WHEN: Most Friday evenings. TIME:

16 July 2009

Costa's bread board controller - part 3 MRRC addendum

Trotted Costa's new Parma Turbo down to club, only to be greeted with "Ja, but wot about the MRRC". Having motivated the MRRC up front, I was obliged to cobble together the one I had pre-ordered way back. Decided to this as a complete breadboard approach to minimise connection lengths and cable change - the only existing main cable change being to disconnect the red cable to facilitate brake adjustment, with one only cut to the controller case to let the bread board poke through. Note how the bread board is wasted to minimise the case cut.

Both pot terminals poke through to the board front so that connecting up is a breeze and the TIP36c was reverted to in this case to minimise weight and complexity.

It is vital that all cut adjustments are made to the breadboard and nix to the controller case - the internal pimples and bits are for holding the existing board!

The exercise to cut and drill the bread board took one episode of Desperate Housewives and was simply eyeballed, it is really not a tricky exercise. The existing board has four holes perfectly located to hold the home brew bread board. The wiper board is spaced and bolted to the bread board in the space previously used for the resistor.

There are excellent features in the MRRC, like two trigger options, adjustable spring tension, sprung wiper arm and adjustable full throttle stop.

The stock 12 band wiper board had the bottom third trimmed off for clearance of the spring mechanism on the wiper arm. The jury still out on the neat sprung arm as I think the wiper button may be of overly hard material [proved fine] and require a mod, time will tell.

The sensitivity pot is the same 20 ohm volume control pot we have been sourcing for the brake adjustment, through the net from Yebo Electronics in Cape Town. Two 20 ohm pots at forty bucks a pop and a cheapie Tip36c plus heatsink and one can have an adequate transistor conversion of the MRRC unit......

The lightweight heatsink for the Tip36c is widely available and more than adequate cooliing, ignore the mini fan unit in the picture.

The MRRC unit is easily the simplest and quickest way for Ecurie folk to home brew a change to the transistor approach.

The new unit proved a success for all of one and half laps, which is why the picture of the main cable is shown here. It would be crazy to change the magic cable but the colour sequence is white / black / red against our normal white / red / black jack plugs - no problem, simply swapped the red and black cables across but under tension it pulled the red and black jack plug terminals together and instant brakes, no go! Took a while to find and not a big deal, just be careful when fitting a jack plug - the club will be converting to three pin 5 amp plug, which will obviate this issue.

15 June 2009

Costa's breadboard controller - part 2 final

Rather than a nuts and bolts view of the hook up wiring, I have rather re-posted the layout schematic with a note that the transistor view on the layout is the bottom of the transistor! Seem obvious but I had it reversed on Gordon's unit that I could never get to function. Most of the wiring tucks away in the unit and the drawing actually does a better job of showing the hook up than I could.

Thanks to the Ecurie guys for slotting me in to a race after a late arrival on Friday night - the controller was truly tested in action from first press and worked fine with a useful third overall, despite the rusty driver.

The pictures illustrate the neat and uncluttered final product. I have also included a cut out of the Gordon economy handle to illustrate how the black lead is bolted to both sides of the transistor top with terminals, one for the contact to the trigger and the other black lead to jack plug. The orange thing is a resettable fuse and well worth the extra precaution if you lend out your controller from time to time. The circuit theory borrowed from the excellent Christ Frost and Le Mans slot car web sites, with the neat artwork off this interesting web site:

The sprung button in the MRRC controller is a boon right out the box but, in this Parma Turbo project, I simply bent the end of the wiper arm and bolted on an old brush hood unit off an old can style motor (16D or C Can units fine) - the motor brush being the smoothest approach I have come across for cheapie homebrew units.

My unit will have the two pots facing out rather than in as I found my method of holding had me unintentially winding the sensitivity to zero through the race (not an issue for most other folks). That's it in this series, there may be a further breadboard approach to the interesting MRRC controller, time will tell. In the absence of the metal turbo frame, a small lightweight heat sink and fan (The dinky little Hobbywing RC unit for R85) will be fitted, along with reverting to the Tip36c and a 30 ohm total wiper board to explore the potential of other folk using the existing resistor as a wiper board.

Any net readers are welcome to email the team to find out the component sources etc, although most of mine were from Mantech, locally.

