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Slot-Racing 2019

The 2019 season saw the Arena Slotstox Club have two regular venues: the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Waltham Abbey Community Centre ('WACC') and second, fourth and fifth Wednesday of each month at the new Hobbs Cross venue.


Slotstox
3 April - Arena points chart round 1 at 'WACC' – the first official Slotstox meeting at Arena since 2016 and racing as Gold grade for the season having won the Gold Stripes as well as being defending Arena points champion from 2016.  Nine Slotstox were made available - four of which were mine!  Using my new Slotstox with Parmastox handcontroller - heats 50 points (heat 1 15, heat 2 13 and heat 3 22) and fifth highest points scorer of nine drivers with new drivers to Slotstox starting from white grade despite being much higher graded in Parmastox! Final with all drivers starting from their grades over 10 laps – 4th (8) to add 3 points chart points - a total of 53 points chart points.



Parmastox
6 March - Arena points chart round 1 at 'WACC' - heat 1 racing my blue Parmastox - 3rd of seven drivers (24 - 2nd scored 25 whilst 4th and 5th each scored 22); heat 2 - continuing with my blue Parmastox even though this had sustained chassis damage in heat 1 - 1st of seven drivers (46) and heat 3 - switching to my red Parmastox to give this a run - 6th of six drivers (9) as my red Parmastox lacked stability. All remaining drivers qualified for the final for which I switched back to my damaged blue Parmastox - 2nd of six drivers (34) - 12 (best heat 5 + final 7) points chart points.  13 March - Arena points chart round 2 and the first points round at 'Hobbs Cross'.  With my blue Parmastox having had repair work, this wasn't available for practice so I practiced my red Parmastox which went rather well and noticing the crashing in practice I decided to use my red Parmastox rather than my more fragile blue Parmastox - heat 1 - 1st of six drivers (44) and heat 2 - 3rd of six drivers (23 - 2nd scored 25).  My heat win meant I qualified for the final - 2nd of six drivers (27) - 12 (best heat 5 + final 7) points chart points.  20 March - Arena points chart round 3 and Gold Top Qualifying round 1 at 'WACC' racing my blue Parmastox - heat 1 2nd of seven drivers (26 - all very close as 3rd scored 25, 4th 24 and 5th 23); heat 2 - 4th of seven drivers (18 - with not much going right -5th also scored 18 but I had 3 second place finishes to their none) and heat 3 - continuing with my blue Parmastox and determined to win this heat - 1st of seven drivers (44 - finishing 11 of the 12 races). All remaining six drivers qualified for the final - 2nd (37 - 1st scored 38 and I would have won the final on 2nd place finishes had another driver not done an extra lap in the penultimate race promoting 1st up a place and the crucial point although my Parmastox did have braid issues in one race in black lane which equally was possibly costly) - 12 (best heat 5 + final 7) points chart points and Gold Top Qualifying Points.  I was 2nd in the Gold Top Qualifying points after round 1.

