David Spashett continued his near dominance of the 2012/13 BRCA 1/12th Scale Nationals at round 5 of the 6 event series in Stafford last weekend. In the 10.5 blinky stock class on Saturday, David took TQ by the slender margin of 0.2 seconds ahead of Team Associated/Reedy factory driver Olly Jefferies who made a one-off return to this years championship at Stafford. Mark Stiles lined up 3rd on the grid for the A final driving an LRP/Reedy powered CRC with Olly’s team mate Zak Smith and the Serpent of Chris Kerswell completing the top-5.
The A final was an eventful race to say the least. A rare mistake by Spashett on the opening lap left him dead last, allowing Olly to take over the lead and pull a small gap to Stiles in 3rd. However, part-way through the race a mistake by Olly left him requiring a marshal and Stiles inherited the lead. Chris Kerswell had driven solidly to make his way to the front following a mediocre start and began to pressure Mark for the lead. Meanwhile, Spashett was making steady progress up the field and now wasn’t far behind the battling leaders.
The track was a very unforgiving one that appeared to be catching out even the front running drivers. The next to be punished for a small error was Mark Stiles; he clipped an apex and ran wide, allowing Kerswell to take over the lead. A couple of laps later a collision with a wayward back marker dropped Mark to 3rd behind Spashett, who had made a stealthy recovery during the race to find himself back with the leaders at ¾ distance.
In fact at the 6 minute Mark, the 4 lead cars of Kerswell, Spashett, Stiles and Jefferies were separated by less than 2 seconds, with a large gap back to Zak Smith in 5th place. With 30 seconds of the race remaining, Spashett made his move on Kerswell. The pair touched and Kerswell was spun around on a corner apex. A somewhat hesitant Spashett continued on without waiting, to the surprise of some of the onlookers who felt that he should have waited for Chris to recover. David crossed the line to win the race by 0.2 seconds from Mark Stiles, with Chris just holding on to 3rd spot ahead of Olly.
The result was enough to give David the overall championship title for 10.5 stock; with 4 wins he cannot be beaten despite there being 1 round of the series remaining. Stiles and Kerswell are tied for 2nd overall, so it’s all to play for at Tonbridge in 1 month time.
The 17.5 blinky class has seen Keith Robertson in dominant for this season. Keith has been driving and out of the box Associated R5.2 car with very little expenditure on tyres and other equipment to prove that deep pockets aren’t necessarily required to be competitive in this class. Keith took TQ in the class ahead of an in form Pete Winton, with Gavin Clinch 3rd for Serpent. In the A final and early crash by Keith left Gavin in the lead for a short time, but a good recovery by from Keith eventually saw him win the race by half a lap ahead of Winton and Clinch, who had a race long battle over 2nd and 3rd place.
Sam Clifton won the GT12 A final for Schumacher after the pole-sitting Mardave of Adam Catchpole crashed out of the lead in the early stages.
On Sunday the drivers bolt in faster motors for the open modified class. In this configuration the cars are now extremely fast, with speeds in excess of 80km/h being recorded on the straight at the previous round of the championship in Plymouth.
The early pace setter was Olly Jefferies; he set the fastest time in round 2 of qualifying, a benchmark that would not be beaten for the rest of the day as the track appeared to slow up a little in the later qualifying rounds. Spashett came closest to matching Olly’s pace but would have to settle for 2nd on the grid, 3 seconds adrift of the British touring car champion. Once again Mark Stiles was snapping at the heels of the lead pair; he got quicker as the track conditions developed and ended up 2 seconds behind Spashett. Zak Smith and Chris Kerswell completed the top half of the A final grid as they had on Saturday.
In the A final, Olly and David immediately began to ease away from the chasing pack despite battling over the lead in the early stages. A mistake from Olly saw him fall down the order though, and this left Spashett out in front to cruise to a much easier win than he had the previous day. Mark Stiles had an uneventful race to finish 2nd, choosing to consolidate his position rather than risk suffering the same fate as Olly by trying to chase down the gap to Spashett during the race. Chris Kerswell finished 3rd to create a repeat of Saturdays podium.
The modified championship remains open with 1 round remaining. Spashett, Stiles and Kerswell all have a mathematical chance of winning, so it will go down to the final race of the season to see who is crowned champion.
The 10.5 sport class was a very close affair. 1/8th scale on road specialist Richard Hicklin was on form with his Serpent car and took tq by 3 seconds ahead of Saturday’s 17.5 winner Keith Robertson. Jim Spencer completed the top-3 driving an Associated. In the A final, Richard led from start to finish and never put a wheel wrong, despite some sustained pressure from Keith in the closing stages of the race. Flying Scotsman Andrew Edwards finished 3rd in the race, his first ever A final podium at national level.
Adam Catchpole made up for the disappointment of crashing out of the lead in Saturdays GT12 A final by winning on Sunday. Peter Craig TQ’d by 3 seconds but was unable to fend off Adam’s challenge in the final.
The final round of the 2012/13 championship takes place at Tonbridge in the Southwest of England on 20th/21st April.