10 June 2009

Costa's breadboard controller - part 1

Some gentle persistence from Chairman Costa got me to scratch out the previous start of an "easy to follow Assembly" controller, commissioned by him so long ago. This is the Parma Turbo and it is hoped to do same with the new good value MRRC controller. Thought it worth dealing with the basics without the clutter of hook up wire, first. Of course this is where the steam ran out before so hopefully this motivates the part 2 for final completion. Click on the pic and study the large version closely before reading on. Costa's requirements in bold:

1. Minimum butchering of the controller case. With the above approach there is virtually no dremel cutting of the a Parma Turbo case, although a standard case would have to opened at the top ala the Parma Turbo space for the frame. Three pimples are removed from inside the case to clear the transistor and new spring position. Easy to spot when closing the case together.

2. Simple layout to follow. The brake pot is just above the brake stop and the sensitivity pot is a similar short distance away from the full throttle hook up, requiring very little hook up wire and a circuit layout which can be followed by someone with no electronics knowledge at all. Obviously all the long spiky arms will be cut off the potentiometers after the hook up wiring is complete, so there will be no pricking of precious fingers.
3. Minimum parts count. The transistor uses the Turbo frame as a very efficient heat sink. The frame kindly already provides the necessary holes, which only need a some extra opening up to prevent shorting of the two hook up legs, which are bent over to clear the case. A cheapie transistor insulation kit is a must to prevent electrical shorting against the frame.

4. Minimum drilling. There only two extra holes drilled in to the frame to hold both the fibre potentiometer board and the wiper board. The resistors are first soldered in the back of the wiper board whilst being bent flat. That means the board can be located very low down with no fouling of the upper case by the wiper arm.

5. Relocation of the trigger spring (not specified but essential). This is very important to ensure effective returning back to the brake stop. The frame also kindly already provides another hole in to which a new spring holding point bolt is locked. The original spring locating arm will be bent over to hold the main cables in place. Costa's Turbo controller kit had the best spring supplied that I have ever seen in a Parma controller, by the way - way better than the old barbed wire Turbo springs and saves pinching out of old Economy controllers.
6. Minimum manufacture of parts. The pre-made wiper board is available locally and online and is well worth it to simplify the project. Thus the only element of home manufacture is the small piece of board to hold the two potentiometers and bolt to the controller frame at the two points mentioned. This can really just be eyeballed off with the pots themselves before drilling and cutting the board.
That's it! Roll on part two wiper arm and hook up.

03 June 2009

Scouts Race Meeting - 2009/05/30

In what has become an annual event, the Club hosted the Scouts again on Saturday 30 May. This motivated some of the members to undertake a much needed clean up of the premises beforehand. Thanks to Mike, Costa, Tony, Vic and Phil for the hard work put in prior to the event. Vic did a sterling job cutting the grass while the others scrubbed, swept and vacuumed inside. The less said about Phil almost flooding the Club the better!

Unfortunately Neil Robinson couldn't make it due to work commitments but his brother Gavin was there to help us organise the event. With 17 Drivers, numbers were down on last year but enthusiasm and enjoyment were no less!

Erlo had done a fantastic job on the cars which have taken somewhat of a hammering in the last few months. Not content to simply service and clean them, the cars were re-sprayed and sported new decals. Apart from a few minor problems, the cars performed well throughout.
Practice started at 3pm, followed by two qualifying rounds and then the finals. With Costa on Race Control and Mike instructing the drivers and keeping order, the event ran like clockwork and ended at 6:30pm. A great deal of fun was had by all, and we look forward to hosting the Scouts again next year.

28 May 2009

Race Report - Libre 22/05/2009

It was the usual Friday night gathering for all the Libre class enthusiasts…but this time round
there were a few new faces…This would be imminent of the popularity of the Libre class, more
and more youngsters joining, which of course would mean more competition.

Well, as per normal everyone was early and trying there utmost to have a few practice laps…before the daunting qualifying session would get underway. Whilst practicing, even the young ones gained some insight and experience with the help of Mike and not to forget Brad…
(and everyone else who pitched in to help with the cars) We must say a special thank you to Brad, especially with the “trigger” tips…Yes, the trick is to remember to hold and release instantly when approaching a sharp hairpin bend or looming corner….. As Brad always reminds me, if you don’t concentrate your car will come off the track, which will equal less laps, which will equal, you loose….Thus a valid tip for all aspiring young racers out there.

