All photos are mine, all mine, and not to be used in commercial purposes without prior permission. copyright ©2007 Jimmy Storey. rc(at)oople(dot)com.

UK National Series - Round Four - OSWESTRY

2WD Photos

4WD Photos

Video by BATHY - bigger embedded version at the bottom of this report.


Day one - 2WD

Round four of the BRCA 10th off road National series was held at Oswestry, Shropshire, on the English / Welsh border. Last year was the first time Oswestry held a National and much like last year the track has been setup in a field next to their permenant track, which itself is too small to hold a National race.

The actual site is 'Oswestry Showground' - an ex.Military camp, and has a huge ammount of space for camping and pitting. The track is laid out during the week before the National and is set out on a slight incline away from the rostrum which should help drain any rain water away. And the track was indeed wet for practice in the morning but gradually the cloud disappeared and once the sun came out it didn't really go away as temperatures rose.

The top 10 fastest drivers in round one were as follows:

1 Darren Bloomfield 11/328.2
2 Tom Yardy 10/302.71
3 Neil Cragg 10/304.2
4 Richard Lowe 10/305.14
5 Lee Martin 10/305.55
6 Grant Williams 10/305.79
7 Chris Doughty 10/306.31
8 Stuart Wood 10/307.52
9 Richard Barton 10/307.74
10 Ellis Stafford 10/307.84

The weather by round two was getting increasingly hot and a few people experienced some heat problems. Lee Martins Novak brushless system gave up after 5 laps - putting him out on a good run. Lee went to a brushed motor / ESC combo for round three but the motor over heated and again he couldn't finish.

For round four of qualifying Lee put the brushless system back in but removed the blue wire from the sensore cable - this apparently stops the system thermalling when it might normally shut down. Probably not advisable for everyone but this is apparently what a few drivers are doing in the Touring car class to prevent thermals.

Right: Lee Martins Novak brushless with blue wire removed.

The top 10 fastest drivers in round two were:

1 Tom Yardy 11/321.76
2 Darren Bloomfield 11/324.43
3 Phil Sleigh 11/326.13
4 Matt Benfield 11/328.15
5 Richard Taylor 11/328.67
6 Tony Truman 10/300.41
7 Richard Barton 10/300.91
8 Ellis Stafford 10/301.5
9 Andy Fraser 10/301.95
10 Paul Bradby 10/302.24

Stu Wood was driving the only Kyosho RB5 that we could see (in a field of 130 cars) and was right up to the top pace - the changing track conditions caught him out and for round 2 he had full uncut mini spikes all round - far too much, and he had several rolls.

Darren Bloomfield and Tom Yardy were the class of the field in round three - both with a good gap from Barton in third who was himself several seconds in front of the rest of the top 10.

Top 10 fastest drivers in round 3:

1 Darren Bloomfield 11/315.78
2 Tom Yardy 11/316.18
3 Richard Barton 11/320.84
4 Phil Sleigh 11/324.13
5 Simon Moss 11/324.73
6 Ellis Stafford 11/324.91
7 Neil Cragg 11/325.7
8 Danny McGee 11/326.1
9 Stuart Wood 11/326.88
10 Andy Fraser 11/327.56

Fastest drivers in Round 4

1 Darren Bloomfield 11/319.47
2 Tom Yardy 11/320.99
3 Stuart Wood 11/323.49
4 Simon Moss 11/324.99
5 Mark Stanley 11/325.6
6 Paul Bradby 11/327.01
7 Tony Truman 11/327.33
8 Ellis Stafford 11/327.36
9 Chris Rowcliffe 11/327.95
10 Richard Cree 11/329.09

Overall Qualifying A-Final

Tony Truman makes his first National A final with the B4 after switching from long term sponsors Losi and Stuart Wood put his Kyosho RB5 in its second National A final in a row.

