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WHO Mod - 6 January 2016

Race Report

It has been a miserable start to the year for many in the UK, but the winter storms abated to give us a dry and sunny day on the south coast for the opening round of 2016 at Worthing HO Racing.  

We welcomed a very healthy twenty five racers to the Barn with four new to WHO club nights - Andy J's brother Paul, Nathaniel's friend Flynn and December's Scalextric World Championship event winner, Vlad. Patrick, Vlad's dad, came along to watch but was persuaded to race - a decision I don't think he regretted.

The track design came courtesy of Doug Passell from Chesterfield HO Racing Club, the oldest HO club in Britain, who are celebrating their twenty fifth birthday this month. The layout was the very one used by CHORC back in January 1991 - including AFX chicanes, a first for us at WHO - and it was a great way to celebrate twenty five years of HO club racing in the UK.

With the chicanes, a bridge, banked turns (WHO Nascar-style) and a big straight along the middle, this was a track with something for everyone - both the rapid WHO Mods and the more sedate Tuners were loving it.

The line-up saw a very strong WHO Mod field - twenty one out of the twenty five cars on the grid. This was bolstered by some loaners, with the Morelands racing a Tyler car, Flynn and the Jesses borrowing Andy's Audi Mega-G and Mike D loaning out a small fleet to the Howe's and anyone left without a car in the finals.

With no club cars in action this time, the Tuners competition was between Hayley and Duncan's Super-Gs and the Mega-G+ cars of Richard and Andy P.

The heat scores were incredible, with several racers getting close to the thirty lap mark, but only one - Corey - breaking it with a 31.15 in blue. However, last October's winner couldn't find two other perfect scores to put him at the head of the field. And he wasn't alone... The likes of Ned, Aaron, Deborah, Keith and Neil all had very quick cars, but mechanical gremlins saw them end up further back in the field than they should have been.

Mike, John and Tony all succeeded in putting three cracking heats together and sat top of the pile. Corey did enough to qualify as top junior and Patrick was the first of the rookies. Two excellent heats by Hayley had put her first of the Tuners at halfway, but she dropped to third behind Duncan and Andy, although all four Tuners were pretty closely matched.


The H final line-up was full of medal winners, Vlad squaring up against Mike McCann, Alex and Aaron. The latter two gave us an incredible race, both managing to get the most out of their cars. Alex set his best score of the night, but it wasn't quite enough to beat Aaron. Behind them, Vlad recovered well after a poor start, but Mike - one of the stars of October's race - simply had one to forget...

Aaron stepped up to the G final and stepped up his pace. However, his attempt for a second final win was scuppered by Stephen's best score of the night, finally getting his Turbo going and staying on the track. In their own Tuners battle, Hayley topped her best heat score to beat Richard's rapid Mega-G+ into fourth.

There was another Tuners battle in the F final - unusual territory for Duncan, but especially for Andy P. Deborah and Stephen disappeared into the distance, but the two Tuners stayed just a few seconds apart from each other. Andy reduced the gap down to a couple of feet at the end, but Duncan hung on to take the first Tuners victory of the season. And he also won the race - Stephen had dropped back early and then Deborah's Viper stopped towards the end. That closed out a highly frustrating first night of WHO Mod action for Deborah.

Duncan was up against Flynn, Andy J and Paul in the E final, all who had qualified well with the Audi Mega-G. Flynn took the regular car in the final, with Andy and Paul borrowing Dadson machines. Duncan thought he'd done enough for an improbable second win, but late race drama saw him drop behind Flynn who'd driven superbly all night and closed out the win. Andy won the battle of the Jesse brothers to take third, with Paul fourth.

Flynn hung on to the Audi for the D final, with Nathaniel taking a Dadson car after an excellent set of heats. It couldn't have been closer between the two friends, but Flynn finished half a lap up. The class of the field in this final were Neil and Jamie, both racing Neil's cars. So it was galling for Neil that it was the car he was driving that had the problems - dumping him from first to last and giving Jamie the opportunity to take the win, which he duly did with a thumping score.

Somehow Ned had ended up in the C final. Some inconsistent heats had left him out of position, because he had a very fast Viper. That speed told and he absolutely stomped the C final with only the second thirty-plus score of the night. Jamie, Patrick and Keith were left reeling, Jamie equalled his best score from the heats but finished nearly five laps down in second. Keith's night had been a tricky WHO Mod baptism (but not as tricky as Deborah's) and he rolled in third ahead of top rookie Patrick, who was unlucky that his first gremlins of the evening struck in his final.

The B final looked incredible tasty. First there was a junior showdown between Corey and Ned. Thrown into the mix was a fantastic qualifying performance by our 2015 Rookie of the Year, Neal. Added to that was a quick Viper in the hands of Simon, the 2015 Tuner champ. But Ned blew the rest away. He was a lap ahead in no time and continued to stretch his lead. In his tyre tracks, the battle was intense. Corey mounted a brave recovery to try and pressure Ned, but it didn't work and he fell back in the dying seconds, Neal grabbing an impressive fifth place overall ahead of Corey and Simon. And Ned had broken thirty laps again...

In the past, having won the junior medal, Ned would roll in fourth in the A final. That all changed in December when he found the belief to win his first race. And his belief clearly remains strong going into 2016.  It was the Dadsons who got away early in this race as Tony and John had frustrating first lap offs. Ned lead the way and, try as he may, Mike couldn't close the gap which settled at around a lap - enough for Ned to crash and maintain the lead. The off didn't phase Ned, indeed he seemed to regain focus, upping his pace to pull away again.

Mike desperately wanted to win the first race of the year and was straining every sinew to put his son under pressure. It didn't work. Ned set the highest score of the night - an incredible 32.05 laps in two minutes - to win by a fraction over a lap. Behind them, John recovered to beat Tony by just under a lap, but they were a very long way back from the dominant Dadsons. Maybe Mike will be using Ned's car next time out?

Huge congratulations to Ned on a second race win. We had to wait five years for our second junior to win a club race and now we've had three in four races! Congrats also to Duncan on his Tuners win, Patrick as the top rookie and Flynn as top under-11 racer.

That was a breathtaking and cracking race to start 2016. Thanks to everyone for coming along and making it such an excellent evening, especially to those who helped set up, run the race and who stayed to pack away at the end.

- Andy P



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