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Pub Night - 3 Dec 2000 - Aldershot

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This was a 2.5 hour enduro for pub teams. We were slotted into this race (which only had nine teams, including The Fugitives) because our Computer Challenge was cancelled. We confidently expected to win.

Our Team was, in driving sequence:

Gil Williamson

Graham Brown

Duncan Macey

Gary Denny

Simon Gamble

We could tell during practice that we had a sick kart. We complained, to no avail. It was clearly a whole second slower than we are used to, and, after practice, there was only one slower kart, and that was driven by a team who'd never raced at Aldershot before.

The start was a rolling lap in practice time sequence. Gil took the first leg, and by various nefarious practices, like catching up under a yellow flag, creeping on a red flag, scraping rivals off on the scenery, and generally waiting for the opposition to make a mistake, we were lying third after his session, on the same lap as the leader after 60 laps. Gil earned a single No Bumping board, the only offence assigned to our team, and even that was unjustified. Such was the performance of our machine, bumping just wasn't an option, and Gil can only remember overtaking one kart that wasn't actually stationary!

This set our pattern for the night. Impeccable driving, no mistakes, inadequate vehicle. Now we know how Minardi drivers feel!

Graham drove smoothly and was still third, and on the same lap as the leaders at lap 76, but a couple more karts, who had been queueing up to pass, managed to overtake. It was significant that, given a clear track, every other kart could out-accelerate us. It was futile.

After the changeover, Duncan drove another excellent leg until the refuelling stop, starting off in fifth, two laps shy of the leaders, and finishing his session, still in fifth place. Duncan sacrificed five minutes of his session to make a changeover during the fuel stop, gaining a place, and Gary took over.

Gary clung on to fourth place throughout his session with another excellent and trouble-free drive, staying away from the tussles and shunts, and making up in consistency what he lost in top speed.

Simon took over as the anchor, still in fourth place, but was soon overtaken and dropped to fifth, and then sixth, as the opposing teams' best drivers (who usually race last) made short work of our kart which was, if possible, getting even worse. A few minutes after dropping to sixth, though, he re-took fifth place when the opposition slipped up.

And that's how it finished. Fifth place, four laps behind the leaders, 248 laps, an average of 36.29 seconds per lap, including yellow flags, stoppages and changeovers. This compares with an average of 35.71 seconds for the winners. In the February 1999 race, the only one for which we have statistics, our whole-race average was 33.02 seconds. Duff kart, or what?

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