A very healthy 21 racers on the grid, including a first-time WHO visitor and three WHO Mod debuts. Simon's track was great...
The temperature on the south coast was sizzling, as was the action on the track. Stephen was on holiday in New York, so we muddled through without him - Simon and me holding down race control, with the help of Duncan and Ash during the finals...
Here are the heat scores, Keith absolutely dominating...
And this was the A final. Only one Dadson made it... and that was Ned...
It was an incredibly fast and incredibly close final - only on off and the top three finishing on the same lap and all four covered by 1.05 of a lap, less than 100 feet or just over four seconds...
Here are the results of all the finals...
Absolutely massively huge congratulations to Keith on his first HO club championship win. He is now in pole position for a crack at his first WHO HO championship, twenty points ahead of John with one race to go in October. Congrats to Ned on another stellar performance to beat his dad, Corey and John to finish third and top junior. However, Corey looks to have one hand on the WHO Mod junior championship - it would be his third in a row. Duncan won a tightly-fought WHO Tuners race, although a second for Rick makes him favourite to claim his first WHO title in October. Two superb final wins put Rick in that position.
Two more excellent performances tonight were Jamie, finishing seventh in a car borrowed from Neil (who finished 12th) and Aiden, who was just behind in eighth and driving his Mod car really well.
Summer is here and school is nearly out, so what better to do than pop down to the Barn for some scorching-hot WHO Mod racing? Twenty-one racers did just that and a field of six juniors was equal best for a regular HO club night this year.
Notable among our racers were Matthew, making his WHO debut after following us online for quite a while and Oliver, Ryan and Steve making their first WHO Mod appearances. Notable by their absences were a poorly Tony (get well soon!) and Stephen, who was vacationing in the States with Daniel. It was questionable whether we'd cope without Stephen running race control, but we'd give it a go.
Simon's track was huge, fast and flowing - big curves connecting some big straights. The Mod cars would really stretch their legs tonight and the big field of Tuners - six of them club cars - would need to remember to slow down for the corners! Neil coached Matthew and got him up to speed with the new HO cars and then we were ready to race.
Although we'd managed to get a gentle breeze drifting through the Barn and the new 'subdued' LED lighting kept things cool, some of the electronics weren't happy. The race control laptop crashed (a loose lead was diagnosed) and we lost the data for the second heat. That surely wouldn't have happened with Stephen on the controls? Anyway, we carried on and the four drivers would be dropped into empty slots through the evening to re-run the lane they missed.
One of the missing heats was Keith's run in yellow. On the re-run he managed a massive 27 laps and that put him in pole position at the half way point, just ahead of Andy, Mike D and Corey. Duncan was top Tuner in ninth and Terry lead the five rookies in fourteenth.
Keith got faster and faster and two more red hot heats of 27.75 on blue and 28.35 on red comfortably placed him at the top of the pile - his third pole position in HO races at WHO, but none of them converted into wins. Could he do it this time? Andy was head of the pursuing pack, over six laps back, followed by John, Mike D, Ned and Corey. The latter three would fight it out for the fourth spot in the A final.
Brothers Ryan and Oliver would battle for fraternal one upmanship in the G final. They were joined by Aaron, whose Mod Turbo would surely be too quick for the brother's club cars... Ryan has two AFX Endurance Championship wins to his name already, but a little too much adrenaline gave him a crashy start. Oliver built a little lead in the blue club car, driving smoothly to keep Aaron at bay. More crashes for Ryan and for Aaron weren't the only reason for Oliver's win - he set a very good score of 16.25 laps, his best of the night so far. Aaron came in second and Ryan was dismayed with his third - he knows he can do better next time.
Oliver stepped up into yellow lane in the F final, where he'd face his father, Steve, plus debutant Matthew and WHO veteran Rick. It was Matthew who took the early lead until a crash dropped him down the order and left Rick and Oliver dicing for the win. The gap remained less than a second with both drivers focussing hard. Then, with twenty seconds to go, everyone crashed apart from Rick, who disappeared off down the road to the chequered flag. Oliver was less than a lap behind in second and improved on his best score of the night. Steve was third and Matthew fourth... Maybe he shouldn't have picked that red lane, but an impressive debut nonetheless.
