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WHO Racing 2017 - all the action from the Barn

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  • WHO Racing 2017 - all the action from the Barn

    Worthing HO Racing 2017 Round One - WHO Mod

    It's a new year and a new season at the Barn. Our eighth year of racing kicked off ten days ago with round one of the WHO Modified championship. There were most definitely a few festive hangovers and winter coughs and colds in evidence amongst our racers and not everyone dragged themselves to the start line. Notable absentees were our 2016 champions Mike D and Ned, so there'd be a slightly more open field for the evening's silverware.

    Simon had designed a magnificent 100+ foot layout in a compact space. The over and underpasses, switch backs and sudden turns were quite a mental challenge and slightly stomach-churning to begin with! It was a great track to drive and gave us some exciting racing.

    The Viper chassis was the big hit of 2016 in WHO Mod. With a few rule tweaks, it looked like the set-up to run in 2017 would be Pro10 traction magnets with the standard Pro4s in the motor. Those who started the night with Pro4s in the back, soon visited the club shop to upgrade. There were several nice new lexans on show too, which certainly brightened up the grid. But the important thing was speed - and there was plenty of that out on track.

    One of the new Vipers was in the hands of Keith and he swept to pole position as the only racer to better twenty laps in the three heats that counted towards the qualifying score. Close behind was last year's WHO Mod junior champion, Corey. Third was John, who'd switched his Marchon MR1 - a multiple race and championship winner - to a Viper for 2017. He'd run the Pro4 magnets in his first two heats and upgraded to the Pro10s at halfway, so he was certainly the dark horse for the A final. All in all, the top six qualifiers were Vipers. Then came Duncan, the first of our WHO Tuners (the hard-bodied sub-class).

  • #2

    WHO Mod finals

    Simon had a wretched evening with his Tyco and found himself qualifying last, down in the F final (above). The car was essentially his all-dominant F1 Classic Cup chassis with a Lamborghini body, but it was proving difficult to drive and very fragile. Simon joined Aaron and Jamie, who'd also had frustrating evenings with their new SRTs. Things didn't get much better for the latter two, Jamie's car finally coming to a halt and Aaron's falling apart. Simon somehow managed to complete two minutes of racing - and won.

    Up in the E final (above), Andy Phillips was the sole Mod car alongside the Tuners of Ash, Simon and Richard. It was Richard who was the star man from the off, putting in some cracking laps with his Mega-G+ Nascar to pull away from a tight battle behind him. It looked like Ash would take his Mega-G+ club car to second, but a couple of crashes late on allowed Simon to sneak through and salvage something from the evening. Andy finished tantalisingly close to Ash, but had to make do with fourth.

    The D final saw two Tuners and two Mods. And it was the two Mods who led the way, with Mike's Turbo closely followed by Aiden's new BSRT G3. Two trips to the floor meant the youngster dropped back, allowing both Alan and Richard to move up. Alan's Ferrari Daytona Super-G+ was quick, but not quick enough to close the gap to Mike, who won comfortably. Richard just about hung on to third, with Aiden driving hard to make up for those early mistakes.

    Duncan was top qualifier in the C final with his impressive Super-G+ Ford GT40. The reigning Tuners champ was up against some quick Mods though. Stephen's Super-G looked the class of the field and he quickly built a decent lead. There was quite a battle between the other three, with Duncan holding his own by staying on the track - something Neil and Mike weren't doing too well. However, as the race settled down, it was Neil who began to motor. Stephen's comfortable lead evaporated in a big off late on, but he was a relieved man when the race ended and he'd still got nearly half a lap on Neil. A late spin for Duncan saw him drop behind Mike.

    The B final looked tasty. Deborah and Tony had been fast all night, Stephen's performance in the previous final has been impressive and Andy joined John by swapping to the Pro10s in his Viper. It was Andy who rocketed into the early lead, pulling away from Deborah and Tony with ease over the first forty-five seconds. He was already thinking about the A final when disaster struck and his car just stopped dead. That left Tony and Deborah to battle for the win. Deborah had the fastest car, but kept crashing in turns four and five, dropped back and then caught up again. As the end of the race loomed large, Deborah finally took the lead - and then immediately binned it in turn five. Another crash for Deborah right at the end gave Tony a win by just over a lap. Despite a slower car, the 2015 WHO Mod champion had kept it on the track.

