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WHO Mod - 5 April 2017

Race Report


After a couple of half-hearted attempts during March, Spring finally sprung on the very day of our April WHO Mod race. Nobody had told the church's central heating system, so the Barn was rather toasty.


The action on the track was pretty hot too. Some tweaks to their Vipers had brought alive both Keith's and Tony's cars. John's car was rapid on its debut in January, but a nudge from Mike D to change the resistor board on his controller was a revelation.


Everyone was loving Simon's fast and flowing layout, with switchbacks, fly-overs and both of the reverse-radius Dadson curves. Not everyone liked yellow lane, but I have to say that I enjoyed it as much as the others. It was another hundred-foot-plus track too, so a big thanks to those who helped set it up in plenty of time.


Everyone pushed hard in the heats. Right from the off, Keith was a couple of laps per heat ahead of everyone else. Best of the rest was Mike D, followed by a gaggle of fast guys lead by John, with Corey, Ned and Tony close behind.


There were no big changes through the second half of qualifying and the order for the finals was straightforward - a group of the quickest Vipers, a gap to assorted Mods and then a further gap to the Tuners. There would certainly be good battles for the win, top junior medal and for the Tuners win. Terry was guaranteed top Rookie status.


Finals


The F final was a three-way face-off between the Tuners of Simon and Terry, with Daniel's very rough sounding Mod Super-G thrown in. Not only did Daniel's car sound terrible, it was slow - although he had qualified ahead of the other two. Daniel crashed at the first corner and crashed again and again as he tried to catch up. Simon's Tyco crashed a bit too and Daniel had nearly caught him by the end, but out front and keeping the white club car in the groove was Terry. It was his first win in a WHO final, we think, and an emphatic win at that.


Terry moved up to yellow in the E final. Every step-up tonight would be a move into yellow. It really wasn't that bad, surely? Terry did struggle and gave up before the end. That left an immense battle between Hayley and Rick for the WHO Tuners win and Andy Phillips the chance of a final win with his Mod Turbo. Although Rick was the early leader, Andy had slipped through by the halfway point and Hayley was up into second. The race settled down with Andy stretching his lead and Rick hunting down Hayley's Super-G. It looked like Hayley had just done enough, yet Rick somehow managed to get by on the final lap. Rick upheld Skelt family honour with the all-important Tuners victory, the news cheering up Duncan on his sick-bed.


Andy's reward for his win was yellow lane in the D final. He was up against the off-colour Vipers of Deborah and Neil, plus Aiden's G3. Andy's chances were scuppered by a popped rear axle early on, but he soldiered on. Ahead of him, Neil and Deborah had a good old fight for a while, until Neil moved away and set the sort of score - 18 laps - he'd managed in his last two heats. Deborah faded and her score was a little down on her heats - and it was the same for Aiden too. The youngster had four very consistent scores in qualifying, any of which would have been enough to beat Deborah for second and maybe even challenge Neil for the win. Transforming good heat scores into a good final score is the key to a perfect evening.


The C final featured a Viper, a Super-G, and Mega-G and Turbo - all of them Mods, although two had hard bodies. Andy Player had qualified his Audi Mega-G top, but binned it in the first corner - a mistake he repeated two laps later. It was the two McCanns - Mike and Stephen - who battled hard for the lead, with father ahead of the son to begin with. It settled down to a very good race, with Neil showing that a good performance was possible in yellow lane - he would set the best score of all the finals in yellow, although that was only enough for fourth place.


Andy recovered to eventually move into second ahead of Mike and a lap behind Stephen. Andy unlapped himself, but time was running out. Stephen had the race under control... Until a late off into race control returned him about three yards ahead of Andy, who threw caution to wind in the dying seconds. Going into what would be the final two corners just a foot behind, Andy braked too deep, crashed out and that was game over.


And what was Stephen's reward (apart from the sweet satisfaction of beating both his dad and Andy)? Yes, yellow lane in the B final. Whatever lane he was in, he was up against three very quick Vipers and three former WHO Mod race winners. And it was Corey, Ned and Tony who led the way, with Stephen quickly losing touch. It was close at the front, but Corey was driving beautifully and eased out a comfortable lead over Ned, who was just about holding off Tony. That's how it stayed until the end, all three drivers doing a faultless job. It was great to watch.


The A final was mouth-watering and lived up to the hype. Corey had obviously got some tips from his dad about driving a good race in yellow. He did a decent job, albeit a few laps back from the others, and he'd already beaten Ned for the junior medal. The expected battle between pole-sitter Keith and WHO top-dog Mike D failed to materialise, with Mike's G3 off the pace of both Keith and John's Vipers. Last year's Mod champ also had one of his occasional error-strewn races.


Up front, it was a spectacular tussle between Keith and John. Both had offs, with marshals getting them back on track quickly and John leading at the halfway stage by about half a lap. Although Keith did manage to chip away at the lead, an off with half a minute to go dropped him back to nearly a lap behind John. A valiant effort closed the gap again, yet John was where he wanted to be - in control of the race - and as the chequered flag dropped, his winning margin was half a lap.


It has been a while (October 2013) since John won a WHO Mod race, but it definitely felt as if the three-time WHO Mod champ was back were he belongs. He has a blisteringly fast Viper, so it will take something special to dislodge him from top step on the podium. Congratulations also go to Corey on his junior medal win and it's Corey who now sits second - behind John - in the WHO Mod championship, with Keith third. The title will go to one of those three, I reckon.


Thanks to everyone who took part in another excellent evening at the Barn. Watching Daniel and Stephen running race control so effortlessly, it's alarming to think that they'll both be going off to university in the autumn. They'd better start training up some replacements quick!



-Andy P

Heats

Finals

Race Results

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