Monday, 21 November 2011

MKGP ... Indoor off road at its finest.

It was off to Newbury at the weekend, to compete at the MKGP, an indoor off road event being held at the well known Newbury RC club venue.

So after an early alarm I arrived in the dark, bleary eyed, excited and nervous.

This was my first big buggy meeting and it was going to be a big one. Fully booked weeks in advance with 120 2wd entrants on Saturday and 100 4wd on Sunday. I was only attending on Sunday so was playing catch up from the start, most racers had made a weekend of it and the track remained unchanged overnight.
First lesson learned!

It was well organised and with plenty of room, tables and power all provided. I found a spot booked in and settled in. I was off the line in heat 3 at 8.16am.

I had been a little worried that it might be a 'big air' track but the MK crew had put together a great one. Enough to test the big guns, which included worlds warm up winner Darren Bloomfield, whilst being enjoyable to drive for mere mortals like me.
The surface was predominantly carpet with some slippery board sections, a crossover, a biggish table top, various whoops and small jumps and a sandy corner. It switched back and forth and all added up to a 23sec (best) lap for me and significantly less for the 'A' guys, I reckon they took a shortcut! 

I pitted with my regular racing buddy James 'let's get ready to' Rumble and was pleased to be surrounded by lots of familiar faces from SHRCCC and TORCH. Much respect to Scott Meichan and his buddy who made the long drive down from sunny Scotland.

Well I wouldn't say the day went entirely to plan. My initial goal was not to embarrass myself the next was to make the 'E' final or higher. It was clear early on this would not be easy. I achieved the first but narrowly missed out on the second qualifying 54th. My initial disappointment faded when I realised I was in decent company and would be racing with some good drivers in my quest for  'F' final glory.

Darren Bloomfield had taken TQ.
Full qualifying results HERE

If a driver went too big on the table top there was a risk of getting caught in the netting above the track. If this happened the rule was that car would be left there and retrieved at the end of the heat.
Unlucky dude!

So the finals got under way. There were plenty of underachievers with a point to prove making for some great racing in all the finals. The nice trophies on offer meant that some otherwise dismayed drivers assuaged their earlier disappointment and made the trip home with a smile on their face.
Apart from poor old Cammers who went home with a melted Durango for the second time in 3 weeks after another unintentional drive pin / lipo interface incident. Durango drivers take note!
I will long remember the acrid stench and the sight of a brave Rob Rasey making for the fire exit like Usain Bolt!

I was surprisingly nervous when I lined up for my final with, amongst others, Rob 'ASBO' Elmes and Neil Dudman in front and Mark Townsend and Nathan Powney behind. The buzzer went and the red mist descended. The five minutes flew by, accompanied by the great commentary of Grant Fribbens. I drove as well as I had all day and when the dust settled I had taken a glorious victory being the only driver to finish on 13 laps. A decent end to an enjoyable, if testing, day.
The top guys went on to put on a masterclass which was a joy to watch, clipping apices and nailing jumps. The overall victory was taken by Darren Bloomfield followed by Paul Bradby and Tom Yardy.
Thanks for the show boys.
Full results HERE

The spoils of my day at Newbury.
This was my first full meeting with the SX3. Unlike me it was faultless and, with some work, can only get better.
I was very happy with it.

A big 'well done' to all the guys who clearly put a great deal of work into  organising this event. The track was great as was the banter, the organisation smooth and the commentary really added to the atmosphere. It would be great if this became a regular fixture in the 1/10 off road calender. I will certainly be putting it in my 2012 diary and would recommend anyone to do the same.
I am determined to make that 'E' final next year!

'F' final domination baby!

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