2020

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...


Parmastox

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. 


2021

On 1 September, the 2021 season began after a delay due to COVID 19 pandemic with a practice evening at Arena Slotstox Club. Practicing each of my blue Parmastox and red Parmastox they were both struggling for grip having not been used for several months and needing work on their tyres.  Using my blue Parmastox, which was gradually improving, I raced in a five Parmastox, two races per lane, heat.  No points were kept but I didn't manage a race win. I didn't race in a second practice heat as I was having a discussion with a fellow Club member.

On 15 September, a meeting was held to discuss various aspects of the Arena Slotstox Club after which it was agreed that the 2021 race meetings would count towards a Rainbow roof qualifying series with the top 6  drivers at the end racing in a final decider.

6 October - Arena Rainbow roof series round 2 after it was unanimously agreed by those in attendance that the series would capture the 1 meeting held in 2020 so that Jack Branch's final meeting would be officially scored somewhere. Having done some maintenance on both my blue and red Parmastox, I raced my blue Parmastox which, with lots of lighter fluid on the tyres and some tweaking of the braids, improved as the meeting went on.  Heat 1 - 2nd of six drivers (22 - 3rd scored 21) and heat 2 - 5th of six drivers (22 again - 4th scored 23).  All six raced in the final - 3rd (22 yet again - 4th scored 21) - 10 (best heat 4 + final 6) points chart points. The meeting ended with a one race per lane Grand National with the final winner starting a lap down - 2nd of six drivers (17).

20 October - Arena Rainbow roof series round 3 and the end of an era... due to falling numbers, having been a topic of discussion by those present during recent weeks and taking various factors into consideration it was agreed during this meeting that this would be the final meeting of the Arena Slotstox Club.

 

Due to drivers delayed by heavy traffic on route, racing was on the four lane ‘Brentwood Show’ track. Heat 1 – 3rd of four drivers (13) and heat 2 – 1st of four drivers (20).  All four drivers raced in the final – three races per lane – 1st (41 – looking back at the scores, going into the final race it was level between me and the eventual 2nd and I was the only finisher in that final race!) – ending on a high with a 13 maximum (best heat 5 + final 8) points chart points. The meeting and Club ended with a one race per lane Grand National and I, as final winner, started a lap down - 2nd of four drivers (8).

During the 3 rounds of the Rainbow series held, I was top points scorer with 33 points and the 3rd highest average of 11 points.  As I had won the final Parmastox Arena Gold Top Championship in 2019, I would be the final Arena Gold Top (as well as the final Silver Top).  The maximum 13 points at round 3 - the only one on the 'Brentwood Show' track meant I won that track championship.  I finished 2nd in the 'WACC' track Championship with 20 points and an average of 10 points. I finished 2nd in the Arena Rainbow Series Grand National points chart with 10 points.

PARMASTOX ARENA 2020/2021 RAINBOW SERIES POINTS CHAMPION: 33 POINTS

PARMASTOX ARENA 2020/2021 RAINBOW SERIES 'WACC TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP: 2ND - 20 POINTS

PARMASTOX ARENA 2020/2021 RAINBOW SERIES 'BRENTWOOD SHOW' TRACK CHAMPION: 13 POINTS

 

PARMASTOX ARENA 2020/2021 RAINBOW SERIES GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: 2ND - 10 POINTS


28 November 2021

The end or an era... after approx. 10½ years of me Slot-Car Racing at the Arena Slotstox Club, the tracks had now been sold to and collected by their new owners with the hope that they have as much fun racing on them as I did.
After the final meeting on 21 October, over the next few weeks and numerous messages, the sales were worked on and agreed (some more than once!) The Club's former St Mary's track and Brentwood Show 4 lane track were collected on 7 November, whilst the main track was collected on 28 November.
Whilst the main track has been referred to as 'marmite', with an Open Championship win, multiple Gold and Silver Top wins, plus going a full season scoring double points (out of 13) at every round... I'm certainly in the love it category!!