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WHO/DIGITAL Scalextric Sport Digital Racing in Worthing

Our final Digital Saturday of this year saw twenty-three people take to the grid for a day of fabulous Scalextric digital racing. The results, stats and some pictures are on the right, plus there’s a video over on YouTube. Updated championship tables are on the 2019 season page.

Race Report

Our final Digital Saturday of 2019 had a typical festive feel - most definitely helped by the fabulous decorations at the Barn and a generous supply of mince pies on Simon's menu for the day. Mike got us working hard early on, building his magnificent version of the Nürburgring - which was renamed the NerdBarnRing for the day.

The track was powered up and ready for practice at 10am - digital newcomers Jeremy and John partaking in our Digital Driving School. Gary made the trip down from the Midlands to give him a perfect attendance at this year's digital Saturdays. That gave us twenty-two racers for the morning, with Jerome joining us at lunchtime. Our biggest Saturday attendance so far.

Race One - BTCC Qualifying and Race One

By the end of the day, a record-breaking eighteen people would take part in a BTCC race, with sixteen lining up in three qualifying groups at 10.30. The pole position battle went down to the final seconds of the final group - Gary and Mike swapping top spot and they were the only two to drop below the fourteen second mark. Gary eventually grabbed pole - making it three out of four this season. Simon was third, Andy fourth and Alex fifth - they would all be in the A final.

After qualifying eleventh, Peter bossed the C final from the start - his Civic leading Rob's BMW. Ryan was third early on, but dropped back with handling problems that would hinder his Civic all day. Peter and Rob finished on the same lap - everyone else at least one lap back. Peter stepped up into the next race.

John and Jonathon fought for the B final lead from the start. Although it was Jonathon's first digital Saturday of the year, he certainly wasn't looking rusty - pushing Jean hard in the early stages of the sixteen lap race. Dean had made a poor start, but dispatched Ash to take third by half distance and then passed Jonathon for second. He'd finish on the same lap as Jean, holding off a hard-charging Peter who grabbed third at the end. Only Jean stepped up to the feature race.

The A final continued the Gary-Mike battle that had started in qualifying and would continue throughout the day. Mike had the early lead, Gary got past by half distance and just about hung on. It was close behind too - a very clean race for so early in the day. Alex held third until Andy slipped past with three laps to go. The top four finished on the same lap. A fastest lap for Gary gave him maximum points - not that he needed them, having wrapped up the championship in November.

Race Two - Club Car Rotation

Bang on schedule, the rotation race started at 11.30 and with twenty-two drivers - and therefore twenty two heats - it would take us up to lunchtime. Mike had mixed up the cars nicely. The new Scalextric Chevy Monte Carlo made its WHO debut alongside some GT favourites and a Ford GT40. Each driver raced for three minutes with each car, getting to know the track and needing to pit at least once.

Peter was the first racer to complete their six races with a 48.75 lap total. That was eclipsed three minutes later by Gary's 57.75 - a score that looked formidable. Jean immediately went close (a 55.50), but then scores dropped into the low 50s and 40s. There were good battles between the newer racers and between the juniors. Jeremy and Rob tied as best of the 2019 digital newbies, with John just behind and Harry making a big leap compared with his first rotation score in November, finishing just a lap behind his dad.

As we headed towards the end of the session, it was looking good for Gary - Mike, Simon and Andy had all fallen short of his total. It came down to the final three minutes - Alex and Dean both needed record-breaking twelve-lap runs to win. Unlikely... but it's never over until it's over. Both managed ten laps, which gave Gary the win - a lap and three-quarters ahead of Alex and Mike in equal second. Ryan was top junior and an excellent seventh overall. Medal presentations complete, it was time for lunch...

Race Three - BTCC Race Two

After another of Simon's fabulous cooked lunches, we were ready for the second BTCC race. Jerome had joined us, boosting the numbers to seventeen - so there would be no step-up from the C to B final and only the B final winner moving up to the feature race.

