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 One - TIVERTON
Tiverton plays host to the first of six rounds in the 2007 BRCA 1/10th Off Road National series. Tivertons indoor dirt venue, Heazel Arena, is a horse riding arena - converted just for this event into the 2007 National Series only dirt track. We like to call this track a 'dirt track' but in reality it has little in common with most other 'real' dirt tracks. The surface is rolled before the National every year, but the loose sandy dirt, mixed with horse-poo, doesn't generally last long before it starts to break up and holes develop.
Getting to Tiverton for most people is a long slog. Placed as it is, in the far South West of England, in Devon. Beautiful countryside and quaint villages surround the farm upon which Heazel Arena is located.
Rumor has it that this will be the last National to be held in Heazel Arena, as they prepare to change the surface from sandy dirt to shredded rubber. There is a second buggy track at the venue, an outdoor multi-surface permenant buggy track, which held the F345 Finals in 2006.
The new cars also partly contributed to some 'big name' drivers switching teams during the winter. Ellis Stafford moved from Losi to XFactory. Chris Doughty ended many years at Losi to join AE for 2WD and Atomic Carbon for 4wd. Lee Martin moved from Yokomo to AERO and Tony Truman Moved from Losi to Hot Bodies.
Stu Wood recently joined Team oOple to drive the review 501X, fully supported. This weekend will be the first BIG outing with the car since the announcement and the car is looking very good in testing. TheRacePlace.co.uk went all out to get the latest Kyosho RB5 to oOple.com in time for Tiverton - and after a one-night build and review, followed by brief testing at Stus local track, we are happy to announce Stu will take on the Kyosho RB5 for his 2WD buggy. This leaves Stu as the highest profile driver in both Tamiya & Kyosho camps - and something that will surely help get these car some badly needed exposure and credibility.
Stu used all his racing expertise to get the Ultima RB5 to a point he could compete, and it paid off with Stu getting faster and faster with the RB5. Stu eventually qualified 3rd in the C final, ahead of some very good drivers - and won.
RD1 Electrical problems on the line prevented Stu running.
RD2 Lowered the car
RD3 longer wheelbase - moved rear shock tops out - took washer out of inner ball stud rear - shortened front camber link
RD4 move front shocks to outside on tower and wishbone.
This is a brief run down of what Stu did to the Ultima RB5. There was of course non-stop work going on to make the car faster and understand the settings. After the final, Stu was very happy with the performance - especially considering it was the first time out. You can read more about the new Ultima RB5 in the review right here on oOple.com soon.
All through qualifying the track held up really well - apart from a few small holes after the small jump, caused by cars nose diving. Off the racing line quickly became a no-go area if you wanted to be fast, as it was covered by a dense layer of loose dirt, but the track was unusually consistent for Tiverton.
Darren Bloomfield took the pole position with Tom Yardy on great form lying in second - Neil Cragg placed third on the grid.
In leg one of the A final - Pole sitter Darren Bloomfield led from the first corner and didn't look back. Tom Yardy kept close but wasn't able to make a move. In leg two, it was these two again that got away from the field, this time joined by Neil Cragg. Neil closed the gap between these two but wasn't able to pass. Darren won the second leg by less than half a second from Tom Yardy, with Neil another half second back.
Darren took the first 2WD National with his Losi XXXCR from the first two leg wins - but with the third leg to go there was still a scrap for second. Tom had two 2nd's already and in the third leg it was Tom who romped home to victory to secure the second place with Neil Cragg 5 seconds further back. Richard Cree another second further back, in third.
The final results from the A final 2WD were as follows:
Four members of team AERO came along to support Lee and make sure he had the best chance possible to do well at his first meeting with the new car. And do well he certainly did, taking two rounds of qualifying to put him on pole for the A main. The AERO team went crazy and could be seen embracing. The car will eventually change to a fully carbon composite moulded construction and with results like this - it's sure to be a hit with racers.
Team Atomic Carbon were also out in force with around ten S4 buggies in attendance. Craig Harris did well to place mid-B final. But it was Chris Doughty, who won the European Championships at this very track in 2002, that was the top driver for Atomic Carbon this weekend. Qualifying third in the A final, an awesome effort.
Stuart Wood was getting to grips with his Tamiya 501X, racing for teamOOPLE. Early on Stu wasn't happy with the car and it took a couple of rounds to get into the swing of things. Changing wheelbase, pistons, oils, links, etc.. Stu got two 9ths in round which was one point off making the A Main, and equal points to Neil Cragg who sat on pole in the B. Stu qualifying second in the B final. A really great result on a distinctly 'different' type of track to anything he has tried the car on up until now.
Leg one of the A final and Lee Martin set off with his 'A One' to prove there's a reason behind the name. Lee kept his head and drove away with Ellis and Chis Doughty in hot pursuit. Ellis and Chris Doughty were on par with Lee but had to push hard to keep with him. Chris and Ellis tangled slightly and swapped position a couple of times, finally both finishing three seconds behind Lee. Both Chris and Ellis had faster single laps than Lee, trying to catch the pole sitter.
In Leg two Lee once again got away - Ellis and Chris again both trailed not far behind. Ellis got tangled up on a corner and Chris Doughty got away cleanly, gradually closing the gap on Lee. Coming up to the small ramp before race control Lee took the corner too tightly and Chris went past. At the same moment the rear centre CVD pin came loose on Lees car and locked up the drivetrain - putting him out of the running.
With one win a piece, Lee Martin and Chris Doughty both were looking good for the win coming into the third and final leg of the A main. Chris had the least pressure, with a win and second already he was guarenteed a podium spot. Lee once more got away but this time kept his head and took another win - and with it his first National win. Ellis Stafford managed to bring his XFactory X5 home only a second further back.
Thanks to the organisers for a great event - thanks also to everyone that helped us make a little report.
All photos are mine, all mine, and not to be used in commercial purposes without prior permission. Jimmy Storey. rc(at)oople(dot)com.