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Worthing Digital Saturday - 25 June 2022
#1

   

All eyes are now on our first Digital Saturday for two and a half years. This is a full day of racing, with the schedule looking like this:

  • 10am Track live: Practice & Digital Driving School
  • 10.30am Club Car Rotation: 3 minutes with each of the six club cars.
  • 12noon BTCC Qualifying & race with step-ups (16 laps each)
  • 1.15pm Break: track power off
  • 1.45pm GT Championship Team Race: Super-pole & 45 minute race
  • 3pm Slot.it Group C: Qualifying, semi & 40 lap feature race
  • 3.45pm Muscle Car Mondiale: Three 10 minute heats + feature race
  • 5pm Finish
Details of regulations and race formats can be found in the pdf guide here: https://www.whoracing.org.uk/who_digital.html

Race fees: £6 for adults, £4 for under-16s. Or £3 / £2 for a morning or afternoon. We now have pre-pay options, including a WHO/digital season ticket. Ask Terry for details.

As always, we ask that all racers aged 12 or younger bring a responsible adult with them.

Digital Saturday format: Our Digital Saturdays carry on the same fun and close competition as the Wednesday night events. The Club Car Rotation and GT Team Race are open to all - the other three classes do require your own car to take part, although sometimes there will be ‘loaners’ available.

Cars for Sale: There will be a few suitable cars for BTCC and Muscle Car Mondiale available to buy at the Digital Saturdays at knock-down prices. If you have WHO/digital cars that are surplus to requirements, please do bring them along to offer to your clubmates. There’s usually time to help prepare cars ready for racing - with Mike’s urethane racing tyres at £3 a pair and C8515 digital chips at £15. If you've bought a new car, let us know asap on Saturday morning so we can help you get it ready.

Covid precautions: Covid cases have levelled-off across England at a higher level than we’d like. Because some of us will be at the Barn from 8am to nearly 6pm, some caution is still necessary to keep everyone safe. Most importantly, please do not attend if you have any symptoms that might be Covid. Inside the Barn, wearing a face mask, practising good hand-hygiene and giving each other space remain non-negotiable requirements. We will ensure as good ventilation as possible - and fingers-crossed there’s good weather to enjoy in the outside areas. Any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Food & Drink: There will be no food or drink provided by the club this time. However, the kitchen will be open - with the use of the fridge, microwave, boiling water dispenser and the very best West Sussex tap water. There’s also a Tesco Express, Spar and chip shop no more than 5 minutes walk away.

Please do let us know if you’re coming - this makes the job of our race control volunteers easier. And if you have any questions - just ask!
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#2

We'll be racing on Mike's sublime Suzuka-inspired layout next weekend...

   

That's 118 feet of sensational digital driving that we last used in June 2019...

   

That day we ran three BTCC races, the Club Car rotation, Slot.it Group C, Goodwood Revival and finished with an 80-minute GT team race running into the evening...

   

This time, we've dialled back the schedule to just the seven hours.
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#3

   

Yesterday was a lot of fun with nineteen racers and some very close action across the five races. Expect a gradual flow of post-event coverage over the next 48 hours, with pictures, reports, results, stats and a highlights video.

   
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#4

Race Report: Morning session

It was an early start for the set-up crew - two hours to build and test the massive Suzuka-inspired layout. It was job done by the time the morning's eighteen racers had arrived - the track was open at 10am for practice. There were no takers for Mike's Digital Driving School, although both Mark and Stephen made sure they got some practice in - neither had raced digital at the Barn for a long time. For the rest of us, this was our first Digital Saturday since December 2019.

       

The Club Car Rotation is always a good introduction to the day - learning the track with a selection of different Scalextric GT cars and attempting to get the most out of each one. The races are set up so one pit stop is usually required, but the blue car - a Jaguar XKR - could just about get to 3 minutes on one tank of fuel... if it was stroked round carefully. The art of getting a good score is to quickly adjust to each car - some can be pushed hard, others need more gentle handling - and it's crucial to focus on your 3 minutes and not race the cars around you. All the cars had a 10-lap run in them, with 11 laps possible with three or maybe four. Parts of a lap are only recorded with the yellow car - acting as a tie-breaker... and if the scores were still the same, drivers are separated by the best race score.

