The first round of the 2012 BRCA 1/10th National Championship was held at the Mendip circuit, near Weston-super-Mare, UK. Despite the cold weather, around 50 drivers made the trip, all hoping for a good start to the season. Over the winter there have been several changes between drivers and manufacturers. Team Serpent of course have Mark Green again for 2012, who was driving a prototype of the new Serpent 747 at this race. Alongside Mark is defending champion Joe Kerry who has switched engine brands and now drives for O.S. Last year’s runner up Adam Catchpole has decided to switch from team Shepherd and has now joined Capricorn for the upcoming season. At the moment, Adam remains the only driver for the team in the UK.
Alex Thurston will once again lead the Kyosho team in the UK. Alex is another driver who has decided to change engine brands this year and now drives for JP GI-MAR. He will be joined this year by new recruit Matthew Cook who will be looking to improve on last year’s 5th place finish in the championship.
Xray will have Simon Wood leading the team for the second year. Simon will be supported this year by Aaron Wearn and Peter Spratley who will both be challenging for places in the top ten.
Team Shepherd will have Andrew Hastings again who will now be using the new sonic engines. The team will also have John Zottl who signed for them towards the end of last season and narrowly missed out on 3rd overall in 2011.
Saturdays practice for the opening round of the championship was fortunately dry and there were even a few glimpses of sunlight during the afternoon. The grip gradually increased throughout the day as the lap times got quicker and quicker. At the end of practice it was Mark Green setting the pace followed by reigning champion Joe Kerry. Both of these drivers were the only ones who managed to get under the 17 second lap barrier. Alex Thurston headed the rest of the field, with Simon Wood, John Zottl, Andrew Hastings, and Matthew Cook all running very close together.
On Sunday the weather was much improved with the sun out early in the morning and no sign of a cloud in the sky. Mark Green dominated qualifying with his prototype Serpent 747 and set a time of 18/303.40 with Joe Kerry taking 2nd around 7.5 seconds behind. Alex Thurston took 3rd place with John Zottl 4th, and Simon Wood 5th.
1. Mark Green – Serpent-Novarossi-Xceed – 18 Laps 303secs
2. Joe Kerry – Serpent-O.S.-Contact – 18 Laps 311secs
3. Alex Thurston – Kyosho-JP GI MAR-Contact – 18 Laps 312secs
4. John Zottl – Shepherd-IDM-Matrix – 18 Laps 314secs
5. Simon Wood – Xray-RB Murnan-Matrix – 18 Laps 314secs
6. Andrew Hastings – Shepherd-Sonic-Shepherd – 17 Laps 299secs
7. Kevin Taylor – Xray-Novarossi-Matrix – 17 Laps 301secs
8. Matthew Cook – Kyosho-Max-Kronos – 17 Laps 301secs
9. Aaron Wearn – Xray-Novarossi-Matrix – 17 Laps 307secs
10.Peter Spratley – Xray-Novarossi-Matrix – 17 Laps 318secs
Many drivers were suffering with very high tyre wear, even during qualifying. So for the 30 minute final a few of the drivers had to go as high as 45 shore tyres to last the race distance.
It was a clean start to the final by everyone. Mark Green held his lead round the first lap with Joe Kerry very close behind, Alex Thurston was running in 3rd and John Zottl in 4th. Mark Green soon began to pull out a decent gap to Joe and Alex who were battling for 2nd position. After the first set of fuel stops Joe began to pull away from Alex. At the same time Simon Wood had managed to find a way past John Zottl to move into 4th place. The first retirement of the race was Kevin Taylor who encountered problems and had to pull out after 44 laps. Alex Thurston was the next casualty as a broken pulley cut short his race after running in a comfortable 3rd position. John Zottl briefly took over the final podium spot before he too ran into some trouble and dropped down the order. This therefore left Simon Wood and Matthew Cook fighting for 3rd right until the very end, with Simon coming out on top just a few seconds clear of Matthew. Joe Kerry finished 2nd after the extra fuel stop he required ended any chances of catching back up to Mark.
1. Mark Green – Serpent-Novarossi-Xceed – 104 Laps
2. Joe Kerry – Serpent-O.S.-Contact – 103 Laps
3. Simon Wood – Xray-RB Murnan-Matrix – 99 Laps
4. Matthew Cook – Kyosho-Max-Kronos – 98 Laps
5. Andrew Hastings – Shepherd-Sonic-Shepherd – 96 Laps
6. John Zottl – Shepherd-IDM-Matrix – 96 Laps
7. Aaron Wearn – Xray-Novarossi-Matrix – 95 Laps
8. Peter Spratley – Xray-Novarossi-Matrix – 85 Laps
9. Alex Thurston – Kyosho-JP GI MAR-Contact – 66 Laps
10. Kevin Taylor – Xray-Novarossi-Matrix – 44 Laps