A Confident Lights To Flag Win For Jay Elliott, As Rob Newman Runs Out Of Laps Running Him Down


Steve Gray
Elite Sprint Championship 2018, Rd.4,

Warm weather at last for the Club’s return to Shenington after more than ten years absence. Shenington is one of the oldest Kart circuits in the country and is sited on the old perimeter road of the former RAF Edgehill the scene of early testing of the first jet aircraft which only just shaded the power of a Club100 Kart. And it clearly didn’t sound as good as it was known as the flying fart! One of the original members of the Kart club was also responsible for the introduction of Karts for hire. It’s a quick circuit with the start and finish line situated on Park straight which leads into Park bend, a quick left hander before braking into the long hairpin Cafe corner. Accelerate hard out of the corner and the flat out pits bend follows before the run into the top hairpin braking zone. Out of the corner and then down into the Bruno chicane followed by the long Hangar straight with its flat out right hander Hangar corner. Then it’s hard on the brakes for the Wilkins complex, a tight right hand hairpin followed by a left hander back onto Park straight. It’s a corner that’s very easy to overdrive. Get it wrong and you’re badly compromised heading onto the start and finish straight.

Heat 1
Pete O’Connor led the pack away with Stephen Hicks up to second at the expense of Dan Healey whilst Harrison Darvill lost out badly in the first hairpin ending the lap down in tenth having started fourth. Ben Yarwood made up a place to run fourth with David Longman next from Harry Neale. Down the order Jay Elliott and Joe Holmes were both making progress from the back of the nineteen strong grid. O’Connor, Hicks and Healey continued to run line astern at the front but Longman was into fourth having found away by Yarwood at the hairpin. Hicks was intent on the lead and put a move on O’Connor but both of them ran wide allowing Healey through into the lead. Elliott continued to make progress but Holmes advance had stalled, not helped by a penalty for knocking over a cone. But he wasn’t done. Having dropped to thirteenth he would be back up to seventh by the end of the race only to lose three places as a result of the cone penalty and exceeding track limits as he cut the corner at the exit of Wilkins. Whilst he may have felt he was forced out he did gain a considerable advantage and was rightly penalised. Healey continued to stretch his lead at the front as O’Connor defended from Hicks and Longman. He began to look just a little ragged and within the space of two laps he was down to sixth with Hicks second from Longman and the flying Elliott. Ed Barrs was next. It was all very close apart from Healey who was clear at the front. With two to go it was all change again. Elliot made a move on Hicks and Longman but his attack was thwarted allowing Barrs to slip by all of them into second. And that was where he stayed as Elliott again went on the attack slipping by Longman on the last lap to take third with Hicks fifth from O’Connor. Holmes was next but penalised back to tenth allowing Ian Blake into seventh from Harry Neale. Steve Brown was ninth after a steady run from grid fourteen. Rob Newman set the fastest lap of the race and was the only driver to post a sub fifty two second lap. His 51.964 established a class record.

Heat 2
Chris Dixon led the field away with Blake slotting into second ahead of Brown and Newman whilst Pete Harris slipped back to fifth ahead of Elliott. Rob Moore lost out badly over the first lap slipping from seventh to twelfth. It would get no better for him. At the front Blake took over from Dixon who then came under pressure from Brown who was intent on a strong result. Newman too was keeping in touch and clearly had a quick Kart at his disposal. Blake’s lead was short lived as Brown took over at the front. But not for long. Newman took over at the front on the run down to Wilkins and despite the close attentions of Brown and Blake there he stayed taking the flag by just over a couple of tenths. Just to underline his superiority he set the fastest lap of the race on the final tour, just 0.006 quicker than Brown who also set his best time on the same lap. Blake took third almost four seconds clear of Holmes who was on his own in the latter stages of the race. Elliott and Healey were next. Having run seventh and eighth they got the better of Dixon and Truman on the last lap to take fifth and sixth with O’Connor also displacing Truman. Barrs completed the top ten.

