F3A Trans Tasman @ Hamilton MAC

The F3A Trans Tasman was held at the Hamilton MAC field, 16/17/18 February 2024.

This is the first time NZ have been able to host a Trans Tasman since 2017 due to covid interruptions. A Trans Tasman was held in Australia at Tin Can Bay in 2019, and in 2022 a TT result was combined into the Australian Masters held in Casino.

So great to be able to run a TT back on NZ soil, with both F3A and Masters pilots flying, 20 pilots all up.

The Hamilton site was chosen for its great setup, south facing, superb runway, and not too far from the Auckland Airport for easy pickups. It ticked all the boxes.

When the Australians found out were would pick them up at the airport & accommodate them, it was an easy and a couple of guys from Tasmania signed up right away. By the time the event week came around, we had ozzy 6 pilots on their way !! It was a bit of a squeeze at Bogans house, but with some local billets sorted out too, we got them all fitting in, with over flow pitching tents on the lawn.

The event was immediately followed by the Rumble in Hawkes Bay, allowing the visitors to double down on their trip, and fly in two events. Shane & Claire Suffolk did exactly that, with some mid week “Tiki Touring” on the way to the Bay via Rotorua and Taupo.

The new Marquee !!

Thursday was setup day, Dave Wilkins, Derek Whelan, Lyndon, Bogan and club local on the spot Sel Melville, stood the new NZRCAA 10×5 marquee up, in about 90 mins. Followed by an armada of gazebos for the judges to sit under, lines painted on the runway, and the poles stood up, things were looking good !! Putting the centre marker out in the maize crop was a bit of fun for Dave and Bogan, but with the gps box marking app “F3A Zone Pro” locating the right spot was a piece of cake. Then it was off to the airport to pickup a bunch of visitors who had all landed late in the afternoon. Scott Kay and Mike Ralph from Tasmania, Shane and Claire Suffolk from Queensland, were all propping up the bar by the time the pickup van and trailer with Bogan at the wheel pulled into the terminal. Steve Johnson from Brisbane had already been collected by Paul Tomlinson and was attacking the duty free bag. John Knox had some fun in the night, two late arrivals at midnight, namely Jason Arnold and Shayne Lysaght, with model boxes to big to fit their rental vehicle. By 4am it was all sorted !!

Friday – official practise day and arrival of the kiwi fliers. By midday a long queue to fly was forming, and in perfect weather too !! The kiwi and ozzy flags had been raised, and they showed a light breeze from the west as the occasional thermal moved through. By 6pm it was time for refreshments, pizza, and then Steve J reminded us we needed to get on with some fun, so let’s fly some Classic before it gets dark !!

Saturday – Day 1 of competition started at 8am. First name out of the hat, Bogan !! The sun was like a laser beam on the horizon, directly over the left hand marker pole. Sun spot required, and by 9:30 / 10am the sun was moving out of the box. Competition flying for the F3A TT class, the F3A “Locals” class, and the Masters class, went on all day, with little time for breaks, to make sure we got through 3 rounds of flying. By 6pm we were all done, and then before the Saturday night function in Te Rapa at the Foundation Bar and Restaurant, there was just enough time for the official boat race. Won by the slimmest of margins by the kiwis, and the brand new boat race trophy was held aloft by the wining team. An F3A stab half mounted on a timber base, the Norm Morrish trophy, what a prestigious award. Saturday nights doo at the Foundy was a cracker, with 25 people in our own room, constant supply of platter food, and plenty of banter. This is what the TT is all about.

Boat Race Done !!

Sunday – Day 2 of the competition, and once again we had an early start. Perfect weather again, with a slight westerly breeze building during the day. By midday the finals rounds were being flown, with the top 6 F3A pilots working their way through the tricky F sequence. Late afternoon Jarrod Briggs put on a demo with his 120cc freestlye machine, and before long it was time for the prize giving ceremony.

Team NZ took the top spot for team standings, making this win the fourth win in a row for the kiwis. Looking on the trophy, this event has been run since the late 60’s and the name Australia features on the trophy lots up till about 1998, when the kiwis won for the second time ever.

Team NZ win the 2024 Trans Tasman Team event

An interesting bit of info, visiting flier Mike Ralph from Tasmania, his father Steve Ralph flew in the first ever Trans Tasman, held in Australia back in 1967. His father had found some old photos from the event and scanned them for us to see. Names like Paul Lagan, Alf Leong and Don Putt feature back in those days.

The Trans Tasman was a huge success, fantastic weather, great location, lots of fun. The ozzies went home all smiles.

Team Australia – L to R – Scott Kay, Jason Arnold, Shayne Lysaght, Mike Ralph, Shane Suffolk

Time for some thank you’s. During the course of the weekend Andrew Stiver assisted by Shelly Knox and various other helpers ran a canteen in the marque that keep everyone feed and watered. Plus also John Danks who loaned us his eftpos machine, it got a bit of a workout over the course of the weekend. Derek Whelan was the CD and kept the Nortymatic scoring system ticking over. Hamish Galloway, with graphics man Steve Johnson on hand, had gotten a range of really nice looking pine lasered trophies made, and everyone went home with something for the mantle piece. Ryan Cadwallader and Grant Finaly hosted / billeted a few people. Lyndon Perry was a main local helper, and Bogan connected all the dots. Also of course a big thankyou to Trina Briggs who coped with so many visitors over the weekend, and kept things running in the back ground.

Team New Zealand – L to R – Steve Johnson, John Knox, Hamish Galloway, Frazer Briggs, James Danby (Reserve Pilot), Sean Galloway, James Farrow (Reserve Pilot)

Last but not least, a big thanks to the Hamilton MAC, the field was superbly mowed, and their club gave up a perfect weekend of flying weather. Good to see a few of the locals came out for a look, and at times the “peanut gallery” was the length of the marquee. I’m sure the local club were proud to have hosted such a major event at their site.

Congratulations to all competitors, it was a busy 3 days, lots of flying, lots of judging, hardly time for a rest. And we were so lucky with the weather. Monday was really windy !!!


By Tuesday night, almost all of the ozzies had packed their models back into boxes, and were on their way home. Shelly Knox did a couple of final airport runs on Tuesday to get the last of them on their way. Thanks Shelly !!

Next Trans Tasman ? Australia in 2 years time, the Tazzie boys reckon they could do it. Watch this space !!


While the top half of the F3A class went on to fly 2 rounds of F schedule, the bottom half got their own P schedule fly off. Made for a great finish with the top 2 pilots separated by only 1.5 points.
As the nortymatic system only deals with a top half fly off, we used an excel sheet to tabulate the P Final scores.
Team Scores calculated from final rankings.
NZ 18
AUS 37
Lots of photos !!


About Frazer Briggs 24 Articles
NZRCAA Secretary and RC Aerobatics guy since way back !!