Daniel U
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Paul Lee-Davis 2014 A Great Success

Daniel U
Posted by
04 Feb 2014

The 2014 PLD declared a great success after raising close to £4,500!

PLD Race Report 2014

60 drivers assembled at Whilton Mill on the 2nd February for the 3rd Annual Paul Lee-Davis (PLD) Memorial Kart Race,  an event organised in memory of Paul, a motorsport-mad 37 year old from Staffordshire who lost an 18 month battle with a rare form of Leukaemia in 2011.

Paul is remembered by all whom he met for being a fun-loving, larger than life character who was truly in his element when competing on track. Having rekindled his childhood passion for karting, Paul competed with the Club100 series between 2008 and 2010.

After successful running’s in 2012 & 2013, which raised over £6000 for various charities, the event returned with a new format but with the same aim of having fun while raising money for the chosen charity – Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

The weather gods took a break from being angry and blessed the day with near perfect weather. The track started off wet with dry patches but soon became completely dry thanks to the combination of sunshine, a light breeze and 20 karts circulating. However, those that left the tarmac were easily identifiable by the covering of mud over their helmets & racesuits.

Each driver had 3x 7lap heats to qualify for the finals. These saw wins for Stevie Adams, Niki & Joe Richardson, Chris Brown, Freddie Gallagher, Jack Harding & Jonny Goddard. The early going was extremely slippery with drivers struggling to get to grips with the wet surface and Whiltons’ brand new fleet of Sodi GT5’s karts. This lead to some big names to come unstuck, causing a few surprises when the final grids were revealed.

Before the fireworks began however, there was a raffle & charity auction held in the clubhouse to give everyone a chance to warm-up and relieve themselves of some cash. The lots included VIP F1 factory tours, MotoGP weekend passes & a very exclusive copy of a ‘Game of Thrones’ box-set signed by the cast. These 3 items raised alone raised over £700!
With the karts re-fuelled and checked-over, it was time to resume battle. The winner of each final winning  a prize and a repechage to the next final.
C Final
The C Final saw a lights-to-flag victory for Darrell Lowe, but was this far from straight forward. Lowe looked as though he had the measure of the field and pulled out a small lead initially, but a mistake halfway through the race saw him drop back to 3rd. This allowed Andy Chilton to lead momentarily, but Lowe soon got his act together and emerged victorious sealing himself a place in the B Final.

B Final
The B Final boasted some impressive names. Blake, Underhill & Whitehouse must have been disappointed not to make the A, but their loss was the spectator’s gain as it promised to deliver fireworks.  After a slow getaway from the pole by Stephen Billet (who would fall to 7th by the end of lap 1) it was the local driver, Ian Williams who stormed to an immediate lead. Behind him there was the predicted squabble for 2nd place with a train of 8 karts all fancying their chances. While entertaining, all this did was allow Williams to pull out around a half-a-lap advantage picking up fastest lap on his way to an easy passage into the A Final, a dominant display. Kyritsis, Blake, Underhill & Buck eventually rounding out the Top 5.

A Final
The crème de la crème of the drivers took their grid spots for what promised to be a very tasty final. Niki Richardson started on pole for the 2nd year in succession with Jack Harding & Jonny Goddard close behind. As they launched off the grid, Richardson retained the lead from the baying pack on the run up to Christmas corner. He was then challenged by Harding into Ashby but his defence allowed Harding to make a move into Parker. With Richardson taking a short trip down the grass, his brother Joe moved past Goddard into 2nd to defend the family honour. Goddard got wide through The Boot and dropped to 9th by the end of lap one, leaving Harding, the brothers Richardson and now Peter O’Connor as the top 4.

It wasn’t long before the resurgent pole sitter retook the lead, however he was never able to make a significant break. The constant hounding from 2nd place Harding kept the top 10 in close formation. The racing was frenetic, positions changing so often it was a blur. It all began to unravel on Lap 4 though. As they ran 3 and 4 wide up the hill to Christmas corner, 2012 winner Stevie Adams was savaged and spun around taking the perpetrator with him into the grass. The grenade had gone off and this allowed Goddard back up into 4th place, hot on the heels of O’Connor. Goddard made his way past and set about bridging the now sizeable gap to the leading pair of Richardson & Harding.

The race settled for a few laps before a decisive altercation occurred. The aggressive Harding put a move on, the already late-braking, Richardson into Christmas. There was slight contact and Niki was left facing the wrong way, arms in the air, rueing his PLD curse. Harding was handed a Black Flag for his troubles but Goddard wasn’t taking any chances and seized the lead into The Boot before the end of the lap.

Further back, the action was just as ferocious and saw driver’s yo-yo up and down the order. B Final Winner Ian Williams though seemed to be coated in Teflon and navigated effortlessly around the unfolding drama. This, incredibly, saw him come from 21st to 2nd again claiming fastest lap. Further back there were notable performances from Dan Milner, Freddie Gallager & Tom Maton, all making significant gains on their starting positions and finishing in the top 10.

But up front, it was Jonny Goddard who romped home to a popular victory. Having been controversially robbed at last year’s event, he took great delight in banishing those demons,  taking the top prize of a free day’s testing courtesy of the SWB Motorsport Karting Academy. 

The final figure raised by the event was £4,250 (and counting). Special thanks to Dan Underhill & Whilton Mill for the organisation and smooth running of the event. It was one that will be remembered by everyone involved.
Also a big thanks to the prize/auction contributors: SWB Motorsport, Whilton Mill, Sahara Force India F1 Team, Racewear.co.uk, Sir Tim Hill, Mr. Darren Price, and also to JAM Motorsport Photography for capturing the event.
Additional donations can be made to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research through the event’s page: http://www.justgiving.com/PLD2014

Peter Cowan 03.02.14

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