Intermediate Endurance Championship 2013, Rd.5
With the morning rain starting to dry by the afternoon, the 37 teams took to the track. Akita MNR claimed pole ahead of Racewear, Colin Riddy Racing, Core.GB.com and Loose Heads. The Pikeys were looking a bit out of sorts, despite such a close proximity of caravans, and could only manage 15th. It wasn’t a very good session for KOKS racing either, who were 16th. Lucid Initiatives could only manage 28th and Runtime Exception Racing were way down in 36th.
The Akita boys have been showing some great speed this year and this pole goes to emphasise their improved form. They were confident prior to the start.
“The grid at Clay is always tight so it’s good to be at the front so we’ll see what we can make of it. I think we’ve got things covered in the wet and we’re pretty confident in changing conditions so we are fairly confident.”
Akita MNR made best use of their pole and led the Inters teams, followed dutifully by Colin Riddy Racing and Loose Heads. The teams held station for most of the first stint but the first round of pit stops really shook things up. Excellent strategy and good team work saw The Bookies Favourite emerge in the lead with For Fox Sake second and the KOKS really well up from their lowly grid position. The Pikeys were also well up at this stage and Lucid Initiatives were in the mix and completing the top 5.
By the end of the second pit window, the Bookies Favourite had built up a substantial lead. However, James Pargeter went off, much to the disgust of his team on the pit wall. This left the KOKS with a 2 second lead over the Pikey’s. Racewear were on a charge and dispatched Lucid Initiatives for third and set about chasing after the leading pair. Lucid Initiatives and Happy Racing were enjoying a close battle with For Fox Sake chasing them down. In fact over the course of this stint, a battle emerged between all 5 of these teams over second place. This battle continued after the next pit window as well, with Loose Heads also getting in on the action.
Behind this exciting battle, Pixel Pirates were on their own but being caught by the recovering Bookies Favourite. cLunge Racing were next up with Core.GB.com behind. We had lost Lucid Initiatives from the leading pack by this stage and they were down in the mid field battling with Pixel Pirates. Runtime Exception Racing were slowly making progress through the field but not enough to pose any sort of threat. It was turning into a nightmare day for Akita V2 and Colin Riddy Racing. After locking out the front row, they both suffered dramas during the race and found themselves out of good point scoring positions.
Back with the leading group and things were starting to settle down a bit. The KOKS were slowly stretching their lead over Racewear, who were in turn extending their lead over the Foxes. Loose Heads and Happy Racing were still battling away for fourth place. The Pikeys would have been up with this bunch but Doug Findlay got himself tangled up with a slow backmarker. Although he accepted full responsibility for the incident, it cost the team a potential podium and dropped them to eighth.
During the closing stages, the KOKS maintained a comfortable eight second lead ahead of an impressive Racewear who were matching them for pace. They crossed the line to take their third win of the year and extend their lead in the championship. Racewear finished a comfortable second with the Foxes a solid third. Disappointing finishing positions for Akita MNR and Colin Riddy Racing were compounded by disqualifications from the results.
The KOKS boys were delighted to take what they felt was their hardest win yet.
“It was actually a really tough race. We only qualified sixteenth but we just kept working and working and managed to get to the front. Even at the last pit stop we were only a few seconds ahead so it was really tough for the whole race. I think this has to be our most satisfying win so far because of that.”
With the championship starting to really gather momentum, it’s all to play for as we head to Whilton Mill and the half way point in the championship.