    The A final line up was a Viper clean-sweep, two of them well used and two brand new. The opening laps were breathtaking - you could throw a handkerchief over the three cars of John, Keith and Tony. Corey lurked a few feet back. Tony was the first to slip up in the marginally more tricky yellow lane, but the other three were still going at it hammer and tongs. After a brief interlude for a break in the track, the battle recommenced. John looked good for another WHO Mod win before a couple of offs put him back in third. That left Corey - who'd driven faultlessly - a second ahead of Keith.

    With virtually nothing left on the clock, Corey made an error coming through turns six and seven. Determined to get Corey back in the race, the marshal just clipped Keith's car as he was steaming through into the lead. It was catastrophic for Keith, not only was he robbed of an almost certain first HO win, but John sped through into second, finishing just a fifth of a lap behind Corey. What a topsy-turvy way to end the A final. But that's racing!

    Huge congratulations to Corey on his record-breaking third WHO win by a junior - one each in 2015, 2016 and 2017. It was also the second January in a row that a junior picked up the WHO Mod race win. Festive hangovers? Congratulations to Duncan on his dominant Tuners win. I am sure Hayley will be back to challenge him in April and I suspect Simon will have sorted his Tyco by then too.

    No rookies tonight, but we did present Andy Phillips and Aiden (above) with their 2016 Rookie of the Year and junior rookie trophies. And it was great to welcome Terry who popped in and got some track time at the end - perhaps a contender for the 2017 Rookie title?


    • #3
      And here's the video...


      With a switch to 1/32 digital racing this week, HO is back at the Barn on Wednesday 1 February for some Nascar oval action. Then on Wednesday 22 February, we have the first race of the brand new for 2017 AFX Endurance Championship - the same school holiday team race format as the old Micro Scalextric championship, but featuring AFX Mega-G+ Le Mans Prototypes to celebrate the return of AFX to the UK...


      • #4
        Woodcote: "Simon had designed a magnificent 100+ foot layout in a compact space. The over and underpasses, switch backs and sudden turns were quite a mental challenge and slightly stomach-churning to begin with! It was a great track to drive and gave us some exciting racing.

        That's SOME track! How much practice time do you get?

        The huge cross course diagonal with the over and under must have been a hilarious distraction. I see plenty of mayhem and lots of fun.


        • #5
          Thanks MM. The answer is not very much practice at all!

          Usually we have the track running and any issues problem-solved by around 6.20pm. That gives the 18 to 24 racers only 30-40 minutes to muscle onto a lane or two to get a sighter of the track and figure out any set-up tweaks for car and controller. I usually count my first two heats as practice


          • #6
            Round 2

            Worthing HO Racing 2017 Round 2 - Nascar

            The Nascar class at WHO has become a real favourite, with some great-looking cars and the excitement and demands of oval racing. Getting Nascar fanatic Keith on board to help organise the championship has vastly improved the variety and realism of the ovals.

            This time out we went short-track racing - the bread and butter of the North American stock car scene. The twenty-six foot oval with nine foot straights looked tiny in the middle of the Barn, but it really packed a punch. Get it right, and a few drivers managed to lap in one and a half seconds. Get it wrong, and an off would cost a couple of laps - even if the marshals were lightning quick...

            Twenty-two racers took up the challenge, including an HO debut for three-time WHO/digital medal-winner Jonathon. Before the racing, there was the business of presenting certificates to the 2016 WHO top dogs - the first three in all the 2016 championship and all the junior champion winners. Our printers had certainly been busy. Well done to all the recipients.

            We also had time to look over the new AFX Endurance Champions set, fresh from Sussex Model Centre in Worthing, plus a couple of Auto World Indy Cars, now stocked by Slot Cars Direct in Derby. Good times for buying HO in the UK. Then it was back to the racing...

            The heats were quick and sometimes chaotically scrappy. The big run-off areas did help the marshals and so wreckage-free clean runs were more common than anticipated with the short track length. There was a big difference between each lane, with breaking points and therefore the rhythm subtly different. Most people found the inside yellow lane just a little too tight, but then Mike D threw down a 71 lap score, the second highest of the night in any lane and one of only three scores over seventy laps.