1 Darren Bloomfield
2 Tom Yardy
3 Phil Sleigh
4 Simon Moss
5 Richard Barton
6 Neil Cragg
7 Stuart Wood
8 Tony Truman
9 Ellis Stafford
10 Matt Benfield

A final leg one:
A few crashes at the start saw Simon Moss with a clear lead over the field. Stuart Wood driving the (oOple review) Kyosho RB5 lay in around fourth for a few laps but managed to work his way up to second, closing in lap after lap on Simon Moss. These two went around nose to tail for several laps with a good gap over the field but it was clear Stu was the faster of the two - and coming out of a corner Stu made a move just as Simon closed the door - leaving Stu on his roof and back to 5th, eventually finishing 4th. Simon Moss never looked back and took the first leg of the A.

A final Leg Two:
Pole sitter Darren Bloomfield got off the line this time and managed to stay in front till the end. Stu Wood wasn't able to repeat his drive of the first leg, colliding with Ellis at the start put him into last place - eventually he worked back up to 5th with the RB5.


A final Leg three:
Again Darren Bloomfield made good on his pole position to take the lead - once again trying not to look back at an ever gaining Tom Yardy. Coming into the last lap Tom put the pressure on to catch Darren. 3 corners from the end Tom was right on Darrens bumper when Darren took the corner too tight, collecting Tom and allowing Simon Moss to gain a little ground.
Darren got out of the tangle in front and managed to hold on until the line, taking his second leg win and with it the meeting. Simon Moss finished 2nd and Tom Yardy 3rd.
Team oOple driver, Stu Wood, took his third 5th in leg, which put him 7th overall. Not a bad result with such a new car, but he'll be looking for better tomorrow with the 501X.


  Overall Finishing Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3
1 Darren Bloomfield 8 1 1
2 Simon Moss 1 4 3
3 Tom Yardy 4 2 2
4 Ellis Stafford 2 10 7
5 Neil Cragg 6 3 6
6 Richard Barton 3 7 8
7 Stuart Wood 5 5 5
8 Phil Sleigh 7 9 4
9 Tony Truman 9 6 9
10 Matt Benfield 10 8 10

Fastest Lap: Ellis Stafford 28.39

A 'pub quiz' was held on the saturday night with some prizes donated by THERACEPLACE and DCRACING - team 'giggolo' won, whoever they were.

below left: one team celebrates, no they didn't win - below right: Northy and Stu Evans celebrate their 3rd place

Interview with Paul Sinclair from X-factory.
Paul is the son of Chazz Sinclair, owner of XFactory, and was over at the Oswestry National to watch his UK team drivers.

Whose idea was X-Factory?
My Dad, Chaz, came up with the idea of combining the drive train on the Losi XXX4 with the suspension of the Losi XX4.

Have you been pleased with the success of the company so far?
Yeah we're pleased, we've sold enough cars that we're still here and we've designed another car as well. We hope to continue to build a strong customer base whilst moving into the top level racer market. Whereas many other car companies are building the ready to run (RTR) cars, we want to sell cars to drivers who wish to race at a competitive level. It is our belief that no x-factory car has been bought solely for the purpose of driving around a back yard.

What is your job title?
I'm team driver and chief engineer. I am also a full time student and I hope to achieve a PHD in mechanical engineering.

How long have you been involved in RC racing for?
I've been racing for 11 years. It all started when my parents bought me a model rocket for Christmas and we needed to visit the local model shop to buy new engines for it. Whilst my Dad was waiting in the queue to pay I picked up an R/C magazine and I have been hooked ever since. I started racing with the XX4 and other than Christmas and Birthday presents I funded the hobby myself. As it became more serious and we travelled further afield to races my parents started to help out with funding. I've also received support from Kolors by Kroppy, SMC and Novak.

What is your all time favourite RC race track?
It would have to be CRCRC (Columbus Radio Controlled Race Club) in Ohio, that is the track that I grew up racing on.

What brings you over here?
There are a couple of reasons. Firstly I wanted to meet the team, Dan Greenwood and Chris Long have been driving for X-
Factory for over a year and I hadn't met them, also I wanted to meet our distributors. Secondly I wanted to attend the Belgium GP which was last weekend. I wanted the chance to race on different tracks as I only ever race on dirt in the USA.

Have you ever heard of Wales, and if so do you prefer England or Wales?
Yes I have, although I haven't had the chance to sample and compare the two countries. (Chris Long later explained to Paul that Wales would be alright if it wasn't for the Welsh).

