Eddie extends lead in Sprint Championship

2013-12-09 09:17:19.2

It was another successful weekend of racing for Eddie as he finished solidly in the Endurance race with 3Cubed on Saturday and then narrowly missed out on winning his second consecutive sprint race on Sunday, finishing a close second and stretching his lead in the championship to 13 points.

The team arrived at Rye House on the back of a not so successful race at the O Plate championship two weeks ago. Alex Withington was making his first race appearance for the team here and everybody was hoping for a good result.

Eddie qualified the team a solid 10th of a full grid of 33 teams. The top 27 were separated by only a second. Eddie also took the start and battled well inside the top 8 for most of his stint, fighting with RBB’s Dan Gore and Ben Yeomans of Essex TT. Alex took over at the fuel stop and proved that his break hadn’t taken the edge off his speed as he put in some quick laps.

Despite a couple of spins from Ian Wilson, the team still managed to finish 8th and maintain a strong position in the championship.

Eddie was more than happy with the team’s performance.

”I think today was a great result. I don’t think any of us are great fans of the circuit so to come here and be on the pace is encouraging. I think without the incidents, we would have been in the top 5 but, as I said to the guys, 8th place was deemed a good result for us last year so it’s a good sign that it’s bad now.

“I think the team did a great job. We sorted our pit signals out properly and, as always, our strategy was spot on. Our pit stops were quick and I’m sure we will be strong again in two weeks at Lydd.”

Eddie was also in action again on Sunday racing independently in the sprint championship. After dominating the opening round at Buckmore, the pressure was on to maintain the momentum.

A sixth place in the first heat of the day was good considering he started 19th and last and got tangled up in the first lap carnage at the hairpin.

“It was actually quite funny. I deliberately held back at the start because I knew there was going to be trouble. I still managed to make up a couple of places and as we went round Stadium and into the back straight, I was saying ‘don’t get into any trouble… don’t get into any trouble… don’t get into… bugger’ and I was hit from behind trying to steer round the carnage in front of me. Fortunately there was a pusher kart right behind me and he got me going straight away – I think I only lost about 7 seconds. It was fortunate because there was an even bigger shunt at the following corner and then again at the last corner the following lap, so I think I got off pretty lightly! I passed a couple of other guys to finish sixth.”

Eddie followed this up with a fourth and a first in his other two heats to take his first A final pole position out of a full field of 60 drivers.

Making the most of his grid slot, Eddie lead round the first corner and then proceeded to open up a gap to Joshua Hill and Tim Gibson. He was not safe, however, as the flying Parmveer Nijjar, having moved up from sixth on the grid, soon closed the gap. By half distance he was breathing down Eddie’s neck and made his move with three laps to go, easily sailing past Eddie down the main straight and cruising to victory.

Eddie admitted to being disappointed but was quick to praise his rival.

“I thought I was fairly comfortable. I knew I had a good lead but at about half distance I became aware of Parm right behind me. I didn’t feel any pressure and I felt I was controlling the pace. I suddenly saw him blasting past me down the straight and there was just nothing I could do. He took me a little bit by surprise, to be honest.

“I’m obviously disappointed but Parm drove a great race, was obviously the quickest guy out there and deserved the win. Second place is still good and I’ve extended my lead in the championship so I’ve got to be fairly happy.”

During the post-race interview, Eddie was asked whether he was thinking more about the championship rather than taking too many risks, something that he denied.

“No I was obviously going for the win but Parm was just too quick today. These things happen and hopefully I’ll be quicker at Lydd.”

He was also very upbeat about his performance at a circuit he openly admits is not his favourite.

"To be honest, I'm quite encouraged. I have been on the pace all weekend. Trevor Randall said to me on the Saturday I looked pretty quick and I know I was. To be this quick at a circuit I don't normally go very well on is encouraging. I'm definitely driving better now than I ever have. I'm more consistent across the board now, rather than just a handful of tracks and I know there is a lot more to come."

Eddie now leads the Sprint Championship by 13 points from Guy Holiday. He will be in action again in just under two weeks at Lydd.