What Could Have Been!
Monday, 28 April 2008 18:25
With 25°C of heat, along with sunny intervals forecast, the team were looking forward to finally working in something resembling summery weather at Whilton Mill! The forecasts weren’t wrong, and by midday on Saturday the track had gripped up, and the sun shone brightly over the pits and circuit.

With 3 drivers at the weekend, Team Manager Tom Smith commented on 3DR’s prospects: ‘We have a busy schedule for the weekend, as we welcome a new driver into the team. There is an extremely strong field of drivers in all classes this weekend, with competitiors’ from both the Stars of Tomorrow and Super 1 series’ present. I will expect Danny to be right at the very front. Dominic will hopefully also enjoy success, as his acclimatisation progress with senior level racing continues. It is our aim this weekend to assess new driver William Blackwell-chambers in Junior Rotax, and welcome him to the team.’

Dominic is racing in contention for the championship at Whilton Mill after success in the early part of the season, so a test programme utilising both his and Danny’s kart was carried out. Saturday evening saw Danny topping the timesheets by 2 tenths from a gaggle of drivers, including Dominic, and last year’s Vice British champion, Kazuki Hiramine from Japan.

Being a relative Novice to the sport, Will Blackwell-Chambers, racing in Junior Rotax, has decided to race at Whilton Mill to compete against stronger grids than are available at his local circuits. He has raced the first three rounds of the championship alone, but we welcomed him on-board this weekend. The team spent most of Saturday changing the kart setup and driver position, but also used the time to evaluate the young drivers attributes:

‘Will is pretty much a novice and hasn’t been racing long enough to be classed in any other way. However, he has responded very well to the team and the setup changes made to his kart,’ commented Team Principle, Don Russell.

On Sunday, Dominic had the most solid heats of any drivers in Senior Rotax, allowing him to secure Pole position for the final. Danny was taken out in one heat at the start, and, as at Shenington the weekend previous, had to start on grid 7 for the final.

A good start saw Dominic hold on to the lead, ahead of a group of 5 karts including top British championship competitors’ Kazuki Hiramine, Alex Sharper, Gemma Stephenson and Daniel Payne, with Danny settling in on the back of the group. Dominic held a steady 1 second gap over the chasing pack, whilst Danny made progress moving up into 3rd by lap 8. The race was looking very good for us until disaster struck on lap 10.

With Danny poised to move into 2nd, he slowed and eventually pitted, commenting: ‘Unfortunately the engine has overheated, and I can’t risk losing it. We tried to run lean to get a good start and move through the field. With the ambient temperature at 20°, the engine was burning me through the seat, and so I had to stop.’

Adjacent with Danny pulling in, Dominic clipped a kerb at the hairpin, allowing Hiramine an opportunity which he duly took into Turn 1. Dom couldn’t retrieve the racing line, and he ended up 5th.

New driver Will had had a tough day, being taken out at the start in 1 heat, and making a mistake whilst running well in heat 3. With a massive grid of 50 juniors, he found himself strapped to the back of the B final grid in 19th. He battled hard and managed to pass 7 drivers, in turn setting a lap time within 8 tenths of the fastest time set all day, eventually coming home in 12th.

‘Welcoming William to the team has been a pleasure this weekend. We have worked hard to get his kart up to speed, and managed to evaluate what needs to be done to move him up the grid. He has listened and learnt from everything we have told him. This shows looking at his lap times. The previous three months racing saw William lapping in the high 48’s, with a best lap time of 48.60s. On Saturday, a time of 47.67 was achieved, and in the final on Sunday, Will managed a 47.70. Finding a second per lap is testament to the hard work of the whole team, and Will’s willingness to learn.

We need to develop the 13 year olds fitness and strength, along with his drive to win. Alongside this, we will be constantly improving his skill set over 2008 at selected club races. Will has done very well this weekend, and the prospect of working with him this year is extremely exciting.’
Tom Smith, Team Manager

All in all, a good weekend for the team, spoilt by the Senior Rotax final. Dominic has moved into the lead of the championship due to his strong heats and top 5 finish in the final.
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