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entry 4 Mar 2012, 17:22
EAHORC National Championship: Ipswich Round 12 February 2012
Walter Plinge, as ever, presents the alternative view.

Ipswich claims to be the oldest town in England with continuous settlement since Anglo Saxon times, with probably not much going on since. Other claimants for the title include Thatcham, Colchester, Abingdon and Marazion in Cornwall. Having driven round Ipswich I can see their point, more where we have been than where we are going.

Recent history, thanks to the new WHO chappies and SCHORC wallahs in particular has meant a gradual swelling of EAHORC ‘travellers to meeting’ numbers and long may it continue. Today however numbers were mainly depleted by a catalogue of personal circumstances and travel issues rather than any declared lack of interest or domestic shackles. Those that could attend, having had to hack the ice off their windscreens with a chisel, faced an interesting, gutter lane, journey to the venue, especially those who had to leave at stupid o’clock instead of being Travelodgers. Prototypical cars stuck on the track, worse still one or two embedded in the scenery, dogged the journey in. Fortunately no EAHORC members were themselves involved in what looked like Leet’s first time on an HO track. (As we will find out later Leet is keeping the wheels, and the body, well and truly on the wagon these days….Bravo)

It would have been so very easy for the ‘travellers from home’ to have rung in sick and had a ‘duvet day’ but no-one chickened out such is the lure of a race day.

Genial, and quite rightly working hard to make it all succeed, host for the day Julian_Boolean greeted us on arrival at the excellent Scout Hut venue for what really must have been, at easily double figures below zero, the coldest EAHORC outing on record, subject of course to the usual confirmation by supremo and archivist, motherhen1. A bacon roll and a mug of Bovril on arrival would have been a great way to celebrate. Perhaps that can be arranged retrospectively next time…..No coypu stew please, or with the venue in mind, bear grills!

Walking through the door the track looked spectacularly unspectacular, safe and fair (notably devoid of any Snoopy dangly bits) and generally behaved so. That’s certainly not to damn it with faint praise but a pretty good real world example of how good a one-off track could be rather than some flashy difficult to drive monstrosity. EAHORC tracks do seem to be getting better as a general trend but they are always at the mercy to a certain extent of the host club but today ‘the boy done good’.

Another much appreciated trend is to use more and more of that USofA CNC track that so drains the EAHORC piggybank; bring it on. Nothing turns a good track into a demoralising lottery more than a shaky joint or wobbly surface.

Just the one gutter lane today, white, that felt and was a little slower than the others with a particularly tricky curvyswervy bit and this was borne out by all the results. Clearly that was the voxpop as drivers either avoided it or came last, with just the one exception. Have a nose if you don’t believe me. Perhaps it was just me but I found white lane far more of a challenge than montoya1’s race report comment suggested it should have been. If I absolutely had to make a general ‘negative’ comment (and I really don’t want to as it was generally a blast due to the good bits) it would be too many changes of direction in the twiddly bits. But again, to compliment the track this is probably as good as it gets for a not done before throw it down and rip it up track and a pleasure to drive. So well done!

Last time here we were dogged (not Snoopy again, or indeed any other connotation) by light on the sensors, probably not helped by the halo of absentee today, thechosenone. There was no second coming to Kesgrave, at least this year. Dead strips have now solved any potential problem, with the counting, not his attendance.

To the racing…

Open Wheel (not F1 please)
With up and coming whippersnappers being so good the open wheel class has been a revelation recently. In the absence of mbr and the dominant at Norwich woodcote, it should have been anyone’s race with a steady stream of ‘almost made its’ from previous rounds to keep things honest.

While I say anyone’s race, Trenchtownbilly must by now have a Nascar trophy shelf that’s as busy as Michael Jackson’s medicine cabinet (probably still a little early for a Whitney Houston gag). Conversely his good performances in open wheel are similar to the search for the Higgs particle: we know it should exist but we have yet to see one…. Keep pluggin’ away mate, it’s out there somewhere! Motherhen1 would call it ‘headology’. Driver of the day awaits.

Around the room there were nine, yes I counted nine, people who could win F1 (sorry OW, slap on wrist), or at least make the top three, without anyone seriously batting an eyelid. Obviously I’m not going to name names (it gets me into trouble) but it really has got that close in the morning racing, that’s very nearly two thirds of the field. Yes, I agree it was an unusual day but even a more typical meeting would have a not dissimilar fraction of potential success stories . Many of those in the ‘other’ category are relative newcomers and very likely to be contenders in the very near future and we are seeing one or two reasonable drivers with less than good cars that could be sorted out.

So what actually happened? Qualy went in a way which gives me little to write home about except that roblees and redlineracersdad were probably disappointed.

