After the success of the inaugural summer series, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the main indoor events, the King of Clubs organisers decided to run an outdoor series through the winter season. The winter championship is to be contested over five rounds from October to February 2021.
Adur's Carl Osborne, third in the summer series championship, swapped places with Aldershot's Jeremy Ward and Steven Adams at the front of the Snr Tamiya class throughout the qualifying heats. The finals became a shootout between Osborne and Ward, taking a win apiece, with Osbourne taking the maximum championship points on qualifying tie-break - the thinnest of margins.
King of Clubs has been keen to support the developing Front Wheel Drive and mini touring car classes, but a few drop-outs meant the entry was lower than expected, leading to a mixed FWD/MTC grid for the finals.
The mix worked well, however, with some of the best in class drivers showing how capable these model cars are in the right hands. Two Colchester club drivers, Craig Woods and Nathan Parker shared the spoils to sit tied at the top of the FWD championship leader board. In MTC, West London's Mark Young had the pace and consistency to force local driver Rich Ludlam into small mistakes and take a double win.
The F1 class has quickly become a foundation of the King of Clubs circus with packed grids of fast drivers; Sunday’s was no exception. Colchester’s Adam Southgate swapped places with West London’s Paul Ellis throughout the qualifying rounds, but Eastbourne’s Aiden Gale TQ’d with three round wins from four. A few spins and mistakes from all the front runner’s in the first final upset the form book, Southgate coming through to win by 12 seconds from Ellis, pushing car 1 down to third.
Dimming light at the end of the day set the scene for the second final and a return to the established order, cars 1,2,3 maintaining station in a much faster race. Southgate’s first and second-place finish earnt the overall win, from Gale and Ellis.
Italian manufacturer Capricorn RC joined the King of Clubs series this winter to promote their premium touring cars. Still, it was two local drivers that dominated full girds of high-class entries in the TC classes.
Wet trackside grass and cool temperatures meant a steady first run as the top drivers dialled in their settings for the conditions. It didn't take long. Local ace Jay Westood and Adur's Matt Quinlsik both set new personal track records in the second and third 17.5 Blinky qualifiers with just 0.6 seconds separating the two at the end of their Q3 run.
Quinlisk was unable to maintain the blistering pace of Westwood in the finals, however, leaving Westwood to take a double flag to flag victory. After a disappointing summer season, a change of chassis manufacturer appears to have rejuvenated the Aldershot driver. The rest of the 17.5 drivers will need to raise their game to challenge for the championship.
In the faster touring car class, it was one of Capricorn RC's own drivers, Glenn Westwood, that marched to victory on home soil. After winning the summer series races at Aldershot, Westwood started the day as the favourite. Still, impressive early pace from West London's Ash Wiffen and Tim Tim's blisteringly fast Capricorn looked to be ready to challenge for the top spot in 13.5.
However, a stone wedged between chassis and diff on the out lap of the first final ended Wiffens challenge, and perhaps sensing this was his chance, several uncharacteristic mistakes from Tim's left Westood to cruise unhindered to the win. With both finals counting for the overall result, the Aldershot club chairman simply needed to avoid catastrophe in the second leg to take the win.
Wiffen bounced back, showing impressive speed and consistency to keep the pressure on the local man in the hope of forcing a mistake, but none came, securing the Westwood brothers a full-house of TQ's and wins in TC. An expected result, perhaps.
Less expected, but equally unsurprising, driver of the day was Eastbourne's young ace Charlie Colby. Qualifying 4th in the 13.5 A final, Colby raced superbly demonstrating consistency and speed under pressure from significantly more experienced drivers to capitalise on Wiffen's misfortune and take second overall. At just 13 years of age, Colby is clearly on a path to national and international success.
A shining example to the watching rookies just starting out on their racing careers.
The Robbie Racer Rookies is perhaps the most exciting development at the K.O.C as it is the introduction of a class with the sole aim of bringing more young people into racing.
Here are at TheRCRacer we are working with the King of Clubs RC series to explicitly target juniors with little or no race experience, the goal is to remove barriers to getting started in racing - which can be a daunting task riddled with expensive pitfalls for the uninitiated.
Using the existing King of Clubs Tamiya class rules, for the time being, six juniors aged 8-10 years old took to the track for round one of the "Robbie Racer Rookies Cup".
Eastbourne's Archie Matthews took the win in the first two qualifying rounds to set the pace. Then, Adur's Niall Quinlisk and Aldershot's Kenny Hyde hit back with wins in rounds 3 and 4 respectively top put the pressure on Mattews heading into the finals. The pressure didn't show, however, as Archie comfortably won both finals from Hyde. A crash and broken car in the second final dashed Quinlisks podium hopes, leaving West London's Reece Watts to take third place overall with his best drive of the day.
Check out the racing action here
BRCA scrutineer Pete Tims, who had been on the rostrum with the Rookies all day to offer help and encouragement, commented: "The improvement in driving standards throughout the day from these juniors was impressive to watch - a fabulous advert for our sport".
RD2 of the championship is at Adur Model Car Club on 15th November.
Meet the Robbie Racer Rookies
Poppy Hyde - Age 9
Home Club: Aldershot
RC Experience: Played with a Tamiya Lunchbox in the garden, wanted to have a go at Racing after watching my dad. The Rookies RD1 is my first race.
Favourite thing about RC Racing: I just really like driving the cars and the racing is really good fun
Kenny Hyde - Age 9
Home Club: Aldershot
RC Experience: got a Tamyia Lunchbox for Christmas last year, which I love. A friend lent me a Tamiya TT01 to try racing at West London. One of the members there, Tom Griffin, thought I did well so gave me his TT02 to race. Thanks, Tom!
Favourite thing about RC Racing: Winning trophies. One day I want to be world champion.
Reece Watts - Age 10
Home Club: West London
RC Experience: My dad races in Touring Cars and got me a Tamiya to have a go. The Rookies RD1 is my first ever race.
Favourite thing about RC Racing: Making new friends with the other rookies, and the hot chocolate with cookies from the food wagon. Yummy!
Archie Matthews - Age 9
RC Experience: I did some practice at Eastbourne club last year and have done a few races this year, but the Rookies is my first race against children like me.
Favourite thing about RC Racing: The cars are so fast its great fun to drive them and make new friends with the other rookies
Niall Quinlisk: Age 8
Home Club: Adur
RC Experience: My dad is a top touring car racer and I’ve tried a few races but always with grown-ups. Am looking forward to racing in a series just for kids.
Favourite thing about RC Racing: Playing with my friends
Matiss Duclos - Age 8
Home Club: I don’t have a club yet
RC Experience: I’ve never done it before. My friend at school invited me to have a go and the rookies series lent me a Tamiya car.
Favourite thing about RC Racing: The cars look really cool!
Next up is Round 2 at the Adur circuit. (Click Here to Book in)
Thanks to all the sponsors for the King of clubs RC series.