Rain puts the skids on Lloyd's record effort Whilst he had originally set out to be a World Record breaker, Lloyd de Boltz-Miller can proudly claim to have set new British and European records for driving a kart for 24 hours. The 23-year old...
Rain puts the skids on Lloyd's record effort
Whilst he had originally set out to be a World Record breaker, Lloyd de Boltz-Miller can proudly claim to have set new British and European records for driving a kart for 24 hours.
The 23-year old 177-class racer completed his gruelling marathon at Ellough Park Raceway, near Beccles on Wednesday 12 August - and, as is so typical of British sporting endeavours, rain affected his chances.
Lloyd's attempt had got underway in perfect conditions at the Suffolk track at midday the day before, and by 9:30 that evening he was confident that he was on course to break the 2008 record, set by South Africa's Myk Prescott.
"After nine and a half hours, I was already full of respect for Myk's achievement. However, my pace and consistency was such that I was sure that I would beat his record [of 1152 kms, or 716.15 miles]."
His support team, composed of family and friends, urged him on for the full twenty four hours - whilst also playing the roles of mechanic, refueller, driver coach, masseur and fan club.
At 2am, his girlfriend, Keri found herself having to sing nursery rhymes to Lloyd, "anything to keep him awake" she explained.
As the sun rose, so the rain began to fall. A light drizzle soon gave way to a persistent rain that only increased. This slowed Lloyd's pace and - despite him driving at ten-tenths - he lost precious time. Richard Lock, the circuit's owner commented, "In the rain, he was losing 4.3 laps per hour and this became the decisive factor."
With friend, Toni Senireau holding out increasingly-sodden pieces of paper with his lap times on to keep him focused, the drama and tension began to take its toll. With 23 hours completed, Lloyd came into the pits for fuel and looked shattered.
"There's so much water," he said his voice weak with the effort and tiredness. "I've aquaplaned so many times. No way could you race [in these conditions]. At one point, the water picked up my front end and chucked me sideways." But with his massage and refuelling complete, he said "Get me out there!" slammed his visor shut and headed back out onto the circuit.
As he edged towards the finish line, there were anxious moments in the pits. How close was he? How many laps had he done? Was it enough? With just three minutes remaining, his battery failed and he coasted to a halt in the pits. Furious activity got him back out to take the chequered flag but it wasn't quite enough to bring the record to England. After twenty four hours of incredible drama, super-human endurance and sheer will-power, the weather had deprived Lloyd of his goal - by just 51 miles.
Despite his obvious disappointment, de Boltz-Miller was pleased to have established British and European records and raise much needed funds and publicity for the Spinal Injuries Association, "I'm really annoyed I didn't get the record. We were on par to take it but the rain put the kibosh on any real chance of doing it, but hopefully I've put the fantastic work of the SIA in the spotlight".
Lloyd, who is studying for a motorsport degree at Staffordshire University is already planning next year's assault on the record, saying "I really want the record in the kart. I'm going to have another go next year but with the added incentive of going for the 24 Hours distance record in a car a month after that."
He added, "I'd like to thank Tim Gillard (Gillard Racing Karts) for lending me a chassis, Steve Ogden (Steve Ogden Motorsport) for generously giving me three of his engines to use, Luke Hines at Grand Prix Racewear, Jason Fowler at JLF, Toby Warrington and Luke Brackenbury at Arai UK, Sunoco's Anders Hilliband for the fuel, Richard Palmer of Autotel, Ben de Zille- Butler at Carrefour for letting me use the gym facilities, Richard Lock, Matt Stell (Science in Sport) and my personal trainer, Darren Stones for all their help. Without which, this would not have been possible."
Lloyd is raising money for the Spinal Injuries Association and there's still time to donate. For more information go to www.24hour.org.uk.