by Jamie Wesson
Wednesday Night Championship Round 8 (Group Two)
The head of the group two field had been locked out in qualifying by two young starlets in Kai Rose and Jack Warren, and the first race saw the two of them in a tight battle for the lead. Behind them, the rest of the field was quite tightly bunched.
However there was one other young gun making moves that would see the first race finish up with a very youthful podium. More on that later... Todd White had started in an excellent third position, but he was struggling with his seat position in the number 3 kart. Trying to adjust it mid race can be a bit of a kerfuffle, and very distracting. Todd unfortunately paid for having his attention turned elsewhere by being passed by Mark Bates.
Championship newcomer Jacky Lui was finding his feet during his first competitive race at Sutton. His experience racing in China and Japan showed through, as he wasn't doing a bad job of holding his own against some of our more experienced drivers at all. However he put slight wheel wrong when he turned in too early for the hairpin and made contact with the cone. His debut met an unceremonious end when he had to come in for a drive through penalty. He would make up for this in race two though...
Richard Warren and Mike Waterfield were holding station, keeping each others lap times in check down in 6th and 7th. Meanwhile, the young gun I mentioned earlier began to make his moves. Isaac Raine first passed Todd into T1, and then hunted down Mark for third. He dutifully took the place at the hairpin and his pace was looking good, setting the fastest laps of the race. He was reeling in the front two, but the next time I looked out the window he had dropped back quite a bit. He did tell me the reason why but I forgot to write t down, I think he may have a small spin, probably the result of pushing so hard. Either way, Kai, Jack and Isaac made for a fantastic top three finish.
Fastest Lap: Isaac - 39.602
At my bequest, we have some excellent video footage from onboard Todd White for the second race, which you can view below. He hadn't attached the camera for the first race due to believing the poor lighting conditions wouldn't make for very good viewing, but after giving him a slap, I think this second race turned out rather well. Any viewing angle is an advantage when writing these reports!
Of course, it doesn't help me see what's happening behind, but along with my notes, hopefully we can piece together the story of this race. It started early with a move from Isaac up the inside of Mark into the hairpin. Kai also tried to take advantage of this move by driving into the exposed gap at the apex himself, but unfortunately he was only able to draw alongside Mark and was left on the outskirts for the loop, allowing Jack Warren to retake the position he had lost to Kai at the beginning.
Richard Warren was doing well to hold off Todd as Mike Waterfield battled hard to stay on the back of race leader Jacky. Both myself and Jack know how difficult it is driving with a tinted visor in the dark, but Jacky gave us some reasonable evidence on the night that he has x-ray vision, racing the whole way with a completely closed semi tinted visor. In my opinion, this was an achievement in itself!
Isaac was pushed onto the grass at the exit of the pin, Kai had tried a move up the inside of Jack but overshot a little and made contact with Isaac as the latter was turning in. Thankfully it didn't result in a spin, but it would have taken a couple of corners to dissipate the moist grass residue from his tyres. By this point, I believe Mark had re-passed Isaac.
Todd had been pressuring Richard hard for almost the entire first half of the race, trying to get his nose alongside into the braking zones, or by using an undercut on the exits. Richards braking had become increasingly more erratic, he was missing a few apex's and going ever deeper into T1 on every lap. Eventually, this growing issue bit him fatally, when he went too deep into turn one and careered head long into the barriers. A comical thud can be heard at 6:23 on Todd's video.
Todd was now under threat for that newly gained third place from Mark Bates. After causing Todd to look over his shoulder and getting a good run out the final corner, Mark drew side by side with Todd as they flew down the main straight. In what I can only describe as 4 passes being made simultaneously, Mark got ahead of Todd into T1 but had to apply massive amounts of opposite lock at the apex, allowing Isaac to undercut him and skip ahead of them both on the exit, while Jack undercut Todd who had lost momentum trying to avoid Mark's wayward rear end. Moments like this are exactly why Todd's footage is so useful! )see 7:00 mins in on the video.)
The situation further deteriorated for Todd one corner later, as he was still on the left side of Jack heading into the Lightbulb and was thus stranded in no mans land, allowing Kai to also move ahead on the inside. So behind Jacky and Mike who were now way out in front, we had Isaac, Mark, Jack, Kai and Todd, with Richard just a little further back, recovering from that earlier incident.
Todd attempted to come back at Kai into the pin, but the youngster seen it all the way, gave some breathing space and then just drove away around the outside. Isaac pulled away and the four behind him sort of split into two battling pairs, Mark and Jack followed by Kai and Todd. Sadly, it doesn't seem any more moves were made, but it was great race. Jacky Lui did a solid job to hold off Mike and take a race win on his inaugural night of the Wednesday Night Championship.
Fastest Lap: Isaac again but I didn't record the time.
You can watch the video here.