Not a bad Easter holiday turn-out of twenty-one tonight. Simon had certainly provided us with an eggcellent track - wonderfully fast and flowing, but requiring maximum concentration...
There was some incredibly close side-by-side racing in the heats and some very big scores...
We ended up with a very similar A final to last time, with Tony replacing John in the fourth spot...
There were some great finals tonight, but the A final was rightfully the best. Gareth chipping away at Deborah's lead and moving ahead with only 19 seconds to go - depriving Deborah of a second successive HO win. However, she does move to the top of the Club Championship table. Here are the results of all the finals...
Big congratulations to Gareth on his first WHO A final win since May 2011! Congrats to Corey, who is the first repeat winner of 2018 in our HO races - we've had four different race winners and three different junior winners.
Championship tables are being loaded onto the website now and more pictures of the evening are over on Flickr.
A race report and video will follow in the next couple of days, with a bit of luck
What was great about the track was how close the top five cars were on laps times - yet all the cars were getting the time in different places. I think Tony's car was pretty equal to mine on the straight, but we both had to lift so much more in the corners. I'm still not quite sure how you caught Deborah - it was an amazing effort and a well-deserved win. Hopefully you'll get your next before March 2025
Twenty-one racers took to the grid for the first of two Easter holiday races at the Barn. Simon had designed a super track, a perfect combination of fast, flowing and tricky. It gave us some eggstremely close racing.
The field was dominated by thirteen Viper cars in WHO Mod, plus three Mega-G+ and two Super-Gs in WHO Tuners. Before the heats began, Rick was presented with his trophy and certificate for winning the Tuners championship in 2017.
We had a glimpse of what the evening would hold in the first pair of heats - Gareth, Corey and Terry running fast and close, with Matthew not far behind. Deborah raised the pace a notch in her first heat - a huge 23.55 in red - but it was January's race winner, Andy who topped the charts at halfway, having completed the favoured red and blue lanes. Andy was 0.40 of a lap ahead of Gareth, with Deborah, Corey, Tony, Terry and Jerome all bunched within a couple of laps. Simon was top Tuner.
Gareth finished with very strong runs on blue and red, throwing down the gauntlet to his rivals. Deborah struggled in yellow and Andy was pretty average in white, leaving just one heat for them to challenge Gareth. It was a cracking heat. Deborah set the highest score of the heats with a 24.05 in blue, leaving her exactly half a lap behind Gareth. Andy's 22.75 in yellow was equal best in that lane and his best score of the night, but not enough to trouble the top two.
In the final group, Tony had a chance to break into the A final - his car was quick on the straights and was working well with his new Truspeed controller. A 22 in yellow and a 21 in blue left him fourth, top of the B final.
The G final saw Mike McCann's Mod Super-G up against the two Tuners of Rick and Ash. It should have been no contest, but started off a very close race. Crashes for the two Mega-G+ Nascars let Mike get away, but his lead over Ash was still just a lap with thirty seconds to go. Ash and Rick were having a great scrap for second and it finished with Mike winning by just under two laps and Ash beating Rick by a fifth of a lap.
Mike moved up from yellow to white in the F final and had a bit of a crash-fest, including an early off under the bridge. In front of him, it was incredibly close between Duncan, Daniel and Andy Phillips. Duncan was driving his Tuners GT40 magnificently, just about keeping his Mod rivals at bay. At half way, the gap to Daniel was just 0.7 seconds, which stretched to 3 seconds (about half a lap) with half a minute to go. That's how it stayed, with Duncan delighted with his win. Daniel beat Andy by just under a lap.
Up in the E final, it was Duncan's turn for what was becoming a traditional first lap crash in white. That put him at the back and he didn't recover. In the meantime, Neil, Peter and Matthew were lapping in formation - all still on the same lap at halfway. Neil slowly stretched out a half lap lead over Peter, Matthew falling away a little. Neil made it a third Super-G win a row, but Peter's close second place with the Tuners Mega-G+ was an exceptional performance.
