Sunday 11th March saw the final of this year’s area championship at NLSME HQ.
With all the ' BIG GUNS' turning up this time, it was always going to be a highly competitive days racing. The Championships were up for the taking with a number of possible candidates in with a chance. Ian, Paul, Mark, Greg, Gavin and James could walk away with at least one of the area championships.
Saloon started the day, as only one Novice driver arrived armed with a Falcon production car and nobody to race against.
Therefore well done Cliff on being this years champion.
The championship positions after 3 rounds had Greg on top followed by Ian, Gavin and Stan. Paul H could not win the championship, even with a win in the last round, but James only had 2 counting scores, having missed Ipswich, so he could be a threat overall.
Paul H posted the top time in the heats with a 41.98, from Greg H 41.52, James on 40.56, then Mark, who after some scrappy heats, was 4th area 6 qualifier.
After all the lower finals sorted themselves out, with some good performances by Franz and Gavin Wills, it was left to see who would take the ' top prize'. If Gavin’s B-Final time was good enough to win, Greg had to get second, if he was to beat Gavin in the championship. With both Paul unable to take the championship, even if he were to win, it was only James and Mark that could stop Greg or Gavin from taking the overall title.
A cracking pace from the off from both Paul H and James saw these two set off into the distance from the chasing pack that included a hard driving Greg H. Mark was not his usual self and struggled throughout the race to find any pace. After a couple of minor offs and a tangle, James had pulled a 2 lap lead over Paul who in turn had 3 laps over Greg. Paul chased hard all the way to the end and closed to about 1/2 a lap , but James held on to take his first win of the day and the Saloon car Championship of Area 6.
Gavin finished 4th overall in the final and finished, behind Greg, on equal points with Paul H in the championship. Unfortunately Paul H took the overall place, due to having scored more points overall than Gavin. Still, a worthy 4th place in the championship and splitting the Harwoods is nothing to be ashamed of in only your third season of area racing.
F1 was up next and James took TQ in this on a 40.05, from Paul H on a 39.52, these two having a great battle at the front of the field as they did in saloon, going into the semi finals.
Any one of 6 drivers could take the F1 championship, and it was probably going to come down to who could win the final round. Mark is normally the F1 expert around North London, but was still struggling to find any pace. He was also suffering from a bad back, which sort of cramped his usual driving style.
In the semi's James continued his good pace to once again top the time sheets from Paul and Ian with Mark H making it into the final. Mark had been in the wars all day long, but finally the Ipswich winner showed his class. So, the championship would be won by one of these four drivers.
75 laps of NLSME later and James, after a close battle at the start with Paul, took the victory and his 2nd Trophy of the day, from Paul, Ian and Mark.
The championship finished with James the winner from Mark, Greg and Paul. Gavin finished on equal points with Paul for the second class in a row and also missed out on the position for the second class in a row, due to scoring less points overall.
Sports was up next, and a slight change to the 1 min qualifying in that it was all laps to count instead of fastest single lap (No single lap timer was available at the very traditional North London club).
This changed the look of the finals slightly, as it normally takes a little more concentration to keep the car on for a whole minute at a good pace, instead of a ' Banzai' flying lap. Quote of the day... “Any idiot can do one fast lap!”
After 3 rounds, Gavin was leading this class, from Ian and James. James was clearly favourite for this class as he only had 2 counting scores and was only 4 points behind Gavin. Gavin needed a 5th or better to improve his score and Ian needed a third or better to improve his.
James took control of this class in qualifying from Paul H and Ian, but the surprise of the whole day was John Ovens who made it into his 1st overall final with a great run in qualifying to take the last spot.
As with saloon it was win or lose from any final. Greg won the C-Final, but would have to wait to see if his lap score was good enough. Gavin won the B-Final with 7 laps more than Greg and set a good pace for the A-Finalists to aim at. Gavin could not finish lower than 5th. This meant that Ian had to finish 3rd or better to beat Gavin. Unlike the previous 2 classes, James was uncatchable in the A-Final and simply drove away into the distance from the off, leaving Paul H and Ian to battle it out. Both Paul and Ian also beat Gavin’s lap score, but John Ovens complained of controller problems and did not live up to his qualifying performance. This left Ian in 3rd and Gavin in 4th which was enough for Gavin to take 2nd in the overall Sports championship from Ian in 3rd. The best Harwood was Paul in 4th!
So James took a well deserved ' Hat Trick' of wins on the day and all 3 Area titles to boot, well done to him.
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The racing in the area has been Fast, Furious and sometimes a little frenetic, but within the area there are a whole host of 'TOP DRAWER' drivers and in general things have played out and run just as a competitive area should.
In the overall Victor Ludorum across all three championships, it was no surprise that James took the win. Greg was constantly placed in all three championships and took 2nd overall. Gavin got his own back on Paul in the overall standings, as he finished on the same number of points as Paul, in 3rd, but took the position due to his best placing in a single championship (Second in Sports).
Looking a bit further ahead now , round 3 of The Area 6 Group C Challenge takes place at Luton SCC on Monday 26th March.
I look forward to seeing most of the Area runners and riders there for this great series with these beautiful cars.
It has been a pleasure overseing the area as Coordinator, and I look forward to continuing this role next season and beyond.
Paul Harwood (Area 6 Coordinator)