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An "Oaklanders" Championship Year . . .


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#1 Ian H

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 07:03 PM

About 12 months ago I was at a very low ebb. My father had just passed away and I was wondering if I had the energy to do anything let alone go slot racing.

I buried myself into building three Jackie Stewart projects for the "Half Tonner" race at Wolverhampton and you might say that busying myself into researching and constructing the BRM P160, The Matra MS10 and the Matra MS80 gave me time to come to terms with what had happened and gave me a lot of time to think and consider the future.



What I didn't realise at the time was just how much pleasure building the cars would give me and the equal amount of pleasure writing about it and sharing the experience would be with you on SlotForum.

It's safe to say that this daft old hobby of ours has given me a new lease of life and here we are 12 months on and I'm about to embark on another ambitious project.

I'm going to compete in the 2014 Falcon Pro Championships.

It's a completely new challenge for me as I know little or nothing about this kind of racing, especially at this level of competition. I'll be racing all over the country against world class slot racers, many with World Championship experience under their belt.

If you haven't seen the kind of racing that I'm talking about, here is a quick glimpse of the recent BRSCA Area 5 racing that I filmed at Dudley on 12/1/2014.



The championship is sponsored, organised and administered by Andy Brown Searle (of ABS Slotsport fame) and consists of 6 rounds at some of the best race circuits in the UK.

  1. Pinewood 2/2/2014
  2. Oaklands Park 30/3/2014
  3. Rockingham Raceway 15/6/2014
  4. North London 10/8/2014
  5. South Downs Raceway 5/10/2014
  6. Raceway 81, 23/11/2014


I'll be racing 1/32 scale Sports

1/32 scale F1

1/24 scale Sports.


I've become seriously addicted to this formulae after being introduced to it by the very kind and generous membership of Oaklands Park Model Car Club and they haven't laughed too loudly when I mention my ambition to race in the World Championships at some point in the future.

The World Championships are a long way off yet so this year I'll be documenting the highs and lows, the racing and the characters that I get to meet along the way racing Falcon Pro and hopefully (fingers crossed) I won't make a complete idiot of myself!

I hope that you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy doing it.

#2 Ian H

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 12:26 AM

This interesting thing about embarking upon this championship year is that I've come to realise that everything happens in small increments.

You learn how the cars are engineered a bit at a time, you learn how to build them a bit at a time, you learn how to tweak them a bit at a time and slowly but surely you get incrementally quicker.

I had a good night at Oaklands racing 1/24th Sports on Wednesday. I had a great dice with Owen Cooper and Stan Comely and I held a small lead after the first two segments. However, I dropped to third on Red and Blue lanes which I simply haven't practiced on enough.

However, I improved my race distance by 6 odd laps compared to last week which equates to a 35 seconds on the track. It might not sound a lot but by small increments it's an improvement and that's very encouraging at this point leading up to Round 1 at Pinewood.

I've been cutting my own tyres tonight for the first time.



Sounds wierd but I found it very good fun! I warned you that it sounded wierd!

I'm going to run BRAWN GP001 Betta Shells in F1 this year.

Owen Cooper has kindly blasted them over with a white basecoat and I'm in the process of detailing them.



I should have some pictures of the finished shells in the next few days.

#3 Ian H

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 11:49 PM

So here's the completed BRAWN GP001.



I'm quite pleased with the result.

I've also mounted the sliced up donuts to the rims using the "Sandy Parker" method of gluing tyres.



What is the "Sandy Parker" method?

I couldn't possibly give those secrets away!

Not long until Round 1 at Pinewood.

More updates soon.

#4 Ian H

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:03 AM

So . . . .

All my tyres are trued up and ready for the start of the championship which is in just 7 days time.

I've got all the spares that I need from the club shop so I think I'm pretty much ready for Pinewood from the technical point of view.

Here's the circuit and tech stats.



1/24th Track
*Ogilvie 6 lanes with 4.5 centre
* 135 foot lap length
* Lapmaster race control system
* 150 amp available set at 13.2 or 13.8 volts

This week I'm just going to blow the motors out and clean them and make sure that everything is oiled up and packed in my Polybutler and ready to go.

I've got twice the amount to do because my daughter Alice is racing at Pinewood with me too.

At the moment we are in a phase of Formula Libre hardbody racing at Oaklands so I can't do any last minute testing with the cars, because the track isn't gooped up. There seems little point in setting the cars up for the Oaklands track anyway as it's likely that the Pinewood circuit will be a little different to Oaklands anyway.

Frankly I just can't wait to get there and get racing.

#5 Chappy

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:25 AM

Hi Ian I'm enjoying this trip with you.
Glad you are keeping us posted, and the new cars look up to, your usual standards.
I wish you much luck in this endeavour, and thanks for allowing us to tag along.
Very Best
Bob
Bob
Picton Ontario
Canada

#6 Ian H

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 01:49 AM

So everything is packed and ready to go in the workshop. It's nice to be ready with time to spare, it means I can just relax tomorrow, get some decent sleep and be fresh for the racing on Sunday.

My daughter now has proper "aero" shells for her 1/24th Sports cars (a taste of which is on show below).



I'll be going with Alice, Sandy Parker and Greg Johnstone so it will be good to have some friends with lots of racing experience in this new formula (to me).

I can't wait to get cracking now and to see if I've got some decent pace from the beginning.

The next post will be on Sunday so see you all then.

#7 Britheslot

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 07:37 PM

Good luck everyone for tomorrow I wish I could be with you.....Brian

#8 Ian H

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:39 AM

Arrived the at the circuit okay.

Turned a few laps with all three cars.

Its a flowing circuit but I'm tending to get on throttle too early on the exits of the corners causing a de slot.

32 sports first and my rebuilt car feels good.

Time for more laps.

#9 Ian H

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 02:20 PM

11th in 32 Sports

9th in formula 1

really close dice with Greg in the formula 1.

Only 24 Sports to do now.

The local racers are sooo quick.

Need to modify the side pans on my F1 to be properly on the pace.

#10 Ian H

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 12:25 AM

I've had about 24 hours to reflect upon my performance at Pinewood yesterday.

I'll have to admit I was a bit dissappointed that I didn't finish further up the field although I was quite pleased with 9th in F1 (which is my favourite class by a long way).

However, I've looked at the results and done a bit of simple arithmetic and it's funny how some sums can really cheer you up.

If I compare my times against Chris Thomas (who won all three classes) it turns out that I'm about 1 second per lap off his race pace.

Now that's comparing myself against a guy who finished 8th in the World Championships, whilst racing on a track that I had absolutely no experience of, using cars that I'm still getting used to racing. On reflection I've got to be really pleased with that.

But, 1 second per lap . . . . where am I going to find that from? Well like I've said before performance improvements in this formulae is slow and incremental. If I can find half a second by the end of the season I reckon I'll be overjoyed.

Here's a little of the action from Pinewood which is a really nice flowing track with excellent facilities and super guys to race against.



F1 Results

F1 podium

32 Sports Results

32 Sports Podium

24 Sports Results

24 Sports Podium


My daughter won the Concours class with her 24 sports car painted by Paul Harwood.



Here's Alice receiving her concours award from Nigel Barrow who acted as Race Controller for the day.



Suffice to say I'm absolutely smitten by this type of racing. It's fast, it's highly competitive but above all it's very friendly. Paul Harwood has donated some beautifully painted new and used bodyshells to Alice and I to help get us both started. Sandy and Ralph Parker have been great in providing chassis, advice, spares, equipment and above all encouragement. Fellow Oaklander Greg Johnstone raced with us at Pinewood and he's just about the calmest and most laid back guy you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. It's a treat to have his company and I do hope he's able to do the full Falcon Pro championship.



Right now I've got a list of changes that I need to my 32 sports and F1 car as long as your arm. Fortunately we've got a decent break between now and Round 2 of the Falcon Pro Championship at my home circuit at Oaklands Park.

I can't wait to get cracking again to be honest.

#11 Ian H

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 01:31 AM

Just got home from Oaklands Park after racing the wee Tiddler hardbody cars.