Neil stepped up into white in the D final and didn't crash on the first lap. Indeed, he ran a very close second to Keith in the early stages. At halfway, Neil had dropped back and it was Simon's rapid Tuners Super-G that was a half lap behind Keith's leading Viper. Ned was struggling, but had managed to stay on the lead lap. Disaster then struck for Neil - a trip the floor dislodged shoes and springs and he retired. In the closing stages, Ned passed Simon for second, but Keith had disappeared down the road, winning by a very comfortable two and a half laps.
We had the unusual sight of Mike Dadson in the C final. Still working on his new Viper, he had speed, but couldn't keep the car on the track. It was a rapid start with Jerome, Hayley and Keith all having quick cars. Jerome crashed out of the lead in the loop before the long straight, gifting the lead to Mike. The youngster fought back, but then crashed again in exactly the same spot. Mike was keeping it all together and held a four second lead over Jerome at halfway, with Hayley not far behind and Keith a little further back. The gaps remained pretty much the same with thirty seconds to go, Mike finding the rhythm and composure to stay on the track and stay ahead of Jerome. As the chequered flag fell, Mike had stretched his lead to just under a lap, Hayley was a further lap back.
Tony had qualified top of the B final and had surprisingly chosen yellow lane. That left Terry in blue, Corey in red and Mike in white. Having gone for two minutes crash-free to win the C final, it all went pear-shaped for Mike from the start. A couple of early offs and then a big trip to the floor put him firmly at the back of the field. That left Corey the early leader, a fraction ahead of Tony and Terry. At halfway, Corey and Tony were running side-by-side - the gap through the line an amazing 0.00 seconds! Crashes had undone Corey in the heats and it was a couple of late crashes that put him out of contention here, dropping him a lap back, then two. To add insult to injury, Terry passed him right at the end. At least the junior medal was secure. Tony's choice of yellow had proved a good one - he was quick and confident and error-free, winning by three laps in the end.
Gareth had grabbed only his second-ever WHO pole position and had chosen red in the A final. It was a brave move - it gave Deborah blue lane, where she'd set the highest score of the night so far. Deborah was on for her second successive WHO race win; Gareth hadn't won a WHO A final since May 2011. And there were two other quick cars that would pick up the pieces if the top two qualifiers faltered.
It was Deborah who made the better start, immediately pulling a useful gap on her rivals, with Gareth best of the rest. Tony had a first lap crash under the bridge and rejoined a lap down. Andy struggled hard to hang on to the top two and a crash coming up to halfway put him a lap down. Gareth had pushed hard to stop Deborah extending her early lead and began slowly to chip away a few hundredths here and there. As the race passed the halfway point, his gains started to increase. With half a minute to go, Gareth's car was just inches away from Deborah's. Pushing hard for the win, Gareth eased into the lead with only 19 seconds to go. Deborah threw everything she could at getting the lead back, but a couple of spins at the hairpin finished her chances. She was safe in second - ending nearly a lap down on Gareth, but still almost a lap ahead of Andy.
It had been a cracking final; a perfect race to watch - incredibly close and with a successful chase and late lead change. Gareth was understandably delighted and Deborah not too desperately unhappy, having moved herself into the lead of the Club Championship.
Huge congratulations to our winners! I certainly expect more wins for Gareth this season and he has to be favourite for the Mod title as some of his key rivals will miss the final round in October. Corey became the only repeat HO medal winner of 2018 - we've had four different race winners and three top juniors. Jerome won top rookie honours yet again and is neck-and-neck with Corey at the top of the junior championship. Simon had a dominant run in WHO Tuners, his Super-G looking pretty good for the final two races in July and October.
A big thank you to everyone who took part and for making it another excellent evening at the Barn. Special thanks go to the set-up squad, the tear-down crew and to the dream-team on race control.
We're back at the Barn next Wednesday for the second part of our Easter holiday programme - the first round of the 2018 Worthing AFX Endurance Championship.
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