The season reached its half way stage in Wales yesterday but this race was yet again one that IMSD Racing will want to forget after a series of mechanical failures left them trailing home almost last.
As expected, race day dawned with heavy rain that lasted for virtually the entire race, although fortunately it remained fairly light for the duration.
As Ian Wilson had never been to the Llandow before he was given the majority of the practice laps to acclimatize himself to the circuit. The team needed to get the kart tested as they suspected the kart to have a bent chassis and they were duly given a spare. Eddie went out for the last few minutes of practice and was extremely happy with the performance but suffered a chain breakage near the end, which severely hampered their qualifying.
”The kart was working brilliantly and I really felt on the pace. Accelerating out of the first chicane, I had the unpleasant sensation of loads of revs but no power so I had to park it down the escape road, which fortunately had a pusher kart sat there ready to push me back to the pits.”
The kart arrived in the pits just as qualifying began and the mechanics did a brilliant job to get it fixed with less than 2 minutes of qualifying left.
“I think the guys did a great job and thanks to them for getting it fixed so quickly. Obviously we couldn’t get the kart tested and the mixtures checked so I had to go straight out. The kart felt slightly different and I wasn’t quite as comfortable and in my one proper flying lap could only manage 25th out of 28, which is a bit crap but, honestly, was the best I could manage.”
Because they were so far down and the rain had set in, the team elected to make a pit stop at the earliest opportunity.
“We knew that we wouldn’t have a problem with fuel because of the conditions, we thought it would be best to call Ian [Wilson] in as soon as we could so he could put in some quick laps in clear air ahead of the pack and gain track position.”
This strategy seemed to be working as Ian put in some consistently fast laps. Ian Miller went out for the second stint and, although putting in some consistent and safe laps, was losing ground in the tricky conditions and the team called him in a couple of minutes early.
Eddie then went out but, like in practice, suffered another mechanical failure.
“I could only have been out for 3 or 4 laps when I was signalled to come into the pits because the exhaust mounts had fallen off. I certainly hadn’t been hit or hit anything myself so I don’t know whether something had happened at the start or they were just broken anyway.”
The team were again given a spare kart but also had to take the new kart straight to the fuel bay as the tank was empty. Eddie was left out for another half an hour – effectively a double stint – before handing over to Ian Wilson.
Ian again showed a good turn of speed but unfortunately was a bit more ragged and had two spins, the first of which he collected a cone and had to tome in for a 10 second penalty for his troubles. Despite missing the “in” board for four laps, he eventually handed over to Ian Miller to do the last 12 minutes of the race.
Frustrated at his spins, Ian walked out of the pits and left Eddie to push Ian Miller out on his own. Carpe Diem, who were challenging for the lead, were pushing their driver out behind at greater speed and the two karts collided at the pit exit and both stopped.
“It was a stupid end to an awful race. I’m not going to finger point or put blame on anyone. It was an accident – albeit a silly one – but by that stage I didn’t care! I just walked out of the pits and got changed.”
“All in all it was a bloody awful race – even worse than du Var, I think. To be honest it got to a point where all I could do was laugh.”
Despite trying to put a brave face on events, Eddie said that the whole team are frustrated with the way things are going.
”We know we should be doing better than we are but things just aren’t going right for us. When things work they work really well - like in 2005; after that first win at Spa the floodgates just opened and the wins and podiums just came our way. When things go wrong, it just sort of snowballs out of control and I think that’s what’s happening now. Everyone’s chin has dropped and I don’t think that lack of motivation helps. Obviously we have had more of our fair share of back luck recently, which just adds to the frustration, but we’re just not making progress any more – or if we are we’re progressing backwards.”
Despite this, the camaraderie in the team is still strong and everybody is looking ahead to the next race at Rye House in 2 weeks.