The second round of the 2012 BRCA national championship was hosted by the Halifax circuit in West Yorkshire, the host club for the 2013 European A Championship.* The entry for this circuit is normally high and with a good following so far this year, we had around 45 drivers present. With the tire additive issue set to be resolved with an EGM to be held on Saturday with all drivers present having to register for a vote. The item was with regards to changing the existing rule of ‘prohibited’ to ‘permitted’ to therefore allow the use of additive and most importantly prevent the lengthy policing procedure in which the committee had adopted. The outcome however was unanimous in favour to retain the rule prohibiting tire additive with the relevant penalty to be applied if anybody is found guilty of using such additive for the remainder of this season and until this is again reviewed at the BRCA AGM in October.
With this now resolved , the racers present continued to practice with a more relaxed feeling within the pits. However, the weather forecast for the weekend was for occasional showers on Saturday and even more showers on Sunday but with the Halifax track tarmac construction being very porous reduces the risk of standing water, which made it a little easier when selecting tires and prevented extreme water proofing measures / air filters from being adopted.
As per usual, the drivers at the top of the individual lap times were Green, Branson, Wood, North and the Shepherd trio of Hastings and Diver. The Xray of Adam Catchpole showed ultra quick and consistent pace at recent test sessions prior to the meeting, but unfortunately engine trouble made his day very difficult indeed because chasing engine problems is the worst situation when up against time. Neil King also showed fast pace with his new Mugen MRX5 and Picco engine. With the quickest lap times around the 14.6 secs bracket, Neil was clearly lapping in this bracket which shows he is fast getting to grips with the chassis, but now needs to show consistency over 5 minutes to become a real contender.
Sunday was greeted with wet conditions, but with no rain the hope was for the track to dry out but then more rain descended onto the track and condemned the meeting to being a damp race day with every competitor now preparing their chassis for this. In Practice, not many cars ventured out onto the track until Heat 5, when Andy North, Neil Diver and Andy Hastings made a move to try out the conditions.
In Round 1, all divers went out to set a representative / banker time for if the rain fall became worse during the day. With lap times being some 5 seconds slower, the aim was for a quick 15 lap result which would definitely guarantee a final position.* The position at the top after round 1 was Kyle Branson, Mark Green and Tim Wood. The surprise package starting to make a massive impact on proceedings was young Alex Thurston who was showing a very consistent pace and driver skill. After round 1, he was in 6th position just behind the Hastings duo, and then he improved throughout the day to become a major threat at the top of the time sheets.
Round 2, and the top of the leader board did not change very much since the track started to dry out which made the track very slippery.
Round 3 witnessed considerable improvements for Alex Thurston (15 Laps 307 secs) and Mike Walton (15 laps 312 secs). In the final round, Mark Green and Andy North made improvements* with the top 3 (including Kyle Branson) all posting sub 20 second lap times and with Andy having a 6 second trip onto the grass cost him an higher position.
In Round 4, we must start with Heat 1, since Jonathan Dobney (Serpent / Novarossi) secured a 15 lap result which would have put him 10th overall, but an oversized fuel tank disqualified his time and therefore had to settle for 1st in the B final based upon his previous best time. This however came to the rescue of Neil Diver who had struggled with car setup all weekend and made the cut by 0.02 seconds.* In Heat 4, Alex Thurston produced a stunning drive to post 15 laps in 304 secs which put him in pole position prior to the top heat. In Heat 5, it was Kyle Branson who dominated the race to post a time of 15 laps 302 secs to claim his first TQ since joining Mugen Seiki. The top ten was as follows:
1. Kyle Branson – MugenSeiki/Sirio/Contact – 15 Laps 302 secs
2. Alex Thurston – Motonica/Gimar/Contact – 15 Laps 304 secs
3. Mark Green – Serpent /Novarossi – 15 Laps 307 secs
4. Tim Wood – Serpent/Exceed – 15 Laps 309 secs
5. Daniel Bancroft – Motonica/Vox – 15 Laps 309 secs
6. Andy Hastings – Shepherd/Sonic – 15 laps 310 secs
7. Pete Hastings – Shepherd/IDM – 15 Laps 311 secs
8. Andy North – MugenSeiki/IDM/Contact – 15 Laps 311 secs
9. Mike Walton – Shepherd/Sonic – 15 laps 312 secs
10.Neil Diver – Shepherd/IDM – 15 Laps 315 secs
Prior to the final, the talk was whether it would be sufficiently dry to start on dry tires. With most drivers deciding to venture out on damps, it was soon clear that the track was not dry enough and Mike Walton who had risked this, would be soon in to change tires. With the dark clouds again gathering, it would soon become apparent that damps was the only answer. At the start, it was Kyle Branson who led the way from Mark Green and Alex Thurston. Andy North was the first causality by having to change his Kissling wet tires due to having no grip at all on the main straight since ‘the car just wanted to pull to the left which was scary’. So a quick change to Enneti damps was the only solution which seemed to help the problem initially but was not the solution. With the remaining runners doing their best to keep circulating, the first full casualty was Mike Walton with a totally un-drivable car which we assume was a mechanical failure. The next big incident was when Kyle Branson went onto the grass going into the double left hander caused by no front tire rubber. This therefore required a trip to the pits to change his front tires which put him out of contention for the win and also a podium finish. Up front it was Mark Green who kept out* of trouble from Alex Thurston who is now gaining a lot of confidence and looking like ‘one to watch’ for the remainder of the season. Pete Hastings again drove a superb race to take the final podium position. The Final Results are as follows:
1. Mark Green – Serpent/Novarossi – 86 Laps
2. Alex Thurston – Motonica/Gimar/Contact – 86 Laps
3. Pete Hastings – Shepherd/IDM – 84 Laps
4. Kyle Branson – MugenSeiki/Sirio/Contact – 84 Laps
5. Andy Hastings – Shepherd/Sonic – 84 laps
6. Daniel Bancroft – Motonica/Vox – 83 Laps
7. Tim Wood – Serpent/Exceed – 81 Laps
8. Andy North – MugenSeiki/IDM/Contact – 76 Laps
9. Neil Diver – Shepherd/IDM – 76 Laps
10.Mike Walton – Shepherd/Sonic – 41 laps
The next round is at Adur Circuit near Brighton in 3 weeks time. A more detailed report and results will be posted on www.brca.org
Thanks to Andy North for the report.