Stiddard Trackside Racing   Sunday 14 August 2005

GP Premier Series Round 12  at Buckmore Park

Report by Neil Ashcroft

With only a single 3hr race to concentrate on and the introduction of other TaG engines on an evaluation basis, today was going to be both fast and interesting.

Three TaG engines were represented today, Rotax MAX, of course, PRD Fireball, run by KKC and HSK Developments and an IAME Leopard run by Auction My Igloo.

Buckmore Park is always a challenging circuit and the weather, although dry, looked changeable - just to keep everyone on their toes.

Timed Qualifying:

So to the main event and the typically green track first thing soon started to give up its grip and lap times started to tumble.

B&R Racing looked mighty and took pole position in typical Sennaesque style late on in qualifying. Kartsmart took the other front row slot with equal vigour. KKC with Ian and Nick Moss piloting, went third and Championship contenders Titan Motorsport who looked as quick and controlled as ever closely followed them.

First of the non MAX TaG's was Auction My Igloo in fifth with Ed Munns, Danny Scott and Ian Norman now starting to get to grips with the Leopard engine, having said that, they were only 3 hundredths of a second ahead of RKC Racing 2, who looked good.

Also looking sharp was Rapid Logic who missed Ellough Park but were back with renewed vimto. The Auto 1 Racing boys looked much quicker then their 8th place would suggest. As did the entire 2old2b Racing team with a very creditable 9th slot.

Closing out the top 10 and looking better then I've seen them run for some time was Axles of Evil. It was also good to see Red Stripe Racing back among it after they were forced to sit out Ellough with Rib problems. The guys looked as sharp as ever and 11th place was something for them to work from.

Running the long game and pacing himself was Jason Jones in the 55 Special Racing Projects kart. Jason was running the entire three-hour race solo. Good effort sir!

KKC 2 was the next Non-MAX TaG to slot in, in 13th place. Improving as the session went on, it was good to see the guys working the issues and moving forward.

Normally very quick, the Zero Racing boys were having trouble with the 14 kart and were struggling to get a decent lap time in. 14th was the best they could muster at the end of qualifying which put them well out of position.

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Red MAX was another team out of position in 15th when they had trouble with a moving axle. Next up and suffering a double whammy was HSK Developments who were also running a PRD Fireball but for one of their drivers it was also his first time at Buckmore Park! Trying to get the gearing right and learn the circuit at the same time was too steep a learning curve and the guys did well to get the lap times semi competitive so early on. Not so current Champions RKC Racing 1 who didn't manage to post a time and would have to start at he back of the grid.

The Race:

If you want to see how to maximise your drive at the front of the grid then look no further then the start of this race. B&R, Kartsmart and Titan Motorsport worked fantastically well together in the early stages to open a gap back to Auction My Igloo holding a watching brief in fourth.

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RKC Racing 2 were running well in 5th and from the back of the grid RKC Racing were up to 7th just behind Rapid Logic who had slotted nicely into 6th place. Special Racing Projects Jason Jones was also in the hunt and looking quick.

The Auto 1 Racing boys were driving a very clever and ultimately quick race. KKC 2 with Fireball power were suffering teething troubles all related to exhaust mounting.

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The Red Stripe guys were still suffering from rib pain and this eventually retired them. They were so disappointed, as was I, as they were running well and they are always upbeat around the paddock.

Red MAX Racing's Jason Redding was making good progress and did his fastest to-date lap time. KKC were recovering from a first corner spin, which put them last. HSK Developments were still suffering from underevving and were working hard to improve matters and gather useful data at the same time.

Both 2old2b Racing and Zero Racing lost chains early on, on the unforgiving kerbs were now trying to recover lost time. As was Kartsmart when they lost the lead to B&R when forced to pit with a loose radiator. What a shame!

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Talking of what a shame, Axles of Evil who had qualified so well had to pit early and lost a lot of time when the throttle linkage bracket snapped and they had to remount the throttle pedal. I felt their pain.

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As the race progressed HSK Developments got progressively quicker and when we had a five minute downpour they were the quickest thing on the track.

