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WHO Mod - 6 July 2016

Race Report


Although we were competing with a rare spell of good weather, Andy Murray playing at Wimbledon and Wales meeting Portugal at the Euros, there was a healthy nineteen racers at the Barn for some WHO Mod racing.


We welcomed Colin and Nye for their first WHO races. Colin had an AFX set as a kid, so stumbling across the club was a pleasant surprise. Nye is a budding engineer and the little HO cars might well become a perfect hobby...


We started the heats without Mike D, who was due to arrive late after he'd got Ned ready for a school trip to Naples and Rome. It would be a 3am start, so no racing for Ned this time. That left us with Corey, Alex and Nye battling for the junior medal.


Nye and Colin would be joined by Ash to race the Life Like club cars for surely the very last time. They'd be in the Tuners sub-class along with Tuners championship contenders Hayley, Duncan, Andy and Richard. That would be three Life Likes, three Super-Gs and one MG+ in Tuners.


Simon had designed a fast looking track that used every 15-inch straight in the WHO track store. It was brilliant to drive, challenging for sure, but each lane offered something. And there was a cheeky little loop and fly-over and the end of one of the arms.


It was such a good racing track that many racers put aside the mantra of "don't race, concentrate on getting your best score" and enjoyed some exciting and very close racing in the heats.


At half way, John lead the way, followed by Neal, Corey and Tony. Mike D had missed his first heat and turned up just in time to race his second, leaving him in last place. Hayley was best of the Tuners, Corey top junior, Alex top (and only) under-11 and Nye ahead of Colin in the battle of the two rookies.


Often nothing much changes in the second half of the heats, although racers tend to get faster and less crashy. This time, Mike D put in some cracking scores and went from last to first, his twenty-seventh WHO pole position. John, who had been first, had problems with his ever-reliable Marchon, dropping to fifth. In Tuners, Duncan spectacularly overturned Hayley's advantage to qualify top, back in tenth place overall.


With the heats over, Andy Murray victorious and Wales two-nil behind, we were ready for the finals...


Finals


The F final saw Alex take on the three Life Like club cars. It should have been no contest with Alex running a lexan Super-G, but quite a few offs by the youngster and a truly excellent drive by Nye made it much closer than it should have been. Nye's best of the night - 15.15 laps in red lane - left him just over a quarter of a lap behind Alex. Ash would have been up there too, but some uncharacteristic offs left him two laps down with Colin stranded on the line and had too much to make up with an unfamiliar car.


Alex stepped up into the unfavoured yellow lane in the E final. He'd join Mike Mc, Richard and Andy, the latter two battling for third place in Tuners. Mike's modified Turbo was spruced up and quick, but poor heats had let him down again. So would this be another climb up the field? It certainly looked like it with a relatively comfortable victory, although a fast and very tight Tuners battle left Richard only just over a lap back. Alex had a crashy race, but almost caught Andy at the chequered flag, all four cars covered by two laps.


If Mike's first final had been closer than expected, he certainly hooked everything up in the D final, winning with the best score in yellow of any of the finals. Keeping him honest was the battle for the Tuners prize, Duncan and Hayley pushing each other hard and with Duncan prevailing by just under a lap. That left Simon a disappointed fourth, his Viper just not having the speed nor the road holding it needs to be a front runner. Back to the drawing board...


Mike's rise was halted in the C final. Both he and Stephen were eclipsed by an astonishing battle between Neil and Deborah. Neil was stuck on the line, but was soon back in the race, overtook Mike's Turbo and set off in pursuit of Deborah's Viper. Deborah and Neil traded fast times and Neil very slowly closed the gap. It looked very close coming down to the wire, but as the power turned off and the cars came to rest, it was Deborah's car ahead by exactly one car's length or just under three-inches on the track. Possibly the closest WHO final finish of all time? Five laps behind was Mike, who'd thrashed Stephen for third.


Up in the B final, John seemed confident that he had a workaround for his car problems - not ideal, but enough to get him to the A final. John's record in our WHO Mod class is incredible - he's raced in 26 of 28 events, won twelve and finished in the top three 25 times, only missing out on the A final once, and that was at our first club championship night on 3 March 2010. John had his work cut out as Keith, Tony and Deborah all hoped they'd be the one to step up to the feature race.


The race settled into a very clear pattern early on with Tony and John running at an identical pace and Keith trying to hang on a little over a second back. John lead the early stages, then Tony took over for the middle of the race, handing back to John with about thirty seconds to go - but they were never more than a couple of feet apart. As the end of the raced loomed, John was defending the slimmest of leads. When the power was cut his Marchon stopped dead, while Tony's Viper rolled around eighteen inches, just enough to give him a lead and the win. It was a cruel blow for John. Behind the full-throttle drama at the front, Keith was nearly two laps down in third, with Deborah cruising to fourth.


Even without John, the A final was looking very tasty. Corey, the Mod winner last time out took on last year's WHO Mod champ Tony, the reigning club champion Mike and our 2015 Rookie of the year Neal. It was Neal's best WHO Mod qualifying and on the evidence of the heats, it was the Bognor man who looked most likely to challenge Mike. Not unusually for an A final, it was a scrappy start and Mike was gifted a lead that it would be difficult to claw back. Neal was desperate to get back on terms with the leader, but the added pressure was too much and he lost more ground. Eventually, it was Corey who got into a rhythm and laid down some scorching laps, including the quickest of the race.


However, Mike was long gone. His race was very nearly flawless and he stretched his lead over Corey to three laps by the end, setting the highest score of the day - 24.85 laps in red. Corey followed up his win in April with an excellent second place and the junior medal. In the end, Tony pipped Neal for third. Neal would have happily grabbed the offer of fourth place at the start of the evening, so it was a mark of how well he'd performed that he was desperately disappointed not to be battling for the win. Next time...


So on a night of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedy, it's huge congratulations to Mike D on his win; Corey on his second place, fastest lap and junior medal; Alex for the top under-11 medal; Duncan for top spot in WHO Tuners; and Nye as best rookie of the night.


Massive thanks to everyone who made it such an excellent evening at the Barn, especially to the set-up crew, the race controllers and to all those who stayed around to pack away.



- Andy P

Heats

Finals

Race Results

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