It's just over a week until the first round of our 2014 Formula One championship...
We've already had some big scalps taken by Jon this year - can he make it a hat trick next Wednesday?
December's F1 'A' final line-up was Mike, Clive, Dave and Gareth, with Clive going on to take the win and the championship. Dave will still be on holiday next week and Clive is uncertain which (if any) F1 rounds he'll be able to attend this season. Will be Gareth be refreshed or jet-lagged after his honeymoon in the far east? What we do know is that Mike will be there or there abouts...
With some impressive new racers on the grid - some with borrowed cars - there's all the play for. We also have another member of the junior medal-winning gang. Can Stephen grab a second junior win? Or - more likely - can anyone stop Ned?
So who's running a Tyco or Micro in the F1 Classic Cup this year? I'll be switching from my very trusty Tyco to a Mega-G. Is that going to be a big mistake?
Plus Mike Mc and me have an interesting track innovation - the layout plan will be up very soon
Yes the gruesome twosome will be there,,, After Stephen`s micro driving I may well try and talk him into running a micro again.
May have to wait and see what surprise is in store before making a firm descion!!!!
After consulting with the RSPCA it would be better to let the cat out of the bag,,,, but if we did that it would only go to the toilet over my garden so it can stay in the bag!!!!!!!!
Also after seeing layout think it will be micro`s all round for us!
Wow the track looks a classic. Can't wait. I'm really looking forward to getting back racing although right now I keep waking up at 3 am thinking it is time to get up. Thailand is 7 hours ahead of the UK and it was a 22 hour day on Monday coming home. Back to work today as well.
Lots of work to do before the race. I have Darren's cars to tinker with plus I want to strip my 1.5 Mega and see if I can get a second quick car.
Some more fast Mega-Gs on the grid (presumably including one for Jon) with make things very interesting. I reckon the B final battle for that last place in the 'A' is going to be particularly intense this month.
Our trusty Parma Economy club controllers now have their new 60 ohm resistors soldered in and tested. All the plugs were checked too.
The old resistors had survived just over four years of heavy use and weren't in too bad nick - but the new ones are really nice and smooth.
That's another of the upgrades planned for 2014.
Mike had already unveiled his excellent modular power system in January, together with Andrew's upgraded race sheets with the step-up finals.
Next up is some more wide-radius 15 and 18 inch AFX curve pieces - which are on their way from America. Hopefully we'll have them in time for April's WHO Mod race as Simon's track design will need them all
Another good night at the Barn and once we had ironed out the gremlins the track was fun and challenging.
Jon told me that according to his scales, the black mags in his SG+ were just about as strong as the 2 dots he used so successfully in Nascar last month. But that minimum tyre height just takes all the fizz out of an SG+ in the corners so I think he did well to get to where he did.
I really enjoyed my B Final (despite the video evidence to the contrary!) and John was the worthy winner with an error free run. I was hoping for one of those myself but it looks like I can only manage 1 min 30 of perfect driving!
Congratulations to the Dadsons. 3 different A final winners from 4 individuals races in 2014 so far is really good to see. Will we see another different winner next month in Mod?
Tea was a very welcome addition to the Barn! We gotta keep that going.
The start of our 2014 Formula One season came at the end of a sunny spring day in Goring. Twenty racers descended on the Barn ready to see if their cars would be title contenders or just one big pile of red bull.
The layout was a monster and had some elevation changes to add to the challenge. The track dropped away after the start/finish line and then hopped up again on the back straight - with a few cars managing to get airborne at the end of the short bridge.
Whether it was the elevation changes or some track that had been sitting unused in the box for a while, we had a fair bit of problem-solving to do during practice and the first heat. Once sorted, it was a fast circuit to drive.
There were some fine performances during the heats and pretty close scores. Consistency over three lanes was key to a good qualifying position for the finals. Although some people loathed yellow lane, others quite liked it - as we shall see later.
We had the usual mix of chassis on the grid, with Mega-Gs dominating this time. Andrew squeezed every last ounce of performance out of his Micro Scalextric car, but it was only enough to qualify ninth. Mike McCann's quick Micro was plagued by problems all night and he ended up switching to a Tomy Turbo.
Even more 'exotic' than Mike's Turbo was Jon's Super-G. The car was very quick, but struggled with the minimum tyre height restrictions when going round corners. Nonetheless, Jon got better as the evening went on, but couldn't dent the Mega-G's supremacy.
Only Tony, Duncan, Ash and Ollie were running Tycos - probably the smallest number of 440x2s we've ever seen on a WHO F1 grid.
After all the heats were done and dusted we had Mike and Andy Player at the top of the pile. Mike set top scores on blue and white lanes, with Andy setting the pace in yellow and red. Ned joined them in the final automatic 'A' final spot and would be top junior - unless Tyler could manage three step ups...
The G final was a face-off between Ollie and Mike McCann. Ollie set a good score on red to win. That allowed Mike to get back to running race control.
Ash had raised eyebrows by choosing yellow lane in the F final. He was right to do so, just about staying ahead of Tony to take the win. Behind the front two, Paul beat Ollie by half a lap and set fastest lap so far.
Ash stepped up into yellow for the E final and was up against Hannah, Stephen and Jonah. Despite the tough competition, Ash kept his nerve and won again. A double step-up is not something we see too often and is a great achievement. Behind Ash, the other three were quick, but had too many crashes. Hannah was second, Stephen third and Jonah fourth.
The D final saw Ash in yellow again. This time he met his match - Jon dominating the race and finishing with a very good score in blue lane. Tyler came in second, managing to keep in front of Ash, who beat Duncan in the battle of the Tycos.
Andy Parker had qualified top of the C final, but a torrid two minutes left him right down the bottom. It was Simon who came through for the win with a solid performance after both Andrew and Jon also struggled to match their form from earlier. The result did leave Andrew as top F1 Classic Cup finisher.
Simon stepped up to white in the B final and must have fancied his chances. However, a slow start for last month's Micro winner allowed Gareth and John to pull away. Rookie Ryan had done well in yellow lane during the heats and he was on a good pace in the final too. This was the closest of all the finals so far, but Gareth seemed to be controlling it from the front.
With around thirty seconds to go, disaster struck for the leader. Gareth came off at the turn eight hairpin and some less-than-snappy marshalling let John through. Gareth drove hard to put pressure on John, but only ended up crashing some more. This let Simon snatch second, with Ryan back in fourth, comfortably taking the rookie honours for the night.
The A final promised to be a titanic battle between Mike and Andy - with Ned and John both capable of a surprise. At the green light, the top two took off and battled side-by-side for the first few laps. Then Andy crashed in the tricky wiggle after the first corner and followed that up by a succession of offs that left him well adrift in fourth. It was John that was now taking the battle to Mike.
Mike controlled the race beautifully and came home without crashing, two and a half laps ahead of Andy who had eventually got into an error-free rhythm and overhauled John and Ned, who finished just inches apart.
Congratulations to Mike on another F1 race win and to Ned for a brilliant hat-trick of junior medal wins in WHO Mod, Nascar and now F1. What a great start to the season.
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