Lane choice for the finals was, unsurprisingly given what I’ve said elsewhere, predictably absent of White. This meant that everyone who moved up did so into white lane and then was the tail-end-Charlie, with the exception of andyslotsbropaul who roared past the ‘waiting for the RAC’ redlineracersdad in the D-final.

The remaining results went almost exclusively to form except for montoya1 getting the better of jimb0 for second place overall and starlet leet leapfrogging (a sight to see) over trenchtownbilly to move up a final. See, it’s happened again!

Lunch next which is not really racing, A more than usual mass exodus ensued, and I’m guessing that the local ice cream parlour wasn’t on anyone’s destination list!

Although there is always a scrabble to get the scran down the neck it’s also generally the only time to try and get a few laps in to see if it the PM car still runs after being thrown in the box at the last meeting. Of course it now has a refreshed coating of crisp dust with associated salt. Glorious.

Now the afternoon...

The post lunch racing was a little flatter than usual as the choice of classes meant that only A finals were necessary. An unavoidable shame due to the lack of overall numbers, but we missed the spectacle of grit your teeth underdogs putting pressure on tepidly performing favourites to move up, often as gripping as the big finals.

Nascar qualifying was of course dominated by trenchtownbilly with andyslotsbropaul managing to keep ahead of local lad and genial host, Julian_Boolean, but only just and by a margin in terms of laps that could lead to a swap between them in the final. In the final the Berkshire boy just, well, got going. He did what we all want to do all of the time, turn that one lap performance into more than one lap, and that’s all it was, pulling out a more than marginal lead and was oh so close to eventual winner trenchtownbilly in terms of laps and fastest lap. Interestingly the fastest lap difference between bropaul and J_B remained about the same between the heats and the final but the bro just managed to keep it on the dance floor more of the time.

Lesson one learned and ticked off: you don’t get laps on the floor! We now know that andyslotsbropaul can do a prolonged smiley face. Welcome to the club of drivers who know they can do well; the great newbie hurdle! This deputy winner deserves all the praise he gets for this great step up in form. Is trenchtownbilly now on notice? Possibly, but perhaps only mathematically, as he is only a whisker away from a coronation, but what about next season……..

Returner andyslots was keen to stamp his authority on LMP1 particularly after what must have been a long journey for a disappointing morning qualifying session. Stamp he did, possibly with both feet, and quite convincingly in terms of both laps and lap times in a small field of three but let’s remind ourselves that all three had already won an LMP1 round this season…

The final, with of course everyone avoiding white lane like a whiffy tramp, went as per qualifying with andyslots being just as dominant. Like andyslotsbropaul in Nascar palros used staying on as a means of getting more laps to leave roblees looking surprised to hold the wooden spoon. Palros continues to impress and unsurprisingly is our current best rookie, although it’s all looking a bit tight in that part of the ‘ORC Cup table.

Mod was a bit of a mixed feast with all four drivers taking a ‘most laps’ in qualifying and the fastest laps being nicely shared round too, with redlineracersdad narrowly beating asjwood for pole. The qualifying roundabouts and swings situation made for an interesting final with asjwood winning by almost a lap from the must have been disappointed, but sporting, redlinracersdad. Leet, in third place lane of choice, yellow, was just that. Finterdadofpalros was a distant fourth but I have high hopes for him in the not to distant future……

Following an all conquering 22.50 laps in qualifying, a full lap in front of the opposition albeit in red lane, Leet may have thought the world was his lobster today. In the end he should have done better in the final (easy to say…) but with his best EAHORC cup points haul ever, grinning should take over, and it certainly did. The blistering pace of jimb0’s hand-me-down car will have set Leet thinking about what he needs to do to get further success. Bet he can’t wait for Marlborough…

ProMod generally gets more of a write up as there is always a bit of goss about the cars, and here was no exception. A lot has happened since we were here last year. Remember marctownsend putting his Slottech in the fridge between heats (great word in the circumstances)? Have things moved on since then or was it simply a case of couldn’t be bothered today?
To link seamlessly Promod has been absolutely scorching this season, full of ups and downs for everyone, except perhaps current championship leader, sonofroll1later who has had a clean sweep so far this year, being only briefly challenged at HONK during everyone’s ‘unreliability’ period. He must be pretty much there in relation to collecting the silverware and his rivals must be wondering what it will take to beat him. Although a couple of people have come close to knocking him off his well deserved and long established perch the only realistic hope may well be to distract him with a Match Annual……..

Enough of the past, how did the fastest ones get on today?

