On a chilly Sunday Nick @TinTopsuk rolled into Santa Pod for the last round of the 2017 Formula G season. It had been arranged that he was to share the Redtop Racing Nova for a second time in the season. They were pumped to be squaring up to some of the best gymkhana drivers in the world.
This was to be the last event for the current Redtop Racing Nova as the dreaded rust had taken hold of the shell so we were determined to give the old girl a proper send off.
Quick recap on what Formula G is. Two cars run side by side on a mirrored autotest style course. The winner is the car with the fastest time across both lanes. If you haven’t seen it you need to – Formula G is “the” up and coming, high octane motorsport taking the UK by storm. It’s a timed, Gymkhana style, head to head event, with a series of cones and obstacles for the drivers to get through and around as fast as possible. You’ve heard of Ken Block? Well it’s kinda’ like that…
Once the track layout was unveiled we headed out to walk the track. This is key in any motorsport, but in Formula G it’s especially important as the track is only revealed just before the start! Track walk done and convinced they were going to get lost, we headed out for the all important practice. Boss man, Carl, had made some changes to the Nova since the last round at Rockingham to make the car more predictable on the limit, crucial in the high speed sections.
Nick headed out first. At his previous round at Rockingham, technical issues had cut short his driving time, so the decision was made to get him out and comfortable in the car. The first few runs were pretty rough, going the wrong way, half spins and misjudged handbrake turns. It’s all part of the learning process he kept telling himself. Carl then headed out, and showed Nick how it’s done. It was decided Nick needed more practice and more speed!
He headed into qualifying reasonably happy, feeling comfortable in the car.
The course was fun and he’d managed to find somewhere selling chips.
As is the way with motorsports qualifying, you get a few runs with your fastest time counting towards the final standings. The first few runs were challenging but then came the highlight of Nicks Formula G season. Technically these qualifying runs aren’t races, but you try telling a racing driver that when they line up next to their main rival…..
Lining up next to the Mighty Micra, the lights went green and we were off. Nick carried as much speed as he dared and headed into the ‘flower pot’ section of four handbrake 90’ turns, being careful to not lock the wheels.
When he exited the ‘flower pot’ section, he saw he was ahead of the Mighty Micra. Had he made a mistake or was Nick quicker? Frankly no-one cared, Nick was winning.
The last obstacle to negotiate was the figure 8 around two monster truck tyres, as He rounded the last corner Nick could see the Micra had closed in dramatically but he could still win if he managed to stop in the finish box. Braking as late as he dared, he slammed to a stop in the finish box and nervously waited for the marshal to point at the winner, and eventually he pointed at Nick. It was a completely meaningless victory but it was a victory nonetheless!
As it turned out, it was a meaningless victory, as Nick was fifth fastest and too slow for the battles anyway.
But, the story doesn’t end there.
Carl had been having some ‘issues’ remembering the course, he only completed one successful qualifying run but it had been enough to get him into the top four and in to the battles. He smashed his first battle and headed into the final against Gymkhana top dog, Dmitrij Sribnyj, who, for this weekend, was in the FWD class as his AWD Subaru was on it’s way to South Africa for Gymkhana Grid. No pressure then.
Run one was neck and neck, until Carl made a small mistake and gave Dmitrij the advantage and the win. He headed into the second run with it all to do but with this being the final event for the Redtop Racing Nova, he was determined to win or blow it up trying. A flawless second run meant he finished ahead of Dmitrij and was the winner of the final round.
In a finale straight out of a Hollywood film, Carl had won, his first ever motorsport win, in the last event for the current Redtop Racing Nova, a fine send off for the old girl.
Carl would like to thank Toyo Tyres and Opie Oils, Nick would like to thank him for letting him loose in his Nova.
Until next time….