This rotation race ended up being one of the closest we've seen - the top ten covered by just five and a half laps. In the end, it was Andy, Simon and Mike who made up the top three - all scoring over sixty laps. Gary was fourth on exactly 60 laps, Oliver a fine fifth and Dean sixth. In the battle for the junior medal, Ryan finished ahead of Isaac...

       

Here are all the scores for the rotation race...

   

With everyone nicely warmed-up, it was time for the BTCC race - a full eighteen cars in qualifying and four step-up finals... it would be a late lunch!
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#5

       

Qualifying for the BTCC race was exciting as ever. Alex had done a great job scrutineering all eighteen BTCC cars during the rotation and they were ready to go in three groups of six. Some track familiarisation and then a handful of quick laps makes the session a high-pressure three minutes. For Stephen and Dean, it was particularly tough - both ending up at the foot of the table with less-than-happy cars and given dispensation to work on them before the first of the step-up finals. At the top, Gary pipped Alex to pole by 51 thousandths of a second - they were they only two under thirteen seconds, with Andy third and Ed fourth. They would be racing in the A final - everyone else had work to do to join them there.

   

The D final was scrappy and exciting. Both Stephen and Dean had qualified out of position - and it was Stephen's MG6 that took the 16-lap race by the scruff of its neck. Dean had all sorts of drama and an incredibly frustrating time - finishing on the same lap as the winner, but in fourth place. Stephen and Terry stepped up to the next final, Duncan and Dean missed out in third and fourth, Kevin valiantly hung on in fifth - he and Isaac a bit shell-shocked by their first experiences of WHO BTCC mayhem! Jean and Matthew had things under control from the start of the C final. They kept their heads and finished 1-2, a lap ahead of the following pack. Terry drove well to take third, Mark was fourth - and Stephen beat Ash to fifth place in their MG6 contest.

       

The B final was the closest and cleanest of the four races - and it was Ryan who led the train of six cars after five laps. Could he hold on? At ten laps, Oliver had taken the lead, ahead of Ryan and Mike - Simon, Jean and Matthew formed a second group about half a lap behind... As the race reached its business end, Ryan and Mike traded places, Oliver still leading and Simon and Jean managing to hang on not far behind... Any of them could still win it. Lap fourteen and Mike passed Oliver for the lead - and he would keep it to the end, Oliver eventually finishing three seconds ahead of Ryan to grab that all-important second step-up spot. Simon wrestled fourth from Jean in the closing stages, both finishing on the same lap as Mike. It had been quite a race.

The battle for the overall race win started with an excess amount of adrenaline contributing to some early carnage and a disastrous Stop-Go for Ed after jumping the start. The top three was Alex, Gary and Andy with ten laps to go - Alex driving at his very best to keep Gary behind. Mike came back to capitalise on some errors from Andy and take third place. Ed was ruing that early penalty - surely he'd have been in the fight for that final podium step. Alex and Gary finished ahead of Mike, Andy and Ed, with Oliver a lap further back. Huge congrats to Alex on a sensational drive and for grabbing a prestigious BTCC race win.

       

Here are all the stats from the finals - Gary capturing extra championship points for pole position and fastest race lap. The grid for Round 2 in October will be the finishing order from this race - with Alex, Gary, Mike, Andy and Ed all receiving success ballast penalties.

   

That was time for a late lunch - packed lunches and trips to the chippy - while Race Control prepared for the afternoon session, starting with a 45-minute GT team race...
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#6

Race Report: Afternoon session

We've re-launched our GT Championship in 2022 to create a more formal team race format with the six permanent teams, each led by a Gold-rated driver and a deputy - additional drivers are added on the day. Of course, with the unpredictability of Covid infections and the clash with Goodwood Festival of Speed, we had a few drivers missing. There were also a few car changes made after practice this morning. Race Control adjusted the teams accordingly...

   

After a five-minute practice session, the drivers who'd start the race took part in a 3-minute Super-pole session. Not that grid positions are very important in a 45-minute slot car race, but there was a bonus championship point up for grabs. This is what happened...

   

The race started and there was a Stop-Go penalty (the only one of the race) for the AST Better Gulf Porsche - penalising a false start. Dean subsequently struggled to get in a rhythm, but was soon past the WHAM! Racing Aston and chasing the rest of the pack. With new regulations this season requiring dislodged rear wings to be replaced in the pits within 5 laps, the Aston struggled massively. A third-choice car, no thought had been made to securing the wing and that certainly hampered what would have been a decent run for Isaac, who pitted half a dozen times for wing repairs. At the first driver change (15 minutes), AST One were on 60 laps, Sports Carazing on 58, Fundamentally Barley on 56 laps, Johnny's Workshop on 51, AST Better on 47 and WHAM! Racing on 38 laps. The fastest lap of the race so far was a 12.813 for AST One.

