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Valencia Recap

With the standings about as close as they could possibly be, the SBMRL field took to Valencia for the final race of the 2016-17 season.  Those further back in the standings would be racing for pride and a chance to play spoiler, but a good five cars all had a shot at taking the championship.  The starting grid looked as follows:

P1 – Nero (Ryan)
P2 – Captain Slow (Jason)
P3 – The Stig (Jason)
P4 – Ice (Frank)
P5 – Mater (Ryan)
P6 – Danger Wheel (Ryan)
P7 – Jamonito del Verde (Geoff)
P8 – Jaronimus Maximus (Geoff)
P9 – Launch Bornado (Frank)
P10 – Jaap Snellrijder (Frank)

The field managed a clean start with everyone proceeding cautiously off the line for the season’s deciding race.  The first pair of corners, Principal 1 and Veles e Vents, caused a great deal of compression among the contenders.  In fact, all 10 cars were piled into Veles e Vents in short order.  Launch Bornado was forced to lean heavily on the brakes, and would struggle with them the rest of the first lap.  Both cars of the Osito Racing Company suffered minor collision damage as they, too, tried to work their way forward.

Everyone squeezes into Veles e Vents

The pack moved on towards Malvarrosa with Danger Wheel joining the front four Scandinavian Blitz and Cobalt drivers.  Nero suffered some damage as Captain Slow misjudged the slowdown heading into the turn.  He then clipped Nero’s front wing again as he tried to sneak past in the middle of the corner.  Sadly, it was Nero’s own teammate, Ice, who ultimately knocked him out of the race just as they were coming out onto the bridge straight.

Nero knocked out

At this point, the Stig had managed to stay ahead of the chaos behind and charged on towards Nazaret.  Jaronimus Maximus had flown through Malvarrosa with speed and carried that onto the bridge straight, with Ice and Launch close behind.  The latter of whom had managed to weave through the field after starting all the way back in 9th.  With Danger Wheel running 5th, each team was represented in the top 5.  That would only last briefly, however, as Jaronimus’ speed heading into Nazaret proved too great.  He was unable to find his way around the Stig without bumping hard into his rival, ending his race then and there.

Jaronimus hits the Stig

With two cars out of the race and less than half a lap completed, the rest of the field took a bit more care.  At this point, Launch and the Stig began establishing themselves as the two contenders at the front.  Danger Wheel, Ice, Captain Slow, and Jamonito battled it out in the middle, while Jaap and Mater struggled to keep up with the pace.

The third sector was where Launch was able to get an edge on the Stig.  He was able to find a better line through Grao, coming out of it with the speed needed to smoothly run through Principal 2 and into the pits.  While the Stig struggled, Danger Wheel took advantage and caught up.  Similarly, his teammate, Mater was able to get the jump on the middle pack, leaving Jaap alone in back.

Launch finishes Lap 1 in front

As the second lap began, Launch, Danger Wheel, and the Stig were far ahead of the rest of the field.  Ice skipped the pits in an effort to bypass his rivals, while Regency Motors pitted Jaap quickly to get him back in the thick of things.  Jamonito was the last car to make it out of the pits and embark on his second circuit.

Into Malvarrosa, Launch continued to hold a comfortable margin over Danger Wheel, who had by now established the same over the Stig.  However, Ice, Mater, and Jamonito had now taken a bit of an edge over Jaap and Captain Slow at the back.  The field was so spread out that Launch was on his way into Grao when the trailers were just getting into Malvarrosa.

All spread out

The bridge straight was taken at speed by Jamonito, who was able to use that speed to charge forward and catch the Stig at Nazaret.  Ice and Mater weren’t quite up to the same task, but it was Jaap who was charging now from the back.  He had managed, like Jamonito, to carry speed down the bridge straight in an effort to make his charge.

As Launch and Danger Wheel navigated through Grao with little suspense, the battles behind them were tight.  The Stig and Jamonito battled for third place through Nazaret, and behind them, Mater and Ice followed closely.  They left little room for Jaap, who was forced over debris left on the track by Jaronimus’s crash on lap 1.  Jaap’s suspension snapped, leaving two of the top 3 drivers in the standings out of the race.

Jaap’s second straight DNF

As Launch rounded Principal 2 for an uncontested march to the finish, Danger Wheel followed in procession.  The battle for third place, however, had a new entry in it.  With the Stig and Jamonito fighting it out, Ice had managed to force his car into the mix.  He came into Grao with speed, and due to the effort needed to get there and lack of a pit stop, had worn his gearbox down completely.  Unfortunately, that meant that he carried too much speed through the corner, and couldn’t keep it on the track.  His momentary shot at 3rd place wiped out.

