1/32   Nationals   2024

INTRO 32 Champions Bill Jenner
Clubman Saloon Champion Mark Croston
F2 Winner Ricky Gowan
Clubman Team Winners Luton SCC

The 2024 Clubman nationals started off on Saturday 3rd March with doors opening at 9.30, and all Clubmen competitors being presented with a Mid American ‘goody bag’ containg : braids, lead wire, wheel wrench, lane stickers and a £5 voucher to be spent at the Mid American shop. There are 22 entrants for INTRO 32 (the most I can remember) and 36 people racing in the team race – a great endorsement for the effort Gavin and his team have put into promoting the weekend.

Genesis Club Team Race

Racing began with a Genesis Club Team race, with each driver in turn having 8 x 3 min runs, and no limit on the number of cars used (though they all had to be BSCRA legal). Rockingham 1 and Norfolk and Chance had a close battle all the way to the finish, until James put in a stunning 209 laps in his segment (the only driver to over 200), and gave his team the win. Neither of these were eligible for the trophy however, as both had more than their fair share of non Clubmen drivers. The race for the trophy quickly became one between Luton and Rockingham 2.

The Luton pairing of Ray George  and David Hackforth had  a 2 lap lead at half way from the Mick/Rob Kerr pairing, but then Chris Stemman and Barry Gilzean pulled away from Sammy Broom and Gavin Wills to take the trophy by just 11 laps. The strong NERCS team of Mark Croston, Nick Dodds, Martin Cook and Gerry Fitzimons held third throughout the race from the Netley quartet of Steve Hills, Alan Clark, Ali Dent and Mark Witham, but Mark just managed to catch Gerry in the very last segment to give Netley the final podium. There was a similarly close race between the Coulsdon team of Ray Skilling, Hugh Conway, Graham Clark and David Stevenson and the Lost in Pace quartet of Nick Cunningham, Ian Parker, George Parker an Bob Budge. Again it came down to the last of the 4 runs before Dave eked out a small margin from Bob. The Shake and Bake team from Norfolk (Richard beamish, Steve Pratt, Andy Taylor and Steve Brown) were having their first visit to the venue and track, and it was good to see them enjoying themselves, and putting 4 solid runs in to finish 6th in the overall classification for the trophy.

     Team Race results

Next up was the first raffle of the weekend with lots of Mid American items and the star prize : a ready to run Genesis chassis, built and donated by one of the UK’s World Champions – James Cleave. The lucky winner was James Cook, who went on to make very good use of it in the Intro 32 Championship on the Sunday.


