Round 6 of the BRCA Clubmans nationals visited Coastal Model Car Racing Club in Ipswich, Suffolk and offered up a very different challenge to the drivers of the series, being dubbed the Monaco of RC racing. The tight confines, punishing barriers but rhythm nature of the track really challenges the drivers and the cars, as this track is much more about chassis setup, and driver skill, than outright power. The Saturday practice saw a number of drivers stepping over the limits and coming off second best to the barriers early on. However with glorious sunshine all day most drivers soon got into the flow of the coastal circuit, and we saw lap times tumble through the day. Some quick times were posted in the practice day, and race day was set to be a cracker.
Race day started being a little overcast, but the sun soon broke out at the start of the 1st round of qualifying. With quick drivers spread between the heats it would be a battle to get into the a finals by the end of the day, and with so many cars running so tight on time, it would be really close between all the front runners to fight for the pole. One of the favourites to be quick, Billy Fletcher with his Zombie powered ARC had a disastrous start to the day, not making it out of turn 2 with a failure. The first round of 17.5 Blinky would go to the hard charging Darren Tickner who topped the time sheets on the practice day, and also smashed the outright track record with series coordinator Mark Trinder taking the 2nd spot in round 1, with Chris Condon taking third.
The F1s were up next and it was Luke Lee who lead from the front and never looked back to second place Stephen Lander and Brother Michael Lee in third.
Darren Tickners outright track record lasted all of 30 minutes as Ollie Payne smashed it in his first run in 13.5, putting in the first ever 23 lap run in the tracks history, taking the Round from Ben Cosgrove and Aaron Rose.
Round 2 of qualifying saw Billy Fletcher make up for his DNF in round 1 by banging in the fastest time of the day in 17.5, some 5 seconds ahead of Darren’s previous best. Darren would take second in round giving him a good hand to be at the sharp end of he grid come final time, and Dani Young stuck in a time which would see her 3rd at the end of the round.
In the F1s Luke and his Xray were once again showing everyone what the rear of his rear wing looked like and nothing else as he stormed to the round 2 win from James Greener and Michael Lee.
In 13.5 it was a surprise round topper from host club chairman George Fairweather, who with his borrowed xray set a personal best just at the right moment, as in the top heat the overcast skies started to spot with rain half way into the run, then with around 40 seconds to go got heavier, and wetted the track for the front runners, but Ben Moorey still set a good time from this heat, with local man Tristan Wilby picked up third with a clean run.
Between the rounds the heavens opened, soaking the track, however due to the unique design of the coastal circuit, being on a slope, no puddles form and the racing was able to continue uninterrupted, and with the indoor pits and covered rostrum the drivers could continue racing without any worries other than driving the car in the wet.
Proving to be ‘rainmeister’ in 17.5 was Daniel Booker, setting the only 18 lap time, from Billy Fletcher and Chris Condon.
In F1 it was a real change at the top with Stuart Dye mastering the very tricky conditions to take the round win from Dale Knight and Terry Atkinson.
Last up was 13.5 and it was Tristan Wilby who topped the time sheets with a brilliant run in the wet, showing his knowledge of the coastal circuit by sliding his car to the top of the time sheets, from Schumacher’s Andy Murray and the Awesomatix of Ben Cosgrove.
Heading into round 4 it stopped raining and immediately the track started to dry as the sun shone down on the slopes of coastal.
In 17.5 it was Jan Samson who mastered the drying conditions best to take the round win from Mark Trinder and Chris Condon.
In F1 the rack and almost dried and normal service resumed with Luke Lee topping the times from brother Micheal and Stephan Lander.
Last up for qualifying was 13.5 and a storming run for Ben Cosgrove saw him when the round and take TQ with it.
In F1 it was Luke Lee who would be top qualifier and 17.5 it was the ARC of Billy Fletcher.
Into the finals and the track was now fully dry as the cars formed up on the grids.
In 17.5 the first final saw Billy, Darren and Mark Trinder all take turns in leading in an intense race on the twists and turns of the coastal circuit, ideally suited to the stock class. A mistake from Mark whilst being hounded by Billy saw him drop down the order and allowed Billy to then chase down Darren. Billy managed to find a way past as Darren ran wide, and Billy didn’t put a wheel wrong from there. In leg 2 it was a much more straightforward affair racing wise for Billy, although the rear of his car was loose others behind him were all fighting amongst themselves, which allowed Billy to build a gap and maintain it once the pack behind had sorted themselves out. This gave Billy Fletcher the overall with his Zombie powered ARC, from the Xray of Darren Tickner and Jak Sansom in third.
In F1 Luke Lee had no intention of even looking in his mirrors, let alone at what the others were doing behind him taking tone to tone victories in both legs. It was much more hard fought behind though and Michael Lee, Stephan Lander and James Greener all duked it out in both finals, all tied on points after the 2 finals, it was James Greener who missed out on the podium with a pair of 3rds in the finals, Michael would have to settle for third as Stephan had the faster final time and did some do or die overtaking in a frantic 2nd leg.
In 13.5 there was carnage at the start as Tristan Wilby lost the rear end of his Awesomatix between turn 2 and 3 from his second place grid slot, and 4th place starting George Fairweather collected the side of Tristan’s car, this allowed Ollie to pounce on Andy Murray and get straight onto the rear end of Ben. Ollie pushed and pushed Ben but Ben didn’t give Ollie even the sniff of a cars width to pass, however coming into the closing stages Ben got caught in an unfortunate incident with a backmarker, allowing Ollie Payne to slip through and take the leg win.
In Leg 2 however Ben showed his class by taking a lights to flag victory to wrap up the overall win for the weekend, with Ollie Payne and his Destiny, and Schumacher’s Andy Murray.
So a different style of track and different track conditions through up some great action throughout the weekend on the Clubmans first ever visit to Coastal, and with many drivers relishing the challenge of the street style circuit, indoor pitting facilities and constant commentary throughout the day, hopefully there will be more to come in the future.