Category Archives: Race Recaps

Bahrain Recap

The SBMRL’s first visit to Bahrain would see the drivers taking to the track in the evening so as to avoid the heat of midday. Fresh off a victory in Austin, Jaap Snellrijder was in the lead of the driver standings and on form. Scandinavian Blitz struggled through the first two races and were looking to get into a groove.

The starting grid lined up as follows:

P1 – Luigi (SM)
P2 – The Stig (SB)
P3 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P4 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P5 – Mario (SM)
P6 – Whiplash (RM)
P7 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P8 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)

Clearly a bit over eager after starting from the back of the grid, Jaap stalled his car and got to a very slow beginning. Luigi, in contrast, timed the lights perfectly and got off to a fast start.

Luigi’s hot start

The long lead up to Turn 1 mean that Luigi’s hot start didn’t gain him much. The Stig, Mario, and Whiplash all fought for position in the first corner, but it was Luigi who took the early lead in Sector 1.

The second sector saw the Stig and Mario join Luigi at the front. While Jaap’s slow start kept him behind the others, the midfield was hotly contested. Whiplash and the two Force Ravenswood drivers drove wheel to wheel through turn after turn.

The Stig leads Switch Motorsports into the third sector

While Luigi and the Stig battled up front, Jaap made his move. He found speed to burn over the second sector’s long straight and was soon joining Launch and Whiplash in the chasing pack. Rask was the driver left wanting, with Delilah also struggling.

The Stig pushed hard through the third sector, which gained him the lead, but he also lost control around the final bend. His car spun out and the momentum nearly carried him past the pit entrance, however, he was able to get himself turned around just in time to duck in.

The Stig gets all turned around

What the Stig’s spin did mean, though, was that Luigi would once again take the lead in the race. The grit of sand on the track and the challenging nature of the circuit meant that every car would take on fresh rubber, which narrowed the field down greatly.

Luigi held on to his lead through the first sector, but it was never by much. Rask had caught up and was battling Launch and Mario in the race for second. Behind them, Whiplash, Jaap, and the Stig fought to join them, and it was Delilah’s turn to look like she had no chance.

Lap 2 battles

Rask would be the first to make a move, charging forward and passing Luigi around the outside of Turn 4, the Switch driver being unable to find his rhythm in the second sector. Jaap would come next. He was able to take Luigi’s teammate Mario on the inside of the very same corner.

Luigi got everything wrong at Turn 5, allowing both Mario and Jaap to pass him by on the long straight that followed. Rask didn’t get his breaking right into Turn 6, and the engines behind were roaring. Through all that chaos, it was Jaap that took the lead into sector 3 with Rask behind him and nearly everyone else vying for the same piece of real estate.

Jaap in the lead as everyone is fighting it out

The third sector was full of heartbreak and joy. Starting with joy, Jaap essentially cruised to an easy victory from this point. He showed his experience by calmly navigating the final three corners en route to a second straight win.

On the heartbreak side, Mario put a charge into his engine and pulled into second place, only to find that his engine gave out before the finish line. It couldn’t have been come at a worse moment. That opened the door to Whiplash for a Regency Motors 1-2.

Mario’s 2nd place was short lived

The fight for third place was anything but simple. None of the remaining cars were able to manage the third sector well, with Delilah and Luigi both suffering minor body damage on the approach to the final corner.

Launch wound up being squeezed out, having been passed by the others on the straight. Instead it was the Stig, Delilah, and Rask that would come out with just a drag race to decide between them.

The fight for 3rd

In the end, the Stig had what was needed, and Rask was able to summon a bit more than Delilah. Luigi’s miserable second lap would come to an end in 6th place, with only Launch still running behind him.

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)871
Whiplash (RM)662
The Stig (SB)243
Rask Sjofar (SB)324
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)485
Luigi (SM)116
Launch Bornado (FR)757
Mario (RM)538*

Jaap’s 9th career victory is his second of the year and second in a row. It’s the first time he’s won back-to-back races, and, among winners, ties Jaronimus at Interlagos in 2016-17 for the most number of positions made up on the second lap.

Whiplash’s 2nd place finish makes him the only driver to have scored a podium in all three races this year. The Stig got his first podium of the year, and 14th of his career.

Regency Motors, who already held a slim lead in the team standings, have really pulled away in the early going. Their second 1-2 gives them a significant lead that will take some doing to catch up. Despite a poor showing Force Ravenswood is in the best position to do so. Scandinavian Blitz and Switch Motorsports are very close. The good news for all three of these teams is that there are still a lot of races in which they can make up the early deficit.

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Austin Recap

Texas has a reputation for hot weather, and while it isn’t always hot in October, Austin lived up to that reputation during the SBMRL’s visit. The track hosted the SBMRL for the 5th time, having never had a repeat victor. Switch Motorsport, who took a surprise victory in their first ever SBMRL race to start the year, was looking to continue that form and keep the track’s history of having a new driver atop the podium alive.

