the time frame.
Keith Storey gave me the following account of this pic:
Les McBrayer took that photo which FM used for the cover. From left to
right the flyers are Granger Williams, Larry Williams, Jim Saftig (back
to the camera), and Bud Hartfranft. Its a small world, I have had Les's
original framed photo hanging in my shop for years, and I also have just
the phramed cover of that FM Magazine stored in the shop. Strange that
in those years they did not put the year as well as the month on the
cover ??? I believe it was in 1949.
Pete Soule adds this: I re-found the old mag when up in the attic getting the cat carrier out for Mistys trip to the vet for shots. The issue is June, 1951 (Vol. 58 No. 3): "THE COVER -F.A.S.T. Boys Hold A Team Race (Granger Williams, Lawrence Williams, Jerry Gaston, and Bud Hartranft) - Photo by Les McBrayer, Cover Art by Harlod Kelly" [ - Must be the guy that did the ropes!]
Not before long the T/R idea crossed the Atlantic, most likely through the US magazines that were circulated, especially in England. At first T/R was flown to the AMA rules with .29 sized (5 cc) glows, as "Team Racing B". An asset Europe had, in contrast to USA, was the diesel model engine, first developed in Switzerland in the early forties. The Swiss Dyno was the first diesel to make a success. It was followed by countless brands in every corner of the continent, firmly establishing the diesel by the time the glow plug arrived. The pivotal development was of course the fuel, mainly kerosene, but with roughly 30% ether as the essential ingredient. The advantage of diesels in T/R was soon evident, with the greater fuel economy and the hassle-free starting. The .29 engine size was, however, too big for diesels, and it was in the half size class, called "Team Racing A", where diesels became used exclusively. Soon also a 1/2 A class was introduced, using 1.5 cc engines.
In 1958, when FAI set out to define an international class, the British "A" rules stood as a raw model, but with the dimensions metricized. The wing and tailplane area was enlarged to 12 sq.dm. (from around 9), and the tanks were reduced from around 14 cc to 10 cc. The rules for pilot conduct were crude at first, and the FAI class became a competition of the strong armed, using whipping to the extreme. Soon the rules were settled in favor of having the planes fly by their own power. The process of defining piloting to ensure as fair a racing as possible is still going on.
Also visit Pete's own web site:
Nils Björk and Kjell Rosenlund became European Champions in 1961. See the Cover of Aeromodeller Jan '61! The Mk VI version of 1963 had the world's first retractable landing gear, operated by the line tension.
The simplified class of "Rat Racing" was developed to maintain all the fun of racing while relaxing the model specifications. The purpose was to give the newcomers an easier route to racing, but the child soon ate its parent, and the original Team Racing waned into nothing.
Instead the FAI class of European origin made the round trip, and attracted a few enthusiasts, with the prospect of international competition. For most Americans it became the first encounter of a diesel engine, as bigger glow plug engines were the norm.
Americans and Britons '65:
Plotsin(R) and Timofeev(L) at the 1966 W/Ch:
Plotsin is nowadays known by his true Latvian name, Karlis Plocins.