The 2020 season was meant to see the Arena Slotstox Club continue with two regular venues: the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Waltham Abbey Community Centre ('WACC') and second, fourth and fifth Wednesday of each month at the new Hobbs Cross venue... the course of history would dictate otherwise...
4 March - Arena points chart round 1 at 'WACC' racing my blue Parmastox which was struggling for grip having not been used for a while but improved as the meeting progressed (along with the driver) - heat 1 - 3rd of seven drivers (28 - 4th scored 26); heat 2 - 5th of seven drivers (20 - 6th scored 19) and heat 3 - 4th of seven drivers (23 - 3rd scored 25 whilst 5th scored 22). All remaining six drivers qualified for the final - 2nd (31) - 10 (best heat 3 + final 7) points chart points.
The escalation of the Covid-19 Pandemic across the UK, subsequent Lockdown and on-going restrictions meant that this was the only official Arena meeting of the 2020 season.
Sadly Covid-19 had a devastating impact on Arena Slotstox Club with it taking the life of Arena Chair Jack Branch on 24 April 2020. The knock-on impact of Covid-19 also resulted in the track at Hobbs Cross being broken up with only a few bits able to be salvaged. This meant that Arena would meetings would take place only at WACC for now.
The Club regulars were determined to continue in memory of Jack with virtual calls taking place over the summer as Arena began to plan for the future. There was agreement that racing would not return on a full basis until all members were able to return.
On the re-opening of WACC, discussions were held on all sides and it was eventually agreed that Arena would return for four dates in 2020. As agreed between regulars, racing would be on an informal / test / fun basis for these fixtures.
The planned return meeting on 2 September was cancelled at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances before the return took place on 16 September. The meeting started with a 1 minute 33 seconds period of silence (the 33 seconds in recognition of Jack's 33 race number).
To help with social distancing requirements, racing took place on the four lane track so the first meeting was a way of finding our way in the new normal plus getting the four lane track back up and running (including several running repairs along the way). Racing was a series of 1 v 1 match races followed by some four driver races for which I used my blue Parmastox (I was going to use my red Parmastox but on opening my box after several months found that the chassis wasn't there - I then remembered I had given it to Jack to be repaired so would need to track it down). Good to be back but Arena will never be the same without Jack (R.I.P #33).
7 October at WACC - I spent most of the evening sorting out / tidying the storage box with a few finds that will come in useful! I did undertake a few practice laps on the four lane track with my blue Parmastox.
21 October at WACC - Whilst I spent much of the evening sorting out paperwork in the Club folder, I did get some laps in on the four lane track. Firstly some practice laps with both the Slot-Classic Hot Rod I borrowed from Jack (which seems to now be mine) plus my Mum's George Polley replica Slot-Hot Rod. Secondly, at the end of the evening, a couple of fun heats of Slot-Classic Hot Rods with the drivers changing lanes but borrowing each others car which remained in lane - of the eight races I failed to finish any... a bit rusty!
4 November at WACC - I was planning to miss this meeting and use the time to prepare some promotional material at home but a shortage of numbers meant I made the trip and on the four lane track mainly practiced my Slot-Classic Hot Rod and red Parmastox.