On 23rd March, I raced at the Wellgate Slotstox Club in Metal Mania VIII which doubled up as the Supreme Championship and BSA National Series round 1. As now standard for BSA Series rounds, drivers competed in three heats of two races per lane (four lanes at Wellgate) over 8 laps with points scored based on their finishing positions in each - 1st 6, 2nd 5, 3rd 4, 4th 3, 5th 3 and 6th onwards 1. There was a change for 2019 in terms of semi-final qualification - the highest points scoring eleven drivers would automatically qualify to the semi-finals whilst the next six would compete in a consolation heat with the winner to also qualify. Having practiced both my blue Parmastox and red Parmastox I decided to race my blue Parmastox as my red Parmastox felt less stable. Practice was not without incident as my blue Parmastox chassis side iron and hand controller each broke and needed re-soldering prior to the meeting! Repairs were carried out by Arena Chairman Jack Branch who had previously asked if his son Chris could borrow a Parmastox as his was not working - Chris being a regular racer in the past but not currently. I agreed that I would lend whichever of my Parmastox I didn’t race so Chris borrowed my red Parmastox chassis to which he fitted his own Parmastox metal body work and shell.  Jack, Chris and I were drawn together in heat 1 but heat 2 was run first as Jack was still repairing my hand controller!  Heat 1 5th (2 points) of six drivers (17 - 4th scored 18 whilst 2nd and 3rd scored 19), heat 2 4th (3) of five drivers (14) and heat 3 5th (2) of six drivers (5 - 6th scored 4). My heat point score of 7 was not enough to qualify for the semi-finals as I finished  a lowly 28th out of 32 drivers. Three other drivers also scored 7 points but I had most raw points (36). With the scoring system as it is the driver that qualified seventh to the semi-finals only scored 2 points more (38) although the driver that qualified 8th had the second highest raw points (61)!  As for Chris... he won the Championship!  Having not originally planned to, I decided to race in a Grand National using my spare Parmastox chassis with Chris’s metal body work and shell i.e. the Parmastox as it was having come off the track after the final win. With the thought being that the lighter body was the difference, to me it still felt as it did with my red metal body work and body shell in practice and I failed to finish a race, scoring 0 points and finishing 4th of 4 drivers! Whilst not my day it did indicate that my spare Parmastox chassis was still competitive... just a case of finding what made the difference?

27 March - Arena points chart round 4 at 'Hobbs Cross'.  The intention was to race and continue to test my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work and shell – which I had agreed to borrow – only swapping his wing for my shale wing. This was following its performance at Wellgate when used by Chris to win the championship!  Practice confirmed that intention with this Parmastox set up more suited to the Hobbs Cross track than my blue Parmastox or my red Parmastox chassis with its usual metal body work and body shell. This proved a good decision for heat 1 (including winning the first two races!) - 1st of six drivers (41).  I was also going well in heat 2 but in the third last race my Parmastox shot off the track at the end of the home straight all on its own – subsequently diagnosed as two detached engine screws which meant there was no way of it slowing down!  For the last two races I used my blue Parmastox but in the first of these a big crash broke the metal body work and I had to nurse it to a finish in the final race of the heat – 2nd of six drivers (30 – the winner scored 34 so, without the issues, it may have been a different result but that’s racing!)  My heat win meant I qualified for the final and with my red Parmastox chassis still missing an engine screw and with my blue Parmastox metal body work damaged, I raced my blue Parmastox chassis with the metal body work and shell of Chris Branch – whilst not the quickest set up, consistent finishes provided decisive - 1st of six drivers (38 – only 1 win but finishing 11 of the 12 races) – first final win and maximum 13 (best heat 5 + final 8) points chart points of the season.

During the first 4 rounds points/grades cycle, I was the highest points scorer on 49 points with the highest average 12.3 points.  Being the Arena Silver Top Champion my grade for the season would not change.


17 April - Arena points chart round 5 at 'Hobbs Cross' postponed from 10 April.  I continued to use my now repaired red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work and shell and my red Parmastox shale wing.  Heat 1 - 2nd of seven drivers (23 - 3rd scored 22), heat 2 - 1st of seven drivers (36 - second scored 35) and heat 3 - 1st of seven drivers (32).  All seven drivers raced in the final - 1st (45 - finishing all 12 races) – second final win and maximum 13 (best heat 5 + final 8) points chart points in a row. 24

April - Arena points chart round 6 at 'Hobbs Cross'.  I continued to race my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work and shell and my red Parmastox shale wing.  Heat - 1st of five drivers (46 - a heat that somehow ended up consisting of 14 races!)  This heat win was sufficient to qualify direct to the final - 2nd of six drivers (38 - finishing all 12 races) – 12 (best heat 5 + final 7) points chart points. I missed Arena points chart round 7 at 'WACC' due to one of my twin boys breaking his arm that evening.  8 May - Arena points chart round 8 and Gold Top Qualifying round 2 at 'Hobbs Cross'.  I continued to race my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work and shell and my red Parmastox shale wing.  Heat 1 - 1st of six drivers (35), heat 2 – 1st of six drivers (36) and heat 3 – 2nd of five drivers (35).  All remaining seven drivers raced in the final - 1st (38 - finishing 11 of the 12 races) – third final win and maximum 13 (best heat 5 + final 8) points chart points of the season plus Gold Top Qualifying points.


