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The third round of the 2012 BRCA 1/8th scale national championship was hosted by the Adur club, situated at Shoreham recreation ground to the west of Brighton last weekend. The circuit is the smallest on the calendar and although some people have reservations about its size, the grip levels and smoothness makes it one of the best the country can currently offer. The track is very technical and so requires a good car setup with plenty of low speed steering and rotation to lap consistently below the 14 second bracket. With this track being around 5 years old, the tarmac is now a shade of grey and when the grip is put down, a black line is clearly generated which is fantastic to see.

With the tire additive issue now resolved, the feeling within the pits was more relaxed and good to see. The usual suspects again topped the timesheets during the day. The top two of Green and Branson however had a small advantage over the rest of the chasing pack. Both drivers were setting quicker lap times when the grip increased and also by fine tuning their respective cars in search of finding the perfect balance. With the clock ticking down of free practice and with slightly cooler conditions, Kyle Branson showed his true pace setting lap times consistently below the 14 second bracket with the best of 13.6 seconds.

Sunday was greeted with a clear sky and guaranteed a full day of dry racing for the first time this season. With fuel consumption not being a major issue at this track, it would become a qualifying race from start to finish without anybody having to pit for fuel and upset the order.

In Round 1, it was Mark Green who set the pace with 22 laps with Neil Diver taking up second with a quick 21 lap result, followed by team mate Pete Hastings. Kyle Branson however was pushing Mark really hard but collided with the pit barrier and broke the front wheel but his time still placed him 6th overall.

Round 2 was much of the same upfront but this time with Kyle getting the better of Mark to set TQ by one second with 22 laps. Tim Wood also cemented a final position with a quick 21 lap result which demoted Neil Diver down to fourth. Andy North also put in a clear run without the previous heat flame out to record a mid 21 lap result and move up the order. Alex Thurston was also repeating his recent form by producing 2 solid results to almost certainly place him in the top ten. Richard Hicklin however was having a poor day at the office but with 2 rounds remaining, could still make a good result.

Round 3 did not see any major changes at the top, and with the track temperature being high, the track conditions were probably at their slowest so improvements at this stage would be an advantage. Andy North was one who improved by 2 seconds which almost guaranteed a final position. Also Richard Hicklin finally finished a race but only placed him 11th so an improved last run was needed to make the final. Also on the brink of not making the final was Andrew Hastings who was struggling a little with car setup, but with the increased competition this season by no means was positions 8, 9 and 10 safe.

Round 4 saw Green improve a little but missed TQ by the smallest of 0.1 seconds. Also Neil Diver who was driving very consistently all day improved to demote Tim Wood. The main improvement was by Richard Hicklin who produced a mid 21 lap result which moved him up 4 places to 7th and with Richard Waters also improving, demoted Andy Hastings down to 11th by the smallest of 0.8 seconds. Therefore, Kyle Branson secures a second successive TQ in his quest to open his wins account for Mugen Seiki.

The top ten was as follows:
1. Kyle Branson* – MugenSeiki / Sirio / Contact – 22 Laps 308 secs
2. Mark Green – Serpent / Novarossi / Exceed – 22 Laps 308 secs
3. Neil Diver – Shepherd / REDS – 21 Laps 301 secs
4. Tim Wood – Serpent / Exceed – 21 Laps 303 secs
5. Alex Thurston – Motonica /Gimar/ Contact – 21 Laps 305 secs
6. Pete Hastings – Shepherd / IDM / Shepherd – 21 Laps 305 secs
7. Richard Hicklin – Serpent / Novarossi – 21 Laps 306 secs
8. Andy North – MugenSeiki / IDM/Contact – 21 Laps 308 secs
9. Neal King – MugenSeiki /Picco Murman/Exceed – 21 Laps 308 secs
10.Richard Waters – Shepherd / Sonic – 21 Laps 312 secs

The final blasted away in grid order with not many movers. The first casualty was Neil Diver who had to retreat back to the pits and then he restarted the final after a repair. Alex Thurston was the next to hit problems in the form of a stripped rear belt which put him out. Up front It was Kyle who at this stage was starting to increase his lead of Mark who had Tim Wood chasing him down after finding extra speed by changing his P909 bodyshell to the pro-lite version. As we approached half distance, Green suffered mechanical failure and then soon after this, Kyle Branson flamed out at the end of the main straight caused by an engine bearing failure which is Kyle’s first ever retirement due to Sirio engine failure which in today’s racing environment is a achievement. This allowed Tim to inherit the lead from a hard charging Neal King making his first main final since moving up a class. Andy North after 2 driving errors and another flameout was in a comfortable 3rd position but King was just out of sight in the race for 2nd. This win for Tim Wood maintains Serpents 100% record this year and put him back in the championship hunt.

Full results are as follows:
1. Tim Wood – Serpent / Exceed – 123 Laps
2. Neal King – MugenSeiki /Picco Murnan /Exceed – 119 Laps
3. Andy North – MugenSeiki / IDM/Contact – 118 Laps
4. Richard Hicklin – Serpent / Novarossi – 114 Laps
5. Richard Waters – Shepherd / Sonic – 112 Laps
6. Pete Hastings – Shepherd / IDM / Shepherd – 111 Laps
7. Kyle Branson* – MugenSeiki / Sirio / Contact – 65 Laps
8. Neil Diver – Shepherd / REDS – 62 Laps
9. Mark Green – Serpent / Novarossi / Exceed – 58 Laps
10.Alex Thurston – Motonica /Gimar/ Contact – 12 Laps

The next round is at the Mendip Circuit in Weston Super Mare in 3 weeks time.

Thanks to Andy North for the report.

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