24 on the Nascar grid tonight in a very windy West Sussex. I reckon we had the fastest, smoothest oval we've ever had at the Barn with 20 foot straights plus BSTS banked curves one end and 18" Tomy curves outside 15"s with a little DadsonTM foam banking on the other.
We had some superb new Nascar liveries on show
But the star of the show tonight was the racing - it was complete flat-out awesomeness. A couple of the final finishes were insane, including this last second de-slot by Bob that would have let Deborah through to win the G final had she not crashed at the same corner a second later
These were the heats stats, including some massive scores - three heats beating 39 laps, but plenty more potential big scores scuppered by mayhem on the track...
The A final was John, Mike, Andy and Simon
And like so many of the finals, the feature race was a cracker, with the winner posting by far the best score of the night
Huge congrats to John, who just got faster and faster as the evening went on. Congrats to Stephen for winning the junior medal in a titanic battle with Ned in the B final. Stephen was the main man on race control too, just a day after his sixteenth birthday.
Thanks to everyone who helped set up and pack away. We'll be doing it all again on Friday evening
There are more pics over on Flickr. The race report and video will be done tomorrow, after a trip to the Polling Station.
We held our first WHO oval race on the eve of the 2010 General Election - the race was won from blue lane and a lad called Cameron won the junior medal. Five years on, would another night of turning left successfully predict the outcome of the 2015 election?
It was a windy old night in West Sussex, but we gave a warm WHO welcome to twenty four racers - including a debut for Neal and first club championship appearances for Andrew, Ben and Nathaniel.
The track was probably the fastest and smoothest oval ever at the Barn. The straights were a smidgen over twenty feet long - so not as long as we've had - but the turns were fast. At the kitchen end we had the on-loan Brad Track routed turns, the tighter of the two at turn one opening out in turn two. At the church end, there were eighteen-inch Tomy turns on the outside and fifteen-inch turns on the inside - all with a little Dadson-designed foam banking.
The speed of the track was apparent from the start of practice through into the heats - the fastest cars were lapping a few hundredths over three seconds. Of course, a big score depended on avoiding carnage on the track and ensuring a clean run. Not many would achieve that in one heat, let alone the three that would count.
As the heat results were dusted down and cars straightened-out for the finals, it was John who'd grabbed pole with two of the three 39-plus scores seen in the heats, leap-frogging Mike and Andy - the other two automatic A-final qualifiers.
Stephen was the top junior qualifier in fourth place overall, with Ned just behind in fifth. Our top Life Like runner was Duncan back in eighth and Neil had the top Mega-G, qualifying in eleventh.
The H final saw a pumped-up Corey monster a great 26 laps in red lane. His Mega-G blew away Hayley and Ben. That straight-forward win for Corey was followed by a feat of six incredibly close and exciting races - mostly in the centre red and blue lanes.
Bob and Deborah served us up an appetizer with a great tussle over the two minutes in the G final. As the final seconds ran down, Bob was leading by less than the length of a straight. Right at the death, his M&Ms Life Like deslotted coming out of turn three. Deborah just had to stay on the track to take the win, but she binned her new Aspen Dental #10 car going in to the same corner. Behind them Corey beat Nathaniel to third, but it was first blood to red...
The F final delivered us an even closer final. Aaron lead Richard through the start-finish line for what would be the final time. As the chequered flag fell and the power was cut, the youngsters Ford Super-G stopped dead and Richard's UPS Life Like rolled past - finishing about six inches in front. Another win for red, by the smallest margins. Behind the top two, Andrew finished-off an excellent performance with the club cars by beating Bob to third.
We had a race of two halves in an all-Life Like E final. A great scrap between Ash and Paul was punctuated by a four-car pile-up on 60 seconds. As the cars got going again, battle was commenced. It was a scrappy but enthralling second minute, the lead changing hands and ebbing and flowing. In the end Paul - in red lane - just hung on when it mattered, beating Ash by less than a quarter of a lap. Neal, having finally swapped his Nikon for a Parma, rounded off a great debut by beating Richard for third.
Up in the D final, Neil took an early lead and looked to be controlling the race from Alan in yellow and a fast-recovering Mike McCann in red. Carnage struck with barely fifteen seconds to go. Neil ended up on the floor, Alan came off, but Mike drove through and took the win. The unlucky Neil dropped to third, comfortably ahead of Paul.
The C final saw Duncan recover from an early crash to stay on the same lap as Tony, until two crashes in two corners with ten seconds to go wiped out his challenge. Keith was close behind in third, ahead of Mike. That result made it six wins out of six from red lane.
Simon bucked that trend in the B final, but it needed a re-start. The first start saw complete carnage - perhaps the battle for the junior medal and for the final spot in the A final produced just a little too much adrenaline. With car after car ending on the floor it was inevitable that tables would get knocked and a track break stopped the action. The re-run was much cleaner and Ned, Stephen and Simon ran neck-and-neck for the first half of the race. Crashes for the juniors then put Simon into a small lead in yellow lane. The youngsters fought back, but a late trip to the floor for Ned gifted the junior medal to Stephen.
Simon stepped up into the same yellow lane in the A final - would three and a bit minutes of racing in the B final give him an advantage? After an early off each for Mike D and Andy, Simon found himself in second behind John. Mike quickly closed the gap and all four lapped relentlessly without error for the rest of the first minute. Just as Mike caught and passed John for the lead, he crashed.
Mike's attempts to get back in contention proved disastrous - crash after crash left him well adrift in fourth. John was imperious out in front, but Andy was slowly reeling in Simon. He made the pass with less than ten seconds to go, but then disaster struck as he hit Mike's car, sitting stranded on the start-finish straight, and ended up on the floor. Simon just needed to round the final bend and he'd snatch back the runner-up spot - but he binned the car in turn four and it sat tantalisingly on its roof as the chequered flag fell.
Congratulations to John on a magnificent win - he just got faster and faster as the night went on. His 41 laps in the A final was the only forty-plus score of the evening. It was also John's twentieth WHO A final win.
It was a good couple of days for Stephen - his sixteenth birthday on Tuesday and his seventh WHO junior medal on Wednesday. Well done also to Alan who was top rookie on the night.
Lastly, back to the WHO oval election prediction. We had a landslide for red lane tonight - so that means Milliband in number ten on Friday, doesn't it?
You didn't use the magic words for Stephen------- Lucky Bar Steward!!!!!!! After trying to figure out why no movement from his car was sorted by using the correct controller,,, he was laps behind Ned (but catching rapidly) but the track break saved him.
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