HPI Racing Header
nav nav nav nav nav nav nav nav home
Page Layout

2004 HPI Challenge UK Finals

Story & photos by Frank McKinney

Now the time has finally come for the last race of the HPI Challenge UK Series – the UK Finals! This time the race was held at the absolutely wonderful Tibshelf Model Car Racing Club (http://www.tibbymcrc.com). If you haven’t been to this track yet you’re definitely missing out! With amazing banked turns, rumble strips on the turns, light system, huge rostrum and more, this is definitely a track that could make any RC modeller’s eye water with happiness.

Driving up on Friday to set up the banners around the track, the weather didn’t seem like it would be cooperating. The sky was dumping buckets on everyone and early on in the free practice session no one dared to get out on the track with it raining so hard. Luckily the grass infield was draining very well, as there were very few puddles on the track. Apparently some racers were able to get some laps in later in the evening as the evening wore on, before the cut-off time for the end of practice.

Saturday morning everyone was up early, hustling about around 8 AM, but with no running allowed until 10 AM we held the driver’s briefing first, quickly followed by the Mitsubishi-sponsored Concours Competition, with all cars taking part. This would be followed by one round of practice for all the racers, then four rounds of qualifying to take up the major part of the day.

The schedule for Sunday included the final round of qualifying starting at 10 AM, to be followed by the finals: three legs of Finals racing for all Electric racers split by the Nitro Finals. The Nitro Stock racers would get 15 minutes of racing and the Nitro Modified and Super Nitro Modified would race for 20 minutes, as opposed to the 10 minutes that these classes raced during the regular series. At the World Finals these classes would have 20 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively, just to amp up the tension a bit!

So with the driver’s briefing under way, Greg Hill explained to all the racers gathered that the rules for this UK Finals were essentially the same rules that the racers were already used to, but we had to clarify the schedule for the weekend a little bit, since the other races are single day affairs. After Greg finished, Stuart Reast explained the procedures, including the innovative light system, the scoring board and the computerized racing schedule.

Once everything was explained to the racers, it was time to check out the cars for the Mitsubishi-sponsored Concours Competition!

As always, we had all the cars that would be racing brought forward and lined up for the crucial judging. Luckily I didn’t have to worry about any judging this time, just getting some good line of sight for the photos! Greg, along with Steve Dyche and Tom Stanway from Mirage Customer Service, handled the judging honours and quickly selected several cars for consideration to win.

What a lineup! It looked like several of the racers had really gone all-out to win this event and pick up some hip Mitsubishi swag! In the end, though, it was the hot multi-coloured Honda NSX owned by Tom Pearson that took in the most votes from the judges. Great work, Tom! Just check out the amount of detail that went into this body shell! And really, a great job by the other finalists also, there were some really great shells this time.

Well now with the Concours finished and all the pictures out of the way we could start the practice round and then the actual qualification heats. Before we get started, here is where the points sat after the regular series races. This list shows the top racers in each class using the best 4 of 6 results during the year, so the maximum possible so far was 400 points. The results of the UK Finals must count towards the final points total to decide the overall winners of the UK Series, so this weekend’s race was critical! As you can see, the points totals were very close in some of these classes, which meant every racer had to be on their best form!

Electric Sport     Electric Pro  
Krizty Rosenberg 400   James Hart 393
Ray Cockman 393   Colin Leslie 391
Peter Spratley 391   Scott Morton 386
Thomas Daley 390   Dan Fallows 385
Ben Powell 385   Krizty Rosenberg 383
Andy Ellis 382   Ben Vincent 372
Joshua Chambers 381   Richard Binnersly 369
Chris Lomas 376   Daniel Mercer 361
Daniel Ainsworth 375   Paul Chick 357
Derek Chambers 371   Vernon Jones 353
Nitro Stock     Nitro Modified  
Jason Dean 397   Robin Lucas 400
David Wright 396   Jake Heard 396
Peter Stefanski 394   Jason Dean 393
Chris Drury 391   Michael Creasey 389
Steven Wright 390   Tom Pearson 294
David Studd 389      
Ben Powell 380   Super Nitro Modified  
Mick Lloyds 285   Jake Heard 397
Ray Cockman 278   Simon Smith 396
Anthony Weeks 190   Peter Spratley 395
      Vernon Jones 392
      Justin Griffiths 296

As we said before, during the UK Finals every driver would get 5 chances to do their best and improve their times. We could tell some drivers had done their homework and had figured out their gearing for the track as well as most of their setup choices already. As the day went on the racing got closer and closer, and the faster guys were checking out lap times of their competitors and the action was definitely heating up!

