Early Birds Race report.
Thanks to Phil for the complete results and excellent Concours pictures and round up.
This was the first 'Post Mac' EB's and I am sure I was not alone in finding the event somewhat strange without his presence.
Also notable by his absence, Dave Jones. He has sat alongside Mac for all the previous EB's except one...both Gentlemen were missed.
Around 20 or so made it for practice and set up on Saturday, lap times were quite modest during the morning sessions, but as grip improved in the afternoon lap times dropped, and there were low 9 second and even an odd sub nine second laps put in before the close of play.
Sunday Race Day.
Doors open around 8 am and drivers were soon on track for some early pratice laps, the track again proving somewhat lacking in grip due to a sharp overnight temp' drop...there were snow flurries in Aldersley!
After Concours was concluded at around 10.45am Malcolm gave his Drivers briefing, heat names were loaded in to the PC and we started racing just before 11am.
As has become the tradition at EB, the last years top three, + one other top EB runner (Mick Kerr) made up the first heat of the day. It soon settled to a close battle between all 4 drivers with Mick heading us home from Eddie myself and Dick Smith.
This group battled on throughout the day with little between us, Mick came out on top in 4th O/A followed by me, Dick and Eddie.
The fastest drivers of the day were from the 'B' heat and one from 'C' heat.
Rob Davies was in super form, winning most of his heats from the hardcharging and clockwork consistant, Mike Thompson.
Chris Adams, and Rob Wallader both battled manfully to try to keep up with the flying due, but Rob's pace was very quick, on Red lane posting the only (I think) 20 lap heat total of the day..just...at 20.01! I am also sure his 9.1 second lap in this heat was FTD.
In the 'C' grouping, Wolves very own 'star of the Future' young Lewis Gough was putting in impressive lap totals to take third O/A after the heats, in a model built by himself just a couple of weeks before the event!
Further down the field, notable peformances from Phil Field, returning to EB's after a 2 year absense, for a fine 11th after the heats, and Ian James using is hastily revamped, borrowed, Scarab making great progress to finish 12th.
Other drivers worthy of mention, Mick Langridge, in only his second Wolves Classic finding good pace with his superb Maserati
Ian Fitzpatrick, Paul Leyshon, our Greek friend Alex Gaitanis, and Simon James all boxing above their weight with some excellent heat totals.
On a rather different note, it was a nice touch to see Roy Pritchards running the recently departed, Ian Tyrer's Merceded 196. Very good form Roy, I am sure the Tyrer family were proud to see his model being expertly driven in an event Ian loved.
Of the Newcomers, all the Manxmen seemed to be having a good time getting to grips with the new International track, only our regular Manx visitor, Dave Capelen, having some gear issues which rather spoilt his heat total...heading for a much higher heat place if he had not hit trouble. W/bro Clubman Dave Buddle making his debut, using fellow Clubmembers models, also showing good first timer pace.
We managed to get the finals under way by about 3.20pm.
All were close fought affairs, no quarter asked or given. Good final showings from Phil Insull (until grip deserted him!) Paul Leyshon, Tony Condon, and many other of final winners.
The 25 lap Semi Final runners of Lewis, Mick Kerr, myself, were joined by C Final winner 'Big' Rob Wallader who just caught and pipped Dick Smith on the line in a near photo finish...as Murray would say... Fantastic!!
I managed my usual 'lightning start' (pause for embarrased cough) but the youngster was all over me like a rash, after a couple of laps trying to hold him off, I had to defer and he was gone. Mick soon caught me and I thought we were in for a race long battle for the second Final place when he 'dropped' it in the esses. I had around a 1/2 lap lead and about 12 laps remaining...tyres rapidly giving up their last vestige of grip! On about lap 21 Mick the inevitable happened and he eased past me, and the Grand Final places were set.
50lap Grand Final.
This should have been a straight 50 lapper, but due to 'Technical difficulties' turned into a double 25 lap race!
The first was going more or less to heat form, Rob battling hard with Lewis, the pair trying to catch Mike T just a few feet ahead. Mick K is no great fan of White lane, and despite his best efforts, began to lose touch with the leaders.
The race ran out in Mike's favour from Lewis second with Rob Third, and a little way back Mick.
This was even more dramatic, following similar racing to the first, until about lap 15 when Rob had (his second of the day) a most spectacular crash, his lovely Merc' vaulting the super fast left hander leading on to the main straight a near full pelt...a sickening thud as it hit the floor! Thankfully, Rob builds his models strong, but it did not quite perform as well after the crash, and Rob struggled to get back on the pace with further deslots.
The second race ended with Mike just ahead of Lewis from Mick and Rob.
After the two race totals were compared, 1st Mike Thonpson 2nd Lewis Gough, 3rd Rob Davies, 4th Mick Kerr.
Well done to all the racers on the day, and biggest round of applause to Mike T, only the 5th (new) winner in 8 EB's (Mick Kerr and Dick Smith being greedy multi winners!)
I hope every one can make it again next year, EB's was a sell out full 48, but some late problems for 8 entrants gave us a managable 40 entry on the day.
I think its fair to say, Mac's legacy lives on, EB's 2012 was a Super Event.
Thanks to all entrants for your patronage.
Kind Regards Bill.