Anyways…moving on…The time arrived for the first qualifying rounds to begin. You can just imagine the expressions on everyone’s faces, the anticipation and anxiousness…Where will I qualify? Will tonight be me night? The youngsters were so excited, whilst the top racers were tense as usual….After all your qualifying position could just give you the edge to beat Ashwin this time round. The top 3 positions were…yes you guessed it….Costa “The Great” in first..hmmmm,
Followed by Ashwin “The fast and the furious” and Phil “The Fox”. They were closely followed by Johannes, Erlo and Mike. Scary stuff!!!

Then it was time for the main races to take place, for the evening…Yes, it was a bit of a long, but enjoyable evening J First up, were the young ones Cameron, Chris and Kyle. The tips from experienced Mike and Brad, definitely assisted Chris in taking the victory in this first race, followed closely by Cameron and then Kyle. Well done guys!

In the second race, Gwain and Vic battled it out for the title of first place in there race, not to forget Kevin in the golden cruiser….or sorry you changed your car…forgot, close on their tail.
You could feel the tension mounting…second by second…To add to the mix, young Mikheel was playing catch-up with Kevin and Aubrey, definitely giving them a run for their money…at the end
Gwaine came out tops in this race, followed ever so closely by Vic, Kevin, Mikheel and Aubrey.

Ahh….at this stage the night was still young, then we moved on to the start of the third race.
In the starting blocks we had Mike, Jono, Ayrton, Luke, JP and of course myself. Well, well, well,

did we have a blistering start to this race or what…Yes, a birdie tells me someone was even doing lap times of 6,7’s….I gave the guys a bit of stick, such a pity I came off the track, Jono was probably the cause breaking my concentration to try and beat me this time round…Well, we had Mike, Jono and Ayrton playing yo-yo throughout the race….you couldn’t keep up. I tried of course to do it for the girls, but I had to admit Mike was on a roll and took first place in the race, followed by a neck-to-neck challenge by Jono, Ayrton, myself and then Luke and JP.

The night was not over yet, but soon coming to an end….The end is near…The final curtain..
Yes, it was time for the MAIN race event of the evening. The main racers were about to take center stage. Just picture it… Phil “The Fox” ready to give Ashwin “The Fast and the Furious” a go…Ashwin trembling in his boots…thinking will he be lucky to win Brad again by one segment?
Not to forget Costa, the number one qualifier..was this a sign that he will win? Then we had the quiet and placid Erlo and anxious Johannes…All ready to GO..GO…GO

It was going to be a tight race from the words of race control “Drivers ready, Marshals ready, three you have from now”. Erlo and Ashwin definitely meant business and were close on each other tails. Followed by Costa, our number one qualifier….then we had Brad in the Ferrari trying to make his Ferrari go faster to catch up to Ashwin..Phil and Johannes were battling it out side by side. Things were tense, as we were approaching the last segment, Ashwin and Erlo were one lap apart, followed by Costa, Phil and Brad all on 85 laps….But congrats go out to Erlo, as it was his night this time round, followed with a hair length by Ashwin and well done to Costa for coming third. Last but not least Brad seemed to beat Phil just just and decided to have bragging rights until the next race event…followed by Johannes whom gave it his all.

Well, what a night of racing, I’m sure you will all treasure this night’s memories…Who will be the next “King Pin” of the Libre racetrack…The drama continues next week Friday…Don’t miss out.

A big thanks to Celeste for providing us with an excellent race report.

19 May 2009

True Scale Race Report 15/05/2009

True Scale Race Report 15/05/2009

The field was made up of 8 drivers myself included, and it was to be my first taste of the true scale class and boy what a taste it was! I arrived with the intention of marshalling and spectating and as the established members would have it I was to race! This was going to prove difficult as I don’t own a True Scale car, but Mike stepped up to the plate and very bravely offered me the use his machine and I, never being one to back down from a race, grabbed the opportunity with both hands!!