Rob drove brilliantly from the start of the C final, lapping the rest of the field by half distance. Terry, John, Jerome and Oliver were locked in a close battle for second place, but it was Oliver who came through at the end - ahead of Terry and John. Jerome's challenge faltered and he finished behind Ryan.

Dean got the best start of the B finalists, but the others never let him get away. Jean had the lead at half distance, but Dean came back to grab the win and the all-important step-up. Jean was second, Jonathon third and Peter fourth. Although Matthew set the fastest lap time, he finished in sixth, behind Ash's MG.

The A final was a bit of a humdinger. Mike and Gary fought for the lead from start to finish. Andy was their closest rival early on, but struggled as his soft tyres lost grip. Alex took over third place, but the front two were in a class of their own. Mike led at half distance and at the chequered flag - he was utterly delighted to get his first BTCC win of the season. The other four finished a lap down, Dean passing Andy for fifth on the final corner.

Race Four - Group C

Having missed out on some Group C racing last month, nine cars took to the grid for our third race of 2019. That included Rob's yellow BP Lancia LC2 which was picked up at September's Havant swapmeet. A BTCC-style qualifying session saw Mike, Matthew and Dean qualify automatically for the 40 lap feature race. The others would fight it out for the remaining three spots in a 15-lap knock-out race. It was a fast and clean race. Andy grabbed the early lead, but came a cropper lapping Terry. That put him back in the pack and, when the race ended, he was fourth of four cars on the lead lap. It would be Rob, Alex and Simon who stepped up to the feature race.

If anything, the feature race was scrappier than the B final. All six were racing hard, but struggling to put together consistent laps. Perhaps it was something to do with the weather - the track starting dry and then turning damp, before drying out again. Simon's Toyota held the early lead, with Rob at the back. By a quarter distance, Mike and Alex were in a close battle at the front and Rob was up to third. The track was just turning damp and everyone was still on Hard tyres...

It was still damp at half distance - Alex had the lead, Mike was second and Rob still third. Only Matthew and Dean had made their pit stop, Dean changing to Intermediate tyres. Dean's early stop seemed to pay off - he had the longest use of the correct tyres before the track began to dry. Simon also used Inters, but then retired shortly after his pit stop with a broken wire. Rob was the only driver to choose Softs - everyone else took new Hard tyres at their stops.

At the end of the race, Alex had a comfortable one lap lead over Mike, with Dean grabbing the final place on the podium. Matthew beat Rob to fourth place. Alex's second win of the season earned him the inaugural WHO Group C championship. We thought we'd struggle to fill a grid of six, so we're delighted to have had ten cars compete and more on Christmas wish lists to enter in 2020.

Race Five - WHO GT Championship

The WHO GT cars - running to DiSCA GT4 regs - were back for the final 45-minute race of the season. An astonishing seventeen cars took part in qualifying, looking for a fast lap in three-minute sessions. Gary's new AMR 007 Aston Martin came out on top with a 12.842 pole time, two tenths ahead of Mike's Corvette C6R. Alex's McLaren Gulf 12C was another two tenths back, just ahead of Dean's Gulf Racing Porsche 911 and Andy's Massive Motorsport Aston Martin. Jonathon's DBR9 was an excellent sixth, but he was unable to stay for the race.

It was decided to put the top four in the championship into two pairs - Gary and Ash were battling for the title, Alex and Dean for third place. Gary paired with Dean in the Aston Martin, Alex with Ash in the McLaren. Mike was joined by Mark and Jean in the Corvette; Andy recruited Jeremy, Rob and Matthew to drive his Aston. With Dean's Porsche and Jonathon's DBR9 withdrawn, that let in Oliver's Sun Energy AMG GT3 and Jerome's MSW Aston Martin. Oliver was joined by Ryan and Simon, Jerome drove with Peter and Terry.

