Report and pictures by Shaun Thompson (Section PRO)
Following a fantastic first round at Hinckley on a pretty tight and technical track, Torbay laid on something completely different to challenge the skills of the racers with some awesome features and a fast flowing track this was going to be one exciting day of racing!
First job of the day as ever was drivers’ briefing which featured the usual formalities followed by the presentation of the section award to John Howe of RC Images who as well as being a committed Micro Racer has become the section’s official photographer. John’s work delights us all as he works hard to capture the essence of our events. His commitment was recognized by the section committee in giving him this award.
John Howe receives the section award from Chairman Phil Sleigh
Next up was the concours competition, it never ceases to amaze me the intricacy of design that goes into the body shells that adorn our racing chassis. I recently invested in a new shell and employed the services of Phil from Blaster Paints (find him on Facebook) to create the design for me. Now I’ve been back in the RC world for coming up to 2 years after a long break of probably 30 years and in those almost 2 years I haven’t managed to pick up a single trophy! Well all that changed courtesy of Phil’s amazing painting as my own Carisma GTB caught the judge’s eye and took the concours prize.
My concours winning shell painted by Blaster Paints
Practice began ahead of schedule as the committee recognized that some of us would have very long drives home at the end of the day and an early finish if possible would be very much appreciated. As the racers got to grips with the track’s features it was clear that the day would be as much about how good your car would be in the air as it would be on the ground. The track build team at Torbay had in my opinion got it spot on with this track offering a challenge to our skills but not something completely undriveable.
As heat 1 kicked off round 1 of qualifying it was clear that James Baxter had the fastest car in the heat putting at least a lap on everyone with a 15 lap run ahead of Paul Rose in second with 14 laps and our youngest racer Freddie (That’s my Boy) Thompson recording an impressive 13 lap run.
Heat 2 saw another one of our younger drivers showing the grown-ups how it’s done as Josh Hardwick put in 15 lap run ahead of Sam Guppy also on 15 laps.
Looking bright eyed and bushy tailed following a very early start to travel down from his South Wales base our resident shopkeeper Paul ‘Arkwright’ Knight of Trackside Spares graced heat 3 with a winning 15 lap run, 10 seconds ahead of micro newcomer Jonathan May.
Heat 3 drivers on the rostrum
Heat 4 seemed to mark a change of pace as the competitors maybe having watched the earlier heats were putting in quicker lap after quicker lap which saw Dave ‘Cakes’ Jackson record the first 16 lap run of the day with his LC Racing EMB-1 just 3 tenths of a second ahead of Swansea’s Mike Saunders.
Heat 5 couldn’t improve on Dave’s pace with winner Ian Littley recording a 16 lap run, some 11 seconds off the fastest pace. ‘Daddy Phat’ Simon Osborne came in second also with 16 laps while Chris ‘Ming the Merciless’ Mills struggled to dominate his EMB-1 finishing down the field with a DNF. Former Section Chairman Cris Oxley recorded the fastest lap of the heat in an other wise lack lustre 15 lap run.
Heat 6 featured some of the pretenders hoping to push towards the front of the B and perhaps even challenge for that illusive A Final berth. Micro debutant Paul Penney powered his EMB-1 to a very fast 17 lap run raising a few eyebrows ahead of Junior star Molly Brindle who guided her Carisma GTB to a sublime 17 lap run which featured the fastest lap of the race.
Heat 7 was dominated by the EMB-1 of Andy Jones who put down a marker to the field with a 19 lap run ahead of Tony Bishop and Phil Sleigh.
Fresh from victory at Hinckley Team Carisma driver Craig Harris pushed his GTB to a FTD 19 lap run in heat 8, beating Jonesy’s time by just one second, Game on! Craig was closely followed by team-mate Mark Hancock and LC Racing’s Andrew Funge in 3rd both with 18 lap runs.
Round 2 of qualifying would see a lot of racers improve their times as they got to grips with the track and found their rythym, in heat 1 James Baxter continued his utter domination with Freddie (That’s my Boy) Thompson being his closest challenger.
