by Jamie Wesson
2015 Team 175 Round Three Review
There was a full grid of teams out in force once again at Sutton circuit for the latest instalment of the Team 175 series. Thank you to everyone who came to support the event, it was a brilliant race with battles up and down the field. So the teams were:
Kart 1: Ian Noddy Noden & Neil Summers
Kart 2: Ian Williams & Ash Steventon
Kart 4: Jake Chilton & James Hanessy
Kart 5: Jam Wesson & Bryan White
Kart 6: Don Bowen & Sean Cassidy
Kart 7: Luke Hornsby & Karl Spencer
Kart 8: Kurt Partridge & Dave Windridge
Kart 9: Alex Haydon Williams & Andy Summers
Kart 10: Richard Warren & Jack Warren
Kart 11: Sam Foster & David Foster
With such a great line up, everyone knew it was going to be a fascinating race and all attentions were quickly turned to Qualifying. The track was slow that morning, with nobody going sub 40 seconds, but it didn't take long for the first headline to emerge as Don Bowen slotted the number 6 kart on pole ahead of team 9 and team 5. It was a quality lap from the Red Baron.
There was so much going on in the race that I apologise in advance if I don't mention all of it, I'm sure every team had their own story to tell. But what I do know is that Don led the way at the start of the race, holding his lead well with Andy in the number 9 kart not being able to close in enough to make any passing attempt. Behind the front two, Bryan was under pressure from Kurt and Jack Warren. The latter half of the field all got their mandatory run around pit stops out the way early and it wasn't long before Kurt decided to join them, however he got jumped by the number 2 kart after he emerged.
Meanwhile Jack was being more persistent and decided to have a go at passing Bryan. He pulled out of the draft into the braking zone for T1 and sent one sailing down the inside. However the experienced head of Bryan decided to brake later too and despite small contact mid corner, managed to hold Jack off around the outside.
Kurt was still trying to get past the number 2 kart, I'm not sure who was on board during this stint, but Kurt tried to make a move at the inside of the hairpin. Unfortunately for him, it failed. He couldn't get alongside enough to slot himself ahead and was left on the outside for the following right hand loop. Jack however, had much more success. He tried once again to attack Bryan into T1 and this time made the move stick with a brilliant late on the brakes move. He then very slowly began to inch away ahead of Bryan, and now running in third he was putting in a brilliant drive.
Back at the front the fight for the lead was beginning to intensify as Andy increased the pressure on Don. Andy sold Don a textbook dummy as they headed down the main straight, causing Don to move left onto the racing line and leave a gap for Andy to drop in to. Getting the brakes to the edge of their locking point, Andy slithered down the inside and took the place, and the lead.
The first stint was drawing to a close, and Noddy finally put a move on kart 4, who he had been stuck behind for a number of laps. Meanwhile, Bryan signalled to his team-mate Jamie, but the communication was misunderstood. It would cost them the race. Bryan was trying to tell Jamie that he was going to do the run around, but Jamie read it as a either a call to make a pit stop as soon as the window opened or Bryan telling him that he should do the run around. Jamie dashed inside to check the time. The window wasn't quite open yet, and Bryan was in clean air, so he must have signalled for him to do it. They made a quick driver change a few moments later, with Bryan not reiterating the message as they hopped in and out of the kart in the pit lane. Jamie set off and was immediately caught behind the battling karts 2 and 11. This was it. If there was ever a wise moment to make the mandatory stop-go it was now. He pulled in the very next lap and sprinted around the kart. It was a good one, with the only problem being... Bryan had already done it.
What Bryan had actually meant by the signal was that he had done the stop-go, and so Jamie's was completely unnecessary. It would cost them 20 seconds in the race. After Jamie emerged, he passed Neil Summers down at the pin and charged after the staggered traffic ahead of him. Alex Williams, who had taken over the lead kart from Andy Summers, also found himself in a mix of karts he would have preferred not to be in. He decided to rectify the situation by taking his drive through. Jamie had to pick his way through them, with Kart 4 moving aside nicely as its driver made a huge lock up into the first corner and went straight off onto the grass. Finally Jamie got some space when he passed Dave Windridge down into T1.
The third quarter of the race was either quiet on the action front, or I missed it. With the latter being the most probable, the final results came down to what played out in the final stint. It was a race to the finish, with Alex leading the race a quarter of a lap in front of Sean Cassidy, who was a further quarter of a lap in front of Jamie in third. Alex however was stuck in huge amounts of traffic and Sean was struggling for pace. Jamie was catching them both. Those gaps were coming down fast!
Down the main straight and Jamie lined up Sean, sailing down the inside into the first corner. Sean made an excellent cut back manoeuvre in defence of his position though, and had his nose up the inside as they headed into the Lightbulb. Jamie had to yield and try again at the hairpin, this time taking the place beyond any doubt.
The gap to the front seemed insurmountable, but Jamie kept pushing. Then, by some strange error on behalf of the marshals, the red light came on! Jamie and Karl Spencer were caught by surprise as a waving Neil Summers got hard on the brakes down the main straight, coming to a near stop and causing Jamie and Karl to dive either side to avoid ploughing into him! But with the marshals not waving any flags, several drivers clocked on to the fact it may be a mistake and kept pushing. The confusion continued around the rest of the lap, with Jamie undercutting Karl as he hesitated to pass an uncertain kart 11. I'm guessing the marshals had meant to initiate the yellow lights. Eventually, the beacons did clear and the chequered flag dropped, but it was a bizarre end to the race. Alex and Andy had taken the win by 14 seconds. Ian and Ash put in a stellar performance to come home 4th and Richard and Jack collected a solid 6th place, after having led part of the race due to them being the last to make their stop-go. As for Jamie and Bryan, they were left wondering what might have been had they not made that extra 20 second stop.
Andy & Alex
Jamie & Bryan
Don & Sean
Ian & Ash
Kurt & Dave
Richard & Jack
Luke & Karl
Sam & David
Noddy & Neil
Jake & James
Fastest Lap: Don Bowen - 40.094