During rounds 5 to 8 and despite missing 1 round, I was third highest points scorer on 38 points with the highest average of 12.7 points.  Being the Arena Silver Top champion my grade for the season would not change. I was joint top of the Arena Points Chart with one other driver with 87 points and the highest average of 12.4 points. I was joint top with the same driver in the Gold Top Qualifying points after round 2 with 25 points.


15 May - Arena points chart round 9 at 'WACC' racing my blue Parmastox - heat 1 - 4th of six drivers (29 - same points as 3rd but they had 5 race wins whereas I had 1 whilst 2nd scored 31), heat 2 – 1st of six drivers (41) and heat 3 – 1st of six drivers (41 again including 9 2nd place finishes!)  All remaining six drivers raced in the final - 3rd (30 - 1st scored 36 and 2nd 34 but it all came down to the last 2 races and a couple of incidents here and there but luck probably balanced itself out over the evening!) – 11 (best heat 5 + final 6) points chart points.  5 June - a late change of fixture meant that Slotstox Arena points chart round 2 was replaced by Parmastox Arena points chart round 10 at 'WACC' and racing my blue Parmastox - heat 1 - 1st of six drivers (36) and heat 2 – 1st of six drivers (37).  Winning both heats despite handcontroller issues subsequently identified as being due to a loose wire. All remaining six drivers raced in the final - 4th (30 - 3rd also scored 30 and both of us had 2 race wins but they had 2 2nd place finishes to my 1 whilst 2nd scored 36 and it all came down to the last race and unfortunately I was on the outside... perhaps it wasn't so good that my handcontroller issues were fixed!) – 10 (best heat 5 + final 5) points chart points.

7 June – I attended the Aaron Talbot Tribute meeting at 3 Counties Slotstox Club but chose not to take my Parmastox and race (arriving after the start of the meeting) due to the likely finish time.  I did manage to win an Ice Age 4 DVD in the raffle however!

12 June - Arena points chart round 11 at 'Hobbs Cross'.  I continued to race my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work and shell and my red Parmastox shale wing.  Originally planned as four five car heats but with a driver leaving after the first two, heats 3 and 4 were redrawn as three six car heats.  Heat 1 - 3rd of five drivers (31 – 2nd scored 33), heat 2 – 1st of six drivers (35) and heat 3 – 2nd of six drivers (31 – 1st scored 33 as my Parmastox began to suffer from pinion issues). My heat win ensured I qualified for the final - 2nd of six drivers (28 – all very close with 3rd to 6th scoring 26, 25, 23 and 20… thankfully my pinion held out as best it could during the final!) – 12 (best heat 5 + final 7) points chart points. 19 June – at ‘WACC’ and although this date was meant to be the Midsummer Madness / Alternative formulae round 1, I had undertaken some maintenance work on both my blue Parmastox and also the red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work and shell.  It was a good decision as a late change of fixture meant this meeting was switched with the following week and became Arena points chart round 12.  A mixture of circumstances meant a depleted number of drivers - heat 1 racing my blue Parmastox – 1st of four drivers (42) and heat 2 giving my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work and shell a try at WACC – 2nd of four drivers (40 – 1st scored 42).  All four drivers qualified for the final and I decided to stick with my my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work as I felt this had performed better despite suffering from pinion issues - 2nd (35 – all very close as 1st scored 39, 3rd 32 and 4th 31 – 12 (best heat 5 + final 7) points chart points.  With an early finish post meeting I made tested a change to my blue Parmastox and this showed some improvement I was hoping for.

During rounds 9 to 12, I was the highest points scorer on 45 points with the highest average of 11.3 points.  Being the Arena Silver Top champion my grade for the season would not change. I was top of the Arena Points Chart with 132 points and the highest average of 12.0 points.

