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Sam takes trophy at Midland Champs

September 9, 2010

But we did it the hard way! Our boy was one of the fastest out there during this two-day event at Little Rissington in Gloucestershire. Only the weather and sticky brakes prevented an even better result, but 6th place from a field of 35 was just reward for an eventful and thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

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Sam was fast from the off this weekend

The format for the Midland Championships was just three practice runs on Saturday before the heats started. Junior TKM had attracted a large field so each driver was to run in 3 out of 4 heats. The bottom 6 point scorers compete in the B final for the last 4 places on the A final grid.

Saturday practice started well with Sam clearly on the pace, but our excitement didn’t last long when a spark plug broke in the race engine. A quick engine swap disrupted our testing plans and left us with little useful data from those three sessions.

Sam was drawn in heats 1 and 2 on Saturday.

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Top 3 - Gavin Pitt and Sam come up on the back of Craig Johnson

Drawn in a starting position of 12th on the grid for heat 1 Sam’s earlier pace continued to show and he made quick progress through the field to 5th, behind top gun Gavin Pitt.

“I didn’t challenge Gavin as I knew he was fast so I tucked in behind him and tried to follow him through when he overtook anyone“.

Two laps later Gavin and Sam were in 2nd and 3rd place closing in on leader Craig Johnson. Regular front runner Craig had a good lead at the start but was beginning to fall into the clutches and Gavin and therefore Sam.

I saw Gavin go past Craig and knew I had the speed today and got him at the Elbow“.

Sam had to settle for 2nd place in heat 1 behind Gavin Pitt

As Sam and Gavin pulled clear Sam settled on the back of Gavin’s kart.

I was fast today and could keep up with Gavin. I followed for a couple of laps and decided I could have a go coming out of the dog leg or maybe into the Elbow. I knew he would fight back so I decided to wait until the last lap, but the marshalls didn’t show the last lap board! I was shocked when the chequered flag was waved and I had missed my chance.

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But finishing P2 from 12th was a great result and bagged a hatful of points.

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Matt England

For heat 2 Sam started at the back of the grid in 22nd and made rapid progress through the field up to 8th place. After the last lap marker was shown Sam approached the dog leg and suddenly spun out of control.

I braked as normal into the dog leg and locked the wheels as I normally would for a short moment, but when I lifted my foot of the pedal the brakes stayed on and I lost control. I tried to restart the engine but in the end I had to spin it to avoid going on the grass. It was a disaster.”

Dejected,  Sam brought it home in 23rd, almost last, but posted the fastest lap of the race at 43.20 a new PB for Sam by some margin.

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Sam sat out heat 3 in the wet - Lee Harrisson was dominant

Sunday was forecast dry so it was a surprise to be watching the first heat of the day in torrential rain. As the track dried we awaited our heat with the kart partially stripped to allow us to make a late decision on wet or dry setup. Unfortunately we were unaware there was a program change and our heat was earlier than anticipated!! There then followed the most frantic 10 minutes of our karting careers as we put it back together and ran to pole position on the grid! Flustered and out of breath we took our place for the heat on a damp but drying track.

Starting in pole I got a reasonably good start and was in second place after the Inner Loop which was OK. But as I braked for the dog leg nothing happened. I pressed harder and still nothing. Then suddenly the brakes worked and I instantly spun out. I was gutted, the whole field drove past me“.

Sam was able to restart himself this time rather than have to wait for assistance, but still finished down in 18th.

So after 2 bad heats we had feared the worst and anticipated a B final qualification, but were pleasantly surprised by a quali position of 15th in the A final. That second place points haul making the difference.

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First corner of the final

The first rolling start in the final was red flagged for some transgression at the front, we know not why. Last time we had a restart at Rissy a certain pusher [ me – Dad ] failed to get it going, but this time it fired and Sam took the rolling lap in formation as planned.

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The first few laps of the final were busy - Sam in the middle of the shot

At the start the pack behaved for once and Sam fell into formation behind Jamie Andrews #52 with Will Shaw tucked up behind. After a couple of laps Sam started to climb up the order with very controlled manouvers on every occasion. The brakes appeared to be working properly and Sam was taking places into the Inner Loop, braking into the dog-leg, and of course through the Elbow.  Resistance was only encountered by our old adversie (and good friend), Alex Nuttall who fought back and made Sam work hard for the place. By the time Sam had cleared ALex, Aaron Mills and Jack Ransom the field had spread out and we were running out of laps.

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End of the final - Sam works his way up to 6th

In the end Sam finished in 6th place, still catching the leaders.  Our pace was fantastic, the result compromised only by the poor qualification earlier in the weekend. Better still, we understand why we were quick and are optimistic we can carry this into the next event.

I really enjoyed the final, as the kart was lit this week. I was able to carry so much speed through the corners this weekend I could just focus on catching the kart in front and overtaking. I can’t wait for Kimbolton“.

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Full results click here.

Next race Kimbolton 12 Sep.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Martin Woodham permalink
    September 10, 2010 2:44 pm

    great result Sam, well done! Looks like you’ve got to grips with the new kart, I’ll be following your progress at Kimbolton with interest!

  2. September 10, 2010 9:14 am

    Great to see the results starting to come right for you, and hope you can keep moving in the right direction both driver and spannerman!

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