by Jamie Wesson
2015 Wednesday Championship Round 6 Race Report (Part 1)
It was a beautifully gorgeous evening as Sutton's flagship series entered its second half. Jam Wesson secured pole position ahead of Tom Kitchener, with Isaac Raine doing a super job to line up third. Kallum Jones and Alex Harding were fourth and fifth respectively while it was another impressive qualifying run from Graeme James who placed sixth. Connor Smith also made the top flight with Bryan White bagging the final spot.
The first race began with the usual thunder as the engines sang into life, springing out of the pit lane down into T1. Jamie immediately got the hammer down at the front, desperate to open a gap to his rivals and control the race from the front. He did just that, setting his fastest time on only lap 5.
A little further back, Isaac was under serious pressure for that final podium place, and felt he was being repeatedly nudged in the early stages. Eventually he lost out when he locked up at T1 and whether it was due to further contact or not, Kallum and Alex slipped by. Having had his momentum sapped, he then lost another place to Graeme on the approach to the hairpin. He fought back though, and retook 5th place down the back straight a couple of laps later.
Alex was on fire. His pace was rapid in the kart 5 and eventually Kallum realised that holding him off was futile. He yielded the place and tucked in behind. Unleashed, Alex then set off in chase of Tom, setting the night's fastest lap in the process. Once caught, Tom defended hard for several laps, but upon covering the inside line for the final corner, got a scruffy exit which allowed Alex to insert the nose of his kart on the inner right hand side down the main straight. He was squeezed, Tom edging him toward the grass, but Alex stuck in there and completed the pass at T1.
Although Alex reduced the gap in the final stages of the race, Jamie had built up too much of a lead to be caught and crossed the line to take the win. At the back, Connor and Bryan were having a squabble of their own. Connor had been covering the inside line well, leaving Bryan just enough room on the outside as they turned in for T1. Despite his best efforts, Bryan couldn't find a way by and crossed the line on Connor's bumper, bringing an end to the race one action.
Jamie, Alex, Tom, Kallum, Isaac, Graeme, Connor, Bryan.
Fastest Lap: Alex Harding - 39.312
The second race proved to be much more incident packed. The reversed grid set off, pushing leader Bryan down to the first corner as he refused to get on the power until they were at the apex. Right from lap one Tom was making moves, first getting himself ahead of Isaac. Alex then tried to do the same at the hairpin on the next lap, but the move didn't quite come off and he was left on the outside for the loop, allowing Jamie to move up his inside. This would be the first position exchange of many for the two race one leaders.
Kallum meanwhile had bolted in the number 5 kart, making a pass on each of the three opening laps at the hairpin, before Bryan yielded the lead a few laps later. He disappeared into the distance as Bryan tried to keep with him. It seemed much of the action this evening was not going to be taking place at the front.
Tom had gained another place on Graeme, but on the approach down to T1, in an attempt to pass Connor from a little too far back, he locked his brakes hard and spun out mid corner, leaving him on the edge of the track as a spectator watching the whole field drive by him. It was early stages though, and he would have opportunity to catch back up. Graeme had excellent pace behind Connor, and Isaac was proving extraordinarily difficult to pass. Jamie and Alex were not making the ground they would have liked.
After following Isaac for several laps Jamie felt a desperation to pass. He needed to break free from Alex, and at this rate, Tom would soon catch back up to them. Isaac had a slight straight line speed advantage though, making it difficult to stick on the back of him into the braking zones. This difficulty became apparent when Jamie hastily tried to slide up the inside of him into the hairpin. The pack of 4 karts led by Graham and tailed by Alex came through the switch and Jamie took to the inside line. It was a route taken for double intentions, to line himself a pass on Isaac as well as guard the passing line against Alex. However, like every other time a driver has tried to focus on both attack and defence, it backfired. Jamie attempted to slot down the inside of Isaac into the pin but he was too far back, Isaac cut him off at the apex, Jamie braked hard, had a minor lock and narrowly avoided the cone as he watched Alex sail around his outside.
A repass was in order a couple of laps later as Jamie chucked one down the inside of a perfectly late braking Alex. Unlike Isaac, Alex was struggling with a lack of straight line speed, but his lap times were consistent. Shortly after this point, perhaps the key moment of the race unfolded. It started when Jamie got on the inside of Isaac around the loop (I can't remember how exactly). They jostled all the way around the sweeping right hander and Jamie left room on the exit as they went wheel to wheel down the back straight, however there was a buzzing of another engine just behind them. It was Tom, he had re-caught them. He had passed Alex and slotted behind the two of them as they darted toward the last corner. Isaac was left vulnerable on the outside and Tom followed Jamie's inner line, getting alongside Isaac on the exit. The 4 karts charged down the main straight, Jamie taking a half hearted defensive line with Isaac and Tom just behind, being closely pegged by Alex. Graeme was perhaps 2 kart lengths ahead at this point and wouldn't have known what hit him when Tom spotted a kart's width gap on Jamie's inside, launched into it, locked up like a high security bank and plummeted into poor Graeme as he turned in to the T1 Apex.
Graeme spun out, Tom spun out, Jamie had to take to the outside to negotiate the carnage as Isaac caught the apex and drove ahead, with Alex in tow. Jamie had lost the 2 positions he had fought so hard for again, but Graeme had lost more. Nevermind that now, this race was still on...
Running behind Alex once more, Jamie closed in and made another pass into the hairpin, this time with a better run toward the braking zone than the first attempt. It was the fifth position exchange the two had made this race. Jamie hoped it would be the last, as he got to the task of chasing down the difficult to pass Isaac Raine. He was stuck behind for several laps, as Isaac once again showed the pace he was capable of. Eventually though, Jamie got just close enough on the run up to the hairpin to make a dive, commanding the apex and trying to prevent any cutback opportunities, he was finally in front as they made their way onto the loop.
It was nigh on the end of the race at this point, there was one lap to go but Jamie hadn't given up on catching Connor who was only 2 or 3 kart lengths ahead. He pushed hard to nail every corner and the hard work paid off when Connor locked his rear axle into the pin, got a sack full of oversteer mid corner and a compromised exit, allowing Jamie to cut back and drive ahead as Connor struggled to regain the momentum. A last gift came courtesy of Bryan who had slowed on the last lap, and pulled aside on the final straight to let the championship regulars pass.
Alex meanwhile has to defend hard from a rejuvenated Tom. Trying once more to make up ground from his earlier mishap, he pressured Alex all the way to the flag where they crossed the line virtually side by side. Alex however had just kept his nose ahead, holding his sixth place. Tom had however, found some saving grace in notching the fastest lap of the race. It was yet another brilliant night of racing at Sutton Circuit.
Kallum, Jamie, Connor, Bryan, Isaac, Alex, Tom, Graeme
Fastest Lap: Tom - 39.338
Thanks for reading.