A strong turn out of 11 slot jockeys (boosted by welcome visitors James and dad Alex) heralded the start of the new season. Jexy was somewhere hot and Jim not in evidence - don't worry Jim, no NSRs this quarter! - so those of us in the midfield could hope for an extra point or six.
F1s With or Without Pants
I tried the March 721 before racing began but opted for the Tyrrell 001 for the first race, got a good start and then scythed out of the slot at the first bend, clattering into Adrian's class-leading Tyrrell 009 en route to the scenery and thereby denying his habitual 16 points. In fact 16 points were awarded - to Graham, whose black March 721 is running very nicely and a controlled display logged his first full house to deserved applause while Alec showed that a well-honed BRM without pants can still be a mighty runner in the class and Lawrence debuted his freshly-restored Ligier.
Verdict: I got a couple of wins and a distant second to the Ligier... time to fit new braids to my March, I think.
The little Fly Grande Punto reviewed elsewhere made a brilliant start in its first heat, only to trip up halfway round the first lap. It doesn't have the same grunt as the Ninco Clios and that shows, but it corners brilliantly and pulled back some of the points lost in the first heat. Of course it's not a Super 1600 or an F2, and I sense a committee debate on whether to rename this simply modern 2WD Rally is in the offing.
Verdict: Lightweight Punto can get grumpy in S-bends, but when it works it's great.
Small Wheel Saloons
Wibbly wobbly old Scalextric class - in which my Escort was about the wobbliest of all. Several onlookers thought I had a loose tyre, but it was just running a bit 'lumpy'. Took a bit of my over-cautious ballast out after the first heat, improving the pull but making cornering more nervous. Class of the field was between Adrian's Mini, Alec's Datsun 260Z and Lawrence's Capri.
An all-Fly class, in which I was heartened to see that the weight I'd put in my Mercedes seemed to be about right in terms of how much and where it had been wedged. Rocketed off the line in the first heat and got about a quarter of a lap over everyone else on the first lap, at which point delusions of grandeur were shattered by going straight on. Everyone else with experience of these mosters knows that the sprung guide is under a LOT of pressure from these things and prone to waving the white flag on a regular basis. In the second heat I'd just been overtaken for the lead when we both deslotted at once. Same thing in reverse in the third heat, earning me a 'lucky four'. In the final heat I was in second place of two survivors, so decided to give it the full moo to try and catch up - remarkably the truck stayed on the track and got a second win.
Verdict: Pay attention to the guide and don't get carried away!
Ninco NC1 GTRs
There are times when I get it hopelessly wrong, and turning up with the only non-McLaren in the class was a bit of a giveaway. The Porsche went beautifully and had a lovely scrap for several laps with Graham's West McLaren, but ultimately I couldn't hold on to the three-seat supercars with my pretty GT1. So a mortgage may be required to get an NC-1 McLaren.
Verdict: Reminded me of when I campaigned a Lister Storm in Fly GTs at Oxford - took me 18 months to get a lucky win back then!
Thank goodness I'd done a few cosmetic updates on the Mazda, as there was a sea of orange and green in this class. Yet those in the know looked past the cheap toy looks of the Jaguar and had clearly got the better race car of the two. A promising class, though - and a real joy to drive.
Verdict: Lovely little cars, all of them. Just need to catch the Jags.
That was it as far as the racing went. A bit of a late start and lots of racers meant that the classes took too long to get through to the MRRC Sebring and Fly Classic Le Mans. Adrian prevailed over Alec by the narrowest of margins while Graham held out from a charging Lawrence for third. With the midfield now very closely bunched, Paul just pipped me to fifth while I just edged Norm out from sixth after Jamie had to dash before the last class of the night with Chris keeping in front of Alex and James.
24 races, 6 wins, 60 points (ave 2.5 per race) 6th out of 11
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