by Jamie Wesson
2015 Wednesday Championship Round 7 Race Review (Group 1)
Well, what can I say about this first race? That something unprecedented happened? That it was a very first for Sutton Circuit? That the spectators were left open mouthed?
Well I can say all of those things because it was in actual fact utterly boring! It was unprecedented because throughout the whole race not a single overtake happened. It was a first for Sutton because nobody in attendance could remember a race where not a single position was swapped, and they were left open mouthed no doubt from all the yawning going on.
This makes my job hard.
Yet it also makes it easy, because I honestly don't have much to write about. Tom Kitchener lead from lights to flag, fending off some late pressure from Kallum Jones, who set the night's fastest lap. Jam Wesson ran his own race in third and Alex Harding bottlenecked the rest of the field into a tightly bound train all the way to the flag. When it dropped, every driver was still in exactly the same position as where they qualified. It really was the first time in Sutton's racing history that not a single pass was made. So congratulations Tom on winning the most boring race in Sutton history.
Fastest Lap: Kallum Jones - 39.177
If the first race was a bore fest, then the second race certainly made up for it. Before I get into the swing of it, might I just take this moment to say a shout out to young Kai Rose, who did absolutely brilliantly in group one. His debut in the top flight, not only did he show great pace but he really held his own, even leading the race and then holding second for a large portion of it. He raced with us like he had been doing it for years! Definitely my outstanding performer of the night.
The start got off to it's usual foray into the first few corners, Alex got left on the outside of the loop by Isaac when his passing attempt failed to come off at the hairpin. This allowed Jamie to slip underneath at the loop and Kallum to get alongside. Side by side they raced up to the final corner but as they went through Kallum couldn't get the kart to stick as much as he liked and washed wide, pushing Alex onto the grass. It lost Alex a lot of places, but as this race panned out he would have ample time and opportunity to recover.
A few laps later Kai went side by side with Russell through the Lightbulb corner, backing out and then cutting back on the inside out of the kink as Russell went wide. This also allowed Lawrance and Isaac to pass too but Russell wasn't going to give up the fight. During the ruckus that continued on the next lap, Russell was on the outside again through the Lightbulb with Jamie trying to exploit the small gap on the inside, however as Russell turned in for the Switch he was a little too close to Isaac who was just ahead of him and as his kart slid out from the more acute angle, he made small contact. Jamie seen that coming all day long and backed off, then similarly to Kai undercut them both on the exit, completing the pass on Isaac into the hairpin.
Soon after, the lead changed hands when Lawrence made a pass on Kai, and as he fought hard to defend and retain his newly gained lead, the entire field became really tightly bunched. Connor was holding station right behind them and Jamie couldn't find a way past. By this point, the light had faded drastically and the tinted visor which had been so helpful against the low sun during the first race was now like a blindfold, and I had to race the rest of the way with my visor up!!
The next 10 laps were some of the closest racing I've ever experienced. The whole gird had compressed to within inches of each other, but what was most outstanding was just how clean the driving was. Despite being fractions apart, I never heard one complaint of any significant touches. Absolutely awesome standard of driving by the entire group one field.
This was how it should be done, this was Sutton racing at it's finest. Tom tried a pop up the inside at the hairpin on Jamie but his experience had taught him to take into account Connor's turn in, so he wisely broke earlier so he didn't cross Connor's line and cause an accident. It meant that Jamie was able to hold him off around the outside, but it made for a great spectacle. Everyone was braking right on point, making allowances for the karts around them, not making any rash moves across the track or any do or die dives into the braking zones. What a race to be involved in!
Eventually a gap opened up as Connor made a small error through the final corner, allowing a couple of kart lengths of space to emerge in front of him. He covered off the inside line well into the first corner, but on the approach to the hairpin Jamie got underneath out of the kink and nailed a clean pass. Tom followed him through. Jamie then set the fastest lap of the race, only a hundredth faster than Tom! A hundredth that could make a huge impact on the championship.
Now it was on, moves started being made. It was the penultimate lap and next up was Kai. I actually can't remember whether I got him into T1 or the hairpin, but again Tom followed me through. Then there was one lap left and still nobody had any idea who was going to win. Lawrance had a very minor lead, driving as hard as he dared. Could he hang onto it? Jamie was a little too far back at T1 but Lawrance had broke early, the pass was on if he had made a lunge up the inside. Nevermind, we'll get him at the hairpin. He was right on his rear bumper through the Lightbulb and it looked like he had nailed a good exit, but Lawrance just managed to stretch the distance up to the hairpin and with Tom breathing down his neck, Jamie didn't want to make any rash dives in case it all went wrong and Tom stole the win. They rounded the final corner and the flag dropped. Lawrance had won.
Pumping his arms in the air before falling back in his seat in relieved jubilation, Lawrance had taken his first ever Group one win! It had been a long time coming, but in no better race could he have achieved it. In my mind, this race was an example for all to follow...
Fastest Lap: Jamie - 39.3something.