Impressive Start to 2009 for new driver line-up!
Tuesday, 06 January 2009 09:31
A late signing to complete the teams 2009 Super 1 entry happened between Christmas and the new year. With the two senior drivers, Dominic and Danny Russell, and mini max protégé Henry Jackson moving up into the junior class, the team are delighted to announce that they will now provide full race support to Mike Whitaker. The junior driver comes with 1 years racing experience, and expects to run well at the top level this season.

After major success in the season finale at Kimbolton, with victory for both Jackson (mini max) and Chesterman (senior max), and a podium for Russell (snr max), the team took 2 of their junior drivers (Jackson and Whitaker) to PFI last weekend. The circuit provides the hardest competition anywhere in the country, and with both drivers having never driven the circuit before, it would be a real test before the start of what will prove to be a hard year.

Testing Friday was mainly used to work with the two drivers, who lapped in similar times throughout the day. With some of the top competition in the country, and an entry list of 40 drivers, the pair could not afford any mistakes come Sunday. Working with the kart, the team slowly made advancements with both chassis balance and power, and by Saturday afternoon both karts were working to their optimum.

‘Although both drivers are some way from the pace here in testing, they have not yet used new tyres. They both have good power, and tomorrow will have good grip. A steady start to the weekend, but I am confident that both drivers have a chance of scoring well here if they can negotiate the tricky starts here.’ Team Manager, Tom Smith

Good heats for Jackson with 9th and 6th place finishes put him on row 6 for the Grand final. Whitaker felt the nerves in heat 1, having to start from row 2 on the grid. Being pushed wide at turn 1, he was hung out to dry in both hairpins and ended the first lap down in 16th. A recovery saw a 14th place finish. His 2nd heat, starting from 24th on the grid, would prove to be more successful, as he made amends for his poor start in heat 1. He negotiated the two hairpins well on lap 1, and as a result, finished the race in 13th place. Thanks to a good drive in heat 2, the 3DR protégé narrowly avoided the repecharge, and qualified in 23rd place for the Grand final.

With 14 laps of racing excitement ahead, both drivers took the green light determined to end the weekend on a high. Forceful at the start, Whitaker remained strong through the notoriously difficult first 3 corners, and came out of the first lap in 15th. An accident in the midfield almost caught out Jackson from behind, but staying strong into the hairpin, he held on and drove a good first lap, coming across the start line 9th, chasing a pack including Super 1 frontrunners Ash Hand and Josh Parker. With lunges at hairpin 1 throughout the first 4 laps of the race, Jackson showed good pace and moved past the pack ahead, settling into 6th place and chasing down a spot on the podium. Likewise, good progress saw Whitaker move up into 11th, knocking on the door of the top 10. A mistake by Whitaker 3 laps from the end saw him drop to 14th, but overall a good performance that almost saw an excellent result. Jackson continued to move forward, and found himself in the race for 3rd. Going for the move, he out braked himself in hairpin 2, and slid wide. 2 other drivers drove past, and 3rd slipped from Jacksons grasp. Unable to find a way past seeded driver Louise Richardson, he eventually finished 6th.

With 40 top line drivers entered, almost seeing 2 top 10 finishes at the drivers first visit to the circuit was a great result. The team now travel to Kimbolton with Whitaker, and a new Mini max driver, Sam Jackson. Will Chambers will be in action at Shenington the weekend after, with senior drivers Dom and Danny Russell. Watch this space!
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