Clubman Endurance Championship, 2014, Rd.8
With the championship now entering its final stages, the pressure is beginning to mount. Perhaps this was a contributing factor to a silly mistake by championship leaders Entran Enduro; Harry Landy locking his keys in his car. Team mate Steve Crutchley was in the wars as well and suffered a puncture in the car park. They would surely be hoping for better luck in the race. It certainly seemed they would as once again Entran Enduro claimed a great pole position. Their late season form now makes them favourites for the championship. Go Big or Go Home did a great job to line up second with Titan Motorsport third. Team DGB were making their Clubman debut in order to get more track time before their Inters race and did a great job to line up fourth ahead of Forza Nastro Azzuro. So where the hell were Akita V2? Well they were 35th and last after a post qualifying kart change. This puts another nail in the coffin for their championship hopes. Entran Enduro made best use of their pole position and made an equally great start to maintain their lead over their rivals. It was very close in the early stages with Titan Motorsport, Team DGB, Go Big or Go Home and Forza Nastro Azzuro all running nose to tail. Go Big or Go Home were doing an exceptional job in the early stages and really stuck to the back of the leaders. Team DGB were also impressing near the front but, alas, a rather Inters-style manoeuvre by Chris Brown saw him climb over the top of a rival. I would normally saying something derogatory and/or abusive but Chris Brown bought a copy of my book so he will always get a good write-up. Have you? Anyway, shameless plugging aside, over the course of the first stint, things settled down a bit. Entran Enduro controlled things from the front and, by the time the first pit window closed, they had a comfortable gap to Go Big or Go Home who were driving a great race. Titan Motorsport were locked in a battle with Forza Nastro Azzuro for third while further back Inkjet, Akita MNR and Pantera Racing were battling close and were joined by the recovering Team DGB and CD30. As we approached half distance, Entran Enduro had built a comfortable lead. Titan Motorsport had managed to pull away from Forza Nastro Azzuro and both of these teams had got past Go Big or Go Home. Inkjet and Akita MNR were still battling over fifth. And, once again, where the hell were Akita V2? Well they had managed to get themselves up into the midfield but a spin at the final corner before the pit entry dropped them back and out of any meaningful points scoring position. With the field so close in terms of pace, their chances of recovery – and for the championship – took a nosedive. They weren’t the only team having a bad day. Brunch of Bumpkins, Racewear, Pantera Racing, SMJ, SSO and Parilla TT27 all suffered a drama of some kind and ended up at the back of the field. ’By contrast, Entran Enduro had no such troubles and nobody had an answer for their superior pace. They cruised home to take an easy win and extend their lead going into the last three races. Titan kept themselves well and truly in the hunt by finishing second and it was another podium finish for Forza Nastro Azzuro. Steve Crutchley was happy with a solid team performance. “We had a good qualifying but it got a bit messy at the start and we lost a bit of ground but we were consistent and drove well. It’s obviously what we needed today but I think things are going to be close. Very happy.” With dropped scores coming into effect at the next race, it is extremely close between Entran Enduro and Titan Motorsport. Although mathematically possible, it’s fair to say that Forza Nastro Azzuro and Akita V2 are now pretty much out of contention. With the pressure now well and truly on, action continues in a couple of weeks at Whilton Mill.