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Formula One - 4 Dec 2013

Race Report

There were just seventeen racers on the grid for the end-of-season finale, but the evening proved to be breathtakingly exciting right down to the last seconds of racing.

We had a number of championships up for grabs, although a couple were decided before racing started. With Ned ill in bed and Hannah staying home in Hastings, the junior F1 title was Ned's. And with Andrew also not making the trip to West Sussex, Andy had his first WHO title - the 2013 F1 Classic Cup.

Andy was in pole position for the Club Championship with current champ John having to win the race tonight to have any chance of retaining his crown for a fourth straight year.

Mike also needed to win the race to beat Clive to retain his F1 crown. There was a lot at stake and there were also other racers like Gareth and Dave who certainly had the cars and the ability to win the race...

We ran the same track as last December, but going round in the opposite direction. That made yellow a tricky lane, but the other three were all quite evenly matched.

On the track, there was close racing and some extremely close battles for the all important A final berths.

At half way, Mike was already five laps ahead of the pack, with Clive second, Andy third and Gareth fourth.

With just the last heat to run, Mike had pulled away even more and Gareth had jumped Andy by just a tenth of a lap. Then Dave put in two superb heats to put himself above Gareth. Third to fifth were separated by just four tenths of a lap!


In a very competitive set of heats, Ash had ended up bottom of the pile and on his own in the E final. However, he was joined by Jon, Dave and Mike - all running club cars - and they delivered an excellent race. Dave and Ash left the other two behind and only a series of late crashes for Ash gave Dave the 'win'. Ash ended up with easily his best score of the night and fastest lap of the final.

The D final saw an incredibly close battle between Jonah and Duncan, with youth just about triumphing over experience. The gap at the end was less than a fifth of a lap - just inches. Jonah's Mega-G looks to be going nicely for next season, but will Duncan stick with his Tyco for 2014? Behind them were Jay and Ollie, both struggling a little in the gutter lanes, but both had shown great promise with good heat scores in the middle lanes.

We had another epic battle in the C final with Richard and Jon's duel lasting right up to the chequered flag. Richard closed out another tight final win - this time by exactly half a lap - and showed again what he can do with a good car. Richard is one to watch for 2014, as is our newly-crowned rookie of the year Jon. Just behind them was Paul, who is getting close to taming his fast, but twitchy Mega-G. Tyler was fourth with a decent score in yellow lane and won himself the medal for top junior.

The only final without a battle for the win was the B final. Andy disappeared up the road from the start and won by a comfortable couple of laps. With John failing to make the A final, Andy had already won the 2013 WHO Club Championship - a feat based on unrelenting consistency rather than spectacular wins. Behind Andy in the B final and the Classic Cup race came Simon. John and Andy Parker has a good battle for third, with John making yellow lane work for him and beating the rookie runner-up by a tenth of a lap.

That just left the A final and the battle for the 2013 Formula One title. Mike had picked white lane - where he'd set the biggest score of the day of 29.65 laps. Clive was in blue, where he'd scored 26.65 in the heats. Dave had happily taken red (24.75 in the heats) and Gareth was left in yellow (heat score 19.80).

Mike blasted off into a healthy early lead, but Clive hung on and went to the front after about 20 seconds when Mike came off the track. Shaken by his error, Mike seemed unable to close the gap to Clive and they stayed about two thirds of a lap apart for what seemed like ages.

Then both crashed in quick succession with just over 30 seconds to go, leaving Mike just under a lap behind.

Whether it was Clive becoming cautious after his off, or Mike throwing caution to the wind, the gap suddenly started coming down in large chunks. Lapping in just over three and a half seconds, Mike was taking several tenths every lap and with ten seconds to go was within striking distance of his rival. It was all or nothing for the race win and the title...

But it ended up to be nothing for Mike. Two offs in the closing seconds undid all the great work of the previous half a minute. Clive had held his nerve under enormous pressure and won an incredibly exciting season-long duel. In third and fourth place, Dave and Gareth has set excellent scores, but nowhere near the top two.

With three wins in three trips to the Barn, Clive rightfully follows Dave, John and Mike as WHO F1 champion - huge congratulations on an impressive achievement.

Another great end to a WHO season was rounded off with the presentation of the F1, Club and rookie trophies. Our main prize-giving will be in January when the top three in every championship receive a certificate.

Until then, have a great Christmas and I hope Santa is generous with his slot car gifts.

The 2014 WHO season starts at the Barn on Wednesday 8 January.

- Andy



Race Results