Ups and Downs for the team at Shenington!
Wednesday, 24 September 2008 13:26
3DR travelled to Shenington last weekend for round 9 of the club championship. With regular Shenington drivers Dominic Russell and Henry Jackson, in Senior Rotax and Minimax respectively, and Whilton Mill regular Will Blackwell-Chambers all making an appearance, a busy, important weekend was to come. The fight for the championship in Senior Rotax is tight between Dominic and Nathan Lawley, whilst Henry is fighting for 2nd in the minimax title race, currently closely contested by 4 drivers.

Despite a dry, sunny weekend, the inexperience of junior driver Will B-Chambers meant that he found it tough to get to grips with a brand new circuit. Working hard throughout the day, and making minimal changes to the balance of his kart, Will managed to extract good lap times in the final of the days 5 unofficial practice sessions.

Minimax protégé Henry Jackson looked good in testing. Faster than his championship rivals, and keen to capitalise on his success at Kimbolton the previous weekend, Henry ended the day 3rd fastest, behind national championship front runners Nathan Harrison and James Singleton. It is worth noting that the two faster drivers obviously have a better package with more power underneath them at this stage.

Championship hopeful, Dominic, also ended the day well, on top of the timesheets and feeling confident for Sunday.

The worst possible start for the team at the start of Sunday saw Henry taken out and into retirement on Turn 2 of heat 1. In the very next race, Chambers failed to make the most of his first heats starting position (P4), and spun out on under braking for the hairpin on lap 1. A bad start for the juniors, with full grids of competition, would make the rest of the day a hard, uphill slog.

Heat 2 went better for Henry, securing 3rd, but lack of power in heat 3 meant that he had to fight hard for his 12th place from the back of the grid.

Chambers had an unfortunate set of grid slots for Heats 2 and 3, but made progress in each, finishing 17th from P23, and 15th from P18.

A faultless drive from Senior driver Dominic during the qualifying heats saw him win both heat 1 and 3, with P2 in the 2nd heat. Fastest laps in 2 of the 3 heats made him a strong favourite starting from pole in the final.

Early setbacks for the junior drivers meant a grid slot of 13 for Henry Jackson, and 19 for Will Chambers. Having been caught out under braking in heat one at the hairpin, a virtual action replay at the start of the final put will out of contention on lap 1. After a good start, disappointment was plain for all to see. Pushing his own air round half a lap down, Will managed to, for the first time, put a string of consistent laps together that could have seen him run inside the top 7 and put him in contention for a trophy on his first visit to the circuit.

Henry got caught up at Turn 1 of the final, but recovered to drive through into 8th position. A scuffle with another recovering driver, however, saw him miss out on a good points haul, and 11th position had to be good enough. It was obvious that we did not have the same package to race with as the front runners this weekend; however a top 5 was certainly on the cards. All in all a disappointment for the two junior drivers, but both will be out to make a menz at Whilton Mill this weekend.

The last race of the day saw Dominic on pole for the hotly contested Senior Rotax final. Attacked at the start by front row man Daniel Payne, Dominic held strong, and led the first lap. With karl Haxton motorsport drivers Steven Johnson and James Corpe breathing down his neck, Dominic didn’t wilt under the pressure, and showed the composure that so nearly saw him win all of the 3 qualifying heats. Consistent laps built Dominic’s lead to almost 2 seconds by the end of the 12 lap race, with Championship leader, Nathan Lawley eventually coming home in 2nd place, in front of Matt Dittmann.

A lights to flag victory for Dominic from pole was a dominant way to impose himself onto the championship with only 3 rounds to go. Henry is still in contention for 2nd place in the series’, but will now have to drive perfectly all year. Disappointment for Will, but he eventually got to grips with the circuit, and will hopefully be able to show the team an improvement at Whilton Mill this weekend.
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