So very soon after arriving I kicked off what was to be the first of two qualifying sessions for us all, placing myself ahead of Phil and young Ayrton, who showed he had pace and just needed to keep it on the track, the three of us were however, no where near the Top Guns of the class, with Craig taking Pole position ahead of Erlo, who, I might add, had a very neat Ferrari 330 P4 going extremely well!!! Ashwin was hot on his heels however, followed so closely by Mike, with Costa the last of the hard chargers in 5th position, it was going to be close racing at the top and we were all eager to see what the outcome would be!!

With the field small we were divided up into 3 sub categories of drivers, Myself and Ayrton kicking off the nights racing. I felt a little pressured knowing that the young but extremely talented Ayrton (Using Costa’s car) was to be my adversary for the evening, needless to say it is racing and it was, most definitely, on!!! The heats were close and although Ayrton was able to coax faster lap times out of his machine it was consistency that would win the evening in our race. Young Ayrton reminded me of a desperate Senna destroying his car on the scenery in the process of pursuing the chequered and I the Prost of the evening, not the fastest, but there indeed, and staying on the track the longest, to take overall 7th only 2 laps ahead of Ayrton.

Next up we had Mike, Costa and Phil (the bold, the big mouthed and the balding J Just kidding guys!!) making up race 2. The race started and after 2 segments of close racing there was only one lap separating the 3, the lap times were much faster than in my race, with experience clearly showing its pace!! Costa had built himself a little cushion of a lead but the race was nowhere near won with Mike letting him know that he was right there, Phil bringing up the rear, struggling a little with his car I would assume, as his driving is rarely at fault. At the start of the last segment they were within 2 laps of each other with Costa and Phil separated by Mike. Costa drove a near faultless final segment to take 4th from Mike in 5th one lap behind and Phil bringing up the rear in 6th, finishing on a total of 104.16.

And into the final, consisting of the three bullets, Ashwin, Erlo, and Craig, with them putting in 9.44, 9.45, 9.46 laps respectively in the second qualifying segment, this was going to be a close close race!! The flag dropped and Erlo’s beautifully turned out Ferrari looked to have the edge, although the other 2 were never more than a car length behind him, a small turn of speed and within a lap Erlo was caught and very gently shunted off his lane by an apologetic Craig! Ashwin I am sure breathing a sigh relief that his competition had effectively been halved! Erlo was never to recover from that, although he did put in some lightning fast lap times! It looked as if it would be Craig and Ashwin dicing for the win, and then….the Blue lane happened!!! Ashwin hit it and was never able to find a rhythm on it, we all agreed that there was something amiss on Blue that night, still he was not deterred and fought until the very end, catching Craig by consistently lapping in the 6,2 sec lap time bracket, it was to be a case of just what was needed, but just a little too late. So it was Craig who put in an almost flawless run, who assumed his well earned place on top of the podium, followed home by Ashwin, with Erlo taking third.

The guys comparing notes!!!

A great night was had by all, and thanks go out to the guys who worked to lay Goop down on the track!!

Excellent report by Jono - thank you

11 May 2009

Formula Libre - 08/05/2009 - Race Report

So it was Libre class again and everyone was eager to show improvement on the night.

Ashwin proposed that we get there early and clean the track because there was so much rubber on the track; it was starting to get bumpy.
Costa, Ayrton and Phil got there nice and early, as per instruction, and started to clean the track. We think that Ashwin waited outside until we had finished and then strode in but we were wrong…. he was just late. Actually, we was at a function so although we think it was part of his great plan, we forgive him this time. Kevin and Luke also were there to lend a helping hand as was Gwain so it did not take long to get the job done.

Once the track was clean, it gleamed and a decision was made not to goop it for the Libre class. The motors might have taken strain so I think it was the right decision. This however ensured that the normal levels of grip that we were used to were no longer there and it reminded me of the old days were tyre cleaning pitstops were going to be the order of the day.

Qualifying came and went with all of us struggling with grip but learning lots for the main race and the top positions were Ashwin, Erlo, Ayrton, Costa, Brad and Phil.

In the first race, the newer guys battled a lot with the less than normal grip and a 12 minute race ended up taking more than 35 minutes. Gwain ended up taking that heat from newcomer Wynand and Vicwith Aubrey and Mikheel bringing up the rear.

