WHEN: Most Friday evenings. TIME:

03 October 2007

Craig Strydom's 2007 Newcastle Nats report

Hi Guys

As promised, below is a report back on the last leg of the SAMCA Nationals held at Full Throttle Raceway in Newcastle last weekend. For me it was really good to get back onto what we used to consider our second home track again and do some racing. This has got to be one of the best tracks in South Africa at the moment, and it is a pity that our Natal Championship competition has fallen by the way side, thereby ruining our chance to race on this track more often. I think if it is the only thing we achieve in 2008, it must be the revival of this competition which has produced so many good racing battles and built good friendships over the years. Anyway enough chatter, on to the weekends racing.


2 Hour True Scale Enduro

The weekend in Newcastle got off to a bit of a rocky start, with some last minute hectic building of the True Scale 917 Sandeman Porsche for the 2-hour enduro. Ashwin unfortunately was also running late due to his real car not starting on Thursday morning, so we were down to a two man team consisting of Tyrone and myself. The start went well enough and we were actually leading after the first 20 minute stint although it was a very close affair as these True Scale races always seem to be. A few hiccups along the way let the eventual winners, PMCC B, get a fair advantage over us in second place and Full Throttle (Newcastle) was chasing hard. There was some see-sawing during the remaining lanes, although PMCC B were rock solid in front. Eventually PMCC B (Gert De Beer & Allan White) won the event with FTR (Jan Kleinhans & Tim Murch) in second and Ecurie (Myself and Tyrone) a close third.


1/24 Production Touring (Race1)

It is has always baffled me why this is always the first event on any race schedule. It is always tough to start off with, usually on a relatively ‘cold’ track. Not only this, but Tyrone and I had both been so focused on the plastic side of things, that we hardly had time to test and practice with our metal cars. Ashwin was first up and he struggled with too much traction, which resulted in him trashing his poly spur gear during practice. The replacement sonic was a little more up to the challenge, but he only managed a 7th place. That being said, Tyrone who also managed to trash his poly gear in practice, had his replacement gear come loose during the race and ended up 19th. Yours truly, experimenting with the new JK Cheetah chassis got off to a flying start and was sitting in a healthy 2nd place until the endbell oilite came loose in the motor which proceeded to overheat, glaze the motor brushes and die after 5 minutes. Not a good start to the day for any of us.

Plastic Touring (Race1)

This was supposed to be where it all came together. We had practiced furiously, the cars were on the pace with Tyrone being the quickest on the track by 0,1 – 0,2s per lap. Unfortunately for me, things went horribly wrong again. I had replace my braid in the morning after I discovered that the old braid was pretty much non-existent. So a little way into the race, with a fairly healthy lead, my leadwire decided to part company with the guide and I came to a dead standstill. Thanks to some quick repair work from Hennie Petzer from East London, I still managed to finish, although well down the field in 10th place. Tyrone was flying and with his car being rock solid, he took the win fairly easily in the end. Ashwin put in a solid performance to grab a 3rd place.

Plastic Sports (Race1)

By the time we got around to this race, I was getting extremely nervous. I was 0 for 2 so far, and was staring down the barrel of a very long dreary Nats. Tyrone and I and pitched up with five sports cars between us, including Erlo’s super quick Dallara, and had still not really determined which was the best. In sheer desperation I decided to use Erlo’s car, which seemed to feel the best out of all of them. For once this proved to be the right decision, with Tyrone battling along with my Dallara on new tyres and eventually retiring very despondent. I managed to absolutely blitz the opposition with Erlo’s car and ended up almost 6 laps ahead of second place. Ashwin made a wrong choice between his two Dallara’s and battled along for a creditable 5th place in the end.

GT12 (Race1)

Once again the lack of track time and practice, worked against Ashwin in this class. His car was really quick in a straight line, having purchased one of the Red Fox setups from AB Slotsport that I have been using for 2 years now. Unfortunately he seemed to be having trouble with the cars handling and could only manage 14th place. After cleaning out both Tyrone’s and my motors and replacing his motor brushes, Tyrone’s car was flying, and besides Gustav, he was the only one getting consistent 5,0s lap times with the odd dabble into the 4,9s mark. I seemed to have lost straight line speed when compared to Tyrone, however the awesome handling of my car kind of kept me in the game. Gustav eventually won with Tyrone a lap or two down on him and myself in 4th place, which I was not too unhappy about. It seemed as if everything was starting to go right for Tyrone though and he was pushing the big guns to the limit.