Then we moved on to F2, running qualification as usual, in reverse order of National grading (some drivers would be getting their first National ranking points at this meeting. Steven Pratt set the early target with an 8.373 which stood until the sixth runner Mark Croston reset the target completely with a 7.608. Halfway through the runners and Sammy Broom became the second driver into the 7’s with a 7.830. Ray George and Chris Stemman then went 2nd and 3rd with runs in the 7.7’s, and then Adrian Blakey claimed an A final spot with an 8.089, just pushing Ali Dent down into the B. Mark thus became the first recipient of the Mid American TQ bottle of bubbly. The C finalists lined up : Ricky Gowan (who’d arrived too late for qualifying), Hugh Conway, Alan Clark, David Hackforth, Steven Brown, Martin Cook and Nick Dodds. Ricky set a storming pace from the off with a big 22 on purple, and followed it up with 21’s on black and yellow. This set him up into a lead which he held to the finish, setting a target of 173 for the others to beat. Nick moved up into second place with a big 20 on green, and followed it up with a series of 20’s and 21’s, to finish second on 165. The race for third between Stephen, Alan and David was very close throughout, with Stephen  finishing strongly on yellow to take third and Alan just edging out David in the last segment for fourth. Equally close were Martin and Hugh, with Martin having just about his best segment on his last (green) run to take sixth by a lap. We moved onto the B final which had Andy Taylor, Steven Pratt, David Ensor, Graham Clark, Richard Beamish, Ray Skilling and Ali Dent in it. David and Graham made the best starts and lead the first 2n segments from Richard, Stephen and Ali. The next 2 segments saw Ray have a breakdown and retire, Graham have 2 disappointing runs on purple and black, and Ali having 2 great runs on blue and purple to take the lead. There were no changes in the next 2 segments, though Andy had to make a long pitstop – losing about 10 laps. Richard was getting faster with every run, and put in his best 2 times on purple and black to get past Ali and David to win with a 164 total and go third overall behind Ricky and Nick Dodds. David finished very close behind with 163, and Ali finished third on 161. Graham had been lying 5th until he produced the best run of the final on yellow (22.18) to get past Steven, and Andy had 4 good runs once he was back on track, making up some time on the next two. Now we moved onto the A final – could anyone beat Ricky’s score from the C ? Top qualifier Mark Croston lined up on red, from Ray George, Chris Stemman, Sammy Broom, Steve Hills, Nick Cunningham, Adrian Blakey and Bill Jenner. Chris took an immediate lead with the fastest run of the event – a 22.92 on green. Also putting in 22’s were Ray George and Nick Cunningham, while Steve Hills and Bill Jenner were just behind with big 21’s. Steve had 21’s on purple and black to go second, just half a lap down on Chris after 3 segments, though both were a lap down on Ricky’s total at that stage. Steve had a lead wire break toward the end of the 4th segment which dropped him to last, and he’d finish with 150 and 15th overall – unlucky when he’d looked good for a podium. Chris continued to pull away from Ray, the two of them finishing on 170 and 167 for 2nd and 3rd overall. Bill had difficulties at the white/red end of the track, and a pit stop when on blue, so finished 6th on 150 and 14th overall. Nick also struggled on white and red, dropping away from a good top 3 position and then retired for good when on purple. Adrian had a slow start but ran well on the middle lanes until problems on red dropped him to 7th. Two good runs on green and blue (and Nick’s retirement) got him back to 4th. He finished on 157 and 10th overall. Sammy started on the difficult white/red end of the track, but finished with a series of 19’s and 20’s to end 5th on 155 and 11th overall. Top qualifier Mark had a difficult start on red and green, but then got quicker and quicker, with a good 21.38 on yellow helping him back to 3rd with 160 and 8th overall. No one could match Ricky’s score from the first final however, and Nick Dodds’ good run from the same final netted him 4th overall. Richard, Beamish, David Ensor and Ali Dent’s scores from the B gave them 5th, 6th and 7th overall . Well done to them as well , and congratulations to our winner – Ricky Gowan. Paul Harwood had prepared and donated a beautiful F1 shell for the ‘top rookie’, and this was presented to Richard Beamish.


