May Day this year was a perfect excuse for some HO Nascar oval racing May-Hem. Moving on from February's short-track oval, we built a fast fifty-foot tri-oval with a couple of particularly tricky corners - turns one and two were certainly tight for a big Nascar track and the flat turn four would catch out plenty of racers from the first heat right through to the A final.
Eighteen racers took to the grid at seven o'clock. Good scores in the first round of heats looked to be in the mid to high thirty laps, with only Andy and John getting into the forties - Andy leading John by just under two laps at half way. Third was Duncan, showing some excellent pace with his Life Like. Mike D was fourth and Matthew and Keith the top Gen6 runners in fifth and sixth. Ryan lead Oliver and Alex in the junior rankings - they were seventh, eighth and ninth overall.
The pace increased in the second round of heats. In the first group, Alex scored 39 and 42 to jump up to third overall - ahead of Duncan and Mike. Alex's impressive score on white was the best of the heats. Mike had missed out on practice and started on the gutter lanes. However, he bounced back and his second two heats were huge - a 44 and a 45 in blue and red. Andy could only respond with a 41 and 42 in yellow and white, handing provisional pole to Mike. That left John, who was also finishing in the preferred blue and red lanes. Although very quick, offs in both lanes meant he stayed third, three laps behind Andy and two laps ahead of Alex in fourth.
There was a big gap of eight laps from the top four back to Keith in fifth. Sixth was Jerome, Matthew seventh and Duncan eighth. With lane choices made, we were ready to start the finals...
The F final was a McCann sandwich, with Steve the filling. It was Mike and Daniel who made a quick getaway with their Super-Gs, but a crash soon put Daniel back in third. Steve settled into a strong second, half a lap behind Mike with a minute gone. Daniel was having problems on white lane through turn four and dropped right back. Steve had his own issues near the end, leaving Mike to win by a comfortable two and a half laps.
It was two Mega-G+ and two Super-Gs in the E final. A big pile up on the main straight saw Deborah escape unscathed and Mike, Ash and Peter get held up. Peter's Super-G was left stranded and he had a lot of ground to make up. But there was plenty of time... After a minute, Deborah had a one lap lead over Ash. It was a crashy race, which helped Ash get the gap down to 0.15 seconds with a quarter of the race left. Ash grabbed the lead with seventeen seconds to go, the two Mega-G+ cars running in close formation to the end. Going through the line for the last time, Ash's lead was 0.08 seconds. The two cars swept through turn two side-by-side as the power was cut. As they came to a stop, Deborah's car was just ahead - her rear wheels level with the nose of Ash's car. It doesn't get much closer than that! Mike was just over a lap back in third, Peter a further two laps adrift.
Terry was the sole Super-G in the D final, up against Deborah, Simon and Ryan who were all battling for Gen6 Cup points. Deborah crashed out of yellow lane at turn two of the first lap, but recovered well - all four cars covered by two seconds at quarter distance. Terry had just managed to put a lap on Ryan with a minute gone, Simon staying ahead of Deborah. The race settled down into a pattern - the gaps between each car staying at around one lap. Terry managed to stretch his lead to nearly three laps at the end - Ryan coming in second, Simon third and Deborah fourth.
We had Matthew's Mega-G+, two Super-Gs and Duncan's Like Like in the C final. It was a fast and mostly clean two minutes - Oliver first to crash and dropping to the back. Duncan lead at half way, Matthew had passed Terry for second and Oliver was quick but crashy in fourth. That's how it stayed - Matthew couldn't make any impression on Duncan's lead, the winning margin just over two laps.
It was good to see another diverse field in the B final and a contest for the junior medal. Alex was quickly away, hotly pursued by the others. Jerome was first to crash, but recovered to third at half distance when Duncan suffered his own excursions into the scenery. Alex led Keith by a lap, a lead he stretched to two laps at three-quarter distance and three laps at the chequered flag. Duncan and Jerome had a big smash near the end, Jerome limping home third.
Mike launched away into the lead at the start of the A final - the other three fearing it would be the last they'd see of him. Andy, John and Alex ran pretty much side-by-side for the first thirty seconds, until John had his first off and Andy pulled out a small gap on Alex. Mike had just lapped Andy at half-distance and looked to put on the afterburners, soon coming round to try and add a second lap to his lead. However, an uncharacteristic off for Mike in turn four put the field back within just over a lap - Alex and John still not far behind Andy.
Mike's wobble turned into disaster as another turn four mishap saw his lead evaporate. John got caught up in Mike's mayhem and stripped his pinion - that was pretty much race over for him. A big one on the main straight followed - Andy and Alex had to slow but got through unscathed, Mike lost a couple of laps and John called it a day. With less than twenty seconds left, Mike had too much to do - Andy was half a lap ahead of Alex, just 1.6 seconds as they passed the line for the final time. A surprised Andy gladly took the win, with Alex a tantalising six tenths of a lap behind. Mike finished a lap behind Alex, with John back in the garage.
Congratulations to our winners - Andy for the race win, Alex as top junior and Keith for another Gen6 Cup win. A big thanks to everyone who came along for an exciting and highly-enjoyable evening's racing. Special thanks goes to the set up crew, the race control team and to everyone who stayed behind to pack away. We're back later in the month for a WHO/digital Wednesday on 22 May.
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