            At the half way stage, it was no surprise that Mike D was top of the pile, followed by John, Andy Player and Keith. Aaron had put in a couple of cracking opening heats and was comfortably top junior. Not much changed at the top after the second pair of heats, however in the battle for the junior medal, Ned recovered well to beat Aaron's aggregate heat score by half a lap.

            To be continued...


            • #7

              Nascar finals

              After winning the WHO Mod race last time out, Corey found himself dead last and in the G final with Jonathon, Aiden and Deborah. All had struggled in the heats but they now had the opportunity to put things right. Corey crashed at the first corner and that summed up his night with the Mega-G. It was Deborah and Jonathon who lead the way, lapping closely and consistently. Aiden dropped back with too many offs, and then Deborah did the same, leaving Jonathon to pull out a decent gap. Try all she could, Deborah could not make up the ground and it was Jonathon who took a confident and mature win.

              Up in the F final, it was a case of déjà vu, as a close battle between red and white lanes ensued. This time is was Mike McCann in the outer white lane and Rick in red. It was good to see Rick's quick Mega-G+ on an oval for the first time and he worked hard to keep up with Mike's Super-G+. However, it was Mike who kept it clean and pulled out a gap over Rick by the end. Behind them, Hayley's short-wheelbase (non-Gen6) Mega-G+ beat Jonathon to third.

              There was a nice variety of cars in the E final - Alex's Life Like, Neil's Mega-G, Mike McCann's Super-G+ and Ash with the blue Mega-G+ club car. This was another very tight battle that had an epic finish. The start was pretty good too, as all four drivers lapped within inches of each other. Alex was the first to fall in the inside yellow lane. Neil led the way in white, followed by Ash in blue and Mike in red. There were crashes for all and it was Ash who held the lead going into the second minute. Then we all watched, transfixed as Neil slowly ate into Ash's modest advantage - and not many noticed that Mike was gaining on both of them.

              As the clock ran down, Neil just eased into the lead, only for Ash to pass back again. Out of the blue, an off in Turn Four ended Neil's chances. Ash crossed the line the winner, with Neil a lap and a half back and just half a lap ahead of Mike. Alex's score in yellow was a good one, but only enough for fourth.

              After all that excitement, the D final looked a straightforward win for Aaron to give him a shot against Ned to win the junior medal. His Super-G+ was quick and he was driving well and he left Andy Phillips, Jamie and Ash in his tyre tracks. By halfway he was nine laps up and he had stretched that to over ten laps when he had an innocuous off in Turn Two. The body popped off but that was no problem with such a lead. However it was more complicated, with the body clip askew and the three pieces - clip, chassis and body - refusing to fit back together.

              Aaron's lead swiftly evaporated as the marshals struggled with the car. By the time he was back on track, both Ash and Andy had slipped past and there was no time to catch them. That was massive bad luck on a day when Aaron has really found some potential medal-winning form. Everyone was gutted for Aaron, but Ash - rather apologetically - took an excellent win in yellow lane for a second step-up.

              It was back to some extremely close racing in the C final. This time Ash couldn't stay with the other three, who were lapping very quickly and reasonably error-free. The race settled down to Ned's Super-G+ and Tony's Mega-G+ lapping within inches of each other and Simon just sitting back a little and waiting. It was mesmeric stuff and incredible that they could keep it up for almost the full two minutes.

              With not long to go, Ned and Tony came together, were marshalled beautifully and were back at it, with a hopeful Simon just a little bit closer. Perhaps Ned got back into his rhythm quicker or suddenly found a little more pace. Either way, he finished almost the length of the back straight ahead of Tony - a massive lead of eight feet in a race where the lead had rarely been more than eight inches. A cracking two minutes of short-track oval action.

              The B final was another enthralling race. Stephen headed off into an early lead, with his Super-G+ holding a two lap advantage after thirty seconds of racing over Keith's Mega-G+ and Duncan's Life Like. Keith fought back to within inches of Stephen's car, before an off dropped him behind Duncan. That's how close it was. Behind them, Ned was struggling in yellow lane. As the race reached halfway, Stephen had re-established his two lap lead over the chasing duo, Duncan one second ahead of Keith.

              With half a minute to go, the gap was the same, but now Keith was leading the challenge. The pressure was getting to everyone, Stephen pulling out a couple more laps before he had a late off in Turn One, which could have proved very costly. The marshals did their job and Stephen held his nerve, giving him a well-deserved win and the much-prized step-up to the A final.

