My last installment saw me tempt fate
about how I would be writing about the new version of the CAT SX called
the SX2. Unfortunately, that isnít the case and the magazine continues
to wait for a sample to arrive for review. Although some shops have had
their stock, there is still a huge back order at the factory waiting to
be fulfilled, highlighting how popular the CAT SX model has been. So for
this month, itís all about the first two rounds of the BRCA 1:10
Off-Road Nationals and outdoor racing rather than in.
Before I do this, I have to admit to
making a bit of a fool of myself. There is a well-known phrase that
says, ďDo as I say, not as I do.Ē Prior to the first National
Championship round at Talywain, my local club Eden Park Raceway decided
to host an Easter race meeting. Timing-wise, this was ideal as a chance
to run through some final checks of the cars before taking them to the
first major outdoor race of the year. I was acting as Race Director for
the day and decided to run in both 2WD and 4WD, although I would not
participate in all rounds, as I only wanted to ensure nothing was wrong
and therefore carry out the minimum amount of cleaning and maintenance
during the week. Well hindsight is a great thing and after battling it
out for the front row of the grid and tweaking the set up, I raced both
cars in all rounds and the finals. Unfortunately, I failed to complete
either final, breaking both cars very badly (after two high-speed
crashes on the straight) and taking them home in a bag of bits. The
worst thing was that I had told lots of people that this was the
scenario I was trying to avoid and there I was, looking very stupid and
feeling pretty silly too!
These two errors saw me having to work on
my cars on Sunday night in preparation for leaving for Wales on the
Friday. Last year, the club hosted its second National and their first
on their permanent Astroturf track. In 2008, I didnít enjoy the event
as much as in 2009 as the grass surface is unique in being quite
shallow, as the ground there has been recovered from old mining areas.
Underneath the grass is quite a hard shale-type material and this means
the top surface isnít that strong and wears quite quickly.
In 2009, I had a good meeting and made
the A final with the new CAT SX so I went to the 2010 event with fond
memories. Although I started out with the set-up as I finished the club
race the week before, I ended up reverting to some of the settings that
proved to work so well in 2009. I softened the rear oil due to the bumpy
nature of the track and then trimmed some more spikes off the front and
rear tyres to make the car easier to drive and less chance of it grip
rolling. In qualifying, I finished seventh, eighth, sixth and sixth in
the rounds to qualify eighth. Three good finals were I elected to drive
steadily and wait for others mistakes saw me finish seventh overall with
a best leg finish of fifth in leg three.
After a positive start to the year, it
was a trip north to the Robin Hood Raceway in North Nottinghamshire for
round two and a track that I struggle with. The track is mainly
Astroturf with movable corners that allow a huge range of layouts and
track designs. My only gripe is that the Astroturf is laid in long runs
and often corners feature two or possibly three changes of Astroturf
type meaning itís really hard to be consistent. The whole of practice
was about learning the track, and trying to dial out grip. The
challenging layout meant you needed a car that was easy to drive and for
me, that meant dialling out steering. Apart from ensuring the shocks
were free of air for each run and that I trimmed the spikes off the
tyres, I also over-filled the front shocks to reduce a little front-end.
Apart from this, the proven standard set-up on the CAT SX was the same
as at Talywain.
In all honesty, I was never going to have
the pace of the leaders and making the B final was a result for me.
Throughout qualifying, I struggled until the last round where I just
missed the extra lap despite a coming together with another car after
passing them. I am unsure as to why I drove better. My qualifying
results saw me take 20th, 15th, 17th and 11th in the rounds and that
meant fifth in the B final. I seem to be a little stronger mentally now
so I wonder if I just relaxed for the final qualifier or maybe a little
more wear on the tyres suited me Ė I donít really know, but I was
more than happy with 15th overall.
Repeating Saturdayís poor final
performance, the same happened on Sunday. After a good start, I undid
all of my hard work and dropped to the rear of the field where I pretty
much stayed. That said, an A final and a B final from the first two
rounds is a good start and I hope things continue like this at round
three and my home track of Eden Park Raceway.
Thanks to everyone who assists me with my
* CML Distribution
* Horizon Hobby UK
* Much More UK
* Speed Passion