A blistering performance from Milton Keynes firm Fennemores saw its A team take the winner’s trophy at the inaugural Lawyer Formula Law go-karting extravaganza last Tuesday (7 September). The sun scorched the 1.3km track, the 21 burger and bacon butty-fuelled teams argy-bargied on the course, and the rapt crowd made a racket to rival the souped-up lawnmower cacophony made by the high-speed karts.
The race, a Le Mans-style eight-hour endurance marathon, was a slow build. The frantic start settled after the first few laps, but it was not until an hour had passed that the hierarchy began to take shape.
Three hours in, with muscles already aching and all drivers blooded after some 100-plus laps, a pecking order was firmly established.
Henderson Property Group, the Freeway Flyers (one of Fennemores’ two teams), Bevan Ashford, Mad and Bad (from Matthew Arnold & Baldwin) and The London (Addleshaw Goddard) made up the top five.
Other battles further down the field were just as riveting, such as that between Westlaw 2, the outsourcer, Associa and the Marriott Harrison team Miles-a-Head all on the same lap (a major feat after several hours). At the foot of the leaderboard (Tulkinghorn hopes that’s not a contradiction in terms) the valiant team from The Lawyer was racing wheel-to-wheel with Westlaw 1.
Meanwhile, away from the track, another epic struggle was underway. The non-driving members of each team aped the boiler-suit-clad Formula 1 pit-stop boys and tried to change all four wheels of a genuine F1 racer in under 20 seconds.
By the halfway point the race had developed into a three-way tussle between the Freeway Flyers, Henderson and Bevan Ashford. It remained so until the end of the race, although those few words belie the epic battle between the top two. Constantly swapping first and second place, the Freeway Flyers and Henderson were locked together as the counter passed 100, 200 and 250 laps, while Henderson logged the fastest lap, a tyre-burning 1.11.729 minutes.
Then… calamity! Bang on 300 laps, with less than an hour to go, Henderson crashed out of the race with car trouble. The race seemed over, with only Bevan Ashford, some six laps down, left to seriously challenge the Freeway Flyers. Pandemonium reigned in the pit lane until, seconds later, a replacement car was found for Henderson and the race was back on.
The last hour was all about the top two. Could the Freeway Flyers hang on to their ever-shortening lead, as the sun went down and the shadows lengthened over the pit lane? At the death the two teams were still a fag paper apart after a valiant effort from Henderson, but the Freeway Flyers took it 362 laps to 361. Bevan Ashford took third with a sterling 355-lap effort.
In the bar afterwards, Fennemores managing partner Martin Keeling denied that, as the sole local outfit in the competition, his team had block-booked the course for the last month to practise. Other racers were less than convinced, but agreed that the boys (including Keeling’s own son Sam) had done good.
Meanwhile, The Lawyer team, in a clear effort not to outshine any of its invited guests, managed to hang on to the wooden spoon trophy in some style. But it will be back next year.