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WHO Mod - 1 November 2017

Race Report

The attendance of twenty-four racers for our Nascar championship finale was the biggest ever for a November WHO club night. With a small delay to squeeze in our traditionally brief Annual General Meeting, we were racing at five minutes past seven.

This year has seen quite a few new racers at the Barn and we were delighted to welcome Bob for his first WHO appearance. There were also some new cars on the grid. Ryan's Mega-G+ was his prize for winning the AFX Endurance Championship and he'd borrowed a spare Nascar body from Simon. Jerome had been busy decorating a white Ford body to go with the Mega-G+ twinpack he'd bought last time.

It was big field of thirteen Mega-G+ cars in the Gen6 Cup. The huge tri-oval definitely favoured the Super-Gs and Duncan's rapid Life Like, but they'd be some close racing amongst the Gen6 cars, climaxing in their winner-takes-all championship shoot-out at the end of the evening.

Hayley and Daniel did a great job on race control, keeping the evening flowing as we worked through the six groups of four racers in the heats. Everyone raced for two minutes on each of the four lanes, with their best three scores counting.

After everyone had completed their first two heats, it was father and son John and Alex who lead the way, John six laps out front. Mike D was just a tenth of a lap behind Alex with Ned a further lap back. It was a Ferrigno and Dadson top four, all running Super-Gs. Next was Duncan's Life Like, then Daniel's Super-G in sixth. Andy was seventh and first of the Gen6 Cup runners, followed closely by Keith and Jerome.

The second half of qualifying saw improvements for some and difficulties for others. Mike moved within a lap of John at the top as the championship contenders qualified first and second. To win the Nascar trophy, John needed a win in the A final and Mike to come fourth. Alex automatically qualified for the top final in an excellent third place, but Ned had dropped to fifth, behind Duncan - and they'd battle for the B final win and a step up to the feature race.

In sixth place, but almost twenty laps behind pole position was the first of the Mega-G+ Gen6 Cup cars. Andy lead the way ahead of Keith in eighth, Tony in ninth, Jerome an excellent tenth and Simon in eleventh. Deborah faced an uphill struggle to move up from the G final and retain her place in the four-car Gen6 Cup shootout...


Paul, Matthew and Hayley lined up in the H final. Paul and Hayley both crashed their Life Likes early on, which left Matthew defending a slender two-second lead. Matthew had ventured into his loft since last week and found his box of vintage HO cars, including the lighted Super-G his was running tonight. With a few tweaks and some track time, the old car was going quite nicely. After a late crash by Paul gave him some breathing space, Matthew held on to win the race ahead of Paul and Hayley.

There was another early crash in the G final. This time it was Deborah and Corey who took a detour through the scenery. That left Ryan out front and Matthew close behind. Deborah was determined to make amends for a below-par set of heats and put on a brilliant comeback display, moving up to second by halfway and then into the lead with 20 seconds to go. Tragically, a crash for Deborah near the end let Ryan slip back into the lead and another off right at the chequered flag gave the youngster a margin of three-quarters of a lap. Matthew comfortably beat Corey for third.

Four Mega-G+ cars lined up for the F final. For once, we witnessed a clean start with the four cars lapping in close formation. Rick was the first to slip up and dropped back to last place. After thirty seconds, Aiden lead Ryan, Bob and Rick - all of them on the same lap. The order was the same at half way, with Aiden having extended his lead over Ryan to half a lap, but the field were still covered by a total just over one lap. Then Rick mounted his comeback. First he picked off Bob, then moved past Ryan and slowly ate into Aiden's lead. But Aiden kept his cool and it was Rick who wobbled near the end, finishing runner-up and rueing his uncharacteristic errors.

We were back with first lap crashes in the E final, that tricky turn two catching out Aiden in yellow lane. Neil made his pace advantage count and was almost a lap ahead of Peter at half distance. With twenty seconds to go, Neil lost several seconds in a crash, enough for Peter to grab the lead with the red club car. Under enormous pressure from Neil, Peter held on until six seconds before the end. Peter's car jumped lanes and Neil shot through and put around six feet between them as the chequered flag fell. That was an exciting finish. Oliver beat Aiden by half a lap to end up third.

Jerome had enjoyed an excellent evening, qualifying his new Mega-G+ top of the D final. He lead the first half of the race under huge pressure from Simon, the gap clocked at just 0.16 secs at the halfway point. Behind them, Neil was doing all he could to hang on to the leaders and Ash had dropped back with controller issues. At the front, Simon took the lead with forty-five seconds to go as Jerome unluckily lost time after a big crash. Jerome had driven hard and resisted very well, but after that crash he slipped back to third behind Neil. The good news is that Jerome's car looks very quick - he recorded the second fastest lap time of any of the Gen6 Mega-G+ cars in the finals, at 3.95 secs.