Ice coning through Grao, just before his luck ran out

Grao proved to be the undoing of other races, too, although not in quite as severe a fashion.  While the Stig was unable to carry speed through the corner, Jamonito was, and he used that to set up a pass around the final bend of Principal 2.  From there it was a drag race to the finish that saw him make good on that advantage.

The final finishers came down to Mater and Captain Slow.  Mater fell foul of Grao’s speed trap, though, and spun out as he came out of the corner.  That was all that Captain Slow needed to pass him and take an easy 5th place, with Mater righting his car and finishing a lonely 6th.

Final Results

Driver Start Lap Finish
Launch Bornado (RM) 9 1 1
Danger Wheel (RB) 6 2 2
Jamonito del Verde (ORC) 7 8 3
The Stig (SB) 3 3 4
Captain Slow (SB) 2 5 5
Mater (RB) 5 7 6
Ice (CO) 4 4 7, dnf
Jaap Snellrijder (RM) 10 6 8, dnf
Jaronimus Maximus (ORC) 8 9 9, dnf
Nero (CO) 1 10 10, dnf

Having never won a race until last time out in Magny-Cours, Launch’s victory at Valencia marks the first time a driver has ever won back-to-back races in the SBMRL. It also makes him this season’s championship driver.  Jamonito’s 3rd place finish, coupled with DNF’s from Jaap and Jaronimus allow him to leapfrog them into 2nd place.

Danger Wheel’s 2nd place finish didn’t quite do enough to catch Jaap and Jaronimus, but it was his best showing for the year.  With the Stig in 4th place, we once again had 4 different teams represented in the top 4 finishers.  This is the first time that’s happened in consecutive races.

Nero’s early DNF made the battle to avoid the cellar end quickly. There really wasn’t much that Nero could have done, and no driver has suffered as much damage in such a short space of time as Nero did in Malvarrosa.  His teammate, Ice, marked his first ever DNF.

At the team level, Launch’s win sealed the deal for Regency Motors to repeat as the team champions.  Newcomer Osito Racing Company takes a superb second place, which is all the more impressive after their debut race in Spa was a bit of a disaster.  Scandinavian Blitz’s strong showing easily put them ahead of Cobalt to avoid last place.

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Valencia Preview

The final round of the 2016-17 SBMRL season takes us, once again, to Valencia, Spain.  The street circuit situated around the harbor last hosted a Formula 1 grand prix in 2012, but the SBMRL hasn’t abandoned it yet, finishing up each season there.


A lap around the Valencia Street Circuit is nothing like the the long open course of Magny-Cours.  Instead, the circuit opens with the tight right hander of Principal 1, which is immediately followed by Veles e Vents.  There’s little speed to be gained here, which is unfortunate as a bit of speed is exactly what’s needed to transition smoothly into Malvarosa.  There are a few options for managing this section of the track and none of them are particularly appealing.

Malvarosa will slow the field down before spitting them out onto the bridge straight, the longest of the circuit.  The best chance to open things up a bit is then frustrated by the tricky Nazaret corner at the far end.  It’s a corner that really demands some speed both on entry and exit, and that’s not an easy combination to pull off.

The final sector features the long Grao corner and the short Principal 2.  Combined with the pit straight and Principal 1, this part of the track is the only spot to put together a nice rhythm and feel like things are really clicking, but it’ll almost certainly be broken up by people diving for the pits.  There simply aren’t any easy lines around Valencia, and that’s one of the big appeals of the track.  It’s really hard to pull away and stay ahead, so expect a tight race.

Last year’s race saw Nero catch the Stig in the final corner to cement a dramatic win.  The only thing preventing that from pulling him up into 2nd place in the driver standings was Launch finishing in 3rd place.  The race was marked by passing.  The aforementioned pass by Nero was the most notable, but there were also great passes by Captain Slow, who slipstreamed around Danger Wheel on his way across the finish line, and Jaap, who passed three cars in the final sector.  The one team that didn’t have a positive ending was the pair of Mater and Danger Wheel, who were on the receiving end of those passes.

Starting Grid

The cars line up in reverse order of the current driver standings, but with a pair of ties, tie breaker goes to the car that finished further back in France.  That means Nero gets pole position over Captain Slow, and Launch Bornado is forced to line up next to his teammate on the back row of the grid.  This will be Nero’s 6th start from pole this season, as he simply hasn’t been able to dig himself out of the hole of 3 DNF’s in the first 5 races.

