Eddie made a welcome return to the sprint championship yesterday at Clay Pigeon. This was Eddie’s first sprint race since Buckmore Park in November and is the first of only 3 sprint races that Eddie will compete in 2006.
His return got off to a brilliant start. Despite admitting to not feeling very comfortable with the kart, Eddie started fifth on the grid for his first heat and drove well to be running second throughout most of it – only losing out to Phil Ingram on the last lap to finish an impressive third. A good second heat saw Eddie start 12th and finish 6th, almost guaranteeing him a place in the A final. All he needed to do was finish in the top 10 in his final heat.
Starting fifth on the grid, Eddie lost out at the start and dropped back to the mid-field. Slowly making his way back into the top 10, Eddie was fighting hard with Tim Hill when he was taken out by Peter Kay. Eddie was absolutely furious.
“I was being held up by Hill and was looking for a way past. I knew I didn’t have to get past because I knew I was pretty safe where I was. Suddenly coming down the hill I’m just taken out! The guy didn’t even attempt to overtake me he just hit me straight up the back. What’s worse for me is that he didn’t even have the front to come and apologise afterwards.
“This is the problem I have always had with the sprints. Because of the short heats, it encourages people to over-drive or just drive beyond their ability. That was the problem with Kay – he simply ran out of talent.”
Eddie rejoined at the back of the grid, just in front of the leaders and managed to inadvertently blocked Trevor Randall while recovering.
“I was just so angry with what had just happened and I wasn’t paying attention.” Explained Eddie. “I got a bollocking after the race but I really didn’t care because I was so annoyed. As is the case with something like this, after I had calmed down a bit, I realised what I had done was wrong and I went an apologised to Trev. No problem. I just wish other drivers would have the bottle to do it…”
The lowly result in heat 3 put Eddie second on the grid next to Rob Hart, who was also having a difficult day. The two got away well and pulled clear of the chasing pack. Hart pulled out a small gap but Eddie managed to keep in touch to finish a creditable second and qualify for his fifth consecutive A final.
“It was a pretty lonely race. There were a few backmarkers to contend with but no problems. I knew I wouldn’t catch Rob so I just concentrated on being smooth and pulling out a nice gap over third. Once I felt safe I just paced myself to the finish.”
Eddie lined up 24th for the A final. Despite a big accident in practice, which resulted in him making a big impact in the wall, Eddie started the race in good spirit.
Making a good start, Eddie jumped about 6 karts on the opening lap. Disaster nearly struck again at the bottom of the hill when Barney Langley spun and collected Eddie. Fortunately, he managed to avoid stalling the kart and rejoined, albeit near the tail of the field.
He then enjoyed a race long battle with Chris Simpson, just being pipped at the finish.
“It was a pretty good race. Despite being at the back of the grid, I had a great battle with Chris. I was much quicker but he just had a really wide kart and, despite a few attempts, I just couldn’t get past. I really enjoyed it!”