Well, uhm, not much to report. Sonofroll1later pretty much dominated qualifying and went on to win the final by two laps after an early absolutely thrilling side by side scrap with montoya1’s challenge ended with shoe issues (wrong feet?). Possibly the closest scrap today: as tight as Paul McCartney’s next pre-nup. The other G3-R tooled drivers are however getting closer all the time. Montoya1, perhaps by being obviously more relaxed in his motherhen1 duties, is definitely on the ascendency. Two second places in a day, surely a first for mrchilltastic? Jimb0 was a most creditable third and interestingly the top three had almost identical fastest lap times. Does this suggest that the Martech and cryer-evo sourced G3’s have now reached their development potential?

Marctownsend failed in the final with a car that never really looked as if it was going anywhere today other than back home in disgrace and the final put the tin hat on an otherwise average day for him. Although cliveharland was not there to give a comparison it does look as if the current evolution of Slottech has sadly had it’s day and surprisingly without an early season win. Perhaps, as suggested by montoya1, Paypal may now have to stretch across the Atlantic in order to ‘go neo’ or even getting with the programme and buying BSRT, or maybe a whizzo Wizzard. Who knows what is going on in the, oft referred to by marctownsend FLBT technical centre? Maybe they are doing a Ferrari and ‘concentrating on developing a more competitive car for next year’. Who knows? Do they? Are we interested? Well yes we are as a challenge to the champion elect will be absolutely breathtaking, and it will happen, one day. Soon?

I was quite disappointed not to see another missing piece of the jigsaw appear today, namely woodcote (open wheel winner at Norwich). Well, not him, his car. His Wizz has been going from strength to strength after a start that was wobblier than a wheel on a clown’s car. He will be at the next round and I look forward to more progress being made so as to keep the pressure on the leader.

I have a final, as yet, unanswered question. Why was the Slottech so dominant in white lane during the heats today?

The championships, well mainly the Club Challenge…….

We are now past halfway through the season, already there are thoughts about what dropped scores could do in the individual classes and speculating about potential winners who are starting to firm up their positions, headed up inevitably but deservedly by trenchtownbilly in Nascar.

In days of old when (couldn’t resist) we were all anxiously awaiting the approval of the, dare I say it, MegaG the club competition was very much something that fell out of the racing rather than being a specific aim of the day. Motherhen1 has been quite rightly stirring the Club Championship cauldron recently to provide another reason (as if we needed another one) to turn up and do the biz.

Talk about the club championship is now starting to come to the fore and Marctownsend is already referring to it on SF as a two horse race between Wilts/Berkshire and Cambs/Beds, following the WHO no-show today. While it is possible the reality is that WHO are now out of this race. We have however been denied a possible dramatic three way scrabble to the top step by a rule change. Shock! Horror! Probe! A forensic examination of the rules and looking at the club table revealed that, unlike last year, there is no longer a dropped score applied to the club pot.
Q: Why have things changed? A: Dunno.

What follows are the 286 (or so: ed) exciting words that Walter would have published if dropped scores still applied:

<<“Is the club championship really down to a two horse race? Far from it! The team competition is still very much up for grabs between what I agree on first glance looks like FLBT and SCHORC, with FLBT the bookies favourite at the moment. But let’s not forget that as WHO will be dropping a zero because of their no-show here that they are just as much in it as SCHORC who could drop as many as 322 points come season end , with FLBT forfeiting 352!. Bring on that (polite) smacktalk!

Below them it’s a straight slug-out between the effectively one man ‘clubs’ represented by trenchtownbilly and montoya1, HONK and LHORC respectively. Again it looks as if trenchtownbilly has it comfortably in his hand, or even both hands, but montoya1 is definitely in the ascendency at the moment and both of them have home rounds to come where they should both have good scoring co-pilots. What’s likely to be the real fly in the comm drops is the dropped score come season end: montoya1’s at best, disappointing start to the season means he is likely to drop a mere 59 points while ‘Mr consistent’ Trenchtownbilly on present scores drops a whopping 122, yes 122. This means that montoya1 would on present lowest scores gain a net 63 points towards a current deficit of 257. That level of deficit sounds a lot but with montoya1 finding more and more cogs in the gearbox at every meeting we could have a great, well, climax, at season end!! If I was Trenchtownbilly (and maybe I am), bearing in mind my weaker class, I’d be fettling my openwheeler to within an inch of it’s life or speaking to a man who we all know can….”>>

Alas, we have been robbed of some drama, and WHO deprived of a shot, and a reasonable shot at that, at the group gong. Boo-hoo. Should the rule be changed? I think so, but can’t see it reaching the snakepit for a proper airing.

Back to more of the real world of 2011/12….

Speaking of rules the debate on Mega-G tyre sizes is back on in SF, not in terms of equivalence, but whether to allow these cars to be bolted to the track like all the others and put the final nail in the Tyco coffin. Equivalence didn’t seem to cut it particularly as the Tyco owners didn’t develop their cars as much as the Mega-G driving upstarts, if indeed at all, as shown by the ever widening performance gap. It looked as if we were simply putting the proverbial lipstick on the proverbial pig. End of.

