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Chunky Memorial Race
Three hours and your ascent to victory is scuppered by a broken seat?! That’s endurance!
As the OEKC teams arrived at Whilton Mill for thier first race of 2014 they were greeted by a beautiful, bright, sunny day. The grid included several new teams including ECO racing, DHB Racing, RSA, Team RED & GKD. Despite the great weather, the track was very green and teams took the 60 practice session gingerly. As expected the lap times dropped as the track got drier. By the time qualifying started the track was ready for the battle for pole. VIVO SS immediately made their intentions clear with IJM and JRJ chasing hard. TT Sport had some ‘first race of the year’ issues and almost missed qualifying completely. They finally managed a couple of quick laps and put their kart 9th on the grid.
The teams lined up for the 4.5 hour race with VIVO SS on pole with IJM second. JRJ & DAMage filled row two. To The Max were next alongside Team RED. ECO racing & RSA filled row four with TT Sport & DHB immediately behind. Prokarts GKD & Big Blue were on row six. As soon as the race started VIVO SS were being chased by IJM & JRJ, but gradually VIVO SS managed to extend their lead. Further down the field DAMage, TT Sport & To the Max were swapping places and staying touch with the leading group. ECO racing, Team RED and DHB racing had a baptism of fire. They both had mechanical problems, typical for teams new to endurance racing. As the race progressed VIVO SS continued to extend their lead. IJM & JRJ were fighting over 2nd place. Prokarts GKD & Big Blue were lapping some 4 seconds slower than the Rotaxes, but with their 15 lap handicap & rare visits to the pits they were moving up the grid. VIVO SS posted the race’s fastest time of 47.2 on lap 284.
Broken seat stays proved to be a race ending problem for JRJ as this problem caused the radiator to move & their exhaust to break. They were running in a strong third place before the seat stay caused their retirement on lap 268. Less than 30 minutes before the end of the race VIVO SS had a problem with their weight-post and during their pit stop they quickly lost most of the eight lap lead they had built up. A quick driver change, to someone heavy enough to run without lead and VIVO SS were back in the race. As they re-entered the fray they were still in the lead, but only just. A solid drive took them to a well deserved chequered flag and the coveted OEKC O plate for 2014. By the end of the race they had completed 316 laps. IJM came in second, a lap behind with Prokarters GKD third. TT Sport took 4th & DAMage 5th. Prokart Big Blue were 6th. Roll on 2014!