2022


5 February 2022

A total of £396 was donated to Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), on behalf of myself and Arena Slotstox Club members, in memory of Jack Branch.
This, along with a Jack Branch Memorial Trophy, bought from Arena Slotstox Club funds, provide a wonderful legacy to our good friend Jack.

On 23rd April, I raced at the Wisbech Metal Slotstox Club in the inaugural Jack Branch Memorial meeting with appropriately given it was Jack’s race number) 33 drivers in attendance.  The date was a day before the second anniversary of Jack’s passing and thanks to generous sponsorship, all race fees, catering and raffles monies would also be donated to CRY. The format followed that of the British Slotstox Association series rounds, as all drivers competed in three heats of two races per lane (five lanes) over 8 laps with points scored based on their finishing positions in each - 1st 6, 2nd 5, 3rd 4, 4th 3, 5th 3 and 6th onwards 1 - the highest points scoring eleven drivers would automatically qualify to the semi-finals whilst the next six would compete in a consolation heat with the winner to also qualify.  I had already decided to race my Red Parmastox as this was the last Parmastox that Jack had built for me.  Having stayed overnight at near Huntingdon and taken part in the March Parkrun with Harry and Seb on the way, we arrived for the end of practice and not unexpectedly, given it had not been raced since at least October 2021, my Red Parmastox lacked drip.  Rob Porter generously lent me some rear wheels/tyres and after I persuaded the organisers to give me more practice, my Red Parmastox was ready to go.  It already had the tarmac wing on and so I left it on.  Having won the final Arena Gold Top Championship in 2019, I raced from the Gold start line. Heat 1 5th (2 points) of seven drivers (25 – finishing all 10 races but not in high enough positions and no wins – 3rd scored 26, 4th also scored 25 but had 4 wins, whilst 6th scored 24); heat 2 – 4th (3) of six drivers (17 including my only race win of the day, dedicated of course to Jack); and heat 3 4th (3) of six drivers (18). With a heat point score of 8, I didn’t qualify for the semi-finals or consolation.  Due to my lack of racing, I travelled with no expectations and so it transpired but the day was about paying tribute to Jack and the occasion certainly did that.


Following a move back to Suffolk and having enjoyed a non-racing visit on 23 May, I decided to race at the Anglian Racewall Metal Slotstox Club (ARC) at points meeting 8 on 6 June.  The format was similar to that of the British Slotstox Association series rounds, as all drivers competed in two heats of two races per lane (six lanes) over 8 laps with points scored based on their finishing positions in each - 1st 6, 2nd 5, 3rd 4, 4th 3, 5th 3 and 6th onwards 1.  With 19 drivers racing, the highest points scoring four drivers would automatically qualify to the semi-finals whilst the rest would compete in two consolation heats with the winner of each to also qualify. Having won the final Arena Gold Top Championship in 2019 and not raced a full season since, as at Wisbech on 23 April, I continued to race from the Gold start line.  After some work on the tyres, including by a fellow driver, I raced my Red Parmastox with tarmac wing in heat 1 – 2nd (5 points) of five drivers (30).  For heat 2 I raced my Blue Parmastox and this was on it from the off despite having not been raced since the previous October! – 5th (2) of seven drivers (17 – having got caught up in too many crashes and my Blue Parmastox being more for racing than contact!).  My 7 points were not enough to qualify directly to the final so I raced in a consolation.  Initially I was going to race my Blue Parmastox but having seen the other drivers, I switched to my more robust Red Parmastox with Tarmac wing and then Shale wing (for no other reason than wanting to change) for the last 2 lanes after my virtual lane.  This proved a good decision as I won the consolation – 1st of seven drivers (40) and qualified for the final.  I continued with my Red Parmastox for the final – 3rd of six drivers (26 – 2nd scored 27 and 1st 29).  3rd in the final scored a further 6 points chart points for a total of 13.  Overall a promising racing return but more importantly a fun evening!

At the next ARC points chart and grading for June/July update, I was 22nd in the points and red grade but would continue the season racing from Gold.

20 June – points meeting 9 and Gold Top Qualifying round 4 at ARC.  The format was all drivers competed in three heats of two races per lane (six lanes) over 8 laps with points scored based on their finishing positions in each - 1st 6, 2nd 5, 3rd 4, 4th 3, 5th 3 and 6th onwards 1.  The highest points scoring six drivers would then qualify to the final.  I raced my Red Parmastox with tarmac wing in heats 1 and 2 – heat 1 - 1st (6 points) of five drivers (31 – 2nd scored 30) and heat 2 – 3rd (4) of five drivers (31).  For heat 3, I continued with my Red Parmastox but switched to Shale wing – 1st (6) of five drivers (43). My 16 points were enough to qualify to the final as joint highest points scorer and I continued with my Red Parmastox with Shale wing – 3rd (22 – 2nd scored 24 and 4th scored 20).  I chose not to race in the meeting ending Grand Nationals.  3rd in the final scored a further 6 points chart and Gold Top Qualifying points for a total of 22. Having not raced at ARC during the first three rounds, I was 17th in the Gold Top Qualifying points.

4 July – points meeting 10 at ARC. The format was all drivers competed in two heats of two races per lane (six lanes) over 8 laps with points scored based on their finishing positions in each - 1st 6, 2nd 5, 3rd 4, 4th 3, 5th 3 and 6th onwards 1. With 19 drivers racing, the highest points scoring four drivers would automatically qualify to the semi-finals whilst the rest would compete in two consolation heats with the winner of each to also qualify. I raced my Red Parmastox with shale wing - heat 1 - 2nd (5 points) of seven drivers (39) and heat 2 – 1st (6) of six drivers (32). My 11 points were enough to qualify directly to the final – 4th (21).  4th in the final scored a further 4 points chart points for a total of 15.

18 July – points meeting 11 at ARC. Usual ARC points meeting format applied and with 14 drivers racing, the highest points scoring four drivers would automatically qualify to the semi-finals whilst the rest would compete in two consolation heats with the winner of each to also qualify. I raced my Red Parmastox with shale wing - heat 1 - 3rd (4 points) of five drivers (29) and heat 2 – 1st (6) of seven drivers (34).  My 10 points were enough to qualify directly to the final – 5th (10 - a bit of disaster with rear cog issues).  5th in the final scored a further 2 points chart points for a total of 12.