10 EC Clubmans Championship Round 3 - West London

10th Electric Circuit

BRCA Clubman's Round 3.

West London Racing Centre.

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After a very wet weekend at the previous round in the Midlands, we were forecast more of the same for Round 3 of the BRCA Clubman's at West London Racing Centre.
A lot of work had been done to the track in the weeks leading up to the meeting. Mike Haswell had been out repairing the corners and giving them a fresh coat of paint. So, we were all set for another great weekend of racing.

Being one of the clubs with the biggest 17.5 following it was no surprise to see a full entry of 43 in this Class. F1 is also very popular at WLRC so no shocker there, with 2 full heats and 20 entries . Frontie had an entry list of 7 so a little down on previous rounds but still proving popular with the racers and some great close racing.

Saturday practice saw approximately half of the drivers in attendance getting some more valuable track. It was wet on arrival, but through the second round the track had started too quickly dry. We saw the lap times tumble as the slick Sweep tyres went on and being dry for the remainder of the day there was ample time for some chassis tuning.

Sunday race day.

We arrived at 7am to a wet track and a very overcast sky, but no rain insight.
The WLRC crew did a sterling job clearing as much surface water as possible with their hoovers and brooms. By the time that controlled practice in heat order was over we still had a fairly damp track so wets would still be required for round 1.

Qualifying began after the first face to face drivers briefing of the year, which was unusual but welcomed by all.

Round 1 began with the Frontie Class out first and still being damp they didn't look the easiest to drive. Gavin Clinch took the win from Craig Nutting and Mark Burgess.
We didn't see any drivers attempt slicks until about mid-way through the 17.5 Blinky heats. This showed with the time improvements. Andy Murray was top of the time sheets in this opening round followed by Ben Cane and Mark Trinder.
The F1 cars were out last and were all now onto slicks, but still had to dodge the damp patches. Michael Lee showed his sliding skills to take the win in front of local hero Damian Giddins, then Andy Murray who was racing in 2 classes again today.

Round 2 and a completely dry track now, but many still watching the sky for any quick change of the weather and the wet tyres were still out on everyone's tables just in case.
In the Fronite class Craig Nutting took the round win after losing out to Gavin Clinch in round 1.
Andy Murray was the pace setter in 17.5 and took his second-round win making him the favourite at this early stage with local 17.5 expert Soteris Lisai taking second from Glen Westwood.
After losing out in round 1 to his brother who took the round win, we saw Luke Lee at the top for round 2 in front of Andy Murray and James Greener.

Round 3 and still no sign of the sky water. Craig took another round win from Mark in the frontie class, with Jason Butterfield taking third this time out.
Andy lost out in this round to Glenn who took the win. Tyre tactics were now coming into play. Ricky Copsey took third in this round looking very racey.
Luke took another win in F1 from James and Michael taking him one step closer to pole position.

Round 4 still saw no rain so the weather man is not always right, we even had the sun come out briefly.
Craig went on to take his third win to secure pole for the frontie A Final which would mean Gavin would line up in P2 from Mark in P3.
Andy was back at the top to stamp his place on pole for the 17.5 Blinky A Final. He would be joined by Glenn and Soteris who were joint on points but Glenn had the faster time by 3 seconds.
Luke got the job done in the last qualifier of the day taking a third-round win. We would see him on pole for the A Finals with brother Michael P2 and James P3.

With qualifying over and managing to avoid the weather all day unlike the rest of the country we had a short break before the finals.

Frontie A Finals.

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Leg 1. Craig Nutting got a good start to the first final and built a gap over the first 4 laps that Gavin could never close up. Mark Burgess was matching Gav's lap times but was a similar distance behind. This is how it stayed until the end of the race. All three being the only ones with sub 18 second laps. So, victory went to Craig but all was till to play for in leg 2.

Leg 2. Craig and Mark both had very consistent opening laps whilst Gav was having a bit of a mare and not looking as quick as leg 1. Try as he might as soon as Gav got past some back markers, he had another tangle dropping him back further from Mark who held onto second until the finish tone crossing the line several seconds behind a storming Craig who took the overall win. Gav never recovered so had to settle for third overall behind Mark. But as you can see from the smiles in the presentation picture, they all had a great day. 

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( 3rd Gavin Clinch, 1st Craig Nutting, 2nd Mark Burgess )

17.5 Blinky A Finals.

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Leg 1. A smooth start to first leg with Andy Murray leading the parade of cars off the start line. Ricky Copsey was tagged half way through the first lap dropping him back three places but he soon passed two cars on the next lap. meanwhile the leading three were pulling out a lead until Glenn Westwood clipped a corner turning him over and moving Ricky up another place. Andy had now pulled a comfortable lead on Ben Cane and Soteris Liasi. With the two battling for second place this gave Ricky a chance to close the gap. He tried a move through the "D" section onto the straight and popped a wheelie but held onto it. Ricky clipped the same corner on the following lap but still manged to hold on to it., the top four now evenly spaced out, but with Andy always looking in control. After several intense laps Ben made a mistake in the infield letting Soteris and Ricky through. On the last lap there was a bit of door banging going on with Ricky coming off better to take second behind Andy and third eventually went to Ben.

Leg 2. Andy led off again but backed out on the sweeper leading to a chain reaction behind him. This saw Glenn bouncing into another car and was ordered a stop go which was a little harsh, but he did eventually take it under protest. After the meeting Andy confirmed what had happened to cause the incident and Glenn was a little happier knowing he was not at fault but he did lose valuable laps none the less. Meanwhile Andy was out in front with Ashley hot on his bumper up from seventh on the grid. Ben was working his way through the field now, looking for another good result. Andy took the leg win and with it the overall win. Ashley was just over a second behind Andy with Ben twos seconds adrift. We saw some very quick runs from many of the drivers over both finals with any one of them in with a chance of a podium, proving how competitive the 17.5 Blinky still is.

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( 3rd Soteris Liasi, 1st Andy Murray, 2nd Ben Cane )

Formula One Finals.

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Leg 1. Luke was sitting on pole as usual like a comfy pair of slippers. He led the packed F1 grid away at the start and by lap 3 had the length of the straight lead over brother Michael who was trying hard to hold off James and Andy, the three separated by a few seconds. By now Luke had the straight and sweeper between him and the chasing pack. Andy got a huge tank slapper coming onto the straight which saw Michael and James pull away a little. Andy had gathered himself up and put in some hot laps to catch them back up, but with only ten seconds left on the clock had to settle for fourth behind Michael and James, with Luke taking the win.

Leg 2. With everything still to play for Luke, Michael and James floored it off the line, well as much as you can with a F1 car. Stephen Lander managed to get past James who then applied the pressure for several laps to get his third place back, the pack now bunching up. This gave the Lee brothers some breathing space for a few laps, but as James and Stephen were pushing each other they soon caught Michael back up. By now Luke had checked out at the front and the race was on for second place between the five-car pack. Try as he might James could not find a way past Michael and the finished as they started in second and third with Luke taking another victory and the overall win.

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( 2nd Michael Lee, 1st Luke Lee, 3rd James Greener )

After the finals we had a different kind of trophy presentation. No not sweets, but the very novel idea of die cast cars with plaques. These went down very well with the racers, the Ford escorts proving very popular with the Frontie and TC racers. The F1 racers all received F1 cars from yesteryear.

So, after a cracking weekend racing and with 3 rounds down, we head to Coastal next, for our mid-season race at the Monaco of RC tracks. The most technical track on the calendar could well produce some unusual results.

Until then see you trackside.