BRCA 1/8th National RD 2 - Kent
So, this weekend it was time to head back to our 8th Nitro nationals for Round 2, back to dirt, and the Kent track. After the first round we had left leading the championship so headed into this round hoping to build on that.
The alarm rang out at 6:00am to wake us, getting sorted and heading out to the track arriving just after 7:00am, ready for a busy day at the track. The format for the national would be 2 rounds of practice on the Saturday, and 4 rounds of qualifying.
Practice would begin at 10am, giving us time to decide what tyres we would run for the conditions and check everything over one last time before beginning the meeting.
The track looked amazing and hats of the the guys at Kent for making such a great track! Well done!
The track had suffered with a little water overnight, meaning the track crew needed to use some sawdust to soak the remaining moisture up from the track. We opted to go on Proline Blockades in M4 due to the temperature and the moisture the track had. During the run the track was already changing (in heat 9 of 9), and the car seemed ok during these slightly wet conditions but we knew the track would change for the next run.
For the second practice we kept the car the same, as the conditons still seemed suited to the M4 Blockades. Getting up to speed with the track now and the new layout going into qualifying feeling good about the package.
Round 1: The track was constantly changing and drying out more as each heat hit the track, with us up in the finals heat. We stayed with the M4 Blockades, just choosing to run a new set, hoping this would be the best choice to the track. The heat got underway and it was clear to see the car was very hard to drive, with too much rotation, and a small lack of rear traction. This ended up catching us out, with a couple of crashes, ending up with 8th for the round, knowing we would need to have a brainstorm for the next round.
Round 2: We sat down and grouped together our ideas as to which direction we would take for this round. We settled in the end on lowering the rear shock oil 2.5wt, lowering the rear inner link down one position, changing to an all plastic clutch also, in the hope of making them making the car easier to driver. The last item was tyres. We watched the track during the round and compaired it to tracks we have ran at before, with the surface turning a little to places we have ran the Proline Suburb at before, so we decided to take a risk, and fitted a set for this round. The heat started and from the off it was clear to see the changes to the car and tyre choice suited the conditions perfectly. Taking TQ for the round by 6 seconds ahead of fellow REDS runner Jack Embling.
Round 3: For this round we decided to keep everything the same as the last round, running the same set of tyres again, just checking the car over and fitting a fresh receiver pack. The car and whole package was once again on point and perfect, taking TQ again by almost 10 seconds.
Round 4: Once again, it was just a case of checking all the car before hitting the track once again, keeping everything the same. A few small bobbles during the run cost us a little time but were still able to take TQ for the round, just ahead of fellow Proline runner Neil Cragg, who had opted to run the Proline Suburb like us.
After taking this round it would mean we had taken enough rounds already to take overall TQ for the meeting! A great result after a hard first round.
After the round finished we packed away and headed back to the house to get cleaned up and changed ready to go for a Chinese with the Shakespeares, and Chris's partner joining us. Having a drink to celebrate taking the TQ, and the great days racing, it was then time to head to the Chinese, which was just a hop skip and jump away (over a knee height wall). With Elliott deciding his dad (Chris) couldn't make it up on his own, he picked him up and moved him on top of the wall, followed by streams of laughter and tears from everyone at the sight of it. We then sat and had our meal, with laughter and great conversations all evening long, before heading back to get some shut eye. An enjoyable evening with great company, and a nice relax after the near perfect day at the track.
6am and the alarm rang out to wake us all. Getting up and dressed for a busy day, of finals and helping other team members out with pitting.
Round 5: We hit the track with a new set of Suburbs fitted, getting started on a new fastest time of the weekend, a crash however would mean we would be chasing the time Neil had set in the previous heat, pushing hard all the way to the end, taking TQ by just 8 hundrads of a second!
We wouldn't be out again till our Semi Final much later in the day, so we prepeared the car and got our tyres ready, then pitted for a few fellow Kyosho team mates. First up for us would be pitting for Steve Shakespeare in the B 1/16th. There was a little banter and fun before with the first 3 on the grid all being Kyosho drivers and each pit crew wanting their driver to win. The main began and it was Shakey (Steve Shakspeare) who lead them round, followed by Gasson (Or Gay-son as the commentator said). The two of the battled hard with each other pulling some great overtakes, coming to the last few laps it would be Gasson to make the mistake and Shkaey would bring it home for the win (and our bragging rights in the pit), with Gasson second and Chris Smith the other Kyosho driver in fourth, all bumping up. Great job guys!
It was the onto the B 1/8th, pitting for Shakey again, with more Kyosho drivers in the mix for bumping up. Shakey had a bad run, but three Kyosho's made the bump in the hands of Darren Cole in second, Tehannah Cradock in third and Chris Smith bumping again in fourth.
It was the onto the B 1/4, pitting for Rhys Herd, who had just missed out on qualifying directly for the Semi's starting pole, driving a great race and staying out front for most of it, before and small mistake that let Jonny Skidmore through, but would stay right with him to the finish. Taking second and a bump spot, along with Mike Cradock in fourth also taking a bump spot to the Semi. We then headed back to make final preperations ahead of our Semi final, but in the A 1/4 two more Kyosho drivers made the bump to the Semi with Matt Perry and Taro Cradock taking third and fourth. Great drives everyone!
We would line up pole of the A Semi having taken the TQ, with Bloomfield lining up second. The final set off and the plan was just to make it through the race without issue and into the main. Everything ran to plan and we took the win of the Semi final, with a time 11 seconds quicker than that of Neil Cragg's from the B Semi, so would line up on pole. Fellow Kyosho/Reds driver James Le Pavoux would also bump from our Semi into the main, great driving all weekend mate!
It was then back to the pit area with the car to prepare it for the main final.
So onto the main final, with a fresh set of Proline Suburb fitted to the car, we lined up on the gird in pole and the race was underway. A small bobble allowed Darren through near the start, but putting a pass coming into the crossover placed us back to the front of the field. It was then time to push to begin to open a gap, managing to make a good gap come our first pit stop at 7:30, Darren also pitting at this time. Neil however would continue on, going for the 9min fuel stop. He would make his stop and we would continue like this for the next two pitstop rounds. It was during the third pitstops that Neil suffered with a cut on track, running out of fuel. This would put us a lap ahead of Darren and Neil by this point, meaning we could relax a little.
Keeping to our fuel strategy with our REDS R7 Evoke V2.0 providing amazing power to help keep the gap. Everything was looking good and we made our final pit stop, with 2 mins to go we were a lap and 20 seconds ahead of 2nd place, who was now Neil, having battled back after his cut. 1 min 30 remaining and heartbreak would hit for us, the car stopping on track. We grabbed the car back and restarted it, sending it back out, but it wasn't to be, with it stopping at the same point again. Gutting to be so close, we would still end up with 3rd come the end of the final. On looking at the car it was a clutch issue that we have never seen happen before and most likely never will again. Sometimes thats racing but we will come back even stronger at the next round. TQ and a 3rd meaning we head to the next round tied for 1st in the championship.
Thanks as always to all our sponsors as without you we wouldn't be where we are:
Kyosho, Proline, Reds, Tekin, Byron, Sanwa, Bittydesign, Maugraphix, LRP Batteries, SMD, Inside Line Racing, Ghea, Radio Race Car International, RDRP, JC Racing, Racers Design Products, Muc-Off.
Next up for us will be 1/10th National at Telford this coming weekend.
See you all trackside soon!
Thanks for taking the time to read our report as always.
(Written by Liam Galvin - Mechanic)