The Worthing HO Racing website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (except where otherwise noted) 2012-24

WHO/DIGITAL Scalextric Sport Digital Racing in Worthing

This year’s June digital Saturday was the longest WHO day ever - a full morning, afternoon and evening of digital racing, including the annual WHO Tourist Trophy endurance race. A big thank you to all the twenty-six racers took part in the event at some point during the day.

All the results and some pictures are on the right, with more pictures via the Flickr button. Cieck the images to make them bigger. A video of some of the action is available via the YouTube button.

Race Report

The set-up crew had an early start to get Mike’s fabulous track running in time for 10.30am. Pretty much everything was ready as the morning crowd arrived for practice. Race fees were paid, BTCC cars scrutinised and we were ready to go racing.

First on the timetable was BTCC qualifying and Race One. This was the first time we’d host our full-day, three-race simulation of a BTCC event. There was a mix of excitement and nerves on race control as we plunged into qualifying. Two busy five minute sessions saw Gary take pole with the only sub 12-second lap in the eleven car field. He was joined by Mike, Jonathon, Simon and Andy as the automatic qualifiers in the A final.

Six drivers were fighting for the final spot in the top race. Aiden and Alex had qualified quickest of the bunch and they led the way for the early part of the 16 lap race. Alex got ahead of Aiden and Oli muscled his way into second by halfway, only to lose the place to Matthew. Matthew’s BMW was the only car on the option ‘soft’ tyres in Race One and these wore out at the end, dropping him back to fifth. Alex grabbed top spot and the step-up, followed home by Aiden, Keith, Oli, Matthew and Debra.

Mike and Andy got through some first lap mayhem at the start of the A final. Mike built up a decent lead, but Andy was fighting off the chasing pack. Simon moved ahead just before halfway, but Andy was back up to second on lap nine. The defending got frantic, with Gary coming off worse from a coming together at the last corner. It looked like Andy might hang on, but an off dropped him back to fourth, Alex and Gary getting by with three laps to go. Mike crossed the line to complete 16 laps, followed on the same lap by Alex, Gary and Andy, with Jonathon and Simon a lap back.

Our first BTCC podium trio were a happy bunch, but they’d be contending with a power loss to simulate ‘success ballast’ in the next BTCC race after lunch.

After a frantic opening race, we switched to the GT rotation to take us up to the lunch break. We all enjoy the rotation - it’s a chance to compete with identical machinery and a perfect way to learn the track ready for the afternoon’s racing. The format had been tweaked a little - the heat times reduced to 3 minutes to give us a shorter overal race time, even for the big field of sixteen racers who took part. Each racer would run one heat with each of the six GT club cars, giving sixteen heats in total.

The first race saw five identical scores of 10 laps and one of eight. Pretty quickly, the better scores increased to eleven and it wasn’t too long until Mike banged in the first twelve. All but four racers managed at least one score of twelve laps, with the final car (the yellow Audi R8) providing a particularly good opportunity for a big score. It was with the Audi that Gary managed the highest score of the race - an impressive 13.25 laps - but the time he lost learning the pit stop routine had already put him out of contention for the win.

In terms of consistency, Jonathon was looking ominous. Up against Aiden, Oliver and Ryan, he knew he needed a good performance to win yet another GT rotation junior medal. He was the fifth racer to finish all six heats and sat top of the standings with 70.75 laps and only Oliver of the juniors to come. When Oliver failed to better that score, Jonathon knew he’d grabbed the junior medal. After both Duncan and Andy fell short, his rivals for top spot overall were getting few and far between.

Jonathon’s dad arrived to whisk him away to a family event when there were just two heats to go. I’m not sure he thought he could win overall, but he was delighted to take home his junior medal, copy of Slot Car Magazine and to pose for a picture. It turned out that picture would be required for the race win image… Less than ten minutes later, Jonathon was confirmed winner - the first time a junior racer has won an individual race at WHO/digital events. A superb performance and an achievement we really should have seen coming…

And that was it for the morning session, finishing bang on schedule and ready for Simon’s rather excellent tacos and chilli. Lunch was so good that the track was quiet for nearly twenty minutes. Then it was time to get ready for the afternoon session.

The afternoon kicked off with BTCC Race Two, another 16 lap race with the grid determined by the result of Race One. The top five would all receive a power reduction to simulate ‘success ballast’, Mike got a 15% reduction, Alex 12%, down to 3% for Simon in fifth. Jonathon’s place on the grid had been taken by the late-arriving Paul, who started at the back.

Aiden had again started on pole in the B final, but after some early wheel-to-wheel action found himself behind Matthew and Oli at half distance. The race settled down and that’s how it finished, the leading trio followed by Keith, Paul and Debra. Matthew stepped up to the A final.

There was some hard racing at the start of the main race. Alex and Andy both crashed and fell to the back, leaving Mike, Matthew, Gary and Simon in close combat at the front. Gary had muscled his way through to take the lead on lap four and slowly opened a handy gap. At half distance, all six racers were still on the same lap, although Gary was closing in on Matthew, who’d dropped to last in line. Simon was up to second, just ahead of Mike.