Daniel was our first lap crasher in the C final, departing blue lane in turn two. The three Mega-G+ runners were running in extremely close formation until Keith crashed with about half a minute gone and dropped to third. Tony lead Simon at halfway and with a quarter of the race to go, the gap between them was three seconds and then two seconds back to Daniel in third. A late crash for Daniel let Keith back into third and just behind Simon. Tony took the win by over a lap and booked his place in the Gen6 Cup shootout.

Tony stepped up into the B final, so also had a crack at Andy to win the regular Gen6 Cup race. However, the main battle between Duncan and Ned promised to be a classic. And it was... Duncan just about controlled the race with his Life Like, but Ned was snapping at his heels throughout. With twenty seconds to go, Duncan crashed and Ned took a slim lead. Duncan threw caution to the wind to trim the deficit. As the clock ran down, both leaders crashed at the same time, Duncan's car took a little longer to be re-slotted and that was that - Ned was the winner of a breathtaking B final. Behind them, the Gen6 race went to Andy, leaving him with four wins out of four in 2017.

We ended up with a double father-and-son A final. It was Dadson versus Ferrigno for the race win, for the junior medal and for the Nascar championships. John needed to win and Mike finish fourth to lift the Nascar trophy. Ned needed to win and Alex come fourth to win the junior championship. Mike was suffering from jetlag and a painfully bad back. He'd done a brilliant job in the second round of heats, but could he keep things together in the final?

It was John who had a disastrous start. Three crashes in the first twenty seconds put him dead last and three laps back. Mike was leading the way in the inside yellow lane, Ned following just ahead of Alex. By halfway, John had moved ahead of Alex and was chasing down Ned, but Mike was surely too far ahead with a three lap lead... John was putting in some very quick laps and with Ned having an off in the final moments, he moved up to the runner-up spot - second to fourth places covered by less than a lap.

Up front, Mike had been untouchable and he stretched his lead to a four and a half lap winning margin. With that, he regained the WHO Nascar title he'd last won in 2015. Alex's third place gave him the junior medal, under-11 medal and his second WHO Nascar junior championship title. It wasn't all bad news for Ned. His evening's points haul gave him an unassailable lead in the WHO junior championship, making Ned the club's top junior racer for the fourth year in a row.

With all the big prizes decided, there was the small matter of the Gen6 Cup winner-takes-all championship decider for the Mega-G+ runners. Four wins out of four was only enough to give Andy lane choice in the final race. He chose the inside yellow lane. Keith had finished runner-up in the Gen6 points and chose red. Simon finished just a point behind Keith in the standing and took the outside white lane. Tony finished the season strongly and beat Ash and Deborah to that all important final lane and a chance of a championship win.

It was a very different shootout to last year - no side-by-side racing between Keith and Andy this time. In fact Keith had a nightmare start with a couple of crashes followed by a couple more by halfway. Keith had the fastest Mega-G+ of the evening with a best lap of 3.75 seconds, lapping nearly a quarter of a second quicker than the rest of the Gen6 cars. Tony and Jerome had the only other sub-four second fastest laps, but it was Andy who lead Simon at halfway, the quick guys having the crashes and lying third and fourth.

As the clock ticked down, Keith finally found some rhythm and was putting in the quick laps without any crashes. He moved up to third and soon had Simon in his sights. In the lead, Andy was controlling the race and easing off a little, keeping a close eye on Simon in second and assuming Keith's crashes had put him out of touch. But suddenly, with less than twenty seconds left, Keith was in second and he was closing quickly. It looked like Andy had eased off too much - the race and the championship were up for grabs.

With six seconds to go, Keith overtook Andy on the outside going round turn four. Another lap and a half and the race was over, Keith winning by less than three feet. Delight for Keith, despair for Andy - and an absolutely brilliant end to the Nascar season for those watching. Tony and Simon finished on the same stretch of track, Tony just pipping Simon to third place by inches, two laps back from the top two.

Huge congratulations to Keith on his first WHO HO title, making it four champions crowned in one evening and eleven championships decided in the past month. There is just the club championship, two Formula One titles and the junior rookie competition to be fought for in December.

A big thank you to everyone who came along to another exciting championship finale at the Barn. Special thanks goes to Daniel and Hayley for running race control and to all those who came early to set up and stayed late to pack away. Our final HO club night of 2017 is Formula One on Wednesday 6 December, but there are also two WHO/digital events and an HO Saturday to look forward to before Christmas.

- Andy P



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