Premier Endurance Championship 2013, Rd.1
After a long winter break, the Club100 circus rolled into Buckmore for round 1 of the 2013 Premier season. A number of driver and team changes mean a very different looking field this year. Oli Allwood left the new champions after only one season to join the Animals at the newly named Moulins Motorsport. His place at Tanked Up was taken by the much sought after Jon Lisseter. Jammy Dodgers disbanded and James Taylor instead teamed up with Dave Pethers to form Trophy Stealers. Tim Hill joined forces with Lee Clackett to form Game of Cones. There was another new team in the form of Alliance Racing; Chris Hanson and Jay Elliot joined by some useless lanky tosser. Geoff Symonds left Es Car Go to join forces with Harry Landy and Zac Seaward at the newly promoted Pelican outfit. Teamcraft and Overdraft Racing were two other teams promoted from the Clubman class. Notable teams missing this year are Galliard, RBB, High Times and Slipstream, all either disbanding or taking a sabbatical. The start was delayed while the track was cleared of snow. To keep the spectators entertained, there was a support race involving drivers in their road cars. An eclectic mix of rubbish vehicles took to the track in what amounted to a poor man’s Touring Car race. The event was curtailed after Andy Cowell picked up a black flag for ABC. Once the track was cleared and the karts took to the track, it was anybody’s guess as to who would have the pace. First blood went to Pure Racing; Jonny Goddard putting in a great lap in tricky conditions to claim pole. Overdraft Racing, in their first prem race, lined up second with Game of Cones third, Trophy Stealers fourth and Club16-48 fifth. Reigning champions Tanked Up were down in 13th but did better than British Columbia and Ministry of Speed who both started at the back of the grid. Jonny Goddard’s target was clear when interviewed on the grid prior to the start. It was Pure Focus. “We’ve got to get some wins this year. That is the aim today. I think we’re all pretty confident. This track is quite difficult in the wet but if we can stay out of trouble and Maycock can keep it out of the tyres we should be in good shape.” Pure Racing sped off the line and disappeared into the distance. Club16-48 were a first lap casualty along with the reigning champions Tanked Up. Trophy Stealers and the Cone Heads were having a good battle in the early laps ahead of Just So Racing, who had made a great start to get in on the action at the front, as did the new Alliance Racing team. Pure Racing surprised everyone with a very early pit stop when they were in clear air. However, it did them no harm and they maintained their healthy lead after the first round of stops. There was more drama for Tanked Up. They had to make a quick kart change due to a problem with the sprocket. An incredibly slick changeover lost them minimal time. More misery was to befall Club16-48 in the form of a rear bumper failure, meaning an unscheduled stop for repairs. Moulins Motorsport’s day came to an end with a broken chain shortly after their first pit stop. A 5 minute stop for repairs meant no chance of recovery. The conditions also caught a number of teams out with Game of Cones, Tanked Up, Ministry all amongst the other names having an off or receiving a black flag. Game of Phones also had an embarrassing crash into the pit lane. Teamcraft were certainly having a day to forget. Henry Jones publicly condemned Dan Underhill for crashing on his out lap in practice and felt the need to demonstrate how crashing should be done. No less than five times. Overdraft Racing were quietly getting on with the job and had been running in the top 5 for much of the race. So consistent were they that they were hardly noticed. Speaking of teams not being noticed, Cartman were also having a good consistent run. British Columbia were further back. Club16-48 and Ministry of Speed were trying to recover after dramas. Back at the sharp end, Pure Racing continued to lead but were by now being chased down by the flying Just So Racing. By half distance the track was starting to dry and the lap times starting to plummet. This highlighted performance variations and a number of drivers started to complain about a lack of top-end, bottom-end, midriff and top soil in typical whinging premier driver fashion. During this phase of the race, it looked like Just So might have the legs on Pure Racing. They managed to narrow the gap to about 6 seconds and Stuart Symonds was confident of overhauling them. “The kart is pretty good in both wet and dry conditions and we’ve just been plugging away really. We are catching the leaders and I think it’s going to be nip and tuck as to whether we’ll be ahead when the pit stops shake out. Brian did a great job in the wet and Phil has been pulling them in so it’s going to be down to me in my double stint at the end of the race. I think we’ve got a good chance.” Further back, there was a good battle going on between Alliance Racing and Tanked Up for third. A coming together with Pantera’s Andy Cowell saw Tanked Up in the wall at the top of Café Curve but it didn’t take long for Chris Powell to reel in Alliance and snatch third back. An unfortunate black flag for Jay Elliot dropped Alliance down to eighth but a determined Elliot soon got back on it and started making up the lost time. If Just So’s speed worried Pure Racing, they didn’t show it. They found more pace from somewhere and started eking out a gap again. By this stage, the track was completely dry – if a little slippery. In fact their lead was big enough that they felt confident enough to send Maycrash out for the final stint. He drove faultlessly to take the maiden win for Pure Racing. A victory by over 25 seconds demonstrated their sheer dominance. Just So got their 2013 campaign off to a more than respectable start by taking second. Tanked Up Racing, despite a number of incidents during the race, came home third. An excellent performance from Overdraft saw them fourth. Game of Stones nicked fifth from Alliance on the last lap. Maycock was visibly delighted after the race and was quick to praise his team mates. “We are really chuffed. I can’t describe how happy we are. It’s awesome. I wasn’t easy because my throttle was sticking towards the end. Jonny did a phenomenal job for us today and Chris did a great job too.” Can you feel the love?