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At the AGM we all agreed that we should do more with our little section of SF. With the arrival of the third quarter of 2013, a new season begins at the Farnham Scalextric Club so I thought I'd try a review. Now, for visitors, it must be said that ours is a club which has a lot of classes. At the last count we had 36 for our own cars and about 20-odd for lane cars. How do we run them? It's quite easy...

We run each Wednesday from 8pm to around 10.30pm and alternate between lanes cars one week and our own cars the next. It's crash and burn rules, so marshals are only required to clear away the non-runners. For each 'lane cars night' we pick eight different classes, usually at random, from those available - which can be anything from Slot.It Porsches to Powerslot Quad Bikes. For our own cars, we run eight classes throughout each quarter, seven of which were freshly selected by the members and one being carried over from the previous quarter.

All the classes are for standard manufacturer-produced RTR cars. In many of them we take out the traction magnets and weight is permitted but no modification to the standard body, chassis, interior, motor or running gear are allowed. Except when they are.

This quarter we've got quite a number of classes which other clubs run, so the goings-on might be of interest. Here's what happened:

Hornby BTCC - these are the Super Touring cars made by Scalextric in the 1990s: Alfa 155, Audi A4, BMW 318, Ford Mondeo, Renault Laguna, Vauxhall Vectra. The brown bar magnets are retained in this class.

Round 1 report: The honours are usually divided between the Renault Lagunas and the Audi A4s, although my Vauxhall Vectra has often had a good showing. This time both Chris and I opted to try BMWs - Chris with the later be-winged 'Autosport' version and me with the 20-year-old Matt Neal 'Daily Express' car. Both of us did nothing but show why everyone usually goes for the Alfa or the Renault, getting comprehensively panned!

1960s Le Mans - these are modern models of pre-1970 Le Mans cars, so the NSR Ford Mk.IV and GT40 rule the roost with some Scalextric and Slot.It GT40s joining in. The NSR Porsche 917 and Ford 3L aren't eligible. Magnets not permitted.

Round 1 report: The overwhelming majority ran NSR's Ford Mk.IV, of which Alec's was usually fastest. I tried the Slot.It GT40 which gave Alec a hard time with its straight line performance but lost out in the wiggles. Chris ran a Scalextric GT40 which slithered around without a magnet, while Ben opted for an MRRC Cobra and got lapped.

Fly Classic - fairly self explanatory! Any pre-1972 sports car made by Fly or Flyslot. Magnets not permitted.

Round 1 report: The Ferrari 512 has been the weapon of choice for many years. For relative newcomers like myself that means the recent FlySlot reissue of the Coda Lunga... in fact there were four of them in the identical paint scheme, which caused some confusion at times. Ben had a well-fettled Porsche 917 and this proved to be the class of the field, with Alec's short tail Ferrari and Graham's Porsche Flunder giving a good account of themselves.

Sixties Sport - These are the clamshell Scalextric cars - Ferrari P4, Javelin, Mirage and so on. Mostly we run the original cars with the blue motors although Mabuchi-engined reissues from The Power & The Glory are permitted (without magnets).

Round 1 report: All much of a muchness, although Jamie's well-fettled Mirage looked impressive and Ben's low-slung Ferrari P4 caught the eye. The rest of us wobbled around and fell over a lot.

Carrera Muscle - Any American V8-powered monstrosity. One magnet is permitted. We run all Carrera classes with the polarity on the cars reversed, so laps are driven anti-clockwise.

Round 1 report: The usual array of classic NASCARs and Alec's jacked-up Hemi were joined by Graham's positively elegant little AC Cobra and Norm's 'fire department' modern Mustang. Graham romped away with a car which neither looks nor handles like the usual Carrera tupperware. We think it's the guide. It's red, so it's faster.

Group 5 Open - Any RTR model of fourth-generation Group 5 formula, so you can run Carrera (Ferrari 512BB, de Tomaso Pantera, BMW 2002, Alfa Romeo GTV, Opel Steinmetz, Porsche 935, Porsche 935/78), Fly/GBTrack (Zakspeed Capri Turbo, Lancia Montecarlo), MRRC (Toyota Celica) or Racer Sideways (Zakspeed Capri Turbo, Lancia Montecarlo, Porsche 935/78 and soon BMW M1)

Round 1 report: An all-new class for which people either brought much-loved old Fly/GBTrack cars out of retirement or bought shiny new Racers. Ben brought his much-loved MRRC Toyota and beat everyone. The Racers need a bit of weight in the front to keep them in the slot. The Fly cars seem destined to be retired.

S2000 Touring - Any RTR touring car since 2001, so you can run Fly/Fly Racing BMW 320i or Alfa 156, Proslot Alfa 156, Scalextric BMW320i or SEAT Leon, SCX Alfa 156, BMW320i, Honda Accord, SEAT Leon, SEAT Toledo or Volvo S60

Round 1 report: Another all-new class. The Fly BMW proved popular as it comes packing serious heat in the motor and goes nicely with sufficient weight in it. My Fly Racing Alfa with magnetic motor and spring-loaded motor pod looked good when it wasn't beset by Spanish build quality issues. Overall, however, Ben showed everyone the way home with his SCX Honda Accord, which just goes to show what fancy Fly kit is worth!

Slot Rally GB Scalextric Production - As per the rules of Slot Rally GB for current products; so you can run modern (Fiesta or MINI WRC), Group B (Ford RS200 or Metro 6R4) or classic (Ford Cortina, Ford Escort RS1600, Ford Escort RS1800, MGB, Mini-Cooper, VW Beetle). Magnets not permitted.

Round 1 report: Yet another new addition to the ranks. As an SRGB regular, Ben had his well-sorted MINI WRC. I had the Ford Escort RS1600 that I prepped for last year's SRGB. Graham had his Ford Cortina and everyone else opted for Fiesta or MINI WRCs. An awful lot of deslots ensued and Ben won.

Overall Ben won the night as the only man to break 100 points. Norm, Chris and I battled hard for the wooden spoon. Now everyone except Ben has got a fortnight to think of how to do better!
 

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Fortunately all the organisation was done years ago, Ian! Everyone gets a number as they come in (so first one in is one, second is two and so on). Each lane and each marshalling position is allocated a matching number and there are maps for how to lay the numbers out depending on the number of competitors. This ensures that everyone marshals the same number of times per class and that everyone gets to run on each of our four lanes.

Provided you don't have a 'senior moment' and forget your number it all runs smoothly.

The classes are always run in the same order each 'own cars' week, so that if we run out of time usually it's only one class that suffers. The class that gets run last in one quarter is always carried over and run as the first class in the following quarter.

Eight classes in a night is a fair old whack, especially when you get 10-12 people, so there's no lollygagging. There's no time to check your fastest laps or to tweak your cars between races, it's just 'bang-bang-bang'. And that's not just my cornering technique!

Simple, innit?!?
 
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