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WHO F1 - 7 December 2016

Race Report


Our December Formula One races have something a little special about them. They mark the end of the HO season - our final Wednesday evening race of the year - and there's usually something to play for.


This year, under a stunning pink marshmallow sky, we started setting up a huge and ambitious track on which we would decide the Formula One championship in a potential four-way battle.


The track completed, nineteen regular WHO racers turned up for some important practice. It would be Neal's last race for a while, as he's taking a sabbatical in 2017. Ned turned up, so that made the club junior championship his. And Alex was elsewhere, which handed Ned the F1 junior championship too. He could focus on the junior medal and maybe the race win.


Of the title contenders, Simon started top of the table with Mike D thirty points back and Keith ten points behind Mike. Andy could mathematically take the title, but would need a win and some very improbable slip-ups by the others.


After all the drivers had raced their first pair of heats, it was Mike, Ned and Keith who led the way. Simon's Tyco was struggling to keep pace with the Mega-G and Mega-G+ cars. And Andy had plenty to do to recover from a lost pick-up shoe.


Stephen and Daniel were a well-oiled machine on race control and the final heat finished just a little after 8.35pm. Top of the pile was Mike D, followed by Ned, with Keith pipping Andy to third spot on the grid by just a quarter of a lap. Stephen had qualified an impressive fifth with the club cars, followed by Neal in sixth.


Finals


It was a full grid of four in the F final. Tony comfortably led a trio of Mega-Gs until his Tyco suffered a couple of late offs, handing the win to Corey who'd charged back through the field after a bad start. Aaron managed to hold off Jamie for third.


Up in the E final, Deborah was trying out a Mega-G+ ready for next season. Her heats hadn't been bad at all, but the midfield runners - from Hayley in eight, through to Deborah in thirteenth - were covered by just one lap. From the off, this final was a race between Deborah and Duncan, with the Tyco runner just shading it over the two minutes. Neil comfortably beat Corey to third.


After making the A final with the club cars in September, John switched back to his Mega-G and ended up in the D final. He was up against Duncan's Tyco, a club-car-running Daniel and Richard with his own Mega-G+. John crashed at the first corner, but had soon recovered to second, fighting his way past Richard and sitting just behind Daniel. John then took the lead and began slowly stretching out his advantage over Daniel as we went into the second half of the race. However, the first three were covered by less than a lap and a disastrous off in the final few seconds allowed Daniel to slip past John and take the win. John finished second, Richard third and Duncan a distant fourth.


Daniel joined his dad, Simon and Hayley in the C final. Simon was the only non-Mega-G+ runner, with both McCann's running club cars. Hayley's Mega-G+ hadn't shown the pace of earlier in the season and trailed Mike in the early stages of this race. Simon took over second place by half way and then tried all he could to catch Mike. Simon's efforts looked to be in vain, until a rare off from Mike right at the end was followed immediately by another crash and Simon was a heart-breaking tenth of a lap behind as the chequered flag fell. Hayley beat Daniel to third.


Mike would join Stephen, Neal and Andy for an all-Mega-G+ B final. Stephen and Andy had enjoyed some close racing in their heats and the youngster fancied his chances. Andy led from the line, but Stephen held on - the two of them stretching out a lead over Neal. At the end, Andy was just half a lap up on Stephen, setting what would be the top score of the finals. Neal came in just over a lap back, with Mike getting a decent score in yellow for fourth.


The A final would be a head-to-head battle between Mike D and Keith for the championship win. Whoever finished in front would take the title. It was Mike who sped off into the lead, which he stretched out relentlessly. Ned settled in second, with Keith and Andy not far behind. Apart from Mike disappearing into the distance, it was very close.


The first half of the race had been fairly error-free, but the second minute was anything but. First Ned crashed, allowing Keith to move up into second. Then Mike had a big off, dislodging one side of the car's body and seriously affected the handling of the car. Soon Mike's lead of nearly two laps had all but evaporated.


Keith moved into the lead with just twenty seconds to go - but immediately binned it big time going into turn six. Duncan got Keith's car back on the track and Keith set about chasing down the ailing Mega-G of Dadson senior. Ned was lurking close behind, but it didn't matter if he got through - the big prize was the battle between Mike and Keith.


With Mike hanging on for dear life, Keith knew he needed to push, but as the clock hit ten seconds to go, another off at turn six finished things for Keith. He knew it and he was gutted. Mike hung on to take the win and the championship, finishing just ahead of Ned, who was just ahead of Keith. Andy was a lap back in fourth.


Commiserations to Keith and huge congratulations to Mike - it was a fitting battle to end the HO season at the Barn. Mike held on to his F1 and club championship titles, but it looks like he'll have some stiff opposition in 2017.


Congratulations also go to Ned on his junior F1 and club championship titles and to Simon for a clean sweep in F1 Classic Cup with his mighty Tyco.


Many thanks to everyone who made it such an excellent night of racing at the Barn and to everyone who has contributed to a superb seventh season of HO racing at the club. We are lucky to have such a great team who plan and build the tracks, run the races and pack away at the end of the night. It all starts again in January!



-Andy P

Heats

Finals

Race Results

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