The UK NEMO team were spread out over a couple event in the South of England this weekend, with the SRS race at the recently re-vamped Clanfield venue near Portsmouth, and the Slough club had a round of their popular summer series which attracted some top drivers ahead of the final round of the BRCA National series in a few weeks.
Clanfield saw an encouraging entry of drivers for what is always one the best drivers tracks in the UK, and this latest version was no different. The Truggy class saw NEMO man Jon Hazlewood dominate the qualifying sessions to place his Bullitt powered Agama A8T on pole. The buggy class saw another NEMO man, Tony Truman on great form and with girlfriend Ashley on pitting duty this weekend, he was untouchable and claimed the pole position with ease, his Agama A215 performing fantastically.
The Truggy final was looking great for Jon for a long time as he powered away from the field over the first half of the race, sadly an issue would force him to retire. This left Agama customer Tony Bolwell to pick up the pieces and take an excellent victory with his A8T and to stand on the top spot of the podium.
Tony Truman would suffer a fault free final, and would take a comfortable victory in the Buggy class with an excellent drive. Tony was backed up by Herts Rc driver Jim Thompson who drove a superb race to claim 3rd place and a spot on the podium with his Agama A215.
The Slough club hosted another round of their summer series and with the upcoming national, there was a a good entry with some national drivers here for more track time. Due to the very dry summer we have had, Slough have been unable to work there new track as they would have liked and the surface is starting to look a bit worse for wear. Some rain late in the proceeding week had allowed them to resurface the last quarter of the lap back to its usual standard, but this left the remainder as a real challenge due its bumps and lumps. This is sometimes seen as a bad thing, but I believe its good for the drivers to race like this as it requires a different approach and set ups to be honed to suit.
Qualifying was excellent for NEMO/Agama man Darren Bloomfield as he worked through a programme to confirm his settings from the last meeting at this track. He methodically changed his car from his usual set up to the different settings he found good here last time and as he did, his relative pace and comfort in his driving. He would take 2nd in round 1 and then went on to take 3 consecutive round wins to secure the TQ spot, his race times getting a little quicker each time as the set up improved.
Fellow Agama drivers, Jonny Skidmore, Ollie Currie and Richard Barton were all in the hunt for the top 5, and were all also learning as they went along with their respective settings.
The main final got underway with Darren leading round from Elliott Boots, when a rut on lap 2 caught him out and he flipped on his lid. It happened it perhaps the most unfortunate place as the marshall couldn’t get to him as the whole pack drove past, and the net result was an 18 second delay while his car was retrieved. A shaky following lap lost another 4 seconds, and he was plumb last and over 20 seconds from the lead. From there Darren knuckled down and began to work his way back through the pack and he set a cracking pace as he did so, reducing the gap to the lead who still making passing moves. By half distance he was back up to second and had the gap to the lead down to about 12 seconds, and was on a charge and just after the second stops he was 8 seconds off the lead. Just as he was getting Elliott into range he was taken off by a back marker which cost a further 5 seconds and with it any realistic chance of closing the gap. Elliott made a couple of errors subsequently and the gap was reduced again, and then on what was the final lap, incredibly Elliott ran out of fuel a few corners from home, allowing Darren to drive past and take the victory in what was a very strange final.
Darren came away with the win, but actually very satisfied with his pace during both qualifying and final as he felt he had had the upper hand on his rivals on the day.
Jonny was able to come home in 5th after the rough and tumble of a very difficult final and track.