              Stephen moved up to yellow lane in the A final, with pole-sitter Mike D in blue, John in red and Andy's lone Mega-G+ in white. It was another rapid start and some breath-taking formation flying - until Stephen crashed and Mike and John's Super-Gs gradually pulled out a gap on Andy. Then it all got a bit crashy for a while, giving the lead briefly to Andy, John taking over when Andy crashed, followed by more offs for Mike, one taking out John. At halfway, it was Andy who had a small lead of about a lap, ahead of a fast-charging Mike.

              All his errors had got to Mike. Past experience suggested he would either get his act together or fall apart. Andy was hoping for the latter, but the club champion was on a charge that would be fast and error-free to the chequered flag. In that form, Mike is unstoppable. Behind, John still thought he had a chance and closed right up on Andy. That battle got scrappy, John taking out Andy's car in Turn Three. That was almost enough to get back on terms, but the gap was a lap and a half at the flag. Ahead, Mike's six lap winning margin showed what a stunning second half of the race he put together.

              Huge congratulations to Mike on his win - and to Ned for winning another junior medal, Alex as top under-11, Jonathon as top rookie and Andy Player for his Gen6 Cup win. A big thanks to everyone who came along, raced so hard and made it a very enjoyable night on the short-track oval. Special thanks goes to Stephen for running race control so well and to everyone who came early to set up and stayed late to pack away.

              The ovals will get bigger this season, but I think the short-track definitely gets the thumbs-up for a return in 2018


              • #8
                And here's a video...



                • #9
                  Next up at the Barn...

                  In two weeks time we have the debut race of our AFX Endurance Championship, celebrating the return of AFX to the UK. The championship is made up of three team races and one individual heats & finals 'sprint' race - all take place in the school holidays and are aimed at giving the public a fun and engaging first taste of HO club racing.

                  Back last summer, Steve from AFX took up the offer of switching the branding of our club's successful Micro Scalextric championship format. That promised good local exposure for AFX and, of course, we get to run the sumptuous LMP Peugeot 908s and the superior Mega-G+ chassis. Steve has been way too busy on more important things since then and so we've not got the cars and prizes that were planned. We'll just make do for this first race, raiding our collections for the LMP bodies and using the club's Mega-G+ chassis. And we have the usual WHO medals as prizes.

                  There's already a little bit of local print media coverage this week, plus plenty of local social media exposure and the plan for some radio spots the week of the event - hopefully to bring in some new racers and showcase the new AFX products available in the UK. That includes an Endurance Champions set that we'll have at the Barn for people to look at and then order (at a reduced price) via Sussex Model Centre, a Worthing hobby store. The championship is good for the club, good for AFX and good for the hobby.

                  The first race will be on a slightly extended Le Mans track - although still tiny by comparison to the Derby track...

                  The Easter team race will run on the Circuit of the Americas, the summer sprint race at Fuji and the final race - the Halloween team race - at Silverstone
                  Last edited by woodcote; 02-09-2017, 03:55 AM. Reason: added link to article in The Argus


                  • #10
                    Brilliant stuff.


                    • #11
                      Great job Andy. Clearly a thriving club and a great advert for HO racing


                      • #12
                        Thanks Doug. Your club is a great advert for HO racing too

                        And here's the article from the Argus website...

                        Plus I need to pick up this week's Worthing Herald as we've already had a couple of inquiries from an article in there.


                        • #13
                          In print...

                          I finally got to the library and photographed the two articles, the first from last Tuesday's regional daily, The Argus...

                          And the second from this week's local weekly, the Worthing Herald...

                          And there's also the local monthly 'what's on' paper Here & Now, delivered free to 30,000 homes in Worthing...


                          • #14
                            Hey! You guys are famous!


                            • #15
                              Final preparations...

                              I'm really looking forward to tomorrow - should be a good night at the Barn and hopefully some new faces trying out HO slot car racing for the first time.

                              While we're waiting for the promised cars and prizes from AFX, I've put together (from my collection) a grid of LMPs - the two Matmut cars, one of the 2008 Le Mans factory cars and a special 'Renault' re-livery...

                              After those cars have been run hard (and probably trashed), the winning team will go home with the usual WHO medals, a Le Mans sticker each - plus the team captain (always a youngster) will take away a very cool Team Oreca Matmut baseball cap...