Better the Devil You Know

Race Report: Trucks 2020.
Round 1 – Bristol Road Course.

12 March 2020.

In 2019’s Trucks championship, Darren led the way with his Buggyra MK002, but as the season progressed, he came under increasing pressure from others – particularly George and Lee. Changes were afoot for 2020; George and Scott were both running in new Buggyra Mk002s, while Steve had fitted the new ‘Rev H’ chip to his MAN TR1400 and was hoping for an improvement in performance.

Our racers gathered at the Bristol Road Course for round one of the Trucks championship, and as free practice began, the plans of some began to unravel. First, Steve found his MAN still somewhat down on pace. A split gear in pre-season testing saw this part replaced, and with no running-in, the truck was almost a second off the pace of the field. By the end of free practice, in which he put in over 150 laps, he’d got his lap times down to within three tenths of the required pace. On a track like Bristol, however, that’s still a life time over a race distance!

Problems

Scott had problems of his own. After introducing his own Buggyra Mk002 – ‘The Riddler’ – last season, he had high hopes for the 2020 Trucks championship. His hopes were to be dashed as his truck fell apart during free practice. A bent rear axle proved to be the root of the problem – ‘The Riddler’ had literally shaken itself apart!

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway

When race one got underway, it was a familiar story with Darren once again leading the way. Steve got away from third on the grid well enough, grabbing second and holding it for a handful of laps, but a lack of pace on the back straight saw him tumble down the order. As Darren pulled away, his closest challenger was Anthony – enjoying improved pace with the Buggyra Mk002 he introduced in 2019 – but he would finish some way behind the 2019 champion.

Slower

George’s challenge saw him delayed somewhat by a battle with the determined Steve on his way to third place. He would comment later that his Buggyra was actually a little slower than his JS-chassis Sisu and would revert to this for the remaining races. A case of ‘better the devil you know’! Meanwhile, Scott – unfamiliar with the handling of his borrowed Sisu truck – had a race to forget, trundling around in fifth place.

Race One Result:
1st Darren – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 50; Grid: 4; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.282
2nd Anthony – Buggyra MK002
Laps: 47; Grid: 5; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.221
3rd George – Buggyra MK002
Laps: 47; Grid: 2; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.256
4th Steve – MAN TR1400
Laps: 44; Grid: 3; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.540
5th Scott – Sisu SL250
Laps: 41; Grid: 1; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.754

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway

In race two, Steve made the best of his pole position start and lead for the opening twenty laps. This lofty position flattered the MAN truck slightly, however. Anthony, Darren and George all put the leader under pressure during this time, but were all to crash while chasing or trying to overtake. Eventually, Anthony made a pass stick, and Steve promptly headed for the pits. Another possible side effect of his new gear being his truck seemed somewhat thirstier, his fuel tank emptying a good half dozen laps sooner than everybody else.

Good Impression

With Steve now last, Anthony made hay at the front, but Darren was hot on his heels and closed right up on the leader by the end of the race. Meanwhile Rookie Jim was making a good impression in his first digital race. He’d fought his way up to third in the second half of the race, but had dropped back to fourth when George mounted a late challenge. A crash for George late on handed the place back to the newcomer, however.

Race Two Result:
1st Anthony – Buggyra MK002
Laps: 50; Grid: 3; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.409
2nd Darren – Buggyra MK002
Laps: 50; Grid: 5; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.268
3rd Jim – Sisu SL250
Laps: 48; Grid: 2; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: n/a
4th George – Sisu SL250
Laps: 47; Grid: 4; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.223
5th Steve – MAN TL1400
Laps: 45; Grid: 1; Pit stops: 3
Fastest race lap: 5.565

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway

George was to get his 2020 Trucks championship challenge up and running with a solid win in race three. He’d emerged from a crash-strewn start as race leader, and would hold on to the place for the rest of the race. The challenge from behind never really materialised; a furious fight between Darren and Lee giving George the breathing room he needed to pull away.

Upper Hand

Lee seemed to have the upper hand in the fight for second, until Darren came back at the Buggyra Mk8, retaking the runner-up position. In the latter stages of the race, Lee’s truck developed a fault, failing to count laps and steadily dropped back.

Race Three Result:
1st George – Sisu SL250
Laps: 50; Grid: 5; Pit stops: n/a
Fastest race lap: n/a
2nd Darren – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 50; Grid: 3; Pit stops: n/a
Fastest race lap: n/a
3rd Anthony – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 49; Grid: 1; Pit stops: n/a
Fastest race lap: n/a
4th Jim – Sisu SL250
Laps: 46; Grid: 4; Pit stops: n/a
Fastest race lap: n/a
5th Lee – Buggyra Mk8
Laps: 42; Grid: 2; Pit stops: n/a
Fastest race lap: n/a

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway

In race four, Darren made a good start from pole, but a spin on the second lap saw him hand the lead to George. Fighting back, Darren chased down the race leader and made an over-enthusiastic lunge up the inside of turn one. A touch of oversteer was enough to make contact with the Sisu and pitch it into the barrier. Could George fight back

Pursuit

Darren’s pursuit of George had taken its toll on his fuel, and he was the first racer to pit. George was to follow a few laps later, after posting a few very quick times. Emerging from the pits back in the lead, George would remain there to take his second win of the round. Further back, Jim had another good race, claiming third in the Marvel Sisu ahead of Scott and – enduring more technical difficulties in fifth – a frustrated Lee.

