Victory for the team at Whilton!
Wednesday, 01 October 2008 22:27
A hot, dry weekend gave the team a perfect opportunity to run through chassis balance programmes in all of the Rotax Max classes on Saturday. Jackson in Minimax, Chambers in Junior Rotax, Dom Russell in Rotax Senior, and Moss in Rotax 177 completed some testing for the team during official practice, despite power issues being noticeable for the minimax driver.

Dominic led from the front in Rotax Senior, topping the timesheets all the way through the day, with Moss inside the top 3. Minimax drive Henry Jackson struggled with power, but a rented engine courtesy of JSR solved his speed issues for Sunday. Rotax Junior driver Will Chambers worked throughout the day to end up lapping inside the top 8 by the end of Saturday. He is still inexperienced compared to the other drivers in the team, and at only 13 years of age has a lot of hard work on his hands trying to beat 16 year olds!

A win for Dominic in heat 1 with fastest lap to boot was a great start to the day. Fastest lap in Heat 2 was in vain, as a rather over-adventurous move on lap 1 put him down the order. Unfortunately, 16th was only available to the Senior driver. The pressure was on Dominic for heat 3, to achieve a good result and rescue his grid slot for the final. 2nd place from grid 12, with a 3rd fastest lap would put him on grid 4 for the final.

Jackson moved through the field in all 3 of his heats, finishing 5th, 9th, and in heat 3, taking his first ever heat victory! Consistency was the order of the day in Minimax qualifying, as Henrys qualifying heats were enough to give him his first ever pole position for the main final.

177 driver Moss drove steadily in his qualifying heats to achieve a grid position of 4th for his final, whilst bad luck for Chambers in Junior Rotax when he went off the track in one of his heats meant a 5th row start for the young Basingstoke based protégé. It is worth noting that Will made good progress in the other two of his heats, to avoid starting the final from way down the 28 strong field of drivers.

With the first final being for Minimax, all attentions were given to Jackson, as the team briefed him for his first start from pole position. Although not having the outright pace to win the race all weekend, the team felt confident that he had both power and grip equal to the fastest drivers. A good start saw him lead away, and stretch the chain of drivers. A group of 5 karts emerged in the battle for the lead. Championship leader, Adam Bonham snatched the lead from a somewhat apprehensive Jackson, but the 3DR driver held strong after falling back to third, regaining 2nd with 2 minutes to go. A string of laps quicker than the race leader was not quite enough, as he finished the race on the bumper of Bonham.

The Rotax 177 race saw a fierce battle behind eventual race winner Luke Woodland. 3DR driver Nick Moss crawled his way through from a bad start to lead the chasing pack, only for Super 1 frontrunner Jake Parsons to try an over audacious move. Pushed down to 6th, Moss managed to recover to take 4th at the flag.

In Juniors, Chambers struggled to make an impression on the race, lapping consistently in top 8 times. For 12 minutes he struggled to make his way through the strong train of drivers, and could only finish 13th, on the bumper of Stars of Tomorrow competitor Alex McGee. The team feel that Will had the pace to compete for the top 8 positions, but bad qualifying stifled his chances. Will continues to improve, and needs to knuckle down if he is to reach the level required to race at a higher level in 2009.

Senior driver Dominic Russell endured rain on lap 1 of the Rotax final. Starting on the outside of row 2, a bad start put him back to 5th. When the rain eased and the track dried, he set about picking off priest, Gatton and Drew and found himself in 2nd place by lap 3. Race leader Payne was no match for the 16 year old Russell, as his 2 second lead was closed down by up to 5 tenths of a second per lap. By lap 8, Russell had caught Payne, and a ding dong battle ensued for the lead. The crowd were stunned, as the lead of the race changed hands 3 times on one lap! This allowed 3rd placed driver, Drew to catch up, and a 3 way battle was to start. Dominic got a run on Payne with 3 laps to go into Pits bend, and made a hard move. With nowhere to go, Payne slid wide, and Drew took the lead. In 2 laps, Russell had caught and passed Drew, and went on to take arguably the hardest win of his career, despite being 3 tenths faster than the field in the final!

‘I am very happy with the whole team this weekend. 2 podiums, and a 4th place is pretty much a perfect weekend considering the lack of experience that the drivers have brought here. I am very pleased for Henry, achieving his first podium with the team, and Dominic drove a stunning race in Rotax Senior to win. I am sure that Will can raise his game during the coming months. We have seen a lot of progress in a short space of time from him, and time is needed for him to regroup and focus on what is now needed.’ Team Manager, Tom Smith

The team go to PFI next weekend with main driver Danny Russell. After a month out of the seat, the team have plenty to test before the race on Sunday afternoon. Watch this space!
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