Bayford Meadow October 2nd 2005
Round 15 Stiddard Trackside GP Premier Series
We had been hoping for a wet race to ease ourselves back into the Championship after our enforced lay-off, but the nearer we got to race day the better the forecast became. On the day itself the weather was dry and for the most part sunny, but still quite cool with a brisk breeze.
We had a number of things to do to the kart, the most important being to get the weight correct for both of us and the new seat insert fixed properly, following our visit to Tillet's last month and the purchase of a bigger seat. And then there were new tyres to put on, but we got everything done just in time for the start of practice.
Thomas drove first to check that everything worked and then James went out and convinced us - through a number of different set-ups - that what we started with was best.
By this time he had more or less inadvertently qualified 8th in a time of 49.463.
Thomas started the race and, deciding that discretion was the order of the day, got pushed wide for his troubles on the first corner and dropped a couple of places.
Then Titan came through on an epic charge from the back of the grid breaking up the snappy little crocodile which had developed with us, Zero and 2Old2B Racing.
Positions within this group changed several times over the next few laps but by lap 6 Thomas had finally got past both of them and started to draw away and catch up with ee-sport and Kartsport who were now a long way in front.
But with some very consistently fast driving he gradually caught up.
On lap 18 Auto 1's engine blew up again which lifted us back to 8th.
For a time it looked as if Thomas was content to sit behind ee-sport but then they went just slightly wide at the entrance to the short straight and Thomas went past.
He now had Kartsmart well within striking distance and in his enthusiasm to catch them Thomas got our fastest lap of the race at 47.942 on lap 33.
Then on lap 39 he overtook them and we were up to 5th.
Kartsmart weren't giving up, however, and with Thomas getting to the end of his drive, he lost the place a few laps later.
James brought him in after 50 laps and just over 40 minutes of driving and we had a reasonable pit stop to re-fuel and to change drivers.
We had decided to run 45 minute stints to make sure we had the rib problem solved, which meant that we would have to re-fuel three times. All the other teams would be working on two refuelling stops, so we were bound to lose out on this strategy, but it was obviously sensible given our recent racing history. The main problem was that we were finding that the fixing system for the seat insert was too fiddly and taking too much time to connect. So we shall have to do something about that before the next race.
The pit stop had dropped us down to 9th on the track - although most of the other teams had not yet pitted - and James found himself in a solitary bubble.
Still he got on with it and as other teams stopped for fuel we progressed up to 6th and then 5th as James caught and overtook 2Old2B Racing again.
On lap 102 James got the fastest lap of his drive at 47.967 and half a dozen laps later after 47 minutes James came into the pits to re-fuel again and change to Thomas.
This way round the pit stop was quicker and Thomas was out again in 7th having dropped behind Zero and 2Old2B Racing.
Once again he had an excellent drive moving steadily up the field as other teams pitted and finally getting into 3rd behind SRP and RKC as 2Old2B Racing and Zero refuelled.
Although he was still putting in good lap times Thomas' neck was beginning to feel the effects of the G forces. Fortunately he was able to hold out until James signalled him in and he signalled he wanted to come in, at almost exactly the same moment.
James had been feeling sick on and off for some time, but with Thomas now suffering there seemed no alternative but for James to get on with it and there was still the let out that if he was really desperate, Thomas could take over when he came in for the final drive-through.
But before then he seemed to be going OK getting down to 47s/48s a lap, running in 5th place and having a tussle with Zero Racing which he finally won.
With what he thought was only ten minutes to the end, James came in for the final drive-through and felt well enough to continue driving. He had forgotten that the race had started late so in fact he had a good 15 minutes still to go.
Unfortunately as soon as he got out on the track he felt considerably worse and just a few laps later he had to slow right down as the contents of his stomach re-arranged themselves over his race suit.
2Old2B Racing lapped him at this point and B and R came past to take 5th away from us.
Having recovered a little James speeded up again but couldn't quite hold out to the end before throwing up again.
Fortunately for us B and R stopped a couple of laps from the end giving 5th place back to the team.
All in all we felt pretty pleased to get our first trophy of the season, and very pleased that the Gillard and Rotax were going so well.
R e d S t r i p e R a c i n g
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