Paul Rose and Chris Young cranked up the speed in heat 2 with Paul recording a 16 lap run and Chris a 15 lap run in 5 minutes dead.
Paul Knight’s domination of heat 3 didn’t continue though as he slipped down the field in the wake of Steve Alcock who took the win with 16 laps from Mike Baldwin.
Liam Toole found some pace to take heat 4 with a fast 16 lapper from Dave ‘Cakes’ Jackson, the latter not improving his time from round 1.
Rich Whitefoot gives his EMB-1 some air
Heat 5 saw Under 16 racer Aaron Ley run away with it with a quick 16 lap run with further down the field ‘Daddy Phat’ Simon Osborne, Chris ‘Ming the Merciless’ Mills and Luke Taylor all suffering DNFs.
Adam McBride forced his way to the front of Heat 6 recording a 17 lap run in 5 minutes dead from Caldicot’s whizz kid Ben ‘Bieber’ Young in second.
No less than 4 drivers were on the pace in heat 7, recording 19 lap runs were Rob West in his first micro meeting of the season having missed Hinckley taking the win from Tony Bishop, Phil Sleigh and Andy Jones. Just 4 seconds separated the top 4 in the heat. Unfortunately ‘Baby Phat’ Dan Osborne suffered electronics issues and recorded a DNS.
Craig Harris once again showed why he is the current Champion putting in a FTD 19 lap run ahead of Andrew Funge and Morgan Rham.
So at the half way point in qualifying things were looking great for reigning champion Craig Harris, having taken the first 2 rounds of qualifying the Welsh Wizard was looking to secure TQ and pole position for the A Final.
A slight track adjustment was made ahead of the commencement of round 3 to lower the height of the apex on the wall ride feature, a change which was sure to see faster lap times as drivers were struggling to hit the higher positioned apex in the first 2 rounds.
Heat 1 kicked off round 3 with a bang as 7 of the 8 drivers improved their qualifying times, once again they were led by James Baxter who with 16 laps was a full 2 laps clear of the entire field.
Heat 2 saw probably the closest race of the day with the top 2 drivers separated by just 6 one hundredths of a second, Josh Hardwick taking it from Chris Young.
Just like heat 1, heat 3 saw 7 of the 8 drivers improve with Mike Baldwin finding some form after switching back from his LC Racing EMB-1 to the Carisma GTB he ran last year for round 2 of this year’s series.
Grip roll for Steve Alcock
Liam Toole was class of the field in heat 4 as he stormed his way to an 18 lap run and put himself in contention for a B Final spot.
In heat 5 the top 3 were separated by just 1 second with Aaron Ley taking the win from ‘Daddy Phat’ Simon Osborne and Tom ‘The Bearded Warrior’ Owen. Once again Chris ‘Ming the Merciless’ Mills was left begging for mercy as he suffered another DNF.
Paul Penney recorded his best time of the day in heat 6 ahead of the super-quick juniors Molly Brindle and Ben Young.
Adam McBride has a god look at Craig Harris’ Carisma GTB
Heat 7 took to the track with the contenders for TQ aware that a quick time was needed to keep the challenge alive and it was Phil Sleigh who took up the challenge posting the first 20 lap run of the day ahead of local racer Tom Roach. Any hopes Andy Jones had of challenging for TQ were dashed as he suffered a DNF on lap10 and despite getting off the start line this time his LC Racing team-mate ‘Baby Phat’ Dan Osborne could only complete 1 lap before retiring with electronics issues.
So could anyone in heat 8 match Phil’s pace and post a 20 lap run? The answer was a clear no as Craig Harris failed to improve setting up a tense final round for the front-runners.
James Baxter completed the full set of heat victories as he ran away from the field in heat 1 with a 17 lap run, 3 laps clear of his nearest rival Freddie (That’s my Boy) Thompson.
Heat 2 suffered a drop in form as only one driver Christopher Staples improved his qualifying time, Josh Hardwick once again took the heat.
In contrast 6 drivers in heat 3 improved on their best with Mike Baldwin being quickest of them to secure a spot in the C Final.
Dave ‘Cakes Jackson’ continued his fine form to improve on his best and place his EMB-1 in the B Final from heat 4.
