by Jamie Wesson
Wednesday Championship Round 9 - Part two
"That's a lot of karts to pass" Jamie said to Tom as they sat staring at the long line of karts that stretched the entire length of the pit lane in front of them. It had been a while since the championship had experienced such a full grid, and making their way through them after starting at the back following the reversed grid was all the two championship rivals were thinking about. It was, in all honesty, the last thing they needed this close to the end of a long championship fight.
The story of race two is a chaotic one, with all drivers being out of position the faster guys would push up to the slower drivers in front, and when things become congested in such a way on track, drama is certain to happen. However, the main theme of this race was the progress of Jam Wesson and Tom Kitchener, and in the midst of their championship showdown, they each pulled off a drive that would see the two level on points going into the final round.
The race began and instantly, due to the greasy conditions, several drivers went wide through the Lightbulb. Todd White nearly lost his lead to Tom L and at the back, Kallum Jones, Alex Harding and Leon Dixon grappled with their karts as Tom Kitchener tucked inside, and then held his line around the outside of the Switch.
It was 3 wide as the pack entered the hairpin, and things got a bit too tight. Jake Dixon made a mistake on entry, Martin Taylor slipped underneath and before Jake could rescue the kart back onto the apex he was tapped by Leon who had made an early turn in resulting in him being half spun round. It was a domino effect, as a small tap from Kallum may have been what caused Leon to slide into Jake. Either way, Kallum was the biggest loser, being stuck on the apex, while Leon managed to slip away and Jamie had to take evasive action round the outside along with Alex and Tom.
Positions began swapping again on the back straight as Leon had to tuck in behind Lawrance, Alex and Tom. But then, Alex got a whopp of oversteer on the exit of the loop, allowing Leon and then Jamie to drive past him. He raised his hand in protest, had he been touched by Tom who was in the kart behind?
Tom and Leon then went sailing up the inside of Lawrance through the last corner, but as they went into turn one at the end of the straight, both Leon and Lawrance went sliding outward like dogs on ice. Leon went straight through the gap in the barriers and onto the grass and a resurgent Jake Dixon seemed to come out of nowhere, finding some grip to pass both Jamie and Lawrance on the exit.
Leon rejoined the track at the Lightbulb on the outside of Lawrance, and Kallum seemed to find some nice grip on the inner most line to pass Jamie and launch himself to the inside of Lawrance. The three went side by side into the Switch but there wasn't enough room. Leon was caught in a pinch as he was squeezed into the inside barriers. He only made light contact, but it was enough to lose him a lot of momentum and allow Jamie to jump ahead, who would then pass Lawrence immediately after using the inside line at the hairpin. Jamie had lost 2 places and then gained 2 places in the space of 4 corners.
Meanwhile, this little sequence of events had allowed Tom to break away, who had quickly passed Martin Taylor into the hairpin for what I think was fourth. Kallum went wheel to wheel on the inside of Jake into the Lightbulb following a mistake from the latter at Turn one, he seemed to be struggling to find that grip he used to pass 2 karts there earlier on. As they caught up to Martin, Jamie joined the back of them to make it a party of four.
Jake came right back at Kallum using the inside of the last corner, but yet another mistake from him at turn one saw him slide straight into Martin as he tried to grab an early apex. Jake ricocheted off and continued on his way, with Kallum and Jamie using Martin's misfortune to clear him as well. While this was happening, Tom had got the inside line on Kai Rose into the Lightbulb and passed him.
Jamie then found a sweet spot turning in for the hairpin and passed Kallum as he went wide, but he was still a fair distance behind Tom, who was now fighting with the other Tom for second place. He would take the position a lap later at the pin, Just as Jamie passed Jake when the latter got a smack of oversteer that threw him out wide at the Lightbulb.
Kai made a mistake a few meters behind Tom into the pin, nearly losing the kart as he locked his rears and hastily applied some opposite lock. The mistake meant he was closed down by Jamie quickly, but he maintained good pace and held his own, keeping Jamie behind for another couple of laps.
By now, the rain was starting to fall as a light shower sprinkled itself across the circuit. Perhaps this resulted in Todd making an error at the Lightbulb, going far too wide and allowing Tom to pass him for the race lead using the grippier inside line. It may have caught Kai out too, who ran a little wide on the exit of the loop, being subsequently passed by Jamie who got a great drive out of the long right hander.
Jamie had to focus on getting himself up to second. Tom would likely be unmatchable now he was in the lead and had clean air, a hunch that would prove correct as Tom set the fastest lap of the race. Todd made the same mistake as Kai in the exact same place and was passed in the exact same way by Tom L, out of the loop and on to the back straight. Jamie soon caught them, and passed Todd on the inside at the Lightbulb and nearly passed Tom a couple of corners later at the pin when he lost the rear on entry. Jamie drew level with him on the exit, but there was no passing around the outside of the loop today.
The move for second would eventually be made on the exit of turn one instead, when Tom went a bit too wide from taking too acute an angle, and let Jamie get on his inside on the approach to the Lightbulb. Jamie simply kept it neat, and drove ahead through the horseshoe shaped corner.
And this would pretty much be the story of the race. It was drives like this from Tom and Jamie, making their way cleanly to the front where everyone else hit obstacles throughout the race, that are probably the reason why one of them will be champion of this series. I'm sure there was plenty more that went off behind me, but to avoid turning this report into a novel length essay, I think I've already covered enough. You can view the video to this race below. With Tom's fastest laps and the 1-2 finish in both races for Wednesday's championship contenders, it's all square heading into the last round. It's amazing how we've arrived at the point after 18 races, where the whole series will be decided in just two. I'll see you there.
Fastest Lap:Tom Kitchener - 45.781
I apologise that there will not be a group two write up for this round. With everything that was going on and the massive grid sizes I just could not keep up and keep tabs on both groups. The final round is on the 16th of December.