I'm going back to my roots and racing in Tuners tomorrow in readiness for a title tilt next year.
I did some analysis and in 2014, my last Tuners campaign, I was running an average of 0.3 seconds a lap off of the winning Mod car compared to the previous two years where the average laptime gap between Tuner and Mod is 1.8 seconds.
Factors to consider are that the lap lengths have been much longer recently and the Vipers are way faster on the straights than the old Level 52 Super Gs which is where my car made a lot of its gains. So I'm expecting to still have a similar gap to the Mods that the other Tuners have.
Edit: Track plan posted as I posted. Looks awesome!
It was a fab evening of racing at the Barn last night - 21 on the grid, including Jack on his WHO debut. The track was fast and very challenging...
The heats were intense with performances on the gutter lanes vital for a good spot in the finals...
There were some spectacular performances in the finals, especially Matthew's three step-ups - he couldn't quite make the A final, which looked like this...
And these are all the finals results and stats...
Massive congratulations to Jerome who became only the fourth junior to win a WHO HO A final - the others were Ashley, Corey (3) and Ned (2). Jerome took home both medals, retained his WHO Mod Junior championship crown and finished runner-up to Andy in the full WHO Mod championship. Not a bad night...
Gareth just pipped Simon to the WHO Tuners win on the night, but Keith comfortably finished top in the championship. So our first WHO HO champions of 2019 are...
And with two club rounds (Nascar and F1) plus an AFX team race, we have four more sets of HO champions to decide - and there are some pretty close battles from F1 to Nascar and for Rookie of the Year. All the regular season championship tables are here - the AFX team championship table is here. And the WHO Hall of Fame had been updated here.
Our 2019 WHO Mod championship finale was a fabulous event. The 21 racers on the grid included Jack making his WHO debut - although he would have to return home with his mum at 8 o'clock. The battle for top rookie honours would be a feature of the evening, with no fewer than five first-year racers taking part.
With John not able to attend, the WHO Mod championship looked to be heading Andy's way, but neither Jerome or Peter was completely out of the hunt - Andy would need to come no higher than eighth and Jerome win, or twelfth with a win for Peter. Unlikely, but not impossible. Jerome had the junior championship wrapped up and Keith looked reasonably secure in WHO Tuners, eight points ahead of Deborah.
Simon had designed us a stunning track - it had no straight longer than ten feet, plenty of high speed wiggles and two tight 180-degree corners. It could be driven fast, but was an enormous challenge to complete two minutes of racing without at least one off.
The heats got off to a hectic start, with high speeds and lots of crashes to keep the marshals on their toes. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the evening! Starting on the middle lanes, Ryan was the quickest of the first group, but he was soon eclipsed by Terry in group two and then Jerome and Andy who looked to be a little way ahead of everyone else.
After everyone had done two heats, Andy led Jerome by three laps, Terry was a lap further back and then Oliver, Peter, Ryan, Mike D and Matthew were all very close together about nine laps back from the top. Gareth was top Tuner in ninth place, with Alan top of the rookies in fourteenth place.
The order was shaken up through the second set of heats very much depending on what lanes people had left to go. Jerome absolutely nailed yellow lane - managing a massive 24.25 laps, the best of anyone in any lane - to grab pole by 0.70 of a lap. Andy was second and confirmed as WHO Mod champion. Terry was third - seven laps back - ahead of Peter in fourth and Oliver in fifth. Gareth's Life Like remained best of the WHO Tuners in eighth, just one place ahead of Simon's Super-G. Alan led the rookie qualifiers - all racing Mega-G+ club cars - with Simon R just ahead of Harry and then Max. Had Jack stayed and repeated the scores of his first two lanes (yellow and blue), he would have fitted in between Alan and Simon...
With Jack back at home, the G final was a duel between Rick in red lane and Max in blue. Neither driver got off the line very quickly and Rick's Mega-G+ sounded like a bag of nails, before it ground to a halt on the first lap. A pit stop left him four laps down and with Max driving Gareth's spare Life Like nicely, all that was left for Rick was the opportunity to ham it up for the video camera... Max won by that four lap margin.
That gave Max white lane in the F final, which was the battle of the rookies - he joined Alan, Simon R and Harry. Gareth had loaned Life Likes to both the youngsters, but Harry failed to spot his car off the line, giving the other three a big head start. By quarter distance, Harry was up to third, ahead of Max, but it was Simon and Alan having an excellent dice at the front, swapping the lead back and forth. However, Harry was closing fast and took the lead just before half way. Simon held second, Alan was third and Max fourth. Alan was not finished, closing in and passing Simon - only to crash at the first corner and his car ending up on the floor. The chequered flag fell and Harry won by two and half laps, Simon grabbing second by just half a lap and Max rolling in fourth.
