A 2nd Win Of The Season For James Venning To Keep Him In The Championship Hunt


Steve Gray
Lightweight Sprint Championship 2018, Rd.6,

or the first time this season the weather was hot. Very hot. Which makes a great change for a visit to Buckmore Park where we start and end the season, usually in the cold. Buckmore also marks the halfway stage of the season and like the weather the various Championships are beginning to heat up. What a great circuit Buckmore is too. Not as picturesque as GYG but great to drive on with plenty of overtaking opportunities and a mixture of slow and fast corners. And some elevation change including the mightily fast downhill Symes Sweep. Starting from the start/finish line it’s a short sprint into the long right handed Conway’s which then leads into the first right handed hairpin. Another short straight and then it’s into the left handed hairpin two. Back on the throttle out of the corner and then through the flat-out Esses before plunging down Symes sweep. Still going downhill it’s into the left hander at Pullmans. It’s a corner that’s very easy to get wrong and compromise the line for the right hander at Paddock. Many a Kart will run wide out of here on the run up Damon Hill and into Garda. Out of Garda the track drops sharply into the left handed Senna before climbing up the hill, through Cafe curve and onto the Sisley straight and the start/finish line. Not the longest circuit on the calendar at around a thousand metres but certainly one of the most challenging.

Into the afternoon and the sun continued to beat down for Heavyweights, Lightweights and the EssexFlatPack sponsored Super Heavyweights.

Qualifying

Matt Jones blitzed the first group stopping the clocks on 45.878 over two tenths clear of second placed Adam Wheeldon. He was also the only driver in the two groups to break the forty six second barrier. Ben Atkinson and James Venning were next up, setting their best times on their first flying laps and separated by just 0.058. Rob Langthorp took fifth.

Late entry Steve Moody topped the second group. But James Appleton and a returning Hussain Rashid ran him close. The three of them were separated by just 0.069. Mike Noon and Andrew Ward were next up whilst Championship leader Chris Woodger was well off the pace in tenth which would translate to twentieth on the grid for the pre A Final.

Pre A Final

Pole for Matt Jones with Adam Wheeldon alongside. Steve Moody and Ben Atkinson on row two from James Appleton and Hussain Rashid. James Venning and Rob Langthorp on row four and Emily Rogers and Mike Noon completing the first five rows.

Matt Jones led the field away but Wheeldon’s chances of a good result evaporated as he got punted into a spin at the first hairpin. Venning was up to second by the end of the lap with Rashid third from Rodgers, Moody, Noon and Gooch. Jones was keeping the gap back to second constant at just over second with Venning still behind. Rogers though was beginning to close in on Venning and pulling Moody with her with Noon still in the hunt. The front five were beginning to pull clear of the chasing pack led now by Ward from Graeme Coombes. Always good to see Graeme returning for the odd event and he always shows that he’s lost none of his talent. Jones continued to lead but Rogers was into second just before half distance. A couple of laps later and Moody was up to third at the expense of Venning who now had Noon closing in.

Penultimate lap and the front five looked pretty much settled but both Coombes and Langthorp found a way past Ward. Jones took the win just over a second clear of Rogers with Moody next from Venning and Noon. Moody also set the fastest lap. Coombes came home an excellent sixth ahead of Langthorp, Ward, Gooch and Snelling.

A Final

Matt Jones on pole from Emily Rogers with Steve Moody and James Venning on row two. Mike Noon alongside Graeme Coombes on row three with Rob Langthorp and Andrew Ward on row four. Jon Gooch and Daryl Snelling completed the top ten. Jones got away cleanly at the start with Rogers tucked in behind.

Venning got inside Moody at the first hairpin running him a little wide. Moody lost momentum and both Coombes and Noon took advantage to gain ground. Jones crossed the line at the start of the lap a few tenths up on Rogers and Venning with Coombes fourth but dropping away. Both Rogers and Venning were flying at this point and bearing down on the leader who responded by pulling out a tenth only to lose time again as he lost momentum in the first hairpin allowing Rogers to close to within a tenth. Again Jones responded and Rogers dropped back into the clutches of Venning. Down through Symes Sweep she was looking a little ragged and as she went into the left hander she got a little out of shape running fractionally wide and losing a little bit of momentum into Paddock. This made her a little slow on the run up to Garda and Venning saw his chance diving to the inside and into second. Down the slope into Senna he defended to the left as Rogers went right and attempted to cut back on the exit of the corner and the run up to cafe. But Venning was far enough ahead and as they approached the flat out Cafe corner Rogers front wheel touched Venning’s rear and she spun out whilst Venning kept control but lost time to the leader. On the same lap Moody took Coombes for fourth which became third with Rogers demise although the rest of the field were running several seconds adrift of the leaders. Jones continued to lead with the gap just over a second but then Venning, now running without any hindrance from third, began to up his pace setting the fastest lap of the race eleventh time around. Gradually the gap came down and by the penultimate lap they were nose to tail. Jones had no answer and Venning swept by with a lap to go extending the lead to over half a second by the end of the race. Moody too had got closer to the leaders over the final laps and was under a second adrift at the flag. Had he not been held up early in the race he would surely have been a factor.

Noon took fourth eight seconds adrift and just a couple of lengths up on Coombes. Langthorp took sixth with Championship leader Chris Woodger next over the line. He’d had a poor qualifying session and a poor pre A Final but had a battled hard up from grid fourteen in the final. Too hard as it happened as he received a two place penalty dropping him to ninth. Ward and Gooch were seventh and eighth with Mackenzie completing the top ten.

Round up

Despite having his worst day for some time Chris Woodger remains at the head of the standings in the Lightweights from Mike Noon with Freddie Fincham third. James Venning’s second A Final win of the season sees him fourth and well in with a shot at the title. Matt Jones is fifth.

Reflections

Ellough Park is next up and it’s being televised so it’s a chance to be seen all over the world. Don’t miss out. Ellough is a great track and if drivers want to continue racing at a broad range of circuits events like this need to be supported.
Finally, Stuart Jones was missing from Buckmore having been taken ill. I’m unashamedly going to borrow a Facebook post from Ben Benneyworth who writes,
‘’I think it’s fair to say on behalf of Club 100, our thoughts and prayers are with Stuart Jones and his family after being rushed to hospital with Meningitis. I want wins and Championships like the next person but not at the expense of someone being taken to A & E. Get well soon mate.’’
And so say all of us. Get well soon Stuart.

See you all at Ellough !