Congratulations to the lean and mean team from Henderson Homes for its triumph in this year’s Formula Law Marathon for The Lawyer (hosted by Pro-Kart Series). Some 20 teams, including brave souls from Addleshaw Goddard, Milton Keynes firm Fennemores, Linklaters and Slaughter and May, took up the challenge to don overalls and crash helmets and race around a track on a souped-up dogdem.
The weather was kind, meaning there was no need for wet-weather tyres. Not that there were any. But the Formula 1 adrenalin was flowing when, to all-round cheers, the team from Henderson spun off. Sent to the back of the grid the driver of Car 53, who presumably spends all his spare time in a boiler suit, wasted no time in setting the fastest lap (one of the few sub-50-second efforts) and getting back to the head of the field. From that point on the team never looked back, although second-placed Fennemores kept the pressure on until the very end.
Slaughters’ Chris Saul and Andy Ryde were spotted marshalling their team of assistants and secondees, including some imported Roschier Holmberg Finns. Sadly, none of them were Raikkonen. While over at the Pit Stop Challenge, where teams were instructed in the fine art of giving a Jordan F1 car a complete tyre change in as short a time as possible, the two-round competition came down to the very last two: Linklaters versus The Speed Goddards. The Links team, to a man sporting surely intentionally ironic T-shirts bearing the logo ‘Leave the suits behind’, put in a solid 24-second change. But in the very last attempt by any team, Addleshaws claimed the cup by two seconds.
Back on the track, the top three appeared to be running away with it, with Henderson 16 laps up on Fennemores, which was 23 laps ahead of the team from BP. But at 4.30pm disaster struck. Henderson, to the crowd’s obvious delight, was forced to shunt its car off to the shop for repairs, leaving the field open to Fennemores. The tension was palpable as, lap after lap, the gap closed. Third place was also suddenly in doubt, with BP (which had held the position for hours) locked in a dogfight with Kitsons Kites, the team from West Country outfit Kitson & Trotman. By 6.30pm, with more than 500 laps completed, the eight-hour race was over. Henderson had somehow hung on, Fennemores took second, while BP had dropped to fifth, with Kitsons Kites snatching third and Addleshaws pinching fourth by a lap. And The Lawyer? Not last – which is an improvement on last year. Roll on 2006.