A very chilly and windy day awaited the Sportsman Enduro Karting Championship at the Circuit Mark Webber in Canberra on Sunday, and whilst the weather wasn't that enjoyable, the racing was absolutely superb.
The numbers were lower than we'd anticipated with only 12 Karts taking to the grid, 6 from MAXX class and 6 from the Sportsman Class, but that didn't put a dampener on the quality of racing, as we saw possibly one of the closest races ever for the top step of the podium.
In the Sportsman Class, Kart 29 - Gardiner Racing, set a blistering time of 37.405 in qualifying to be the leading Sportsman Class kart on the grid. Kart 65 - CIA Racing wasn't to far behind with a 37.729 and surprisingly, Kart 70 - Lifestyle Autos Karting Solutions struggled early on and qualified the slowest in class with a 40.757.
In MAXX class, Kart 12 - CJ Racing took pole position with a time of 37.279, their first pole in 16 years of SEK, just pipping Kart 777 - Horsepower 777 with a 37.296. Kart 11 - Legends, qualified third, and were only 0.024 seconds off pole with a time of 37.303. Kart 44 - Double D Racing qualified sixth setting a time that was only 0.863 seconds off pole position with a time of 38.142. An amazingly close qualifying session across all six MAXX Class teams.
When it came to race time, Kart 29 - Gardiner Racing drove away in Sportsman Class, taking the top step with a 6 lap advantage. Kart 70 - Lifestyle Autos Karting Solutions found some speed and brought their kart home in second position and Kart 65 - CIA Racing finished in third place. Kart 2 - CJ Racing and Kart 27 - GLR Racing finished fourth and fifth, whilst Kart 66 - Better Still Racing finished in sixth place, having a forgettable day that saw them losing a rear wheel at one stage.
The battle for the MAXX class was simply some of the closest racing you will ever see. After five hours of racing, Kart 84 - Cargo Safe and Kart 24 - Team TWR were locked in an epic battle for the lead. For the last 40 minutes, Kart 24 - Team TWR were being highly pressured by Kart 84 - Cargo Safe with less than half a second between them lap after lap. A small error in the top loop by Kart 24 - Team TWR saw Kart 84 - Cargo Safe make the pass on the inside and take the lead. It took a few laps for Kart 24 - Team TWR to regroup and then a final 10 lap assault began. They tried everything to gain back the lead but Kart 84 - Cargo Safe were just too clean on every corner.
Brilliant driving by both teams!!!
The white flag came out, and with only one lap to go, the racing got just a little bit too close and contact was made between the 2 leading Karts, sending both off the circuit. Kart 24 - Team TWR managed to be the first to get back on the track and subsequently took the checkered flag, approximately 27 seconds ahead of Kart 84 - Cargo Safe.
What followed was a great showing of sportsmanship. Both drivers from Kart 84 - Cargo Safe and Kart 24 - Team TWR entered the pits and very easily could have got into a confrontation. What happened was the exact opposite and a real class act as the driver of Kart 24 - Team TWR approached the driver of Kart 84 - Cargo Safe and immediately apologised and then asked the officials what needed to be done to redress the position. It was decided and accepted that Kart 24 - Team TWR would be issued with a 30 second penalty for avoidable contact and Kart 84 - Cargo Safe would win the race by a mere 3.823 seconds. That number doesn't do justice to how close it could have been if contact wasn't made.
Kart 777 - Horsepower 777 finished in third place, just one lap behind. Kart 44 - Double D Racing took fourth place, with Kart 11 - Legends, who had a tough day which apparently required some welding to be done on their kart, came in fifth place. Kart 12 - CJ Racing had some issues and wrapped up the MAXX Class in sixth position.
Our officials, as always, did a great job. It was a cold day for them to be out in, and we couldn't go racing without them. A thank you for all that you do to keep everyone on the track racing hard, but racing fair.
From here, we go on to Round 5, the location of which is still to be confirmed. The committee are working hard behind the scenes to get this sorted and will hopefully be able to make an announcement in the near future. And then we have the big one, 24 Hours of Eastern Creek. We are also hoping to make some announcements regarding this race in the near future, so stay tuned to our Facebook page for any updates.
We hope to see you all on the track soon!