Saturday 25th May 2019, Ballymena.
- Car: HB D819
- Radio: Sanwa M12s
- Engine: Bullitt 222
- Fuel: Piranha
- Tyres: Schumacher Spirals / Mini Pins
- Oil: XTR – Ronnefalk v2
Round 2 of NIMCC 1/8 Off-road Summer 2019 Championship – with 4 from 6 to count.
My round 1 result wasn’t great, with car trouble a few laps into the final, finishing in last position in the A final – 5th (6th DNS) – so was hoping for a good result today to make up for what will hopefully me a dropped round (one of the two lower scoring rounds that doesn’t make up the final points tally) at the end of the series.
Today’s weather was problematic! A wet track, which dried quickly following constant rain from 9am until 11am. Then when we had just got some grip for the qualifying heats to start, it rained! As the day progressed though, the surface became drier and drier.
First day out with my new HB D819 from Answer RC. A pretty quick build this week and a setup provided by Alan (if only I’d have actually set it up correctly!) had the car ready to race. The first few laps the car was very tail happy, and quite snappy on power out of the corners. A quick review of the actual setup and what I had was required and a few more changes were made. The car became more stable and the grip eventually came up (not to be mistaken for a dry track!) nearer the end of the practice session. My fastest lap in practice was a 34.723, leaving it a full second and then some behind Alan’s and about 0.5s behind Adam’s fastest.
At the end of practice, I discovered a lack of centre diff oil – there was some debate from the guys as to why this might have been. I went for the leaking explanation – although the bone dry gears suggested it hadn’t ever seen any oil! Nonetheless – oiled with 5k and ready for Heat 1 of qualifying.
A few minor tweaks as the heats progressed allowed me to get quicker in each one. Managing 12 laps in round 1, 13 in round 2 and a better time with 13 laps in round 3. With the best two scores (position of the round translates into points – 200 – 1st, 198 – 2nd , 197 – 3rd , 196 – 4th etc) from the three rounds totalling overall qualifying score. I ended up 3rd on the grid for the A final.
15 minute B final wasn’t up first, with some good action from the 9 driver final. Jonny, in his Bullitt powered JQ, leap frogged Hugh, in the Novarossi powered Sworks, after Hugh got caught up in a bit of action in the very first corner. Jonny lead from this point right through the 15 minutes to take the first spot in the B Final, and earn himself a bump up into the A final.
The 20 minute A final was up next. The big question was around tyres. It wasn’t obvious Spirals were not going to work well with grip now up, but I had Mini Spikes fitted and ready, before seeing a number of the guys changing to mini pins (and a quick chat with Jonny who had just run a 15 minute B Final to get his thoughts). I opted for the mini pins and really hoped it didn’t rain after we started!
After a few warm up laps we got lined up and ready to start. Buzzers wants and we were off. I’d just got into second when the car flamed out (first time all day) a few corners from the end – meaning I couldn’t complete the out lap. So – into the pits, started and back out the pit lane for another out lap (117s out lap!). I was pretty P’d! I was at the back of the grid, at least a lap down on the entire field and it felt like a repeat of some bad luck in the last round.
But – I used it as an opportunity to just enjoy driving the track and steering the new car (which by this point was absolutely dialled – no exaggeration – it was incredible). Lap by lap I started to get things right and everything kind of fell into place. I started catching up and over taking, and got myself into 4th by my first pit stop. Adam and Gordy were up ahead but they both had a lap on me for what felt like ages. By the time I stopped again, I had the lap reduced to within a lap, and Adam suffered some bad fortune himself with what looked to be a flame out. Into 3rd and the ever consistent Gordy was ahead. A few laps from the end I managed to pass, and was able to keep the position for the remaining 2 minutes to steal 2nd. Meanwhile, Alan, in his Novarossi powered HB D817 (practically an D819!), was a full 6 laps ahead! Six! Banging in laptime below 29s for fun! He managed 40 laps compared to my 34, and with an avg lap time of sub 31s. My fastest lap was lap 31 when I managed a 29.5s lap for what is probably my fastest ever single lap at NIMCC.
I was extremely happy with the car. Couldn’t fault it in anyway through the day once some tweaks were made. Really looking forward to strip and rebuild to review how things are bedding in. The weather made things a little tricky today, and a pretty unexplainable flame out caused some frustration at the start of the A final. 3 HB Racing cars in today’s A Final was a good result – Alan 1st, Gareth 5th and myself 2nd.