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WHO Mod -
The first Wednesday of April saw twenty two on the grid for Round Two of WHO Modified 2019. The Mod grid consisted of nine Vipers, three BSRTs and the return of John’s all conquering Marchon MR1 from a few years ago now in the capable hands of Alex.
Tuners had a big field of nine drivers with Simon’s Super G and Duncan’s LifeLike going toe to toe with seven Mega G+ drivers. Rob and Ralph came to the Barn for their first taste of HO having previously raced in our WHO Digital classes.
Simon’s track had long straights and deceptive corners that caused a few headaches with car set up. Go tall for the straightline speed or go low to make those corners a bit quicker and easier?
Nineteen laps looked good early in the heats before Mike and Jerome raised the bar and Andy raised it even higher. At the half way stage it was Andy on provisional pole with Gareth and Jerome behind him in the A Final. John, Peter and Mike were the next three drivers in that order. Tuners was looking like a front row lockout for Keith and Deborah, 11th and 12th overall but four places clear of their next rival.
Scores were improved by many of the drivers through the second round of heats with John’s pair of runs being particularly eye catching as they moved him within sight of Andy just a lap down. But it was Andy who retained pole position with Gareth the final A Finalist and Terry top of the B Final after a great pair of runs. His Super G/Viper really came on song.
With Rob and Ralph departing early, we had a duel between Steve and Ash in the G Final. It was a cautious battle for the first half of the race with Ash holding a scant 0.7 second lead. Into the final 30 seconds Steve began to pick up the pace and the gap narrowed to 0.4 with 20 seconds to go. Ash seemed unable to respond. In the last 3 seconds Steve drew alongside and went for the win but agonisingly he crashed coming onto the bridge and Ash was safely into the F final.
Ash stepped up into the yellow lane for the F Final to take on the Tuners of Rick and Duncan and the curiously low down Mike McCann who had struggled in qualifying with his Viper. The early running was a close contest with Duncan neck and neck with Mike until lap 4 saw Duncan crash. Ash was the next to crash with a huge accident knocking the body off and the pickups. A spare car was hastily deployed but Ash’s challenge was over. Duncan meanwhile was lapping a second a lap quicker than Rick and regained second place but Mike had opened a 2 lap gap in the first minute and he held it to the end. Duncan finished second, Rick third and Ash trailed home in fourth.
Mike’s E Final challengers would be the Tuners of Deborah and Simon and the Mod of Matt. Mike was the early leader before Matt took the lead. Simon was leading Deborah in the Tuners podium battle. Mike then had a huge crash his car disappearing under the Race Control table. He put his spare car on and continued but this was the beginning of a spate of crashes for Simon, Mike and Deborah. Matt was mainly avoiding the carnage but in the final part of the race he crashed onto the floor, put his controller down and went to retrieve his car. Handed it to the marshal to put him back on, picked up his controller and completed the lap as the power went out! A dramatic and funny way to win the race. Deborah held onto second with Mike third and Simon fourth.
Daniel was on pole for the D Final facing Ryan, Keith and the stepping up Matthew. Matthew lead by 0.3 from Ryan in the early running until lap 6 when he crashed onto the main straight but he retained second. Daniel moved up the order to take the lead from Matthew who crashed for a second time to move Ryan into second place. Keith gave it his all but he couldn’t compete with the three Vipers he was up against. Daniel had a 4 second lead with 30 seconds to go but a crash in the final 15 put him at risk. He held on though to take the win from Ryan, Matthew and Keith. Keith had wrapped up a second consecutive Tuners win though. Great job.
The C Final was the first final that the step up lane was the white lane. A surprising stat as the white lane definitely featured trickier corners than yellow. When the lights went green, Alex stormed into the lead as he stormed into the lead lapping fast and consistently. Oliver was the first to blink on lap 3. After 30 seconds Alex held a 0.6 second lead over Mike. Mike then hit the floor two laps running but stayed in second as he and Alex had a clear pace advantage over Oliver and Daniel. Mike really put the hammer down as he unlapped himself and started to close the lead.
Then disaster struck. Oliver and Daniel had both crashed coming out of the turn one complex. As Ash worked to get them back on track, Alex hit him and was knocked off. Ash got him back on track just in the lead but Mike was going so fast by now that he took the lead with mere seconds to go and that was that. A tragic result after such a brilliant drive by Alex and it robbed us of what would have been an exciting Junior medal battle with Jerome.
The B Final had Terry on pole from Peter, Jerome and Mike. Less than a second covered the entire field through some very exciting and high speed racing for the first 30 seconds of the race. Then Mike collected Terry in a crash in the second corner complex and at the minute mark it was Jerome leading Peter, Mike and Terry. The order moved around a lot and with 45 seconds to go it was now Jerome leading Terry, Mike and Peter. With 30 seconds to go Mike crashed and Peter got through into 3rd place. Terry had had a second crash but after that he drove quicker than his three rivals and hunted down Jerome with the timer counting down. And as the power cut out for the end of the race, that pace helped as Terry coasted past onto the main straight to win by a few car lengths. A great performance.
For the A Final, Andy had tactically chosen red lane to prevent John getting his best lane from the heats. It was also Andy’s best lane but you got the feeling he would have been happy with almost any lane. Off the line and it was Andy and John contesting the lead with Gareth and Terry bringing up the rear. Gareth had a pair of crashes at Turn one and then again in the chicane onto the floor twice to take himself out of the running. Being marshalled onto Terry’s lane just made it worse. Terry meanwhile was driving carefully on the tricky white lane ready to pick up places from a disaster up front. And a disaster was just about to happen.
This was the first race of the evening that Andy had had serious competition and an unforced error dropped him behind John. A second crash doomed his run for the win and he had to settle for second. The fastest lap of the night was scant consolation after such a dominant performance in qualifying.
John meanwhile drove smoothly and consistently without errors in a characteristic John drive. Whenever John has the merest chance of a race win, he is able to put in some mesmerising drives and this was one of them.
Congratulations to our winners; John, Jerome and Keith. Big thanks to Simon for the track design, our race control team and the set up and tear down crews. See you next time.
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