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WHO/DIGITAL Scalextric Sport Digital Racing in Worthing

We had a great day of digital racing at the Barn to finish of the year. An exciting GT Club Car Rotation competition was followed after lunch by a one-off Aussie Saloon Car race, a one-hour GT4 Trophy enduro, plus our first BTCC race and a Goodwood Revival pairs race.

All the results can be viewed by clicking on the images to the right. More pictures are available to view on Flickr and the video is hosted on facebook this time.  The final championship tables are over on the 2017 WHO/digital championship page.

Race Report

Our December WHO Digital Saturday has become quite a tradition; an escape from the relentless festive season and a return to the true spirit of Christmas - mince pies, hot dogs and Scalextric.

This year we welcomed twenty-two racers to the Barn during the day, including three Aussies who'd flown over - Tom and Mark from Melbourne and Alan from Adelaide. It would be Alan's first taste of racing at the Barn. Also making their WHO debuts were Mandy and Martin.

Mike had designed another exciting track, thirty-five metres long and full of his signature sweeping corners and satisfying racing lines. There was one novel feature, a 'Radius Two' hairpin bend leading on to the start/finish straight. The 'Radius One' bend that took the pit lane round the inside of the hairpin was the tightest ever on a WHO/digital layout.

As people arrived for practice, we'd just about got everything connected up and ready to go. The racing started with the GT Club Car Rotation - the championship decider. Nineteen racers made it possibly the biggest GT rotation grid we've had at the Barn. Each racer would run six races - one with each of the six Scalextric GT club cars.

We opted to run three-minute heats, which made it a one-fuel-stop race - only requiring a tyre change if people opted for the soft compound. A couple of people almost ran 3 minutes without stopping, but probably lost their final lap or two.

A new Jaguar XKR had been added to the pool of GT club cars. Running on the blue controller, it was the first car most drivers got their hands on. Fast, but rather slippy in the corners, it was a handful and needed careful handling. A good score with the other cars was ten laps, but with the Jag a score of ten was out of this world.

Aiden was the first to finish his six races and scored an excellent 59.75 laps - averaging a smidgeon under ten laps per race. Aiden's hope for the race win were soon dashed when Andy Phillips completed his six laps and finished exactly a lap ahead. Three minutes later, Jonathon grabbed the lead for the junior medal and went into the overall lead, just half a lap ahead of Andy.

That remained the top three for some time, until Jonah - who was at our first WHO/digital race back in January 2014 - finished with four elevens, a ten and an eight to hit 62 laps and take the lead.

Alongside the battle for the race win was a GT championship showdown between Mike D and Andy Player. Mike needed to beat Andy by seven laps to grab the title. Although Mike was putting in solid ten lap scores, he needed more than that, especially as Andy had banged in a couple of twelves. All the while, Graham ended with a massive 13 lap score and put himself into pole position to become a first-time GT winner with a huge 65 laps.

The final heat of the race featured Andy and Mike alongside Duncan, Alex, Simon and Ash. Barring an utter disaster, the championship was Andy's and a decent score might just give him the race win too. At the end of the final three minutes, it was Duncan who'd smashed the highest score of the morning with 13.25 laps, Andy managing another twelve lap score to take the win by four laps. Graham finished runner-up, with Duncan third, just ahead of Jonah. Jonathon was top junior, finishing sixth, half a lap behind Mike.

Then it was lunch - Simon cooked up some of his world-famous WHO dogs, along with a very festive spread of mince pies and biscuits. We said goodbye and Merry Christmas to Duncan, Mandy, Martin and Andy Phillips. Alan, John and Alex joined us for the afternoon...

To mark the visit of his Australian relatives, Simon had put together a quartet of 1970s Ford Falcons to form an Aussie Saloon Car grid alongside Mike's XB Falcon. It was great that Alan had joined us to give us three Aussies and  seven Brits with Aussie connections (some very tenuous) to race the Falcons for ten minutes.

At the half distance driver change, Jonathan handed the blue number 13 XB over to Mark with a four lap lead over the light blue XY driven by Alex and Matthew. Simon handed the black XC over to Aiden a further two laps adrift, with Alan's digital baptism giving Mike a seven lap deficit to the leaders, just ahead of cousins Jonah and Tom with the red XB.

Mike drove his blue number 33 Falcon XB like a man possessed. These are big heavy cars and they looked superb thundering round the track. Setting a fastest lap over half a second quicker than anyone else, Mike overtook Aiden's XC and Matthew's little XY. Up front, Mark was driving the XB he'd prepared and he was driving it very well, successfully defending the healthy lead that Jonathon had built up in the first five minutes.

Congrats to Mark and Jonathon on their win - they each carried off a medal and the last of the very limited edition Scalextric World Championship t-shirts. Mike and Alan were second, Simon and Aiden third, Alex and Matthew fourth and Tom and Jonah fifth. A great race, with some lovely cars. Will we see any on the Trans-Am grid at our Digital Wednesdays next year?

Next on the schedule was the one-hour DiSCA GT4 Trophy race. The eighteen racers remaining divided perfectly into six teams of three. After a little horse-trading, we sorted out the six cars that would race and their owners were matched with team mates who were seeded in 3 pools from the earlier GT club car rotation...

A brief practice/qualification session gave us the grid. We'd be starting in a rain storm on full wet tyres. As the cars lined up and the lights came on, Andy jumped the start but somehow managed to serve his stop-go penalty and rejoin the race in second place. That was a sign of a little too much adrenaline pumping for the big race of the day and it was a scrappy opening for everyone. Andy, driving Alex's Gulf McLaren, ran just ahead of Ash in Mike's Porsche 911 RSR, both on the same lap after ten minutes of racing. Graham's Massive Motorsport Aston Martin, being driven by Tom, was holding on to third place two laps back.