3 July – Arena points chart round 13 at ‘WACC’.  Having both been away for maintenance I practiced both my blue Parmastox and my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work but wasn’t really happy with either of them.  My blue Parmastox had too much rear chassis movement causing too much bouncing whilst my red Parmastox chassis wasn’t on the pace.  A quick fix with blue tac to my blue Parmastox and it was much better – heat 1 racing my blue Parmastox – 1st of six drivers (38); heat 2 racing my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work to try and identify the problem – 6th of six drivers (14 – but I did identify the problem – new rear tyres required!) and heat 3 racing my blue Parmastox – 2nd of six drivers (35).  All remaining six drivers raced in the final and racing my blue Parmastox – 5th (18 – as things didn’t quite go my way!) – 9 (best heat 5 + final 4) points chart points and the first time since 2 September 2015 that I finished lower than 4th in an Arena Metal Slotstox final and didn’t score double figures!  For the record - 63 consecutive double figures scores: 2015 after 2 September - 5 meetings, 3 attended – 1 x 13 / 2 x 12; 2016 – 18 meetings, 16 attended – 11 x 13 / 3 x 12 / 1 x 11 / 1 x 10; 2017 – 15 meetings, 13 attended – 6 x 13 / 4 x 12 / 3 x 11; 2018 to date – 20 meetings, 19 attended – 5 x 13 / 3 x 12 / 6 x 11 / 5 x 10; 2019 – 12 meetings, 11 attended – 3 x 13 / 6 x 12 / 1 x 11 / 1 x 10.  Both Parmastox have gone away for further maintenance!  10 July – Arena points chart round 14 at ‘Hobbs Cross’ - maintenance had only been done on my blue Parmastox and this was running well but I didn't want to risk this at Hobbs Cross and so raced my red Parmastox chassis with Chris Branch’s metal body work.  It still needed new rear tyres and wasn't running as well as I would have liked but ultimately proved sufficient.  Heat – 2nd of seven drivers (38 - winner scored 40 with a non-finish in the final race due to hitting a de-slotted Parmastox preventing the win).  For various reasons it was then decided to go straight to the final with all seven drivers - 1st (26 - 2nd scored 25) – 12 (best heat 4 + final 8) points chart points.  17 July – Arena points chart round 15 at ‘WACC’ racing my blue Parmastox - heat 1 - 2nd of six drivers (36); heat 2 - 2nd of six drivers (36) and heat 3 - 1st of five drivers (39). All remaining five drivers raced in the final - 2nd (35) – 12 (best heat 5 + final 8) points chart points.


Classic Hot Rods

13 March - Arena points chart round 1 at 'Hobbs Cross' borrowing a Classic Hot Rod - heat - 2nd of four drivers (31) - 5 points chart points.  27 March - Arena points chart round 2 and Gold Top Qualifying round 1 at 'Hobbs Cross' borrowing a Classic Hot Rod - heat - 2nd of five drivers (40) - 5 points chart and Gold Top Qualifying points.  I was joint 3rd with one other driver in the Arena Gold Top Qualifying points.  17 April - Arena points chart round 3 postponed from 10 April at 'Hobbs Cross' borrowing a Classic Hot Rod - heat - 5th of seven drivers (22) - 2 points chart points.

During the first 3 rounds points/grades cycle, I was the 4th highest points scorer on 12 points with the joint 5th highest average (with two other drivers) of 4.0 points.  After this first grading period I was blue grade.

24 April - Arena points chart round 4 and Gold Top Qualifying round 2 at 'Hobbs Cross' borrowing a Classic Hot Rod - heat - 2nd of five drivers (37 - finishing 11 of the 12 races) - 5 points chart and Gold Top Qualifying points.  I was joint 2nd with one other driver in the Arena Gold Top Qualifying points with 10 points.  8 May - Arena points chart round 5 at 'Hobbs Cross' borrowing a Classic Hot Rod - heat reduced to 1 race per lane - 7th of seven drivers (2) - 1 points chart point. 