Harry moved up to yellow in the E final to join Ash and the rapid Vipers of Mike Mc and Matthew, both of whom had frustrating heats and certainly had cars capable of challenging much higher up the grid. It was Mike's turn to have a dodgy start - his car flying off at turn two and ending up on the floor. Matthew led Harry in the early stages, but a big off for Matthew meant the youngster was five seconds ahead of Ash in second at quarter distance. Matthew's Viper was blisteringly fast and he was back in the lead at halfway, Harry second and Ash third. It was Mike's turn to mount a charge through the second half of the race, passing Ash and then closing in on Harry, just squeaking past at the end. It had been a great drive by the youngster to finish fifteenth overall, fifth Tuner and top rookie.
Matthew was delighted to stay in blue for the D final. He was up against Daniel's Viper and the top two Mega-G+ Tuners of Keith and Deborah. It was disaster for Daniel at the start, he'd picked up the wrong car - the one that didn't work - so he was stranded on the line until the two Mikes sorted him out with the right car. That left him three laps down on the others. Matthew had an excellent drive, pulling away from Keith and Deborah. Problems for Deborah meant Daniel was up to third at halfway, driving really fast and smoothly, but still two laps back from Keith and three from Matthew. The second half of the race was quick and clean, the chequered flag coming out with Matthew four and a half laps ahead of Keith, Daniel third, just a few inches ahead of Deborah.
The C final was probably the most exciting of the night to watch. Matthew led Gareth's Tuners Life Like by a fraction of a second at quarter distance - Simon's Tuners Super-G and Ryan's BSRT G3 were not far behind. After a minute, Matthew had stretched his lead to four seconds over Simon, but then had a big crash. Simon's time in the lead didn't last long, with Matthew recovering well. Then, with about 25 seconds to go, Matthew crashed heavily again and his rear axle popped. That dropped him to third - just ahead of Ryan in a tightly bunched field. Back on track, Matthew piled on the pressure. He passed Gareth and then sneaked past Simon in the final few seconds. Simon also lost second place to Gareth on the last lap - the top three were covered by less than three metres. Ryan was just a lap back.
Matthew's third straight win kept him in white lane for the B final. Inexplicably, he picked up the wrong controller (one that wasn't plugged in) and lost a lap as he was stranded on the line. Up against Peter, Oliver and Mike D, he couldn't afford such generosity. And he was flustered by his error, making mistakes early on to increase his deficit to three laps at quarter distance. Mike was in the lead, racing a different car to the one he used in the heats. It was working well for him - he had a four second gap to Peter, which he stretched to a lap at half way. It was a crashy final for all four drivers, but Mike kept it cleaner than most, reaching the chequered flag a lap ahead of Peter and five laps ahead of Oliver. Matthew was nearly nine laps adrift of the winner, his magnificent charge up the field falling flat at the final hurdle.
That just left the A final. Jerome and Andy looked to be the class of the field, but the first lap gremlins struck the new champion - Andy binning his car at turn two. Jerome got away, but Andy scythed his way through the field to take the lead at the end of lap three. That lead lasted less than a lap, as another crash let Jerome past and Andy was 4.5 seconds adrift at quarter distance. Andy gradually closed the gap to Jerome and led briefly again before a third crash. Jerome was now in a great rhythm, driving flawlessly and all the pressure was on Andy. A fourth crash put Andy nearly a lap down with thirty seconds to go and that was too much. Jerome crossed the line after a masterful performance to take his first ever individual HO race win and made him only the fourth junior to win a WHO HO A final after Ashley, Corey (three wins) and Ned (two wins).
Massive congratulations to Jerome on his achievement - and also for wrapping up a commanding WHO Mod Junior championship win and finishing second overall to Andy. Gareth picked up the WHO Tuners win, just pipping Simon by the smallest of margins - but the championship went to Keith after an excellent season with his Mega-G+ Camaro. Harry finished top rookie to make the 2019 Rookie of the Year competition very interesting with three rounds to go - Simon R leads, with Harry and Max not far behind.
A big thank you to everyone who came along and made it such an excellent night at the Barn. Special thanks goes to Simon for designing a superb track, the set-up crew who built it, the McCanns on race control and to those who stayed to pack away. We're back on Wednesday 30 October for the final AFX Endurance Championship race of the year.
What a great night of racing we had once again. Congratulations to our three champions and Jerome on his superb win.
It was so nice to be reunited with my Lifelike again and to give Keith especially such a big scare about how quick it goes! Still a very tricky car to keep on track for 2 minutes without crashes. I could have run a lower rear end. The good news for me is I have all 6 cars now prepped and ready to rock for January.
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