30/11/23: Sideways GT3 – Dex’s Banked Bend Bingo

Dex’s Banked Bend Bingo.

Sideways GT3 has quickly gained a reputation at Molesey as a class that provides close racing. The cars are relatively slow, we usually see fewer crashes in GT3 than in other classes, so any lapse of concentration can be very costly. Lose a tenth here and a tenth there and before you know it you’re a second down on the guy you’re chasing, with little chance of making that second back unless he makes a mistake. Concentration and consistency are key, and nobody produced a better demonstration of that this week than Julian did on his way to victory, his slowest heat just 0.8 seconds slower than his fastest. Eight tenths!

Julian didn’t have it easy though. Lee in second place was never far behind in any heat, but try as he might he couldn’t quite find the pace to hang on to Julian. Slowly but surely, heat after heat, Julian stretched his lead. 1.5 seconds after heat 1, 2.1 after heat 2, then 4.1, 5.6, 5.7 and 6.4 at the finish. If your idea of great racing is plenty of overtaking, this wasn’t a great race, but as a demonstration of two quick drivers at the top of their game it was a masterclass.

Elsewhere it was much the same, just not quite as perfect. The racing was close, but first to sixth places were settled after the first heat and there were just a handful of position changes lower down the order. Chris overtook Dexter for seventh, Mario got past Vince in heat 2 and Mark in heat 3 to finish ninth, and Joss relegated Vince to last in heat 4, but that was it. A crash-bang-wallop spectacular it wasn’t, but a showcase of close racing it definitely was.

Dexter provided the evening’s entertainment with a new game for Group 1’s drivers to play; “Dex’s Banked Bend Bingo”. Marshalling the first corner and banked bend, Dex seemed in such a hurry to get home that he was reslotting almost instantly anyone who crashed at the first corner, but instead of placing them back where they’d crashed, he put them further round the lap on the banked bend, thereby giving the drivers a new tactic to consider: should they deliberately crash at the first corner and hope to gain time on their rivals? Fortunately there were only a few crashes so no lap records were broken. but it’s only a matter of time. Who’s brave enough to try for a six-second lap?