12/10/23: Sideways Group 5 – Flames, Love, Meltdown

Flames, Love, Meltdown.

Sideways Group 5 returned this week and, instead of it being just another display of excellence by Julian, the class’s undisputed king, the race had a romantic slant to it too, courtesy of the club’s lothario, Alex.

Julian dominated the race despite a crash in Heat 2 breaking his pink pig’s bodyshell, his mastery of Group 5 showing no signs of faltering. The crash caused a lengthy race stoppage to allow Julian time to melt his Porsche’s damaged shell with the flame of a cigarette lighter, his unusual method for fixing broken plastic. It was a mere blip though, things quickly returning to normal at the restart and Julian finishing the evening almost three laps ahead of second-placed Simon.

With first and second sorted, it was left to Alex and David to contest the remaining podium spot. David’s usual tactic against Alex is to apply pressure and wait for Alex to crash, but that tactic wasn’t working this week. Why? Quite simply, the heart-warming effects of love and liberation.

Alex is in the heady first few weeks of a new romance, having won the affections of his new squeeze with his home-cooked gastronomy, a dish he grandly calls Sussex Smokie (fish pie, to us mere mortals). He’s also recently had his weapon of mass insemination deactivated, so is no longer worrying about accidentally fathering an Alex Junior, and the combination of new love and the security of firing blanks has left him a renewed man; calm, relaxed and able to concentrate fully when he’s racing. It showed. His driving was consistent, error free and fast. Instead of David pressuring Alex, Alex was pressuring David.

David led Alex by 2.4 seconds at the end of Heat 2, but Alex was relentlessly closing the gap: 1.6 after Heat 3, 1.1 after Heat 4 and exactly a second going into the final heat. This time it was David who cracked, his race diet of Smarties no match for Alex’s fish pie. He crashed, lost three seconds and with them third place. Alex was deservedly chuffed.

At the other end of the field, far removed from the glory of fish pie, romance and blanks, Mark and Dexter continued their father/son battle, this time for ninth place. Swapping places in every heat, Dexter looked very slightly the strongest, but it wasn’t to be his night. A second ahead at the start of the final heat, Dexter had what can only be described as a total meltdown, scrappy driving and several crashes ruining his race and leaving him two laps behind Mark at the finish, a disappointing end to what until then had been a close battle.

James Hunt was renowned for racing wearing a “Sex. Breakfast of Champions” badge. Perhaps the club should knock up something similar for Alex: “Fish Pie. The slot racer’s friend.