Gary was pushing hard and started lapping the rest of the field, helped by errors from Matthew and Andy. Mike was in second again, ahead of Alex and Simon. Adding some spice to the strategy, Mike, Simon and Andy were all on the soft options tyres for Race Two - these ‘expired’ on Mike and Simon with a lap to go, leaving them on 14 laps. Andy had been lapped already and completed 14 laps with his tyres well in the red, but still counting laps. Gary had also lapped Alex, but with Mike’s tyres losing grip Alex had nipped through to grab the runner-up spot. It finished Gary, Alex, Mike, Simon, Matthew and Andy. Gary was delighted with his first WHO winners medal.

After the quick-fire BTCC race, we moved on to some Goodwood Revival racing. It took a while to sort out teams and for race control to set in motion the new ‘St Mary’s Trophy’ style format, but we got there eventually. Eight cars (seven pairs, one trio) competed across three heats of ten minutes, with each team completing two races and the result being the aggregate of the two scores.

The first heat was all about the two Ferrari Prototypes - Simon’s Scalextric 330 P3 eventually getting the better of Ash with Andy’s Carrera 365 P2. Their scores of 38 and 36 laps looked good. Aiden was the class act of heat two, taking Mike’s George Turner E-Type Jag to 39 laps, one ahead of Andy and four ahead of Alex’s Fly 250 GTO that he was sharing with Gary.

The race would be decided in the third and final heat. Ash and Andy’s combined score of 74.25 laps was definitely beatable and it was down to Mike and to Duncan (with Simon’s 330 P3) to beat the score and beat each other. Mike soon had a lap lead on Duncan and that stretched to two before the E-Type missed a pit stop at half distance, running out of fuel and losing a lap.

Mike responded to his error, finishing exactly two laps up on Duncan who had matched team mate Simon’s score. That left Mike and Aiden the Goodwood winners, with Simon and Duncan second and Ash and Andy third - just ahead of Oliver and Ryan.

Our DiSCA GT4 Trophy always gives us a good-looking grid. This time we had three Aston Martin Vantages, two AMG Mercedes, a McLaren 12C, a Bentley Continental and an Audi R8. Remembering we had the Tourist Trophy endurance race later on, we mixed up the GT4 format and ran two 10 minute qualifying races and a 15 minute feature race, rather like the Wednesday Trans-Am format.

The first qualifying heat saw Gary and Ash throw down the gauntlet with a rapid 40 lap run. Keith and Debra confirmed qualification for the feature race with second place, but Andy, Mandy and Martin in third and Oli and Matthew in fourth would have to wait to see if their scores were enough. Mike and Aiden took pole by scoring 41.50 in heat two. Ryan and Oliver claimed third on the grid with an excellent 39.75 laps. Simon and Duncan scraped through, but Alex and Paul missed out - leaving Martin, Mandy and Andy to steal the final spot.

Aiden had the better of Gary in the early stages of the feature race. Those two pulled away from Keith, Simon and Ryan, with Mandy a lap back. Mandy handed over to Martin after five minutes, but the other five teams had another two and a half minutes to wait. By that time, not only had Gary got ahead of Aiden, but he’d pulled out a three lap lead. Simon was a further lap back, ahead of Ryan, Keith and Martin.

After the driver change, Mike pulled out all the stops to chase down Ash in the leading red Aston Martin. The gap gradually narrowed, but Ash held his nerve, both of them driving away from the rest of the field. Back in the pack, Ryan and Oliver’s borrowed Bentley required re-programming, dropping Oliver behind Martin.

As the chequered flag fell, Ash was a lap and a quarter ahead of Mike, grabbing a well-deserved win. Duncan finished seven laps back, just ahead of Debra and Andy - those three covered by exactly three laps.

The final action of the afternoon was BTCC Race Three. A full reverse grid put Debra on pole position and Race Two winner Gary bottom of the B final, with a 15% power reduction and soft tyres. Oli had to depart early, so two racers would step-up.

Mike and Gary blitzed their way through the grid to get to the front of the B final. Gary had to manage his soft tyres so they would last sixteen laps - he finished second behind Mike, who was on hard tyres. Both would step up. Alex did not get his soft tyres to the end and would finish two laps behind the rest.

Gary and Mike scythed through the cars ahead of them to lead the A final by quarter distance. Keith and Aiden put up a good fight and stayed in touch; Keith was also on the same soft ‘option’ tyres as Gary and Debra. At half distance, Gary was controlling the race, protecting his lead and managing his tyres. It looked like the perfect drive from back of the grid to a race win… until his tyres ‘expired’ on the last lap meaning any further laps would not count. Mike cruised through to take the chequered flag, leaving a devastated Gary in second as Keith suffered the same fate to score 14 laps for third. We’ll instruct Dunlop to provide more robust ‘option’ tyres for the next three WHO BTCC rounds in September.

