Howlers Takes Fastrax Rd 1
Sunday 15th April saw the CML and Fastrax Summer Series return to Stoke Nitro.
The sun was shining and 50 drivers turned up to take part in this popular series. This summer CML are running a privateer championship for those racing the Fastrax Enduro engines which proved there worth in the enduro masters event. So if you have one of these or are thinking of buying one, Stoke is the place to be running it this year for a great competition. Andy Tobutt reports...
The format for the day would be 1 Round of practice, 3 rounds of qualifying 22 minute finals for everyone. Two classes were running with 44 buggy and 6 Truggy drivers in attendance Once practice was complete it was clear that the pace today was going to be quick with mini pins the tyres of choice.
Rd 1 and it was Glen Howard setting the early pace with his Novarossi powered Mugen missing out on 9 laps by just over 7 seconds. Stoke maestro Jon Howells and his Associated RC8.2 was just 1 second behind Glen making a few small errors 3rd place honour went to Mark Redmond with James Bullivant and Ashlee Owen completing the top 5.
Rd 2 and the sun was shining bright and the track was bone dry. CML driver Jon Howells took the round missing out on 9 laps by just 0.11 of a second. Lloyd “Pitty” Pitt was in second place with the Associated RC8.2 securing the one two for CML. Mark Redmond once again proved his worth picking up 3rd.
Rd 3 and it was once again Jon Howells taking the round to secure the TQ and the only driver to complete 9 laps. Mark Redmond managed to split the Associated pairing forcing Lloyd down to 3rd place.
The overall qualifying results after the third round and the positions on the grid were as follows:
The A final got underway with pole man Jon Howells and the Associated off to a flying start closely followed by Mark Redmond however, it was Ashlee Owen who was up to 3rd from 11th place piling on the pressure. Ashlee had a tough day having to bump up from the C final after trying to bed in a new engine on race day.
As the drivers settled in it was clear it was going to be a tight race with Jon, Mark and Ashlee trading places. On Lap 7 Ashlee had mechanical problems, his rear gear box decided to lock up which allowed Lloyd to take up 3rd place with Mick Butler and his Hot Bodies D8 RTR up one place to forth. James Bullivant was having a steady race having been away from Stoke for a while and was in 5TH place.
Lap 12 saw the first few cars coming in for fuel and by Lap 14 all stops were complete and the top 5 places didn’t change. Jon was 1st, Mark 2nd, Lloyd 3rd, Mick 4th and James in 5th despite loosing out briefly to Jim Boulton on the fuel stops.
Jon was flying and the familiar blip of his twichy throttle finger was doing him proud but the big mover was Glen Howard, who was up to 6th from 12th and doing a very good job indeed despite a tough qualifying and having to bump from the B final.
With the final being 22mins most people opted for a 2 stop strategy and by lap 23 the top 6 places remained unchanged with it almost being a precession. The real battles were happening further down the field. James Bulliavnt, Phil “The Power” Turner, Abi Dean, Jim Boulton and CML’s own Iain Mccallum all fighting for position.
By the end of the 22 minutes it was CML driver Jon Howells taking the chequered flag one lap ahead of the rest of the field. Second place went to Mark Redmond with Lloyd Pitt 1 lap behind him. Mick butler and Glen Howard completed the top five and a great days racing.
On a personal note it was good to see the truggy class returning to Stoke after an absence over the winter and from the off it look as though it would be close.
Rd 1 saw Lloyd Pitt take the round with the Associated RC8T closely followed by Andy Tobutt just 3 seconds behind him also running an RC8T. Sean Bailey completes the top three and a clean sweep for Associated also driving an RC8T.
Rd 2 and it was still Lloyd setting the pace and a close battle between Sean and Andy for 2nd place saw Sean nick it by just 0.3 of a second over 8 laps.
Rd 3 and Lloyd completed the clean sweep and the TQ with Andy Tobutt in 2nd and previously unmentioned Chris Bird and the Losi taking 3rd place one lap down.
The qualifying was as follows:
The truggy final lined up and it was the top three who took advantage of the small amount of vehicles on track and all got away clean. At the end of the back straight Lloyd out broke himself allowing Andy to get away and start to make a gap. Andy’s lead was short lived however, he hit a tyre head on at the end of the start finish straight as he attempted to take the chicane a little too fast. The tyre failed to move but Andy’s truggy spun back on to the track making contact with Lloyd who after a stylish barrel roll and a nervous few corners decided he was ok. Andy however will be replacing a servo gear set, OOPS!
By lap two it was clear the only thing that would stop Lloyd from winning would be a failure and with only 3 truggies left running it was a long 22 mins. The real battle was for 2nd place with Dan Evans and Chris Bird battling all the way. Dan however managed to keep his composure and pip Chris to the line by just 1 second. A great race and as I metioned great to see the truggy class back.
Thanks to all at Stoke Nitro for holding the event and CML for supporting the series. Hope to see you all at the next round on the 27th May 2012.