  1. Nero (CO)
  2. Captain Slow (SB)
  3. The Stig (SB)
  4. Ice (CO)
  5. Mater (RB)
  6. Danger Wheel (RB)
  7. Jamonito del Verde (ORC)
  8. Jaronimus Maximus (ORC)
  9. Launch Bornado (RM)
  10. Jaap Snellrijder (RM)

Pit selection is reverse order of average starting grid position, which is easy for the first three teams given that they each have a grid row to themselves.  The tie for Scandinavian Blitz and Cobalt is broken by reverse order of team standings, giving the slight edge to the boys in red.

  1. Regency Motors
  2. Osito Racing Company
  3. Red Bull
  4. Scandinavian Blitz
  5. Cobalt

Spanish driver Jamonito del Verde gets the home race bonus for this round of the championship, and given how tight the standings are, it can’t come at a better time.  Incidentally, he is the only driver on the grid to finish ahead of his teammate more often than not but be lower in the standings.  He’s also the only remaining driver on the grid without a victory to his credit.

Final Race Outlook

As previously stated, the standings could scarcely be tighter at the top or the bottom.  Any of the four Regency Motors or Osito Racing Company drivers could come away with the driver’s championship.  Unlike last year when he had locked up the title prior to Valencia, Jaap has just a 2 point lead over Jaronimus and Launch, with Jamonito sitting 9 points back.  Those margins are nothing more than a whisker, and it’s entirely possible we’ll have a tie when all is said and done.

Just a bit off the pace, 13 and 14 points behind Jamonito, are Danger Wheel and Mater, respectively.  Either could insert themselves into the top 4 with a victory and some misfortune for their opponents.  Danger Wheel actually has a mathematical chance at the title, but things would have to align perfectly.

At the bottom of the grid, Nero and Ice find themselves looking for redemption while the Stig and Captain Slow seek respect.  None of them are in the running for anything more than a participation ribbon, but all hope to avoid the ignominy of finishing last.

Regency Motors has a slight edge in the team standings, meaning as long as they can keep up with the green liveried Osito cars, they should be able to bring it home.  Red Bull will hope for more, but a solid middle of the pack finish will lock up the 3rd place that they’ve been sitting in for much of the year.  It’ll take a minor miracle to vault Scandinavian Blitz into 3rd place, everything would have to go right for them with both Cobalt and Red Bull struggling.  Cobalt is slightly better off, but have the advantage that they’re only trying to jump over one team.

Valencia Recap

After 8 long months, the final race of the SBMRL season finally arrived with Valencia’s street circuit playing host.  The weather was warm and dry with a few clouds, ideal for racing.

The Stig sat at the front of the grid for the second time this season.  The only other time he started this high was in Monaco, where he went on to victory.  Despite starting in 2nd on 3 other occasions, that win was the only time he’s finished higher than 5th.  The grid behind him shaped up as follows:

P1 – The Stig (Jason)
P2 – Captain Slow (Jason)
P3 – Mater (Ryan)
P4 – Danger Wheel (Ryan)
P5 – Nero (Lonny)
P6 – Launch Bornado (Frank)
P7 – Ice (Lonny)*
P8 – Jaap Snellrijder (Frank)

A clean start saw the cars take off with one last shot at glory for the year.  The Stig took an immediate liking to the first two corners, pulling out an early lead.  Behind him, the others jockeyed for position, of which the most notable shift was Mater dropping all the way to 6th in the very first corner.

Valencia Lap 1 Turn 1

That early lead allowed the Stig to keep a bit of distance from the rest of the field, where those attempting to chase him down would spend most of the race spreading out along the straights and then bunching up again at each corner.  Heading, for the first time, along the long straight over the harbor bridge, it looked as if any one of several cars might catch him, but the Stig was into Nazaret before Launch, Danger, Wheel, or Captain Slow could close that gap.

Behind that group, Mater and Ice would spend most of the first lap battling it out for 6th place, eagerly trying to join the challengers.  Jaap, on the other hand, languished at the back, within striking distance but too far to really bother anyone.

Valencia Lap 1 Nazaret

The long and winding penultimate corner of Grao was where Nero managed to close the gap to the Stig enough to momentarily overtake him.  The Stig had taken a conservative entry in hopes of leaving at speed, and that was the opening that Nero needed.  What was more problematic, was that the Stig’s speed wasn’t enough to put him in position for Principal 2.  This allowed Launch Bornado to catch up as well.

After the 3 front runners stopped for fresh tires, it was actually Launch who came out of the pits in first place.  That would be a short lived moment, however, as Nero and the Stig both found their line through Principal 1, leaving Launch to deal with the charge from Danger Wheel.  The Stig would be quickest through the Veles e Vents, leaving the other three to play catch up.

