THE 2011 karting season is well under way for Ashington’s SB Racing team.
In the Senior Championship, Darren Brown competed in round four in a day full of incidents and controversy.
A collision on the first lap of heat one meant he could only manage to finish 15th.
But then some excellent driving in the next heats saw him climb back up the grid to finish 10th then sixth.
The final saw Brown guide himself through more than one incident while constantly defending his position to finish fifth.
In the next round Brown had a consistent day, finishing sixth then seventh with few incidents.
In heat three he was involved in a collision but got through and kept going before more collisions brought a red flag.
Luckily with no injuries the race got back under way and he held on to his position, finishing sixth then seventh in the final.
In round five some unpredictable weather saw Brown, after only one lap in qualifying, come back to the pit lane to change to a wet set-up, but a mix-up in tyres meant he only had the one lap to set a time, which put him 11th on the grid.
Having time to ensure the kart was set-up certainly paid off as in heat one Brown drove well to progress through the pack to finish in sixth.
Heat two resulted in another sixth place before heat three brought an eighth.
But what would have been a good day all round was spoilt in the final as Brown’s race ended prematurely after only four laps.
He caught the the curb causing the chain to come off. Even after dropping points in the final, Brown still lies eighth out of 35 in the championship table.
In round four of the Cadet Championship, Daniel Spicer had a superb start in heat one, moving up to seventh only to be caught up in a collision where he hurt his ribs and ended up out of the heat.
He was then noticeably slower for the rest of the day, finishing 12th, 11th and 12th.
In the next round, Spicer showed his strength at the start, quickly climbing up to 12th before finishing 15th.
In heat two he again had an excellent start, moving to 11th and finishing 14th.
Heat three saw two small collisions and he could only manage 17th.
In the final it was back to normal with a flying start quickly moving up the grid, holding off more experienced drivers, but whilst in 13th and with less than half a lap to go, he suffered a brake problem and finished 15th.
In round five qualifying, drivers struggled with the wet surface and only a few with experience managed to put in a complete lap without spinning off.
Spicer qualified an excellent eighth from 15 starters.
In heat one and back on slicks, Spicer drove well and held on to a top ten finish.
Whilst on the dummy grid the team needed a fast tyre change back to wets but they ended up being unnecessary as on the warm-up lap Spicer collided with another kart, damaging it in the process and ended up out the heat before it had even started.
After some mechanical repairs, another set-up change back to slicks, it meant Spicer starting from the back of the grid in heat three.
He did manage to climb up two places and finished in 13th.
Spicer drove superbly in the final, for virtually the whole race he had an older and more experienced driver desperately trying all ways to get passed but he held on for another 10th place finish.
SB Racing are aware that it is Spicer’s first season behind the wheel but are still hopeful that with a change in fortune he will be able to improve his championship points status as so far this season he has not yet managed to complete all the races at a meeting.
He currently lies 13th out of 21 in the championship table.