The 2014 BRCA Championship went down to the wire at the weekend, and in his first year with NEMO Racing and Agama, Darren Bloomfield came through to take the title.
Going into the weekend Darren knew that if he could make the main final, he would take the Championship whatever his rivals Lee Martin and Elliott Boots did. The main threat came from Lee who could tie Darrens score with a TQ and a win, and in the event of that Darren would need to make the final to ensure he had a better count back than Lee.
The team at the Slough club had pulled all the stops out to once again prepare an immaculate track ready for a hard weekends racing, with the whole left hand side of the track redesigned to give everybody a new challenge. As ever with the Slough track surface, when the soil is prepared it can polish up to a very glassy finish in certain areas, and this time was no different as after practice the track was super slick in a few places.
Practice was a case of all the dust being cleared away from the racing line, so there wasn't too much to be learned about grip levels, just getting into the rhythm of the track and learning the new sections. It was evident that track cleaning was the biggest factor as despite what tyre they chose, pretty much everybody preferred what tyre they ran in the second round as the grip was better.
Round 1 of qualifying got underway and the usual suspect were all up there challenging the top positions. It was Lee Martin who took the round win from Elliott and Darren , but there was less than 3 seconds between them and all had small mistakes and bobbles. Tony Truman was along with Richard Barton and Darren running the new Agama car and they were all learning things as they went. Tony was 10th in round 1 and really positive about the overall feel of the car.
Round 2 saw an on form Neil Cragg take the round win by a few tenths from Elliott once again, Darren was 4th despite a massive crash that cost around 8 seconds and indeed Graham Alsop who finished 6th in the round was a mere 0.11 seconds behind Darren displaying the usual very close nature of the times at Slough. Richard Barton was getting into the new car and he took 9th in round, Ben Williams continued his recent good form in 10th with Ollie Currie 11th. Ollie was going for the Junior Championship with Callum Niblett and the battle was on. Round 3 and Neil was on top again, taking his second round in row from Lee and Elliott. Darren was 5th and openly admitting he was racing to achieve a main final placing rather than going out to win as normal. His actual pace was fantastic when he let himself go and drove with freedom, but he was making a couple more mistakes than usual probably just because he was caught between stick or twist. Ben Williams again placed in the top 10 with yet another super drive and Jonny Skidmore was showing us his skills with a 13th in round. But it was so close, as between 11th and 19th in round 3 was a mere 2.2 seconds covering the lot.
Having secured 3 scores that would ensure a semi final place, Darren finally drove with some freedom and was able to take the round win by over 3 seconds, looking much more comfortable and relaxed. Ollie Currie got himself into the top 10 with 9th in round and Ben Williams was 11th to keep his consistent run going. The final round of qualifying on Sunday morning saw the Agama boys packing out the bottom half of the top 10. Darren was 5th, but excellent drives from Ollie Currie (7th), Richard Barton (8th), Ben Williams (9th) and Jonny Skidmore(10th) saw them all secure semi final placings alongside team mates Darren Bloomfield and Tony Truman. Lee Martin would take the round win and by doing so would take the overall TQ he needed to take the Championship fight on to the finals, and this meant Darren would have to safely negotiate his way through the semi final to be sure to win the title.
The semi final line up saw 6 Agama cars, including all 3 of the new cars, 8 Bullitt power plants and no less than 10 BETA tyre runners qualifying directly.
Onto the finals and we had to wait until the 1/32 finals for any Agama involvement, and Mark Boon would drive safely and securely to place 2nd and bump to the 1/16th's. In the same final Dave Stanley and Scott Paulley unfortunately were unable to force their way into the bump up positions. On the other side of the 1/32 finals James Tatlow would give it a good go, but ultimately came up a little short to finish in 8th position. Up in the 1/16 B side Mark Boon and Adrian Svensson both were challenging, but would again not be able to force their way into to the bump up spaces, both had the required speed but errors would prove costly. Steve Brunsden who was having a fantastic weekend, indeed he commented he didn't know what to do with himself he had to wait so long for his final! Both he and Luke Walsham were battling hard but Luke dropped out at around half distance and Steve made a few late race errors that prevented him from challenging the bump ups.
On the A side of the 1/8 finals Leon Goode who had had a pretty awful weekend thus far, was finally able to get some decent track time and he was able to pilot his Agama round to win this side despite his set up not being ideal. He would make some changes before the 1/4 final which made a big difference and he was able to progress through that one as well. He drove very sensibly at the start and was able to pick his way through the carnage from the back of the grid and finally end up in 3rd and up in to the semi finals where he should have been all along. William Skidmore was challenging the bump yet again, and for the 3rd time in a row just came up short. A semi final place for young William can only be around the corner as his rate of improvement this year has been remarkable.
Onto to the semis and Darren was up first in the B side for what would be the most important race of his Championship season. Darren took no chances and although in the lead early on he moved out the way of the lead battle and was happy to drive around with Graham Alsop, swapping 2nd and 3rd position. Darren would end by taking 2nd place in the semi final and by doing so take victory in the overall series as Lee could not now beat him on the count back rule whether he won or not. A big moment for Agama, NEMO Racing and reward for all the teams hard work over the last 4 years. Darren actually seemed more relieved than anything else, but he knew the job was done. With the 4 from 5 to scores to count, emphasis is on speed and reliability, with no retirements and fantastic outright speed, race wins and a 100% finish rate would win the Championship for Darren.
Ollie Currie and Tony Truman would both progress out of the semi final, with Richard Barton just missing out in 8th. On the other side of the semis, Jonny Skidmore and Leon Goode would end up in a battle for the final bump up spot, but just as the fight was getting interesting Leon would be cruelly hit with another servo failure putting him out of the battle. This allowed Jonny to drive probably as slow as he had done on the whole season to see out the remainder of the race and take a place in his 2nd main final of the year.
The main final turned out to be a race of attrition with many guys having issues. Neil was out early, and this left Lee and Elliott to battle it out at the front, with Lee taking the victory he deserved after a fantastic final where both drove brilliantly. Darren would take 5th overall, driving a car with a rear brake set incorrectly resulting in an engaged rear brake at neutral.
The excitement was actually for the Junior Championship as both Ollie Currie and Callum Niblett could take the title with a win, and it looked to be heading the way of Callum after Ollie ran out of fuel prior to a fuel stop leaving him a lap down. But lady luck would shine on in him and cruel luck would head Callums way just a few minutes from the end. A bad landing on the big jump across the back saw Callum break a front pivot and he was out handing the Championship to Ollie. Ollie was obviously delighted, yet sorry for his friend and rival at the same time and the reality is that Champiosnhips are won over a series of races not just one. So a fantastic season for Ollie where he made 3 main finals and really showed he is a genuine top 10 contender for 2015, and equally Callum and Jonny who made up the podium of the Junior Championship. Two Agama and all three of the Junior podium were on BETA rubber and Piranha fuel to ensure almost total domination of the Junior Championship for NEMO Racing products.
Thats another National season over and this time we have a very sweet taste in the mouth with victory for Darren Bloomfield in the overall and Ollie Currie in the Junior Championships, and the first National titles for Agama and NEMO Racing.
Next week we move on to the BRCA Truggy Championship finale where NEMO's own Jon Hazlewood will be going for the title also…and then straight after that the World Championships in Italy.
Lastly a huge thank you to all our team and customers, who put their trust in our products and help to keep pushing us forward in the vision that Nemo was founded on. To bring to market the absolute best possible products we can at the absolute best possible price point.