Round 2 of the Open Endurance series would be the first time the drivers had driven the new surface and reconfiguration after being soaked at the previous two meetings. Three of the teams were having to compete as solo efforts with Glen Oford of Ant Hill Mob still injured so leaving brother Andy to uphold honours. David Roberts had switched from David & Co to the returning Entente Cordiale team but team-mate Marc Hannewald was a last minute withdrawal. Mark Gething was the final solo effort after See You Next Tuesday team-mate Steve Williams received a work related emergency call moments before drivers briefing. Amusingly Mark was unaware of his team-mates departure until seconds before qualifying started so now had the daunting prospect of ninety minutes of driving ahead of him.
Qualifying would see a constant to-and-fro of positions with Round 1 victors David & Co, now with David Haverson joining Gary Kent, the early pacesetters. Gething got himself into a rhythm and posted the fastest lap with four minutes remaining. ST came close to toppling Gething but fell short by just a tenth of a second. The front row was therefore made up of See You Next Tuesday and ST with David & Co and Pulham Pigs completing row two. Just over a second covered the field but both Team Moo and MGRC Racing elected to change their machines after qualifying tenth and thirteenth respectively.
The race got underway with Gething shooting into an early lead. At the end of lap one Gething dived into the pits followed by Orford (Ant Hill Mob) to make early stops to get out of traffic. This promoted ST into the lead but they were being hassled by Old Gits and Lumber Racing. Gething pitted again on each of the first five laps to leave him with a 85 minute stint to the end and one lap down on the leaders. Lumber Racing moved into the lead on lap six and began to stretch their advantage. Jonny Burridge (Team Moo) was making steady progress through the field and when he handed over to team-mate Kieran Cannell they were up to fifth. Cannell was on a mission and not only had moved up into the lead at the end of his opening stint he had also broken the lap record along the way. No sooner had he jumped out of the kart and received lots of back slapping the timing screens then lit up with another lap record, this time from Ant Hill Mob who had lowered the benchmark by another tenth of a second.
While all this excitement was going on MGRC Racing’s race was not going to plan so another change of machine was made at their third pit stop, by this point they were last with nothing to lose. Also slipping back were David & Co who were now on the fringes of the top ten. By now all of the teams had set lap times within a second of the fastest lap such is the competitiveness of the league this season.
Cannell decided he quite enjoyed having the lap record even it is was only for a few minutes so when he ventured back on track for his second he was determined to have another go at getting it. He duly succeeded by a staggering three tenths of a second leading to many a jaw drop from his fellow competitors. This also cemented Team Moo’s advantage at the head of the field and they could now afford to relax slightly in the closing stages. Ant Hill Mob decided to make two late stops, the first of which quickly turned into a disaster when the kart stalled during the stop. A quick change of machine got them back underway but at their final stop a lap later another change of kart was made which dropped them from podium contention to just inside the top ten. This promoted See You Next Tuesday to second with a consistent driver from Gething quietly moving him up the order during the final round of stops.
When the flag fell it was Team Moo who claimed their first victory since July 2014, a popular result for this stalwart team of the series. See You Next Tuesday were brought home second by both a delighted and exhausted Gething with Lumber Racing picking up their second ever podium in third. ST came home fourth ahead of Pulham Pigs, Old Gits, Ant Hill Mob, JET Racing, David & Co with Entente Cordiale rounding out the top ten. JB Racing, MGRC Racing, The Stooges and B Team completed the finishers.
Round 3 of the series takes place on Tuesday 1st March at 630pm. To enter a team or for more information please call 01502 717718.