The IMSD Racing team successfully defended their Clubman title at Spa Francorchamps. The team, comprised of all four drivers, Stephen Deuchar, Ian Miller, Eddie Hall and Ian Wilson, scored crushing victories on both days to take the Clubman crown for the second consecutive year and were also the only Clubman team to make the overall top 10!
It was thought that the team would not be allowed back in the Clubman class due to their crushing 7 lap victory last year, and Eddie himself said before the race that he expected the team were in for a tough weekend in the Premier Class.
The weekend was not without its problems, however. Ian Miller suffered two spins on the first day, Stephen Deuchar had a black flag, the engine lost top end on the first day and they had to get it re-tested, and they lost an engine mount on both days.
Despite these small setbacks the team still managed to win both events to take the outright clubman victory and once again proved that they could mix it with the best of the Premier teams.
This year the usual format of two 5 hour races was replaced with a mix of four 30 minute sprint races and 2 one and a half hour mini endures on the first day and then a straight 5 hour race on the second. Eddie qualified 8th (and first in Clubman) for the first day out of the 38 entrants. All of the subsequent grids were formed in reverse order on the finishing positions in the previous race.
In very changeable weather conditions, the team finished consistently well up in all 6 races to end the day 15 points clear of their nearest Clubman rivals, and 8th overall.
Weather played a huge part in proceedings on both days. As is common at the Spa circuit, one end of the circuit would be in sunshine and the other end would be wet. The two days presented all of the drivers with the challenge of driving in full wet, drying wet, hail and snow!
It was the rain that caught them out for “super pole” qualifying on the Sunday. Ian Wilson went out in the penultimate group just in time for the skies to open. This alone prevented him from challenging the front of the grid, but he was also hampered by several yellow flags and lined up well down in 32nd position!
As the team proved all through out last season in the “reverse grid” system in the inters championship, they can win from the back. Strategy was all important and the team used their renowned strategic ability to call Eddie in on the second lap for a splash and dash - the first of 15 mandatory pit stops – to give him track position.
Over the course of the next five hours the team did what they do best – drove flawlessly and consistently to gain over a two lap lead over their nearest Clubman rivals. In Eddie’s third stint he overtook four of the top teams (SC Racing, Essex TT, Bank of New York and Conservatories Online), who finished 1st – 4th overall respectively.
Being one of very few teams not to go off in one of the many wet phases during the day, the team managed to storm through the field to finish 1st in the Clubman race (three laps clear of their nearest rivals) and 9th overall.
With convincing victories on both days, IMSD Racing took their second consecutive Spa Clubman Title and achieved their other objective of breaking the overall top 10.