Valencia Lap 2 Sector 1

Meanwhile, Captain Slow had been joined by Mater and Jaap to form a second pack of challengers.  Ice had experienced a nightmare of a third sector on the first lap to fall well off the pace.

The Stig’s second lap continued his strong form as he flew through Malvarossa.  Danger Wheel and Nero battled for 2nd, while Launch fell back with the others, and the Stig extended his lead by speeding across the bridge with all he could muster.  To describe all the positional changes behind the Stig that occurred on the bridge straight and into Nazaret is a fool’s errand, but here goes.  Captain Slow had such little speed heading onto the straight that he found himself in 7th place, but was back up to 4th by the time he was in the corner.  Launch had an identical position switch just at a slightly different time.  Jaap found himself moving up out of 7th.  Aside from the Stig’s certain lead, the only real concrete thing to come out of the second sector was the establishment of Cobalt’s cars.  Nero emerged in a comfortable second place, and Ice was nowhere to be seen.

Valencia Lap 2 Nazaret

The third sector didn’t look like it would hold much drama at the front of the pack.  The Stig was working his way through Grao while Nero was still trying to find his way there.  Behind him, Jaap had improbably forced his way all the way up to join Danger Wheel and Captain Slow in the battle for third place.  Mater trailed, and Launch had now fallen to 7th.

Valencia Lap 2 Sector 3


The Stig’s efforts to keep Nero behind him ultimately failed at the very last corner and at the worst of times.  He was forced to take a much slower line around the outside of Principal 2 while Nero took to the inside.  Nero flew across the finish line with his second win of the season.

Valencia Lap 2 Nero

While all this was going on, the battle for 3rd raged behind them.  When Danger Wheel and Captain Slow had taken to Grao, they’d left Jaap with a hard choice.  Charge forward with all he had or play it conservative and hope to catch up.  Jaap choose the former, barreling through in such a fashion that he had to slam on the brakes and shift all the way down to second just to save himself.  This left Captain Slow leading Danger Wheel down to Principal 2 while Launch and Mater began to catch up.  Launch carried speed, and was able to hit the inside of the corner just right, passing everyone at the start of the pit straight.

Valencia Lap 2 Principal 2

Launch would shift up to take 3rd in dramatic fashion.  Danger Wheel and Captain Slow, however, had been forced to downshift through the final corner.  Despite their small advantage on Jaap, they weren’t able to take the straight at speed.  Jaap, on the other hand, had been accelerating ever since coming out of Grao in 2nd gear, and the result was that he carried the speed needed for a sensational 4th place.  As for 5th, Danger Wheel took the upper hand down the approach, but for the second time in as many races, Captain Slow was able to take advantage of his slipstream and pass him at the final moment.

Valencia Lap 2 Captain Slow

All the way at the back, Ice had been closing in on Mater, and when Mater spun out at Principal 2, he forged ahead with an unexpected 7th place finish.  Mater limped home in 8th.

Final Results

Driver Start Lap Finish
Nero (CO) 5 2 1
The Stig (SB) 1 3 2
Launch Bornado (RM) 6 1 3
Jaap Snellrijder (RM) 8 7 4
Captain Slow (SB) 2 5 5
Danger Wheel (GT) 4 4 6
Ice (CO) 7 8 7
Mater (GT) 3 6 8

We haven’t had a finer race this year, and it was the perfect way to end the season.  Nero caught the Stig around the final bend.  The middle pack stayed extremely close throughout both laps, allowing Launch Bornado to fly from 7th in Grao to 3rd across the line.  Even Ice, who was way behind, managed to catch up and finish ahead of Mater.

In the end, Nero came back from a pair of consecutive DNF’s to win his second race of the year, the only driver other than Jaap to accomplish that feat.  The win meant that he did all he could to finish 2nd in the driver’s championship.  Unfortunately, Launch needed a 4th place or worse finish for Nero to catch up, and the 3rd place finish meant Regency Motors would finish 1-2 in the standings.  Ice’s 7th place finish dropped him down to 4th in the standings.

In the battle between the Green Team and Scandinavian Blitz, the Stig’s 2nd place and Danger Wheel’s 6th mean a tie for 5th place overall.  Think that Captain Slow’s slipstream at the end was important?  Had he not been able to overtake Danger Wheel, the Green Team would’ve retained 3rd in the team standings.  As it was, Captain Slow’s 5th place was enough to put the white cars 3 points ahead of green on the year.

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