Thursday, 14 July 2011

TORCH - Buggy racing on Astro.

Ok it's official, I am now hooked on 1/10 electric buggies.
In order to satisfy this fetish I am busy visiting local tracks.

Over the last few weeks I have made several trips to TORCH, a club run by ex IC circuit racer Steve Brown.

Titchfield Off Road Club Hants is located in deepest Hampshire between, and a little North of, Portsmouth and Southampton. It's a nice country location set in the corner a farm, a pleasant place to enjoy a days racing. 
The surface is astro which means there is bags of grip and as a bonus the buggy stays nice and clean (ish!).

 A lap around here takes roughly 30 seconds, or a little under for the fast guys.  One will encounter plenty of twists and turns, a quick back straight and a cool banked corner all punctuated by a sprinkle of jumps including a couple of table tops and a horrible little sleeping policeman.

It's really enjoyable to drive and with a little practice anyone can get round with minimum embarassment. Like all good tracks though the reward of lower lap times comes with practice and a little attention to car set up. 

Proceedings get under way fairly promptly so it's a good idea to get there and get settled soon after 8am. This will give you plenty of time to get some practice in before the flag drops.

This is the banked corner which is certainly not bump free. You come off the banking into a series of tight corners so tidy driving is required to make speedy progress.

Club meetings are well supported with 3 heats of 2wd and 2 heats of 4wd. They are also happy to run a junior heat if there is enough demand. This gives plenty of time between races to make any changes, or fix any damage, but cycles through quickly enough to prevent boredom.  Steve wraps things up around lunchtime but manages to fit in 4 heats and a couple of finals, giving reasonable value for money.
Once a month there is an all day trophy meeting, part of the TORCH Summer Series. I have competed in one of these and it was very well attended. Slightly more expensive but more racing and the chance of a pot at the end of the day, can't be bad.

It looks billiard table smooth in the 1st pic. It isn't! Plenty of little bumps hidden under that astro. Finding the correct springs and damping are the key to success.

I am slowly learning to cope with another new surface and working out what's required. I'm not sure I'll be challenging the fast guys anytime soon but I shall watch, listen and learn what I can.
Hopefully I can creep up the results board a little.

There is a good view of the track from the comfortable rostrum that will just about accomodate 10 people.

I have really enjoyed my visits and will be returning whenever I can.
Good track, good location, good surface, good racing, good bunch of lads.  
All the ingredients for a good day out.

Go on, you know you want to!

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