That was the end of a breathtaking afternoon of digital racing. It was time to chill out and clear our heads before we started again for the evening session…

The big evening event was the WHO Tourist Trophy endurance race. This year it would be a 400 lap (15 km) race for Group C cars. An original eight car entry became just six after Oli was unable to re-join us and Graham realised he would be too late to test and qualify his car. A field of six cars was perfect.

Graham did make it to race - as did Barry, Sharon, Rachel and Dave, who also persuaded workmates Rod and Brad to try out their Scalextric racing skills at the Barn. That gave us eighteen racers. But it wasn’t time to race yet - the evening racers needed some practice, the Group C cars needed scrutineering and captain needed to haggle over team members.

Andy and Simon both led four-racer teams. Simon was joined in his yellow Toyota by Sharon, Rachel and Brad. Andy’s Skoal Bandit Porsche would be co-driven by Rod, Dave and Barry. Keith nabbed Matthew and Debra to drive his Martini Lancia. Mike’s red Lancia was shared with Ryan and Graham. Alex and Oliver drove the Miller Porsche. Gary’s Silk Cut Jaguar was shared with Ash - the same pairing that won the GT4 race.

A very short and sharp qualifying session saw Gary’s Jag taking pole ahead of Andy and Alex’s Porsches, Mike and Keith’s Lancias and Simon’s Toyota. With 400 laps ahead, the grid didn’t mean too much…

The race started on a damp but drying track, with most teams choosing intermediate tyres. A right old battle started on track between Gary and Ryan, who ran neck-and-neck in the early stages. Behind them, the race started to stretch out, Keith keeping his Lancia in third and the Miller Porsche running in fourth. The Skoal Bandit Porsche jumped the start and a long stop-go penalty put them at an immediate disadvantage in the battle of the four-driver teams.

After fifty laps and just over ten minutes, Gary and Ryan were locked on the same lap, with Keith three laps back. As the first driver change window approached, Mike took over from Ryan too early and was penalised with a drive-through. Gary remained driving and tried to press home the advantage, but Mike was not having any of it. The gap fluctuated around pit stops, but was never more than two laps.

Heading towards the 45 minute driver change window, Gary was closing in on 200 laps, the red Lancia just a lap and a half behind. Those two had pulled a massive gap on the rest of the field. The Martini Lancia was still in third, but 31 laps back. Simon’s Toyota was up to fourth, nine laps back, after Alex and Oliver has needed time in the pits, also reprogramming the car’s chip. Even so, they were just three laps behind. The Skoal Bandit boys had dropped back, sixteen laps adrift, but their captain was about to drive for the first time.

Gary handed over the Jaguar to Ash at 45 minutes and it looked like the exciting battle for the lead would continue. Not long after, there was panic in Mike’s Lancia team. The car had stopped. Re-programming didn’t help - something serious was wrong. When the body was removed there were loose wires that needed re-attaching. Work was compled quickly and efficiently. The Lancia returned to the track still in second place, but fourteen laps back.

All credit to Mike, Graham and Ryan - they stuck at it despite their disappointment. As we passed the hour mark and 300 laps, the rain started and the not quite dry track got wet again. The gap between first and second remained at fourteen laps. Keith’s team were 27 laps behind and Alex and Oliver had recovered to fourth place, another 20 laps back. Fourth to sixth were covered by just eleven laps. Andy had hauled his Porsche up to fifth, nine laps behind the Miller Porsche and two laps ahead of the Toyota.

At what would be the final driver change, the gap between first and second was down to twelve laps, but only thirty-three laps were needed to cross the 400 lap threshold. Barring any late drama, Gary would bring the Jaguar home. The other places were as they were, except the Toyota and Skoal Bandit Porsche had swapped positions again. And it was still raining.

It had been a long day and a hard-fought endurance race using the most powerful cars we’ve raced at WHO. The day’s racing and the evening event had been exhilarating, but it was all nearly at an end. Ash and Gary counted down the laps - 380, 390, 395, 396, 397 and then, unexpectedly, the race was over two laps early! Relief and congratulations broke out around the Barn - it had been a fine performance. Ryan, Mike and Graham were ruing their mechanical issues. They finished fourteen laps back.

Third was the Martini Lancia, 59 laps behind the winners. The Miller Porsche was 80 laps off first place. Simon drove the socks off his Toyota to finish just four laps behind Alex and Oliver. The Skoal Bandit Porsche brought up the rear on exactly 300 laps.

A very big thank you to everyone who took part in a superb day of racing at the Barn. Huge congratulations to all our winners, for many memorable performances and for a few ‘what-ifs’…

We couldn’t have put on the day without the hard work and commitment of the set-up and tear-down crews. We’re extremely lucky to enjoy Simon’s expert catering. And I’d like to thank all those who helped out during the day on race control. We certainly couldn’t even think about putting on WHO/digital events without Mike’s enthusiasm and the loan of his wonderful Scalextric digital kit. Thank you Mike!

Looking forward to next time…

-Andy P

After the event, you’ll be able to click on the logos to watch the video and look at more pictures.