Monday, 2 May 2011

A trip to Slough RWMCC for the SRS Round 1

A few weeks back I prepared myself for a trip to Slough RWMCC for a club meeting. On that occasion the weather was uncooperative so it didn't happen.
This weekend the weather was glorious, if a bit on the windy side, so there were no excuses. I was off to play with the big boys!

RMWCC were hosting the first round of this years SRS, a regional series giving club racers the opportunity to race at other clubs around southern England. 
This was to be my first buggy race away from the Adur track, and at a fairly big event, so I knew it wouldn't be easy. Had I bitten off more than I could chew? Probably, but I had already told myself I was going along for the experience and to see what I could learn. 

An awesome rostrum.

There was a full entry of 105 drivers so an early start was required to ensure a decent spot in the pits.
I arrived at the track at about 07:45, it was already busy but I had no trouble finding a spot to set up.

It's easy to see why Slough is held in such high regard by the off road community, it's a super facility. The track is a mix of surfaces with some great jumps and some real tricky corners. Easy to get round but much more difficult to get round fast. The rostrum, originally built for the euros which were hosted here in 2003, is probably the best I have ever seen. Plenty of room for 15 competitors, a gridded floor so drivers can communicate with their mechanics, a warming up area and seperate staircases for ingress and egress.

Everything was very well organised. I handed over my £12 to book myself in and prepared myself for the upcoming test. I was in heat 4 so I did at least have the opportunity to watch the early heats and get some idea of what to expect.
The weather has been fine for some weeks now making for a dry and dusty track It was going to be slippery in the early rounds but looked like things would improve throughout the day.
My time came... and went! Yes I missed the start.

This was to be the begining of what turned out to be quite a testing day. I didn't drive too badly but it's a track that takes a fair bit of learning so I was never going to be that competitive.
 A couple of mechanical issues, a weak engine and
a limited choice of tyres (oh and don't forget the lack of talent!) combined to see me qualify well down the field. My misfortune continued into the finals where another mechanical (an errant steering knuckle screw) helped me to an early exit. I didn't have great expectations for today but I was still a little disappointed.

A busy pit area, 105 drivers today.
The event was TQd by a rapid Elliot Boots, an almost as rapid Graham Alsop in 2nd and Tommy Chung making up the top 3.
Elliot went on to convert his TQ into a win followed home by the only other driver to finish on the lead lap, Graham Alsop. Tony Truman completed the podium.
Mike Cradock, John Holmes and Tommy Chung battled all the way to the flag for 4th, 5th & 6th respectively.
A quick thanks to HB driver John Holmes who took time out of his day to give me some set up advice. I didn't get the time to try it on Sunday but I will ceratinly be using it soon. Thanks fella, will it make me as fast as you? . . . Err no!

Everyone wants to know where they qualified. 
I'm near the bottom of the page lads!      
Despite my poor show I really enjoyed the day. It's a real buzz being involved in a big event.
I had a good day out, I learned a lot about my car and about what is required to compete at these big meetings.

Plenty to work on then for the next round at SRCMCC in Swindon. Another new experience for me - an astro track!

Thanks to the organisers at Slough for an efficiently run meeting. I will certainly be back for the odd club day and am determined to learn the quick way round. Tell you what though, I'll be bringing a flask; a pound for a cup of tea... Ouch!

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