F2 results


Sunday started bright and early, with track on at 9am, and practice for the first of our National titles – INTRO 32, and the honour of receiving the Laurie Cranshaw bowl. Rob and Mick Ker, fresh from their good runs in Saturday’s team race, were first up, and Mick set the early pace with 7.394. This held top spot until Mark Croston beat it by a couple of hundredths. Into the second half of the field and Sammy Broom sliced 2 tenths off the current ftd with 7.138. Bill Jenner then went 3rd with another 7.3, and Ray George then put in a 7.2 to go 2nd. Chris Stemman did a 7.2 on his first flying lap and gallantly stopped, holding 2nd place. Ricky then upped the target with a 6.955, and Adrian Blakey finished things off with a 7.119 to grab 2nd spot from Sammy, Chris and Ray. Ricky was the only driver into the 6’s and a worthy winner the TQ’s bottle of bubbly. Thanks to Sandy Parker for judging Concours, and it was won by David Hackforth, with his nicely prepared Mack Ferrari 499. The C finalists lined up as Hugh Conway, Graham Clark, Ray Skilling, Martin Cook (using the James Cleave raffle prize), Rob Kerr, Alan Clark and David Hackforth. Martin started quickly and was a lap up on Ray and Rob after 2 segments. Graham held 4th ahead of  a tight bunch of Alan, David and Hugh. Martin struggled on red, but he then racked up 23’s on green and blue, and 2 more on black and yellow to win with 183 laps. Ray gradually dropped away from Martin, but continued holding 2nd place from Rob until the end – they finished on 174 and 172. Graham held 4th from Hugh for almost the whole race, and finished strongly on orange with a total of 169 to Hugh’s 164. Alan and David were closely in touch with these two until their red runs, though Alan’s fine 21 on blue pulled him clear of David at the end. Only Rob Kerr really got to grips with red lane, being the opnly driver into the 22’s with  a good 22.34. Onto the B final then and Martin’s target of 183 to beat. Nick Dodds started on red, from Roger Smart, Steve Hills, Sandy Grant, Ali Dent, David Ensor and Nick Cunningham.  David started quickly and lead from Steve and Nick C (all 3 recording 23’s), and then Ali, Nick D and Sandy all on 22’s. Roger did not find starting on white and red fun at all, and lost ground that he was never able to make up. His 22.96 right at the end on yellow showed what he might have done with a better start. Steve and Nick D continued with 22’s and 23’s until halfway, with Steve leading by half a lap, but just off the pace needed to beat Martin’s score. In segment 5, Steve’s car came to an abrupt stop, and after much fiddling a lump of rubber was ejected from the motor, after which it ran smoothly to the finish. This elevated David to 2nd, just a couple of laps down on Nick D. Ali moved up to 3rd, but was having to work very hard to keep ahead of Nick C and Sandy. Ali’s best run of 23.12 on orange just made the difference at the end. Nick D finished on 183.15, just failing to catch Martin by a quarter of a lap. Then the A final, and Martin still held the top spot. Ricky as TQ started on red, from Adrian Blakey, Sammy Broom, Chris Stemman, Ray George, Mark Croston, Bill Jenner and Mick Kerr. Chris shot into an early lead with a big 24 from Mick and Bill, but everyone else was close behind except Ricky who’d had a bad time starting on red. Segments 2 and 3 were very close, with the lead changing all the time. As we moved into segment 4, Bill had set the best segment 3 score with 23.84 on yellow, and taken the lead, but only 2 laps covered the first 7. Bill did another big 23 on orange to reach the halfway point with 94.06 – significantly up on Martin’s score ‘in the clubhouse’, but Chris was less than a lap down, and Adrian and Ray were just over a lap down. Still all to play for. Sammy had done 7.0 and 7.1 second laps, and Ricky was even quicker, but neither were quite as consistent as the 4 leaders. Bill did another bid 23 on white and one of the best red runs in segment 6, but still less than 10 bits covered the first 3 – Bill, from Ray from Chris. Adrian had dropped back a little with his purple and black runs, and was now almost 2 laps behind the leaders. Mick Kerr was having the most consistent race of any of the finalists, but didn’t quite have the ultimate pace. He, Ricky and Sammy had just displaced Adrian for 4th, who’d had his worst run on yellow just when it mattered. Bill was finishing on green and blue – the best combination of any of the leaders, and he made the most of it in green – 23.89. Ray and Chris could only manage around 22’s, so Bill took a one and a half lap lead into the final segment. One run to go, could Bill hang on, under a lot of pressure, to win his first Clubman title (he’d been so close several times before). Straight from the off, Bill was down to 7.3 second laps, but so were Ray and Chris. Ricky and Sammy were running 7.1’s but were never going to get up to the leaders. 2 minutes to go, and Bill’s lead was still one and a half laps, all 3 leaders were lapping in 7.3’s and no one was coming off. 1 minute to go and the lead is still the same. Then it’s 30 seconds, then 10 seconds and we know Bill’s going to do it at last. 24’s from Chris and Ray in the last segment, they couldn’t do any more, but 23.95 for Bill is quite enough to crown him 2024 National Clubman Intro 32 Champion, and a great cheer from the whole room. This must be about Bill’s best ever race, fast consistent, and handling the pressure of leading for three quarters of the race.

  INTRO 32 results

There was a brief pause for bacon and sausage buns from our ‘on site’ catering duo – thanks Sammy and Christine who’d been busy supplying us with meals, cakes and drinks all weekend.

