Whickham and District Motor Club meet every Wednesday evening from around 8:00pm at the Kibblesworth Workmens Club, a local village venue offering a friendly welcome and extremely reasonable prices...........................................................................................
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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Radio Controlled Autotest - 5 December 2018

2019 RC Crash

The Whickham and District Motor Club's Championship Year is something that is not only looked forward to with a healthy degree of anticipation but also incredibly well contested, and so tonight's event, being the first round of the 2019 Championship year, was certainly no exception.

Tosh and Brian were the hosts and tonight they put on a slightly different variant of the traditional Radio Controlled Autotest by introducing not only a secondary element but also a second vehicle: in times past there has occasionally been a problem when some competitors take so long to complete the test that the poor batteries start to die in the car. This of course is not an ideal situation and so in order to prevent such an event occurring again they introduced the concept of a second car for the 'return journey'.

In essence, competitors had to navigate a twisty section of the route in one car before parking it and switching to the second vehicle, then guiding that car to the finish via a series of gates and garages in the shortest possible time. Time could of course be gained here by the quickest of controller changes, however, whilst this should have been extremely easy to understand, it soon became apparent that there were some for whom the concept of 'rapid turnover' would be an alien concept.

First up was Phil; not feeling his best and looking extremely tired to boot he was, as always, game for a challenge, and did his best to complete the course as quickly as possible. To be honest, his ability behind the proverbial wheel was very apparent as he completed the course in a very respectable time of 1m 6seconds. This set the target for each subsequent competitor. Gordon was next and although the finesse of a radio controlled car may not have come naturally to him, he certainly made a very good stab at it by completing the course in only 1m 21s.

Jamie was up next and to say he was sublime would be an understatement: he looked as though he was at one with both car and controller, his smooth action and fluid control setting him immediately at the forefront, his time a reflection of his ability: a very impressive 50.3 seconds: that would be a time to aim for and one that each following competitor would very probably struggle to beat.

Tosh tried his best, but as usual, he just didn't have that innate understanding of forward vs reverse and just which way to turn the wheel for which direction he was travelling, and this of course cost him very valuable time. Nevertheless, he posted a time of 1m 51s which was pretty good for him and would have seen him very happy, had it not been for a very unfortunate incident as he laid down the first controller with the slightest and most inadvertent of brushes to the trigger, causing the car to plunge into the back of the garage and penalise him an immediate point! That was a mistake that though he will not make again, this time it counted and so would drop him down the results.

Guy was next, a man who admits he definitely finds the intricacies of the RC controller challenging, a black art understood by only the youngsters and very definitely not something that comes naturally to him. To be honest, that became apparent within the first ten seconds, when Guy's attempt at navigating the first gate resembled the car crash scene from the first Blues Brothers film: the carnage was not only impressive but also comprehensive. At that point Guy did the most sensible thing: gently laying down the controller he uttered that most subtle of phrases: "This is not going to get any better, I retire". There is a certain integrity in a man that can say that and walk away with his pride; most would struggle on and make an absolute pig's ear of it, but Guy knew his limits. His skills lie in other areas that will stand him in good stead later in the Championship, where others may struggle. This is a long year, and points are available each and every week.

Peter, however, has no inhibitions; for him he is content to blast his way to either victory or obscurity, either way is fine by him. This week, it was not to be victory, but he did show immense perseverance and his efforts were rewarded with a good showing to finish just behind Tosh.

Alastair stepped up to the mark with high hopes; all eyes were on him as he carefully weighed up all the options and took careful stock of the route. As he was counted down the anticipation was high - could he beat Jamie? The short answer was no, as Alastair found the wee cars a little more trouble than he was expecting, catching bollard after bollard and even exiting one garage via the side wall to record more fails than anyone else. True to say this was not his finest event, but then it was the very first of the Championship year, and there is a long way to go.

Ewan then stepped up to the mark, a confident smile on his lips and a determination to his face. He set off extremely well and looked to have it in the bag, his first section a blistering 24seconds and plenty of time to complete within Jamie's time; however, a slow changeover and the slightest of hesitations saw him post as final time of 53.24s, putting him in second place.

Brian was next, having watched all before him and planned his execution with the precision that only he can bring. He was off like a shot, smoothly transitioning between the first two gates with ease and guiding the RC car into the first garage neatly and precisely. The nest section was clean and quick, his changeover smooth and unhurried but with a determination to succeed. For some reason, the second half had the tiniest of misdirections, causing Brian to reverse the miniature car for just a second or two to get the aim just right; it was to prove to be the straw that broke the camel's back: the cost of doing so adding a fateful few seconds to his time and placing him third overall.

It looked like everyone had had their turn and everyone was just about to pack up when Karl walked in; a late entry to be true, but a valid one nonetheless. He considered the route carefully, asked all the right questions, and then set his mind to beating all before him. Perhaps he left it just that bit too long, perhaps he was more tired than he appreciated, perhaps he was just not on form tonight; whatever the reason, he posted a time of 1m 12s to place himself between Gordon and Tosh. Perhaps next time he should try his hand earlier in the evening, maybe that is the key to success.

Fin al results, once everyone had tried to be the Tron of Kibblesworth Club, were as follows:

1 Jamie 50.3s
2 Ewan
3 Brian
4 Phil
1m 06s
5 Gordon
1m 21s
6 Karl
1m 12s 1F
7 Tosh
1m 51s 1F
8 Peter
2m 48s 2F
9 Alastair
1m 55s 8F
10 Guy

A Great win for Jamie, showing he has not only the skills and reactions of youth on his side but also that he fully understands the intricacies of the RC controller; a great second place for Ewan, putting him second in the Superstars Championship for 2019 and securing his place as a true contender for the crown; a good third place for Brian, maybe not the result that he wanted but certainly good enough to set him up for a concerted challenge for his seventh Superstars Championship.

Many thanks to Tosh and Brian for putting the event on, the RC Autotest is always a very well received event and one that certainly brings out the competitive spirit within the club. Tonight was no exception, with ten members competing for places and all getting themselves ready for the 2019 Championship.

Points in the Championship to all who took part, this is of course the very first event in the 2019 Superstars Championship and there will be many more points to be had for every event held in the future, so each and every member has an equal chance of winning the 2019 Championship. No more events to be held now until the New Year, when the PitStop Challenge will be held in early January, where we expect to see Jimmy Knox flex his knuckles and powder his hands to take the challenge to the many. Who will challenge him? Watch this space to find out!

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