After many months of build up, the BOAC 500, billed as “Probably the best days racing you will ever have” finally got under way.
The racing was based around the Coulsdon club race cars, so drivers only had to turn up with their controller and race, and by using the club cars it provides very close racing, and you only need to look at the times within each heat etc to see how close they were.
Away drivers only were allowed free practice with spare club cars to learn the track. Some drivers failed to make the event due to Covid, holidays etc, so it meant that 28 drivers lined up for the start of qualifying, with every driver getting two minutes on each lane with their best single result counting towards the next stage.
It was intended that if the correct number of drivers had turned up, then the best home drivers would not race, so giving the away drivers a better chance of taking home the spoils. But as this did not happen some of the home drivers had to fill the gaps left, rather than concentrate on running the event, and anyone who has held an event will know that running an event and driving in it will always cause some issues, and so it did here. However, almost every possible issue was built into the plan, with the result being only being a slight loss of time on the day.
Starting half an hour late, the qualifying rounds were a run on all 4 lanes with the best single run to position you in the heats. With each heat being based on your qualifying run, there was some very close racing indeed, each one consisting of 2 x 3 minute runs on an inner and an outer lane. The heats then sorted you even further into semi finals with the racing getting closer as when got nearer the final.
But before the final, the 12 slowest from the heats were then given more racing in 3 consolation races with a single lane run, with each person in the consolation races receiving a medal.
The final turned out to be the original 4 fastest qualifiers Dave Stevenson, Tony Mills, Peter Kerr and Garry King, who all managed to stay ahead of the rest through the semis which was also a great testament to the reliability and equal performance of the club cars put together by Mike Read. The 4 segments were a very close run thing with every driver getting down to a lap time of between 5.5 and 5.7 seconds per lap. The racing really came down to how quick a marshal was in replacing a car, so if you came off a couple of times the chances are that you went from first to last!
Mr Consistent, Dave Stevenson eventually took the lead and never lost it, although the other 3 were biting at his heels all the time, with Garry King getting down to 5.512 to set the fastest single lap of the day and all this was after the same cars had been running almost non stop since 10.30 in the morning. The final places were Dave, Tony Mills, with Peter Kerr just losing out to Garry by a few parts.
All of the cars survived the day without any issues at all, and were very ably managed by Mike Read and Tony Mills who ensured that the cars were changed and maintained on a regular basis to ensure all were of equal performance. Interestingly (or maybe not!) each car was on the track for an average of 1113.62 laps (not including warm ups) and they travelled a total of 155 actual miles during the day and never even needed a change of tires!
The event team would like to say a big thanks to the team on the day including Nick Lake who stepped in at the last minute on race control, and to our sponsors who both made the race possible and provided all the prizes, they were Simply Famous, Autografica, Won-O-Won, Betta Bodies, K-Slotcar, Richard Mack, Missile, Knutz Lubricants, Model World of Sittingbourne, CatVacs
and Sprays by Mac.
and not forgetting Farmview Butchers of Rochester
who provided all the bacon and sausages eaten during the day. Various other people also chipped in with help and support in many ways, they know who they are and we are very thankful for their help. All of these helped us to raise a total of over £2000 for the charity, not bad for a one day event!
We hope to run another BOAC 500 next year which hopefully will not clash with so many other events, and with luck we will see you there, so keep watching the BOAC 500 website for details.