5th at Daytona 500

2013-12-09 09:17:19.2

Eddie finished in a fine 5th place with Livermore Racing at their first attempt at the Daytona 500 yesterday.

Eddie was invited to be part of the “A” team, which also consisted of Buckmore Park leading heavyweight drivers Stuart Belbin, Andy Ming and team captain Paul Livermore. The “B” team consisted of Lee Belbin, Carl and Dave Tebbutt and one other.

It was quite a spectacular day. Despite being cold and wet all day it was run with great professionalism, which included a pre-race show from the Legion Star Drum and Bugle Band, a grid walk and pole position prize ceremony and race commentary from ITV and Sky Sports commentator, Ben Edwards.

As Eddie had never driven at Daytona before, the team sent him out first in practice. He quickly proved his versatility with new circuits and unfamiliar karts by posting the 3rd fastest time behind the 2 local Honda F1 teams (based just down the road in Brackley). He also posted the qualifying times that put the team 9th on the grid, which was lower than he felt he should have been after making a mistake on his fastest lap.

Eddie was also elected to start the race and make a cracking start to get up to 3rd by the end of lap one. In the opening stages of the race he was involved with a battle for third before eventually falling back to fifth.

Being a 500KM race, it was important to run as long as possible. Eddie did nearly an hour and a half in his first stint (having run practice and qualifying on the same tank of fuel) before handing over to Andy Ming. Andy proved why he is leading the BPKDC Thunder 1200 G.P. by posting some superb laps and establishing the team well in the top 5 and, more importantly for the team, ahead of the “B” Team!

After just over a two hour stint, Andy handed over to Stuart Belbin. Stuart who, by his own admission, doesn’t like the wet dropped off the pace slightly but nevertheless kept his nose clean, which is the most important element of endurance racing. He was out for nearly two hours before Andy and Paul called him in slightly early to let Andy take over for the remaining 35 minutes.

After his shorter stint, it was Paul’s turn to take the wheel. The team lost quite a lot of time in the pits as they were held up in the single fuel bay by another kart, dropping them to sixth behind the “B” team. At this point of the race the “B” team had the edge on pace and were pulling away by nearly a second a lap. However, the “A” team had more pit stops in hand.

After coming in for an unscheduled pit stop, Paul asked to have his stint cut short. This meant that Eddie was sent out for the final two and a half hours! He proceeded to put in some consistently quick laps for the duration, moving the team up from 7th back up to 5th and well ahead of the “B” team. He also easily out-drove one of the Honda F1 teams.

Driving for a solid 2 and a half hours, only making a quick splash and dash with 20 minutes to go, Eddie crossed the line to the delight of his team-mates to score a fine 5th place, which is a brilliant effort for a team at their first attempt.

Eddie was happy after the race and was quick to thank the team.

“Obviously I want to say thanks to the guys for inviting me to do this race. They are a great team and work very well together. This was a really good team effort. They are nice guys and I’m glad we came away with a good result. Also the guys in the “B” team did a fantastic job all day. It was a long day, made even worse by the poor weather so it’s good that we all came away with a decent result.”

Eddie was noticeably unfazed after nearly four hours of driving and even admitted to being surprised himself.

”Well I didn’t think that driving for 2 and a half hours would be a problem physically because I know I am fit but I at least expected to break a sweat! I suppose the cold and wet conditions helped cool me down but I don’t have much in the way of aches and pains either.”

And what did he think of the kart and the circuit? “Well give me a 2 stroke kart any day! I’m not a great fan of Pro Karts but it was still good fun. I’m not too sure about the circuit. I mean in terms of facilities it is in a league of its own but I didn’t think much of the track. Some of it was a bit narrow and I think it is just a bit bland. I guess it’s hard to get a true measure of it in the wet, and I think some parts could be quite exciting in the dry so I’ll have to reserve judgement until I race there in the dry.”