Rick stayed in white lane in an all-Tuner E final - Ash and Terry were running club cars and Simon had his very nice Super-G+ GT40. The winner would step up to battle Duncan for the Tuners win. Rick remained focussed and carried on from the previous final, turning over quick, consistent laps. Behind him, Terry was having mechanical issues, possibly related to Simon's car dropping one of its traction magnets on the track. Rick won with a big score of 18 laps, Ash was second, followed by the ailing duo of Simon and Terry.
When Mike McCann gets his Mod cars running, they are quick. The only problem is that often it takes all four heats and part of a final for things to click. He was on it from the start of the D final, looking quick and smooth. So was Duncan, and the two of them lapped in formation with a steady gap of between a tenth and three tenths of a second. As the clock ran down, Duncan's GT40 took some air over the first bridge and de-slotted. Some nifty marshalling kept the gap down to a couple of seconds, but Duncan could not get back on Mike's tail. It ended Mike and Duncan first and second, just 0.15 of a laps apart. Neil's Viper had improved a little from a disappointing run in the heats, yet was only good enough for third. Rick came in not far behind, a great performance after two step-ups.
Mike joined Deborah, Jamie and Aiden in the C final. Both Jamie and Aiden had driven very well in the heats, Jamie borrowing Neil's spare car and soundly beating him with it. The race started fast, but early crashes for Aiden (on the first lap), Deborah (on lap two) and Mike (lap three) left Jamie in the lead. While Mike and Deborah tried to get back into the race, they could not match Jamie's pace and ended up crashing all over the place. It was Aiden who settled into a consistent pace and was there to pick up the pieces if Jamie had problems. He didn't - and that gave him the step up into the B final. It was an excellent performance and one that went some way to atone for his football team's humiliation in Luxembourg the previous evening. Aiden's second place showed skill and composure. Mike just pipped Deborah for third.
It has become unusual to see Mike D in a B final. And it was going to be a tough ask to beat Ned and Corey and have a crack at the race win. The race had only just started when Jamie, and then Corey, crashed. Ahead, Mike had a small gap over Ned, but the younger Dadson inexorably moved back up and overtook his father. The gap remained very tight until Mike suffered two offs in a lap and the rear axle of his car popped out. A quick repair got Mike back on track, but Corey has slipped through into second. That's how it stayed, Ned taking a big win - the scalps of Corey and his dad, plus a margin of nearly five laps.
That left an A final of Keith, John, Andy and Ned. Sometimes WHO A finals are pretty scrappy, but this one wasn't. Keith, John and Ned got off to an incredibly quick start, Andy dropping back a few yards to get into a rhythm. Soon the race settled into two neck-and-battles - Keith and John just the length of a straight ahead of Ned and Andy. All four cars were ferociously fast and perfectly planted, recording the quickest times of the night - lap after lap after lap.
Then John made a tiny error, crashed, was marshalled quickly and dropped down to fourth, nearly a lap back. Andy's refurbished Viper seemed to be getting quicker as the final went on and gradually pulled away from Ned to keep the pressure on Keith. That pressure was intense. Could Keith win his first ever WHO A final? Keith couldn't afford to ease up, he had to go at the final laps with 100% commitment, risking disaster. It was all or nothing. The chequered flag fell, Keith had finished half a lap ahead of Andy. Ned finished on the same lap as the top two, just ahead of John - all four drivers covered by 1.05 of a lap. Was that one of the best WHO A finals ever? It probably was, but the best thing about it for Keith was that he'd won!
Huge congratulations to Keith on that all-important first win. He is now in the catbird seat for a crack at his first WHO HO championship, twenty points ahead of John with one race to go. Congrats to Ned on another stellar performance to beat his dad, Corey and John to finish third and top junior. However, Corey looks to have one hand on the WHO Mod junior championship - it would be his third in a row. Duncan won a tightly-fought WHO Tuners race, although a second place for Rick makes him favourite to claim his first WHO title in October.
Thanks to everyone for coming along and making it such an excellent evening at the Barn. Thanks to those who came early to set up and stayed late to pack away. Although not as slick and professional as Stephen, a big thank you to the race control team of Simon, Andy, Ash and Duncan for getting us through the evening. Hopefully UK Border Control will allow the McCann twins back in to the country in time for our WHO Nascar race in August.
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