EPS 2017 Preview by 'PKarter'.
Clay Pigeon's 8 round Endurance Prokart Series returns for it's 4th Summer Series on Sunday, with a flurry of teams new and old looking to get their 2017 season off to a good start.
Returning are Jamie Patten, Joe Higgins Snr & Jnr of Autotekk who have taken their Atom to the previous three seasons' summer series. But don't let this dominance fool you, the O'Neill brothers' Titan Motorsport on their debut summer season in EPS ran them to within a point of the championship, taking the fight up until the final day. Having secured the Winter Series Title on their Prokart Engineering prepared Wright-Evo last month, are looking to add the Summer Series Trophy to their impressive collection.
Other front runners making a comeback - Rob Sadler's Grassroots Racing and Bristol-based Balljoint both have 2nd place finishes in previous summer series, and are just two of a dozen EPS teams with over 15 years experience in top end prokarting.
These Elite teams will be looking for steady improvement, and in the case of Balljoint, who had a frustrating 2016, less time in pits!
Don't forget of course, a couple of teams taking a semi-sabbatical from EPS, who will no doubt return at some point during the year - Alverstone Autos with the perennial front runners Shayne Cuthbert & Matt Dorrington, and the massively experienced Midlands based Team Alpha, both in 7Karts
Plus of course everybody's mate and paddock stalwart, Jeff Johnson of Prokart Engineering, will be as always, challenging hard.
Prokart Engineering continue their support of the series with regulars Happy Racing/AHL, and AM-GP. Both teams returning with the latest iteration of Jeff's Wright-Evo chassis. Jim Rutledge (HR), and Alan Manton with Guy Peters (AM-GP) all had an impressive 2016.
Expect an additional kart or two from this awning throughout the season as karts and places in team are always available.
Bringing the spirit of Lad and Dad racing in Elite will be regular sparring partners Prawn GP (Jamie & Daren Robinson missed out on the top 3 of the winter series championship by under a second), and Brodys who debuted their youngest prodigy from the Bentley stable (not that one) Leo in 2015. With their peerless preparation and presentation, plus Leo's consistency improving race on race, Steve Bentley will be looking to enjoy another year racing his 7kart at Clay.
Coming up fast on the rails, is the new Dad/Lad pairing of Marcus and Reece Shephard in their new Wright-Evo.
And who knows, the quick pairing of Dennis and Will in Starship Enterprise, will probably turn up at some time as the mood dictates !
Starting in Elite this season are HRS2, with HRS 1 + 2 balancing a busy schedule between RHPK, Clay and getting the karts fixed. EPS will once again look forward to the interesting talents of the Russell Brothers in a new Wright-Evo, and Atkins Sr and Jr in HRS2's Wright-Evo
Alongside HRS2 will be EPS's ever present Mslaren who haven't missed a round since the inception in 2014, adding a new chassis and livery to their effort last year, this outfit are the benchmark for clubman teams. With 6th, 8th and 9th in an ever competitive series Chris, Stewart & Chris will be looking to better last years result.
Fighting for Premier honours are a mix of established, returning and new-to-karting teams. Barkers Racing arrive as EPS's newest father & son team, alongside GreyStone Racing and Redbank Racing they look to continue their rivalry for the fastest rookies from the Winter Series. SMG Racing arrive as a new to prokarting outfit.. Having acquired Phat32's hardware from last year, they will be one to watch for the year, as will the established RN TimTom who are always in the hunt for Premier silverware.
Calamity Racing have changed their number and name for this year, they're now called Chocolate Frog Racing. Drivers Simon Whitty and Jamie Burden had a strong season last year in their 7Kart finishing 4 points below the returning Ben Wesley & Co (WWF Racing - another 7Kart) in 12th, both will be aiming for a top ten this year.
As always, the NarrowMello factory will bring their latest version with an as-yet untitled team and driver line-up. Those amiable nutters Steve, Phil and Andy usually have something up their sleeve and will be hoping to beat the 12th they achieved in the inaugural EPS season.
Neil Burton's Shakey Racing will be returning mid-season, plus Rob Sutherland's ENRG Racing, Rowan & Andy in Waterboys, Ferris & Laura in Good Times Roll, plus the Iggy & Gibb brothers, will all appear at most rounds.
And of course, EPS is always pleased to welcome back Roy, Matt, Mark, Geoff, Bri, Pete and all the other Rye-Guys making guest appearances.
'PKarter'.- March 2017