Clubman Endurance Championship 2013, Rd.2
By the time you’ve reached your twenties, you would have used the phrase “I’m never drinking again”. It’s a sentence most commonly used after waking up with a headache and uncontrollable flatulence next to some tramp who definitely looked more attractive the night before. Still, despite the unpleasantness, it doesn’t alter the fact that you had the time of your life the night before and end up going through all the shame again the following week. And this brings me on to Rich Higham. Despite saying for the eleventy millionth time he would never race in endurance again, Martin Joyce managed to twist his arm enough to make another come-back. And a welcome return it was – club100 just isn’t the same without everyone’s favourite Britney Spears look-a-like. There was another Premier driver making an appearance in the form of Trevor Randall. After contractual disputes with AAA-lakart, he found a berth with the returning 3Cubed – another welcome returnee to Club100. With Britney at his best, CD30 claimed their first ever pole position with a time almost half a second quicker than their nearest rival. That rival was AAA-lakart. 3Cubed qualified third. Potential championship contenders InkJet and Akita V2 were next up while further back, Keen As Mustard, SMJ and 3 Strokers all started from the back after post qualifying kart changes. Martin Joyce was cagey about his team’s chances when he was interviewed on the grid but his strategy was clear. “The strategy is Rich will start the race, disappear into the distance, win the race for us and we can all go home. We think this is our best chance ever of a podium so we are going for it today.” It was a good strategy and one that seemed to work. Ms. Spears made good use of pole position and literally disappeared off the line. 3Cubed made a good start to jump AAA-lakart and these two were joined by Auditing Armageddon who were looking incredibly racy in the early stages. Over the course of the next few laps, the top four positions remained unchanged. Further back, Keen As Mustard and InkJet were embroiled in a battle and Pantera Racing was also getting in on the action. There were plenty of battles going on for the minor places with position changes aplenty. With the first pit stop window not making any significant changes to the running order, it was left to the man with the black flag to shake things up. AAA-lakart’s Jamie Crease became fell victim to this after repeated curbing, although Crease suggested that the clerk responsible for calling the penalty – one Barnaby Pittingale – was still bitter about having been beaten to the Easykart World Championship… whatever, this cost the team any chance of a podium finish. This left Auditing Armageddon in third but Keen As Mustard were hot on their heels and keen as…well… mustard to grab that podium spot that eluded them at Buckmore. InkJet were also putting in some good laps and manoeuvring themselves into podium contention. By half distance, CD30 had built a huge cushion and looked unlikely to be caught. InkJet continued to make good progress and were battling with 3Cubed for second. Unfortunately InkJet’s day would come to an abrupt end later in the race. Auditing Armageddon’s day also ended in disappointment – a real shame after such a competitive early showing. The 3 Strokers were having a solid day as were Pantera. Further back, Akita V2 were working their way back up the order after early race dramas. Do Or Die, SMJ, KAD Racing and Burichi Racing made up the tail end of the field. Back at the front and CD30 continued to lead the way and pull time over the chasing pack. 3Cubed were comfortable in second with Keen As Mustard now looking good in third. AAA-lakart were trying to make up lost time after their earlier black flag but their progress was hampered by traffic. As the clocked ticked away and the race entered its final few minutes, CD30 looked unbeatable. 3Cubed were not going to be challenged so the attention turned to the battle for third. Keen As Mustard had held that position for most of the second half of the race but Akita V2 had been charging up through the field and rapidly closed the gap. With a few laps to go, they were within a tenth. Desperate not to lose a podium again, they drove a great defensive race to keep Akita V2 at bay. Further ahead, CD30 cruised to an easy win – Martin Joyce’s first ever Club100 podium in over 12 years of competing. 3Cubed scored a brilliant second on their return to Club100. Rich Higham was being far too nice and complimentary, saying all the right things so I decided not to speak to him. Martin Joyce summed the race up perfectly. “The plan worked. Rich got pole, he disappeared and we brought it home.” Alex Withington was equally delighted with second. Despite John Emerson admitting to being well off the pace at times, it was a great result and rumours of a formal contract being offered to Trevor Randall are now in circulation. Withington: “It is very pleasing. We’ve been away for a long time so it’s nice to be back. We’ve got a great addition to the team in the form of Trevor and I think we are showing we’ve improved. Hopefully we’ll improve a bit more as we work off some of the rust during the season.” With two races down, Keen As Mustard are the only team to have scored two consistent results and find themselves at the head of the championship. Still, Akita V2 and AAA-lakart still look to be the strongest teams this year.