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WHO Nascar - 3 May 2017

Race Report

Although every WHO race night is a little bit special, this one was extra-special. We'd teamed up with Super Tires - the Goodyear of slot car racing - to launch their new Hot Pink tyres for the Mega-G and Mega-G+ cars. The 'Hot Pink 200' would be the global launch of the new product.

The race was also a fund-raiser for Rainbow Chest, the club's charity, which supports young people in Worthing who are living with disabilities and long-term health conditions. A bag of the very brightly-coloured silicone Super Tires was sent over from America and WHO racers gave a £1 donation for each pair, which was then matched by the club.

All the Mega-G+ cars on the grid were kitted out with Hot Pink tyres and plenty more racers picked some up for their pit boxes. In total, thirty-nine pairs were snapped up, so Rainbow Chest would get £78 and a cheque was handed over, with just a little fanfare and plenty of photographs.

Not to be completely overshadowed by all the Hot Pink stuff, we also helped Stephen celebrate his up-coming eighteenth birthday by eating a not unsubstantial quantity of cake. And we all reminisced about how Stephen (and his twin brother Daniel) have grown up since we first met them back in 2010. I think the consensus was that they have turned out okay, so far.

So, all in all, a good night... And we did squeeze in some racing too.

There were seventeen of us on the grid for the second Nascar race of the year. After the short track oval in February, we stretched out to a 52 foot 'intermediate' tri-oval for this one. The track was sort of Charlotte-esque - which was kind of nice as Deborah and Keith will be at Charlotte for the two big Nascar races there at the end of the month. I'm sure they'll have an incredible time - and they will get to see Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert at the race track. We'll make do with Absolute 80s on the WHO DAB radio...

Back to the racing and it wasn't just the Mega-G+ runners who were liking the Hot Pink Super Tires - Life Likes with small rear hubs were also getting on very well with them on the tri-oval. And John had them on his Super-G... although both Mikes, Ned and Stephen decided to stick with black tyres on theirs.

The qualifying heats were pretty quick and there was some great, very close racing. There was also the occasional 'big one' which caught up two, three or all four of the cars - often coming out of turn two, onto the backstretch - and that could wreck a decent heat score. One poor score was okay. Two meant a trip to the back of the field for the finals.

At the front, our hot dogs at half way were Mike D, John, Andy, Ned and Mike McCann - Andy's Mega-G+ the filling in a fairly hefty Super-G sandwich. Mike D was on very good form and piled on the misery for his competitors after the break for cake. He finished his heats a huge ten laps ahead of John in second. Then it was really very close back through the field. Andy hung on to third, with Stephen moving up to fourth, ahead of Ned who was top junior by a country mile. That junior medal looked an absolute nailed-on dead cert...


Hayley and Alex made up the F final shoot-out. It goes without saying that neither had good heats with their Life Likes. Alex really enjoys racing his Life Like M - the one with the big motor magnets - and he scored well in red and blue lanes, but had a nightmare in the gutters. Hayley just had a nightmare in all four. Alex switched to his dad's old worn-out Super-G+ for the finals and he comfortably set his highest score of the night to take a good win.

Alex stayed in blue lane for the E final and he certainly made the most of that advantage. Up against three Mega-G+ cars in the hands of Aiden, Ash and Terry, Alex took the early lead. Terry was very close behind with the red club car and remained so - the two of them lapping just inches apart and gradually pulling away from Ash in white lane and a struggling Aiden in yellow.

However, as much as Terry could keep pace with Alex, he couldn't pass him. He'd need a big mistake from the youngster and that didn't happen. Indeed it was Terry who lost ground with a couple of offs near the end. Alex took his second successive final win, a lap and a half ahead of Terry, who'd easily set his best score of the night. Behind them, Aiden recovered very well and almost pipped Ash for third - there was only a couple of feet in it at the end.

In the D final, Alex faced a tough challenge - three top drivers and having to move from blue to the tricky yellow lane. Alex was the early leader, with Tony, Simon and Andy Phillips very close behind - you could have thrown a napkin over them. However, Alex was relentless and his drive in yellow was error-free. The three pursuers ran hard, but gradually lost ground. Simon was closest going into the final stages, but a late off ended his chances of challenging Alex for the win. Simon did finish best of the rest, a lap ahead of Tony, who was just ahead of Andy Phillips.