The opening laps of the race were incredibly close. The 45 minutes started in the rain on a wet track. Gary held the early lead, although Andy and Mark stayed on the same lap for the first ten minutes, Mark moving into second after the first round of pit stops. Andy handed over to Jeremy after eleven minutes and the three-driver teams changed after fifteen. Gary pushed to extend his advantage, opening up a two lap lead over Jean in the Corvette by the time he handed the Aston to Dean.

At half distance, the sun was out and the track drying - the lead car, plus Alex's McLaren and Oliver's AMG were all on Intermediates and the others still on Wets. Alex had a six lap deficit to make up on Dean in the leading car, but he was just a lap ahead of the SunEnergy AMG in fourth. Matthew was now in the Massive Motorsport Aston and in fifth.

By the time of the final driver change for the three-driver teams, the race was bunching up. Dean's lead was down to just under two laps over the Corvette - but he had just pitted and those GT pit stops are lengthy! Mike took over the Corvette and Simon jumped in the SunEnergy car. Alex was in between the two - the top four separated by six laps.

Simon was the first to risk Hard tyres and when the others pitted a few laps later, he was just a lap adrift of Alex's McLaren. Further pit stops created a concertina effect on the gaps, but with five minutes to go it looked like Simon had finally overhauled Alex for third place. At the front, Dean was driving magnificently and stretching out a comfortable gap over Mike. The Corvette was starting to get a bit crashy, although Simon was a little too far back to take advantage.

As the clock ran down, Dean crossed the line to take an excellent victory for the 2018 Nürburgring 24 hour AMR Aston Martin on the NerdBarnRing... The Corvette finished second, the Mercedes-AMG third and the Gulf McLaren fourth. That gave Gary the 2019 WHO GT championship title and Dean the runner-up spot - just half a point ahead of Ash.

Race Six - BTCC Race Three

We tried out our 2020-style reverse grid for the final race of the season, Jeremy pulling the pole-sitter out of the hat (proper BTCC style). Simon would be on pole, Alex second and Gary third. With Jeremy buying a BTCC car from Mike and both Jonathon and John gone home, we had sixteen racers and one step-up from each final.

There were plenty of racers on the Soft option tyres for Race Three - they'd all notice a lack of grip by the end of the 16 laps. It was Oliver on Hard tyres that led from start to finish in the C final, but not far ahead of Jerome. Terry and Rob battled for third, with Rob prevailing at the end. Jeremy finished his first BTCC race ahead of Ryan.

Jean made a swift getaway on Soft tyres in the B final, pursued by Andy on Hards. As the grip equalised at half distance, Andy closed right up to Jean's rear bumper. However, he got caught up in another racer's drama, got stranded off track and Jean managed to defend his advantage to the end. Ash had been running in third early on, but dropped to the back - Peter coming home third and Matthew fourth.

The final action of the year would be another intense battle between Gary and Mike in the A final. Gary did have the advantage from the start, but Mike wasn't giving in, pushing our 2018 and 2019 WHO BTCC champion pretty much to the end - until an off on the penultimate lap gave Gary a little breathing space. Jean had a very strong drive to third - his second podium of the season. Alex came in fourth and just missed out on beating Andy to third place in the BTCC standings by four points.

And that was it for 2019. Huge congratulations to all today's winners, podium-finishers and our WHO/digital champions. A big thank you to everyone who came along and made it such a fabulous day of racing. Special thanks goes to the early-morning set-up crew, to Simon for his wonderful catering, to Ash, Ryan, Mike and Andy for a slick team effort on race control and to all those who stayed behind to pack away. A very special thank you goes to Mike, without whom we'd never have started racing Scalextric digital at the Barn.

We'll be back on Wednesday 22 January for our first WHO/digital event of 2020. Expect the 2020 WHO/Digital Guide to be published soon - including the driver seedings for next season.

After the event, you’ll be able to click on the logos to watch the video and follow the discussion.