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A lot of teams dived for the pits during the rainstorm to get in drive through and refuelling stops. For SRP it was also a time to consider wets. This cost them dearly as half way through changing them the rain stopped and the sun came out. Jason, driving on his own, don't forget, called time on the day for SRP as he was suffering slightly and has only two weeks to get ready for Le Mans. Wise move I think.

It was at this point that RKC Racing 1 also bit the dust with mechanical maladies and Jo Giovannini looked as broken down as the kart sitting on the tyres removing his gloves. Oh the trials and tribulations of racing.

Further back Axles of Evil were back in the thick of it having fixed the throttle. They looked sharp, as did 2old2b Racing, All of the guys drove with renewed vigour all day and Chris Page was fighting above his weight against KKC's Ian Moss late on in the race and showed Ian a clean pair of heels. It was good to watch even if KKC were 3 laps up the road. Titan Motorsport had an uneventful day and drove as ever a great race.

Kartsmart gave a great example of how to recover after their radiator incident. What could have been? Talking of which, B&R lost a throttle cable and valuable time and a possible race win, which the guys need to keep their championship hopes alive.

So at the flag Auction My Igloo were first across the line but because they were using a Leopard engine they didn't get the win. That honour went to Auto 1 Racing with Mike Robinson and Richard Moxon driving a faultless race and worth every bit of their win. For the record they were only 3 seconds behind the Leopard engine at the end. 2nd place went to KKC with Nick and Ian Moss doing a great job in the No3 kart. Both guys were ballistic in the mid race damp conditions.

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Titan Motorsport took 3rd and were never far away from the lead all day. Rapid Logic took 4th place with good drives from Anthony, Tim and George. Kartsmart took the final trophy and deserved every bit of it after a great recovery drive.

2old2b Racing's finish in 6th place was a highlight for me as the guys have worked very hard this year for little reward. Just desert! RKC Racing 2 had a good day and 7th was a job well done.

Another great recovery form a mechanical was Zero Racing who lost laps early on with a lost chain. B&R classified 9th after the throttle cable loss and RKC Racing 1 10th after the mechanical failure.

HSK Developments showed 12th on the timesheets but obviously didn't take the points for being a TaG engine'd team. The guys got it together in the end although they still had low revs. They certainly didn't disgrace themselves and showed good potential. It would be great to see them race again with the engine running sweetly. (This is what they thought of the race). SRP Jason Jones classified 12th which his impressive given he didn't run much more then 2 hours. One place behind Jason was Axles of Evil who did well to fix the throttle linkage and finish.

Red MAX showed some great pace today but had mechanical issues around the back axle and lost too much time to recover, tough luck guys. KKC 2 finished 16th on the timesheets and third of the TaG engines. If the guys could have kept the exhaust together the story would have been very different as they were Quick when they were in one piece. Red Stripe Racing classified 14th and last. The guys succumbed to rib trouble and had to park it. It's time to invest in a new seat and some protection guys gentlemen.

Post Race Analysis

There was a bit of everything today, pace, great racing, the lead lost due to mechanical failure on more then one occasion. Great recovery drives, Sterling pit work, good, old fashioned, good driving and a weather curve ball.

It was interesting to see the Leopard perform well even if it can't claim the win. Auto 1 Racing have turned out to be one of the finds of the season with Richard and Mike both driving extremely well and their results have been competitive all season. The discussions about TaG engines will go on for some time yet and I'm not going to add to the debate here. This column is about the racing and that's what I'll stick to.

It was good to see HSK Developments here, regardless what engine the guys were running and they all seemed to love the day. Declaring it to be a great format with a great atmosphere and strong competition. What more can you ask for!

My drive of the day, for what it's worth goes to Auto 1 Racing.

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It was a great victory combining great pace, good strategy and common sense. Well played gentlemen.

It only remains for me to wish all the drivers going to Le Mans at the end of the month Good Hunting and make us proud.

Neil Ashcroft - Fastroc - Media in Motion




All photographs are copyright Neil Ashcroft

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