Lucky for us, the only rain the track saw whilst we were there was on Friday afternoon. The weather held out all weekend long and we didn’t have any problems! The air temperature hovered around 22-23 degrees and the temperature on the track topped out briefly at 38 degrees but with the cloud cover it was mostly around 33 degrees. Of course, on Monday the skies opened up again but by then we weren’t worried about it! So with dry racing to look forward to the racers sped on.

Qualifying Action
Electric Sport GTi
Krizty Rosenberg as expected rocketed off into the lead early in qualifying, setting a pace that most racers couldn’t keep up with. Peter Spratley and Ray Cockman did their best to catch Krizty but were generally battling amongst themselves, which tended to slow them down just enough to let Krizty motor away. Alan Hodgkinson and Andy Ellis also traded places during qualifying, usually finishing on the same lap as Ray and Peter but several seconds back.

Electric Pro
This weekend belonged to Daniel Fallows, where usually it was James Hart that led the way. Dan seemed to have the edge on top speed whilst James’ car looked better in the corners and at low speed. Evenly matched but for Dan’s slightly cleaner driving, James would qualify just behind Dan for the final. Scott Morton and Colin Leslie, who made the drive down from Scotland, would take the next couple of places in the qualifying order when the finals were announced.

Nitro Stock
The usual fast guys in this class were still fast, but a couple of surprises loomed during qualifying. David Wright, always in the top half of the scoring tables, claimed TQ with smooth driving and a well-tuned car. Jason Dean somehow qualified only 5th after all the qualifying, not sure what happened to him but would the problems carry over to the A Final? Peter Stefanski as usual qualified near the sharp end of the grid with his steady driving. So only the 15-minute A Final remained to sort out the actual finishing positions!

Nitro Modified
Robin Lucas, with a perfect score so far this series, was unable to make it to the track at all on Saturday and had to be content with a single qualifying run on Sunday morning to sort out his car. Luckily for him the qualifier went really well and he was able to set the pole position! This sent Jason Dean to second place and Tom Pearson to third, but as any racer familiar with long A Finals can tell you, “anything can happen” and it usually does! So we’d have to wait for the 20-minute A Final to sort out the winner here.

Super Nitro Modified
Occasional HPI Challenge racer Justin Griffiths dusted off his Super Nitro to take the TQ spot for this class, setting up an interesting final with points leader Jake Heard just behind him! Of course Simon Smith and Peter Spratley wouldn’t let Justin get off easy, so it would certainly be an interesting 20-minute A Final, we were sure of it!

The Finals!
After a short break when qualifying completed (and finding out we were ahead of schedule!) the Finals started. Because the Electric class racers had three legs of racing (for a total of 15 minutes) and each Nitro class ran only once (but for 15 or 20 minutes depending on the class), we decided to run the first leg of Electrics, followed by the 15-minute Nitro Stock race, then the second leg of Electrics, the 20-minute Nitro Modified final, then the third leg of Electrics, and finally the 20-minute Super Nitro final. The extra races for the Electric racers meant that they had an extra chance to recover from mistakes, and it was the same for Nitro racers, where the time lost for a flameout or an error in the pits could be made up on the track.

Right, let’s get cracking!

Electric Sport/GTi
B Final
Just a few racers in this one, but still it was worth points to the end total! Andrew Wright and Derek Chambers looked to be the favourites for this race and Andrew took the win in the first race with Derek close behind. The positions swapped for the second race with Derek winning and Andrew in second this time, so it would come down to the third and final race to decide the winner! Andrew came in with the second win, taking 90 points towards his points total!