       

The new RCS64 set-up for the GT races has ultra-long pit stops, giving time for a tyre clean, a quick once-over and an unhurried hand-over of the controller. However, during this second fifteen minutes of the race, Johnny's Workshop would be frantically working to fix an ailing car - dropping them to the back of the field. The problem turned out to be the rear light board dislodging from the chassis and fouling the rear axle - the team was lucky not to blow up the digital chip. Eventually back on track, Terry had little opportunity to close the gap to the five cars in front. Solid stints for those teams gave these standings at 30 minutes: in the lead were Fundamentally Barley on 116 laps, Sports Carazing and AST One both on 115, AST Better on 99, WHAM! Racing on 97 and Johnny's Workshop on 78 laps.

       

The leading three teams had their big guns on the final leg - Mike, Alex and Gary fighting for the race win. Behind, Stephen and Kevin would fight for fourth and Jean would try to make up as much ground as possible. From early on, it looked like Gary and Alex had the better of Mike - the winner would be one of  the two Mercedes... they swapped fastest laps of the race, getting down into the mid 12-second range - Alex piling on the pressure to hang on to Gary, who was driving fast and without error. In ten minutes, Gary had taken the lead and stretched out an advantage of two laps over Alex. Mike was four laps further back. Despite Alex setting the fastest lap of the race - a 12.290 - in the final two minutes of the race, Gary brought the Sports Carazing Mercedes home to win. AST One were second, Fundamentally Barley third - then there was a gap to AST Better who finished five laps ahead of WHAM! Racing's Aston. Jean put in a strong final stint, but the Johnny's Workshop Mercedes ended up seven laps adrift in sixth...

   

And here are all the teams and their cars...

       

       

       

The end of the GT race left us with some Slot.it Group C action, plus the new Muscle Car Mondiale class to finish off the day...
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#7

Meanwhile, here are some video highlights of the whole day's racing...



Huge thanks to Simon for his help with the camerawork!
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#8

Well done to the WHO crew for holding the meeting, and Andy for the race report!
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#9

Thanks Gary! But it's not quite over yet...

Race 4: Slot.it Group C

       

Group C is our only class that goes beyond standard Scalextric fare - in this case it's very standard Slot.it, running to DiSCA Group C regs. There's a huge range of fabulous models to choose from and our twelve racers had six Porsches (one 956LH, three 962 IMSA and two 962 LH), two Toyotas, a Lancia, Jaguar, Sauber and a Nissan. Ryan, Gary, Isaac, Kevin, Ash and Andy sat this one out. Two groups of six ran for a three minute practice/qualifying sessions to give us a grid that looked like this...

   

The bottom six started the race in the C Final, aiming to finish in the top three and to step up. The five-minute race was a sprint to the line, Mike leading the way in his Wynn's Porsche and showing the sort of pace that was lacking in qualifying. Behind him was Jean, who'd spent qualifying fixing his car. Third was Mark, driving his brother's spare car - he gambled on a no-stop race, stroking the Sauber round for maximum fuel economy. It was a gamble that paid off, finishing a lap ahead of Stephen and Terry's Porsches in fourth and fifth. Matthew's usually rapid Nissan had a sub-optimal 5-minutes, finishing way back in sixth.

       

Mike had his mojo back and got stuck into the B Final - again leading the pack through the 5-minute race and qualifying for the feature race. His closest challenger was Ed, whose took his Toyota to second spot, a lap behind Mike and almost a lap ahead of Mark, who again went for a successful fuel-saving strategy to join Mike in a double step-up. Oliver, Jean and Simon all finished two laps behind the winner.

       

The feature was another quick-fire 5-minute race. Alex, Oli and Dean had been looking on as Mike, Mark and Ed got plenty of valuable track time. When the lights went green, it was Alex and Oli who disappeared up the road - Ed leading Mike, Mark and Dean in a second group. The Group C front-runners from 2019 were locked in a compelling battle for the win - and it would have continued that way without pit stops. Alex was a little more frugal on fuel and Oli pitted first - his stop a little longer than average. When it was Alex's time to stop, an efficient splash-and-dash gave him a 6.5 second advantage. Oli soon found himself under pressure from a hard-charging Mike, who'd also gained a few seconds on the pit stop.

