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Formula One - 13 Sept 2017

Race Report

After a four week break from racing, the WHO faithful returned to the Barn to start the busy final three months of the season.

There were twenty-three of us at the start of the evening to wish Stephen well on his last WHO appearance before heading off to university on Saturday. We presented him with a certificate and mug to bestow the unique title of Worthing HO Racing Honorary Grand Marshall to celebrate eight seasons of racing, with the final few as our main man on race control.

The pre-race ceremonials completed and traditional cake and Haribos served, it was down to business with twenty-one on the grid - Neal (who we hadn't seen so far this year) was on non-driving dog duties and Terry unfortunately had to depart, feeling unwell. Mike's F1 track was a big one, with plenty of sweeping esses and switchbacks. It was a challenge, but incredibly rewarding when you got it right, which a lot of racers seemed to be doing.

After everyone had completed two heats, it was Andy's Mega-G+ leading the pack on 36.50 laps, Ned's Mega-G right behind on 36.45 and Mike D's Mega-G on 36.15. Another half a lap back in fourth, Rick was having an excellent night with his Mega-G+, ahead of Aiden, Daniel, Keith, Stephen and Tony. With the gaps so small and much of field covered by three or four laps, small errors, mechanical issues or a bit of bad luck might be disastrous - and that's what happened to some racers in the second round of heats.

Most prominent was Andy, who dropped from top spot in the A to bottom of the C final. Aiden also plummeted rather than moving up to challenge Ned for the junior medal. Indeed, Ned looked nailed on for his first ever WHO pole, until Mr Competitive-Dad Dadson pulled off an immense final heat to finish top of the pile. Both Keith and Mike McCann had found some form and finished third and fourth, with Rick holding on for an impressive fifth. Stephen took a solid sixth.


The G final was an all-Mega-G grid. Despite being a scrappy couple of minutes, it looked like Corey had the win in the bag ahead of Jamie and Aaron. However, it was Jamie who held it together to capitalise on late drama for Corey and it finished Jamie - Corey - Aaron.

Jamie stepped up into yellow in the F final, where he was up against Neil and John's Mega-Gs and Hayley's Mega-G+. This turned into quite a humdinger of a battle between Hayley and Neil for the win. John was finally getting his Mega-G to behave itself, held second early on and he stayed close behind the leading battle in third. We were all set for late drama, but everyone stayed in the groove and it finished Neil - Hayley - John - Jamie.

The E final was another good, fast final. Duncan's Tyco was the only Classic Cup car on show tonight and he looked - at least on paper - to be outclassed by the two Mega-G+s and Mega-G he was up against. However, it was the Tyco that held the early lead, with Simon, Ash and Neil not far behind. At half way, all four cars were on the same lap. An uncharacteristic crash dropped the Tyco back and Simon took the lead, but Duncan fought back hard. As the clock ticked down, the gap was just a second, but Simon was holding firm and Duncan could just not squeeze any more speed from the Tyco. In the end, it was that one off that cost Duncan a famous win. Ash came in third, just ahead of Neil.

Aiden was disappointed to be down in the D final, but he came out of the traps like a rocket, setting a rapid early pace that Deborah, Daniel and Simon struggled to match. Daniel reacted best in red lane and kept the youngster in his sights, with Deborah fast, but struggling with the final hairpin in white. Simon was struggling pretty much everywhere in yellow. It was an excellent run by Aiden and his winning score of 18.30 laps was the best of the finals so far.

Aiden stepped up to white lane in the C final and carried on his excellent form. Alex and Andy both crashed on the first lap, leaving Aiden to battle with Tony. It was close, but Tony was driving blue lane fast and consistently and finished just over a lap ahead. Alex recovered superbly to finish close to Aiden and well ahead of Andy, who had a woeful two minutes in yellow.

Like the previous two finals, the B final was an all Mega-G+ affair. Rick's car has been going better and better across all three WHO classes and he had a very good chance of making it to his first A final. But first he needed to beat Mike McCann, Stephen and Tony. Stephen joined the esteemed bunch of drivers who'd binned it on their first lap, leaving the other three to fight amongst themselves. Mike had the lead, with Tony and Rick right close behind. That's how it stayed - a fast, clean race - until Rick just moved ahead of Tony at the end, but a lap back on Mike's winning car.

So it was two Mikes in the A final, joined by Ned and Keith - two Mega-Gs and two Mega-G+s. Mike D was the man to crash on the first lap, getting the power on a fraction too quick out of the esses. Sensing an opportunity to put Mike under pressure, the other three pushed hard. Unfortunately they all had offs on the next lap - and then Mike D returned the favour a lap later. The scrap-fest settled down with Keith in the lead, followed by Mike McCann, Ned and Mike D. By half way, Mike D had muscled himself through the field and into the lead, just ahead of Ned.

The top two continued to pull away, leaving Mike McCann and Keith in an intense battle for third. With about ten seconds to go, Ned had cut his dad's lead down to less than two seconds and was closing in. The last time through the line and the gap was 1.27 seconds, but Mike D held his nerve to take another WHO win. Keith won the battle for third after a late off from Mike gave Keith a final margin of just a third of a lap.

Huge congratulations to Mike D - winning his twenty-eighth WHO A final and to Ned, who is the first WHO racer to win thirty WHO junior medals. One of those two will win the 2018 WHO F1 championship, but to find out which, we'll have to wait until December. Two championship were decided tonight - Duncan clinched his second F1 Classic Cup title and Terry became the 2018 Rookie of the Year. Congratulations to both!

We ended the evening the same way we started it - saying thank you, farewell and good luck to Stephen. Thank you to everyone who came along and made it another great evening at the Barn - especially to those who came early to set up and stayed late to pack away. Next up is an all-day digital Saturday in ten days time, Saturday 23 September.

- Andy P



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