Saturday night saw a break in the current run of unseasonably hot weather, with very heavy ran and thunder storms. There was some worry that this would render the track unsuitable for running, but the Clanfield regulars new better. The track drains incredibly well, and with the rain stopping at about 0400 the track was in mint condition when the racers rocked up. The weather may have put a few racers off, but numbers made for three heats of qualifiers, one truggy and two buggy. Race format for the day was four rounds, two to count and thirty minute finals for all. A bargain for a tenner!
Round one qualifying went pretty well. With a damp/wet track I elected to stick a fresh set of LRP Harikkari's on, in Super Soft and these hooked up really well. I managed an 8 lapper, but was lucky as a small flip two laps from the end resulted in a snapped front shock standoff. I think titanium replacements are called for, as the standard Losi items seem to be made of cheese. A result of 8 in 5:41 was good enough for third in the round, behind Jimbo Tatlow and Tony RC.
With the truggy fixed round 2 went better, same set-up but a drier track and cleaner run netting an 8 in 5:28 for second behind Jimbo. tiny had a 'mare with traffic and wound up well down the order for this one. Dave O'Brien stepped up to third, posting his first ever 8 lap run at Clanfield followed by Adam Bailey, knocking on the 8 lap door in his last ever run with his Hyper ST... rumors abound of a switch to Losi in the near future.
Round three was my disaster round. Running quicker than round two having switched to a soft compound Kamikaze tyre, the engine came loose three minutes in ending my quali. It was good enough for fifth in round, but was guaranteed to be dropped. Tony took TQ in the round with a blistering 8 in 5:18, with Lee Warren second on his return to the track after a long absence coming in third, fractions of a second ahead of James T.
A brief shower damped the track down at this point, but the rain passed through swiftly only really effecting the buggy boys. In did give us time to consume some of the sausages Lee W had kindly stuck on the BBQ for us.
Heat four, and back on to the Harri's for me, the track being wet again. Second in round, a solid 8 in 5:23 the reward. A couple of stupid errors cost time, but an OK result. Tony RC is flying at this point, laying down a clean 8 in 5:10 for what must be close to a club record run. James T comes in third about 10 seconds back on me.
The final tally gives Tony and James 400 points, but Tony's blistering runs give him TQ and the big qualifying points. James is second, and I'm third, all of us comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. It should be an interesting final!
In buggy the Agama flock are all in action, Jon 'Little Bo Peep' Wolfe (!) taking TQ as usual with 'the' Fribbers in second and new buggy convert Mark Byrne in third. Mr B feels even better when he realises he's out qualified protoge Jamie Kerr, cue a small victory dance in the pits.
After a quick lunch break its finals time, starting with the buggy B. It's a bit of a scrappy affair with a number of mechanicals, not least Ben Elliot. Having qualified his Agama A8 Evo out of place he's flying in the final with the best part of a lap lead when his motor come's loose, and a front drive shaft gives up the ghost. Game over... and very hard luck as he was dominating at the point. In the end the top four who get the bump are Michael Daniel (Losi), Paul 'Berky' Berkinshaw (AE and nothing else), Jordan Young (first out with his Durango) and Neal Beagley (Kyosho).
Next up, truggy time. The start is typical truggy carnage. Tony and I get away clean, but Jimbo get's taken out multiple times and is the victim of some frankly atrocious marshaling. His car is ignored, marshaled pointing in the wrong direction and then marshaled onto the pipe. This drops him to last, well off the back of the pack and sparks a stunning fight back. Tony and I are duking it out for the lead, and I eventually get past Tony and pull out a gap which I hold for about eight minutes... before having a couple of messy laps (and some more dodgy marshaling, I mean how hard is it to put the car down pointing in the right direction?). This lets Tony and hard charging Jimbo through. The three of us have the race sown up at this point, but I get me head down and dig in to go after Jimbo... I can close the gap but I just can't quite get on terms with him. Then, he's out with about ten minutes left. His new LiFE receiver pack gives up the ghost and he has to retire. This leaves Tony an me to cruise on home first and second, Jimbo is in third as we've lapped the field so many times that they can't catch up. Losi domination in the Big Dumb Truck class. A great race and very enjoyable... a shame for Jimbo but I'll take the points thanks mate!
Truggy A final podium: Losi clean sweep!
I can't say much on the A final buggys as I was marshalling not watching. I know there were cuts and mechanicals all over the shop, and that the final results were Les T (XRay) in third, Grant Fribbings (JQ) second with Francois Nerriere (Kyosho) first. No idea what happened to the flock, Jamie Kerr was first Agama home in fifth.
Buggy A final podium, the back of Berky's head and no Agamas
All in all another top days racing... thanks to all at Clanfield for the effort, especially Chris Spencer-Smith in race control. Top job chief. Also got to give props to my pit men, Berky in the qualies and Jon Wolfe and my mentor Mr Byrne himself in the finals. We'll all be back again in two weeks for round 3 and more of the same.
Cheers to Adam Bailey for the photos. Full results on the Clanfield website here.