Joel targets Bathurst of karting
By HUGH KEARNEY
EUNGELLA go-kart driver Joel Allingham is hoping it will be third time lucky when he lines up for the 2004 Australian Formula Rotax Endurance title at the Raleigh International Raceway next month.
Racing for his father Bob Allingham in their BatRacing Team, the 23-year-old has come within an ace of taking the title in the past two years, only to suffer mechanical failures while leading the marathon 200-lap event.
Dubbed the 'Bathurst of Karting', the Raleigh endurance will attract the cream of the Rotax formula karting teams from around Australia to the track near Coffs Harbour on November 6 and 7.
Just like the Bathurst 1000, teams have practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday, followed by a Top 10 Shootout to determine grid positions for the Sunday race.
At their first attempt in 2002, the team was leading by a clear lap with 40 laps to go when they ran out of brakes, finally finishing third.
In 2003, with just 14 laps to the finish and leading by a massive three and half laps, the rear axle broke and the team failed to finish.
Bob Allingham said the 200-lap Raleigh Enduro, with fuel stops and driver changes, was a totally different challenge to a normal sprint race over 10 laps.
"It is a real race of attrition and requires the team to drive to a plan, or the kart won't last," he said.
"Hopefully, we'll have a bit more luck this time and can maintain the pace to the end."
Allingham said his son was coming back from a crash three weeks ago during the Gold Coast Rotax championships in which he injured a knee and shoulder and destroyed a brand new kart.
"He crashed and flipped then got hit by another kart while he was lying on the track," Allingham said.
"He's felling better now and the sponsors have stuck by him for the endurance race, so things are looking up and we're ready to go racing."
The Rotax kart is a 125cc water-cooled unit, weighing 163 kilograms including the driver, putting out 34 horsepower and capable of speeds up to 135km/h.