Rookie Endurance Championship 2013, Rd.1
Speaking to Buckmore Park’s Alan Wood, we both agreed that the circuit has its own micro-climate. It’s either raining when the rest of the country is basking in hot sunshine or if the rest of the nation is drowning in horrendous floods, Buckmore will be under the one gap in the clouds. The trouble with coming here in the winter is it’s also bloody freezing. Being a rookie championship, the first race is usually full of new names so it’s difficult to gauge how anybody will get on. There were a handful of teams returning for another year in the entry level series and probably the most controversial team is DGB. The big news over the winter was the ruthless sacking of Steve Gray by his younger team mates. Not one to let adversity get the better of him, the chirpy garden gnome set about setting up his own super team. Unfortunately, he was only able to hire Andy Cowell. Still, it could be worse, he could have haemorrhoids. So begins another year of rookie racing and another bunch of new faces to welcome into the popular world of Club100 racing. Ironically it was a team with two of the oldest faces on the grid who took pole. The aforementioned Andy Cowell and Steve Gray – who have a combined age of 364 – headed the 36 kart field at the end of qualifying. Unfortunately they were relegated to the back of the grid after a penalty in practice. This left Buckmore local boys Moriwaki on pole with ESP Racing second, The Brothers Grimm third, DOT Racing fourth and Carlin Motorsport (of Formula 3 fame) fifth. “You wouldn’t have known we were regulars by the way we were all over the place in practice. It was horrendous. Hopefully we won’t lose it on the first bend and we just want a steady race and see if we can bring it home.” The pole sitters led off the line with the Brothers Grimm making a good start and following them through in second. Most of the karts miraculously got round without incident. EsP racing were up well and Carlin Motorsport were also showing their pedigree. There was little surprise in seeing Andy Cowell carving his way through the field and up with the leading back after a handful of laps. The veteran premier driver and Club100’s favourite pantomime villain cut through the traffic like the proverbial knife through butter. Team DGB were also running well. Despite Chris Brown suffering from a sore bottom apparently received after informing Steve Gray of his sacking, the blue duo were showing the kind of pace that could very well make them championship contenders this year. Carlin Motorsport had got themselves into the lead after the first round of pit stops. DOT Racing were some 8 seconds back in second ahead of Team DGB who were now starting to apply the pressure. By this stage the inevitable had happened: Mutley had cocked it up for Team DGB and Steve Gray had got in the kart meaning they were screwed anyway. The combination of a large number of novices, a slippery track, fading light and the cold weather meant quite a few black flags during the race. By half distance, Team DGB were leading but were now being chased by the boys from Carlin Motorsport. DOT Racing were some way further back but still in with a shout of a podium position, although the Brothers Grimm were right on their bumper. Further down the order, Slickspeed were heading the mid-field battle with local boys Moriwaki holding off the attentions of O’Neills and EsP Racing. Team G3, Darkstar, Dastradly & Mutley’s, Mobile Chicane and the Crash Test Dummies made up the remainder of the field. By this stage, Chris Brown had changed his sanitary towel several times and his rear end probably looked like he’d done a 6 month stretch in Belmarsh prison. Still, this didn’t seem to slow his team down and, although they were unable to keep the flying Carlin Motorsport at bay, remained a strong second as the race drew to a close. The experience of Carlin Motorsport eventually won out and after 2 and a quarter hours they emerged victorious. The gap to Team DGB was little over 3 seconds. The Brothers Grimm took the final spot on the podium, albeit some 2 laps behind the winners. The well media trained Carlin Motorsport team were delighted, if a little surprised, by their success. “The only reason we were doing this race was as a warm-up for the sprints tomorrow and we weren’t really expecting to do this well but this is great and obviously it’s nice to come away with a trophy. It was very cold and there was little grip but the whole team did a great job to keep it on the track. We can only do four rounds because of our British and European Formula Three commitments but maybe we’ll put a slightly different team out in other races.” Given that Carlin Motorsport may not be doing all the races this year, it has to be said that Team DGB are looking the strongest regular team. I’ll by Chris Brown a cork for the next race.