Published on Sunday, 02 September 2012 12:17
Written by BSI Editor
Kidderminster National 2012
The last round of the 2012 1/10 Off-Road National Championship saw the teams all converge on the small West Midlands town of Kidderminster, just north of Worcester over the Saturday and Sunday of the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The Kidderminster track is a long established circuit that's tight, technical and rewards the careful driver and doesn't always favour the power-mongers. A mixture of short and medium pile Astroturf combined with tarmac and a smattering of dirt means that Kidderminster is a test for even the most experienced drivers despite the track being one of the more established and long-standing circuits on the calendar today.
The Horizon UK / Team Losi Racing Team went into the weekend with their own personal goals and challenges. Darren Bloomfield had already secured 3rd spot in the 2WD championship with his Team Losi Racing 22 but still had some work to do to secure himself a decent 4WD series finish.
With the threat of Thunder Storms and heavy rain being forecast, the race organisers took the unusual step of cancelling the 2nd round of practice for Saturday's 2WD event in favour of starting the qualifying rounds an hour earlier. Although it meant that the track remained an unquantified challenge for many of the drivers during the opening rounds, it was to prove to be an inspired decision as virtually all of the qualifiers were able to run on dry or semi-dry conditions. As the day progressed, the atmosphere became more and more humid and with large cracks of thunder and lightning happening seemingly all around the track, it was of no surprise when the heavens finally opened during the final round of qualifying with only one and a half heats left to run. As it was, the shear volume of water being dumped quickly waterlogged the circuit and the race director and the BRCA had no viable alternative than to call a halt to the proceedings and declare the final results as being awarded on qualifying positions. So the history books will record a win for the Schumacher Cougar SV2 of Simon Moss who had brilliantly mastered the tricky circuit to take two of the four rounds of qualifying. Local Hero Tom Yardy drove superbly to pilot his CML sponsored Centro C4.1 into 2nd overall just ahead of Associated's Neil Cragg who took 3rd place to secure 2nd overall in the Championship Team Losi Racing's Darren Bloomfield had been steadily improving and getting faster all day but was only able to muster a 9th overall in the A-Final although his overall championship final position of 3rd was unaffected.
The Kidderminster Track Fairies weaved their incredible magic to disperse the vast volume of rainwater as they worked tirelessly into the early evening to ensure that the track would be ready for the following day. As with every club and every venue on the national calendar, none of the racers would be able to participate if it weren't for the countless masses of the unsung heroes who prepare the tracks before and during the events and who give up their weekends to man the scrutineering tents and assist in the general well-running of these BRCA events. As always, we doff our caps to you all in respect for your hard work and efforts but the efforts that the Kidderminster crew had to put in on the Saturday evening was nothing short of miraculous as upon arrival for the Sunday, the track was again looking clean, prepped and ready to go whereas only hours before, it had been doing a pretty good impression of being a boating lake!
With the weather forecast looking more promising for Sunday's 4WD event and with the Championship still not yet fully decided, the proceedings got underway as normal with 2 rounds of practice on a damp but thankfully not-waterlogged track.
Tamiya's Lee Martin could not be beaten in the 4WD championship but the series could be tied if Associated's Neil Cragg could TQ and win the meeting. In reality, these two drivers have been in a class of their own throughout the series and it was perhaps of little surprise when, after 4 rounds of dry qualifying that the challenger and ex World Champion Neil Cragg had secured the first part of the job he needed to do by taking the TQ position just ahead of Schumacher's Simon Moss and CML's Tom Yardy. Team Losi Racing's Darren Bloomfield lined up 6th on the grid with the XX-4 just behind Danny McGee in 5th and Lee Martin in 4th. Ellis Stafford, Nathan Waters, Paul Bradby and Kev Lee rounded out the top ten in that order.
Leg one of the final saw Neil hold off the early challenges from Simon to drive a controlled and measured race to take the win. 2nd place however was far from settled as Simon, Tom and Darren Bloomfield were all contesting each other throughout the final. Ultimately, Darren finished 3rd but was buoyed by the pace that he and the XX-4 was showing in the heat of the contest.
Leg two started off in regulation order but a bobble over the tricky back section by Neil saw him relinquish the lead and fall into the clutches of the ensuing pack. Team Losi Racing's Darren Bloomfield again drove a terrific race to ultimately finish 2nd in the leg after Neil and Lee both needed marshalling on the very last lap.
With all to play for going into the final leg and with everything to lose in terms of Neil Cragg's championship ambitions, leg 3 saw a brilliantly composed drive by the Associated man as he led from start to finish despite coming under some intense pressure from the CML Associated of Tom Yardy and the Schumacher SX3 of Simon Moss. Even a bobble on the very last corner nearly resulted in Neil losing everything but he managed to keep his position on track to narrowly take the leg win and secure the overall meeting win that he needed.
So the 4WD series was jointly awarded to both Neil Cragg and Lee Martin with the two drivers being totally inseparable after the 6 rounds with identical scores. BRCA section chairman Paul Worsley was able to confirm that this is the first time since 1990 that this has happened and was in fact the first time ever in 4WD.
Congratulations to both Lee and Neil for some simply stunning displays of driving throughout the series. Danny McGee would end up 3rd overall in the championship with his Tamiya 511 whilst Team Losi Racing's Darren Bloomfield improved his overall series position to finish 4th.
Spektrum driver Kevin Lee didn't have the greatest weekend by his own very high standards but still managed to bring home a solid 5th place in the overall 2WD standings and just missed out on a top ten finish and placed 11th overall in 4WD with his Spektrum DX3R-Pro controlled cars. Likewise for teammate Grant Williams who has struggled at times during the year to recapture some of the form that has seen him TQ and win this year's Belgian GP and had to settle for 11th overall in 2WD and 19th overall in 4WD.
Everyone at Horizon UK would like to congratulate all of our Team Losi Racing Team Drivers and Spektrum supported drivers for their 2012 season and thank them for all of their efforts throughout the year.
We'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the BRCA and each of the six host clubs for a terrific National Series that again, has tested the mettle of every driver and presented a host of different challenges for them all to overcome. Inevitably there were winners and losers. Those that met or exceeded their personal expectations will look back fondly at the series whereas those that missed out on their objectives will understandably be more circumspect but regardless of individual on-track results, the BRCA and their host clubs have again, done the UK racers proud by delivering a national series that has been slickly run at well presented tracks and has been incredibly close and hard fought all along the way. But above all else, it's been a whole heap of fun.
Roll on 2013!