The first round of the BRCA 1/8th circuit championships was held at the Cotswolds track and boy did we have a show for you.
- Saturday Practice
Having woken up at 5am to be greeted by a wet track, we had a quiet morning, a very quiet morning… Around 10am a couple of racers started braving out the track and puddles cleared. Lap times were not great because of the conditions but people were actually happy to be able to be on the track. We veered into the afternoon without much drama. The track was now dry and cars looked faster and faster. The big unknown was how cars would react with additive on the tyres and there were mixed opinions, with some deciding not to use any. Did it make a difference? Some say it did, some say there is no point. I guess time will tell, but there were various ways used to treat tyres, from professional machines to the good old apply, dry, run. The usual culprits seemed to be leading the way, Mark Green, Andy Hastings, Neal King, Tim Wood to name but a few. David Spashett, last year’s runner up, was absent but Alex Thurston was back in nitro after two very successful years in 8th electric. It would be rather interesting to see on the Sunday how people would actually get on with their new cars in race conditions. After the sound of blistering lap times (for the conditions…) the day was over and it was time to try and warm up for most racers. The afternoon had been dry but the wind chill created quite a cold feeling.
- Race Day
Another slightly damp morning made way to the first practice round after drivers’ briefing. The electric cars (9 in total, 29 in nitro) were first on. The cars looked good, although a bit twitchy on a still cold track. The meeting unfortunately had to be stopped for a while after the electric heat because of a computer fault, giving us some practice time, but could resume around 12. It was decided to drop 1 round of qualifying not to finish too late. The electric qualifying saw the battle of the Craig’s emerging, with Craig Nutting taking the top spot, followed by Craig Woods and Jamie Paton. In IC a few drivers could aim for FTD but only 2 managed 21 laps. Mark Green took FTD, followed by Alex Thurston and Neil King. 3rd to 6th place were within the same second, which would make for an intense battle in the A. An extreme blast of warmth (10 degrees…) got the track ready for the finals. We saw Bjorn Baldwin win the C, followed by Geraint Williams and Earl McLean. Jack Garrett-Lines took the win in the B final with Matt Dambrine in second, followed by Chris Simons. After an intense battle for the win we saw Tim Wood (or is it now Team Wood?) race to victory in the A final for the Shepherd team on his debut for the manufacturer, very closely followed by Mark Green (Serpent). Andy Hastings took the third step of the podium (Shepherd). Neil and Alex had to retire early with mechanical issues. A few drivers were also using headset for 2-way communication, new for this year, making for a quieter pitlane.
On the electric side of things we did have the battle of the Craigs with Craig Nutting (first 1/8 circuit race) taking the win from Craig Woods (last year’s runner-up) and Jamie Paton taking the remaining step on the podium. Overall round 1 went well, despite the computer glitch, and people seemed happy with their weekend. The season is looking promising, bring on round 2 at Adur on 22nd April.
Race report by Franck and Matt Dambrine (BRCA).