2013-12-09 09:17:19.2

The IMSD Racing Team stormed to a commanding victory at the weekend’s 10 hour race at Spa Francorchamps. The team won by an incredible seven laps from the second placed team, despite having lost 10 laps in the pits on Saturday when their chain snapped out on circuit.

The weekend got off to a worrying start when Eddie fell ill the night before the race. He was nevertheless fit enough to race.

“I had been very ill that night and on the ferry over to France. I had to starve myself that day and was consequently very weak and had a huge headache as a result of being dehydrated. I still didn’t feel 100 percent on Saturday morning but I was well enough to drive.”

For the second consecutive year, Spa welcomed the drivers with glorious hot sunshine, which would make for an exciting weekend’s racing.

Ian Wilson was nominated to qualify on Saturday and promptly put in a stunning lap to qualify 6th overall and top in the Clubman Class (out-qualifying 2004 winners Essex TT and a number of other top Premier Class Teams!)

Ian started the race and maintained his position in the top 6. The team made a strategic early splash and dash for their first of thirteen mandatory pitstops for each day. The quartet’s legendary slick pit work kept them in the top seven overall, running as high as fourth for a long while, and had them leading the clubman class by three laps with two and a half hours of racing completed!

The first of only two on-track dramas came in Stephen’s second stint. Running wide into the last corner, he ran the wrong side of the cones and was called in for a 30 second stop and go penalty. Speaking to track commentator, Ken Walker, Stephen explained.

“I am really disappointed. I have seen lots of other drivers do that and I think I’m the only one to have been called up on it.”

Despite this minor setback, the team continued to dominate the Clubman Category and were racing wheel to wheel with the top teams in the Premier Category.

Disaster struck late in the third hour, when the drive chain snapped while Ian Miller was out in his second stint. Fortunately he was approaching the home straight when it happed, so he was able to coast down the pitlane into the mechanics bay.

“I was absolutely gutted” were Ian’s comments. “I was coming round the long loop towards the pit straight, when all of a sudden I had no drive.”

The team had to wait in the pits for an agonisingly long time, while the mechanics fitted a new chain and gear sprocket (as the sprocket had sheared when the chain came off).

Although the mechanics did a stunning job, the team had lost 10 laps and emerged 16th overall and 6th in the clubman class.

This prompted a huge comeback drive. All four drivers racing hard to claw back lost time. After no more dramas, they eventually ended the day 13th overall and second in the Clubman category, only 3 laps behind “Rapid Response”.

Sunday dawned an even hotter day. The team decided to conserve their engine and tyres and only did a handful of instillation laps each in the one hour practice session.

Ian Miller qualified for the second leg of the race, and put in another excellent performance to qualify 11th overall (again out-qualifying reigning Premier winners, Essex TT) and once again heading the times for the Clubman Class.

It was Stephen Deuchar who started the race and again maintained a solid position well within the top 10. Again making use of an early stop, the team managed to get themselves out of synch with the majority of the other 34 competitors to complete all 26 pitstops without any delays or dramas.

There were no mechanical dramas on the second day, all four team members drove faultlessly and the team maintained a strong presence in the top 8 in the overall standings all day, again showing a clean pair of heels to many of the top Premier Teams.

Rapidly reeling in Clubman rivals, Rapid Response, the team clinched the lead, on aggregate, before half distance and easily pulled away. They were helped later in the race, when their main rivals suffered an engine failure and lost half a dozen laps in the pits.

Eddie caused the team panic in his second stint whilst battling hard with Premier drivers, Ian Berry (Capital racing) and Any Cowell (JustSo Racing). Ordered to back off, Eddie promptly set the fastest lap of 50.9!

“I could see that the team were signalling me to back off, so I obviously complied. Then Ian Berry went slightly wide going on to the main straight, which gave me a great chance to pass. I gave him a little nudge going down the straight and he gave me a ‘come any closer and I’ll have you off’ look, so I wisely decided to give him plenty of space!”

For the last stint, all drivers were ordered to drive conservatively, avoid the curbs, conserve the engine and keep out of trouble.

It was Eddie who crossed the line for the team’s historic victory. The team won by an incredible seven laps from their nearest rivals, despite losing 10 laps in the pits on the first day!

Stephen: “It was an incredible performance by everyone. Two Clubman Class Poles, 26 perfect pitstops, 10 hours without a spin, a fastest lap of 50.9 when the driver (Eddie) was under orders to ease off. Brilliant!”

Eddie: “We came here hoping for a podium, but to come away with a win is just amazing! It is, personally, my first Club100 victory and what better place to score your first win than in Spa?”

Unfortunately, the team had to miss most of the post race celebrations as they had to catch a ferry back. This prompted an equally amazing drive by team transporter driver, Richard Hall, who made the journey from Spa-Francorchamps to Calais in an incredible 2 hours and 40 minutes! Unquestionably the driver of the day!