Clockwise Championship – Round 4(Part 1)

Race Reports

by Jamie Wesson

Clockwise Championship - Round 4 (Part 1)

And so we move on to round 4 of the competitive Clockwise series. It's hard to think we are nearing at the halfway mark this season already. With 4 drivers that can win races and could be competing for the crown come December, this Sunday series is always interesting. Especially so when there is a random Mark Bramford thrown into the mix.
 
He got right amongst the front runners to qualify second, behind pole sitter Andy Summers. Jam Wesson, Tom Kitchener & Jon Brown were behind followed by an exceptional qualifying performance from Todd White who seems to be improving all the time. They were joined by John Magnor and Joe Sharpe to finalise group one.
 
It took less than a lap for the first piece of key action to occur. Mark made his presence known by immediately stamping his 'mark' on the race when he assertively went up the inside of Andy into the final corner, running his kart along the inside kerb as they rubbed shoulders on the way through. He had gotten a run on the approach, but it only looked like it was going to work in the final moments before they turned in and it needed a very quick decision, one in which Mark did not hesitate.
 
Things temporarily settled down toward the front in the first quarter, as Jon began mounting an attack on Tom for fourth. He tried a move into the hairpin, but the cunning Wednesday Champion made a nice switch back on the exit to keep the place. This little skirmish allowed Jamie to pull himself a nice gap in third.
 
As the race approached the half way mark they were beginning the reign Jamie back in. Struggling to keep pace with the leading pair, Jamie was now vulnerable to his rivals behind. Tom attempted to make it count on his first bite, going down the inside at the hairpin. But it was too tight. Whereas others angle their line through the hairpin for a straighter exit, leaving a more obvious gap on entry, Jamie drove a line which rounded off the corner and results in an earlier turn in, a much more difficult method to make a clean pass on. Contact was made as the karts hit the apex and Tom unfortunately struck the cone. A drive through penalty followed.
 
This freed up Jon to lead an assault against the ailing kart 3. He got his nose up the inside into the final corner. Fairly leaving room for each other with no contact, Jamie was able to keep the kart planted and emerge with his position intact. As Jamie defended the inside line down the main straight, Jon drew along side and they went wheel to wheel through turn one. Once again, Jamie was able to hold off, just. After defending into the hairpin, the duo went side by side again through the final turn, with Jon going around the outside. They left each other room and as they emerged onto the main straight it was Jon who was able to carry the more momentum, so much so that he was able to get a full kart length ahead and cover the inside line by the time they reached the braking zone for turn one. It was excellent clean racing.
 
Behind them, their pursuers were having a pretty quiet race, with Todd holding fast in what became 5th after Tom's penalty and John managing to stay ahead of Joe. Tom eventually recovered to sandwich between the final two places.
 
Back at the sharp end, the race for the win was hotting up. Andy had not left Mark alone all race and wasn't about to roll over after that first lap foray. He kindly returned the favour by bump drafting Mark through the Loop and getting his nose on the inside down the back straight, completing the move at they entered the first apex of the final corner. Mark wasn't happy, but this race was on!
 
Mark very, very nearly got his nose up the inside of Andy down the main straight, making a nicer exit work for him off the final turn. No matter though, Andy went wide following his defensive approach into turn one, and Mark was easily able to sail through. Andy then sold Mark a dummy down the main straight. Looking left and believing Andy would stay on the outside, Mark began to move over in the braking zone and exposed a gap, one in which Andy was happy to take up as he switched direction at the last moment. It would be a move which would win Andy the race.
 
He went hard on the defence for the final two laps, both drivers using all the kerbs. Eventually, the duel was settled and Andy took the flag. However, the honours were split as Mark had taken the fastest lap.
 
Results: Andy, Mark, Jon, Jamie, Todd, John, Tom, Joe.
Fastest Lap: Mark Bramford - no idea, I forgot to take a picture.
 
It's difficult to decide which footage to use as the primary video for this post, as both had large portions of individual lapping. But I'm going to use Mark's as his had some tasty battling at the end, not to mention that move at the beginning, all of which turned out to be for the lead. Enjoy:
 
 
I will also touch briefly here on driver of the day. Paul Whiffin had once been a regular group one runner, narrowly missing out on a championship podium trophy in 2014. However, recent times have seen contrasting fortunes for the veteran, but Sunday's performance saw a revitalised driver once again finding his form. In an ever more competitive group two and after enduring a difficult mid field finish in the first race, he lit up the second heat by driving to the front from 5th on the grid, making a crucial pass into the hairpin to take the lead. From there on, he drove it smoothly home and earns his face a place on our website.