14 racers braved sub-zero temperatures both outside and inside the clubroom to race at the first of 3 rounds for the 2009 area championships for both Areas 6 and 10. Wellingborough kindly provided the venue and racing took place on the newly installed 6 lane raceway style track. The Wellingborough members had put a lot of effort into ensuring that the track was in good condition and a special mention must go to Mick Kerr for the hard work he has put into making the track as smooth as possible and for running most of the event. Thanks must also be given to David Farrow for providing the track and giving Area 6 another fantastically competitive club to race at.
Although the area boasts many novice racers, speculation as to where the nationals might be held this year, has lead to a lack of commitment for some racers to attempt to qualify and go the extra step. However, Stephen George was one member who did and duly won the production race by about 9:30 when he arrived!
As in previous years, the format of this class reflected the BOC format of 2 heats into segmented, win from any finals. It would be the first time that the outside lanes had been used in anger since the installation of the track in its new, permanent premises. It would soon become apparent that some lanes would be favoured over others. With a segmented final, this would not matter so much in this class. With 14 racers it was decided to place the top 4 into the A final and the next 10 racers split between the B and C finals. One of the consequences of this was that Paul Harwood missed out on a place in the A Final. He mentioned something about going on to win the BOC Saloon title this year, but it is not over yet!
Stephen George was the first real casualty of the day. He had to retire from the C-Final with multiple chassis breakages. Franz went on to win the C-Final with a quite respectable 128.18. Paul Austin just beat David Farrow to second place, but they were fighting for different areas. With the winner coming from any final, Franz was now the man to beat!
The B-Final featured a couple of Harwoods, World’s Bro and BOC Bro, Mick Kerr, Mick Thompson and another of the Austins, this time the area 6 version, Dave. Only 2 of these drivers would go on to beat Franz’s time. Mick Thompson finished 4 laps to the good, followed home by Paul Harwood.
Would any of the 4 A-Finalists go any faster? Could National’s Bro become Fast Bro once again? The simple answer to these questions was yes. James Cleave went on to 146.61, beating Richard Mack by 8 laps. Greg finished just behind Richard, but Ian Fisher did not quite do enough (possibly due to a mystery slow motor problem) to beat Mick T’s B-Final time and finished in 4th.
A short break ensued to fill up with warm beverages and defrost the controller hands, before the next class.
The grip was now building up and these cars were always going to be a handful around the large sweeping curves of the ex-Tomacher track. Falcon powered F1’s were not far behind their more powerful and slightly lighter, strap powered versions. Getting a clean race was probably more important than outright speed. The format required you to get one good run from 2 separate, 3 minute heats, which gave you lane choice for a 5 minute semi final. The top 6 racers from the semis would progress to a 75 lap final. The first heat proved to be a close affair with Mark setting fasted time on 32 laps, with Paul, Franz and Mick T not far behind on two 31’s and 30 laps accordingly. The second heat was also close for second place with 4 drivers all finishing on 31. James Cleave had thrown down the gauntlet with 34 laps, driving his falcon powered car! In the third heat, Mick T improved to 32 laps and Paul A came close to Richard Mack on 31’s a piece. On a better lane, in heat 4, Mark H just beat James’ time to take TQ so far. Ian Fisher had another carnage filled run and would have to hope for better in the semis. Having been beaten for TQ, James returned, in heat 5 with a more powerful car and retook top spot. Greg was now showing pace and moved up to third. Paul A took TQ for Area 10.
All drivers would get a run in the semis and would therefore get a chance at a reasonable lane. The top drivers would end up being split up across the 3 semis, choosing to race on the best lanes. Ian Fisher would get a good run in the second semi, and end up second qualifier for the final. The first semi was the fasted, with both Mark and Paul H setting faster times than they clocked in the heats. James elected to use his falcon F1 in the third semi, but only managed to qualify 5th behind Greg. It was very close for the final qualifying spot. David Austin edged out Franz by 6/100ths to make it 2 Luton drivers in the final.
