by Jamie Wesson
2015 Wednesday Championship Round 7 Review (Group 2)
My notes are a little disjointed on this race, so forgive me if the story of the action is a little less cohesive than usual.
Carl Orton made his Wednesday night debut and did a great job to qualify in group two. He lost out a little at T1 at the start of the race but would fight back later on. Mark Bates led the opening period of the race, until the lead changed hands thanks to Todd White who made a nice move to pass down into the first turn, with Mark getting a bit sideways mid corner as he tried to hold his line.
Alex Haydon Williams was soon on the back of the lead fight while Mike Waterfield and Andy Hodson were locked in a decent battle just behind. It was looking like it could be a 5 kart scrap for the win.
Alex saw an opportunity to take second as they charged down the main straight and popped to the inside for the braking zone at T1, however he couldn't quite make the move stick as Mark fairly left some breathing space at the apex. Despite Mark's great defending, he was only able to hold on for another lap as Alex finally completed the move the next time they entered the first turn.
Andy and Mike's battle was heating up and Andy tried to make a move into the hairpin, however he tried to squeeze through a gap that was too small and small contact with Mike was made. They both recovered without too much loss though and continued on their way.
Jack and Richard Warren along with Carl then tagged onto the back of Mike and Andy, and instead of a 5-way for the lead, it was now a 5 way just to hang onto fourth. It was a tight battle, but Andy finally came through with a splendid move on Mike into T1. Getting late on the brakes and running fine lines in terms of space, he had to kick the back end out mid corner to get the kart rotated for the exit. It was a neat piece of driving.
Carl was then involved in a bit of action of his own. During the tight racing he hit Jack and spun him round into the hairpin, perhaps through a moment of inexperience. A couple of laps later he went side by side with Richard Warren through the kink, with Richard getting forced wide and onto the grass. This allowed Jack to catch back up and on the last lap in a final effort to salvage some points, Jack had no qualms about trying a dive on his dad up the inside into the hairpin, but the move didn't come off smoothly and Richard ended up facing backwards.
Todd had kept his nose clean all race though and even when the threat of Alex catching him emerged after the latter got past Mark, he kept his head down, had good pace, and managed the gap all the way to the flag.
Todd's onboard video link:
The lighting conditions were now completely different than race one, with it being completely dark. This presented a problem to Jack, who like Jam Wesson in the first race, had wore a tinted visor. The light gave Jamie another problem, in the fact that he had failed to make any comprehensive notes for this race and has decided to watch back Todd's video footage, only to realise the darkness makes it nearly impossible to see anything ahead. Nevertheless, we shall venture forth...
The action started early with Andy H nailing yet another move on Mike, this time without any significant contact into the hairpin. Mark tried to take advantage with an undercut, but was caught on the outside round the loop and passed by Alex.
He attempted to fight back though, going wheel to wheel with Alex into the first corner but getting all wishy washy through the middle, allowing Todd to undercut and get ahead of him on the exit. Out in front, Richard and Jack had also shared a bit of side by side action into T1, with Jack taking over the lead.
Into the hairpin there was big moment when Andy clattered into Carl, spinning him round and nearly causing a pile up of the karts behind. Alex profited, jumping ahead of Mike as the latter was caught out by the now stationary karts, and Todd was repassed by Mark as the former narrowly avoided joining the accident.
Andy recovered quickly, getting alongside Todd through the loop as he struggled to pick his momentum back up. the two went wheel to wheel down the back straight, through the final corner, and head long down the main straight into T1. Todd just managed to hang onto the place.
He had to continue to defend hard though, but even that wasn't enough when Andy pulled off a miraculous move around the outside into T1. This was the second time on the night he had plucked one out of the top drawer, but this second pass was a stunner.
Alex had managed to pull himself a gap in third as Mike and Mark continued to squabble. He was soon on the tail of Jack and Richard, who had been enjoying a great battle between themselves for the lead. However, Richard then attempted a pass on Jack at the Pin, but went a little too deep and washed them both wide. Alex pounced, nailed an undercut and jumped ahead of them both. Jack had lost the lead, but he regained second place a lap later with a repass on his dad into the hairpin.
Mark finally nailed a pass into the hairpin himself, moving ahead of Mike who was then instantly seized upon by Andy. Going wheel to wheel through the loop, Mike gave no quarter on the exit and Andy found himself rallying across the grass! He made it abundantly clear as he drove past the marshal's box that he wasn't happy with that piece of driving.
Now I strained my eyes looking for any clue of what happened in this next part. The gap to the lead trio had reduced and it seems Mark put a move on Richard into T1, However some contact might have been made as the next thing I see is Richard facing backwards amongst the barriers. He was easy prey for Mike, but barely managed to stay ahead of Andy.
Mark then placed himself into second by passing Jack into the pin I believe, while Richard continued to fight to keep his now fifth place. He got a bit ragged on the exit of the pin and Andy drew alongside for the loop, with Todd on his bumper just behind. Somehow they all remained in order as they entered the final turn. Then, as they charged down into T1, Andy had a go down the inside, but locked his brakes at the apex and as the back end flicked round, it slapped Richard's kart on the right rear, sending him once again spinning into the barriers. A massive shame considering he had been holding such a great position for the majority of the race. It had been a roller-coaster night for Andy, with moments of sheer brilliance interlaced with moments of calamity.
Todd wasn't able to take advantage of the incident, and on the next lap the flag waved. A very interesting night of racing in group two, and I hope Carl enjoyed his first experience of it.
Fastest Lap: Mark - 39.753
Todd's onboard video Link: