With Tony leading the F1 Championship by just 3 points from Al, and the pair of them tied in the Modified Championship, the stage was set for a fantastic end to the 2011...
Tony had set up a suitably tricky circuit that was an ideal host for the end of season finale. With one long straight and several shorter straights that were broken up by a mixture of single corners, tricky complexes and bus stop style sections it required a balanced setup and maximum concentration to deliver a good lap time.
Twelve racers turned out for the final night of the 2011 season.
With calm confidence Craig delivered his usual table topping qualifying, beating Roy to pole position by nearly 4 laps. Paul Homewood wasn't far behind in third let down only slightly by his blue lane total. Some solid work by Lee sealed him the fourth spot.
Jim and Al qualified joint fifth, but Jim was given preferential lane choice for the B final as he had the faster lap of the two. Al and Jim had edged out Tony by just 0.3 laps. Paul R had a frustrating qualifying session finding himself with the fastest lap of the session with a 7.098 but only qualifying in 8th after struggling to deliver his usual potential. Regular visitor Bob, Dave, Steve and new visitor Nick completed the qualifying order.
A close battle between Dave and Steve saw Dave take the win by just 0.2 laps. Nick finished last but showed a lot of potential for his first time racing at the club.
Dave hopped up to the white lane but was never a part of the titanic battle between Tony and Paul Rose. Tony wanted to get into the B final to finish his F1 title battle with Al on the track and pushed Paul throughout the 3 minutes. Paul however put in his best F1 total of the night to that point and managed to stay ahead of Tony despite Tony putting in a mighty effort to catch him. Bob wasn't far behind the pair of them either finishing 1.6 laps behind in third.
The was an air of slight disappointment hanging over the B final after Tony failed to make it into the B final and he could only watch as Al tried to secure the 4 extra points he believed he needed to beat him.
The start of the B final was closely fought by all four drivers but as the final went on Paul Rose pulled out a lead with Al hanging on desperately behind him thinking he needed to win to get those crucial extra points over Tony. In the closing seconds Paul Rose lost it at the 180 degree bend before the start finish straight and Al who was running just over a second behind him took the lead and beat him by just 0.4 laps.
Hopping up to yellow lane Al stayed more or less with the leaders for the first couple of laps before an off put him in fourth and dropped him back and out of contention. Meanwhile Craig was holding a narrow lead from Roy, and Paul H wasn't far behind them either. Craig suffered a late off after unfortunately getting caught up in someone marshalling Al's car and Roy was able to take the lead and then the overall win.
When the final championship scores were entered into the spreadsheet it turned out that Al hadn't done enough to beat Tony. Although they both had equal totals, that night's score was Tony's lowest so once it was dropped, it turned out that he had taken the championship by just two points!
So congratulations to Tony on a fine and closely fought F1 season!
Following the departure of the Homewoods, ten racers were left on grid for the final round of the Modified championship.
After just losing out on the F1 championship, Al had his eyes firmly on the prize winning all four of his heats and securing pole position for the finals by just over 13 laps. Jim narrowly pipped Tony by 1 lap to the second spot in the A final and visiting Nick put in a very impressive first mod performance qualifying fourth with a car borrowed from his friend Lee. Lee qualified 5th and finished one heat with glorious style leaving his car spinning on its roof in the centre of the infield. Bob's turbo powered BMW seemed a little off its usual pace and could only put him sixth. Dave and Steve were seventh and eighth. Paul R's Marchon was running very quickly following a visit to the Martech Technology Centre and delivered the fourth fastest lap of qualifying. However after suffering a slipping gear and cracking a freshly purchased F40 body in to two pieces he qualified 9th. Presumably a bit tired from his exhausting F1 final Roy finished off the qualifying line up.
Another close race between Steve and Dave this time saw Steve victorious. Paul R ended a difficult evening in third and Roy finished fourth after retiring on lap 9 with mechanical issues.
Nick took a stylish win in the B final maintaining enough of a lead over Bob and finishing with a Lee style flourish on the floor! Following Steve's hop up he managed to beat Lee who was fourth.
The stage was set for the final title shoot out between Al and Tony that had failed to happen in F1...
A close start saw Al marginally leading from Tony and Jim for the first few laps. Tony pushed a bit too hard behind Al and a few offs saw him drop back slightly. A mid race incident where Al collided with Nick's crashed car set off a trademark Al bounce, but Tony was still unable to close him down despite narrowly putting in the fastest lap of the session. In the end Al took the win by just over 2 laps from Tony and secured the 2011 Modified trophy. Jim finished with his body barely hanging on just over a lap behind Tony and 5 laps up from Nick in fourth.
Thanks to Jim for supplying photos of the evening especially this one of his car at the end of the Mod A final
Roy's superb F1 win was enough to clench him 3rd place in the Combined Championship from Jim.
Thanks to all the members and visitors that attended the various meetings and helped make this such a successful, fun and exciting year for the club! And of course to thanks to Tony for all his efforts running the club this year.
Bring on 2012!