Former section Chairman Cris Oxley was one of only 2 drivers from heat 5 to improve taking second place in the heat behind Aaron Ley, Chris ‘Ming the Merciless’ Mills finally finished a race and posted his best of the day, a 16 lapper which was good enough to put the him into the E Final.
In heat 6 Ben Young showed the form which led to many people tipping him for great things this season, his best run of the day pushing him into the top half of the B Final.
The build up to heat 7 was all about one man, Phil Sleigh. Could Phil carry on from the previous round and post a time quick to wrestle TQ away from Craig Harris? It was all looking good for the 2012/13 Champion until a series of mistakes left him down the field and allowed Tony Bishop through to record only the second 20 lap run of the day. The bad luck which had plagued Dan Osborne all day continued as he completed just 1 lap before retiring form the race.
With TQ safely in his back pocket Craig Harris could relax in heat 8 and as he did a few mistakes crept in allowing Andrew Funge to take the heat with Morgan Rham just a second behind and an impressive Chris Bowater just 3 seconds further down the road.
So after qualifying the top 10 looked like this:
1. Craig Harris
2. Tony Bishop
3. Phil Sleigh
4. Rob West
5. Andrew Funge
6. Andrew Jones
7. Morgan Rham
8. Chris Bowater
9. Tom Roach
10. Mark Hancock
Just missing out on an A Final spot was Dan Harding who would take pole in the B Final from Paul Penney and Gavin Williams.
With 3 legged finals being introduced for the A Final this season it was the superstars who kicked off the finals with leg 1 of the A Final getting off to a good start and the contenders all slotting in to form the usual train of cars. An early mistake from Tony Bishop saw Phil Sleigh up into second to start applying pressure to Carisma team-mate Craig Harris. A slight mistake from Phil saw Tony take back second and then with just over 30 seconds to go a bad landing for Craig on the main jump in front of the rostrum caused a tumble and allowed Tony though into the lead which he held to the finish taking the win 2 seconds ahead of Phil with Andy Jones benefiting from a couple of mistakes from Criag to snatch third place.
Next up was the G Final which consisted of just 4 cars and after a quick first lap Jason Barrett settled into a rythym which saw him lead from start to finish and despite a scrappy final lap he took the win 7 seconds ahead of Rob Driver in second and Scott Collard a lap down in third.
Richard Williams led off the F final with a clean first lap but a mistake on lap 2 saw Freddie (That’s my Boy) Thompson take up the lead, a bad landing on the big jump saw Freddie lose the lead to Richard a couple of laps later and the pair would then battle closely for a while until a bad landing on one of the double jumps for Richard allowed Freddie through, again the pair would trade places and eventually a mistake from Richard saw Freddie pull out a gap, a couple of mistakes on the last 2 laps from Freddie saw Richard pull right onto the back of the youngster but Freddie held on to take the win just 1 second ahead of Richard, not bad for a 9 year old!
A blazing start from Chris ‘Ming the Merciless’ Mills in the E final saw him jump from 7th on the grid to 3rd after lap 1. By the end of lap 2 Chris was up to 2nd and chasing after the leader Rob Hancock. A mistake from Rob as he got caught up on the track markings as he turned in too tight at the end of the straight saw Chris through into the lead. A best run of the day final performance for Chris saw him pull away from the pack, eventually taking the win having lapped the entire field except for 2nd place Matt Blaza.
Leg 2 of the A Final was next up, could Tony Bishop take the win and secure round 2? Mistakes on lap 1 from Craig Harris and Phil Sleigh saw Tony take up an early lead. A bad landing however a couple of laps later saw Craig through into 1st and then a wide line from Tony on the wall ride let Andrew Funge past into 2nd. A bad landing for Craig close to the 2 minute mark saw Andrew through into 1st but he crashed at the very next corner allowing both Craig and Tony back past. On the next lap Craig’s buggy landed on the crest of the double jump and he lost control and got stuck on the track markings and needed marshaling. Tony took up the lead and looked to pull away, meanwhile a mistake from Andrew Funge allowed his LC Racing team-mate Andrew Jones through into third and right on the heels of Craig. Just as Tony looked to be pulling away to seal victory some sort of mechanical failure saw him retire from the race and with mistakes from Craig Harris and Andrew Jones Rob West took up the lead of the race. The lead was short-lived for Rob though as he caught the track markings and rolled his buggy letting team-mate Andrew Jones through into the lead. Jonesy looked to be cruising to victory when he landed short on the main jump and his car flipped needing to be marshaled Craig took up the lead only to crash at the next corner letting Jonesy through to take a very scrappy leg 2 win from Craig and Rob West.
