Lennox-Lamb turns weekend around to claim Top Brit honours on European shores Jordon Lennox-Lamb spent much of the opening weekend of the 2010 WSK Euro Series either grappling with a variety of issues or playing a desperate game of catch-up -...
Lennox-Lamb turns weekend around to claim Top Brit honours on European shores
Jordon Lennox-Lamb spent much of the opening weekend of the 2010 WSK Euro Series either grappling with a variety of issues or playing a desperate game of catch-up - but his dogged determination and the pedigree and experience of the Birel Motorsport outfit with which he competes paid off in the end, as the young Bedford karting star 'slowly pulled it all together' and produced a gritty performance to end the meeting inside the top six and with the honour of top British driver to his name.
Jordon has rejoined Birel this season following three years out of the fold, and the outing at La Conca in southern Italy represented only his second competitive appearance for the team since returning. Not boasting the most successful of records around the Puglian circuit - having tended to struggle there with his previous employer - the 17-year-old would unfortunately find little luck to begin with this time either, leaving him just 28th out of the bumper field of 83 KF2 class entrants come the end of qualifying, half a second shy of the outright pace.
"It's my third year in KF2 now, so the goal is to win some races and try and go for the championship," he explained. "The competition is pretty similar to last year generally - meaning high - with a few good drivers coming up from KF3 too. La Conca is very much a drivers' track. If you don't have good engine power, it will show itself anywhere, but I think a lot more is down to the driver at La Conca - even if your equipment isn't quite right, a good driver can make some of that deficit back up again.
"I wasn't enjoying myself much in practice - we were off the pace with chassis and engine problems and a few malfunctions, and I didn't feel particularly comfortable. The first few laps of qualifying are when you should set your time, because that's when the tyres are fresh and new - but we were struggling to do that.
"I was really quick at the end of the session when everyone else's tyres were going off - but we couldn't get the 'sweet spot' out of them early enough, because the kart was always coming on too late. That was a little frustrating, especially as we knew where the problem lay but didn't know how to solve it. We just had to keep looking at the data and trying different things.
"My qualifying position meant I would start all of my heats from either 11th or 12th, and round La Conca, if you are starting mid-pack it's just a disaster. The first corner is a 90-degree right-hander followed by a bit of a lift, but because everyone pushes, if you get through unscathed in the middle of the field you're doing well."
Be that as it may, an excellent third place in one of his heats - a scant six hundredths of a second adrift of the runner-up spot - and a solid ninth in another represented good points towards the finals, even if comings- together in the other two left Jordon to have to fight his way back through again, doing so with some brio on both occasions to gutsily snatch 11th and 13th positions from virtually plum last in the 32-strong races.
Better still, his pace was much improved, lapping a mere hundredth off that of the winner's best effort in two of the four encounters. With a change of the carburettor and set-up alterations to prevent the tyres from graining, the Kimbolton Road ace entered the pre-final with his confidence boosted and ready to do some damage from a threatening ninth on the grid. Sadly, Lady Luck would again refuse to smile on him.
"I was really quick at the start and latched onto the pack in front," he recounted. "I got into fifth and then settled down, richening the carburettor up to get myself into a comfortable position - but then the engine seized with only four laps to go.
"It was just one of those things, but still frustrating that it happened so close to the end of the race. We were in perfect shape for the grand final, and I had looked after the tyres really well - when I stopped the fronts were still like new."
As it was, Jordon would have to begin the main event from a lowly 27th place, with his objectives re-assessed, but he rapidly went on to demonstrate what might have been, storming his way up through the order to finish a superb sixth, barely five seconds off victory and lapping as quickly as the leaders - quicker, even, than the winner. As displays of fighting spirit go, it was inspired.
"I was expecting carnage at the start with it being the last race," the highly-regarded Bedfordshire speed demon confessed, "but I knew if I could just get around the first corner ok, I could have a pretty good race and get up towards the front of the mid-pack. Luckily I got through the first corner fine, and then I just focussed on picking them off.
"The kart felt perfect and we had really good pace - after the pre-final had been such an absolute disaster, it all just worked really well. If I had started towards the front I'm convinced I could have challenged Ignazio d'Agosto for the win, but still we ended on a high. I'm eighth in the championship, and hopefully I will be able to reel d'Agosto in. Lonato is next and I enjoy it there; it's quite an engine-dependent track, but we've got good power."
Indeed, having been cruelly denied the winner's trophy at the circuit close to Garda in northern Italy last time he competed there in October - when his engine let go as he was well on-course to clinch the prestigious Bridgestone Cup - Jordon undeniably has some unfinished business to attend to. His rivals would do well to take note.
-source: jordon lennox-lamb