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Thruxton 19th February 2017 – Race Report
A cloudy but very mild day greeted the members of FP4 as they arrived for the first race day of the 2017 season. Although there was a hint of rain in the air, the morning stayed dry and the new tarmac surface at the Thruxton track gave really good grip for the Duro tyres used by the club. There was a healthy grid of World Formulas but only a handful of ProKarts, so it was decided to combine the two grids to maximise track time during the event, although it is not expected to repeat that for the rest of the year.
Many drivers tried out new equipment bought over the winter and their considerable investment shows confidence in the club and a very real desire to challenge for the podium places this year. Much was made of the new tyre regulations with a shipment from Germany made available for ProKart runners –these will be mandatory from the first championship round at Clay Pigeon in March. For world Formula drivers, the new tyres will be mandatory from the Forest Edge round in April onwards. The new weight limit for Wfs was also a challenge for some – the need to find an extra 3kgs meant a hunt for extra lead for some.
Practice showed that reigning champion Angus Waddell was intending to pick up where he left off in 2016 – with an advantage of 3 tenths over second placed man Christophe Mathers in a ProKart and a full half a second over the first Wf driver Keith Robertson, who is himself no slouch. Alex Whiteley, driving his new Tony Kart, showed great potential with an excellent performance. And so it was to be – in Heat 1 Waddell gained no less than 13 places to finish third behind returnee Dave Jarvis and winner ProKarter Carl Kirwin. Heat 2 produced a very close battle between Keith Robertson and Dave Jarvis with Robertson taking the victory by a tenth. In third was Mathers who gained 15 places over ten laps – a remarkable performance. Danger man Waddell slipped into fourth place. In Heat 3 Waddell streaked away from the opposition to a lead of over 6 seconds but it was good to see Chris Kelly coming in second having beaten off a determined challenge from Carl Kirwin.
So the final had Waddell on pole position, Jarvis in second and Kirwin in third – and there was a mighty fight for the lead in the first few laps. Eventually though, Waddell got away and took the victory over 7 seconds ahead. Kirwin and Jarvis fought it out until the last lap when Jarvis got ahead to come in second. Whiteley and Kelly had their own private battle for fourth place with Whiteley just getting ahead.
It had been a great start to the FP4 season and our thanks go to the team at Thruxton for making us so welcome and managing the morning so efficiently. Although we won’t be returning there until November the track remains open throughout the year for testing. It is important, however, to check the website for availability.
The next round – round one of the summer championship – will be at Clay Pigeon on the 12th March: Entries are now open and need to be in soon. MSA Licences are needed from that round onwards.