The HPI Adur Short Course Challenge 12th. September 2010 Adur RC Off Road Track Near Steyning, West Sussex. Race Report The plan was complicated...sorry, I mean simple! Organise a special one day short course truck event focused solely on one thing: FUN!
Now, often fun and simple just don't play well together, simple can often mean a touch bland, so whilst it was to be simple, the format was to be devised to add in some extra interest. As such, all rounds would be a grid start and each round would attract a different track layout, some longer than others and adding in some variety. Also, at the end of each round of heats, the times would be tallied up and a new heat listing posted up to show revised positions based on fastest to slowest. The philosophy being that everyone had a chance of driving fast, consistent and being able to 'bump' throughout the day to get the chance to get into the A finals. So as I said, simple eh? So what was the added incentive to get into the A finals? Other than just the glory of course! Well, the generosity shown by the title sponsor HPI Racing was superb. Not only did Lee from HPI commit to some superb prizes, also supplied were a variety of track banners and even some natty shirts for the organisers to help them stand out to those attending, so they knew who to approach for assistance on the day. Also very apparent was Lee's personal commitment as he'd been up until 1am. on the day of the event building a HPI Blitz ESE from scratch, then 2 hours sleep and driving down to the track for 7am.! Running an event such as this on, what is normally a 1/8 scale track, required a few tweaks. The team from Adur RC (www.adurrc.org) had done a superb job to have the track well prepared and groomed as much as possible. The surface being an interesting mix of clay, loamy areas and Astroturf. A fair few jumps also there to make things interesting too! Arranging an event involving electric RC, off road in September is always fraught with the chance the weather may not play ball. Thankfully after a few days of light rain, the day of the event began with a slight chill but clear blue skies to greet the organisers at 7am. Banners up, format discussed, software and timing gear beaten into submission and all was ready! Apex models had kindly agreed to come along and provide trackside shop services on the day, and proceeded to lay out all sorts of short course truck orientated goodies and spares, assisting many throughout the day. As the morning achieved a more reasonable time to be up on a Sunday, a steady stream of cars arrived and pits were established. The grill and kettle got busy as the catering got into full swing as the racers arrived, some from considerable distances and bring a northern twang with them. The track opened and from the cars that ventured out, it became clear the early morning sun hadn't yet had the chance to dry the recent rain. High grip levels on the clay sections due to the damp, were traded against the slicker astroturf sections. The cars returned a little ladened with the track, but with the sun rising then the track got slicker and drier on the clay sections and the grip levels began to come up on the Astroturf. Many took the chance to experience the track before the driver's briefing. Numbers seemed good with at least 35 booked in for 2WD and 20 or so booked in for 4WD. The 'simple' format for the day was laid out to the racers and seemed to go down well, so far so good! The slightly 'closer' aspect of short course racing was covered off, with it being confirmed that a certain degree of rubbing was to be expected and accepted, deliberate T-boning or similar would not! Always emotive during the racing of course! Race director's decision being final. First track layout was the full 1/8 track, a little daunting for some but a great opportunity to experience the full track. First round of heats went without any real hitches, the supplied HPI 'Hire-n-Drive' Blitz, fresh out of the box on the day ran competitively and up there with the best of them. After the first round was done, the heat listing was re-calculated based on times and then all drivers had to review their heats for round two. Track was changed, and by this time the sun had risen and the track was drying nicely. This leading to a slicker surface on the clay and higher grip on the astro, the wind got up a little too and lead to a few unfortunate 'parachuting' induced crash landings! After a second round of heats, everyone got a little more comfortable with the track and race format, and a few began to rise to the top of the tables. In 2WD, young Leon Goode and Adur local Nick Platt were showing as being versatile and consistently quick, both running HPI Blitz RTRs. Similarly in 4WD, Nick Platt was fast and also Janos Nagy was showing a good turn of speed with his SC truck. Popular tire choices ranged from the new HB Megagrids, HPI ATTK's, PL Bowtie SC and Caliber SC's. A great mix of different SC trucks were present with entries from Losi, Team Associated, Hong Nor, HPI, Ansmann, Maverick, Traxxas, etc. The event seemed to have attracted a great mix of racers, all attracted by the prospect of a fun day, those who were clearly seasoned 1/10 electric racers, local stalwarts of the 1/8 nitro racing scene trying short course for the fun of it and pleasingly some first time racers barely tall enough to see over the banners on the rostrum, running kits that were box fresh and as stock as they come! With another 2 rounds of heats completed after another couple of track layout changes, one a more technical design and then a short sprint design, there was becoming an established order of things and the 'cream' rose to the surface! After the heats, and the format being a cumulative time for all, the finals took shape based on the overall consistent performance through the day, rewarding those that drove fast, consistent, were versatile to handle the track layout changes and importantly, had prepared and maintained their cars. The track layout for the finals being decidedly quite democratically based on feedback from the racers present, as to which they enjoyed the most during the heats. The track was laid out and the grid began. With C and B finals completed, the A final for the hotly contested 2WD class was a major spectacle. The usual drama and 'rubbing' associated with short course racing didn't stop the front runners from showing some real class and consistency in their driving. Knowing when to pass and when to wait for a good time to pass without the chance of a crash, a great final and one watched by all present. Leon, driving his HPI Blitz, by the end had managed to gain a lap lead over second and third place, those two being separated by barely 5 seconds at the end, great racing. Leon lifted the first prize, closely followed by Matt Butcher in second and then Adur regular Nick Platt snapping at his heels in third. The 4 wheel drive final being a similar affair, some great driving skills on show, and after a long battle between Janos Nagy and again, Nick Platt then sadly a crash put Nick out of the final. A real shame as it was tooth and nail between them for a number of laps with each snatching the lead from the other on several occasions. Janos Nagy lifting the first prize of a new HPI Blitz ESE kit, with Apex models driver Dean Mandeville taking second place, and another Adur regular, Andy Remedios taking the third spot. So after the photos had all been taken, the prizes handed over then it was time to reflect. All seemed to be happy and have had a great day, with a driver coming all the way from Scunthorpe and camping nearby to make it, good effort! So the brief was to have a fun day, sure, some things needed a tweak but all feedback that was requested afterwards seemed overwhelmingly positive from all. So yes, we aimed to have a day based on one thing, fun, and I think was abundant to all throughout the day. Fingers crossed then with a little more notice and support permitting then watch this space for 2011! For more pictures, visit the Adur photo gallery! Visit the Adur RC website for details of their upcoming races!