In the second race, Tony ran away with it as he managed to decipher the track conditions and grew in confidence. I think this is Tony’s first outing in the Libre class for a long time and it was nice to have him back. I’m sure he’ll soon be fighting at the top again in no time.
Mike and Jono ended up having a ding dong battle which went down to the wire. Mike was battling with grip and Jono’s yellow lightning Ferrari 330 was flying. Jono has a potentially serious deadly weapon for the future even though he was only 1 segment (0.07 sec on an average lap) away from Mike.
Luke and Kevin also had a very close fight with the smack talk much better during the lane changes with Luke eventually edging away from Kevin towards the end of the race.

In the top race, things were going to be tough. Ashwin was ready with his ever well prepared GT40. Erlo’s Riley looked good on the starting line and we knew from past races that he was going to be fast. Ayrton out-qualified Costa and his Opel Astra with the silicon tyres was going to be the most consistent with grip but was seriously lacking in speed. Costa’s Chev Camaro was fast but was struggling with grip as he was using the larger diameter rims. Brad decided that his normal Ninco was not going to cut it so decided to use Jono’s yellow Ferrari P4 and we knew it was fast. Phil’s black and white GT40 did well in previous battles but was also battling with grip.

The race started and a first corner slip out by Costa but him almost a lap down whilst the rest screamed away. The racing was tight though with cars following each other very closely. I managed to claw my way up to fourth as two guys in front of me had an off and there I stayed for a while. The top runners decided to stop for a tyre clean as this greatly improved grip levels and before I new it, I was leading the race. I promptly called to race control to announce to everyone who was leading and as this was done, I crashed at the end of the main straight… back down to fourth again – such was the closeness of the racing.
By the end of the race the whole field was only separated by 5 laps and a last segment scurry provided the closest racing finish in this class in ages.
Ashwin held on by a whisker from and very hard charging Brad and took it by 1 segment. Less than a lap behind, Costa and Ayrton we having there own battle and Costa managed to take him by only 4 segments. Erlo took fifth with Phil bringing up the rear. I was so busy fending off seemingly everyone at some stage that I do not know why Phil’s GT40 ended up so low. It was probably grip related but I would not rule out excellent driving by me as the reason… ;-).

Personally, I think that the combination of different track conditions, the tyre clean pitstops and the emerging younger drivers all contributed to an amazing race that left all drivers with a yearning for more. If this can be emulated repeatedly, we have an even greater class than we originally thought.

Final Race Positions (Qualifying position in brackets):

1 Ashwin - 98.54 (1)
2 Brad - 98.53 (5)
3 Costa - 97.71 (4)
4 Ayrton - 97.67 (3)
5 Tony - 95.37 (10)
6 Erlo - 94.34 (2)
7 Phil - 93.51 (6)
8 Mike - 89.57 (8)
9 Jono - 89.56 (7)
10 Luke - 72.24 (9)
11 Gwain - 69.44 (12)
12 Wnand - 69.12 (15)
13 Kevin - 69.09 (11)
14 Vic - 67.92 (13)
15 Aubrey - 63.83 (14)
16 Mikheel - 48.83 (16)

05 May 2009

Highlands - Portable Track Event (02/05/2009)

The Highlands Event in Toti proved to be very good even though it had its challenges throughout the day.

The day started off with the imminent threat of rain. It held off though pretty well right up until the very end.

On arrival, I noticed that we were not setting up at the "change room enclosure" as was negotiated by Phil. Apparently the location of this site was not very good and was away from any sort of pedestrian thoroughfare. There was a cancellation at one of the big tens and Mandy the organiser told us we could set up in there. We thought that this would be brilliant as it was right nest to one of the pedestrian entrances and as we know, it's all about location.
We proceeded to set everything up and then waited for the gates to open so we could weave our magic.

The gates opened and...... nothing! The people were paying to get in, walking past our tent and not even looking at us. The tent that was protecting us from the elements was the very thing that was causing our downfall.
Even getting Mike and Phil to stand at the entrance pointing people to our stand was proving to be pointless as I think we only had two paying customers.

We got together and made an executive decision to move our track into the outdoors on the main field next to the dancing tents. Erlo volunteered to get his two gazebos from home just in case it rained.

