The eagerly anticipated British Open was arranged by both the 1/8th and 1/10th Committee aside from the respective championships to help promote all the nitro on-road classes and crown champions over one weekend of racing. The drivers booked in where the core of each individual section apart from some top 1/8th drivers who were travelling to the Euros in Ettlingen. Out of a total of 68 drivers, the largest class was 1/8th with a total of 27 drivers with the 1/10th section providing the remaining with roughly equal split for 200mm and 220mm chassis types.
The main talking point within the 1/8th section was the return of RC legend David Spashett who was ready to put his new ARC/Picco combination to the test. This is David’s first 1/8th race for 5 years and he certainly will not be behind when it comes to driving since he is currently racing 1/12th pan cars with his Zen Racing venture, so learning the car and engines is the main priority but being a previous World and European Champion made him a firm favourite to win on debut. The format was round by round qualification with the best two results from four rounds to count with any tied scores being decided on the drivers next best. With the majority of drivers present Saturday, two rounds of qualification would start at 3pm with the remaining two rounds on Sunday. Also two cars would bump up from each sub final making the final a total of 12 cars.
In the top heat of 1/8th, it was Spashett who set the early pace with a steady run to TQ the round from Dransfield by 6 seconds. North, who lost time with traffic finished third ahead of Andy Mollett. Richard Hicklin hit problems and Andy Hastings did not start. In round 2, it was North who TQ’d the round with a time 2 seconds slower than the previous rounds best, with Andy Hastings second by 0.09 seconds, with Dransfield again recording a good finish. Spashett however had issues on track but managed to finish the heat. This gave North the overnight TQ with all to play for on Sunday. Round 3 and it was Andy Hastings who TQ’d the round with a blistering run but a tangle at the last corner cost him 4 seconds and a definite 21 lap run. North and Spashett had a very close battle with North just edging it by 0.081 secs. So the battle for overall TQ was between Hastings, North and Spashett who all had one win. With his previous rounds pace, it was Hastings who again dominated the heat and close out with the fastest time of the event but just short of the magical 21 lapper. This therefore gave Hastings the overall TQ from North, Spashett, Dransfield and Hicklin.
Qualifying top 10:
1. Andrew Hastings – Shepherd/Sonic – 0 points
2. Andrew North – Mugen/Sirio – 2 points
3. David Spashett – ARC/Picco – 3 points
4. Karl Dransfield – Shepherd/Sonic – 5 points
5. Richard Hicklin – Serpent/Sirio – 7 points
6. Alex Mortimer – Shepherd/Novarossi – 9 points
7. Lee Chapman – Capricorn/Novarossi – 11 points
8. Chris Snell – Shepherd/OS Speed – 11 points
9. Paul Leach – Shepherd/OS Speed – 12 points
10.Ian Billett – Capricorn/OS Speed – 14 points
In the B final, it was Hayley Baker who came out on top by a clear lap from Keith Snell, so both drivers were promoted to the main A final. The A final started in grid order with Andy Hastings extending his lead at the front over North, who was gradually extending his lead over Spashett and Dransfield closely dicing for third position. At the second pitstop, it was Spashett who lost time due to a blown glow plug which was soon replaced and got him back into contention but after a further 11 laps he was out due to an engine related problem. Up front, North was on the tail of Hastings due to traffic issues and at this point Hastings clipped the inside corner of the fast left hander which launched the car across the track which broke the rear wishbone. This gave North the lead by two laps clear from Dransfield who ran out of fuel coming into the pits. After issues for Hicklin with a stripped second gear which lost him sometime, it was Alex Mortimer who bumped up into third position. In the end, it was North who won by a convincing five laps over Dransfield and Mortimer who eventually was disqualified for a more than larger fuel tank size.
1. Andrew North – Mugen/Sirio – 114 Laps
2. Karl Dransfield – Shepherd/Sonic – 109 Laps
3. Richard Hicklin – Serpent/Sirio – 93 Laps
4. Chris Snell – Shepherd/OS Speed – 63 Laps
5. Hayley Baker – Serpent/OS Speed – 57 Laps
6. David Spashett – ARC/Picco – 55 Laps
7. Andrew Hastings – Shepherd/Sonic – 47 Laps
8. Ian Billett – Capricorn/OS Speed – 37 Laps
9. Paul Leach – Shepherd/OS Speed – 33 Laps
10.Lee Chapman – Capricorn/Novarossi – 6 Laps
11.Keith Snell – Motonica/OS Speed – DNS
12.Alex Mortimer – Shepherd/Novarossi – Disqualified