Premier Endurance Championship 2013, Rd.6
Whilton Mill played host to round 6 and the halfway point in the championship. A scorching day with temperatures reaching 30 degrees centigrade saw the met office issue scary weather warnings informing us if we spent more than 5 minutes outside we might die. Fortunately, Club100 drivers don’t have the IQ of a pickled onion and so a full grid of 31 karts took to the track and enjoyed what used to be known as “a nice day”. With “snitch-gate” now behind them, Just So arrived at Whilton Mill as the team to beat. It was great to see Moulins back with Ian Blake offering some of his epic pearls of wisdom like how gingers would struggle in the hot conditions. Rich Higham was also back and was standing in for Jay Elliott at Target Racing. In a typically close Whilton Mill qualifying session, Brian Trott claimed pole position for Just So, with their arch nemesis Tanked Up second. Ministry, Game of Cones and Overdraft were close behind. The top 29 were covered by 8 tenths of a second and the whole grid was covered by little over a second proving just how close the competition is and how evenly matched the brilliant Club100 karts are. It wasn’t a great session for TeamCraft, Moulins or Cartman and they started at the back of the grid. The ever talkative Brian Trott was giving little away on the grid, partly due to the media blackout imposed by the team and partly because he doesn’t like me very much. “It’s quite grippy out there at the moment. There’s a lot of grip.” Awesome! When the flag dropped, Just So got off the line well to lead the field up the hill. Tanked Up and Game of Cones followed suit. Ministry of Speed appeared to have good pace and were matching the leaders for pace in fourth with Overdraft Racing also looking like being a threat a few seconds further back. The front runners ran mostly in grid order up to the first round of pit stops. Just So continued to lead after the first window closed by just over 4 seconds and began increasing the gap to their rivals. Alliance Racing were the big winners in the first stop and found themselves fifth. They soon got embroiled in a great battle with Game of Cones and Ministry of Speed for third. In front of this battle, the front two managed to pull away with Just So building a comfortable gap to Tanked Up. Moulins Motorsport and Pure Racing had both made good ground from the back of the grid and were up inside the top 6 by the middle part of the race. TeamCraft were showing some good pace as well. With Dan Underhill, the master of Whilton himself, this was a great opportunity for them to get a good result. Unfortunately it still went balls-up for them. Overdraft Racing had lost ground during this part of the race but were back on it and putting in lap times that would see them climb back up the order. Likewise, Cartman were creeping up the order, showing a great turn of speed and, in doing so, getting a slightly longer mention in the race report. Lanky Lairy Pelican, Club16-48 and British Columbia were also in this race… With the temperature climbing and the high grip requiring more physical exertion, it’s easy for concentration levels to wane. Unsurprisingly, it was Jon Maycrash who had a lapse of concentration and had an accident. It wasn’t into the pit lane wall this time but into Daz Teal from Tanked Up who was battling hard for second with Ministry of Speed and attempting to lap Maycock as the latter emerged from the pits. This rather major indiscretion not only resulted in another black flag for Pure Racing but also ruined Tanked Up’s race and pretty much blows their championship chances. Naughty Jon! So with Tanked Up out of the running, this left Just So with a 37 second lead over Game of Cones who now had Ministry breathing down their neck. Alliance Racing were also pushing hard but some rather unfriendly backmarkers hampered their chances of catching third and instead saw Moulins close the gap to around 4 seconds – a mighty drive from the back of the grid due to none of the team being ginger. They were a few seconds ahead of Overdraft who were doing well despite Geoff Saunderson being a tad on the ginger side. Ahead of this lot, Just So continued to control the pace. There were no dramas for for them and they cruised home to an easy, and less controversial, win ahead of Game of Cones, who had pulled out a few seconds over Ministry of Speed in the final stint. Alliance Racing came home a solid fourth to secure more vital points and Moulins rounded out the gingerless top 5. Promising I wouldn’t twist any of his words this time, Stu Symonds agreed to break the media blackout and gave his views on what was an important win for his team. “It was pretty plain sailing really. We didn’t even have to test the kart because it felt good straight away. We only did three or four laps each and parked it to conserve tyres and that gave us a big advantage in qualifying, especially in this heat. Brian started us off really nicely and our pit stops were good so it was a great day all round and this puts us in a really strong position in the championship now. No one is even close.” With another bad day for Tanked Up and with Ministry of Speed, Pure Racing and Alliance Racing taking points off each other, Just So are clear favourites now.