WARNING: The following race report contains a number of excuses. These have been put in italics!
The final event of the Chippenham Winter Indoor Championship (CWIC) was held on 13th February at the Christie Miller Sports Centre in Melksham. This included rounds 9 and 10 of the 2wd Mini championship.
The track layout for this final round was fast and flowing, with a long, wide sweeper leading into a switchback, a short straight and a flowing sequence of chicanes.
The Mini entry was the healthiest it had been all series – 25 cars – so healthy that Heat 1 had 15 competitors in it because there wasn’t room for them anywhere else! 15 Minis on track looked and sounded spectacular with a lot less crashing than you might have expected, this class really suits the size of an indoor track (30mx16m at the CWIC).
It was good to see two more Xevo Triumph’s at the meeting, as well as my own Triumph and at least one Xevo Chariot.
Round one started badly for me, since this was only the second race on the newly laid track the grip was quite low and as a result I clipped a marker and rolled. After another driving mistake which didn’t need marshalling, I managed to set some quick laps in the last half of the race and caught the leaders, TQing the round with a 20/307 (ish).
I was first away in round two and had a solid run which resulted in a slow 21 lapper, another TQ.
Round 3 was another solid run to set TQ for the finals with a 21/304 (ish), some 10 seconds ahead of the second place car (a Tamiya M-05), although I was conscious of being a bit slow around the long sweeper which was reflected in my laptimes.
I’m normally wary of making changes before the finals, especially when you already have the advantage of pole, but I decided to gear up from a 22T pinion to a 24T. And what a difference it made!
I had a good start from pole and led through the first corner complex. Onto the straight and the HPI Saturn 20 motor was really singing, so much so that it was still trying to accelerate through the sweeper. Brilliant! Result was a comfortable final win in 21/301, almost a lap ahead of the second placed car (another M-05). Maximum points from Round 9, and half of the day’s targets met.
Onto the second final (Round 10). I started quite well but was a little wide into the second apex of the sweeper. This gave the second-placed car a glimpse of the lead, so he stuck his nose in, but he ended up tagging the back of my car, spinning me, and sending his own car wide. We were both well down the field, and I got tagged again a little later on the first lap, crossing the line in roughly eight place. Fortunately the traffic fell in my favour as others collided with one another and the track markings, and I managed to work my way up to third. After a great battle with Andy Travis’s M-05, the Xevo’s superior speed through the sweeper showed and I managed to get through on the inside. A lap later I got up the inside of Chris Brain’s Xevo Chariot through the first chicane and settled down to build a lead.
Everything was looking good until about 4 minutes in, when I got distracted by a marshal and clipped a marker, rolling the car. Although the car landed on its wheels, when I tried to pull away it span out. My transponder had come unstuck, and re-stuck itself onto the bottom of the chassis! Thankfully the marshal noticed this and re-attached it, although by that time I had lost just over a lap and finished in 5th or 6th place overall, with Martin Reeder’s HPI Switch taking the win.
Of course, I already knew that the velcro pad under the transponder had lost it’s stick. Bad prep on my part.
Nevertheless a good day for the Xevo. In two appearances at the CWIC, the car has secured two TQ’s and won 2 of 4 rounds. With better driving and prep, it could easily have been 4 from 4.
In the championship overall, other driver’s scores from earlier rounds meant I couldn’t win, and to take second place would have required two wins on the day and bad results from the other contenders. I’m very pleased to have taken the third-place trophy home with me, and congratulations to Bob Styles for winning this years 2wd Mini championship.