Yes he’s back. Guess who’s back?

10th Electric Circuit

The sun shone once again on the MB Models King of Clubs as 100 racers arrived at the West London Racing Centre on Sunday. Temperatures hit 30 degrees by mid-day, but it felt much hotter in the sun and on track for the racers standing on the open rostrum at one of the oldest RC clubs in the country.

Theories bounced around social media on the reasons for Jefferies defeat at the previous round. Was it the continued rise and progress of Harley Eldridge? Was Jefferies having an off day, with his focus elsewhere? Was the camera position on the rostrum bothering him? Had the lack of available testing time in advance of the meeting levelled the playfield more than normal?

Jefferies had bounced back from the disappointment of second place at Colchester, winning the Nationals round there two weeks later, and throughout qualifying here at the penultimate “KOC” it looked like the defeat four weeks ago was a blip. The Adur club star dominated qualifying, winning every round in what appeared to be total comfort. Grainger only just staying in touch, Eldridge further back looking frustrated with her set-up.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a fantastic A-Final”

Introducing the first final race to the live RC:TV audience, commentator Nick Daman commented “I don’t think we’re going to see the fantastic A-Final we saw in Colchester because Olly’s got his act much more together”. 

“Yes, it looks that way,” replied co-commentator James Stewart. “Olly’s been at 98% whereas Chris has been maxed out to stay close”.

From the start, Jefferies again looked comfortable in the lead, Grainger looking lonely in second with the race for third between Damian Giddins, Eldridge and Liam Books. The picture started to change by mid-race, Grainger taking small, then big bites out of the gap to the leader. After 3 minutes the pressure told - the mistake coming from Jefferies in the notorious West London D section - and the lead was gone, Grainger now looking for a way past. Jefferies now looked to be holding on. Into the last lap the two were neck and neck, bit there was no way past for Grainger. The “D” was Jefferies undoing - a tiny mistake tightening his line making a gap for Grainger to dive up the inside onto the straight. A move we’ve seen many times over the years at West London - including the “door to door” contact that followed. As always here, the car getting out of the D section best wins the race to the line - taking the win by 5 hundredths over the line.

It is universally true that winning a race with a last lap pass always feels better than a flag-to-flag domination. Winning on the final corner is even better still. Grainger’s talk was well and truly up.

“The Greatest Touring Car Race of 2021”

Race 1 jumped straight into race two, Jefferies and Granger hurtling into the sweeper as though the hour between rounds had never happened.

Two corners later Grainger was back past Jefferies. Two laps later, Jefferies was looking to take the place back at every corner. A mistake at the halfway point - Grainger taking too much kerb - made the hole for Jefferies to pass back into the lead, kicking off a fantastic ‘cat and mouse’ for the lead. Harley Eldridge had found some pace and was keeping in touch, but all eyes were fixed firmly on the battle for first. Again, it was the West London D section - the far side of the track from his rostrum position -that caught out Jefferies. Grainger sweeping back alongside the two cars shot down the straight and round the sweeper side-by-side, the gloves now well and truly off. Grainger Held the led into the in-field, Jefferies nipping at his heels before contact at the top of the track. Jefferies, showed the Juniors how it’s done, waiting and sportingly giving the place back to his rival. Into the D section, Grainger ran wide, Jefferies through, Gringer passing back. A slide from Grainger made Jefferies brake hard to avoid a crash, then contact a few corners later, requiring Olly to return the place to Chris once more to finally take the win and the overall victory. “We didn’t see that coming!” said commentator Daman. 

Watch the Race Now

Talking to the media after the race, Grainger said:

“It’s been a great day racing. It feels good to get my mojo back and be at the front again - it’s been a while. The next round is at Adur, another track we haven't been to much. It doesn’t make Olly any easier to beat but it’s on again, all to play for.”

Jefferies said:

"It was a quirky race because we haven’t been here to practice. Obviously I’m disappointed but it was a good set of finals to race, I got beaten fair and square. No doubt it was better for the fans watching than it was for us. With the heat it was just like driving in the rain, so we were all hanging on a bit.”

Completing the podium, Harley Eldgridge reflected on her day, saying:

“Where I used to be 5th, I'm now getting podiums pretty much every weekend, so I’m pumped and looking forward to the next one. Bring it on.”

 

In the 13.5 Blinky Touring Car class, Eastbourne's Billy Fletcher piled the pressure on championship leader Marcus Askell with an exciting victory. After qualifying in second behind West London’s own Ash Wiffen, Fletcher pushed Wiffen back to second in both finals to take a double win. With Askell completing the podium in third place, Fletcher closed the gap at the top of the championship to just 9 points. This one is going down to the wire.

 

In the Tamiya GT-E class, Martin Reeder upended the form book beating run away championship leader Tim Harrop into second. Steve Adams had to settle for third. 

Aldershot’s Michael Lee continued his domination of the Monitex Formula One class, with a TQ and double final win ahead of West London’s Paul Ellis and Andy Murray.

Full results from RD4.

The fifth and final round is on 15th August at Adur Model Car Club.

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