1/24 Production Touring (Race2)

After a hasty fix and some tuning to my S16D motor on Friday night, we decided to head back to our cottage early for a good sleep. This turned out to be the best thing we could have done, arriving refreshed and ready on Saturday morning. I was in the first heat of the morning, which is never easy. The track is cold, the competition is brutal (to say the least) and I was not looking forward to it at all. My car, however, was almost back to its best and I was managing to get down to similar lap times as the big guns at last. Tyrone was also back up on the pace and was in with a shout as well. Aswhin seemed to go backwards however and only managed a 13th place. Tyrone hung in for a good 4th and I was quite surprised at the end of the day that I ended in 3rd.

Plastic Touring (Race2)

Once again I had to go before all the major competitors, due to my poor performance on Friday. I was a bit nervous, as it is a bit easier if you know what your target should be although, I knew that if I could improve or match Tyrone’s score from the previous day that I would be in with a shout. I had decided on Friday night to superglue my leadwire into the guide, as I did not want a repetition of what happened during the first race. After his win the previous day, Tyrone was the only one who could take the overall Plastic Touring title from me, but in order to do this he had to win, and I had to come 3rd or lower so the pressure was on. I was so eager to get off to a good start, that I pulled away too quickly, only to have the nose of the Capri lift out of the slot and not go anywhere. Luckily fro me there was a false start, and having a second bite at the cherry, I got away cleanly and had an excellent race. Tyrone had a bit of drama in his race at the beginning, probably due to the pressure but soon settled down and came back from 4th to win his heat. Unfortunately for Tyrone, I had done enough to win with Ashwin again putting in a solid performance for 3rd place. Ecurie 1-2-3 beautiful!!!!

Plastic Sports (Race2)

I was feeling much happier by this time, knowing that I had secured the Plastic Touring title for the year, and also the Plastic Sports title. So this race for me was really a no pressure affair. Tyrone was the first of us to have a go, due to his early retirement on Friday. He had opted to go with the fairly untried Scaleauto Toyota GT1 instead of the Dallara. The car requires a slightly different driving style, which took him a while to get used to, but once he got going, he put in some of the fastest lap times of the weekend. His relatively slow start, was probably the only thing that stopped him from getting closer to a win in this race, and he ended up 3rd. Ashwin had opted for his other Dallara, and it proved to be a wise decision as he put in another solid performance for 2nd place. I had another blinder with Erlo’s Dallara and in the end it was another fairly easy win for me. Ecurie 1-2-3 again!!!!

GT12 (Race1)

This was the race of the weekend. Forget everything else that happened. The final race is one that will be remembered for a long time. Gustav Heymann was in pole position on black lane, Tyrone on green, Anthony Brithrey on white, myself on red, Hennie Petzer on blue and Jock Dennill on yellow. We all took off at huge speed, with my car suddenly finding pace from somewhere and the four top drivers being Gustav, Tyrone, Anthony and myself were all on 5,0s lap times. There was lots of drama and crashing as you would expect and although I was not as consistently fast as the other three, I found myself in first place with one segment left to go. Tyrone was one lap down and Gustav two laps down. I thought I had this one sewn up. WRONG!!!! The buzzer went, but unfortunately my car did not. The gears had jammed, and by the time we got it sorted out, Gustav and Anthony had caught me and Tyrone was now a lap up. A crash and a bad marshal for Tyrone put us all on the same lap again, although Gustav and Tyrone were the only ones really fighting it out for the win. After a last nail biting 30-40s with the lead changing between Gustav and Tyrone almost every lap, Gustav finally won it by about half a car length from Tyrone. I ended up 3rd and Anthony 4th. The laps read as follows:-

Gustav - 130.76
Tyrone – 130.75
Craig - 130.37
Anthony – 130.12

An exciting end to what turned out to be a good weekends racing after all. It was a pretty successful year, with myself capturing the SA Plastic Champion title, Tyrone running a close second and Ashwin ending up in fourth only one point behind third place Carel Van Heerden (Jnr). Ecurie still managed to come second to PMCC in the club championship even though we had the third lowest number of participants. This means that the guys who did participate did very well and scored decent points, so WELL DONE!!!!! to all who raced Nationals this year.


Craig Strydom

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant and well done. Glad you used my sports car and creamed them.