And the winner is ……………..#23 Kart Shoppe!
Round 8 was the day/night warm up to get everyone familiar with conditions they are likely to face at the 12 hour. The only missing element was a downpour of rain. Everyone had the correct minimum lighting which was good to see.
Qualifying threw up a curve ball for the teams. A foot relay race around the short circuit really sorted the men from the boys. Although some of the senior citizens performed pretty well, everyone was pretty serious about it and humour was in short supply.
Ready, steady, go…..
Turn one saw a bit of congestion on the hairpin apex, but everyone managed to negotiate it without any damage. Turn two saw a few block passes as teams jockeyed for position approaching the first change. Chaos reigned at the changeover and after it had settled BP Apex emerged with a substantial lead. After the second change over it was evident some teams were better off with their bums planted in their kart seats than running. Ultimately BP Apex qualified in P1 with a time of 1m18.129 at an average speed of 55.293km/h!!
Don’t believe me? Check it out on www.mylaps.com.
The Le Mans style start went off without a hitch, which was pretty awesome, considering.
#93 VMaxx bolted off into the lead on lap 1 pursued by the rest of the pack. #29 Hoffmann racing had a coming together on lap 3 that saw them lose ground they were never able to make up. Johnny was really unhappy about it, but it proves one maxim of endurance racing: “You have 6 hours to overtake the guy in front of you”. No need to make stupid moves in the first lap which could cost you the race. That said some real good close racing was going on between #5 Team Motul Honda and #14 Team Dask. That of course until #63 2P Racing decided it would be a good idea to get involved in their race, and mounted #5 Team Motul Honda at the left hander after the control tower.
Meanwhile #93 VMaxx had an issue that dropped them down the order, and #43 Southbank had their fast guy in and he was pulling out a significant gap on the minor placings. #23 Kart Shoppe had moved up to 2nd on lap 10 and set about trying to close the gap to #43 Southbank. #11 Team GTR had hit their straps and were in contention in 5th place waiting for the inevitable to happen, so they could pick up the pieces. #40 Screwloose were having a good run and found themselves up to 4th place after the contretemps between #63 and #5. This also elevated #11 up to 3rd with #43 falling back to 5th place after the first pit stop.
The top five after the first hour were #23 Kart Shoppe, #14 Team Dask, #11 Team GTR, #40 Screwloose and #43 Southbank. This is where the different strategies started to show. After another 30 minutes, #13 Containerforce had moved up from 10th to 5th and #35 Team Logan had elevated themselves to 7th. #55 BP Apex were holding on to a top ten place at this stage.
At the two hour mark #23 Kart Shoppe had moved into the lead they were not to relinquish and #35 Team Logan had put in a strong run and were running second, followed by #14 Team Dask, #11 Team GTR. #5 Team Motul Honda had dropped out of contention and were lying 15th. Team F60 surprised themselves and had moved up to 4th place.
During the next hour #40 and #23 swopped places for first position with the other contenders pretty much holding station. #78 Speedophiles had experienced a terminal problem and had dropped out of the running.
The race was entering the dark hours which was going to test the drivers and with the threat of some rain, this was going to be crunch time for many teams.
Four hours down and two to go the order was #23 from #35, #14, #40 and #55 BP Apex. Lurking in the background was #13 Containerforce, #11 Team GTR, Team F60, #5 Team Motul Honda, who were fighting their way back into contention after an issue, and #93 VMaxx who were also recovering from a problem.
At the end of 5 hours the order was still #23 from #35, who was having one of their strongest races of the season. Meantime, #88 Flat out, #101 Karting 101 had dropped out with various mechanical issues.
Meanwhile #13 Tonykart Containerforce’s slow poison tactics had paid off and were running in 4th place going into the last half hour which, considering they had an engine seize in practice and were using Team Motul Honda’s spare engine, was a great advertisement for the camaraderie that exists in the series.
The final finishing order was:
- #23 Kart Shoppe.
- #35 Team Logan.
- #14 Team Dask.
- #5 Team Motul Honda.
- #40 Screwloose.
- #13 Tonykart Containerforce.
After incurring a weight penalty, Team Motul Honda were handed a two place penalty dropping them to 6th place.
For full results check out the results page here.
Thank you to Paul Edwards for the pictures.