Like the well oiled slick machine that we are, we got the track moved across in record time and we already had "customers" waiting for us to be ready as well as lots of questions from interested persons.

The rest is history. We ended up selling 144 tickets which was not bad considering that most of the morning was wasted.
It was a long day but thoroughly enjoyed by all.

A big thanks to Phil, Mike, Ashwin, Erlo and Costa for all the effort they put in during the day.

Costa telling the troops how to hold their controllers (again).

A brief lull as we moved to our new location on the main field.

The interest is good and the numbers were excellent.

Location next to the dancing tent was a winner.

We had racers of all ages enjoying our track.

We had to cover the track as the sun was causing the track to expand.

1:24 Production Race Report - 01/05/2009

It gives me great pleasure to report back on last Fridays racing, the 1:24th production class.

It all started much earlier with a call from Mr Strydom telling me that he had family commitments and could unfortunately not be able to attend the racing on Friday. He asked me if I would like to try his new JK Cheetah 3-piece chassis car for the race meeting as he new I was torn between buying the 2-piece or the 3-piece. I obviously said yes and then proceeded to call him back later on in the week to ensure that the car was ready for me. He told me that he had not had any time to work on it and even though the tyres were marginal, he assured me that the car was going well.

Friday came and I could hardly contain my excitement at the prospect of driving a decent car. My only worry was that I would have no-one or nothing to blame if the results were poor.

Qualifying was pretty tame with Ashwin taking the honours hands down with Tony in second and Phil third. I came in fifth and was a little worried.

Racing started with the first group comprising of Ayrton, Vic and Gwaine. Ayrton took the race with an impressive 125.42 laps, his best of the year. Vic was not too far behind with 110.53 laps and is showing great improvement with every race meeting.

The second heat comprised of Mike, Costa and Erlo. Racing was very tight and close right up to half way when Erlo's card threw a pinion gear which ended his race prematurely. After that, Costa started easing away from Mike and ended up with 139.66 (his best this year – if not ever). Mike ended on 134.45.

The last race saw Ashwin, Tony and Phil fighting it out but Ashwin was on fire, edging out a lead from the first segment and continuing that trend right through the race. He ended up with an impressive 148.82 laps.
During the last race, we hade Phil and Tony extremely worried about my laps from the previous race and, as hard as they tried, they could not manage to catch up to me.

Let’s just say that I was smiling so much, if I didn't have ears, my head would have fallen off.
The 3-piece chassis was an absolute pleasure to drive and I would not be surprised if most of us changed to the chassis and, coupled with identical motors and gearing, this class will be uber close and competitive in the future.

Final Race Positions

Ashwin - 148.82
Costa - 139.66
Tony - 138.49
Phil - 137 - 44
Mike - 134.45
Ayrton - 125.42
Vic - 110.53
Gwaine - 85.58
Erlo - 77.-

Libre - 2009-04-24

Some images from the Libre race meeting on the 24/04/2009.

23 April 2009

Race Report - Formula Libre - 2009-04-10

Race Report - Formula Libre - 2009-04-10

Formula Libre on Good Friday was well attended with 14 drivers racing. The event had a kind in International flavour with Jim and Naomi on holiday from the UK taking part! Costa may yet regret the fact that he had to miss the race and forego some valuable points.

Qualifying proved once again that the race was going to be between the leaders in the championship with Mike on pole, Ashwin second, Erlo third and Phil fourth. Brad was the dark horse in the pack qualifying in fifth place only seven segments behind Phil.

The early finals produced some close racing. In the first group, the ladies showed good skills with Naomi driving consistently and winning comfortably by four laps from Aubrey. Evelyn was quick, but too many excursions off the track cost her dearly. Young Mikheel is slowly improving and managed to finish ahead of Evelyn and his Dad, Ahmed.

Brad was a clear winner in the second group with his yellow Ferrari P4. Rumour has it that some bribery was afoot as he had been seen fratenising with Ashwin during the break and the yellow car was being feverntly worked on in the Maharaj pit. After some close racing, Celeste finished next, just ahead of Jono. Jim and Vic battled throughout with Vic ahead in the end by just 9 segments.