Since my last post I've managed to fettle my F1 with rejigged side pans, a lighter "bite bar", a brand spanking new "Evil 9" motor and reconfigured weight distribution.

Wow what a difference! I absolutely love driving it under the new spec. The power delivery is much smoother and controllable and the chassis dynamics are more predictable and placid.

I'm really looking forwards to Round 2 of the Falcon Pro Championship at my home circuit, Oaklands Park at the beginning of March now.

If you haven't seen the new OP circuit here is some footage of the recent Area 5 BSCRA round that I put together from last weekend.



We are racing Falcon 32 Sports next week and hopefully my car which was recently rebuilt by Brian Bradley will go a bit better now that the rear axle has been properly set up by him. Cheers Brian!

More soon.

#12 Ian H

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 01:31 PM

Current Results after Round 1

Falcon Pro 2014 Championship Results 1/32 Sports Production
pos name PTS
1 Chris Thomas 100
2 Graham Whitby 97
3 John Ovens 94
4 Ralph Parker 91
5 Sandy Parker 88
6 Greg Johnson 85
7 John Maun 82
8 Keith Edgar 79
9 Ian Howard 76
10 Graham Mason 73
11 Alice Howard 70

Falcon Pro 2014 1/32 Formula One
pos name pts
1 Chris Thomas 100
2 Paul Harwood 97
3 John Maun 94
4 Sandy parker 91
5 Johm Ovens 88
6 Ant Hawkes 85
7 Keith Edgar 82
8 Greg Johnson 79
9 Ian Howard 76
10 Ralph Parker 73
11 Graham Mason 70
12 Graham Whitby 69
13 Alice Howard 68

Falcon Pro 2014 1/24th Production Sports

pos name Pts
1 Chris Thomas 100
2 Nigel Barrow 97
3 Paul Harwood 94
4 Graham Whitby 91
5 Sandy parker 88
6 Greg Johnson 85
7 John Maun 82
8 Johm Ovens 79
9 Keith Edgar 76
10 Ian Howard 73
11 Ant Hawkes 70
12 Alice Howard 69
13 Graham Mason 68




#13 Ian H

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 12:33 AM

I've just got back from Oaklands after a torrid night trying to achieve a decent balance racing my 32 Falcon Sports car.

One minute the car was racing sweet and then the thing was just understeering like a pig and deslotting everywhere. It culminated in a huge shunt with my daughter and in doing so I managed to knock a few teeth off my contrate gear, losing all drive.

But after the racing finished I fitted a new cog and and asked Ralph Parker for some advice.

He put it of his set up block and quickly diagnosed a problem with the alignment of the guide. He then set to work bending the chassis upwards and after much grunting and groaning he passed it back to me, "try that" he said.

The car was utterly transformed!

"Your tyres are too grippy too . . . clean em with some lighter fuel" he added.

Once again the car was transformed. The car slides smoothly around the tighter lanes at Oaklands Park now and suffice to say I've learned some big lessons on car set up tonight.

I felt quite down after my performance tonight but those few tweaks really cheered me up.

I can't wait for next week at Oaklands now.

I'm off to Great Barr tomorrow night to race their full snotter modified class. It will be nice to see the lads at GBSC and catch up with them all.

#14 Ian H

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:58 PM

It's been a busy couple of days.

At short notice I've been invited to compete in a round of the Southern 32 Championship at Rockingham tomorrow.

It's an ideal chance to get some laps in on a circuit that's part of the Falcon Pro Championship.

I'll be joining Ralph and Sandy Parker from Oaklands and my daughter Alice is racing too so I've had two cars to fettle to get ready in time.

I've had some bodyshells arrive from Paul Harwood which he's painted and decorated for me at a very reasonable price.

Check out his webpages here.

Here's the car I'm racing tomorrow:



Here are the other bodies Paul has done for me:

32 Sport:



24 Sport:



Anyway, off to the land of nod as it's an early start to get to Rockingham.

More tomorrow.

#15 Ian H

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 06:57 AM

Goodness it's early!

On the way to rendezvous chez Parker then off to Rockingham.




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