With just one race in the books, the grid lined up as follows:

P1 –  The Stig (SB)
P2 – Luigi (SM)
P3 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P4 – Whiplash (RM)
P5 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P6 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P7 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P8 – Mario (SM)

A clean start saw the field heading uphill to the blind left at the end of the pit straight. The field bunched up quickly, with Luigi and Jaap leading everyone through Turn 2.

Wheel to wheel in Turn 2

Launch would join Luigi and Jaap at the front as the three pulled slightly ahead. At the back, Mario was struggling to keep up with the rest of the field, who had nothing to distinguish them.

Down the back straight, Jaap was able to pull slightly head and get a leg up in Turn 6. Behind him, Whiplash and Rask also found speed to burn, joining Launch and Luigi in the battle for second place. Whiplash was forced to back off in Turn 7 as the others were blocking up the corner, and it really threw his drive off for the third sector.

Rask tries to pass Luigi on the inside

At the front, Jaap had a measured drive through the third sector, operating smoothly and without mistake before diving to the pits for fresh rubber. The same cannot be said for Luigi, who suffered body damage while battling with Launch and Rask in Turn 7. The result was that he fell back to the pack that contained Delilah, the Stig, and Whiplash.

As the field rounded Turn 10 and headed for the pits, Mario was the only car not on the pit straight. Jaap was just coming out of the pits and starting his second lap when everyone but the Stig pitted. Launch’s pit crew was able to give him a jump and he was soon battling his former teammate for the lead. While Rask and Delilah were not far behind, the Stig wasn’t able to find the speed he needed on the pit straight as his gamble did not pay off.

Despite not pitting, the Stig didn’t make up any ground

The first sector of the second lap was characterized by a trio of battles. Jaap and Launch at the front, Rask and Delilah for 3rd place, and Whiplash, Luigi, and the Stig fighting for 5th. Mario was just hoping to catch anyone at this point.

While the battle at the front was white hot in the first sector, Launch got through Turn 5 smoothly and then flew down the back straight. Jaap, however, was not to be denied. He flow down the straight like a man on fire and made up a tremendous amount, catching Launch at Turn 6 to ensure that the third sector would truly be a fight.

Launch’s large lead would be short lived

Mario’s travails at the back of the pack took a bit of a boost when he caught the also-rans around Turn 5, however his engine simply refused to give him the boost he needed down the back straight and he never had much hope of catching anyone as a result. However, the battle for 3rd place took on a whole new dimension when Whiplash and Luigi joined the fun at Turn 6.

Four cars try to squeeze through Turn 6

Coming out of Turn 7, Jaap edged ahead of Launch for the lead, while both front runners gave everything they had. They continued to push, wearing through tires on every turn. However, it was Jaap who managed to stay just ahead, with a frustrated Launch even clipping the rear of Jaap’s before he finally won the race.

Among the group of challengers, it was Whiplash who was making the most dramatic move. Having run as low as 7th for much of the second lap, he now found himself all the way up in 3rd. Delilah continued to push, while Luigi had red cars in both of his mirrors.

Delilah in 3rd while Luigi is pressured from behind

While Delilah strived to keep Whiplash behind her through the final three corners, Luigi was getting passed. First it was the Stig around the outside in Turn 8. Then it was Rask around the inside of Turn 9. Luigi simply didn’t have the pace to hold them off.

The battle for 3rd place would come down to a drag race between Delilah and Whiplash. Delilah was in front coming out of Turn 10, but Whiplash was right behind. Slip streaming behind Delilah toward the finish, Whiplash pulled past with a last second plunge to the right, and crossed just ahead to claim the final podium spot. A pair of similar drag races would take place between the pair of Scandinavian Blitz drivers for 5th and 6th as well as the pair of Switch Motorsports drivers for the final two spots, but neither team was satisfied with their result.

Whiplash slipstreams past Delilah for 3rd

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)511
Launch Bornado (FR)622
Whiplash (RM)773
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)454
The Stig (SB)135
Rask (SB)346
Luigi (SM)267
Mario (SM)888

Jaap records the 8th win of his career, to break free from a tie with the Stig as the SBMRL’s winningest driver. It’s his first victory since the final race of the 2017-18 season in Barcelona. It also puts him back atop the driver standings.

Launch’s second place finish gives him two on the year and extends his record for most career podiums to 19. Interestingly, the only other time that Jaap and Launch finished on the top two steps of the podium was Jaap’s Barcelona victory just mentioned. Whiplash’s 3rd place gives him 10 career podiums, and means that he and Launch switched places from Suzuka.

From a team standpoint, Regency Motors now have a healthy 15 points advantage on Force Ravenswood. Scandinavian Blitz’s struggle in the first two races this year are a marked contrast from last season, as they sit in last place.

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Japan Recap

The long summer break is over and the SBMRL opened up the league’s 5th season with a cracker of a race in Japan. Before getting to the details of the race, though, it’s always worth taking a few moments to review the changes around the league as far as the teams and drivers go.

