bloomfield-kentThe third round of the BRCA 1:8 Off-Road National Championship took place at the Kent track just outside Maidstone and witnessed the first victory at a UK national for the Agama brand.
The weather was very hot and humid on Saturday, which made it pretty hard work for all the drivers as they got used to the excellent, but very technical track layout that had been set down. In response to the track breaking it up at some races recently, the club had added oil to the dirt mix in many areas, and this held the dirt together well providing a contrast in surfaces between the smooth pile desertions and the loose dusty ones.
Practice was all about the track cleaning up and drivers getting used to the track before qualifying started. Tyre choice was high on the agenda as the contrast in surfaces was catching a few guys out and they were looking for a smoother transition across the two.
Round one of qualifying saw Darren Bloomfield just miss out on TQ by a second, but the technical track with its bumpy sections was causing all the drivers to have mistakes or half mistakes where they got caught out, so all could probably point to lost time on their runs. Excellent runs from Ollie Currie and Richard Barton placed them eighth and ninth for the round. Richard is having to miss a lot of races this year due to work commitments so he hadn’t driven since the last national making his performance all the more impressive.
Into the second round and the track was starting to get a little quicker as it cleaned up, but in this round Darren felt that tyres were too soft and weren’t giving him the traction he needed, so would go to a harder compound for round three. Despite this he took fourth for the round. Tony Truman was showing some excellent form and he took fifth for the round despite a big crash and with Ollie Currie sneaking into the round top ten he had already put himself in a strong position for a semi final place.
Round three and Darren could immediately feel the extra drive from the harder tyres and he set off after TQ for the round. Unfortunately a small error cost him that and he would have to settle for second once again. Good runs from Ben Williams and Leon Goode placed them just outside the top ten after both had had poor results in the earlier rounds meaning they needed to get something on the board. The fourth and final round of a very hot and sweaty day saw Darren on for TQ early on until sadly a cut fuel line meant he ran out of fuel. Ben Williams continued his return to form with an excellent drive that netted him seventh overall – it was great to see the confidence back for Ben after a tough few months where nothing seemed to go right. Richard Barton was immediately behind him in eighth and Tony Truman was tenth after tough run in which he made some mistakes and broke the car, fortunately on his warm down lap. Everybody was pretty glad to get back to their hotels and have a shower and just relax a little for the following day.
Sunday and the weather was noticeably cooler with some cloud cover that made it a lot more bearable for everybody although it was still pretty humid. The final round of qualifying got underway at 8:00 sharp and Darren put himself on the back foot straight away with an error on lap one. Late in the race he had closed the gap down with a series of fast laps, but would just fail to beat Elliott Boots’s time and have to settle for third in the round. Tony Truman did what he needed to do to secure a semi final place with equal sixth in the round after recording exactly the same time as Jack Embling. Ben Williams also did the same with tenth in round and Leon Goode gave himself a chance of the semis or top of the quarters with 11th. Ollie Currie was 15th and with his previous good results that would be enough for semis also.
Overall this left Darren third, Tony eighth, Ben tenth, Ollie 13th and Richard Barton 15th. Leon just missed out on the semis but would start as car two in a quarter final.
As the finals got underway the question most of the drivers were wondering “How much was the track going to break up during the finals?” In the 1/32 B final, Luke Walsham put together a controlled drive to take second and bump-up. On the A side of the 1/32 Dave Stanley just edged out team mate Steve Brunsden to take the fourth and a final bump-up spot. Mark Boon would finish in eighth. The 1/16 B saw three Agama guys doing battle – James Tatlow, Adrian Svensson and Luke Walsham all pushing hard but none would make the top four by the flag sadly. James Tatlow narrowly missing out in fifth. On the A side of the 1/16 Dave Stanley, a recent Agama convert was loving every minute and although he didn’t bump, he had had a great meeting with his new car. The next driver to take to the track was Arron Girling. A tough start gave him a lot to do but he couldn’t make up the time lost and would finish 11th.
The B quarter saw Leon Goode make use of his speed to take an easy win, despite being handed a totally unjust stop and go for a pit lane infringement. William Skidmore completed  an excellent meeting to take eighth, while brother Jonny would suffer a most frustrating meeting and not bump out of his quarter final. Terrible traffic problems in qualifying and a bad start to his final had left him deeply frustrated after his recent good form and he couldn’t get back into contention for a bump up that his outright speed deserved. Still he will come back strong at the next race…
The semi finals kicked off with a bang on the B side with a race of carnage. Championship leader Elliott Boots was in trouble from about half distance, stopping on track several times putting him out of contention. Ben Williams got really unlucky with a half spin after the big jump that saw him collected at full speed by another car putting him out on the spot. Tony Truman was running first after Elliott had stopped and then he was out fuel, later traced back to a split tank rubber allowing the tank to flip open and lose fuel. Still amidst the carnage Leon Goode kept his head, and drove an excellent race to finish fifth and make his second national A final – a great effort from him and reward for his undoubted speed.
The A side saw Darren Bloomfield down to the back at turn one when he hit a massive rock in the track putting him in the fence and leaving him a huge amount of work to do. By this time the track had become very hard work with the faces of many of the jumps now destroyed making the cars very difficult to jump straight. This meant Darren exercised caution on his way through the pack to ensure he didn’t make too many errors and leave himself too much work to do. He would eventually finish third and safely in the main final. Both Ollie Currie and Richard Barton were in the bump-up spaces at various times, but in Ollie’s case a few crashes on the back triple dropped him down, while Richard got stuck on the crossover section and lost a huge amount of time dropping him out.
The main final kicked off and very quickly developed in to a two-horse race between Lee Martin and Darren Bloomfield, with Neil Cragg running third and close enough to take advantage of any slip ups. Darren took the lead early on, then dropped behind Lee after a mistake and the positions would stay like this for the best part of 35 minutes with Darren chasing Lee down, making an error and then catching up again. As they went into the final ten minutes Darren put a spurt on and took the lead on two occasions before error handed it back to Lee. With a few minutes to go, Darren’s greater speed eventually told and Lee made an error allowing Darren to take a lead he wouldn’t surrender this time to take the flag.
A big cheer went up from the Nemo team and lots of the crowd and Darren took congratulations from everybody on securing the first BRCA National victory for the Agama, Beta, Bullitt and Piranha brands…. Jon and I just sat down exhausted and reflected on four years of hard work to get here to this point….
Many thanks to all the Nemo team for their support and help, and to Darren for such a great drive. We must also congratulate the Kent club on a great job having been drafted in a late notice to hold a national round, they did a fantastic job and provided a great track that everybody enjoyed racing on…
Next up is the European Championships in Germany and we can’t wait to get there.

Source: Nemo Racing

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