Race Report for 28th February, 2004

ProMax Team Enduro SE Challenge R.5 (Winter Series)

2.2 Celsius and with a forecast of snow later in the day. Not the best day to go out and race, but twenty one teams presented themselves at the sign in desk for the penultimate round of the SE Promax Challenge at Buckmore Park on the 28th of February. We would have had three more teams had we not altered the date after initial publication as the revised event clashed with skiing holidays.

Yet again ZLR demonstrated their dominance of the class by taking pole in the fifteen minute session. Mind you, it wasnít a walkover as Allied 1 were a mere four hundredths off their pace. Extreme Racing and Screenvyn 86 were similarly close on the second row and it was clear we were in for some more very of the very close racing that this class regularly generates. The practice and qualifying sessions were not without incident though and one particular shunt was to prove costly for a couple of teams. Coming around Cafť Curve, Screenvyn 86 went wide, caught the very slippery geo-block and spun out. Rolling across the circuit in reverse on the exit of a blind corner would not be high on my list of ambitions I must admit. Powering around the corner, nose to tail, came Titan Motorsport and another who I believe to be Red Stripe Racing
(it wasn't in fact), though I couldnít actually see the number. With the circuit blocked by the reversing Screenvyn kart the boys had nowhere to go and both ended up flying into the corporate pit lane tyre wall with considerable impact. Screenvyn survived and proceeded on their way with little knowledge of the mayhem left behind. Titan were not so lucky and the kart was damaged to the point were unable to repair it and they became a DNS.

Another early casualty were HWB who had an off at post five which resulted in a twisted chassis and though they tried to carry on into the race, it was soon apparent that the kart had a different idea of turning in than that of the driver and it was not long before the unlucky HWB gang called it a day.

Despite the less than grippy nature of the circuit on this cold winter day the start was virtually a text book job with only one spinner on the opening lap. It was again Screenvyn 86 who managed to out brake himself into hairpin one and dropped from 4th on the grid to last place in just ten seconds. ZLR and Allied 1 came off the front row and raced together for six or seven laps before Allied 2 popped in front on lap eight and then hung on right up to the first driver change and fuel stop. Augustea Racing were in and out of the pits with monotonous regularity as they struggled to find a cure for the popping and banging that was plaguing the engine.

Cobra ASM took temporary charge of the lead when Allied 2 pitted but then it was back to ZLR who always kept the race very much in their control. Most teams managed to run a longer first stint than is customary and the fuel bay was pretty busy around the one hour mark. If it was indeed Red Stripe who had got caught up in the tyre wall incident in practice, it would certainly explain why the team seemed to be plagued with an engine that kept playing up. It became quite common to see the driver doing yet another lap with his hand in the air before disappearing into the pits again.

With ninety minutes showing on the computer screen, things were all quiet in the fuel bay and it was an ideal moment to see just how the race was panning out. Just two teams now occupied the lead lap as ZLR headed the order nearly seven eighths of a lap clear of Cobra ASM. They were followed by a trio of Allied karts. No 2 headed this trio, Allied 1 were on the same lap while the No 3 team were a lap adrift of their stable mates and two off the lead kart. Top of the lease kart order at the halfway mark were Auto 1 Racing who seem to have really got to grips with their kart this season and were currently tucked up behind Allied 3 in sixth place. The next half hour marked more forward progress for Auto 1 who got in between the Allied trio who were themselves trading places with some regularity.

Leaving me little to say, Special Racing Projects had an uneventful race and just kept clocking up the laps and changing driver with precision and they were always in the upper reaches of the leaderboard, which is exactly what is expected of a successful endurance team, but a little frustrating for the race reporter who can only report that nothing happened!

I had chickened out of racing today as my days of freezing my fingers to the bone have long gone and I left the Levoiís Suzuki kart in the more than capable hands of my (much) younger team mate Dan Butler. Unfazed, Dan ran virtually the whole race by himself and his lap times never faltered as he slowly climbed the order from a P12 start . Fuel stop number two gave Cobra ASM another shot at leading the race though ZLR were still pretty close in second. Allied 3 were, appropriately, third and by now three laps clear of Special Racing Projects, Auto 1, Allied 4 and Levoiís Suzuki all playing together on the same lap.

As the lap counter hit the two hundred lap mark, it was with just under half an hour to go and if the teams were all running the same fuel strategy it would be a straight dash to the flag. The next few minutes were to reveal that some of the front runners had gone for a three stop strategy and would have to vacate the circuit once more. One of these was race leader ZLR who came in with less than ten minutes of the race remaining. This let Cobra ASM back in front but the mighty ZLR empire had that all very much in their plan and returned to circuit right behind Cobra. It was then just a matter of slipping past which Roy Watts did with ease and holding on to the flag and the teamís fourth race win on the trot. Cobra ASM came home just two seconds behind for 45 points and the runner up trophies. Two laps down but with a similar safety margin behind them, Allied 3 collected bronze and Auto 1 took the remaining trophies of the day for their very fine fourth place.

Just one round of the winter series remains and that is at Bayford Meadows on the 13th March. Looking at the leader board, for Cobra ASM to take the lead away from ZLR the former would need to secure a race win and for ZLR to finish 24th or worse. The battle for third is closer and currently held by Allied 1 after taking away their lowest score. It will all become clear at Sittingbourne in just two weeks.

Following the completion of the winter series the focus will be on the start of the Southern Promax Challenge hosted by Bayford Meadows but with away rounds at Buckmore and Clay Pigeon. Full details are now available on the series website www.pro-max.co.uk It should be a good third year for Promax!

Race Report by Alan Wood

This series is also covered by KARTING MAGAZINE on sale monthly and available at THE KART SHOP AT BUCKMORE


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