The BRCA National event calendar moved onto the Robin Hood Raceway (RHR) venue for the 2nd round of the BRCA National Championships.
The weather was forecast to be much more settled than the 2wd event the day before. The entry was full at 120 drivers (with reserves waiting in the wings) proving that the 1/10th off road scene is strong in the UK.
The team had had a good test day at the venue in April, (the weather on that day was much more akin to summer than April though!) Set-ups had been posted on the website giving any Durango owner the chance to get the set-ups the team had worked on to their car.
After practice everyone seemed happy with their car, only making minor tweaks to their set-up as the track temperature was colder than the test day so the grip level wasn’t as high.
In heat 7 Graham North (‘G’) layed down a super consistent run to post TQ at that time, a time which wasn’t beaten till Heat 10 when fellow DEX410 driver Nathan Waters cruised round the track to the first 12 Lapper of the day.
In between these heats Richard Coates (18th) and Adam Skelding (24th) had reasonable runs, but seemed be having trouble with the same jump. Chris Bowater also put in a fast time which would see him finish 11th in round. James Helliwell showed some awesome single lap speed in his run, but after starting at the back of his heat he knew he could improve on the 7th he finished with. Talywain ‘A’ finalist Craig Collinson continued his good run of form after making the 2wd ‘A’ on the day before to post the 10th fastest time in round.
With 3 DEX410′s in the top ten in round 1, confidence was high.
Paul Fox (18th) & Damian Whittle (32nd) got the ball rolling for the Team in round 2 with excellent runs in their heats. Graham North backed up his round 1 score with a 25th in round (a score he would later drop), Adam Skelding changed set-up from round 1 to cope with the increased grip from practice and posted the 14th quickest time in round 2.
Nathan Waters made a couple of early errors in his run but recovered to take the 10th fastest time with some very quick and consisent laps towars the end of the run. Richard Ralph got his meeting going with a 17th in round. James Helliwell made use of starting nearer the front of his heat to shave some time of his run taking him to 5th. The real suprise of the round was Craig Collinson, who in the last heat scorched round to take the 2nd fastest time in the round, his highest ever round score in a National event.
After 2 rounds it was looking good for Nathan, Craig and James to make the ‘A’ but they all still needed another ‘good’ score to make sure of their ‘A’ final place and push themselves towarsds the sharp end of the grid.
The track temperature started to drop and so did the lap times. The track becoming a little easier to attack with the lower grip levels.
Graham North again posted a fast time in heat 7 to set the standard, eventually finishing 18th in round. Adam Skelding and Richard Coates took up the challenge, but both just finished short of Graham’s time finishing 19th and 20th respectively. Nathan got rid of the early crashes that plauged him in round 2 and posted the 6th fastest time to secure his first ‘A’ final with Durango. Richard Ralph drove super smooth in round 3 and took 16th in round. James Helliwell showed the pace he had been promising all day in round 3 taking on the TQ and beating it until the very last couple of laps when some small errors cost him time dropping him to 4th in round. Looking at his face you would have thought he’d finished dead last! Craig had a better run, ‘only’ (his words!) finishing 9th in round.
So with drivers unhappy at being in the top 10 in round, we knew we were onto something good and round 4 had more to come.
With the track at it’s coolest, lap times tumbled and the competition for places got much closer.
Damian set the early pace in heat 6 improving his time and score eventually finishing 29th. One place ahead of him would be James Dixon, who pushed Graham hard in round 4 and with super consistent scores of 30,30,31 & 28 ended up making the ‘D’ final. Graham was unable to beat his 18th after pushing hard finishing 19th in round.
Adam Skelding improved on his time, with a small error, he just missed out on the elusive 12 lapper to finish 12th in round. Craig and Nathan both failed to better their overall score but still posted top ten times for the round. Chris Bowater put in a good score in round 4 (17th) to bookend his 11th in round 1.
Richard Ralph finished off a very consisent day with 16th in round. James Helliwell crowned his qualifying with another ‘oh so close’ round on for a TQ time which would have been hard to beat he fell short of the perfect run with a couple of errors leaking in at the end of the run to finish behind eventual TQ man Paul Bradby and 2nd placed Lee Martin.
1. Paul Bradby
2. Lee Martin
3. James Helliwell Durango DEX410
4. Tom Cockerill
5. Tom Yardy
6. Nathan Waters Durango DEX410
7. Grant Williams
8. Craig Collinson Durango DEX410
9. Ben Jemison
10. Ellis Stafford
16. Adam Skelding Durango DEX410
20. Chris Bowater Durango DEX410
23. Graham North Durango DEX410
24. Richard Ralph Durango DEX410
27. Richard Coates Durango DEX410
31. Paul Fox Durango DEX410
38. Jim Dixon Durango DEX410
40. Damian Whittle Durango DEX410
With 3 cars in the top 10, 5 cars in the top 20, 8 in the top 30 and 11 in the top 40 the Durango DEX 410 was the most popular chassis amongst the cream of the UK national scene.
Adam Skelding once again took top F2 honours as at Talywain.
Nathan got a howler of a start and soon found himself at the back of the pack playing catch-up. Craig made steady progress on the first few laps picking up a couple of places. James made a blinding start but a few corners later caught a track marking dropping him down to 4th. With the lead 2 making a get away it was soon a battle for 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th between Tom Cockerill, James and Craig and the fast closing Nathan Waters. At about 3 minutes these four were almost on top of each other, luckily keeping away from each other with some really close racing. Nathan managed to win the battle of the ‘rangos taking 4th with Craig 5th and James 6th.
The start was almost a carbon copy of leg 1 for the 3 amigos, Nathan again taking a liking to making it hard work for himself. James hit the same corner and ran wide whilst Craig snuck up on everyone! Bradders and Lee Martin checked out in this leg leaving the rest to have a squabble as per race on. The Durango boys had their magnets on again and were soon seperated by no more than a couple of car lengths, staying this way for the rest of the race, a nightmare to watch but an excellent result seeing the cars freight training round.
James finally got the start he needed and stuck with Paul and Lee for the opening couple of minutes. Nathan had a ‘better’ start in leg 3 with Craig again picking up valuable places in the opening laps. As the fight for the overall win between Paul and Lee raged, this gave Tom & James a look in for 2nd & 3rd. Craig and Nathan were close behind ready to pick up any pieces. As Paul made a mistake in the closing minute, Tom was able to jump into the gap to take 2nd with James missing out on 3rd by less than a car length over the line.
So after an eventful 3 legs, the 3 amigos ended up as follows:
5th Craig Collinson
6th James Helliwell
7th Nathan Waters
After a great meeting the whole team are on a high, regularly beating their best national performances and pushing each other on to better and better results. Also the time being put in by all members of the team to provide set-ups for each other and all Durango customers is showing in the dominance of the car at the top end of National and regional series.
Well done TEAM!
Set-ups from the event can be found here
Thankyou to Jimmeh @ oOple for the photos – his more detailed race report will soon be on oOple.com