You have to be there to win it. To defend the title from the previous year is even more difficult and the South Staffs Lark Team nearly pulled it off! We would like to say that we wanted to give our club GP Team a chance but to be fair they beat us fair and square after the wind died during the night. So we had to settle for 2nd overall, which certainly kept the Lark Class noticed, even though we were one of only two Larks entered. Where were you all?
As in 2008, John & Sue Billington got us off to a great start. It did take them a couple of laps to wind themselves up, but thereafter for some 5 hours they bit on the heels of the South Staffs GP. Both teams were holding on to see who would break for the first changeover. Eventually John & Sue gave way for Will Croxford & Connie Hicklin. As we were using Willís boat (well his Dadís really) he was straight on the pace and quickly overhauled the club GP. (I will spare blushes by not mentioning who had taken over in that boat. Suffice to say he has a Lark as well!!!)
The wind, although light, held well into the night and by Midnight the Lark was comfortably in the lead. Things then became difficult with Neil Goodhead and Nic Booth taking over the graveyard shift. The wind swung giving a beat up the clubhouse side and the Club GP gradually pulled back the gap to retake the lead. Despite the conditions appearing to favour the Enterprises, the very strong presence of judges with their eye out for Rule 42 (Propulsion) issues, did curtail some of the more enthusiastic activities!
As the new day appeared, Neil & Nic were relieved by Adam Parry and Eleanor Davies and this pairing was confidently expected to see it through to the end. They bravely held their own in drifting conditions, until the sun eventually brought a spasmodic sea breeze for the last hour and a half.
Another great achievement by South Staffs at Southport. Will we see a few more Larks mounting a challenge in 2010? We hope so.
Next years WLYC 24 Hour Race takes place on 11th/12th September 2010