Round 6 Bayford Meadows September 11th 2004

 

The podium lineup
Jubilation on the podium (Photo: Photoevents.ltd.uk)
Final Championship Results
September the 11th found the Southern Promax Championship located on home turf at Bayford Meadows for the final round of the Summer Championship. Things were pretty relaxed at the top of the Pro class as Titan had the series pretty much under control already with three race wins in the bag. Positions were still likely to be won or lost a little further down the order though so it was a tense time for a few teams. In the small Open class Special Racing Projects had already secured the win with four class wins and a second. Whatever happened today would be purely academic as the score could easily be dropped. The most actively contested area was the Challenge class where points were particularly close. Titan had damaged a chassis in pre-race day testing and had spent the previous evening/night changing over to a new version.

Open practice seemed to go without a hitch though a few teams did take fairly lengthy pit stops to adjust their set up. As the flag indicated the start of the fifteen minute qualifying session it was good to see all nineteen entrants putting up a time. Only Midas seemed to have a problem and posted an unusually slow time during the four laps they managed to complete before the final flag. Special Racing Projects (open) topped the order with a 50.838 while Titan managed a 50.861 to lead the Pro class from P2 on the grid. Four teams managed a sub 51 second lap while virtually all of the rest were in the 51ís. We were obviously in for the usual close racing that is so much a hallmark of the class.

On the rolling up lap it looked as though we would witness the green light straight away but as the pack rolled back onto the start/finish straight a hand shot up from Zoom Lynn Road, whose engine suddenly died. The pack rotated twice more while the offending kart was removed from the circuit and we were clear to go. SPR immediately pulled a small lead and increased this slightly in the first lap as they had no-one to hinder their forward progress. Zoom Lynn Road rejoined from the pit lane but were obviously a lap down on the rest of the field. Screenvyn 86 took a spin at post 2 which was not likely to do much for their Challenge class hopes. Then Midas did the same at the first hairpin and rejoined a half lap down. Xtreme got clipped by RSM in a purely racing incident that led to the track rod breaking on the Xtreme kart and a virtual re run of the bad luck suffered by the team at Clay Pigeon in July.

SRP seemed unstoppable in the first stint and increased their lead to nearly four seconds in the first fifteen minutes. RSM were next in line and locked into some very close action with Titan, Cobra and PDQ. In fact, the top sixteen were still all on the same lap. In a series where it has not been unusual to go a full race distance without a single driver warning it was unusual, though perhaps not surprising this being the final round, to see the pack becoming very touchy/feely. Two contact warnings went out in just a couple of laps and things were to get worse before they later returned to normal.
The grid readies itself.
The final grid of the season prepares for the off.
(Photo: Photoevents.ltd.uk)
Coming up to the first fuel window Zoom Lynn Road just clipped PDQ when passing at the first hairpin. Unusually, and quite out of character, the driver decided to retaliate and ran the Zoom kart off the road. Not only did I see it from race control but it was immediately obvious that the Clerk of the Course had also witnessed the incident from the pit lane end of the straight and he immediately called a black on PDQ. The one minute penalty dropped the team way down the order and out of contention in this all important final round.

SPR came in from the lead at fifty five minutes and became the first of the day to refuel. Their stop was not as slick as some of the later visitors and their rein as race leader ended on lap 65. B & R Racing moved to second place with Titan never far behind. Naturally, the rest of the field were now in need of fuel and the leaderboard became meaningless for the next ten minutes as they replenished the tanks.

You donít earn the title British Champion without having a pretty well oiled machine and that is certainly what Titan demonstrates every time they race. A well planned and very quick fuel stop put them clearly in control as we entered the second session. Cobra ASM emerged in second place and Reeves Brothers were having a whale of a time from third on circuit.

