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Setting the Standard

07.05.15 1390 (640x427) Stroud produce a sensational event to challenge the rest.

If social media is the resource by which an event is measured, then round one of the Kent Cams/Simpson Race Exhausts British Autograss Series was an impeccable display of organisational skill.
We’d built it up to potentially be an excellent event, but then when the time came there was the added pleasure of knowing that we had the highest turnout since the BAS/UKAC split and that, where some clubs have struggled a little in the past to get through a significantly lesser number, the Stroud club could handle the increased attendance with aplomb. What resulted was something spectacularly good.
The only real criticism was that because of the higher entry the number of laps was reduced to three and three-quarters for the heats and then an additional two for the finals. A reduction in track time is a shame in this new era of grassing, but it was a necessary move to ensure the programme of events was completed in a timely manner. If anybody was concerned prior to the first heat about the potential for messy, do-or-die manoeuvres because of shortened races then it was a wasted worry, because throughout the meeting there was high quality, respectful, wheel-to-wheel racing with virtually no unnecessary incidents – and it seems like a long time since that was the case.
Just like last year the on-track team was headed by Carl Smith in the camera room - assisted by Ray Wyeth this time - with Dave Bennett and Neil Robins on track, with various league members officiating elsewhere. Some travelling marshals have been critical in the past and taken umbrage at the decision to use only league personnel at events, but the results speak for themselves: people have a specific place and job which gives greater continuity and allows the meeting to run more smoothly.
Again, the communication between track and camera was excellent, and Smith, Wyeth, Bennett and Robins were widely praised for their fair and level-headed attitudes. There were a few disgruntled racers who felt aggrieved at their penalties but there’s nothing unusual in that, and it was evident that once again the camera system proved effective in assisting the decision making process. The fact that the Westcountry Videos camera broke toward the end of the third heat was unfortunate, and meant the playback facility was unavailable, but the event was none the worse for it with experienced people officiating in the cameras absence.
There were a huge number of people who remarked how lucky we were that the terrible weather that affected some parts of the country – and indeed forced the cancellation of the second day at the UKAC – stayed away from us while racing was on. It rained overnight on Saturday which made the track a little greasy, but that just served to underline how adept the club are at working the track to maintain its quality. The cones started at the centre green, and got progressively wider as the third heat went on, preserving the smoothed surface for the finals, and when the cones were brought back to the edge of the infield the circuit was flat and grippy again with a number of different racing lines. A little downtime was necessary over the course of the weekend to try and repair a couple of ruts and bumps that had started to form which proved mostly ineffective, but made the track a little more characterful and unpredictable – especially for the rear wheel drive machinery.
The finer details remained unchanged compared to last year, but again contributed to the event’s huge success, as the venue was well laid out with spacious pit and trailer park areas, sensible and organised holding lanes, efficiently controlled by an experienced team in pits control; ample areas for spectating with a great view of the whole track; excellent catering and trade stand services and superb toilet facilities from Telford Toilet Hire as always.
It’s a heartening fact that because the gap between the first and second round is longer than the wait between the rest, we will all remain buoyed by the excellent standards set by the club and ride on a wave of anticipation for the second round. It was clear last year that had the weather not spoiled the South Wales club’s meeting it would have been an excellent event, so this year they have another opportunity to successfully continue Stroud’s high standards, and if the rest of the year continues in the same vein it really could be one of the best seasons ever.