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Formula One - 12 Sept 2018

Race Report

After a proper hot summer, it was a dismal autumn day for our return to the Barn. There'd been a four week gap since the August AFX team race and six weeks since the Nascar race, so some rusty performances might have been expected.

Mike McCann designed us a tight and technical layout which promised to be quite a challenge. Despite missing a fair few regulars, we had a nice round twenty taking to the Formula One grid and ready to start the heats just after 7 o'clock.

The action was fast right from the off. The first group of four gave us two of the top three at halfway -  that was Terry and Jerome with their rapid Mega-G+ cars. Andy grabbed top spot with his Mega-G+, with father and son Mike and Stephen in fourth and fifth. It was looking like a dominant evening for the Mega-G+ with Mike D's legendary Mega-G only managing sixth at halfway. Gareth was fourth from bottom with his Super-G+.

The second set of heats suggested that we had four decent lanes as most racers did well in at least one or other of the gutter lanes. The top four were covered by exactly one lap - Andy clinging on to top spot, Terry in second, just one twentieth of a lap ahead of Mike D, with Jerome fourth.


The G final was a face-off between Oliver's Mega-G and Andy Phillip's Super-G+ which had both been a handful on the challenging track. Oliver had an early off which put him a lap down at half distance. Andy controlled the rest of the race, finishing two laps up - but both drivers improved on their heat scores and you can't ask more than that.

The pattern for the F final was set pretty much from the start. Daniel got away in red lane, chased by Ash in blue. A gap opened up between them and their two pursuers, Rod and Andy who were having their own battle. Daniel had stretched his lead over Ash to a lap at halfway. Ash tried to close the gap, but it had extended to just over two laps at the end. Third place went to Andy, who eventually dispatched Rod into fourth.

If the first two finals had been a little light on drama, the E final made up for it. In the early stages Ned looked on for an easy win and he led by a lap at half distance. Gareth, Brad and Daniel were having a right old scrap for second. When Ned had a big off, popped his rear axle and dropped to the back, the battle was suddenly on for the win. Gareth held the advance and looked comfortable as the clock ticked down. On his penultimate run through the turn two hairpin, Gareth crashed and Brad was right behind when the Super-G returned to the track. Brad had cut the gap to a tenth of a second as they passed the start line for the final time. They swooped through turns two and three with Brad getting closer... and then the race ended. When the cars came to rest, one car was one inch ahead of the other - the nose of Brad's was level with the cockpit of Gareth's. That was a close finish!  Had the race lasted a second longer, Brad would almost certainly have won. Daniel held on to finish half a lap ahead of Ned.

The D final was another exciting race. Some close running and a fair few crashes meant that all four drivers - Matthew, Simon, Steve and Gareth - all lead the race in the early stages. It was incredibly close at half distance, Matthew leading the way, until Steve overtook, before crashing back to third. Gareth was starting to drop back in yellow lane. That left Matthew in the lead again, a mere 0.67 seconds ahead of Simon with a quarter of the race remaining. Could he close out the win? With ten seconds to go, Matthew slipped up - crashing at the far end of the track - and Simon pounced, winning the race by half a lap. No consolation, but at least Matthew held off Steve for second.

The start of the C final saw Mike McCann stranded on the line, losing half a lap to his rivals. By the 30 second mark and after crashes for the other three, Mike had caught up - all four cars covered by about twelve inches. At half distance, Mike found himself in the lead - two seconds ahead of Ryan, who was neck and neck (we're talking 0.02 seconds) with Peter. Simon has lost a bit of ground in yellow. By three-quarter distance, Mike had opened the lead out to four seconds, with Peter a tenth of a second ahead of Ryan. That is how the order stayed - Mike winning by nearly two laps and Peter beating Ryan by half a lap.

Mike managed to get off the line first time in the B final. It was a close opening lap and then all four cars crashed in the switchbacks on lap two. Aiden was the first to be re-slotted and he was off. At half distance, Aiden was ahead of Stephen by two seconds. Mike and Jerome were a lap back. Jerome had struggled to get into rhythm, but he picked up his pace in the second half of the race, passing Mike and closing on the top two. Aiden and Stephen both had offs and were still separated by two seconds going in to the final stages of the race, but Jerome was now only three seconds back. As the chequered flag fell, the places hadn't changed - the top three were covered by three quarters of a lap. Aiden had won only his second HO junior medal and stepped up into his first A final.

Pole man Andy had chosen red lane in the A final and that would probably have been first choice for all four drivers. However, Terry has set a good heat score in blue and both Mike and Aiden had gone okay in the gutter lanes. All four were close in the opening laps, Andy eventually pulling out the tiniest of leads, but one which would prove crucial. Coming up to lap Aiden - who'd already had an off - the youngster's car went sideways from the inside yellow lane and Andy helped it on its way into the path of Terry and Mike who both crashed, Mike returning quickly, but Terry ending up on the floor.

The chaos had allowed Andy to get away, pulling out a gap of over half a lap which quickly become a lap as Andy pressed hard and Mike's car took a trip to the floor. As the race settled down, Terry was pulling out all the stops but still had considerable ground to make up on Mike. A few too many minor offs for Mike's Mega-G gradually dropped him back into range and Terry took advantage with only seconds to go. Meanwhile, Andy had a faultless race and, when the two minutes were over, he was two laps ahead of Terry, who was a fifth of a lap up on Mike. Terry's charge had also given him fastest lap.

Congrats to the medal winners - Andy and Aiden - and to Jerome for finishing top rookie. There were no Classic Cup runners, although a decent Tyco might have had a successful evening on that track. A big thanks to everyone who came along for the racing and especially to those who helped set up and clear away. Daniel and Stephen did a magnificent job on race control - Stephen's last race before he heads back to university.

The next four HO club nights are all championship-deciders - so that's a lot of excitement to look forward to this autumn and plenty of championship tables to study.

- Andy P



Race Results

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