Entries in July 2012
I had missed the fourth round because of Hannah's graduation up in York but, coming back for round five I noticed a HUGE difference. Summer at last, as it was very hot and sunny and I was in T-shirt and shorts. Most unlike 2012! We also had young Dickie with us on this night as well as racing on Monday nights.
So it was straight into 2 litre Saloons which is an all SCX affair and I started off brilliantly. Off on lap one in my first race for one point. It didn't get much better for race two; second one off for two points! Then calming down and hanging on when everyone else was falling off I grabbed a second place finish in race three only to do a silly spin off from second in race four. In my fifth race, a two car pile up held me up substantially whilst it was cleared and I then went flat out for most of the race and caught DaveH right on the line at the finish. Unfortunately he was a bumper ahead so I finished in third place. Another second place finish followed in my last race but three poor races saw down in the points pile. It was reasonably tight at the top with the podium finishers all taking their best scores on the night. Taking three wins with his Seat Leon Mk1 on his way to first place with 32 points was Jim. I don't know how old that car is but it was very quick. Close behind in second place on 29 points and also taking three wins was Keith running a Honda Accord. In third place with the remaining two wins and also Honda Accord mounted was Will with 26 points. Yet another Honda racer came in fourth in the shape of DaveH on 22 points with me and Dickie tied on 19 points up next. Dickie was actually running something different in the shape of a BMW. PJ, with a Honda led in Trigger, with a Mitsubishi 11-10. This was one of Trigger's two best scores on the night.
So onto TransAm (open) and my Scalextric Camaro scorched off to three consecutive wins in my first three races. Without really understanding why, it seem to lose a bit of grip for the next two races and although they were exciting and neck and neck I ended up third in both of them. My grip levels came back to me for my last race and I was leading that pretty comfortably when an unfortunate incident happened. A car had spun off half a lap behind us and the marshall hadn't realised how quick the leaders were bearing down on it. Neither had I as it was across my lane as I hit it and went off! So first became fourth and three points were lost. I ended up tied in first place with DaveH on 29 points. He took two wins with his quick Camaro. Just one point behind us and taking the other three race wins was Keith with his Pioneer Mustang. A brilliant effort by Dickie saw him taking his best score on the night with 22 points on his way to finishing in fourth place running a club Camaro. He was just ahead of a tied Jim and Will who were on 20 points. Jim was running a SCX Barracuda but for some reason it didn't have the grip and speed it has had in the past. Will was running a club Camaro. Behind them were PJ and Trigger. PJ was also SCX Barracuda mounted but he also seemed to be suffering with grip and power problems as well.
3 wins but it should have been 4
At the break it was Keith on 57 points from Jim 52, DaveH 51 and ME on 48 points.
For the 70's Rally I've been running a Spirit Golf. I've wondered why this particular Spirit car seems to have no speed and DaveH (who also has one) and I agreed that the car is severely hampered by it's "wooden" tyres. Well actually Dave thought they were probably made of concrete! Fortunately for me this is a class where sometimes a lot of people full off and that's what happened in my first race as I ended up second. Generally, the lack of pace and sometimes the unfortunate front de-slotting syndrome makes this car very much a midfield contender and that's what happen in most of my races. I actually had a good race to second in my fifth race and I did lead another race briefly at one point. What was remarkable about this class on the night was how competitive it was, as we ended up with five race winners out of a field of eight. Top spot went to Keith who took three race wins on his way to 28 points running a SCX Fiat 131. One point behind him was Jim who took two race wins running a SCX Fiat 124. One point behind him was DaveH who took a race win running a SCX Escort. One point behind him was Will who took a race win also running a SCX Escort. I didn't take any race wins but was fifth, three points behind Will. Dickie, on 16 points was just ahead of PJ who actually took the last race win on his way to 14 points. Both were running SCX Escorts. This left Trigger to record the second of his best scores on the night, albeit another 10.
So onto the Open class and it goes without saying that I have really enjoyed running my Race Across America (RAA) Spirit Dallara LMP1. I cleaned sweeped the class with six wins and another perfect 36 points and only had a bit of trouble in my last race. I was actually running in third early on when the second place car fell off and I crashed through it and carried on to find the first place car off and I crashed through that and carried on. Slightly traumatic. The car certainly took a battering but I was well enough ahead to take the win. In second place on 26 points with one race win was Keith running a Ninco Subaru and just one point behind him was the other race winner, Will, running my Scaleauto Radical LMP2. Jim turned up with a Slot.It Porsche 956 in the "Boss" livery which I really like. It was a fast runner but seemed a bit loose sometimes. DaveH had a fast Slot.It Nissan but that seemed to suffer with the same problem as he only managed to score one more point than Dickie running a Ninco Ascari. PJ with his Slot.It Ferrari 312 led in Triggers Slot.It Nissan 13-9.
