24/08/23: Formula 1 – Soap Opera

Soap Opera.

Twelve drivers turned up this week, but just ten raced, Julian and the Tomster deciding they had better things to do. Julian’s was to spectate and operate the track-call button, the Tomster’s was to proudly announce that he’d been awarded a decent haul of GSCEs and was off to celebrate. Very well done, Tom. They’re unlikely to make you a better slot car racer or more attractive to that fit blonde classmate you keep telling us not to tell your mum about, but the certificates are pretty.

After last week’s festival of F1 mediocrity, things couldn’t really get much worse, but that didn’t stop Terry trying. Even before racing had begun he’d crashed his car and hit the floor numerous times, and he lined up for his first heat beaming like a demented schoolboy. One can only guess at what was going on behind the grin. Perhaps he was silently composing his victory speech for when he returned home to his missus. “Did you have a nice evening, love?” “Oh yes, you bet. I wrecked loads of people’s races again. That’s two weeks on the trot. Bloody brilliant. Can’t wait for next week!”

In truth, Terry was no more wayward than anyone else this week and only delayed David and Chris once. David and Terry collided again later in the race, with each vigorously blaming the other, so adjudicator Julian was called upon to provide an opinion. “Six of one and half a dozen of the other” was his disappointingly inconclusive verdict.

Anyway, aside from the weekly Terry versus David and Chris soap opera, the racing was actually pretty good. Lee took a comfortable win after an early charge by Simon faded to nothing. Chris scored his third third place of the year, and Neil, Terry and David enjoyed a scrap for the minor placings which wasn’t settled until the final heat.

Neil, who was seeded into Group 2 and so at no risk of getting caught in the Group 1 Terry/David/Chris kerfuffle, was driving better than he’d done for ages. He started the final heat on course to equal his best result of the year, a fourth place in Group 5 way back at the beginning of January, but it wasn’t to be.

Whether it was the pressure of an imminent good result or merely over-excitement at the thought of sticking it to Terry, something shot Neil’s concentration to pieces. He crashed twice and lost not only fourth place to David, but fifth too, Terry taking that by the tiniest of margins, just 0.04 seconds. Terry beamed again. “Did you have a nice evening, love?” “Oh yes, you bet!”