Let me just start by saying that the new track layout rocks. Paddy, Greenie, and the whole track team have built a ripper. It will challenge us with some of the difficult obstacles, but it will also make all of us better drivers.
From my point of view, the highlights of the track include the awesome high speed turn 1 sweeper, the left hander over small jumpt at the end of the infield straight, and of course the 5-jump rhythm section and the platform turn are some great obstacles. We’ll be tweaking a couple of parts of the layout, but please feel free to offer your constructive feedback, or even just name your favourite parts of the new track in the comments below.
Tonight’s racing was all about finding our feet on the new layout, but along the way there were some excellent races and some very deserving winners. Amiee Mackenzie returned to the winners circle in Novice, Damien Betts took a brilliant first-time win in 10th Buggy, Justin Strickland ending Steve Madziara’s long run in 8th buggy for another first-time victory. Chris Murry won a ripper Short Course B final, with Scott Guyatt taking the A and Rocket Houghton continuing his winning ways in the Tourer class.
Click here for the full results package, or read on for a quick summary of each final.
Top qualifier Amiee Mackenzie saw off the fast starting Ben Jordan and a powerful mid-race challenge from Calvin James to take a comfortable Novice A final win tonight. Ben recovered from the mid-race wobbles to second, with Mark Jones ever present and scooping up third when Calvin ran into mechanical difficulties. The novice guys and girls coped well with the new race track, getting quicker as the night went on.
Rocket Houghton was comfortably quickest on the new layout – lap times going from 9 out to 13 seconds for the fast man, and mid-high teens for everybody else. Rocket was unchallenged in the final, going on to a big win over the mini of Graham Viney, with Ian Scott looking very good on his way to a podium finish.
It seemed situation normal after qualifying with Sam Wells at the top of the heap. A couple of little mechanical dramas for him during the warmup and then again mid-race opened it up, with Damien Betts emerging from the 10-strong pack to assume the lead. Damien went on to a powerful last five minutes to take a deserved first-time win since his return to R/C. Andrew Mackenzie kept the pressure on demonstrating his growing prowess in second with Paddy Hume third.
Without question the race of the night was the Short Course B final. Chris Murray, Jordan Turner, Alexander Wade, Graham Viney and Shaun Whatley went at it, often running in a freight-train at the front of the field until deep into the race. The top four positions in particular changed lap-by-lap with some excellent racing. When it came to the crunch Chris Murray came to the front, celebrating his first race in the open Short Course Truck class after just a handful of Novice appearances to take the win over Alexander, with Jordan’s horror last lap dropping him to third, Whatley getting by Viney also on the last lap. It was a ripper race.
Scott Guyatt took off from the front of the field in the A final with second qualifier Andrew Mackenzie caught in a first-lap accident. Scott turned fast times to put the result beyond doubt, while Andrew fought his way back into second and proceeded to gap his pursuers and back up his last round win. Rocket overcame a difficult night’s qualifying with a good finals performance for third from Greenie and the returning Nathan Clark. It’s worth also noting Chris Madziara’s best qualifying effort yet – starting out of position 3 for the 10 minute A final.
8th Big Bangers
If it wasn’t for that SC Truck B final, we could say we saved the best for last. The 10 minute 8th buggy final was a cracker. Steve Madziara jumped away at the front, as he has every week for about six months, but this time Justin Strickland didn’t let him get away. As the race unfolded Justin started to put together some fast lap times, and settled into a good rhythm through the challenging jump section to begin putting pressure on. And it told, Strickland getting to the lead with just two minutes to go, and driving mistake free over those last two minutes to end Madziara’s amazing unbeaten run. Steve will be back next time, but for now Justin reigns. First-time driver Sion Reid (welcome!) got to the line in third from James Atkinson, with Ben and Johhny not able to start the final.
It was a good first night on the new track. Stay tuned for news about an open practice night next Thursday night. Otherwise our next race meeting is 3 weeks away, on October 13th.