Clubman Saloon Championship

Then it was on to the final event of the weekend – the Clubman Saloon Championship. Qualy startedjust after 3pm, and Hugh Conway set the first benchmark with 7.409, though that wass soon eclipsed by Mark Croston with a 6.978. Nick Dodds went 2nd with a 7.152, and then Sammy went top with a quicker 6.9. Ray George was quick with a 7.1, Ricky Gowan broke into the 6.8’s and then David Ensor knocked  2 tenths off his previous best with his last lap to go TQ with 6.860. Nick Cunningham had a good 7.2 to make the A final, but it was David Ensor who top qualified and was the last recipient of the Mid American bubbly. With 18 racers we ran 2 finals of 9 racers, so there were going to be sit-outs. Nick Thrower arranged the races so that the quickest qualifiers had their sit outs early on, so hopefully they would have a straight race against the other s to the finish.  Chris Stemman was fastest of the B finalists, so had first sit out, and the rest lined up : Steve Hills, Adrian Blakey, Bill Jenner, Sandy Grant, Alan Clark, Martin Cook, Graham Clark and Ali Dent. I’ll write this as though all 9 are in the heat together, otherwise the scores get very confusing with the sit outs. Chris Stemman made the best start and lead the first segment by a lap after a mid 23, from Steve Hills. Chris did a 7.4 second lap, and Steve a 7.8, but neither of these had an off. Sandy got past Steve in segment 2, while Steve was on red, but Steve was back to 2nd after segment 3. Steve was now 3 laps down on the leader, and over the rest of the race managed to pull back a lap. Both recorded consistent segments of 22 to 23 laps, and Chris won with 182 to Steve’s 180. Adrian started off 3rd and got quicker and quicker as the race progressed – from 7.8’s on the gutter lanes to 7.5’s, then 7.3’s and finally a 7.2 on yellow. His race was spoilt by pit stops on white and blue, and he finished down the order in 7th. Ali, Sandy and Bill were tied together in a good battle for 3rd, but Sandy finished strongly on blue and purple to get 3rd, and Ali had a good last black lane to beat Bill by just 14 bits for 5th. Martin ran every segment at 20 pace or better and finished ahead of Adrian. Graham started badly on red, but then he and Alan ran closely together to the finish, Graham leading Alan home by just over a lap. So we went on to the last race of the weekend, the one which would decide our final 2021 Clubman National Champion. Could anyone beat Chris Stemman’s 182 ?. David Ensor as TQ started on red (after the first sit out), and was followed by : Ricky Gowan, Sammy Broom, Mark Croston, Nick Dodds, Ray George, Roger Smart, Nick Cunningham and Hugh Conway. Nick Croston was first away, and lead at the end of the first segment, but only by fractions from Nick Dodds, Ricky, Sammy, Roger, David and Nick C, and then a bigger gap back to Hugh and Ray. Through segment 2 and Mark and the 2 Nick’s all logged 23’s which put Nick C up to 3rd, and then a 24 from Mark and a 23 from Nick D put them 2 laps clear of Nick C, Sammy and Ray (who’d also done a 24). Mark and David recorded 24’s in segment 4. This brought David up into 2nd, but now 3 laps down on Mark. Nick D started hitting trouble which would lead to his eventual retirement, and he was slipping down the field. Ray was now up to 3rd, but only fractions as he, Sammy, Nick D, Nick C and Ricky were all covered by 1 lap (Sammy recording the 2 fastest laps in the race, and the only person to get down into the 7.0’s). Importantly, Mark and David were both on target to beat Chris’ score. Nick C ran well on orange in segment 6 and up past Sammy and Ray into 3rd. Ray struggled on red, while Sammy fell foul of debris in the slot in 2 places on purple, and lost about 6 laps (unlucky since neither of the previous 2 runners on that lane – Ricky and David had experienced any particular problem). Mark was now 6 laps clear and looking a likely winner. Nick C moved onto white and red for the last 2 segments, and couldn’t hang on to 3rd place – dropping behind Ray and Ricky again. Ray finished very strongly on green and blue, his 2 24’s very nearly catching David, while Ricky was les than a lap behind them both. In the end the first 4 all beat Chris Stemman’s score, while Steve Hills held on to 6th, just ahead of Nick C. Mark’s score of 191 was 7 laps clear of second place, after a dominant and most assured drive. He now joins Bill as Main Grade drivers next year – well done to both of you.

Many thanks to the team who worked on improvements to the track in time for the event (Woody, Barry Gilzean, James, Sammy and Gavin). Thanks to our major sponsor – Mid American, and to our volunteer race controller Nick Thrower for an excellent job all weekend. But mainly, thanks to all our competitors, who contributed to a friendly, respectful and most enjoyable meeting.

Mark Witham

Thanks to Nick Thrower , Marc Lyons, James Cleave and Ali Dent for the photos


Web site C.Frost

© Copyright British Slot Car Racing Association  2024,  photo copyright N.Thrower, M Lyons, A.Dent and J.Cleave 2024  All rights reserved