Auditing Armageddon number one
Another season of Clubman racing and a few notable changes. The most obvious being the promotion of reigning champions JK Rolling and runners up DDMM Barnstormers. The former often ran at the front of the field last year so they are almost certainly going to be a title contender again this year. Shadow Realm Racing are going to be an interesting team to watch if they compete in the full season. They are a bit like a pro-am team with experienced Club100 premier driver (and Sim racer) Steve Brown alongside rookie (but experienced Sim racer and Youtube legend) Jimmy Broadbent. With Broadbent improving every race, they could well spring a few surprises this year.
Of course familiar names returned; Lucid Initiatives, Ballinger Law, Slickspeed, Pixel Pirates and Auditing Armageddon. I’m expecting a serious title challenge from the Armageddon boys this year. They have the ability and the experience behind them so the pressure is on (says me).
Last but not least, SMJ Racing have been demoted from the premier class and I think they will get on much better in the Clubmans. I personally felt they were in the wrong class last year and I’ll be rooting for them to get a few podiums under their belt this year.
So to the racing and a full grid of 34 karts took to the track to qualify. It was a surprise to see JRG take pole position, not just in class but overall. All Torque were second fastest and four places behind them on the overall grid. Shadow Realm were third, JK Rolling fourth and Runtime Exception Racing completing the top five.
Despite losing out to a couple of premier teams on the opening lap, JRG maintained their class lead. Shadow Realm moved up to second and Conman made a great start to move into third. All Torque had a poor opening lap and fell behind JK Rolling.
JRG picked up the pace in the early laps and managed to take the overall lead back from the prem teams. Shadow Realm were, well, shadowing them. JK Rolling opted for an early stop and pitted on lap four.
With a number of different strategies from the top teams, it was quite difficult to see who held the advantage at the end of the first pit window. JK Rolling pitted from second on lap 24, right at the start of the pit window. The reigning inters champions were unsurprisingly showing good pace and were sure to be a threat come the end of the race.
JRG Racing and Shadow Realm were enjoying an epic battle for the lead. Lap 35 saw JRG take the advantage but the two would exchange places several more times over the next few laps. However, JRG cost themselves any chance of a victory with a black flag on lap 50. This dropped them outside of the top ten and left them with a lot of work to do in order to catch up.
With Shadow Realm not out in front, JK Rolling were coming under pressure from Auditing Armageddon. Runtime Exception Racing were only a few seconds further back and looking menacing. Further back and Slickspeed were on course for some good points. Winter is Coming (who certainly didn’t have a pot hunter driving for them called Tim Hill) were showing a good turn of speed and there was some confusion as to where they actually were on track after the timing went down mid race.
Ballinger Law and SMJ Racing were having a battle in the heart of the midfield. There was also a nice little three-way dice going on between Conman, All Torque and Lucid Initiatives.
JK Rolling’s first race as a Clubman team was going well and they were running consistently at the front. As was the case for much of last season, they were right at the sharp end and mixing it with the top premier teams. Auditing Armageddon were having a solid day as well. They are a team I tend to miss during the early part of the race but often end up near the top of the class timesheets. The wiley and experienced team once again continued to bang in the lap times and had managed to move into second place quite comfortably.
Without wanting to put any awful images into your head but something happened when I was in the toilet… not involving anything weird but when I emerged, Shadow Realm had lost the lead. Lap 73 saw what must have been a penalty. I would have investigated earlier but I’m sure a full explanation will be on Jimmy Broadbent’s Youtube channel in a week or so. You should seriously check it out – he’s really quite good.
Anyway, JK Rolling were now leading and Auditing Armageddon were second. Shadow Realm Racing and Slisckspeed were third and fourth. A black flag for Slickspeed for multi-cone molestation was a bit of a setback but it could have been worse.
With only one more pit window to play with, the battle at the front was intensifying as we entered the last twenty minutes of the race. Auditing Armageddon and JK Rolling were, at this point, battling on track for the lead. Auditing Armageddon were the first to pit and this gave JK Rolling some clean air. Runtime Exception Racing were now second but they still had a pit stop to make. They also picked up a black flag at this point, which dropped them right back.
Over the next few laps, the timing screen lit up as all the teams made their finals stops. Once the dust settled, Auditing Armageddon emerged in the lead. JK Rolling tried hard but they simply couldn’t close the gap.
So Auditing Armageddon crossed the line to claim the win and kicked off their 2020 campaign in style. JK Rolling proved they are indeed going to be title contenders once again with a very competitive run to second. Shadow Realm took the final spot on the podium ahead of Runtime Exception Racing whose late race penalty cost them dear.
Photo courtesy of John Patterson