Logan Black notched up his second Pace Ward MLR Sprint Series victory of the year on Saturday. Driving his Evo VII, he posted the fastest time of the day in round four at the Kames Motorsport Centre. In doing so, the Norfolk driver also won Class D - the category for the most modified cars - and extended his lead in the series standings.
With temperatures soaring to a sweltering 30 centigrade, the conditions were stark contrast to those at Blyton Park in May, when Black scored his previous outright win on a day where the thermometer barely reached 3.
Kames Motorsport Complex is situated near Muirkirk, around 30-miles south of Glasgow. The 800-metre track was built by members of the East Ayrshire Car Club and opened in 1984 and, with the help of Lottery funding, was resurfaced in 2000. Measuring 3.5-metres wide, its tight corners and short straights make it a demanding circuit that is ideal for testing and sprints.
This year sees the third time the MLR promoted series has visited the Scottish venue, with 31 Evos (and 11 Subaru Imprezas from 22B.com) lining up to start the 1600-metre course on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of this summer's recent heat wave.
Following the traditional sighting lap, cars lined up to embark on the four practice sessions of the day. Initially, it was Anthony Lidster who set the pace in his Class D Evo VI, going quicker than the rest of the field on all four of the non-competitive outings. Black, on the other hand, was keeping his powder dry in sixth place and using the practice runs to dial himself and his car into the conditions and the venue. William Griffiths (Evo IX) topped the time sheets in Class C, in a time that was good enough to see him go second fastest overall, whilst Simon Griffiths (Evo VII) was quickest in Class B and David Forbes (Evo VI) quickest in Class A - the category for standard specification cars.
As track temperatures were reaching their peak the competitive runs began and, straight away, Black signaled his intentions by posting a time of 52.92 - over a second faster than anyone else. Impressively, it was the Class C Evo VI of Martin Waller that went second fastest, with Lidster 0.4sec slower in third.
Frustratingly for round one winner Kenny Brookes, an untraceable electrical problem was causing his Evo V's engine to intermittently misfire, which understandably took the edge of his times during the day.
Ian Corcoran initially set the fastest Class B time in Barry Jordan's Evo IX, having opted to share a car rather than campaign his usual Evo X on this occasion. Driving his trusty Evo II, Ian Fleming started as he had finished at Oulton Park by posting the best performance in Class A to this point.
It was interesting to see from the time sheets that, even though the track at Kames is relatively narrow and twisty, the short blasts between the corners were favouring the more powerful cars, with the Class D and C runners clearly ahead of the those in Classes B and A.
Black was again in charge on the second competitive run and then opted to miss the third, as he was happy with his performance so far and wanted to conserve his car and tyres. Impressively, it was Waller who was quickest in Black's absence, indicating that a Class C car can be a match for its more modified Class D rivals if circumstances prevail.
On run number four Black came back with a vengeance and set the fastest time of the day up to that point, with a 51.90. As it transpired, the only person to get within 0.5 of this figure was Black himself, who went on to equal his FTD on the sixth and final run.
Behind him Lidster was wondering if he could get any closer and, on his last attempt, pushed as hard as he could, only to out-brake himself and overshoot final corner. Waller went on to consolidate his first place in Class C, whilst Simon Griffiths did likewise in Class B and Forbes in Class A - all of the class winners posting their best performances on the final run.
Behind Black in the outright positions, Lidster had done enough on run five to claim second place, with Barry Smithson putting in a charge on run four to snatch the final step of the Class D podium and third overall in his Evo VI.
Black was delighted with his day's work and understandably so, as not only had he scored his second FTD of the season and increased his lead in the series' standings, but had been quickest on all of the runs he had contested.
"I'm so chuffed to have taken the win today, especially at a sizzling hot Kames. After having a slight excursion into the scenery here last year, I started the day conservatively and gradually upped the pace till I was confident for the afternoon's competitive runs", said Black.
"The car felt great on the track and allowed me to push hard, as I knew the others were going to be hot on my heels all the way. Luckily I did enough to take the win and retain the championship lead. There is still a long way to go though and I think I may struggle at the next two events, Castle Combe and Hethel, as they more power orientated tracks. But I will definitely be trying my hardest to stay in the mix!"
Following the event in the seven-round calendar that is furthest north, comes the event that is furthest south, with round five of the Pace Ward MLR Sprint Series taking place at Castle Combe in Wiltshire on Saturday 31st August.
The 2013 Pace Ward MLR Sprint Series is sponsored by: Pace Ward performance insurance, SuperPro suspension parts, AP Tuning, Ross Sport and HKS.