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Just a bit of casual gossip - nothing to get excited about.

NISCAR had its fortnightly Sunday championship run yesterday and it was good to have 14 people attending after the abysmal FOUR(!) of the Sunday before Christmas. Although it must be said that the fewer people turn up, the more chance I have of actually gaining some useful championship points, not leat due to having a lot more track time!

This was the first time we had formally raced Scalextric BMW Minis and again, it was gratifying that everyone present had at least one of their own to choose from, rather than having to scrounge a drive. This was a NON-magnet race and I had never turned a BMW Mini wheel or even had one out of its box before this meeting. So it was a swift body removal and howking out of magnet, followed by 5 minutes practice. No tyre truing, lubing or anything else - straight out of the box! It seemed to run surprisingly smoothly without mag and especially considering that I had not checked ANYTHING whatsoever. Then someone threw the cat among the pigeons by producing some car wheel weights and there was a frantic discussion as to whether they were allowed in place of the magnets. The usual disorganised mumblings produced no clear-cut opinion and it was left that we could insert up to 10 grams if we wanted to. By this time, the race was close to start time, so I decided to leave well enough alone, even though I hold great faith in the stabilising influence of a sodding great lump of lead.

To my delight and amazement, this race culminated in my first ever win of a championship event since joining the club about a year ago! Again, I really do feel that NO magnet racing gives a far more balanced race with everyone having a more even chance of getting on the rostrum. The other advantage showed up, as it always does, in that NO cars whatsoever were damaged.

Unfortunately, the excitement of my first ever win got the better of my nerves and I made a pigs ear of the next no-mag race, which was for Johnson motored saloons. Never mind - now I know I can do it, I will on a more regular basis in future! But I do need to find a way to make my big, heavy Rover 3500 perform in competition against the nimbler BMWs and Escorts that seem to carry a distinct low-weight advantage.

The last two races were magnetic mayhem as usual!
The American Muscle race produced an interesting result in that, although almost everyone ran Scalextric Camaros and Mustangs, the eventual winner was the very latest Scaley Corvette! What was so interesting about this result was that a short practice had clearly shown the Corvettes to be markedly slower than the others and, on that VERY clear evidence, two people switched back to Mustangs before the race start. However, one guy had no other car to fall back on and had to run his Rebel Corvette in the actual race. Amazingly, he won, because the rest of is went 'buck-mad', as they say in the local vernacular, neck-and-neck and smashes galore while Ken - quite invuluntarily, half a huge lap behind, missed all the mayhem and produced (easily) enough consistent finishes to be the clear overall winner. No one has yet figured out why all three of the Corvettes were so much slower than all the other cars, but there is a general feeling that it might have something to do with their lighting circuitry. Whatever the reason, there was NO mistaking their lack of speed compared with the others.
It almost goes without saying that lots of damage was sustained - would have been worse had it not been for imressive mid-air catches by the cricket players present! I lost both Mustang bumpers in separate incidents and can't make up my mind whether to leave them off altogether or mount them with soft silicone adhesive to try to retain a bit of protection in future battles.

The final race was for F1s and, although I had obtained a Renault, just in time, I decided to stick with my very nippy Toyota at least once more. I didn't do too well, ending somewhere in mid-field, having AGAIN forgotten to mount the button magnet - silly old fool! If I could stay on more consistently, I know I could win the F1 class on pure speed - this car is a really good one. That is assuming that I still have that speed with the button-mag mounted up, of course. But, much more interesting in this case, was that the two Renaults that did enter, did not place at all well. They are certainly fast enough - why wouldn't they be? But both the two drivers seemed of the opinion that the new two-piece guide is not as stable in the (SCX track) groove as the older types and they lost out in cornering and deslotting. Again, this will take some careful experimental research to arrive at any clear conclusion, but this first Renault outing was enough to make us wonder about the new guides. Next week, we have a non-championship outing on Scalextric Sport track and it will be interesting to see if the performance and opinions remain the same on the newer track system.
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