Bruntingthorpe 6 Hour Race Report
Wing Win (and Wheel Rim Woes for Round 1 Winners).
With round 1 firmly consigned to the history books and hopefully many lessons learned for the sport as a whole, the championship moved on to the technical Bruntingthorpe Kart Track and was greeted by perfect conditions for racing – if not for standing and watching – with a dry but chilly day (so what’s new in 2016?).
As expected, when the flag dropped it was Apollo’s #2
and Wing Racers #1 cars contesting it through the first corners with the 2nd Apollo car – hotly pursued by the evergreen Norton Greyhounds machine – scrapping over second.
What was not expected was a big “off” (or rather an “over”) for the Wing Racer’s car at the end of lap one which dropped them forty one seconds off the lead and back into the midfield but left the car undamaged and the driver relatively so. Crucially for the defending champions, a lap was not dropped and the gap to the lead car was gradually reeled in with the junction being made just on the first round of pit stops 30 minutes in.
Behind, the #3 Apollo had by now gapped the rest to hold third comfortably ahead of Swebbelli Racing’s PC1 squad who were having a much more determined run already than their somewhat lacklustre performance at Shrewsbury.
Sitting pretty in 5th was Flying Penguins with the impressive Kieran O’Connor running solo but sticking with the mid-field for much of the first half of the race.
In PC2, Swebbelli Racing’s pair of Apollo/M Spiders were showing a clean pair of heals to the rest of the junior classes with 1st Kenilworth – making their first appearance this year – stretching away in PC3.
Over the next hour, it was fascinating racing at the front with the lead changing on pit stops and never growing to more than a handful of seconds in either direction but then gradually Apollo started to assert themselves at with the lead growing to two minutes just before two and a half hours had elapsed.
But all was not well in the Apollo camp. Simply put, to match the more nimble Wing Racer’s car on this twisty track, the Apollo/N+ was going through tyres – and more to the point spokes – at a much greater rate. A wheel change at their 5th pitstop cut the lead in half and then a defective rim on a brand new wheel prompted several slow laps and a second stop just ten minutes later which left Wing twenty seconds up and suddenly with the momentum very much on their side.
Worse still for Apollo, over the next hour Swebbelli’s PC1 squad found their rhythm and were taking chunks out of them in the battle for third place which most observers had thought was a foregone conclusion when the #3 car was five minutes up after the first two and three quarter hours.
Behind, the battle for 5th through to 8th places between Norton Greyhounds, Royce, Colonel Mustard and the lead Swebbelli P2 car was showing no signs of abating. In fact, all up and down the field there were fights right down to the scrap for 16th and 17th places between Matrix and the Penguins P3 team who were rarely separated by more than a few seconds all race.
During the second half of the race, the pattern was now very much fixed at the front. The two lead cars were often running half a lap apart but knocking mere fractions of a second out of each other lap by lap – this was true endurance racing stuff from two teams who have become rather good at it recently!
Lap after lap, Wing would emerge from the final left hander with several kilometres an hour more speed, then the Apollo would stretch it’s legs and recoup the damage into the wind past the pits before losing ground again on the complex of corners which makes up the whole of the second half of the lap.
But matching Wing’s speed was chewing up the wheels on the #2 machine and two more changes were needed in the final third of the race and in the end this was the decisive factor – Wing simply had the better machine for the track.
The momentum in the fight for third place was now very much in Swebbelli’s favour. From being two laps down with ninety minutes to go, they simply put five laps into the #3 Apollo car during the final quarter to take the final podium position by a comfortable margin.
Fifth place went to Norton Greyhounds but with only a few short laps covering them down to the 8th place finishing PC2 Swebbelli Racing car who had a decent gap back to their team-mates to take a 1-2 in class.
Special mention must once again go to Keiran who brought the Flying Penguin’s car home in 9th place all by himself keeping their PC1 championship alive on a day where last minute bad luck prevented them from fielding a full team.
1st Kenilworth made it home in the lead of PC3 class ahead of Flying Penguin’s who just lost out in their race-long battle for 16th with Matrix Racing’s PCF squad.
So we were left with memories of a fascinating race for all three podium positions and with the championship leaders dead level on points going into the Shenington 24 hour Race on June 25th – 26th where, as we know from last year, literally anything can happen!
Final mention, however, must go to the team who have now produced a lap counting system which so far has not dropped a single lap during the 2016 season – that’s 7838 laps so far – Dave and Phil, we salute you!