With the Italian Job race being a special event on the NEMO calendar we were all excited for this race, with a track change to an outdoor track in Alseno we knew it would be a very even playing field for all of the drivers with a new layout being made for the event.
Friday was a practise day for all of the drivers to familiarise themselves with the layout, surface material and most of all heat, the weather was in high spirits with the temperature not often falling below 35*C, Darren Bloomfield, Ollie Currie, Barkley Abernathy and Joni and William Skidmore were the UK drivers in attendance. The layout was soon mastered by all of our drivers with them starting to enjoy the race circuit, with many different tread patterns and compounds being tested to find out which were the best in that climate, after the practise sessions Darren lead, with Joni and Ollie hot on his heels for pace.
Saturday Qualifying came around quickly, as the day went on the temperature became hotter and hotter, meaning tire choice was very important for drivers, thicker shock oils were also being used and after the Saturday qualification it was Darren in the 3rd spot in Nitro Buggy and 2nd in Electric Buggy, Ollie and Joni also qualifying well in the Pro Class, with William Skidmore and Barkley doing the same in the open class.
Sunday was the finals day, unfortunately for Barkley he was unable to qualify straight into the open main final so he had to race in the last chance qualifier in a bid for last available main final position, with no rules being posted this last chance qualifier it was a smash and grab race and unfortunately he would not make the main. William Skidmore qualified straight into the open main, opting to try use the Beta Hurrican tire, this was a good choice as the tire remained consistent throughout the 45 minute final but unfortunately a lost rear spring cup hindered his chances of a podium finish.
In the pro class it was Darren and Joni on one side of the semi for the main final and Ollie in the other. In the first semi Darren drove flawlessly taking the win well ahead of the second-place driver. Joni also finished in a spot securing a place in the main. Sadly for Ollie another driver ended his chances of the main final position after showing such great pace all weekend this was a bitter shame. After a short break both Joni and Darren were ready for the main final with Jonny starting on the seven spot and Darren in the first spot. The buzzer went and Darren stormed off into the lead quickly creating a large gap between him and the second place driver David Ronnefalk, 30 minutes into the race it looked like Darren was set, seeming able to open the gap at will he had lapped most of the field already. But lady luck had other ideas, and Darren car ground to a halt out of track to everyones surprise. On further inspection in the pit lane the cause was easily apparent. A complete split in the fuel line on the way up to the carburettor nipple, a very random failure and we are all bemused as to how this had happened…. Still Darren had show incredible pace and we took the positives from this. Joni continued on and drove a very good final finishing in respectable seventh place. In 50 deg track temp he was one of the few that had the equipment underneath him to run the hour without any problems.
In ebuggy after the three leg main Darren took 2nd overall. He had looked likely to win it, having won the first leg, only for a motor screw to back out and stop him whilst in a commanding position.
We would like to say big thank you to the organisers Mau and Evlin for hosting this very special event, also a big well done to the track owner for creating a very good and consistent track that we thoroughly enjoyed racing on,
See you next year.
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