After a thrilling season where Marcus Hamilton clinched his first championship title in the UK&I Skip Barber League, a much deserved break led to the first race of the new season at Lime Rock.  25 laps separate the 30 sim-racers from glory or disappointment as they start a new chapter in the league.  Sebastian Job started his season in the best possible way as he took pole position ahead of Simon Hulbert with a 57.693.  Simon Povey grabbed third position ahead of Marc Mercer and Dominic Brennan.

The opening laps were fairly processional without much movement inside the top half of the top ten; although the same cannot be said about the bottom half of the top ten, where Graham Carroll jumped George Wiseman into Turn One of the first lap.  Things settled down for a couple laps until Lap Three when Povey took a trip into the grass at the top of the hill and lost second place to his teammate, Hulbert.  Povey immediately went on the offensive and narrowly grabbed the inside line for Turn One at the start of Lap Five.

Povey gets squeezed at the Start/Finish straight by his teammate Hulbert.

Hulbert clearly wanted second place back, but Povey defended the inside line for Turn One as they started Lap Six and Hulbert was forced to take the outside line, for the very long right-hander.  Hulbert overcooked the Skippy into the corner, however, and spun off the track into retirement.

Hulbert spins on Lap Six.

Tim Adcock was having his own struggles with the track after climbing to P12 after starting from P12 on the grid.  Adcock’s F2000 went light as it came over the crest of the Turn Five hill and he was spun to the right and off the track.  He didn’t suffer any apparent mechanical damage, however, as he kept the car out of the barrier.

Adcock spins but avoids the barrier.

The poor luck for team SSR continued just a couple of laps later when the other Simon still in the race, Povey, spun at the exit of Turn Three from second place and also retired on Lap Nine.

Hulbert spins on Lap Nine; double DNF for SSR.

More movement in the top ten came the next lap when Clarke Williams had a poor exit through Turn Three and was compromised through Turn Four and put under attack from Carroll into Turn Five.  Carroll grabbed the inside line and fifth position with it.  Clarke’s exit speed suffered from going side-by-side through Turn Five and Avery took advantage by grabbing the inside line for Turn Six, dropping Williams to P7 in the space of two corners.

Williams losing two positions on Lap Ten.

A few minutes later, on Lap 13, Carroll came under attack from Avery at Turn One.  Carroll had the inside line and the advantage going into the corner, but he caught oversteer under braking.  Although he counter-steered to correct it, he was thrown to the outside of the turn where he dropped to P10.

Carroll’s race takes a turn for the worse (specifically, to the left).

After a handful of laps Williams began eyeing Avery who was now occupying his formerly-owned fifth position, and made one of the cleanest and most well executed overtakes at Turn One on Lap 17 to regain what was once his.

Williams vs. Avery, round one.

Avery was unfazed by Williams overtake, however, and took it right back at the start of the next lap.  While Avery was moving back up, his former race rival Carroll was having a bit of a struggle with some lapped traffic and when they made contact at Turn One Carroll was forced to retire from P9.

Carroll’s race takes a turn for the… worser?

While Avery and Williams continued battling for P5, both of them gained a position on Lap 21 when a surprising mistake from Mercer at the top of the Turn Five hill sent his F2000 into a violent barrel roll.  Thankfully only one other car was affected – as Fahim Antoniades was passing by the top of his F2000 scraped the top of Mercer’s, which was upside-down and air-born at the time, but he did not incur any mechanical damage as a result.  Mercer, on the other hand, came to a stop with his helmet touching the track, and was forced to retire.

Mercer gets it all wrong at the top of the hill. Sadly, this isn’t Star Fox.

Antoniades suffered no damage, but did lose time as a result of the Mercer incident, which put him under attack from Avery for the first time this race.  Antoniades defended the inside line for Turn One and when Avery caught oversteer at the outside of the corner he lost his fourth place position to Williams once again.

Another victim of Turn One oversteer.

Not long after Avery’s issues at Turn One came the most terrifying and dramatic moment of the race.  Murray Coutts was in P17 and a lap down on the leaders when he was coming up the hill at Turn Five on his 21st lap.  He caught oversteer and snapped left into the barrier before spinning back into the middle of the track.  J E Hyde in P18 didn’t have time to react and slammed Coutts’ sidepod at nearly 90mph, launching him into the air.  Because of the blind crest to the hill Bobby West in P19 couldn’t see the carnage ahead of him and also hit Coutts.  All three cars were completely destroyed and forced to get a tow back to the pits.

And you thought the Lotus 49 was dangerous…

As the field started Lap 24, the penultimate of the race, Antoniades was forced to defend Turn One yet again, but this time from Williams.  Antoniades possibly braked a little too late and caught oversteer from the inside line.  His car drifted away from the apex and when his wheel hit Williams’ the result was Williams being lifted up and thrown to the outside where he dropped to eighth.

Antoniades’ oversteer catches Williams.

As the checkered flag fell for the first time in Season Three of 2014 it was Job who taking the win by a comfortable enough margin that he actually swung the car left and right as he came onto the Start/Finish straight for the final time, three seconds ahead of Brennan who took a quiet second place and the only car to finish within ten seconds of the leader.

I’ve heard that one is the loneliest number… But two looks pretty lonely as well.

Antoniades finished the race on the bottom step of the podium, followed by Wiseman, Avery, Clive Armstrong, George Lambert, Williams, Adcock, and Tom Stanley.  League manager and organizer Allan Paterson crossed the line in P11 in a race where only 14 sim-racers of the 30 who started finished on the lead lap.

The championship standings after one race.

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