Who has been your highest achieving driver and the best result?
Greg Hodapp , who was the first driver to be sponsored by X-Factory, won the US national championships with the X5, and finished 5th at the world championship warm up race in 2005.

How did Dan Greenwood and Chris Long get involved with X-Factory?
Dan and Chris had both been customers for over a year, we were very impressed with their public presence and the face they put on x-factory. They're great guys, very friendly and helpful, and their results were good enough to sign a deal.

And more recently, how did Ellis Stafford join the team?
Chaz signed Ellis up whilst I was away studying, he just rang me one day and said 'Hey guess what, we've signed Ellis Stafford onto the team.

Have you driven stick shift (manual) over here, and what do you think of Englands roundabouts?
I drive manual at home, automatic is boring! I think the roundabouts are very efficient apart from in busy traffic, when they take longer than an intersection.

After spending time with the UK X-Factory family, is it true that everything is bigger in the USA?
Not everything is bigger in the States, but most things are. As far as race tracks go, the size of the tracks is very similar, but the facilities in the USA are much better. For example there is usually a permenant model shop in the grounds of race tracks.

What are your fondest or funniest RC memories?
I'll never forget when Greg Hodap won the national championship with the X5, Chaz ran out into the middle of the track to give him a big hug. Needless to say being Chaz' son I found this embarrasing. There was also one time when a mini tornado tore through the middle of a race track whilst we were racing, fortunately though the race was able to continue afterwards.

Are the team boys over here running the X5 squared?
Yes, and also as we speak Chaz will be packing up a batch of X5 squared to ship out today to customers worldwide.

How is the X5 squared performing so far?
I'd say we're incredibly happy with its performance. The actual performance of the car hasn't increased from before, but the durability and ease to maintain is definitely much improved 10-fold.
The improvements made with the X5 squared have been down to customer feedback and suggestions where small things could be changed for the better

Have you come across any problems on the tracks over here that might be different to those you have experienced on USA tracks?
There have been no unanticipated issues, as the UK team drivers are used to driving on this type of track. There was feedbac about belt skipping on the UK tracks, and that has contributed towards the development of the X5. No new issues have arisen, but definitely being here to experience the racing first hand makes all the difference to understanding any issues that come about.

Are you envious of Dans Day-Glo Orange trousers?
I think I might be secretly envious, yes.

Having seen the racing this weekend would you like to race in the UK?
I'd like to race everywhere. I love off road, and to me that means anything that isn't totally paved or flat. I'd like to have a try racing over here. In the USA there are lots of dirt tracks, but you have never seen such a variety of dirt, they make all sorts of different surfaces. For example very fine sand, covered with sugar and water, it sets to make a thick layer tougher than concrete, that is very high on tyre wear and damages the car easily.


Day two - 4WD

The early morning brought some rain so practice was wet - but with some darker clouds on the horizon it was about to get a whole lot worse. Ellis Stafford driving the XFactory X5squared was the fastest, a shade in front of Neil Cragg with the Yokomo BX.

Team oOple driver Stu Wood went out and it was clear his Tamiya 501X was having problems - the rear belt simply wouldn't stop skipping. It turned out that the centre pulley had worn out and without a spare we were stuffed. Luckily Nick Dunn, driving the only other 501X at the meeting, was on hand and had some spare pulleys which enabled us to get Stus Tamiya repaired and fit again. It's a shame that such a good car is so under represented at UK Nationals - even a National A final last time out wasn't enough to get Tamiya to take notice.

Top 10 fastest drivers in round 1 of qualifying.

1 Ellis Stafford 11/311.66
2 Neil Cragg 11/311.91
3 Phil Sleigh 11/312.49
4 Richard Taylor 11/315.06
5 Chris Doughty 11/316.5
6 Lee Martin 11/316.71
7 Tom Yardy 11/317.07
8 Darren Bloomfield 11/317.54
9 Paul Bradby 11/318.96
10 Simon Moss 11/320.15

Round two and things were just going from bad to worse - instead of a 'blue groove' it was a 'brown groove' of pure muddy juice as the rain kept coming. A few cars 'gave up' because of the weather but the track was draining quite well, with no standing water.

Young Ben Jemison drove really well in round two, keeping his car steady on the muddy racing line to take 42nd in round - he was rather pleased with the run, below right.