The final was tense affair. Ashwin took the lead in the early stages but was pressed hard all the way by Erlo who was never more than one lap behind throughout the race. After his blistering form in qualifying, Mike got off to a bad start and although he was quick in certain segments, he never recovered and had to settle for fourth behind Phil. This was Ashwin's fourth win in five races this season.

Results :
Ashwin 104.09
Erlo 103.53
Phil 99.70
Mike 98.61
Brad 97.50
Celeste 84.14
Jono 82.45
Vic 76.81
Jim 76.72
Naomi 73.06
Aubrey 69.09
Mikheel 68.33
Evelyn 68.22
Ahmed 64.53

Report by Phil

31 March 2009

Race Report - Formula Libre - 2009-03-27

It was Friday the 27th and that meant Libre racing. The club was packed with 16 racers, Costa was busy assisting all the newbies in between race control, Mike had that mean "I'm gonna kick butt tonight" look in his eyes, Erlo was experimenting with his new car, a FLY Riley, Phil was quietly confident with his quick white GT40, Brad was hastily setting up his FLY Ferrari P4 with all the Slot-it "go faster" spares, the new recruits to the club were getting in some valuable practice and Ashwin, well he was late as usual. The scene was set for an exciting evening of racing.

Qualifying got off to a flyer with Mike and Erlo squaring up against each other for some close racing. The GT40's of Phil and Ashwin were off the pace with disappointing results. Ashwin then got up to his old tricks and started to feverishly strip and re-build his red GT40 before the second qualifying. The FLY Riley raced by Erlo looked exceptionally fast and posed a serious threat to the likes of Mike, Phil and Ashwin for the rest of the evening. Costa persisted with his FLY big block V8 Mustang and young Aryton looked good racing his trusty Opel Vectra. The GT40's were much faster in the second qualifying but could not match the pace of Mike and Erlo. Mike top qualified followed by Erlo, Ashwin, Phil, Costa and Bradley. Brad showed signs that he may be shrugging off the cobwebs and returning to his best by putting in a top six finish here.

Celeste and Brad

In the first race, the young guns Luke, Gwain and Mikheel raced against each other and there was a lot of noise, fun and excitement to be had. Mikheel is a seven year old, new to the club and is very keen and excited about his new hobby, much like a kid in a candy shop. With Luke and Ayrton, the kids do add some spark and life to the club, something that has been missing in the recent past.

Two newcomers - Aubrey and Gwain

In the middle race, we had Ayrton racing against Johannes, also new to the club. Johaness impressed with his consistency and he placed 9th overall. Ayrton, in my mind, is probably the most improved driver over the last six months or so and he had a good race to place 6th and I suspect that soon he will be racing against the big boys and that will be something to look forward to.

The top race was fast and exciting as it always is with no room for mistakes here. The lead changed several times. Erlo and Ashwin got off the line quickly and streaked away from the rest of the pack, Mike had to contend with the extra grip on black lane and Phil, Costa and Brad were well placed in the middle of the pack. Erlo took the lead when Ashwin fell off but could not hold on to it and this gave Ashwin the chance to take the lead once again and he would go on to win the race. Mike and Erlo had an intense battle for second place with Erlo winning that battle, the FLY Riley indeed looks very promising. Phil had handling problems with his very quick white GT40 and placed a disappointing forth followed by Costa in fifth. Ayrton sneaked in to pip Brad for sixth place.

Old Dog Ashwin - here seen doing his "go faster" modification.

The race results are as follows:
1. Ashwin - 105.49
2. Erlo - 103.77
3. Mike - 103.54
4. Phil - 101.47
5. Costa - 98.45
6. Ayrton - 94.45
7. Brad - 94.11
8. Jacques - 87.43
9. Johannes - 84.53
10. Kevin - 82.42
11. Celeste - 81.36
12. Luke - 74.41
13. Gwain - 68.64
14. John - 67.45
15. Aubrey - 66.53
16. Mikheel - 61.60

I chatted to Mikheel's dad and he said that his son actually counts down the nights to go to Friday Libre racing. I must admit, I do the same as well. This class has transformed the club. The class is well attended and always attracts the younger generation. Racing is always close with cars even finishing on the same lap this year. The noise and enthusiasm generated by the kids all adds to the atmosphere and sense of excitement on a Friday evening on which the Libre class is raced. Be there to experience it!