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Formula One - 5 December 2018

Race Report

Twenty racers took to the grid for the final round of our ninth season of HO racing at the Barn. For the first time since 2014, we had a proper battle for the club championship title - Mike D leading Andy by sixty points. Andy needed to win the race and Mike finish no higher than fourth.

Mike McCann has come up with some great tracks over the years and the December F1 track is always memorable. This time was no exception, with a Macau-inspired layout. It looked quick from turn 15 to turn 4, but then it would be all about handing. Three Tycos joined the Mega-G+ dominated grid, with four Mega-Gs hoping to benefit from the fast half lap.

After practice and before the heats, trophies were presented to our WHO Mod, Nascar and AFX champions - congratulations to Gareth, Jerome, Simon, Mike, Alex, Keith, Matthew and Oliver.

Keith was first on track in the heats and set a benchmark of two scores above 17 laps. Only Mike D could match that and was second at halfway. Andy was in third with the top single score so far - a 17.75 in red. Fourth was Daniel, followed by top junior Ryan, Mike McCann, Peter, Rick and Matthew. Duncan was top Tyco in an impressive tenth place.

The second round of heats saw the order shifted. It was clear that red was a brilliant lane, some also liked yellow, but many struggled on blue and white. Those who struggled on more than one lane dropped down the order. At the top, Keith put in a massive 18.55 in red to take pole. Other racers to hit 18 laps were Deborah, Jerome, Ned and Mike McCann. Consistency paid off for Andy who was second - two laps behind Keith - and for Mike D who was third, nearly three laps off pole position. Daniel remained fourth and Jerome was top junior, just ahead of Ned in fifth and sixth places.


The G final saw Oliver and Alex battle it out in an all-Mega-G scrap for the step-up. The first part of the race was a bit of a crash-fest, those Mega-Gs struggling for grip through the twisty bits. Oliver led by just over a lap at halfway, a gap that stretched very slightly as the drivers settle down and upped the pace towards the end. It was good practice for the next race...

Oliver stepped up from red to white in the F final. Steve had qualified top and taken red, but Gareth was looking to make up for some poor heats. Those two were MG+ runners, John was back with his vintage Tyco and hoping to take advantage of any errors. Gareth took the lead from the start, but a crash from yellow lane put his car on the floor. No damage and quick marshalling meant Gareth held a three second lead over Steve at 30 seconds, a gap he extended to eight seconds at a minute. That's how it stayed, Gareth winning by just over a lap, with John and Oliver following home in third and fourth.

Gareth was happy to stay in yellow for the E final, where he was up against Ash, Ryan and another Tyco in the hands of Simon. Ash had the lead in blue early on, Gareth overtaking just after 30 seconds, but almost immediately crashed and dropped to the back of what was a very close race. An error from Ash, meant Gareth was a short nose ahead at half distance, closely followed by both Ryan and Simon. Gareth managed to pull out a decent gap in the second half of the race while Ryan and Ash had a fabulous tussle for second. Ryan got ahead, then dropped back and finally took second when Ash crashed near the end, almost letting Simon through into third - but not quite. All four racers were covered by less than two laps.

That was the first time Gareth has managed two step-ups at WHO - could he make it three in the D final? He'd have to do it from white lane and did indeed lead in the early stages. A crash put Gareth back to third, behind Rick and Duncan, who were separated by a second at a quarter distance. Duncan's Tyco was liking the twisty track and he closed the gap to his brother with a minute to go. Gareth was ahead of Matthew in the battle for third. That's how the order stayed - Rick switched on full concentration mode to pull away and finished just over half a lap ahead. A good win.

The C final was the only all-Mega-G+ final of the evening. Peter was in red, Mike McCann in white, Deborah in blue and Rick in yellow. This race was visibly quicker than what had gone before. Mike lead early on, but Peter moved ahead before half distance. Peter, Mike and Deborah were separated by no more than a couple of seconds as they lapped the Macau track relentlessly. Mike eventually eased past Peter, who dropped behind Deborah into third. Mike put the hammer down and recorded the fastest lap of the finals as he stretched out a gap of nearly a lap at the end. He also recorded a second 18+ lap in white. Deborah beat Peter to second and Rick rolled in fourth.

Daniel, Jerome, Ned and Mike lined up in the B final. Ned crashed his Mega-G at the second corner and would struggle to catch the MG+ cars ahead of him. Jerome was the early leader, but Daniel and Mike were right behind. Daniel had the lead at half distance, two seconds ahead of his dad. Jerome soon passed Mike and looked to be targeting the lead, but Daniel wasn't having any of it. Meanwhile, Ned had recovered and was lapping faster than his rivals. Daniel stretched his lead to over half a lap - the other three were now in an exciting battle for second. As the chequered flag fell, Daniel had maintained his lead and took the win. Behind him, his pursuers were covered by exactly half a lap - Jerome second, Mike third and Ned fourth.

Daniel stepped up for his first ever WHO A final. Pole-sitter Keith shot into the lead, closely followed by Andy. Those two were separated by a second at quarter distance. Daniel had managed to get ahead of Mike. A crash for Andy just before half distance gave Keith a four second cushion, with Daniel and Mike right behind. Keith put in some quick laps, taking a tenth one lap, three tenths another to stretch his lead. By three-quarters distance, Keith was coming up behind Daniel and Mike, who were not far behind Andy. Not wanting to risk disaster, Keith was happy to lap at the same pace as those ahead. As the clock ran down, all four racers lapped rapidly and without error. The chequered flag fell with Keith the winner, just under a lap ahead of Andy, who was a tenth of a lap ahead of Daniel. A late off for Mike dropped him back half a lap.

Huge congratulations to Keith on a dominant performance and a great win. Congrats to Jerome on his junior medal win, beating Ned who was racing as junior for the last time. Ned has won thirty junior medals and twelve junior championships - as well as two outright race wins. Jerome's points tally meant he finished the year as the 2018 WHO Rookie of the Year, junior club champion, junior Mod champion and junior F1 champion. It looks like Jerome is a contender to take up Ned's mantle.

The other championship business saw Mike regain his F1 title by a comfortable fifty points and his WHO Club Championship crown by a more precarious twenty points - exactly the same outcome as in 2014. It was certainly a very competitive championship this year with five different winners, five different junior medal winners, loads of fabulous track designs and some superb racing. Fingers-crossed next year is as good. It all starts again with WHO Mod on Wednesday 9 January - only five weeks time. In the meantime, have a great Christmas and New Year and don't forget the December Digital Saturday.

- Andy P



Race Results

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