I love this car
At the end Keith took the overall win on 111 points. I had bounced up to second on 106 points thanks to my terrific Spirit Dallara. Jim dropped down to third on 101 points from DaveH and Will tied on 96 points. Dickie on 75 led in PJ on 51 and Trigger on 36 points.
It all started in 2007 when our oldest girl, Jessica, went off to university at Kings College London and has now ended with our youngest girl, Hannah, graduating from York University. Both ended up with a 2:1 pass, so thankfully no conflict there! For Hannah's graduation we travelled up on the Wednesday before her graduation ceremony on the Thursday and then travelled back home on the Friday. Fortunately for us, in this "summer of drought" which has seen record rainfalls, the big day dawned sunny and warm. We all had a great time, Hannah got presented with her degree in "English Language and Literature in Education" and then we all enjoyed a really tasty celebratory meal in a Thai restaurant she had been hoping to go to for some time. Does the expense stop here: I very much doubt it!
She's now off to Japan for a year to teach Japanese people of various ages how to speak English as part of a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) programme with the Californian Language Institute and we intend to have a holiday out there to visit her.
Ok, so it's good for the grass, it fills up the rivers and reservoirs but I think we've had enough rain and I'm starting to get fed up with it. The environmentalists told us that this year was going to be the "year of drought" and were promising us it was going to last until December. Well they got it spectacularly wrong and perhaps they should admit it. Yes, I know the Jet-stream has now gone South for the summer and everyone South of it is having a great summer but, these people were very keen to forcast doom and gloom back in March.
I had been looking forward to a year of model making and spraying slot cars with differnet liveries but, that's a bit hard to do when it keeps pouring with rain. I use an outside workshop as my wife doesn't quite appreciate the spray paint smell in the house. The trouble is, my workshop isn't particularly big and when it is all shut up because of the rain, it actually isn't a great environment for me either. Yes I do wear a one piece coverall, googles and mask and the fumes are power-vented through a window but, the I can't do much with the damp atmosphere and the paint finish suffers accordingly.
So if there is anyone out there listerning; ENOUGH WITH THE RAIN!
Safety cars and full course caution periods have been part of the motor racing scene for some while now and have been a good idea. You've only got to have been around in the 60's, 70's and 80's and watched Formula One and Sports Car races to realise that they were definitely needed (as was the waving of a red flag to stop the race!). The trouble is now though, it seems that the race director can't wait to utilise them. It almost seems like they've paid for them so they might as well use them.
I watch as much as I can on the BBC, Sky, Itv, Eurosport, MOTORS TV and anywhere else I can see motor racing, notwithstanding the needs of my wife and daughters TV viewing. It is really apparant that the Americans have fully embraced the concept as NASCAR Nationwide, ALMS and GrandAm are rife with them. I heard on a Radio Le Mans podcast from their American correspondant Declan Brendan, that NASCAR like breaking up the races with full course cautions because the NASCAR crowd can't understand a race without them and that they like the field closed up all the time. It makes for the traditional crash, bang, wallop finish. Or is it all just contrived and an excuse? The same can be said of the sprint races in the American Le Mans Series as the safety car comes out, picks up the leader, the cars line up, the prototypes pit first, the GTs second, and once that has all been done, racing finally gets underway again, normally after an advert break or two. And what's with the wave round to get back on the lead lap? Where did that nutty idea come from?
Now even Formula One is getting in on the act as seen in Valencia with the cars lined up and the backmarkers waved through to get them out of the way and at the back of the field. Really? So now we have a train of cars travelling slowly behind a safety car and some others "bombing round" to catch up with the train. Hardly a "safety" moment surely? In the recent GrandAm race at Watkins Glen the Suntrust No10 DP lost a bit of bodywork off the nearside rear at the start in a bit of "argy-bargy" after a safety car period but, all the field went past it. Did a marshall run out and pick it up before the field came round again? No, they had another full course yellow. Blooming heck. I mean the fastest DP was lapping at 1m 41s or so. Surely waved yellow flags would have done the business?
Safety cars and full course cautions have become a growth business and I think they need to be reined in to let the motor racing become racing again.
I was slightly concerned that people would find the Germany v Italy Euro2012 match too much of a draw for enough people to turn up for slot racing but seven of us turned up on a June night for round three that was actually quite warm for once. So warm in fact we didn't need to turn the heating on!