The big question of the offseason was whether or not Sprite Racing would be fielding a team again this year. With Whiplash having won the driver’s championship last year and Bubba McQueen finishing in last place, the team only managed a 3rd place finish in the team standings. In the end, the team folded, with Whiplash getting picked up by Regency Motors to replace Sheila Dinkum. Regency Motors, having finished last in the team standings after never losing, was certainly eager to get a quality driver into the fold to help return to glory. Both Scandinavian Blitz and Force Ravenswood return the same lineup for this year.

Filling the void left by Sprite Racing will be Switch Motorsports, who will be racing in the dark blue livery traditionally associated with Red Bull. Mario will be driving with a blue rear wing and dark teal helmet, while Luigi will have a purple rear wing and light blue helmet.

Japan Race

With the offseason changes out of the way… let’s get to the race! Qualifying for SBMRL races normally uses the reverse order of the current season’s league standings, but for the first race, that’s not the case. Instead, qualifying for the first four grid slots was done through dice rolls. The final four slots were filled by reverse order of the teammates in the first four. When all was said and done, Launch Bornado was on pole with the Stig making up the other half of the front row.

P1 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P2 – The Stig (SB)
P3 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P4 – Mario (SM)
P5 – Luigi (SM)
P6 – Whiplash (RM)
P7 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P8 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)

2019 grid, lined up for Suzuka

Former champ, the Stig, got off to a hot start by timing the lights perfectly, getting a quick edge up on Launch right from the get go. The rest of the field found themselves closely packed through turn one and the Esses.

While the Stig was able to get a leg up at the start, Launch was smoother through the Esses and carried more momentum into Degner. That allowed Launch to get far enough ahead to be at the hairpin when the Stig was only just working his way through Degner. As he moved on from there, the rest of the field clashed at the spot he had just vacated, with 6 cars all wheel to wheel through the corner.

The pack fights for position

Over the first laps final sector, Launch pulled away from everyone in 130R. The Stig wasn’t able to handle Spoon cleanly, and that allowed Mario, Whiplash, and Delilah to all catch up with him. Mario, the Stig, and Whiplash all had the pace to keep ahead of the others and found themselves neck and neck in the chicane while Launch pitted for new tires.

The Stig’s brakes, however, had been heavily abused over the first lap and he wasn’t able to rely on them coming out of the corner. Instead, he found himself spinning on the pit straight rather than diving for fresh rubber.

The Stig spins out and misses the pits

The spinout lost the Stig enough time that Jaap, who opted not to pit, was able to pass him on the pit straight. Jaap’s new teammate, Whiplash, was able to get out of the pits quickly and establish himself in 2nd place early on the second lap, but Mario and Jaap weren’t far back. Behind them, Delilah had caught the Stig while Luigi closed in. Rask was well back at this point, pitting well behind the rest of the field.

Launch’s clean first lap was a distant memory as he began to struggle in the second sector on lap 2. He couldn’t find the right rhytm in Degner or the hairpin, which was something that both Mario and Whiplash did. Both challengers then passed Launch on the way into Spoon, and Jaap was closing in as well.

Bird’s eye view of Mario and Whiplash getting to Spoon before Launch

At this point, the Stig and Delilah were running in 5th and 6th, respectively, with Luigi close, but Rask a long way back. We’ll come back to them in a minute, but for now, Mario and Whiplash were in a drag race through 130R on their drive to the chicane and the victory.

Mario found the power he needed while Whiplash got the braking all wrong. While Launch was able to get close to Whiplash, neither could catch Mario who would win in his first time out.

Mario takes the win

While Whiplash was able to hold off Launch, and Jaap nearly reeled him in for 3rd place, but in the end, Launch got his podium with Jaap just behind.

The first four finishers were well ahead of the second half of the pack, and a large part of that was their inability to replicate the skilled driving of the others. None of the Stig, Delilah, or Luigi were able to make the run from the hairpin to Spoon smoothly. As a result, Rask was able to make up a lot of lost ground.

Slow out of Spoon, as Rask tries to catch up

Delilah was the car to charge forward out of this group, and Rask made his move at 130R to pass his teammate and Luigi. They ended up finishing 5th and 6th. While many observing were wondering if the Stig would even finish the race, he fought bravely through the second lap. Unfortunately, Luigi passed him at the final corner and he came in a distant last.

Delilah holds off Rask, while the Stig is about to be passed

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Mario (SM)441
Whiplash (RM)622
Launch Bornado (FR)113
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)334
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)865
Rask Sjofar (SB)786
Luigi (SM)577
The Stig (SB)258

Mario’s win on debut makes it two straight years that we’ve had a rookie win their first race, with Rask winning at Road America last September.

Whiplash didn’t finish in 2nd place at all last year en route to winning the driver’s title, but it’s his 9th podium and best first race of a season that he’s had. Launch’s podium is his 18th, as the SBMRL’s career podium leader extended his lead over Jaap.

At a team level, Mario’s win was enough to give Switch Motorsports a 1 point lead over Regency Motors after they put two cars in the top 4. Force Ravenswood isn’t far back, but Scandinavian Blitz is an early hole with less than half the points of any of their rivals.

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