We often get a call from the scrutineers to inform us that a team has come across the weighbridge half a kilo or sometimes a whole kilo underweight, but I canít ever remember a team being 4kg light. This was the case with Midas and I naturally assumed that had lost lead out on circuit. In fact the team had deliberately left the ballast in the pitlane when the scrutineer indicated that he was unhappy with the fixing of same. Midas new full well that a ten lap penalty would be applied but as they were already pretty near the back, I suppose it didnít really amount to much.
B & R take chequered flag
B & R Racing take the chequered flag. (Photo: Greg Caira)
Screenvyn 86 cut it a bit tight on the second tank full and just after the start of the third hour their kart coasted to a halt outside race control and it was left to driver George Holroyd to manually propel the vehicle the last few metres to the fuel bay. Iíve done the same thing, in the same place and can assure you that pit lane entrance seems awfully steep when you are pushing a kart. Dogz run their strategy in a very mathematically precise way and calculate fuel distance to the accuracy of a well honed F1 team. The down side to this is that it leaves no room for error and as Roy Sinclair came over the ridge and up the straight for the last time on this stint, he found the pit lane blocked by the pedestrian propelled Screenvyn kart. For reasons I failed to ascertain SPR disappeared on lap 224 and failed to re appear. This was a great shame given the blistering pace earlier in the race but I suppose there was no harm done with the Open Class championship already in the bag.

Modelworld felt the eyes of the Clerk on them as the race settled into the second half. I didnít personally witness the incident but the Clerk called a black and radioed a message to race control that it was for unreasonable driving. In my day job as Race Director at Buckmore I am used to some races being less tidy than others but I donít recall a time when virtually all of the penalties given in a season were gathered into a single race; strange.

Note: The original posting of this report inadvertently stated that K1 were the culprits in the above incident. This was a simple typo on my part and I apologise to both K1 drivers, Derek May & Clinton Powell for this unintentional slur on their unblemished record.

The second team to realise too late the absolute necessity of an adequate supply of fossil fuel were SD Racing who ran out at the three hour mark whilst heading the Challenge class. Reeves Brothers had started the race well and were seemingly on fire today being consistently in the top four or five and even led the race for five laps. The brothers were due some better luck and Iím personally delighted to see them back on the form they so clearly displayed last winter. After the final fuel stop of the day it was back to the front for Titan with a ten second lead over B&R. There was a three way fight for third place as RSM quietly pulled clear of a duelling Cobra and Reeves Brothers. B&R took command of the race on lap 230 though this hardly bothered Titan as they still led the Pro class. There was a minor coming together between Cobra and Reeves but both survived and continued to the final flag, though both lost position as a result. At the chequer it was B&R by six seconds from Titan with RSM completing a first class race in third. Top of the Challenge class teams was Red Stripe, which would be interesting come the time to calculate the points.

And so, the first year of the Southern Promax Championship comes to an end and the final scores look like this. SPR take the Open class by 12 points from B&R. In the more populated Pro class it was a win for Titan who have driven a faultless season with four wins to their credit. Runner up goes to RSM, just 11 points adrift and in third we find Cobra ASM. The Challenge class result was by far the most interesting when, after a recount, it was found to be a tie on 141 points between Zero & Red Stripe Racing. When points are tied it is decided by adding back the dropped round. As both had a zero to add, this was not the way forward and plan B was brought into effect. This gives the win to the team who achieved the highest place finish. Zero earned a sixth in round three compared to a best for Red Stripe of a ninth place at round four, so Zero Racing take the class.

With the summer series now put to bed it is time to look ahead to the winter series which kicks off at Ellough Park on the 9th October with a three hour race. Minor rule changes have been made which I think will be warmly welcomed by all the competitors. First, the Open & Pro classes will be amalgamated as it has been apparent this season that there is no real performance difference between the two different chassis types. Tyres will no longer be controlled and teams can now purchase these from any retailer. Virtually all of the summer grid have indicated that they will be competing during the winter and so we can look forward to another five months of exciting wheel to wheel action.

All of the photos taken on the day are available for viewing/purchase by clicking the following link. Thanks to Photoevents for providing this service.

Report by Alan Wood