Round 1, Endurance Championship, Buckmore Park 22nd-23rd Feb
With the 2013 season a distant memory, it all starts again for Club100. So who’s made a solid start to their 2014 campaign?
With Just So having retired after their third championship, the last of the “old guard” was gone. Or so we thought. Lee Clackett resurrected Team Red Steel, managing to convince Club100 legends Marc Craddock and Jamie Jakins out of retirement. The Just So name was kept alive by the mocking “Just So Serious”, formed from the ashes of Moulins Motorsport by the never serious Ian Blake.
They certainly took things seriously on track and stormed to pole position. Overdraft Racing were 2nd, Hartree Pirates 3rd, Tanked Up 4th and Alliance Racing rounding out the top 5. Pure Racing, one of this year’s favourites, opted to change their kart after qualifying and start from the back of the full 35 kart grid.
Just So Serious sped away off the line leaving Tanked Up, Alliance and Hartree battling hard behind. Overdraft were bumped down the pecking order. Over the first couple of stints, Es Car Go made up ground along with Red Steel, Ministry of Speed and Pure Racing who had made up an amazing amount of time from the back of the grid. However, a broken fuel line would sadly drop them to the back. Red Steel also stopped on track and Alliance were handed a black flag for making contact with a backmarker. This all gave Just So Serious an easy run to victory. Ministry of Speed came home 2nd with Hartree 3rd.
There were a number of new names and faces in the Clubman class in what promises to be a very competitive year. However, it was the one team many believe should be in the premier class who stormed to pole position. Akita V2 looked in a class of their own and were clearly ahead of the second placed Entran Enduro. B.O.B were 3rd, Mind The Gap 4th and Speed Muppets 5th.
The Akita boys were confidently predicting a win before the start of the race. However, contact at the first hairpin saw Carl Tebbutt off the road and he ended the first lap dead last. A grateful B.O.B took the helm but this was short lived as they also came unstuck before the first pit stop. After the first round of fuel stops, InkJet Racing were leading the way, a few seconds clear of Pantera Racing, Auditing Armageddon and the new Forza Nastro Azuro team, comprised of veteran Jose Soler and the returning Francesco Volpe.
The new grippy Vega tyres and the brilliantly tuned new fleet of karts meant the whole field remained very close throughout. There were many battles up and down the pack but rapidly clawing their way up the order was Akita V2. They made short work of their rivals to get the lead back to eventually take the win. Entran Enduro just managed to take 2nd from a hard charging Forza Nastro Azuro, who claimed the last spot on the podium.
There was much debate over the winter as to whether 2013 rookie champions Team DGB should be promoted straight to Clubman. After such a dominant season, many believed it was the right choice. In the end it was decided to allow them to compete in the inters class. To justify this decision, they only managed to qualify 10th. Or was it gamesmanship? Time would tell. Nevertheless, it was a new name on pole in UOMDC. STOaT Racing were 2nd with Pixel Pirates 3rd.
The running order at the sharp end remained largely unchanged in the early laps. It was the first round of fuel stops that really shook things up. UOMDC got it completely wrong and dropped to 8th.
Team DGB, who had shown good pace in the first stint, were the big winners and got up to 3rd behind new leaders M&M and Pixel Pirates. By the end of the following stint, the reigning rookie champions were leading. Problems soon befell M&M and they fell off the radar. In the closing stages, the scene was set. Team DGB had the lead but were being chased hard by Runtime Exception Racing. The latter were less than a second behind and harrying the leaders. A few tenths behind them were Carlin Motorsport. Showing the kind of maturity that won them the rookie crown last year, Team DGB held their nerve and took victory in what was an amazingly close finish after 2 hours of racing.
So another year of rookie racing, another new bunch of faces and another new bunch of wacky team names. Among the silliest this year are “How I met your muffler”, Dudes & Bros” and “Kimi a break”. However, cleverest silly team name of the year award goes to “Force it in dear”. Some people have far too much time on their hands…
Anyway, Kimi a Break claimed pole ahead of the only mildly silly SMIDSY and the almost normal sounding Team G3Pro. When the flag dropped, Kimi got a flier. The Mufflers jumped from 4th to 2nd, dropping SMIDSY and G3Pro. However, as the race settled down and the pit stops played their part in the running order, G3Pro emerged ahead. The Mufflers were still in contention with Fore it In Dear, Kimi a Break, 221 Racing, Moriwaki and KOKS de la Rosa (another silly name) all following suit.
With another relatively small rookie grid this year, the running order at the front stagnated as the race wore on and Team G3Pro continued to build on their lead. After 2 hours of racing they crossed the line comfortably almost a lap ahead of the Mufflers in 2nd and Force it in dear taking the final step on the podium in 3rd.