After the previous round at Wellingborough, 15 racers ventured to ‘ THE LIONS DEN OF AREA 6’ for round 3 of the area championship, North London.
Production saw us off first, and this was a straight 2 horse race between area 6 ‘s hopefuls ‘ The Wellingborough Wizard’ Gavin Wills and North London’s representative in the class Cliff Bicknell.
Cliff’s car decided it wouldn’t go around corners too well and this made it a little easy for Gavin to take an unchallenged flag to flag victory .
Next up was ‘ The Painted By Paul ‘ concourse judging, Franz kindly offered to do this, and the winner this time around was Chris Musto, with a great looking Dodge Daytona body.
The meeting now started to get very tasty, with the arrival of the saloon cars. The winner of the previous 2 rounds James Cleave looked good in practice, but would that translate into another win? We would have to wait and see. Greg and Paul Harwood had good qualifying runs, both doing 40+, but it was left to both Mark and then in the very last heat James to both bang in 41+, Mark taking TQ by 18 parts. The stage was well and truly set for a ‘TITANIC BATTLE’ in the A final.
Cliff, Chris and the returning Brian Church were the first off in the D Final, and after his problems and bodyshell issues, Brian could only make a total of 37 laps before giving it up as a bad job and retiring. This left a straight fight between Cliff and Chris, one which Cliff won by over 5 laps.
C final line up included Gavin, Franz, Tony Ryder and Paul Austin (from Area 10). Franz took an early lead on yellow and ran consistently all the way through to finish in front of Gavin by the best part of 4 laps. Behind these two, Paul Austin managed to take 3rd from a recovering Tony Ryder who had problems in his first section on white lane.
So at this point Franz was heading the standings with the A Final and B Final to come. The B Final featured a returning Bob Hallums, Ian Fisher, Stan Alton and Area 10 racer Richard Mack. From the off Bob and Richard set the pace, both achieving 39 laps and this set the standard throughout this particular final, these two going at it hammer and tongs all the way through with Ian in close proximity. Bob taking the victory in the end from Richard by over a lap with Ian, who made a late charge, finishing 35 parts behind Richard. Stan came home a distant 4th but with a time that was still fast enough to keep him ahead of the other finals.
So the big guns wheeled out for the A Final and the question still remained, could James take his hat trick? From the off the pace was set by Paul and Greg on the middle lanes posting genuine 41 laps after Mark, who opted to start on blue lane, and James who opted to start on white lane, could only set 39 laps. As the race progressed, Paul and Greg were in close proximity, James made his charge with a very strong run on yellow and Mark, now he was not on blue lane, picked the pace up to post a 41 lap around red. So at the half way mark there was 1 lap covering all 4 cars. Paul then posted a very strong 42 around red to pull clear of the field by over a lap from Greg, and Mark got passed a struggling James, who found blue a bit harder than he thought it would be (Due to a flattened braid not giving any pickup).
So with the 3 Harwoods all putting in 41 laps in the final section and James not really recovering, the 1 2 3 was complete with Paul winning from Greg by over a lap and a half, then Mark a further half a lap down and James just managing to do enough to keep himself in front of Bob. Either Paul or Greg have to win at LSCC to beat James in the championship.
This class as you know is run to the Southern 32 format of 4 heats, counting your best single heat to get into a final to determine the places.
James took the top spot in qualifying from Mark then Ian then Paul H. These 4 never really being headed in qualifying, the shock of which was a certain Greg Harwood who could only make 7th qualifier and only into the B Final where he could, at best, climb up to 5th. Bob, Gavin and Chris Musto were there to join him and stop him.
The C Final and bottom group would feature, Cliff, Stan, Tony and Franz who were all competing for 9th place overall. Franz duly set out and won this one from Stan, Cliff and Tony.
In the B Final Greg did manage to pull himself up to take 5th place by wining this particular race from Bob, Gavin and Chris.
Area 10 decided to take their results from the qualifying heats and this gave victory to Richard from Paul.
So the A Final. Would James be beaten off of white lane? Mark lined up on red, Ian on yellow and Paul H on blue. A straight 3 minute race and James took the lead from the start and was never headed. Drive of the day came from Paul H off of the un-fancied blue lane to take a good 2nd place 5 parts ahead of Ian with Mark a further lap and half down, who was having his problems. (Ed. I thought James’s run of 48 in the final was a pretty good run, which was just a few parts short of the outright Sports record!) James is now the 2011 Area 6 Sports Champion after winning all 3 rounds so far.
Thanks to Ian for helping me on race control and everyone who turned up and made it a good one.
So the North London round now over, we look forward to the final one at Luton.
Can James be beaten on his home track? It has been done before.
With places very tight and close in some of the championships, let’s hope it’s as good and competitive as ever.
See you all there.
Paul Harwood ( Area 6 Coordinator)