The earth is flat, there may one day be as many as six or seven computers in the world, there shall be no such folly as moving pictures on the BBC, Deane Walpole's progressive vision for the future of HO racing in England has no future.
They say a lot don't they.
See you all in 9 days for the HOGP 2012 on six lanes of heaven.
Just a reminder for those racing at the HOGP on Sunday that there are no race fees to pay, to mark the 10th anniversary.
The first few meetings were very much a continuation of what had gone before, and as such the race fee was £2. The problem with that is it was a fee set by Doug from Chesterfield that was not based on obtaining venues in the real world, so the fees went up to what you normally pay now. There was also the argument that if you only charge £2 then what you put on is only worth £2, which became part of the broader problem of HO being a backwater.
Today we charge £5, and hopefully increasing numbers of people find that acceptable for what they get.
A lot of other things have changed during the decade (not just my waisteline
As I load up the car to head over to Chatham to help set up the track for practice, it is worth a brief note on how EAHORC came to be, for those that don't know the origin story.
A chap by the name of John Etherton had started a club in Sutton, London (interestingly and coincidentally the town where AFX had their UK offices). It stared around the time that the MR1 chassis came out and John found clever ways to include it in the racing whilst DHORC ignored it and the guy running the nationals at the time wobbled between banning it and allowing it, but always disliked it despite it being sold on the UK high street (a criteria back then for what we raced). Organised HO racing in the UK was still a fairly new phenomenon when John set up SHORC.
Eventually the club passed into the hands of Peter Baldock, and things carried on with the same relaxed but cutting edge vibe it had become known for. I think everyone who raced there remembers it fondly, I know I did not mind the 2 hour round trip at all. Eventually the club folded due to lack of numbers, but on several occasions Peter and I talked about doing something similar.
After a few years I decided to bite the bullet and hire a hall local to me. Peter came over from his corner of London to build the track with my assistance, stayed at my house the night before the race (which was on a Saturday as all nationals tended to be back then), and ran the meeting the next day. The turnout was good, and more importantly there was major buzz at having a new venue. The national series back then was not very well run, many of us were tired of the way it seemed to wax and wane and be held together with duct tape, and some seasons there were not even points awarded and over time stats became lost.
There was a feeling of optimism the new venue was a step in the right direction, and EHORC was born. Back then it was Essex HO racing Club, and there was no real game plan to expand beyond that at the time....
Time to skip from the past to the present, and thank some people.
First thanks must go to Doug Passell, who got me into HO racing. He may dislike me now, but it has to acknowledged that without his encouragement I would not of got into the hobby in the first place.
John Kelly is a name that will not be known to many of you, but he was the chap that ran MBR in King's Lynn originally. He had just got into HO, his son Jamie quickly becoming one of the star drivers, when we had to regroup. Jim Kelly and I were up against the twin problem of lack of firm commitments to attend and expensive venues, and John agreed to host all five rounds the following season at his club so EAHORC could continue.
This meant we had enough locals to make those rounds viable, and the venue was cheap. This was all crucial, the national racing series had had several 'gap years' and half gap years when Doug run it, but another one would have probably finished it as I would of gone back to RC racing. So John Kelly I salute you.
Next I want to thank Andy Whorton. There are too many things to list that he has done for EAHORC. If there is anything you have enjoyed about a national beyond driving a Tomy or Tyco car around a basic track, Andy probably had a big hand in it.
Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to help set up tracks the day before a meeting. This is a huge amount of work, and it gets more and more as we add extra layers of sophistication. The copper pieces for the BSTS can actually cause bodily harm (back ache etc)
Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to take photos or video. I believe our videos are world leading, so an extra thanks to the two Andy's for the hours spent editing, and anyone who has assisted them.
Thank you to anyone not covered above that has assisted EAHORC in ways large and small too myriad to list over the years. Perhaps the biggest thank you goes to anyone who has attended a race meet, as without that it would all be for nothing. I am always humbled that people will get up at silly hours and undertake sometimes long journeys in sometime bad conditions to participate in my peculiar and particular vision.
A final Thank you to my partner Debbie. She puts up with me being away 11 or more weekends a year, the office full of slot car stuff, and the time spent on the internet that keeps EAHORC ticking over. She had done this over a decade with not even one complaint, and she is one in a million.
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