Race Four Result:
1st George – Sisu SL250
Laps: 50; Grid: 3; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.408
2nd Darren – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 49; Grid: 1; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.296
3rd Jim – Sisu SL250
Laps: 48; Grid: 5; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.452
4th Scott – Sisu SL250
Laps: 46; Grid: 2; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.539
5th Lee – Buggyra Mk08
Laps: 38; Grid: 4; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.519

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway

After a frustrating start to the evening, Scott was to have a much more encouraging time in race five, beating a resurgent Lee (now using Darren’s Buggyra Mk002) to claim second place. Neither of them could do anything about race winner George, however, who put in another top performance to keep his championship challenge on track.

Crash

At the back, Steve endured crash after crash, pushing his MAN truck to the limit just to keep up. Meanwhile Jim learned a valuable digital racing lesson: keep an eye on your fuel levels! Too engrossed in his scrap with Lee and Scott at half distance, he ran out of fuel while in a strong position.

Race Five Result:
1st George – Sisu SL250
Laps: 50; Grid: 1; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: n/a
2nd Scott – Sisu SL250
Laps: 50; Grid: 4: Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.350
3rd Lee – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 49; Grid: 5; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.200
4th Steve – MAN TL1400
Laps: 44; Grid: 2; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.478
5th Jim – Sisu SL250
Laps: 25*; Grid: 3; Pit stops: 0
Fastest race lap: 5.353
*out of fuel

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway

Race six saw a number of drivers beset with mechanical issues, with Scott, Anthony and Lee all reporting difficulties at one point. And, with both Steve and Anthony running out of fuel, this was something of a chaotic race.

Disaster

Anthony had jumped into the lead at the start, but by the time the first pit stops had been completed he was down to third behind Lee and Jim. Disaster struck for Anthony in the final third of the race, as he ground to a halt with an empty fuel tank, promoting Scott to third.

Race Six Result:
1st Lee – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 50; Grid: 3; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.084
2nd Jim  – Sisu SL250
Laps: 50; Grid: 1; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.358
3rd Scott – Sisu SL250
Laps: 49; Grid: 5; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: n/a
4th Anthony – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 38*; Grid: 2; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.475
5th Steve – MAN TL1400
Laps: 19*; Grid: 4; Pit stops: 0
Fastest race lap: 5.486

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway

Lee lead away from pole in the final race, but crashed out on the second lap, handing the lead to Steve, who’s MAN seemed a little closer to the pace. He was to hold on to the lead until his first pit stop, which again came much sooner than those of his rivals due to heavier consumption, and again dropped him to the back of the field.

Pace

Darren now lead the charge to the chequered flag, with Lee chasing him all the way. Anthony ran at the tail of this fight for a while, before dropping away. Behind him, Steve managed to fight back from last, taking fourth from Scott who then ran out of fuel in the closing stages of the race. Enjoying a decent turn of pace, Steve attempted to close on Anthony, but the gap was too great. At the front, Darren did enough to take the win, and the championship lead.

Race Seven Result:
1st Darren – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 50; Grid: 2; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.123
2nd Lee – Buggyra Mk08
Laps: 50; Grid: 1; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.212
3rd Anthony – Buggyra Mk002
Laps: 48; Grid: 4; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.507
4th Steve – MAN TL1400
Laps: 47; Grid: 5; Pit stops: 2
Fastest race lap: 5.383
5th Scott – Sisu SL250
Laps: 41*; Grid: 3; Pit stops: 1
Fastest race lap: 5.404

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway

Trucks 2020 – Round 1 Result: 

1st Darren – 85
2nd George – 82
3rd Anthony – 69
4th Lee – 63
5th Jim – 57
6th Scott – 53
7th Steve – 46

Darren takes a narrow championship lead over George into round two on 13th August, with the rest of the field having some ground to make up and, and no doubt being grateful for the dropped-round rule!

Championship Positions:

Round 1: Round 2: Round 3: Total
1
Darren

85

85
2
George

82

82
3
Anthony

69

69
4
Lee

63

63
5
Jim

57

57
6
Scott

53

53
7
Steve

46

46
8

Fly Trucks Sisu Man Buggyra Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Club Essex Falcon Raceway