From the off, it was falcon power in the lead, until about 25 laps in, when James was caught by World’s Bro, who had found out that his F1 car would go much faster than he had previously been driving it! Ian would finish a fairly close second, making up for his lousy heats. Greg got past James and Paul for 3rd spot, Paul only just beating James, but still ending up as Slow Bro in this class. Unfortunately it was a Luton 5th, 6th in the end, but still a good result for David A, having not raced since the Worlds in October. The rest of the results were taken from the semis, where the Wellingborough club mates finished 8th, 9th and 10th with Mick T, showing his ability to drive anything with a motor and a guide, beating David Farrow and Mick K.
The area 10 final was always looking like it was going to be a close affair, but Richard came out top after a poor run, his own admission, from Paul A.
By this time, the action is always hotting up. People who haven’t got a result so far, desperately want to do well and those who have, feel the desire for the success to continue. 1/32 Eurosport cars were very fast round this track. With lap times in the sub 4 second category, there was no time for marshalling discrepancies and it was very easy to loose a lap or so in the very minor of incidents. Setting the pace from the outset were the Harwood brothers of Mark and Greg. Greg’s car was very drivable but lacked top end speed, and Mark’s car was extremely fast and consistent around the whole track. James Cleave had made the decision that a falcon powered production car was not going to cut it against the opposition, so decided to use the use and develop the new “HarMack” chassis he raced at the world championships. Ian Fisher was also on the pace, but fell foul of messy heats and did not qualify for a good lane. This class was run to S32 format, consisting of 4 separate heats of 3 minutes each, taking the best single run into 5 minute finals. With the 2 racers from area 10, this worked out nicely into two finals of 6 for area 6 and a final of 2 for area 10.
After 4 very loud and frantic heats each, James came out as TQ, once again, on 42 laps. It was very hard to get a clean race, and marshals found it very hard to clear the wreckage in time, before more arrived. Surprisingly, nobody went home with a totally irreparable chassis!
The B-Final saw a very close battle between Franz and David Farrow, with both drivers leading at various points in the race. David completed the most laps at the 5 minute cut off, but was less than a lap clear of Franz. Mick T finished 3rd from an unfavoured lane. Stephen George beat Tony Ryder for 11th spot overall, with his falcon production car. Tony was complaining of bad marshalling from someone at the end of the sweeping corner! I must admit, I didn’t see anything wrong with the marshalling at this point!
The A-Final could be very close. All drivers had recorded single laps within 1/10th of each other during the qualifying. James had had to repair a broken car from the last heat and included some modifications along the way. From the off, it was James in the lead and pulling away. The modifications had worked and he built up a 3 lap lead on the field by about 3 minutes, then disaster struck. An accident over the bridge dislodged a braid and it took a while to retrieve the severed part! This left the door open for Mark and Greg. Greg was in full “humming mode” and chasing Mark for all he was worth. Ian was struggling on the worst lane and Mick K was battling with Paul H. On James’ return to the race, he proceeded to set the fastest lap time, making nearly 2/10ths of a second improvement over the car’s original performance. Fastest laps do not necessarily equate to victory and this was once again taken by Mark. He beat Greg by a lap. James still finished 3rd with Ian in a steady 4th. Only 9/100ths apart were Paul H and Mick K. Mark must now have to add the title of Area Bro, at least till the next round anyway.
In area 10, Paul A finally got onto terms with Richard in the final, but just narrowly missed out by less than half a lap. This was a close race and was quite interesting to watch, even though there were only 2 cars on a 6 lane track.
Next Event >>
The area round proved to be lots of fast racing and a good test of the track. 1/24th Eurosports will be a blur around the track and will most definitely be a survival of the fittest, or strongest, which is probably going to be the case.
Thanks to the Wellingborough club for hosting the area round and thanks to the drivers who turned up on a very cold morning to a track most of them had never seen before. Hope to see you all, and more, at the next round at LSCC on February 8th, where voting will take place for the BSCRA proposed rule changes.
James Cleave (Area 6 Coordinator)