by Jamie Wesson
Wednesday Championship Round 9 - Part one
As we head into winter and draw ever closer to the conclusion of this championship, the likelihood of wet conditions on the dark, cold race nights becomes ever more increased. It was no different for round 9, and while the rain held off for the most part of the evening, the track was still damp and slippery.
The two championship rivals locked out the first two grid slots, with Jam Wesson inching out Tom Kitchener by the narrowest of margins. Alex Harding was just behind them in third with newcomer Leon Dixon lining up an excellent 4th. Martin Taylor, Kallum Jones, Lawrance Remington, Todd White, Jake Dixon, Kai Rose and Tom L all made the cut to take up seats in the mammoth 11 kart Group one.
The race began and instantly the two championship leaders broke away from the rest of the pack, showing why they were currently at the top of the standings. While Jamie tried to keep it smooth and on track, Tom was attacking and looking for a way past. There were a couple of moments at the hairpin where Tom tried to literally slide his way in front, but they were thwarted by Jamie getting a better exit out the corner from the optimum wet line.
Tom also tried going for the dry line through turns one and five, but again Jamie had the drive off the exit and Tom couldn't push the kart enough off the apex without the risk of sliding straight into Jamie and causing a collision. Sadly, things took a turn for the worst in Tom's attack and the fight for the lead came to an early end. Pushing the limit right on Jamie's bumper down the back straight, he hit the brakes a little too late into the final corner, locked up, narrowly missed collecting Jamie on turn in and went straight off into the grass. Jamie looked back in amazement to see nobody there. But remarkably, despite only around 6 laps into the race, Tom was still able to rejoin in second place.
There had been all sorts of action kicking off behind them, most of it courtesy of Kallum Jones. On the opening lap, he got closed on by Martin at the hairpin, made contact and spun the latter round. He then tried to find some grip on the outer wet line through the loop, but the inside was dry enough and in doing so, he was passed by Lawrance. He would however, get the place back at the final corner.
It was then on to third and fourth where Alex and Leon were having a heated battle. First, Kallum passed Leon down the back straight as the latter got a bit crossed up on the exit of the loop, and then he managed to find some purchase from the tarmac on the inside of the last corner to move himself ahead of Alex. But by the time Tom had made his way back on to the circuit, there was still a few seconds gap that Kallum had to hunt down for second place. Tom however, would set the fastest lap of the race, thus sealing Kallum into third position.
There was plenty more action to be seen further down the grid but with all that was going on I couldn't quite take note of it all. Todd slid down the order from his 8th place start to the back of the pack, struggling with his kart in the tricky conditions, and Kai Rose was having a few stabs at taking Todd's 8th place from Martin Taylor. However, in the tricky conditions the first race ended with a calm tone, one that would be replaced by a storm in race two...
Fastest Lap: Tom Kitchener - 47.114