The fifth and final round of the BRCA National Championships took place at Sough over the weekend with the Championship on the line between Darren Bloomfield and Elliott Boots. Elliott was in a strong position with Darren having to TQ and win, with Elliott being 14th or lower to take the title.
The Slough crew had done a great job in preparing the track, and while the layout was the same as for round 3 of the series, a few of the jumps had been altered for the better, and the surface was now very different, and offering much less traction and glassy type surface.
The weather forecast was good for the weekend, at least with no rain…so the job of racing would just come down to the driving.
Practice showed well for the Agama guys, and Darren was happy with his car and used the two runs to try different tyres ready for qualifying. The rest of the team were also looking good, and with the Junior Championship set to be decided between the Agama/NEMO trio of Ollie Currie, Jonny Skidmore and Callum Niblett there was plenty to play for for those guys also.
Qualifying started with a slightly ironic twist, Darren and Elliott tied on time for round 1 and were both awarded 1st in round. Their times were equal down to 0.01 of a second which is pretty incredible over 5 minutes on a track as demanding as this…Round 2 saw Elliott take the round in front of Darren, 1 small error from Darren cost him or the times would have likely been almost the same again. Round 3 saw Lee Martin up his game and he would take this round in front of Darren and Elliott, this time all three guys were split by only a couple of 1/10 of a second. This was driving under pressure at its best, both Darren and Elliott operating at a very high level knowing that TQ for the meeting meant so much on this occasion. Round 4 and it was Darrens turn to take the round win and it meant that overall TQ would be decided on Sunday morning in the 5th and final round. The young guys in the Agama team were all having strong runs and putting pressure on the traditional drivers we see in the top half of the qualifying lists….
Sunday morning and again both drivers put in excellent drives in their quest for overall TQ, Elliott out first and only 1 small incident where a bump kicked hm wide in the dust and he lost a second or so put then pressure on Darren to go and beat him…Darren responded in fine style with a brilliantly controlled, fast run and he would go on to take the round and with it the overall TQ he needed to keep the Championship alive.
Now Darren set about checking his car over for the finals and keeping an eye on the track as the weather was warming up and tyre choice would be critical with no semi practice this year.
When the semis came around the weather had actually warmed considerably meaning tyre choice would be gamble whichever way he went. Elliott was out in the first semi and delivered a perfect drive under pressure to ensure he would be in the final come what may. With Darren up next he would counter punch with an almost perfect run of his own. Notable performances from the youngsters meant that all of Ollie, Jonny and Callum would progress to the final, in Ollies case despite a dreadful start that meant he had to come back from the back and was in a tight battle for the last available spot with only a lap to go. Tony Truman was another Agama driver who had gone about his business this weekend and was looking strong in the semis after an excellent drive.
The main discussion between the semi and the main was what tyre to chose as the wear rate had been quite high in the semis, mainly because of the slick track and the wheelspin everyone was experiencing. This lead Darren to going a compound harder than he had in the semis, gambling on possibly being slower at the beginning to come strong at the end…
As it turned out Darren should probably have just gone with the softer compound and let the compound generate the grip and not worry about the tyre wear…Darren was hanging with Elliott at the beginning but a few mistakes dropped him back a few seconds before he ran out of fuel entering pit lane at the first stops with cause unknown, possibly lost a bit of fuel in a tumble as mileage was fine all weekend and subsequently in the main final. Darren fought back hard to finish in 3rd after an eventful final saw drivers swapping places regularly. Ollie Currie showed his pace with an excellent 5th overall and with that, he secured the Junior Championship in front of Jonny Skidmore and Callum Niblett to complete a podium lockout for the Agama Juniors.
So thats another year in the history books, and another successful season for NEMO Racing. The new A215 has proven to be an excellent car and the teams results as a whole have moved forward considerably…Congratulations to Elliott Boots on his Championship and an excellent year.
We will work hard over the winter and come back strong in 2016 ready for a new fight….