WHEN: Most Friday evenings. TIME:

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.