The 2008 season got off to an almost perfect start with 3Cubed scoring a top 6 finish in the team endurance race and then Eddie cruising to an easy win in his first sprint race for nearly two years – a performance made even more impressive after it was revealed that Eddie was racing with a rib injury.
“I think it is the new seats. My ribs were in agony after the test session on Wednesday and I was in a lot of discomfort in the Endurance race on Saturday. I stocked up on painkillers for the sprint race but it was still very painful.”
The team started their first race together in confident mood. The new Birel chassis were working well and set up perfectly for the conditions. Eddie qualified the team eleventh on the 33 kart grid, but it was John Emerson who started the race and established the team well within the top 10 before handing over to Eddie for a 30 minute stint.
The team spent the entire race running in a natural sixth position and had a very uneventful race. The kart worked well and the strategy played out excellently.
“It was a great start to the season. We proved that we are all on the pace. I think John Emerson had the edge over me and Ian in terms of pace today, but we were all consistent and none of us made even the slightest mistake. As expected, our pit boys worked fantastically well today. Jules did a blinding job in sorting us all out.
“This is the best result that any of us have had in the Premier series and this is just our first race together. Hopefully we can build on this.”
Eddie entered his first sprint race since the Summer of 2006 and was cagey about his prospects going into the event.
”I honestly didn’t know what to expect today. I haven’t raced in the sprints for a long time and a lot has changed over the last couple of years. Judging by where certain drivers were last year I hoped I could be competitive, but I also remember how unpredictable the sprints could be. I basically just told myself to enjoy it, take it easy and try to stay out of trouble.”
A third, eighth and a first place finishes in his three qualifying heats put Eddie third on the grid, one place behind former IMSD Racing team-mate, Seth Deuchar. Eddie made a good start off the line to dive inside both Deuchar and pole-man, Guy Holiday, to take the lead into the first corner. He then eased out two tenths of a second per lap to win the race by 3.5 seconds ahead of a delighted Seth.
This was Eddie’s first win for nearly two years and his first ever victory in the sprint championship. He was understandably delighted after the race.
“I can’t quite believe it. What a fantastic start to the season. I hoped I could maybe challenge for a podium after my performance in the heats but I never imagined I would win.
“What makes it even better is having Seth up here in second. He drove brilliantly today and really gave me something to think about in a couple of the heats and indeed the final. It’s a shame that Steve was taken out in his first heat because I think he could have been right up here with us – that would have made it a perfect result.
Eddie was also pleased to see recently crowned GPL Winter Series Champion, Carl Tebbutt, take fifth place on his debut.
”It’s great for Carl. I raced with him and Dave at the Daytona event last year and they are both great guys. For Carl to finish so high up in his first race is just fantastic. These things are quite different to what he normally races so it’s very impressive.”