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WHO Mod -
Season Five at WHO began last night and it was hello to lots of new and exciting things.
Hello to the new power taps and wiring kindly provided by WHO’s woodworking and electrical wizard Mike.
Hello to the all new position of Parts Monkey whose job it was to retrieve the parts for each car in a timely manner.
Hello to TrackMate controlled track power with dead starts and the potential to track call races in an emergency.
Hello to the new rules for spare cars and other subtle tweaks.
And hello to the new WHO Tuners subclass running in Mod for the first time. This is for drivers with hard bodies and stock traction magnets and is fully cross compatible with the national Closed Wheel rules.
Twenty drivers gathered to do battle on a track which had fast flowing corners, long straights and evil chicanes to catch the unwary.
One of my favourite things about a new season are seeing all the new cars, body shells and new modifications developed across Sussex in the close season. The Barn is always full of optimistic faces quietly confident that this time, they are the ones with the rocket ship that grips in the corners. I just wish they could all be right!
After a presentation of certificates to our podium drivers from last season and Micro Scalextric prizes for the top two Juniors, we kicked off the heats.
Heat One: Junior champion Hannah Rose was first on the heat sheet and therefore became our ever first driver to qualify a WHO Tuner. Simon joined her in the class. Both of these two were attacked by car gremlins, Simon ending up qualifying last after losing huge amounts of track time and Hannah in the E Final. Beside these two Mike M had an on/off night with his Harden Creek Turbo and ended up in the D Final. 2013 Rookie of the Year Jon was on a charge though and qualified a comfortable second in the A Final. Exciting stuff.
Heat Two: This was an all Junior affair and was dominated by Ned Dadson, the 2013
Junior Mod champion was in his usual scintillating and adult crushing form. Ash suffered
some car issues with his Lifelike when on yellow lane but otherwise was consistent
in the other lanes. Stephen had a great run in Blue but his other scores left him
mired in the F Final, perhaps due to his frustrating decision to lumber his rapid
SRT car with a lighted Jaguar XJR-
Heat Three: Richard Skelt became Tuner number 3 in this group, his Micro Scalextric had a distinctive whine as he put in the laps. Sadly the grip was not as plentiful as the noise! There was a great battle here between Tyler and Dave P, experience getting the better of youth but only by a lap over their best three scores. Great effort by Tyler. Ollie Parker performed well on red, blue and white but stumbled in yellow, another victim of the dreaded Turn 9/10 chicane.
Heat Four: Multiple champion John simply dominated this group thumping in the laps at will. His dropped score of 25 laps was only beaten by three other drivers in the whole of the heats! Duncan and Gareth were busily qualifying their Tuners, both managing to equal and sometimes better many of the full blooded Mod cars. Andy Parker was on sparkling form with a Mike D prepared Super G on his way to 8th on the grid.
Heat Five: Club champion Andy Player, former F1 champion Mike D, former Nascar champion Andrew Rose…poor Jay Skelt must have felt they were ganging up on him! Big scores aplenty in this group especially for Andy P as he took the final automatic spot in the A Final. Mike’s new car proved quick but too loose in the corners as he slipped into the B Final. Andrew caused some last minute tension for Gareth as he wound up a scant 7/10ths of a lap away which would be the gap between 3rd in the B Final and pole in the C.
Race Live proved a highly popular destination for practically every driver as results were scrutinised as they came in and much debate arose on how many laps Driver X needed to damage Driver Y’s campaign. Great stuff!
G Final: Simon had got his car sorted for the finals and despite the very best efforts of Jay, and the marshals cheering him on, there was no stopping Simon’s progress into the F final.
F Final: Stephen started on pole but car choices let him down once again and it was only when his spare car hit the track that he slammed in the fastest lap which was nearly a second quicker than Simon. Too little too late as his rivals had already disappeared up the road. Richard got the better of Ash by a lap and a bit but it was Simon doing the business in front and taking a second win and the jump to the E Final.
E Final: Simon met a trio of Juniors here and promptly took the lead of the race from Hannah, Ollie and Jonah in that order. Simon had found half a second a lap from the last final but Hannah was going even quicker and she soon had the race lead which she kept for the win. Ollie never let her off the leash though and was only a lap down at the finish. Meanwhile Simon hit further troubles and retired giving Jonah bragging rights over his Dad!
D Final: Tyler had already secured family honours with his pole in this race but he still wanted a win. Unfortunately for him Duncan, Hannah and Mike M weren’t going to make it easy at all. Hannah was the early leader and looked as if a second double step up was on the cards but Duncan found his form and the Barn (and followers on Race Live!) were treated to a ding dong scrap, sound tracked by the increasingly agitated (and hilarious!) Hannah. Duncan prevailed but 15 parts of a lap between them shows it was a close run thing. In the middle lanes Tyler and Mike were also having a super close scrap. Mike was faster, Tyler stayed on more and therefore prevailed but it was close!
C Final: As the pointy end of the grid got nearer so the stakes started to get higher. Duncan’s win in the D Final meant that he and Andrew would be scrapping in this final for Tuners points. If either of them won it, they could race Gareth for top spot in the B Final or this race would determine 2nd and 3rd. Facing the Tuner duo were the quick Mod SG+s of Dave and Andy Parker and both got the better of the Tuners. Andy thumped the field to go 5 laps clear of Dave who was a scant 10th ahead of Duncan. There is a lot of strain being put through the WHO Mod and Tuner cars and it was Andrew who was the next to suffer problems as he slumped from pole to 4th at the finish.
B Final: Mike D was ruing his decision to race a new car and he feared being beaten by son Ned despite having pole. Off the line and the two Dadson’s were neck and neck for the opening laps, Gareth a few feet back while Andy fell foul of the tricky yellow lane. Mike’s predictions of doom came true as he catapulted off the road and Ned was gone. Gareth stuck with him just a few car lengths back for the middle portion of the race until the Lifelike’s gearbox screamed enough and the car ground to a halt. It was an expensive lesson in the need for gear savers! Back in the race and Mike threw everything into catching his son but Ned is simply too good at Mod for that and took the win. Andy was delighted with his well earned 3rd place.
A Final: We had already had a preview of the John vs Jon battle in October and in fact the A Final line up featured the same four drivers with Ned and Andy swapping positions this time. Off the line and a ferocious fight immediately developed between Jon and John, both absolutely flat out and both in their preferred lanes from qualifying. Unbelievably Andy wasn’t letting either of them get too far away, his excellent new orange body shell keeping a watching brief in third. John was the first to feel the pressure, his car cart wheeling to the floor just before the back straight.
Jon immediately eased off to conserve his lead only to find John right back up with
him. The pace went up and on the same corner, John again came off. This time Jon
put a lap in his pocket and Andy stole 2nd place. Ned’s early crashes had left him
in 4th still. John put on a huge charge and was the fastest car on the track, re-
It was a great start to the year, roll on Nascar!