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The third round of our 2015-16 Micro Scalextric championship was the only individual sprint race, tucked in amongst five team races. This was a chance to score some big points and shake up the championship table a little.


We were racing on the Micro Watkins Glen layout - a fast, flowing track with some twisty bits to keep an eye on. And with the club-supplied Micro Scalextric cars for everyone to use, there was plenty of potential for bad luck to be waiting round every corner...


With an excellent half term grid of twenty-four, we welcomed Lucie, Sharon, Matt, Paul and Fernando for their first ever races at the Barn. It was also Rachel's first ever HO race, having picked up a junior medal in the WHO/digital GT race last month.


As the heats started, it looked like yellow lane was going to be tricky, but people were really enjoying red and white. Sharon was our early front-runner, having set great scores on those favoured lanes. At halfway, we had Andrew, Andy Player and Keith in the top positions and Alex top junior.


Mike McCann was doing a fine job keeping the cars running at their full potential and, over on race control, Hayley, Daniel and Neal were getting through the heats at a good pace. It was a well-oiled operation.


In the second round of heats, the order began to shake itself down. Everyone would have to suffer two minutes on yellow, but - barring problems on another lane - most would drop that score.


We were left with an incredibly close bunching of most of the field around the 50 lap mark. But out front we had Andy, Simon, John and Keith, with Ned top junior and Matt the first of our debutants. Oscar set the best single score for a junior with a whopping 19.45 in red - which had everyone excited, especially his mum and dad!


Simon's recovery to second place had also been thrilling to watch. His run on white was wrecked by car and track problems, but he bounced back with a solid two minutes on yellow followed by a massive score on red - 21.80 laps - the only score over 21 laps in the heats. The gap to Andy was nearly four laps, but without the problem on white lane, who knows...


Finals


The H final was a three-way battle between the youngest of our youngsters. Fernando had the favoured red lane and he blasted a very impressive 19.75 laps to take the victory. Some way behind, Oscar and Rachel had a great scrap for second, with Oscar just about doing just enough to finish half a lap ahead.


Fernando stepped up into yellow in the G final. All our final winners were given that grim challenge, but all gave it a good crack. Fernando would trail in behind the others, but his score of 12.80 wasn't at all bad. Ahead, Mike and Daniel had one of those McCann father and son battles we all know and love. Mike did make things more difficult for himself than was entirely necessary, but he did enough to win by just over half a lap, with Lucie coming in third.


We had another close battle between red and white in the F final with Alex and Sharon swapping the lead throughout. Sharon took over the lead with ten seconds to go, but inexplicably crashed on what would be the final lap, letting a relieved Alex through to win by just a couple of feet. It had been an impressive debut by Sharon nonetheless. In third was Tony, not too far ahead of Mike in that yellow lane.


If you thought that finish was close, the E final was even closer... Dave and Matt ran neck and neck throughout, but with the clock ticking down, Matt looked in control and Dave couldn't close the gap quite enough. As they recorded their last lap they were under a second apart, with Matt in the lead. But Matt then crashed at the first corner and let Dave through - when the parts were called, he'd won by a quarter of a lap. The first win for white of the finals. Paul came home third after a good first night racing at the Barn.


We were served up another close race in the D final, this time a three-way battle between Stephen, Neal and Hayley. Neal was doing an impressive job in blue lane and there was nothing in it between the top trio - and it was fast and remarkably error-free. That is until Stephen and Neal started to push a bit too much - not something you want to do with those Micro cars. Hayley motored on to a brilliant winning score of 21.30, only the second 21+ score of the night so far. Stephen recovered well to finish just a lap down, with Neal third.


There was yet another excellent race in the C final with another three-car tussle for top spot. Andy Phillips had the favoured red lane, but Ned seemed to have the upper hand in white and Paul was never out of it, close behind in blue. However, with the clock ticking down, it was Andy who powered through to the win, almost a lap up on Ned in the end, who was just a few feet ahead of Paul who'd really impressed on his return to the Barn.


Andy joined an esteemed bunch of racers in the B final. Keith had out qualified both Mike D and Andrew to claim red lane, but it would be anyone's race. Andrew was the guy to get away at the start after the other three had off-track excursions on the first lap. Our Micro guru was lapping beautifully in blue and comfortably keeping the opposition at bay until he was collected in a multi-car pile up. Losing a little ground, he lost concentration and crashed again, dropping back to third.


Now Mike was hunting down Keith, who wasn't feeling at his best. Chunks of Keith's lead disappeared each lap, but as Mike moved up on to the leader's tail, he binned it going in to turn one. There just wasn't time for Mike to recover and Keith won by exactly half a lap with Andrew in third, less than a quarter of a lap behind Mike. The drama hadn't finished... Andrew thought he might have missed a lap, which would have handed him the win, but the start line marshal reassured everyone that he hadn't. Disappointment for Andrew and Mike, but satisfaction for Keith.


Andy had blitzed the heats and had red lane for the A final, but he had serious competition in the form of Simon and John in white and blue lanes. And no-one could discount Keith pulling off a surprise in yellow lane. It was John who took off in to an early lead, with Andy right on his tail and the other two a little further back after offs. It was looking promising for John until he crashed, handing the lead to Andy. Simon was pushing and putting himself into the frame, until a big off in turn nine put him on the floor and out of contention.


Simon continued pushing and set fastest lap of the finals, but he couldn't catch back up. Keith was not far behind in yellow - his score of 17.30 was the best in yellow all night. But up front, Andy comfortably won with a score of 21.75, a lap and a half ahead of John and Simon finishing third.


Congrats to Andy as race winner and Ned as top junior. Although it doesn't count for anything in the Micro Championship (apart from bragging rights), Andy Phillips finished top rookie and Alex was top under-11 racer with Matt top WHO debutant - great performances from them and from many more through the field too.


Many thanks to everyone who came along, helped out and made it such an excellent night at the Barn. I've already mentioned the car maintenance and race control team, but Stephen also merits a mention in dispatches for his heroic efforts marshalling the hole in 'the boot'.


After a WHO F1 race and a WHO/digital night, we're back at the Barn in the Easter holidays for our next instalment of the Micro Scalextric championship, which will be a team race on our popular Micro Le Mans layout. Start thinking of your Easter-themed team names now!


- Andy

Round 3 - February 2016

Click on the logos to watch the video and look at more pictures.

Race results are below, click to enlarge.

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