Round 1: Clay Pigeon, 19th July 2014
The weather forecast was not good and yet almost every competitor made it for the inaugural Clay Pigeon IKR meeting
The shop did good business on wet suits and it was one of those days where half the battle was deciding which tyres to use. Periods of heavy rain coupled with high temperatures meant the track was soaking wet one minute and bone dry the next. In fact one of the TKM races saw the majority of the grid on wet tyres for what turned out to be a completely dry race.
One of the few that didn’t make it was unfortunately a Cadet, though this was due to a van break down rather than being scared off by the weather. This meant the grid was down to just three drivers, though their close performance meant they treated us to some of the best racing of the day. No doubt Luke Adams was having words with Dad after a final during which a rear wheel decided it didn’t wish to take any further part in the race. This left his brother Jake to fight out the remainder of the final with Bradley Stephens. The pair traded positions a few times in the second half of the race, finishing less than 2 tenths of a second apart, Bradley coming out on top on this occasion.
With an average age that must be somewhere north of pensionable, the prokart guys certainly haven’t forgotten how to put on a show. Not troubled by having to worry about wet tyres, they were certainly the most relaxed group, able to sit around reminiscing on how that thunderstorm in ’72 was far worse than this one. Jeff Johnson has clearly driven through many a storm and showed himself to be the Rainmeister of the class. Once the track dried up though, the raw pace of Joe Higgins shone along with the baking afternoon sunshine and he was able to take both the Pre-Final and Final by comfortable margins.
Qualifying on slicks in the wet and racing on wets in the dry, either the TKM racers were getting rotten luck or they’re just poor at tyre selection. A few made the right call in the Pre-Final and it paid dividends for Nick Cridge who took the honours. Pre-meeting favourite Oli Nitch-Smith got all precious about ruining his new wet tyres and came in halfway through the race. Robert Cox was very pleased with himself after finishing the race in 2nd place but was later seen crying into his Slim Fast shake after being excluded for being 200 grams underweight.
There was no doubt about tyres for the final and Oli Nitch-Smith didn’t waste any time re-asserting his dominance as he swiftly moved to the front of the pack, where he stayed until the end. Nick Cridge and Robert Cox settled into their 2nd and 3rd positions respectively, but the remaining positions were traded regularly throughout.
Surely the best was saved until last, with a large Rotax grid demonstrating high quality racing throughout the day. Jaques Jensen was looking dominant as he took wins in both the Heat and Pre-Final. However, the Final didn’t go his way, with Jensen coming off worse whilst attempting to pass Peter Jeanes for first place. With Jensen out of the race and Jeanes dropping back to 7th, Alex Cobb took the lead and was left to battle it out with twin brother Sam, Luke Chard-Maple and Stuart Prebble. After a hard fight they finished in that order, Alex crossing the line ahead of Sam by slightly less time than he did the day they were born.
Thankfully the Sun came out for the finals but it was great to see smiles on faces universally throughout the day, even when the rain was hammering down. We were confident that the atmosphere would be relaxed and friendly and we certainly weren’t disappointed on that count. The driving standards were excellent too, with very few incidents and certainly nothing that would ever be deemed deliberate. Head Official, Jamie Macklin commented that he was able to enjoy spectating rather than dealing with incidents.
The full results can be found at: http://results.alphatiming.co.uk/ clay/2014/ikrr1
Round 2 takes place on August 23rd. For details on how to enter please see www.claypigeonikr.co.uk.