On Sunday August 8, sixty-two drivers took part in the first-ever "free entry" micro RC event of its kind, the UKMicroX 2010.
The idea behind the event organized by myself, Cris Oxley (UK-MicroRC forum owner and BRCA Micro Chairman), was to be different from the rest of the race meetings you read about around the UK and try and promote the micro RC racing scene to a wider range of drivers old and new. There was also free tea and coffee on the day too, which was a treat to the tired-eyed masses at 7:30 a.m.!
Within four days of the Hereford RC club agreeing to host the event at their venue in Leominster back in April, enough sponsorship funding had been pledged by various RC manufacturers, companies, and distributors for the event to be run with no entry fee to anyone! Even though times are hard, these companies all saw the huge potential that this event had to offer and will hopefully continue to support the section as we grow.
The day was set to be a busy one with seven heats split over three classes running to a modified version of the new BRCA Micro Section rules for the 2010-11 National Series. Whereas previous years had seen just two classes (2WD and 4WD) with the bigger cars such as the LRP Shark ST and FTX Blaze mixed in with the smaller cars such as the Associated RC18T and Thunder Tiger ZT2, this year saw the rulebook turned onto its head with the introduction of 1:16 and 1:18 dimensional rules so that 2WD and 4WD could be split by scale to (hopefully) make the racing fairer and tempt more new drivers into micro racing with the cheaper smaller chassis such as the newly released RC18B2 from Team Associated and the almost bulletproof Thunder Tiger ZT2.
In The Pits
As with the previous events organised by myself the UKMicroX 2010 would be a showcase prior to the up coming National Series for drivers and manufacturers to show off their wares to the UK micro racing public. Three new cars would be the talk of the day with the 1/16th 2WD Phat Bodies Chunk C2 conversion kit, 1:18 4WD Associated RC18B2 and the 1:16 4WD "pre-production development sample" Carisma GT14B making their first serious competitive debuts at the event!
The new RC18B2/T2 from Associated has certainly proven to be a welcome addition to the micro scene with a car from Associated that seems almost faultless! With the creation of the 1:18 scale, the RC18B2 falls perfectly within these and with the likes of Phil Sleigh, Keith Robertson, Wes Myles and Chris Leighton all taking to the UKMicroX track with their B2's you can be sure that the 1/18th 4WD A-final will be one of the must watch finals of the day!
The new Associated micro comes with belt drive this time around compared to the original shaft drive version that was released by Associated over 5 years ago and is a marked improvement on its older brother. Improvements to the shocks and steering assembly added to the fact that this is the first 1/18th 4WD buggy to come with a slipper clutch all add up to a car that is certainly able to stamp its authority on any micro RC race track.
All eyes were on the 1:18 4WD heat as they set about trying to prove that the "new class" within the forthcoming BRCA Micro National rules would be as viable and entertaining to race as their bigger counterparts. Although it took CML's Keith Robertson (who has raced an original RC18T at National level before) the first qualifying round to warm up his thumbs with fourth place overall, going into the second round of qualifying he drove three flawless rounds of qualifying, finished top in each round to guarantee himself the first spot on the grid.
Welsh micro warrior Chris Leighton and CML legend Wes Myles were tied on points for second place with Chris piping Wes to start behind Keith on account of his first place overall finish after round 1.
Phil Sleigh qualified in fourth place in front of micro RC newcomer Nick Snelgrove, whose fastest time of the day would have actually put him into second spot on the grid if the "FTD" qualifying method had been used instead of "round-by-round." Mat North, Rob Chalmers, Matt Tunks, Jason Malcolm and Cliff Timperley rounded out the remaining places on the grid for the 1:18 4WD A-final.
FinalsFor the first time at a large scale micro RC event, the A finalists were called up onto the rostrum in order "just like they do at the international meetings" to try and whip the crowd up into a riotous frenzy. It kinda worked and we did get a few "whoops" and lots of hand clapping!
The 1:18 4WD A-final drivers were led up by CML's Keith Robertson, who although lost out to Chris Leighton's RC18B2 after lap 1, managed to quickly retake first place and hold that position to the end of the race. Chris held second place till the last minute when an incident with the backmarkers demoted him down from second place to fourth and just off the podium.
Wes Myles and his CML-sponsored RC18B2 held third place for the first 3 minutes until dropping down to fourth place before the backmarkers came in to play. With Chris dropping down the field Wes was lucky enough to take second place with a minute to go and hold onto that spot in his first competitive micro race in years!
Newcomer Nick Snelgrove travelled up from Dorset with his RC18T2 and held his own against some seriously talented drivers to not only qualify fifth, but to then finish third overall to fill the last place on the podium!
After a bad start that saw him drop three places after lap 1, Phil Sleigh battled hard through the pack for a comfortable fifth place while the Exotek chassis of Mat North and Matt Tunks finished sixth and seventh respectively. Rob Chalmers rounded up the back of the pack with his RC18B while Jason Malcolm retired after 4 laps.
In my eyes the event was completely problem-free and went without hitch, but that wouldn't have been the case without the people who have helped me out throughout the previous three months. In no particular order:
- All the companies, manufacturers, and distributors who pledged their support to this event!
- Mat North and Clifton Coffee for the free coffee and helping me out on the event weekend so much! You were great helps, mates!
- Stu MacDonald for the free sweets and cookies.
- Mandy for the flapjacks. Flapjacks are the future!
- Jamie for race control duties. You are a star, thank you!
- All those who came down on Saturday for the track build and all those who stayed on Sunday to put it all away!
- Urshie for live internet updates. A tireless task but everyone really appreciated it!
- Andy Jones for creating the heat lists and booking drivers in on the day. Good practice for the Nationals, eh?
- All the drivers and UK-MicroRC forum users who over the years have supported both myself, the UK Micro Challenge and UKMicroX events. Without you all I would have no one to organise events for!
- All the magazines and online sites that have supported, sponsored and covered my events since the beginning.
- All the manufacturers, companies and distributors who over the last 5 years have put their faith in me, sponsored my events and who have supported the micro scene. Here's to the next 5 years!
Special thanks to Cris Oxley for this report. Click on the link below and join his micro forum!