Paul ‘Arkwright’ Knight would start from pole in the D final but a crash on lap 1 saw him lose the lead before breaking his car and retiring after completing just 2 laps of the race. Chris Young and Cris Oxley would then battle it out for a couple of laps until a mistake from Chris Young gave Cris Oxley some breathing room. A crash for Chris Young on the wall ride saw Andrew Vincent take up 2nd place and train his sights onto Cris Oxley and the lead. A bad lading for Cris on the double jump in front of the wall ride and then a little tangle between the 2 on the wall ride itself saw Andrew come out in the lead. A mistake from Cris allowed Andrew to pull out a lead but then a mistake from Andrew at the same point of the track saw Cris pull back up on him a little but it wasn’t enough and Andrew cruised to the win from Cris in 2nd just 5 tenths of a second ahead of Chris Young in 3rd.
Craig Harris holds the broken car of Paul ‘Arkwright’ Knight
A bad first lap for the C Final pole sitter Malcolm Shears saw him drop down the order and Spencer Farley take up the lead. A mistake from Spencer saw Bryan Burrows through and into the lead of the race. Bryan held the lead for the remainder of the race eventually negotiating some back markers to take the win from Mike Saunders and Ant Lucas.
Malcolm Shears works on his setup
Dan Harding led the B Final from start to finish, mistakes from Paul Penney on laps 2 and 3 saw him drop down the order allowing Gavin Williams up into 2nd place with Shaun Thompson (Who he?) hot on his heels in 3rd. A bad first lap for a few drivers saw Ben Young fall down the order with Dave ‘Cakes Jackson’ getting the worst of the first lap carnage. As the raced settled into a rythym Dan pulled out a lead and Gavin and Shaun (Who he?) could not respond. The race finished with Dan taking the win from Gavin and Shaun (Who he?) with Paul Penney pushing hard behind in 4th and Ben Young in 5th as highest placed junior.
Onto the main event and an A Final leg 3 which could see any one of 5 drivers taking the win in a winner takes all battle. The drivers in contention were Tony Bishop, Andrew Jones, Craig Harris, Phil Sleigh and Rob West. Once again the racers got away cleanly in qualifying order but a mistake from Craig on lap 2 saw Tony take up the lead. Tony benefited from a scrappy couple of laps for those behind him to pull out a lead then made a mistake of his own and needed marshaling which saw Phil take the lead. A mistake from Phil crashing as he entered the straight saw Tony regain the lead. Mistakes from Phil and Craig allowed 8th on the grid man Chris Bowater to work his way up into 2nd in the race. Tony cruised to victory to take leg 3 and the round while Chris kept his nerve to hold off a hard charging Craig Harris on the last lap.
So after 3 legs of the A Final the finishing order was:
1. Tony Bishop
2. Andy Jones
3. Craig Harris
4. Chris Bowater
5. Phil Sleigh
6. Rob West
7. Tom Roach
8. Mark Hancock
9. Andrew Funge
10. Morgan Rham
Congratulations to Tony Bishop winning a round of the micro national series after a gap of 36 rounds, his last round win being in his 10th national and Torbay being his 47th.
The top 3 L-R Craig Harris 3rd, Tony Bishop 1st and Andrew Jones 2nd
Many thanks to the Torbay club for hosting us and putting on such an excellent event.
The next round of the series is at Dudley on December 7th.
Online entries are open at http://www.brca.org/?q=content/online-entry/16723
Full results of the meeting and the series can be found at http://microrcracer.com/National-Results/2014-15/
Videos of some of the finals can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOK2YM9…ldk973TaPA