The 1/12 scale electric class is currently in its ‘off-season’ in the UK, with the BRCA nationals taking place during the winter from October to March. However, a number of clubs and series organisers continue to host events during the summer in order to keep competitors occupied and give them a chance to conduct valuable testing and get some practice in.
The West Kent Radio Car Club in Tonbridge, South East England have previously held BRCA national events at their superb indoor venue. However, a complication with the booking arrangements at their venue meant that they were unable to be a part of last winters national calendar. As a result, they decided to put on a one-off GP meeting instead. The classes and racing format for the event were the same as for the BRCA nationals. A 2-day meeting with each day effectively counting as a separate event. This allowed drivers who could only make one of the days to attend.
Saturday – LMP12 Stock:
On Saturday in the LMP12 10.5 stock class, David Spashett was top qualifier using an inline battery version of the Zen-Racing RS chassis. Mark Stiles lined up 2nd on the grid for the A final driving a Reedy powered Yokomo R12C3, with the CRC of Mick Farrell 3rd. It was decided to run a 2-leg final for all of the drivers in order to make the most of the time available.
In the first leg of the A-final, the leaders jumped out into an early lead and Mark immediately began to put pressure on David at the front. Within a few laps they were already into lapped cars, and an unfortunate collision for David allowed Mark to slip through into the lead. As the race progressed, Mick Farrell closed up and a mistake from Mark allowed Mick to pass him for the lead. Mick held the lead for most of the race, until the final 2 minutes when he began to slow down somewhat. A possible combination of tired electrics, and tightening up in his driving allowed Mark to close back up and with 2 laps to go Mick crashed out of the lead. This allowed Mark to take the win ahead of David, while Mick recovered to finish 3rd.
At the start of leg 2, David and Mark again pulled out into an early lead. Qualifying had shown Mark’s car to hold a slight pace advantage at the beginning and end of a run, while David generally had the faster car in the middle part of the race. So Mark knew that an early pass would be the best opportunity he would have to emerge victorious. He pressured David for a few laps before an attempt at passing the former world champion resulted in contact between the two driver’s cars. Mark waited for David to recover his position, but half a lap later David crashed out of the race. He later found that the collision with Mark had damaged the side link on his car and that put an end to what looked like being an entertaining race between the pair.
So a brace of victories left Mark as the overall winner ahead of Mick, who set the fastest lap of the day in the final race.
Sunday – LMP12 Modified:
The drivers were all looking forward to Sunday, when more powerful motors would challenge their driving skills on the technical track layout.
Qualifying was a very close affair, with no less than 3 different drivers holding TQ at various points during the day. Matt Varah was fastest in the first round with his Trinity powered Yokomo, but fast runs from David Spashett and Mark Stiles in the later rounds left Matt in 3rd overall. Mark was top qualifier ahead of David, so a reversal of Saturdays front row. The top-3 drivers were separated by less than 5 seconds, so the final looked like being a cracker.
Mark led the pack away at the start of the A-final and immediately began to stretch a slight advantage. David was hanging in there and it looked as if his plan was to attack in the latter stages of the race. 2 minutes into the race, a small error from Mark left him with body shell damage at the front of his car. A number of brief stops for repairs ended his chances of taking victory and it was left to David to pick up the pieces and cruise to a comfortable win. Matt Varah was able to match David’s lap pace, but found himself too far behind to mount a serious challenge. Mick Farrell finished 3rd, just ahead of Luke Burley.
Despite a somewhat lower turnout that expected, the meeting was well received by the competitors who had an enjoyable weekend. A superb track and pitting area coupled with good catering and race direction all combined to make this a national standard event. It is hoped that the club can host a round of the BRCA nationals again next winter.