1. Andrew Wright
2. Derek Chambers
3. Hollie Ainsworth
4. Daniel Ainsworth

A Final
Krizty Rosenberg started from pole once again, with Peter Spratley in second and Ray Cockman in third. From the start of the first race Krizty laid down the fast lap times to leave Peter and Ray battling for second place. Unfortunately Peter wasn’t able to do well in the first race, letting Alan Hodgkinson wheel into third and leaving Ray to take second, but Peter came back hard in the second and third races to take third just behind Ray. This meant Ray would take three second place finishes and Krizty would seal her perfect season in this class with three wins!

1. Krizty Rosenberg
2. Ray Cockman
3. Peter Spratley
4. Alan Hodgkinson
5. Andy Ellis
6. Thomas Daley
7. Robin Davison
8. Ben Powell
9. Joshua Chambers
10. Paul Rosenberg

Electric Pro
C Final
Christopher Brooks and Peter Chambers were the only racers in the C Final of Electric Pro, but they both made a good show of it. Peter took the first race win but Christopher was able to come back and win both of the remaining races, letting him take the win!

1. Christopher Brooks
2. Peter Chambers

B Final

On to the faster racers now, and Steven Dyche lining up on pole meant he could be in for his best finish of the series. All he had to do was hold on! A sometimes loose rear end as he went through the hairpin at the end of each lap made things interesting but he was able to win the first two races, solidifying a clear victory in the B final. Paul Chick finished second in the first two races also, battling with Steve in the first leg and Krizty in the second. In the final leg, Steve didn’t finish well (although the win was sealed anyway) and Krizty won it with a flying time! Paul again came in second to seal up second place and Krizty took points for third position.

1. Steven Dyche
2. Paul Chick
3. Krizty Rosenberg
4. Vernon Jones
5. Daniel Ainsworth
6. Keith Anderton
7. John Anderton
8. Steven Davison
9. Stuart Coglan
10. Simon Barker

A Final
Now we get to the fastest 10 Electric class racers! Dan Fallows sat on pole with James Hart just behind him, which should make for an interesting race! As the starting lights went out on the track both drivers took off nose to tail and sped away from the chasing pack. Just as in qualifying, both drivers kept the same pace but Dan had more top end speed and James had a bit better grip coming out of the corners, making for a brilliant showdown. With James unable to get a good look past Dan, the first two races would finish with Dan in first and James second. Scott Morton would finish third in all three races, and that is where the top three drivers this weekend would end up. Interestingly, Dan’s fastest lap was very close to the official Tibshelf lap record for an electric 1/10 scale touring car! And that’s on a handout tyre!

1. Daniel Fallows
2. James Hart
3. Scott Morton
4. Colin Leslie
5. Josh Rose
6. Darren White
7. Ben Vincent
8. Justin Griffiths
9. Richard Binnersley
10. Daniel Mercer

Long Nitro A Finals are always exciting to watch (and especially to drive in!) – the long race times mean that you have to check your receiver and transmitter batteries, you need to care for your tyres, you have to bulletproof as much of the car as you can and you have to maintain your concentration for a longer time than during qualifying. Pit strategy also plays an important role. A good pit person will have a stopwatch and know how to tune the engine during the race warm-up and during a pit stop. All in all, longer races really amp up the intensity of the normal race day!

Nitro Stock A Final
Pole man David Wright lined up at the front of the Le Mans-type starting grid, with “smooth operator” Peter Stefanski just behind and David Studd in third. Fifth place starter Jason Dean had trouble getting his car going and would start a couple of laps down on the pack, but meanwhile his friend David Wright had some trouble with his car and lost several laps to David Studd! David never looked back and started reeling off the lap times. With Jason out of the race and out of the points battle at about the 5 minute mark David Wright drove steadily to the end of the race to pick up third, secure that he wouldn’t have any troubles taking the overall lead in the championship. Peter kept plugging away at the track and just stayed out of most people’s way but ended up in 5th spot. The fast mover for this race was Ben Powell, who started in 9th but finished second after 15 minutes!

