by Jamie Wesson
Team 175 Race Review - Round 1
A healthy grid of 9 teams ventured forth on Sunday for the opening round of the T175 Championship. In no particular order they were:
Kart 9 - Lee Hammond & Ian Noddy Noden
Kart 1 - Tony Kerr & Pete Adams
Kart 2 - Russell Lewis & Craig Dudley
Kart 3 - Stewart Dee & Noah Timminston
Kart 4 - Martin Taylor & Denis Wright
Kart 8 - Jam Wesson & Todd White
Kart 6 - Richard & Jack Warren
Kart 5 - David & Jon Brown
Kart 7 - Andy Summers & Ken Oldham
The race began in reverse order of qualifying and right at the very end of lap one, Jamie and Lee Hammond dived into the pitlane to get the mandatory run around out of the way, and acquire some clean air in the process. This was a contrary tactic to Andy Summers who sailed on past the pitlane entrance and continued to battle his way up the grid.
With Lee and Jamie being the only ones to box, Lee drove to the end of the pitlane while pole man Jamie stopped as soon as he could after the entrance. Both stops were nearly identical in time, but as Lee jumped back into his kart he caught his leg on the faring in the exact place he had recently received some stitches. While tailing him, I couldn't tell if his head ducking was an attempt to gain some straight line speed or it was him keeling over momentarily in absolute agony.
It took Jamie a couple of laps to pass him into turn one but soon after he began setting the fastest laps of the race and quickly pulled away. There was an interesting battle going on between the #6 kart of Richard Warren and the #1 kart which I think was being driven by Tony Kerr.
Tony got ahead of Richard but shortly after spun out at the hairpin, allowing Jamie, who had passed Richard into the first corner moments before, an easy pass back into clear air. Shortly before the first round of stops there was one more pass to be made by Jamie as he got a nice run out of the Switch and sailed up the inside line of David Brown into the hairpin.
The second drivers took over, and as the race approached the half way point it was Todd leading the way in the number 8 kart with Jon's #5 in 2nd and Ian in the 9 kart running third. The race had settled down a bit and no driver was really struggling to make their way through any traffic.
Craig Dudley was enjoying his first time out in a competitive race at Sutton, and despite a few quite normal mistakes he had half decent pace around Sutton's tight twisting corners. I hadn't been able to take much note of anything significant happening in this part of the race and didn't notice any other stop and go's being made, so I apologise if this section is a little thin around the edges.
Onto the third stint and Jamie passed Tony into turn one after being given a defensive squeeze down the straight. The gap was tight, but Tony began to move over to the left in the braking zone leaving just enough room for Jamie to complete the move down the inside.
An intense battle between Lee Hammond and David Brown was unfolding, and it was quite an interesting experience watching it unfold from the other side of the track while pumping in mid 39 second lap times. I was able to get a glimpse of the pair heading onto the straight as I approached the hairpin before quickly getting the kart turned and watching them dive into turn one. Their entrance to the hairpin was perfectly in sync with the moment I entered onto the main straight.
Lee tried a couple of moves into turn one, and from my perspective it looked like he should have had the pass nailed. But David is notoriously difficult to outbrake. No matter what Lee tried, he wasn't able to get the upper hand into that first apex. During their battle, Andy summers came from behind and breezed past the pair of them with relative ease. Finally, the contest met it's conclusion when Lee made an assertive move into the Lightbulb corner, sticking his nose into the smallest of gaps. They rubbed shoulders and David was pushed toward the outer line allowing Lee to slip underneath.
Craig's action packed début became even more eventful when kart 2 suffered a rare mechanical failure. His motor began making strange noises down the home straight, sounding almost like he was going on and off throttle every few seconds. Eventually he was forced to park it at the Lightbulb corner. Remarkably however, the marshal's had a new kart fired up and driven to his position in under 40 seconds. Even though the timing screen was adjusted, he had slotted into a replacement kart and was back racing again in less than a lap. Superbly efficient service from the Sutton race staff.
In the dying embers of the race, there was a good battle occurring between Jack Warren, Ken and Noddy, with the latter two fighting for position. Jack was caught between a fast scrap for the final place on the podium. It was a skirmish which Noddy would win, securing third place for him and Lee. Andy & Ken had done well to get themselves into a position to fight amongst the top three though. Todd bought the #8 kart home for the victory ahead of last years champion duo of Jon & David Brown, making it two straight victories for the ever improving peddler following his success with Ian Noden in the warm up round.
1st: Jamie & Todd
2nd: Jon & David
3rd: Lee & Ian
4th: Andy & Ken
5th: Richard & Jack
6th: Tony & Pete
7th: Martin & Denis
8th: Stewart & Noah
9th: Russell & Craig