08/02/24: Sideways Group 5 – Three Amigos Again

Three Amigos Again.

A boisterous and noisy group of fifteen drivers turned up for the first round of 2024’s Sideways Group 5 championship, amongst them the full compliment of the Three Amigos: Julian, Josh and Lee. As is usually the way when the trio race together, their driving excellence made everyone else look very very average. Well, perhaps not Simon, who salvaged a tiny bit of pride by overtaking Josh in heat 4 to briefly hold third place before losing it again in the next heat, but that was as good as it got. There really isn’t any way to sugar-coat the result; the Three Amigos were in a different league to the rest.

Julian took the win to continue his domination of Group 5 by finishing almost two laps ahead of second-placed Lee, who in turn was nearly two laps clear of Josh. Josh bagged the consolation prize by setting a new Group 5 lap record, but Julian’s Group 5 crown, which had occasionally looked a bit wobbly during 2023, was rock steady this week.

The one and only highlight of the evening was Heat 1’s shambolic start, when Julian and Lee were left stationary on the grid having not heard the starter’s “Go” above the din that the chattering marshals were making. Julian, Lee, Josh, Simon, Terry and Alex had lined up on the grid, but with nobody taking a blind bit of notice of start marshal Neil’s request for everyone to quieten down for the start of the race, he hit the start button anyway. None of the six got a great start, a consequence of the noise, but Lee’s and Julian’s were by far the worst, the pair then spending the next half-dozen laps muttering about the unfairness of the start.

Their complaints were understandable, but in the end the few seconds they lost made no difference whatsoever to podium positions, such was their superiority over everyone else. Judged by this race, it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than a dodgy start if we’re to see anyone other than an Amigo on the top step of the Group 5 podium this year. Still, never say never. Racing has a habit of throwing up surprises every now and then.