1. David Studd
2. Ben Powell
3. David Wright
4. Peter Stefanski
5. Ray Cockman
6. Anthony Weeks
7. Steven Wright
8. Jason Dean
9. Mick Lloyds

Nitro Modified A Final
Robin Lucas, again on pole after just one qualifying round, shot off into the lead and kept up a blistering pace that was a full half a second faster on average than the next fastest racer. Second place qualifier Jason Dean had more troubles during this race again and that let Jake Heard sneak by, while the rest of the racers tried to run their own race and occasionally let Robin and Jake get past. Eventually Robin would finish three laps ahead of Jake, with 75 laps in total. Jason completed his race with 70 laps, still a very respectable time. As a plus for the other racers, they all finished! Which is more than you can say for many Nitro A Finals usually.

1. Robin Lucas
2. Jake Heard
3. Jason Dean
4. Michael Creasey
5. Chris Deakin
6. Tom Pearson
7. Callum Knott

Super Nitro Modified A Final
This race proved to be quite exciting, as the points leader Jake Heard was outqualified by Justin Griffiths, who has only raced two previous times this year but won once and came in second another time. Justin sat on pole position and although a little slow off the starting line he ran strong throughout the entire race. Unfortunately for Simon Smith, he was the only racer forced to drop out of the 20-minute Final with a broken side belt, otherwise he may have been a good contender for second or third place. Once Justin was able to get clear of Jake there were no close battles on the track and everyone ran their own race. Eventually Justin finished with 69 laps, 2 ahead of Jake and 10 ahead of third place Peter Spratley, who also endured some troubles halfway through the Final. His dad Nick was able to get him back out quick enough for him to hang onto third though!

1. Justin Griffiths
2. Jake Heard
3. Peter Spratley
4. Vernon Jones
5. Simon Smith

Well that was it for the racing, and although everyone present knew basically who won the races, it would take a little while to sort out who would take home the many trophies for the HPI Challenge UK Series points championship!

First up was the presentation for the racing just finished – the top three racers in each Final getting cash vouchers for products distributed by Mirage RC: HPI, Team Orion, Hot Bodies, XRAY, Hudy, Tornado Fuel, Nosram and 3 Racing.

Next to be handed out were the trophies for the top racers in each class, and here they are!

Electric GTi
1. Thomas Daley
2. Paul Rosenberg
3. Hollie Ainsworth

Electric Sport
1. Krizty Rosenberg
2. Ray Cockman
3. Peter Spratley
4. Thomas Daley
5. Ben Powell
6. Andy Ellis
7. Joshua Chambers
8. Daniel Ainsworth
9. Derek Chambers
10. Paul Rosenberg

Electric Pro
1. James Hart
2. Colin Leslie
3. Daniel Fallows
4. Scott Morton
5. Krizty Rosenberg
6. Ben Vincent
7. Richard Bimmersly
8. Daniel Mercer
9. Paul Chick
10. Vernon Jones

Nitro Stock
1. David Wright
2. Peter Stefanski
3. Jason Dean
4. David Studd
5. Steven Wright
6. Ben Powell
7. Mick Lloyds
8. Ray Cockman
9. Anthony Weeks
10. Josh Walford

Nitro Modified
1. Robin Lucas
2. Jake Heard
3. Jason Dean
4. Michael Creasey
5. Tom Pearson

Super Nitro Modified
1. Jake Heard
2. Simon Smith
3. Peter Spratley
4. Vernon Jones
5. Justin Griffiths

After the trophies were handed out, it was time for a massive raffle giveaway, where basically every racer won something! This one is always popular, since everyone loves getting free stuff.

Young Thomas Daley took the GTi points win and came in 4th in Electric Sport Krizty Rosenberg swept the Electric Sport championship with wins at all the events James Hart sealed his points win in Electric Pro at the UK Finals
David Wright came from behind in the last part of the points series to win Nitro Stock Robin Lucas won every race he entered with his R40 in Nitro Modified Jake Heard won the Super Nitro class with very consistent driving

Finally it was time to say thank you to our series sponsors: Mirage RC Enterprises and HPI Racing, Mitsubishi Motors, and Radio Race Car International and the track host the Tibshelf Model Car Racing Club (www.tibbymcrc.com). We also had to bid goodbye to all the racers until the HPI Challenge World Finals, to be held in just a few weeks’ time at the lovely Halifax Track in Yorkshire.
Page Layout  
Page Layout
Page Layout
page layout Home > Events > HPI Challenge > 2004 HPI Challenge UK Finals Spacerwww.hpieurope.com