As ever we start off with 2 litre saloons which has become a SCX saloon class so is full of Honda Accord's with a sprinkling of BMWs and Alfa Romeos. All the cars are quick but for some reason the Honda normally seems to have the edge, which I think has something to do with the wheelbase. So it was perhaps a bit of a surprise that Jim's BMW took four wins and came top of the class with 34 points, his best score on the night. Mind you Jim and SCX cars go together very well so perhaps it wasn't such a surprise. Chasing him hard all the way was Keith, who took the other three class wins with his Honda Accord on his way to 33 points, one of his two best scores on the night. There was then a big gap to third place which I was surprised to find was me on 21 points. I was running my Alfa Romeo 156 and I couldn't quite decide whether I had my 'dreaded' controller problem or it was a guide problem. I decided in the end that the two prongs that come down to the guide aren't seated right, which will need to be sorted for my next round. Despite this, my Alfa was a good midfield runner apart from one race when I got "pinged off" by PJ at the starters hairpin as I was positioning myself to overtake him on the inside at the next corner. Will was one point behind me running a club Honda. Grouped fairly close together were DaveH on 15, PJ on 13 and Trigger on 11 points, all running Hondas as far as I can remember.
So onto TransAm (open) which was very good for me last time out with four wins but, it wasn't quite the same this time around with not a class win in sight. DaveH took the class win with four race wins running his Scalextric Camaro to 32 points, his best score on the night. I don't know what else he has done to his car apart from put "Wasp" tyres on but it really was blisteringly fast. In second place with one race win was Keith on 28 points with his Pioneer Mustang. PJ took third place on 25 points, this being his best score on the night, including the other two race wins with his modified SCX Barracuda. I was just one point behind him having also managed the same manoeuvre at the starters hairpin in my third race as I did in the previous class i.e. be on the outside of him as I lined myself up for the overtake at the next corner. Same result, "pinged off". Still I did achieve three second places with both my Camaro and Mustang, although for some reason my cars didn't seem to have the same speed on the night as before. The other three runners were a bit behind us led by Will on 18 points from Trigger 13 points and Jim who seems to have scored just 7 points. Why Jim got such a low score I can't remember especially as I have him down as running a Pioneer Mustang.
Anyway, at the break it was Keith on 61 points from DaveH 47, ME 45 and Jim on 41 points.
For the 70's Rally class I had run my Spirit Golf on my motor runner and it didn't seem so rough this time. I actually surprised myself by gaining two second place finishes in my first two races, although I have to admit that everyone else fell off. With everyone staying on (literally) for my next two races another lack of speed in my car showed itself up with two fourth place finishes. I was rather pleased that, notwithstanding the speed issue, my car seemed quite driveable compared to the previous round. I got another second place finish and was pipped for a fourth second in my final race by Will who came charging past me on the last lap. My score of 25 put me in third place which was quite amazing really. Taking the top spot with the second of his best scores on the night of 33 points was Keith who took three class wins running a SCX Fiat 131. Jim was in second place on 31 points with his SCX Fiat 124 even though he took the other four race wins. Will took another 18 points running a club SCX Escort to lead in DaveH on 15 also with a SCX Escort. Trigger took his best score on the night of 14 running a SCX Fiat 131 to lead in PJ on 11. At the finish Jim had bounced up to second place and DaveH had dropped down to fourth overall.
So onto the Open class. Unfortunately, I didn't get my perfect score of 36 this time around although I did take the first five race wins on the trot. In my last race I rather bogged down at the start and Jim scorched away with his Slot.It Lancia LC2. I got passed a couple of other quick starters and put in some blistering laps to catch up with Jim. Unfortunately as I did so, Jim hit the starting lights gantry and crashed out just as I was about to come pass, which wiped me out as well. The start light gantry has caught us all at various times so perhaps we should try to get it mounted on the barriers. Anyway I still ended up top of the class with my best score on the night of 33 points. Perhaps the moral of the story is not to get stuck behind the others at the start. Will came in second running my Scaleauto Radical LMP1 to 28 points, his best score on the night, which included a race win and possibly should have been two. Jim actually came in third on 24 points with his yellow "Marledeau" Lancia LC2 which was actually very fast and provided fierce opposition. Keith took the final race win on his way to fourth on 21 points with his Ninco Mosler. PJ was also running a Slot.It which I think was a Nissan (not sure) but had his usual problem of keeping it on the race track when it mattered. Someone else with a very quick car was DaveH running a Slot.It Nissan. Unfortunately for him, he also had PJ's habit of coming off when he was well placed and ended up with only 14 points.
At the end it was Keith on 115 points from ME 103, Jim 96, Will 84, DaveH 76, PJ 66 and Trigger on 48 points.
I will miss round four as I will be up in York for my youngest daughter's graduation ceremony so I won't be racing for a month.
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