The early focus on pink tyres, cake and charity donations had completely shifted towards the impressive performance of Alex Ferrigno. He was now in the C final, staying in yellow lane, up against three very quick racers. It was his turn to pursue, as Mike McCann took the early lead, with Deborah and Keith a few seconds back in third and fourth. Keith had a poor start with an early off, but he would surely come back strong in the favoured red lane.

Alex moved into the lead just past the thirty second mark, but Mike wasn't going to give up. It remained a very tight and clean race. Deborah was doing a superb job holding off Keith and wasn't giving up too much ground to the leaders either. With such small gaps, anything could happen - and everyone in the room knew it. Despite the tension, nothing did happen. Alex won his fourth race in a row, Mike was two laps back, with Deborah just over a lap further behind. She'd comfortably beaten Keith for third and was making sure Keith knew it!

We'd have happily given Ned the junior medal after the heats, but now - against all the odds - Alex was stepping up into yellow lane in the B final. We don't really know what Ned looks like when he's worried, but maybe we got a glimpse at the start of this race. The two juniors were up against former junior Stephen and the not-so-junior Duncan - three Super-Gs and a Life Like. This was going to be good.

And it was very good - one of the best WHO finals. It was Duncan who lead the first lap in red lane, all four covered by less than half a second in the early stages. Duncan had the first off and that dropped him back as Alex, Ned and Stephen lapped in formation. Yes, Alex had moved into the lead. An off for Ned shuffled Stephen up to second place.

Stephen was the top qualifier of the quartet and he'd picked blue lane for a reason - his Super-G was 100% dialed-in to blue. Alex put up a fight, but Stephen had a lap lead at the half way stage. The focus then shifted to the battle between Alex and Ned for the junior medal. Both had eyes sticking out on stalks - they were running so close and both had errors creeping in to their games. An off by Alex put Ned ahead. Then Ned came off and Alex was back in the junior medal spot.

With the clock ticking down, the pressure was mounting and Alex binned it in turn two and Ned slipped past. There were fifteen seconds to go - plenty of time for Ned to slip up and hand the medal back to Alex... Would he? The answer was no. Ned held his nerve and pipped Alex to the junior medal by less than half a lap. It had been an amazing performance by Alex just to reach the B final and he topped that by running Ned so very close. Of course, Stephen would step up to the A final, having finished two laps ahead of Ned, but his win was rather upstaged by the junior medal duel.

The A final line-up was exactly the same as in February - Mike D, John, Andy and Stephen are the 2017 WHO Nascar hot dogs. Mike had been the class act in the heats and had chosen red lane, although John fancied his chances just inside Mike in yellow. Outside them, Andy took blue, leaving white lane to Stephen. The opening laps were incredibly close, an off by Stephen leaving the top three in formation. Then Mike and John got caught up coming out of turn two and Andy slipped through and took a lap lead.

Pumped-up by his off-track excursion, Mike came back really strong and retook the lead just before the halfway mark. John had dropped back and was searching for some rhythm, leaving Andy to inherit the lead yet again after another Dadson crash. This time, Mike controlled the adrenaline and his comeback was strong, but stable. He retook the lead and maintained it at just over half a lap. With the clock ticking down, it was now Andy who needed to do the pushing and with a roll in turn four and an agonising time off track, it was Andy who blew his chances. Mike took a well-deserved win by four laps in the end. Andy was second, two and a half laps ahead of John, who beat Stephen by exactly a lap.

Huge congratulations to Mike on his race win, Ned for an incredibly close-fought junior medal win and Alex for the consolation of the top under-11 racer's medal. Andy finished top in the Gen6 competition and Terry was top (and only) rookie. Alex was, without doubt, driver of the evening.

A big thanks to Stephen for running race control (and for the cake) and to everyone who came along and made it such an excellent evening at the Barn - especially those who came early to set up and stayed late to pack away.

I'll leave the final thoughts to others.

First from John: "On behalf of Rainbow Chest, I would like to thank everyone at WHO Racing for their kind donations and for entering in to the spirit of the evening by using the 'Hot Pink' tyres."

And from Nick and Sandy at Super Tires: "To all of the racers who raced in the Super Tires Hot Pink 200 - it was a very nice gesture having fun and raising money for your local charity, there are a lot of people in need in this world today. Thanks for giving these pink beauties a first class showing. UK Rocks!"

- Andy P



Race Results

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