2009 championship ends on a high, and the Birkett wets everyone's knickers.
SALOON TEAM WINS 2009 BIRKETT!
OK, so Kutuka rather wanted that honour, but we knew deep down there was no way we were going to repeat last year's surprise attack, they were always going to see us coming and adjust accordingly. But with the Six Potters encouraged into the fray and an extra 11 laps on their handicap it was game on for an XJS v Saloon battle in a 6-hour downpour.
In the dry we might have made it. In the wet, never going to happen, the 6 - count 'em! - safety cars and the inability to use all that horsepower meant Kutuka watched helplessly as the hours rolled by and we could only eat into their extra handicap at half the rate we needed to.
By half distance we knew the game was up, we finished 6 laps up on scratch, but not enough to take the treasured win, which the saloons stole with ease, winning the coveted handicap by a clear 3 laps.
Well done to that team for the superb result, first Jag team ever to win it!
And as an aside well done to Gail Hill, for proving that new 888 tyres have more grip in the wet than even full-tread T1Rs, her 888-shod saloon left our softest, most compliant XJS on T1Rs in her spray and skating all over the road trying to hang on.
It might sound gloomy that we went with such high expectations and came away defeated, but look at it this way;
We raised a healthy sum of money for our charity, The Raiubow Trust. We're still taking donations. Give us your money.
6 cars started. 6 cars finished. No mechanical trouble at all. No damage - save a couple of nips in the paint from our V12s treading on Radicals.
Our Kutuka-recruits performed admirably -
Phil Woods drove a car he'd never sat in before, quickly and consistently, taking huge lumps of time out of the competition in treacherous conditions.
John Lock drove a car he'd only just finished building, that he'd never had on track before, after 18 months away from the race circuit, in the rain, competitive out of the box. - gloomy for the XJS series in 2010, he's back!
Chris Palmer took to the track on 888s in the wet, and blew the doors off most of the cars out there.
Sam Clarke drove an insane V12 on a changing track, faster than any other tintop out there, making a lot of very expensive machinery look very, very silly.
Above all, we had fun. It was terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure, but we actually did pretty well, we enjoyed it, and we'll be back next year.
And, none of us did this under a safety car:
SPOT THE BEAR COMPETITION
A terrible accident with the oxy-acetylene and an old television set has sadly cloned Alex "the Bear" Harrison many times over. Regrettably instead of putting them all to work they'd rather sit about playing video games and drinking all our beer. Several of them were caught on CCTV trying to look inconspicuous as they stole a number of bicycles...
There is a £5 prize for whoever correctly identifies the original Bear in the above photograph. But you've got to successfully phone one of us to enter the competition, so good luck!
2009 XJS Championship Concludes.
After the annoyance of Cadwell took our hopes for the outright championship, we headed to Snetterton with no championship honours left to fight for.
Stewert Lyddall had long since wrapped up the class G title after a dominant season, Chris Palmer merely needed to collect a small handful of points to wrap up the title, and Ian Drage leads class D by what looked like an unassailable margin of 9 points.
It appeared that even if our class D driver took a clean sweep of both races, ie pole position, double win, fastest lap on both days, he'd only claw back 7 points if Drage simply cruised home in 2nd place.
To add to the grief, a head gasket failure meant a Friday in-paddock swap, and we even tried to make the car work with a flat battery, which it doesn't.
With the title chase over the pressure was off and Kutuka sent Andrew out to go whistle round having fun on worn-out tyres as a reliability test for next week's Birkett, but with Drage coming in 3rd place both days we won class D by a single point, and accidentally took another 3/10ths off the class D T1R lap record in the process. Oops. Sorry.
As 2008 then, Kutuka are again class G and class D championship winners. We quite fancy the triple...