Going into the final minute of the race, Alex's lead was almost comfortable - but Oli and Mike were now battling for second, with Dean close enough to pick up the pieces, should anything go amiss. Mark was yet again going for fuel-efficiency - and although he wasn't troubling the podium places, he was running in fifth. Mike had worked his way up through both the C and B finals - and he wasn't done yet. A late pass gave Mike an unlikely runner-up spot and made it a Porsche 1-2 ahead of Oli's Jag and Dean's Lancia. Mark just managed to get to the line with his Sauber running on fumes, Ed finishing sixth with his Toyota.

       

Here are the results...

   

And that leaves just the Muscle Car Mondiale race to wrap up the day.
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#10

The Final Race: Muscle Car Mondiale

This new class for 2022 brings together a vast range of classic (pre-1990) saloon cars produced by Scalextric in their modern DPR era. Although there were a fair few cars carried-over from our old Trans-Am Wednesday evening class, the eighteen-car line-up was pretty pleasing to the eye and to the tin-top connoisseur...

       

A format that prioritises enjoyment and fun, three randomly-selected heats would run for ten minutes, with the top two finishers from each heat meeting in a rapid 5-minute finale. The first six included three Trans-Am cars, Alex's sleek IROC-Z, Mark's massive Monte Carlo and Ash's lush, but rather tipsy Escort. Alex and Andy cruised away, Alex getting a lap lead at the first pit stops and then providing some entertaining duels with the Javelin, albeit a lap and eventually two laps ahead. Ryan and Oliver had their own battle in a pair of Camaros - the 2019 Trans-Am champions seeing who was best head-to-head. They finished on the same lap, with the younger Walker victorious. Mark found the big Nascar a handful, finishing just ahead of Ash, who did a remarkable job with a twitchy and tippy Escort that'd been unboxed just a few hours earlier.

       

There were also three Trans-Ams in the second heat, joined by Mike's big Aussie Falcon XB, Stephen's Corvette L88 and Simon's Spa 24-hours Mk1 Escort. A slower motor in the Escort gave a slightly easier drive - although we'll need to explore software tweaks to the power and throttle curve to make this an accessible class for these slim-can motored models. Nonetheless, Simon took drove the Chevron Escort beautifully and took advantage of a slower heat to challenge for a top-two finish! Mike brought the Falcon home first - his 32 laps only good enough for fifth in the first heat - with Matthew's orange Camaro just pipping Simon to the runner-up spot. Kevin was less than a lap behind after a great drive with his borrowed '69 Camaro, Terry was fifth with his Javelin and Stephen had a brilliant ten-minute drifting session with his Corvette, showing awesome car control on zero-grip tyres.

       

The random allocation gave us another three Trans-Am cars in the third heat, plus Gary's Corvette L88 (with grippy WASP urethanes), Jean's Falcon XY and Oli's Audi Sport Quattro Rally Cross car - a marginally controversial inclusion, but it certainly added to the spectacle. The Audi looked quick, but Dean's Brut Camaro had the better of the ten minutes, winning the heat with 34 laps. Oli was a lap back - a lap ahead of Jean and Ed. Isaac had some useful track time with his Challenger, but Gary's Corvette required plenty of TLC to get it moving. For the six laps it functioned, it was quick - second only to Ed's Camaro in this heat.

After 30 minutes of cruising those tin-tops, it was time for a 5-minute thrash to end the day. Alex pulled away with his IROC-Z, with a certain amount of carnage going on behind. Mike's Falcon XB was best of the rest, followed by Matthew's and Dean's '71 Camaros, Andy's Javelin and Oli's Quattro. A third medal for Alex and the day was done...

       

And these were the Muscle Car Mondiale results...

   

Thanks again to all nineteen racers who made it such an enjoyable day. Special thanks to the set-up team and to everyone who stayed behind to pack away. Massive thanks to Alex for acting as scrutineer and to Oliver and Ryan who ran the start line perfectly all day. Special thanks to Ash who did a brilliant job on race control - it's a very long day to stay focused and keep everything moving.

We're back for two final Digital Wednesdays in July and August - and then we have four Digital Saturdays in September, October, November and December. New racers are always very welcome. All the details are on our website here: http://www.whoracing.org.uk/who_digital.htm
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