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Spring Computer Challenge - 25 Mar 2002 - Aldershot

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Spring Computer Challenge #1
Gil, winner of another NO BUMPING! warning

Spring Computer Challenge #2
Still dangerous

Spring Computer Challenge #3
Mark Neale (before the Beard)

Spring Computer Challenge #4
Martin Higham - quick as ever.

Spring Computer Challenge #5
Andy Daines. First time with the Fugitives.

Spring Computer Challenge #6

The line-up for the Fugitives was as follows:

  • Gil Williamson
  • Andy Daines
  • Mark Neale
  • Martin Higham
  • John Farr

A good team, with strength in depth. We really felt we had a chance of winning, although Kamikaze Racers were in the line-up, too, and we know them to be redoubtable adversaries.

The bad luck started during practice. We had an excellent kart, and Gil and John turned in good times for a cold vehicle on a cold track, but it developed a fault that required it to be retired.

The substitute kart was good as well, and the best time of the practice - 30.63 - was set in it, by Mark Neale.

Unfortunately, it was a le Mans start, and we were, somehow, the last kart on the grid, while Kamikaze were near the front. Gil set off, inevitably, in last place, but was lying second by lap four, keeping pace with Kamikaze, sometimes right behind them in among back-markers, but not reeling them in. There was a bit of jostling, and Gil picked up a NO BUMPING! board, as usual.

Andy Daines took over after half an hour, but we lost half a lap on the changeover, though Andy continued to keep pace with Kamikaze, two laps up on, and we were still in good shape when Andy handed over to Mark, though Andy was lapped when someone slammed the door on him at the Pits bend, and he had a short argument with the Armco. Andy turned in the best Fugitives lap of the night during this session.

Not long after Mark's session started, he was rear-ended so hard that the chain came off, and that was when the serious trouble began. The chain refused to stay put, and we lost some ground while the kart was substituted, though much of the delay was under a red light.

Martin took over after the refuelling stop, which was delayed by all the red lights, but the kart never really performed well. As it warmed up, though, he was going faster all the time, until, within five minutes of changeover, the throttle cable snapped and he coasted into the pits, stopping in the lane, well short. More interminable delays while another kart was produced for John.

John drove an impeccable leg in what was NOT the best kart on the track, stuck behind a blocker for lap after lap, and made little impression on Kamikaze, now two or three laps clear, and still in their original kart.

Finally, Mark, whose session had been severely disrupted and curtailed, took the last five minutes, as we needed a fifth change to conform to the rules.

All in all, it was probably a miracle we came second, just a couple of laps behind Kamikaze, and a couple ahead of!

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