Pilot Gino Del Ponte (L), pictured with caller Richard Verano, after
breaking the F3D World Record in Round One.
Randy and Ray celebrate after setting a new F3D World Record of 55. 32 seconds.
“Being team manager is pretty much
the highlight of my racing career. This
was such a talented group and they
all worked very hard. It is unfortunate
[that] the wheels fell off for some
because they were the class of the
field. We were the only ones turning
Bridget, and his mother and father took care of the rest—rental
car company calls, insurance claims, credit card cancellations,
and the other time-intensive tasks required after a theft. Making
the team required the support of many family members.
World Championship Bid
Following the team trials, rebuilding and preparations
began for the F3D World Championship. Bruce De Chastel
supplied the replacement kits and world-class builder Chuck
Bridge, Randy’s father, took it from there. Chuck is not a
model builder—he is a model artisan. I have purchased several
Vortex Q-500s from Chuck and each is a work of art. His
craftsmanship is phenomenal.
Randy and Ray spent countless hours preparing for the 2015
World Championship. There is a huge monetary and time
commitment required to compete at this level. Tremendous
family support is needed to make it happen. This includes
hours spent in the shop, practicing and tuning at the field, and
phone calls to discuss strategy.
In addition to Randy and Ray, Team USA F3D members
included pilot Gino Del Ponte and his caller, Richard Verano,
and pilot Gary Freeman Jr., and his caller, Matais Salar.
The F3D World Championship began in Olomouc with a
thud for Randy and Ray. They logged 200-point scores in the
first two rounds of competition. This left one more round to
drop and a margin for error that was close to nothing. The
pressure was high and changing weather conditions made it
The contest progressed to Round Nine, when the third
and final 200-point score was logged. Another 200-point
score would spell certain defeat. Knowing that, should the
pilots take the chance on flying a rebuilt motor that wasn’t
fully broken in and had never been flown in Round 10? Well,
that is exactly what Randy and Ray did, turning in a modest
59.24-second time on a rich run.
They followed that with a 56. 59 in Round 11. Ray
convinced Randy that this was a good move and the huge risk
was about to pay off in grand fashion.
In Round 12, they flew against top competitor Tomáš
Andrlík and multitime world champion, Chris Callow, from
took off third after
Chris and quickly
closed the one-second gap to pass
him on lap four. He
reeled in Tomáš and
passed him on lap
six, dropping down
to pole-top level
to rip off the final
postrace glide out,
Ray leaned over
to Randy and said,
“Don’t be mad, but
wait ’til you see where I put the needle. Oh, and you just set
a new world record with a 55. 32.” That time bested Gino’s
world record set in Round One by a mere .08 seconds.
Screwing the needle in that far with three 200s on the board
takes some incredible intestinal fortitude. More so, though,
31 Model Aviation JANUARY 2016 www.ModelAviation.com