Some teams changed drivers after ten minutes, some split up the race into three twenty minute stints. At third distance, Ash had closed down a two lap lead that Andy had eked out and they were back to being neck and neck, Mark taking over in the McLaren and Ash handing the Porsche over to Alan. Those two were three laps ahead of Terry, now driving the Massive Motorsport Aston.

Hanging on in fourth were Simon, John and Matthew in Simon's Bentley Continental, just two laps behind the Aston. A further five laps back, a junior trio of Jerome, Alex and Jonathon were battling with some iffy traction on Jerome's new ASW Aston Martin Vantage. It wasn't so much a wrong choice of tyres in the simulation, but the standard rubber tyres on the car weren't as good as the urethanes on the top four cars. However, they were doing a much better job than Aiden and Jonah had with Peter's Audi R8, whose tyres were sliding all over the shop - a post-Christmas visit to Paul Gage's eBay store is definitely on the cards.

The RCS64 rain was still pouring down, the ASW Aston had lost its windscreen wiper and that Audi was an accident waiting to happen on those tyres. At this point, the race control laptop decided on an unplanned and unexpected red flag simulation - a bizarre Windows update shut down the race control laptop after 25 minutes! A head-in-hands moment, for sure. A brief interlude as the laptop re-configured and re-booted, and we set up a 35 minute race to take us from the last screen capture image to the end of the race...

When the race was stopped, Alan had driven the Porsche into a two lap lead over the McLaren and the Bentley had moved up onto the same lap as the third-place Aston Martin, both seven laps back from the leader. The red flag gave the Audi team the opportunity to retire their car and restart with something that had some grip. They were nearly sixty laps back...

The race changed dramatically after the re-start. Andy and Mark had noticed slight issues with the McLaren and these suddenly got worse. The car went to the garage and Alex worked on diagnosing and treating the problem. A further lengthy time off track saw the Gulf car plummet down the standings to fifth place, eighteen laps back.

With twenty minutes remaining, the battle for the win was between Mike's Falken Porsche and Graham's  Massive Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage. Graham had a seven lap deficit to make up, but he was the man on the move. An incredible five minutes of mid-stint racing saw Graham almost halve the lead - and that had Mike reeling.

It still left Graham four laps behind with only five minutes to go and Mike did manage to regain his composure and some rhythm. That's how it stayed, Mike doing enough to win the race by six laps in the end, repulsing Graham's spectacular late charge. Simon comfortably held on to third, ten laps ahead of Jerome's Aston Martin, despite some car troubles for the Bentley dropping them back from the leaders. Alex had driven a good final stint and ended up just four laps of fourth. The former Audi team enjoyed the second half of the race rather more than they had the first.

Congrats to Alan, Ash and Mike and a big thank you to Slot Car Magazine for the prizes.

After a breathless GT4 Trophy race with plenty of on (and off) track action, it was time to pause and prepare for the final two races of the day - an inaugural BTCC race and a Goodwood Revival pairs race.

We had eight cars on the grid for the BTCC race - two Civics, two BMWs, two MG6s and two VW Passats. A quick qualifying session was run in two groups and the top three - Mike, Alex and Graham - qualified automatically for the A final. The other five fought it out over 16 laps for the remaining three places - Andy, John and Aiden grabbing the opportunity to step up.

The A final was also run over 16 laps and was incredibly close throughout. Errors from the two MG drivers dropped them back a lap as Graham, Alex, Mike and John battled hard for that all-important first BTCC win. A frantic final couple of laps saw Graham crossed the line first, whilst Alex crashed to let Mike and John slip through. John finished on Mike's rear bumper.

Congratulations to Graham on his win - and also to BMW for a one-two finish. That preview really whetted our appetite for more BTCC racing next year.

We finished off the day with a twenty minute Goodwood Revival pairs race - the final WHO race of 2017. We were down to twelve racers, perfect for six pairs. Mike and Graham had switched back to a Scalextric 1970 Camaro after experimenting with a Pioneer Mustang last time out - when John and Alex beat them with their Brut Camaro. Andy and Jonathon again shared the big Carrera Ford Torino, Ash joining Alex in the Ferrari GTO. Simon and Mark drove the sleek and low SRC Porsche 907.

Off the line, the surprise package was Aiden in Mike's loaned '69 Camaro, holding the early lead and reaching halfway neck-and-neck with Graham in Mike's other Camaro. Mike was the class act in the second ten minutes and proved too strong for Alan, who had taken over from Aiden. Alan did hold on to another second place to add to his GT4 Trophy win - not bad for his first digital experience!

Third was a hard charging Simon, finishing just a lap behind Alan and two laps ahead of Jonathon and Andy's Torino. Alex and Ash brought the Ferrari home fifth, ahead of John and Alex who had plummeted from third to sixth after running too many laps out of fuel, tyres or both. And that was the end of racing for the day... although the chance of another ten minutes of practice was snapped up before we packed away.

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to all the twenty-two racers who came along during what was a perfect end to 2017 at WHO Racing. A very big thank you to Mike for the loan of all his amazing digital kit and to all those who came early to set up and stayed on after to pack away - especially Barbs, who didn't stay to race. Massive thanks to Simon for some exceptional catering that kept us nourished, hydrated and happy.

We're back for more digital action on Wednesday 24 January 2018, the start of our biggest season of digital racing so far.

- Andy P

Click on the logos to watch the video and look at more pictures.
RCS64 Data output sheets: click for loads of data!