June 23, 2021

Spashett & Fletcher take Rd2 of BRCA 1/8th nats

This past weekend saw the 2nd round of the BRCA 1/8 on-road section National Series hosted by Adur Model Car Club on the English south coast. All week racers were weather watching as the weekend forecast was for rain for most of the weekend, but what do those forecasters know. On Saturday the racers were greeted with a dry track, slightly overcast, but dry. Open practice started with and the set up process got underway for what is the smallest and arguably most technically difficult circuit we visit through the season. Timed practise mid afternoon showed what was in store for the race with only 1/10’s of a second separating the top 4 (Thurston, Wood, Spashett, Snell) in IC on their fastest lap. In the Electric class Billy Fletcher was again showing his pace but the surprise of day was Mark Green running electric for the first time was close behind. The day stayed dry and after timed practise the track was once again open for free practise for the drivers to fine tune their cars ahead of ‘race day’.

After an open sessions for those drivers who could not get to the track on Saturday we went into qualifying. In IC Alex Thurston topped the R1 timing sheet but with 6 drivers all on 17 laps this would set the tone for the day. Billy Fletcher headed electric with Mark (Tesla) Green in second spot both on 21 laps. Rounds 2/3 and 4 with the track gripping up most cars went quicker, even though there was a very short interval when the weather closed in and we had a mildly moist track. But after this short interlude the sun came out as went in to the finals. Top qualifier in IC Alex Thurston was only 0.10 seconds ahead of Tim Wood both had managed to get in to the 18 laps. In Electric Billy broke the 22 lap barrier with Mark (Tesla) Green on 21 laps, but the split was close and the other drivers in the class closely bunched.

Electric 1/8 run best 2 from 3 runs and in the B final some close racing across the three runs saw Chris (Bettsy) Betts come out on top ahead of Lee Henson and Jason Hurley. The 3 leg A final went very much according to qualifying position with Billy Fletcher winning ahead of a very smiley Mark (Tesla) Green who beat Mikey Mansell to second on the podium. Billy is clearly the man to catch early on this season with his race package working very well but it’s interesting that the gap is closing and the level of completion is increasing. Mark was very positive about his first race with the Electric car, great handling, very fast and easy to run without the need of a pit man, Mark will be back to electric at some point.

On to the IC in blazing sunshine the B final lined up with Mathieu Dambrine on pole ahead of Steve Smith with Chris Snell in the third spot on the grid. Mathieu pretty much checked out and was never really under any pressure to win comfortably but the real battle was for second place between Steve Smith and Geraint Williams. After they all crossed the line after 25 minutes of racing, Steve Smith piped Geraint by only 3 seconds.

The highly anticipated 30 minute A IC final was up and with such close qualifying through the day nobody really knew what was going to happen. Alex Thurston (Capricorn/Ielasi) on pole with Tim Wood (Shepherd/Picco) second David Spashett (Shepherd/Picco) in third, this was going to be one to watch. A clean start from the from Alex was off with the pack chasing, David got in front of Tim but those top 3 began to pull away from the rest of the field. Pit stop strategy would play a major part in the outcome of this final, the short track length allowed for a variety of strategies. The pace was exceptional at the front of the pack with all three drivers banging in super low 14 or high 13 second laps time after time after time. Tim eventually got passed David and tried to close the gap to the leader. The relentless pace at the front and supper slick pit stops from Martin Thurston for Alex, Nicola Wood for Tim and Neil Diver for David kept the battle raging. At around the 90 lap mark Tim began to reel Alex in with David keeping pace, a nip and tuck battle ensued which was great to watch between Tim and Alex then a mistake from Tim allowed Alex to pull and gap and David to go through to second.

The last 8 mins were very dramatic Alex started to lose his tyres, had he pushed too hard too early. With the front end washing out Alex needed a tyre change, more drama reminiscent of Daniel Ricciardo in Monaco a few years ago in F1, no tyres in the pit lane! Martin went back to the pits to get some fresh foam but by this stage David was leading with Tim close behind. The tyre change went well and Alex rejoined but could not chase down the leading 2 drivers. Tim trying everything to close the gap but just could not get close enough to mount a challenge. Crossing the line at the 30 minute mark David was 3 seconds ahead of Tim with Alex in third.

A great weekend with close racing, onwards to Halifax for Round 3 in a few weeks.

Thanks to Lee Palmer for the report.


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