The Honeymoon’s Over.
What a race. If you ignore Josh’s lurid pink speedster dominant at the front – although even he crashed a handful of times – and Stephen’s GT40 at the back, hampered by rear tyres chewed up on a Ninco track ten days earlier and not being a Ford P68, this was one of the closest races for ages, the four midfield drivers never more than a lap and a half apart until the last few laps of the last heat.
Spencer, whose forensic out-loud dissection of every aspect of everyone’s driving and cars has kept us all amused for weeks, at last put everything together and was driving better than ever.
The action started early in group one’s first heat, Josh taking the lead he’d never lose, Ed second, while David did himself no favours at all, losing time by crashing in the hard-to-reach corner just after the startline and then having to wait in despair as Spencer, marshalling the corner, flailed around like a miniature version of Barbie’s mate Ken, his arms too short to reach David’s crashed car.
Next up, group two: Neil, Stephen and Spencer. Right from the off, Neil battled hard with Spencer, gaining a foot or so on him around the twisty sections of every lap, only to lose it all on the straight. Someone somewhere had smiled upon Spencer. Not only was he driving well, his car was rapid too.
So to the last heat, with just ten seconds covering second to fifth. Spencer held second, a quarter of a lap ahead of David, with Neil and Ed not much further behind. Remember this day, for it was the watershed in Spencer’s progression as a slot car racer. Until now, he’d been little threat and others had been happy to help him with advice and tips, but now he was beating them at their own game. They’d shot themselves in the foot and you could feel the shutters coming down. “You’re getting too quick, mate. The honeymoon’s over.” It’s all good-natured fun, but it’s still competition.
Group one went first, David producing his best drive of the day to heap the pressure on Spencer, who now had to do his best drive too. Could he do it and hold on to second place? For most of the heat it looked like he would, but with just a few laps remaining he cracked, a silly crash knocking him down to third, still an excellent result, but not as excellent as it could have been.
NSR Classics. Not the fastest of cars, but always fun. What a great night’s racing.