by Jamie Wesson
Team 175 Race Review - Round 3
With the third rounds reschedulement after heavy rain caused the original date to be called off, coupled with the unfamiliar anti-clockwise direction, I wasn't sure how popular the night would be. But to my pleasant surprise, we had a full 8 team turnout, and a race on our hands...
Kart 1: Neil Graham & Andrew Strike
Kart 2: Lee Hammond & Tom Kitchener
Kart 3: Andy Summers & Neil Summers
Kart 5: Ian Noddy Noden & Oliver Warner
Kart 6: Stewart Dee & Noah Timmington
Kart 10: Todd White & Jam Wesson
Kart 9: Jon Brown & David Brown
Kart 4: Pete Adams & Ken Oldham
The conditions were perfect as the drivers exited the pits for qualifying. Yet again however, the coin toss determined it would be a reverse grid. If this pattern keeps up, I think cruising around for a 55 second lap time might bag a front of pack start. Jon Brown showed his class by notching a superb 40.619, one of the fastest laps the night would see, after only 5 tours of the circuit at the start of the evening. It would mean though he would start at the back, with Tom and Jamie just in front of him, and Neil Graham lining up ahead of them after a stunning effort from his team mate Andrew to notch the 4th fastest time, who had in actual fact never driven this direction before in these conditions.
The race started with it's usual frantic activity, the back of the field getting bunched up at the hairpin as Neil found himself in a rare 5 kart sandwich. A baptism of fire is the only way of initiation at Sutton Circuit. No places were made though despite all drivers getting a different run out of the corner.
As the first lap came to a close, Jamie and Jon hugged the right hand edge of the straight to indicate they were coming in. As they pitted together to make their mandatory stops, Jamie rounded the curve at the end of the pit lane and Jon stopped immediately after it. Accelerating away and stopping again didn't help Jamie's stop-go time, neither did the fact he struggled to get out of the kart and had to hit the brakes again to stop it rolling away. By the time he had done a complete tour of his kart Jon was already back in and away, executing the perfect run around as he held on to the steering wheel and used his upper body and shoulders as a pivot for his legs to circle the kart.
By the time the two were back up to speed again Jamie was a full 8 or 9 kart lengths behind. Somehow, he managed to stay ahead of Tom who completed his stop of the second lap. The hunt was on.
It took a couple of laps for Jamie to shake Tom off his tail, but then he slowly began the reel Jon in, setting fastest laps in the process. He caught him just at a ripe moment when the two were heading down the main straight and popped her to the inside for turn one. Jon was surprised, but held on around the outside. The two charged side by side down the back straight, with Jamie having the inside line for the loop. Once out of the hairpin, Jon hugged the inside in order to try and get the shortest route into the kink. It also made the angle of the corner too acute, and Jamie left room as he swooped around the outside and maintained the advantage.
A titanic battle had begun. Back at turn one and Jamie defended the inside line, finding Jon impossible to shake off. However, the fast sweeping left-hander lends itself to an undercut and Jon did exactly that. Once again they were alongside, with Jon just creeping his nose up the inside as they approached the loop. Jamie turned in late to allow some room and held the outside line. Defending into the pin, he had to keep to the corner really tight to block the undercut on the exit.
The battle would continue in similar vain until the first round of pit stops approached, Andy Summers making his mandatory run around stop shortly before handing over the reins to his father Neil. Jamie called for two more laps as he tried to sync his and Todd's pit stop with the Browns, hoping to block them out in the pitlane.
Bruno was wise to it however, standing on the opposite side of the driver change lane when Jamie and Jon boxed. Once again, Jamie was a little slow in getting out of the kart and they were beat to the punch by the Browns, who narrowly got the quicker exit and jumped ahead as Bruno & Todd rejoined the track. The number 10 team would have to do all that hard work again.
Todd remained on Bruno's bumper the whole stint, refusing to let him get away and lapping quicker on a couple of occasions. Someone who really was making a move though was Stewart Dee, who was putting in a right shift after taking over from Noah. He was catching the leading two throughout the stint before boxing again at the next set of stops.
Jamie & Todd tried to buy an undercut by pitting a lap early, but a rough out lap meant Jamie gained no time and Jon emerged with the lead still intact.
They did however rejoin the track right behind Andy Summers and Pete Adams. Jamie tried another dive up the inside into turn one like he did in the first stint but this time Jon turned in to cover him off. Small contact was made, with Jamie touching Jon and the latter rubbing against Pete, both getting wild oversteer mid corner and being extremely fortunate to hold it from spinning out.
Unable to carry maximum cornering speed through the loop, Pete almost made Jon think about switching out to the right. the half-hearted hesitation enabled Jamie to duck underneath on the racing line but as they entered the hairpin Pete locked his brakes and spun out. Jamie had to go around the outside and Jon simply barged the blockade which had formed in front of him out of the way. I still don't know how he managed to get out of the corner with the momentum he did after that, but he immediately covered the inside line to deny Jamie a way past.
Andy Summers then moved aside and let the two race leaders pass down the back straight on the next lap. Jon had a shabby exit out of the last corner, but Jamie could make no better of it either. Jon went defensive into T1 but nailing a sweet undercut Jamie got the inside line down the back straight into the loop, forcing Jon wide and moving the 10 kart back into the lead.
The crucial factor in finishing the duel came in the form of a back marker whom Jamie managed to pass relatively easily down the main straight, but whom didn't make it quite so easy for Jon who got held up and lost time. Jamie could now get some clean air and pound in the lap times, extending his lead to a significant margin. He too lost about a second and a half attempting to pass a lapped kart further up the road, I think it may have been Noah, but by this point the time loss was inconsequential.
Jamie & Todd pulled off their best pit stop yet on the final try and once things had settled again in the final stint, Todd was a half lap ahead of his rival. To make matters worse for Bruno, Stewart Dee not only caught up this time but passed him with a better exit out of turn one. Sadly, it wasn't for position. As Todd crossed the line to take the flag, Lee Hammond made a move into the final corner on the last lap that was for position, assertively passing Ollie Warner and Stealing the final podium position by just 1 second!
It had been a great race, and no less impressive was the performance of first time championship runners Andrew Strike and Neil Graham, whom making their debut on the anti clockwise layout showed some inherent talent. They finished a fantastic 5th place ahead of the seasoned Summers pairing who shared the same first names. Stewart and Noah were 7th with Ken and Pete rounding out the results.
1st: Jamie & Todd
2nd: Jon & Bruno
3rd: Lee & Tom
4th: Ollie & Ian
5th: Andrew & Neil
6th: Neil & Andy
7th: Stewart & Noah
8th: Pete & Ken
Fastest Lap: Jamie - 40.655
My Anti-clockwise Camera jinx struck once again and I was unable to capture any footage of the awesome battle I had with Jon. Turns out I didn't hold down the power button long enough...
So it looks like the practice session from last month is still the only footage I have driving Anti-clockwise. But I hope I did a good enough job of describing the action for you.