12 June - Arena points chart round 6 and Gold Top Qualifying round 3 at 'Hobbs Cross' borrowing a Classic Hot Rod - heat – 3rd of five drivers (31 - finishing all 12 races – 2nd scored 33) - 4 points chart and Gold Top Qualifying points.  I was joint 2nd with one other driver in the Arena Gold Top Qualifying points on 14 points. 

During rounds 4 to 6, I was joint third highest points scorer with one other driver with 10 points with the seventh highest average of 3.3 points and remained blue grade.  I was joint 4th of the Arena Points Chart with one other driver with 22 points and the joint highest average (with one other driver) of 3.7 points.

26 June - Arena points chart round 7 at 'Hobbs Cross' borrowing a Classic Hot Rod - heat – 2nd of seven drivers (29 - 1st scored 30) - 5 points chart points.  10 July - Arena points chart round 8 and Gold Top Qualifying round 4 at 'Hobbs Cross' borrowing a Classic Hot Rod - heat – 1st of seven drivers (39) - 6 points chart and Gold Top Qualifying points.  I was joint top with one other driver in the Arena Gold Top Qualifying points on 20 points. 


Alternative formulae

On 26th June at 'WACC' I raced in the Arena Alternative formulae points round 1 which doubled up as the Arena Midsummer Madness Championship deferred from the previous week. Total points from all races counted towards the Midsummer Madness Championship: 1/24 scale Nascar provided by the club with a set Nascar in each lane (2 races per lane – four lanes, two to five - over 8 laps) – 16, joint 3rd highest points scorer with one other driver and 3 points behind 1st; followed by two heats of Go Karts provided by the club (2 races per lane – four lanes, one to four – over 4 laps) – 13 points and 30 points, 2nd highest Go Karts points scorer and finished 4th in the Arena Midsummer Madness Championship with 59 points (10 points behind 1st whilst 2nd and 3rd scored 62 and 61 points respectively.

For the Arena Alternative formula points chart: Nascar – joint 3rd of seven drivers (4), Go Karts heat 1 – 4th of four drivers (3); and Go Karts heat 2 – 2nd of four drivers (30 – 1st scored 32) - a total of 12 points. I was 4th in the Arena Alternative formulae points chart with 12 points and the 4th highest heat score average of 4 points.


Arena Winter Series

The 2019 season started with a mixed formula six round Winter Series with points from all races counting.  The aim of the Series being to give new drivers a chance to race formulas they hadn't raced before and all drivers to race formulas at the new Hobbs Cross (HC) venue prior to the AGM and setting the 2019 fixture list.  Round 1 on 16 January was due to feature two heats for Parmastox and two heats for Slotstox but due to a delayed start and availability (I lent out two), the Slotstox ended up being a single 'test' heat for those that hadn't raced or hadn't regularly raced Slotstox and so didn't count to the points.  In the Parmastox for heat 1 I raced my blue Parmastox and scored 51 points and for heat 2 I raced my red Parmastox and scored 23 points - each heat consisting of four drivers.  With 74 points I was top of the Arena Winter Series after round 1 by a 1 point. I missed rounds 2 and 3 at HC on 23 January and 30 January respectively due to illness plus round 4 at WACC as I was on a work training seminar in France.  Round 5 on 13 February at HC featured Classic Hot Rods and Plastic Slotstox plus a bonus heat of Parma-Saloons.  In the Classic Hot Rods heat I borrowed a Classic Hot Rod and scored 28 points; in the Plastic Slotstox I scored 17 points and in the Parma-Saloons I scored 11 points.  A total at this round of 56 points meant an overall total of 130 points and I was down to 9th in the Arena Winter Series points.  I missed the 6th and final round on 20 February at WACC due to holiday and finished 9th in the Arena Winter Series points with 130 points.

ARENA WINTER SERIES: 9TH - 130 POINTS

Slot-Racing 2010's

Copyright Mark Banham Racing