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You broke SIX karts? - 23 Jan 2006 - Aldershot

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You broke SIX karts? #1
Gil

You broke SIX karts? #2
Mark Neale - a much better photo, this, but not quite catching the essential Mark.

You broke SIX karts? #3
Mark de Brun

You broke SIX karts? #4
James Burridge

You broke SIX karts? #5
The rather fetching medal - one each!

You broke SIX karts? #6

Quite a tussle, this race. A very large range of competence, from the formidable The Farmers, and their second team The Mechanics to The Bashers and The Clangers, who both finished 30 laps off the pace. On the other hand, there were only eight teams there, which was just as well from the spares point of view.

We drove a large variety of machinery over the evening. Our first kart was sluggish, and very bad on left hand turns. We demanded a replacement during practice, and got quite a nice one for the race, but it got a flat tyre, the next threw a wheel, the next lost a chain. There was at least one more puncture, and Mark de Brun insisted that we get our good one back. Luckily, all these changes took place under red flags, so they didn't affect the race as much as they might have. But seven karts in an evening is excessive.

Mark Neale set off in second place from the grid, but, as usually happens, a number of incidents in the first few laps resulted in him being fourth at one point. Meanwhile, The Farmers had coolly moved into first, with The Mechanics second. Mark achieved a very respectable best lap of 30.35, but of the 33 laps he did at this stage, he was held up in 11. Mark was briefly in second place before the changeover.

James, a completely new Fugitive, then drove the next section, and only 16 of his 55 laps were sub-32 seconds, but he held third place for a while, and moved into second towards the end of his stint. His best time was 31.2, and his average unobstructed times were 31.57 - a certain consistency.

Mark de Brun then drove a storming session, but had a really rough deal with a 2 min 31 sec fuel change because they called him in before they were finished with the previous kart. The Mechanics took the opportunity to close up, and were never more than a lap or so behind from then on. Mark's best time was also The Fugitives' best time - 30.21, and his unobstructed average was 30.72.

Gil took over, and drove a straightforward session in three different karts with one NO BUMPING warning. On changeover, we temporarily lost second place again, but Gil regained it shortly after and stayed in that position till the end of his session. His best time was 30.24, and unobstructed average 30.96. When he was flagged in for his change to Mark Neale, the pit marshall alleged he'd been black-flagged. We could find no evidence for this, and after a short delay Mark was allowed to continue. We later concluded that another team had been black-flagged at the same time we were changing drivers. We came in, they didn't! Still, we lost no places.

As Mark Neale set off on the final session, The Farmers were three laps ahead, and there they stayed. Mark did his best, but he made no headway on them. On the track, he was switching places throughout with The Mechanics, but they were a lap behind. Over his two sessions, his best time was 30.35, and his unobstructed average 31.06.

With all the wheel, tyre and chain problems, we felt lucky to be second. The Farmers richly deserved their first place - their best time being 29.63, and The Mechanics were probably unfortunate to only make third.

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