28/12/23: Sideways Group 5 – Hard Bodies

Hard Bodies.

Molesey’s year concluded with Sideways Group 5 and an unusually subdued and quiet turnout of eleven drivers. Perhaps everyone had overindulged at Christmas and the clubroom was a temporary retreat from the season’s excesses, or maybe everyone was saving their energies for a New Year’s Eve party, but, whatever the reason, the clubroom’s upstairs neighbours were probably glad for a Thursday free from the noise of a bunch of overexcited grown men playing with toy cars.

Subdued the atmosphere may have been, but it couldn’t disguise the incredible talent on display. The field was stacked full with some of the country’s finest slot car drivers, not least Ed Pink and Simon Scott, recently ranked 4th and 5th respectively in the UK’s 2023 Hard Body ranking. Who’d have guessed that beneath their svelte exteriors, Ed and Simon were sporting six-packs and biceps of granite?

Fuelled with the club’s leftover cheese from the previous week, most of the drivers set about trying to beat each other on track, all the while trying not to be distracted by Ed and Simon who were busy posing in front of the clubroom’s mirrored windows admiring their newly-celebrated hard bodies.

The soft but youthful bodies of Lee, Julian and Josh were where the action was, Julian just ahead of Lee, with Josh a few feet further back. Simon was paying the price for continually admiring his hard body and dropped several seconds behind the leading trio.

Josh’s challenge faded in Heat 3 when he crashed, then Julian ruined his chances by crashing three times in Heat 5 in a repeat of his three-crash disaster from the previous week. It’s always risky writing off the chances of someone with the proven Group 5 pedigree of Julian, but despite him winning Molesey’s 2023 Group 5 Championship comfortably, he hasn’t dominated in the style that we’ve become used to, so 2024 will be interesting to watch.

The final heat was a corker and a fitting end to the year, Lee and Julian almost dead-heating, Lee just 0.007 seconds ahead, but overall it was a relatively comfortable eleven-second race win for Lee. Simon’s hard body rounded out the top three.

So that’s it. 2023’s racing is done. We’ve enjoyed some great racing, great laughs and some of the best attendances seen at Molesey for a long time. Here’s to more of the same in 2024.

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