Equivalence or not the rule must have given a modicum of help to those who race the 440s. As we have seen relatively recently a Tyco can get amongst it on occasions and it’s even been known for Tyco peeps to get the pendulum swinging the other way and appear in A-finals. It’s just a case of a good driver, good car and good day occurrence together with all the planets aligning. Simples! Most of us can’t even do this with a Mega!

What was so special about Terry, and the pretty much, if not totally, standard component car? What if someone did a completely speculative pimp with a low volt arm and a few bits of silver? Could that sort of missile really cut the mustard or just make a mess on the wall? People are hinting that they may have a go. Will they produce a tameable beast or an undriveable rocket ship like some of the early G3R attempts? It would be great to find out but anyone who currently professes to have the definitive answer is simply busking and won’t get my 20p in his hat.

I’m all for giving a, perhaps time limited, lifeline to the Terry lovers and giving them a final throw of the dice. More than slightly tongue in cheek, let’s not keep the ride height as it is but actually increase it by one tyre size to a football formation .442! Or should one of the clubs give this a whirl? That really will let us separate the hot arm from the hot air! We could even experience a Tyco coup! Would’t that be awesome™! As I said, tongue in cheek…..

Times have changed a lot recently, a great crop of new drivers, track electrical problems now being sorted out by elektrikermeister-in-residence andyslots, those lifter things, genuinely state of the art race software on it’s way, more and more plastic track and the list just, like Walter, goes on and on and on. It’s great, a showpiece to the rest, and those who mock. Glass houses and all that….

Driver of the day.

As always there are several genuine candidates that in different circumstances could easily get the ‘Plinge gold today: Sonofroll1later for the double win in two hard fought classes, or just as praiseworthy montoya1 for being double runnerup contrary to fairly recent form.

Today however the golden armature is placed in the hand of andyslotsbropaul for coming of age and moving up several steps of his own ladder. Has he stopped smiling yet? Probably not. Of course we now expect greater things from him…

I’d also (because he’s told me to) like to give a retrospective pat on the back for no show today but open wheeler supreme at Norwich, woodcote. No unbeaten run then…

And finally…..
I was hoping that the trend of ladies attending meetings was going to continue after the recent run. Alas no. I now have a diminishing expectation of seeing a wedding list behind the counter at that raceway in Milwaukee…..

Motherhen1 managed to post the results on the EAHORC website by 2028hrs on the day, surely a new record! Was it purely coincidental that this was the day that montoya1 had two second places? Don’t even bother to vote….
Whatever next, a montoya1 win and a website update by 1900hrs?

So was the day marred by one of the worst attendances in recent years? While more numbers would have been better we were still clear of the toomany/toofew danger area that makes it all a strain and of course some of our usual ‘chat’ mates weren’t about. No, the fun was there, perhaps a little less bouncy than usual and with fewer of us enjoying it, but with the added bonus of an early night! The SCHORC ‘pub team’ contingent had a very happy blast in particular. Banana anyone?
Almost time for a crash and go home finale…..

Movin’ on…..
We now look forward to a visit to Marlborough country. While marctownsend is yet to declare we have been promised the presence of ‘Cheshire cat amongst the pigeons’ cryer-evo, who as we know is quite capable of just walking in and going home with a bit of well deserved silverware. He’s also bringing a few friends it seems. Crikey Moses! I have to report however that following a recent, very unfortunate, theft we should perhaps now be referring to cryer-evo as cryer-nonevo, or even crier-nonevo. He has my sympathy, but I’m sure he is not one to let any level of disappointment get in the way of that cheeky grin and a blinding performance. It’s gonna be a great day. While there may be a video this time (where was the usual one for here?) be there and see it live and of course subscription and commercial break free!

No persons were harmed in the making of this blog but a few egos may have been dented.
Until the next time, whenever that is.

Walter Plinge

For those on Facebook and Twitter I am on Slotforum

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post 4 Mar 2012, 17:47
Comment #1

Slot God

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Don't expect the results to up on the 25th at all for Marlborough, even if I snag two wins. Geography and logistics, not ego, ya see.....
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post 18 Mar 2012, 21:28
Comment #2


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From: Lancre
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Tractor tyres for the tractor boys?

..my father is the Emperor of Klatch and my mother is a small tray of raspberry puddings
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post 26 Apr 2012, 17:26
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Walter, you've let me down again - another woodcote win, another WP no-show sad.gif

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post 30 Apr 2012, 10:31
Comment #4

Slot God

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And yesterday marked another Player victory.
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post 30 Apr 2012, 19:35
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