Top 10 fastest drivers in round 2 of qualifying.

1 Darren Bloomfield 11/311.67
2 Chris Doughty 11/316.71
3 Tom Cockerill 11/316.9
4 Neil Cragg 11/318.87
5 Lee Martin 11/318.96
6 Phil Sleigh 11/321.13
7 Richard Taylor 11/321.28
8 Keith Robertson 11/321.77
9 Richard Barton 11/321.83
10 Ellis Stafford 11/321.93


The ten fastest drivers in round three of qualifying were:

1 Lee Martin 11/304.12
2 Chris Doughty 11/305.41
3 Darren Bloomfield 11/309.00
4 Kevin Lee 11/309.15
5 Phil Sleigh 11/312.98
6 Matt White 11/313.00
7 Tom Yardy 11/313.36
8 Neil Cragg 11/313.75
9 Tom Cockerill 11/314.69
10 Simon Moss 11/315.30


Top 10 fastest drivers in round four of qualifying:

1 Phil Sleigh 11/310.12
2 Tom Yardy 11/310/15
3 Lee Martin 11/312.34
4 Ellis Stafford 11/313.77
5 Chris Doughty 11/314.43
6 Simon Moss 11/316.64
7 Richard Cree 11/316.77
8 Kevin Lee 11/316.82
9 Richard Barton 11/317.15
10 Simon Reeves 11/317.87


The A-Final drivers are as follows:

1 Lee Martin
2 Phil Sleigh
3 Darren Bloomfield
4 Chris Doughty
5 Ellis Stafford
6 Neil Cragg
7 Tom Yardy
8 Richard Taylor
9 Tom Cockerill
10 Kevin Lee

BQ man: Simon Moss.


A final Leg One:
If it wasn't for the excellent drainage the meeting would probably have been called off before finals since it really wasn't pleasant for anyone. The cars were barely distinguishable for one another because of all the mud.
Lee Martin was on pole and got away cleanly over the first couple of laps. Phil Sleigh looked quicker though, and coming onto the straight showed just how much quicker he was by tearing up the inside of Lee to take the lead for all of 0.1 of a second - Still Phil kept up with Lee, pushing him hard until an 'incident' over a ramp put him back several places. Next up it was Ellis Stafford who reeled in Championship leader Lee Martin. Ellis stuffed it and passed the torch to Chris Doughty. Chris was really quick but an unforced error put him back when he rolled the car. The last serious challenge to Lee came from yesterdays winner - Darren Bloomfield. Darren, driving his peak (brushed) powered XX4, slowly reeled in Lee but it was far from enough and he had to settle for second.

Because of the extreme weather, several cars in each final chose not to run - saving a job of cleaning and possible risk to the delicate electrics.

Leg two of the A was a procession for Lee, with no one able to really get close - so Lee took his second leg win in a row, and with it the win.

Team oOples John Price had a good run to come from 10th on the grid to win his final, with a great battle toward the end with Dave 'bathy' Mudford, with both drivers coming onto the straight to finish side by side. The result wasn't to stand long however since just after the second leg of the A it was decided to call an early end to the finals and go from qualifying.
The track was becoming dangerous to marshall, with a few slips and slides in every final - and there was no sign of the rain stopping.

The early end didn't change the result for Lee Martin, since he'd already TQ'd and that position gave him the meeting win - the second time this year that Lee has won prematurely from qualifying, and his third win from four rounds.

Season Standings After Round 4 of the National Championship - Top 20.

1 Neil Cragg soon
2 Tom Yardy  
3 Darren Bloomfield  
4 Ellis Stafford  
5 Chris Doughty  
6 Simon Moss  
7 Richard Taylor  
8 Paul Bradby  
9 Richard Barton  
10 Lee Martin  
11 Stuart Wood  
12 Tony Truman  
13 Phil Sleigh  
14 Richard Cree  
15 Grant Williams  
16 Richard Lowe  
17 Kevin Lee  
18 Chris Rowcliffe  
19 Stephen Lawson  
20 Chris Long  


All photos are mine, all mine, and not to be used in commercial purposes without prior permission. Jimmy Storey. rc(at)oople(dot)com.