by Jamie Wesson
Team 175 Round 6 Review
With three people still in the running to win the Team championship, Jon & David Brown paired up once again to try and overcome current championship leader Jam Wesson, who was this time paired with Ken Oldham. It was simple really, providing both teams finished in the top 2 then whoever won the race, won the championship. However, there was a spanner thrown into the works on the day, in the form of one of this years best pairings: Andy Summers & Alex Haydon Williams. They qualified on pole, and even though the grid was reversed for the start of the race, it was clearly evident they were fast!
The conditions on the morning were not ideal. It was raining, as usual, but that wasn't the biggest issue. The wind was so strong it was able to blow the safety barriers across the track mid race! The drivers could feel themselves getting hammered by the strong cross wind as they came out the loop, but thankfully the karts are heavy, low to the ground and aerodynamic enough to not be fazed too much by the powerful gusts.
Andy seemed to find something else in these tricky conditions. Using a nice touch to dance his way through the corners he was over half a second faster than anyone else at some stages. He was quick out the blocks, and may have cheekily overtook at the first corner, something which is against the rules at a race start, but I must admit I only saw him pass people out of the corner, which would be fine if the karts in front had made a mistake. Either way, in what seemed like the blink on an eye, he had passed everyone and was in the lead of the race.
Jon Brown and Jacky Liu, who had teamed with Sean Cassidy in the absence of Don, made their mandatory run around pit stop immediately. Jon would deal a blow to the championship rival team when he caught and passed Ken, meaning they were now a over a full pit stop ahead. It unfolded when Jon made a move for the apex at the hairpin. He squirmed his kart around in the slippery conditions to get it facing the right way just as Ken came back at him with a slingshot off the corner pocket. The inside line yielded some grip though, and all Jon had to do was hold Ken off round the long right hand loop until they got on to the back straight. He did so, and duly disappeared up the road.
Jacky had never driven in these kind of conditions at this circuit before, and was struggling. Soon after his pit stop, he was off at turn one.
Jacky was joined in the turn one adventurers club by Jack Warren, who followed suit a few laps later by making his own error into Sutton's hardest braking zone. It was so easy to be caught out. Kurt Partridge boxed for his compulsory run around and then it was time for the driver changes.
I didn't take note of much of the action beyond this point as the field became quite spread out. Jamie emerged on to the track and after 5 or 6 laps, was closing in on Alex Williams, now a lap ahead, and either Dave Windridge or Richard Warren in front of him, I couldn't quite see which. Instead of tangling with them, Jamie decided to get his run around pit stop out the way.
As he continued with his stint, the yellow lights flashed away on the approach to Turn one. The Adventurers club had a new member it seemed. It was Sean Cassidy. He had got on the brakes in the usual manner but somehow locked up. With the kart, as he described it, increasing in speed as it slid across the greasy tarmac, he pinged it sideways in an effort to get it slowed down. It didn't work. Straight into the green stuff he went in a spectacular off. He slowly made he way back on track just after Jamie went through the yellow zoned first corner.
The following stints played out relatively uneventfully, however David Brown was proving mighty quick in these conditions, setting a lap time even faster than his lighter team-mate Jon. However, as the last stint came around, and Jamie got back in the kart for the final time, he found that the inside lines of the Lightbulb, and in particular the Loop, had been cleared of standing water enough by the strong winds to yield a bit of grip. Grip which turned out to be nearly a half second faster!
Jon had been experimenting with the inside line of the Lightbulb earlier in the race, but during his stints I'm not sure it yielded much benefit. But come the end of the race, when the rain had held off for it's longest period, it was the line to be on. The inside of the loop though was even better, and Jamie used it to pass both Alex Williams and Dave Windridge in one go! On the final lap, he used it to great effect again to leap frog ahead of David Brown and complete the pass on the inside of the last corner. It was grippier there too, a discovery he wished he had made earlier, as he crossed the line with the flag waving to set the mornings fastest lap.
There was still this issue of resolving the championship though. That final pass wasn't for position, as Jamie's team were a lap down. Neither Championship contenders had won the race, and Jon & David had done enough by finishing second to keep themselves in it. When the scores were reviewed afterwards, all three of them had finished dead level on points. And when I say level, I mean EXACTLY level! Two first places, two second places and two fastest laps each. The championship couldn't be decided like this. There would have to be another round...
And so it is then, that the Team 175 Championship is not over! It will go to a Christmas special shoot-out round on the 27th of December. All participants are welcome, and while the championship can only be won by the three contenders, There will be one more shot to take some spoils away and throw another spanner in the works in what has been a magnificent championship.
I hope to see you there.
1st; Andy & Alex
2nd; Jon & David
3rd; Jamie & Ken
4th; Kurt & Dave
5th; Sean & Jacky
6th; Richard & Jack
Fastest Lap: Jamie - 49.5