Eddie’s seven month long stay at the head of the championship came to a crushing end at the weekend as he suffered a miserable race, failing even to qualify for the A final. A potentially good result in Saturday’s endurance race was also ended with a broken exhaust manifold and compounded by an unfortunate spin for Ian late in the race.
There were still concerns over Eddie’s worsening rib injury prior to the race. Nevertheless, the team were happy with the kart during practice and no changes were made prior to qualifying. Ian elected to qualify and did a fantastic job to line up 7th fastest of the 29 teams.
Eddie started the race and initially made a good start, jumping to sixth and maintaining that position for the opening two laps. It soon became obvious that he was struggling for pace and dropped down to ninth before picking the pace up.
3Cubed were racing with just Ian and Eddie. Ian took over for a double stint and maintained a solid position well inside the top 10. Eddie took over again for his double stint and was running well before the exhaust broke, prompting a kart change and dropping them outside the top 10. Ian took over for the final dash to the flag and suffered a spin, dropping the team down to 20th and 11th in class.
Eddie wasn’t too disappointed after the race. “It’s the same old story really. There is usually something that goes wrong and I’m starting to get used to it now. It is a shame because we were doing so well before the exhaust broke. I could hear it getting louder and louder for several laps and I was trying to hold on so we could get it sorted during the pit stop and lose minimal time. I lost power and then got the mechanical flag just as I was about to come in so it could have been a lot worse. The bigger problem was that we didn’t adjust the pedals in the replacement kart so I had to drive for twenty minutes with the throttle pedal at the furthest position and the brake pedal at the closest position.”
Eddie admitted before the race that he didn’t expect to be as strong here and thought that Lee Kemp and Parm Nijjar would have the edge. Nobody expected the heats to go quite so badly, however. A fourth, ninth and seventeenth meant that Eddie didn’t even qualify for the A final and had his work cut out to make the cut at all lining up 12th in the B final.
“The heats were a complete disaster. I started third in my first heat behind Guy [Holliday] and expected to have the legs on him this early in the day. I jumped into second off the line but just didn’t feel comfortable at all. I wasn’t on the pace and got mullered by the guys behind. My second heat was just a joke. Most of the people around me didn’t seem to know where they were on the grid and the guy behind pushed me into a spin at the first corner. I was lucky because the race was stopped so I managed to get back into my grid position. I knew I had to have a good result in my final heat and I made a good start but then got taken out at the hairpin. Race over.”
Eddie lined up 12th on the grid for the B final and had to make up 8 places to qualify for the A final. Making a good start, he gained 3 places on the opening lap and moved up to 8th on lap two. Passing Seth Deuchar a few laps later, he then got stuck behind veteran Keith Segal for much of the race before the latter crashed into Ed Rogers on the last lap, promoting Eddie to 5th, just one place shy of qualifying for the A final. A stunned Eddie then had the embarrassment of having to watch his championship rivals from the sidelines. Despite his obvious disappointment, Eddie was philosophical about it afterwards.
“It was a bad day but I’ll get over it. To be fair I’ve had quite a lot of good fortune this year and the law of averages said I was due a bad result so it had to happen sooner or later. Hopefully I’ll drop this result and bounce back at Clay. I should count myself fairly lucky because Guy had another poor race and Parm wasn’t all that high up so it could have been a lot worse.”
Eddie refused to comment too much about the incident in heat 3 that cost him a place in the A final. “It is a problem with Rye House. That first hairpin is a nightmare and every time we race there people complain about driving standards. I was just unlucky; the wrong place, wrong time scenario.”
With a three week gap until the next race, Eddie has said that he will use that time to rest and try to ensure that his ribs are in better shape for the final three races.
“I don’t want to start using my rib injury too much as an excuse but it certainly isn’t helping my performance. Rye was just unfortunate. A combination of my injury, other drivers’ stupidity and me generally driving like a penis all day caused the result. I like Clay and usually go well there so I’ve got to focus my attention on that race now.”