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WHO F1 - 14 September 2016

Race Report

The first race of the autumn fell on the hottest September day since 1911. Not even Tony could remember that one. But the glorious weather may have been a factor in a below-average attendance of seventeen racers, one spectator and a dog. Their were no Dadsons on the grid, it being Mrs D's birthday. And their were no rookies, making it an experienced and very competitive group of racers.

Mike Mc continued his theme of real life circuits and we raced on a Barn-sized version of Donington Park, fitting the space very nicely with a long, fast and flowing track of just over seventy feet. The Old Hairpin featured a reverse radius turn, with an 18-inch turn on the inside and a nine-inch on the outside, favouring the white and blue lanes.

The new WHO Mega-G+ club cars had their first run with F1 bodies and Alex chose to race them all night. After Alex put in two excellent scores in his first two heats, his eagle-eyed dad chose to give them a go too - perhaps with a view to a future purchase. There should be AFX cars on sale in the UK very soon and we are all ready to splash our cash...

The heats were fast and marshals at the Old Hairpin were busy. The mix of Mega-G+, Mega-G and Tyco cars were all doing well. At half way, the Mega-G+ cars of Andy and Keith lead the way, with Simon's rapid Tyco a close third. Alex was top junior.

As the attendance was on the low side, we were able to run 3 minute heats at a WHO race for the first time (I think) since 2010. That gave us all more time to build a rhythm, but it also required a longer concentration span. It made it a slightly different challenge to usual.

During the second round of heats, Corey's Mega-G bit the dust and he switched to the club cars. In his final heat, he set a score of 35.90 laps in blue, which was the equal highest score of anyone in the heats. I said those club cars were fast! John also managed to get the most out of the new cars, jumping up into the A final with a couple of big scores to round off qualifying.

That left us with Mega-G+ runners in the top three places - Andy in pole, followed by Keith and John. Simon's Tyco followed in fourth and had first lane choice in the B final. Then came two more Mega-G+ cars in the hands of Hayley and top junior qualifier Alex.


The F final was a run off between Stephen and Aaron. Neither had particularly good heats and Aaron's difficulties continued into his final, dropping him back a couple of laps early on. He did eventually get going and didn't lose much more distance by the end of the race. However, by the time the chequered flag fell, Stephen had won by nearly five laps.

Stephen joined fellow Tyco runner Deborah in the E final. They were up against Jamie's Mega-G and Corey with the blue Mega-G+ club car. Corey showed his heat score with the blue car was no fluke by beating it and being the first racer to score over thirty-six laps. He blew the other three away, Jamie finishing second almost eight laps down, with Deborah recovering from a bad start to just pip Stephen in the battle for F1 Classic Cup points.

Corey stepped up to yellow lane in the D final and tried to go as fast again. He certainly set some very quick times, but only on the occasions he managed to get round the Old Hairpin, which wasn't often. He did manage to pip Neal to third. Up ahead, Richard had a small but consistent lead over Tony and the race looked to be in the bag. But it wasn't. A whole season's worth of bad luck dropped Richard back to second with too big a gap and not enough time to get back on terms. Tony took the win and Richard stepped outside for a wail of anguish, comfortably winning the sympathy vote on his return.

The C final saw the Tycos of Tony and Duncan attempt to break into the B final and challenge Simon for the Classic Cup win. They were up against the Mega-Gs of Mike and Neil. And it was Neil who took the early lead, ahead of Duncan and Mike, but the race was incredibly close. It continued that way, the top three lapping neck and neck (and neck) until that extra minute started to take its toll. First Neil and then Duncan faltered and Mike swept through to take the win, two laps ahead of Duncan, who was a lap up on Neil. Tony held on valiantly and was just a lap further back.

Mike must have fancied his chances stepping up into white lane in the B final and he managed to lead the opening lap. This was most definitely a race of two halves. Mike and Simon ran very close for the first ninety seconds and swapped top spot, just feet ahead of Hayley. Alex was struggling a little in red, but hanging on. The second half saw Mike drop back dramatically and Hayley take the lead ahead of a faltering Simon. The gap wasn't huge, but Hayley seemed in control. Then, inexplicably, Hayley's race fell apart. Whether it was the pressure or simply the length of the race, a series of offs at the Old Hairpin gifted Simon the lead and that was that. Simon's winning margin was a third of a lap. Hayley - always gracious in defeat - was second and Alex had come back to take third ahead of Mike.

After all that, we had our top four qualifiers in the A final. The Old Hairpin accounted for John on the first lap and Simon on the second. That left Keith and Andy absolutely flat out and running side by side for lap after lap. Keith was possibly closest to the edge and was first to blink, an off dropping him three seconds behind Andy. It would be hard to get back on terms. Another off for Keith put Simon up into second and those two would have quite a scrap through the middle part of the race.

Going in to the final minute, Andy had stretched his lead to three laps and Keith was comfortably back up into second. And that's how it ended. Andy went through the three minutes without an off and set the highest score of the night of just over 38 laps. Keith was four laps back in second and Simon a further two and a half back in third. John trundled home for some important club championship points.

Congratulations to our winners, Andy on a rare HO club night win and Alex on yet another clean sweep of the junior and under-11s medals. Simon was a clear winner of the Classic Cup competition with his impressive B final win. With that, Simon looks in control of the Classic Cup points table, but is also in the lead of the F1 championship. All he needs is a race win in December...

A huge thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a fun evening at the Barn, especially to Dolly for being such a cute canine and to Barbs for marshalling all evening without the excitement of racing. Maybe next time?

- Andy P



Race Results

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