18/01/24: Club Cars – Crisps, Spinach & Cow’s Milk

Crisps, Spinach & Cow’s Milk.

A decent grid of thirteen drivers assembled for the first round of 2024’s RevoSlot Club Cars championship, including Dexter’s guest, slotcar virgin Lewis Lynn-Smith. Neil had replenished the chocolate-and-crisps stash and, despite inflation raising the prices, plenty of calories were being enthusiastically consumed by the drivers as part of their race preparation. Julian was on crisps, David was downing multiple tubes of Smarties, and Mario, naughty boy, did a full-milk hot chocolate, unaware of the make-it-with-water-or-bring-your-own-cow etiquette required of those who like chocolaty drinks.

Lee had spent time replacing the cars’ tired rear wheels and tyres with NSR Formula 86/89 items in the hope that they would improve the cars’ handling. Although the small wheels looked a little odd fitted to the Revo Supras – think Graham wearing teeny-weeny Speedos or Alex a mankini – they worked well, everyone agreeing after the race that the cars had been much nicer to drive and that, actually, Graham and Alex standing on the drivers’ rostrum next week dressed as above might not be a half-bad idea after all, and certainly much better than watching Mario try to milk his cow.

Heat 1 was the first of the night’s upsets. Chris, promoted to the faster group this week, rose to the challenge and beat everyone, finishing two tenths ahead of Simon and almost a second clear of third-placed Julian. Lee was fourth, Dexter an impressive fifth. Chris’s glory was short-lived though, heat 2 seeing Julian take the lead, Lee move up to second and Simon drop to third. Chris was still best of the rest in fourth.

The second of the night’s upsets was how many of the drivers were complaining of aching fingers, hands and arms, most struggling with the “heavy” triggers of the club’s handout TruSpeed controllers. Wimps. I guess that’s the penalty for living on a diet of Smarties, crisps and watery hot chocolate. Popeye ate healthy canned spinach and was a shit-hot slotcar racer with arms of steel, so perhaps Neil should buy several crates of it next time he replenishes the sweetie drawer.

The remaining heats saw a lot of action, but unlike in 2023 when most of that action was crashing and smashing the cars to bits, this time it was close racing and changes of position, the standard of driving noticeably improved from last year. Biggest gainer was Alex, climbing from ninth to an eventual fourth. Dexter dropped from fifth to ninth, and Chris undid all his hard work of the early heats by falling from first to seventh. Newcomer Lewis was very impressive. With barely any pre-race practice, he very quickly grasped that the secret to success is not crashing and concentrated on doing exactly that, his lap times improving in every heat. Whether we’ll see him again isn’t known, but, if we do, he’s likely to be one to watch.

All in all this was an excellent start to the Club Cars season. A full grid, close and exciting racing and the prospect of a cow chained up next to the kettle next week. You never quite know what to expect from a race night at Molesey, but whatever it is, it rarely disappoints.