August 18, 2012

Adam Catchpole wins Rd6 of BRCA 1/8th series

The Sixth round of the 2012 national championship was the first visit of the year to the Cotswold circuit near Cirencester. With the weather set to be good, we all anticipated two dry days and the chance to gain some good championship points while the 2 main contenders, Branson and Green are on 200mm European duty in Italy.

A strong driver line up however was still on display in the form of recent regular convert from 200mm, Adam Catchpole (Mugen / Picco Murnan), Andy North / Neil Diver (Mugen), Daniel Bancroft (Motonica) after missing a couple of recent rounds, and not to forget the returning drivers from the recent euro champs in Vila Real of recent series round winner Neal King (Mugen), Andy and Pete Hastings (Shepherd) and Tim Wood (Serpent). Also capable of upsetting the normal order was Serpent trio of John Carr, Jason Frost and Ross Simons.

We arrived at the track Saturday morning to the now renowned customary construction of the large pitting gazebo which over the years of hard toil, seems to be finally getting easier. Free practice then commenced with engine tuning being the main activity which would aid with cleaning the green track to then allow for chassis setup work in the afternoon sessions. From data gathered over the years, the lap times are around the low 15 second mark so this was the initial target to aim for and ultimately try and better. The drivers who showed this pace consistently was Catchpole, King and Wood who recorded 15.2 second laps times. The remaining pack of North, Hastings and Diver were on a 15.4 second pace. Andy North was testing all his available engines to see which was quickest and most consistent to enable a decision to be made ready for race day.

Sunday arrived with a dry track but this dramatically changed into a thunderstorm which persisted for 2 hours and prevented any racer attempting to go out. Andy North however decided to try his car on damp tires which seemed good. With rain getting worse, the first round was cancelled and a committee meeting was called to make a decision of which it was decided to continue after the rain cleared and the sun started to shine. The tires which worked initially were full rubber wets due to the standing water which soon cleared. This then resulted in damp tires being the way to go and this resulted in Pete Hastings taking TQ in round 3. The track was then getting to the point of dry tires since the soft damps would simply wear out and overheat. This meant that the last heat would be the fastest since it would see the track almost having a full dry driving line.

The last two heats would therefore determine the final qualifying order. The track was very slippy and required full concentration to be fast and avoid going off the track. A number of drivers including North and Diver made errors and lost time which would make it touch and go to see if they made the final. In the end, Diver did not make the cut but decided to race the lower final to gain more track time with his new MRX5 chassis. The final Qualifying results were as follows:

1. Tim Wood – Serpent / Exceed – 22 Laps 318 secs
2. Adam Catchpole – Mugen / Picco Murnan – 17 Laps 314 secs
3. Daniel Bancroft – Motonica / Vox – 16 Laps 304 secs
4. Pete Hastings – Shepherd / Sonic – 16 laps 305 secs
5. Jason Frost – Serpent / Mega / Exceed – 16 Laps 315 secs
6. Neal King – Mugen / Sirio ABC 2012 / Contact – 15 laps 300 secs
7. Andy North – Mugen / Sirio ABC 09/Contact – 15 Laps 300 secs
8. John Carr– Serpent / Mega / Exceed – 15 Laps 301 secs
9. Andy Hastings – Shepherd / IDM / Shepherd – 15 Laps 304 secs
10.Ross Simons – Serpent  / Exceed / 15 Laps 312 secs

The final blasted away but due to a long hold on the line, Andy North was slow to get away. Adam Catchpole jumped into the lead with the top 4 starting to pull out a slight lead up to the first fuel stops. Dan Bancroft was the first front runner to hit problems and put him back down the order, but the first casualty was Neal King after hitting the pit lane barrier. Pete Hastings then dropped back due to some minor issues which promoted Andy Hasting and Andy North to fight for the final podium position which ended in favour of North. Up front the battle between Catchpole and Wood Continued with Tim Wood taking the lead on lap 76 and then on lap 94 both drivers hit each other with Wood losing a little ground so Catchpole showed great sportsmanship and waited so that the battle could continue which was eventually won by Catchpole. The final results were as follows:

1. Adam Catchpole – Mugen / Picco Murnan – 110 Laps
2. Tim Wood – Serpent / Exceed – 109 Laps
3. Andy North – Mugen / Sirio ABC 09/Contact – 108 Laps
4. Jason Frost – Serpent / Mega / Exceed – 107 Laps
5. John Carr– Serpent / Mega / Exceed – 104 Laps
6. Pete Hastings – Shepherd / Sonic – 100 laps
7. Ross Simons – Serpent  / Exceed / 100 Laps
8. Andy Hastings – Shepherd / IDM / Shepherd – 74 Laps
9. Daniel Bancroft – Motonica / Vox – 72 Laps
10.Neal King – Mugen / Sirio ABC 2012 / Contact – 27 laps

The next round is at the Halifax Circuit on 2nd September.

Thanks to Andy North for the report.


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