Heat 3
Barrs on pole from Holmes with Longman and Elliott behind. It was Holmes though who got the better start to lead Barrs across the line at the end of the first lap. Elliott was next having got the better of Longman off the line with Jonathan Lisseter running fifth. With two laps gone the order at the front remained the same but Newman was up to fourth having started from Grid eight. The following lap he would set the fastest lap of the race and establish a new record. Holmes continued to lead but Barrs was matching him all the way. The gap stretched to a couple of tenths but a lap later it was down to a few hundredths as Barrs fought tooth and nail to find a way past the leader. Indeed over two laps the gap remained at 0.087. Remarkable consistency. But Holmes doesn’t give up a lead easily and eventually crossed the line just over a tenth up from the impressive Barrs. Newman took third with Elliott fourth. The leading four were some five seconds up the road from Lisseter who started fifth and remained there despite the close attentions of Brown. Dixon was next from Longman with Blake and O’Connor rounding out the top ten.

Final
Elliott on pole from Barrs. Championship leaders Holmes and Brown on the second row from Newman and Blake with Healey and O’Connor on row four from Longman and Hicks. Elliott led the field away whilst Holmes and Brown both got the better of Barrs as Newman dropped behind Blake. Healey lost out to O’Connor whilst Longman’s hopes evaporated with a spin. Elliott immediately began to pull away from the pack now led by Holmes who was moving around considerably in his Kart as he defended from Brown. Down into the top hairpin for the second time he pulled well to the right to defend into the corner before moving left to take the line. But Brown was wise to the move, staying left before diving to the inside as Holmes moved left. Too late Holmes realised and tried to squeeze Brown but the latter was alongside and made the move stick. A lap later and Holmes was down to sixth as Blake, Barrs and Newman all swept by. At the front Elliott continued to lead from Brown with the gap holding steady at around one and a half seconds. But as the race ran into its latter stages Brown became just a little bit ragged through the Bruno chicane allowing the leader to break clear and Newman to close in. Down into Wilkins with one third of the race to run Newman got a better run out of the chicane and was alongside into Wilkins. Brown gave him room but was compromised on the exit allowing fourth placed Blake to close up rapidly on the straight and get by as they turned into Cafe corner. And that was how they finished. Elliott crossed the line one and half seconds up on the flying Newman who again set fastest lap and established a new class record in the process. He also took the Rookie honours. Blake took third ahead of Brown with Hicks next. He’d fought hard to make up places in the first half of the race but had to be content with fifth. Barrs took sixth. He had a good day. O’Connor came home next in what turned out to be best of the rest over five seconds adrift of Barrs but ahead of Holmes whilst Dixon and Healey completed the top ten. Elliott thoroughly enjoyed his first win of the season attempting to stand up in his Kart to the amusement of the crowd as the field entered the paddock. Amusement which quickly turned to astonishment as 2017 Heavyweight Champion Adam Wright deliberately drove into a fellow driver after the chequered flag. An incident which rightly saw him excluded from the results. Not his finest hour.

Championship Round Up.
Steve Brown still leads the Elite Championship from Joe Holmes whilst Jay Elliott’s superb win moves him into third ahead of Ian Blake and leading Rookie Rob Newman.

Reflections
I don’t watch the film of the races until after I have written the reports but I then settle down to check how accurate I’ve been. Great coverage it is too. I was appalled to see in the Lightweight A Final one driver deliberately turn into another driver on the run down into Wilkins. It was move which was rightly criticised by the commentator. What on earth possesses a driver to deliberately attempt to drive a fellow competitor off the road? And this wasn’t an isolated incident despite JV’s warnings in the briefings regarding driving standards. This behaviour is infantile. It’s dangerous. It’s disrespectful to other drivers and to Club100. Thankfully the huge majority of drivers in the Club compete for enjoyment and respect each other both on and off the track. But there are a minority who just can’t bear to be beaten. Winners know how to win. But they also know how to lose. Anyone who thinks it’s OK to use a Kart as a weapon is seriously mentally deficient. They should seek help. There is no place for it within the Club. Similarly I just don’t get the mentality of people who think Karting is a contact sport. Yes, there will always be a certain amount of rubbing and sometimes drivers will make genuine errors of judgment but deliberately punting a fellow competitor off the track? Seriously? Club100 is a brilliant entity. I just hope that the idiot minority don’t spoil it for the majority. Let’s have some respect and behave like adults not spoilt children.
On a happier note wasn’t it great to see Michael Ballinger take his first win after eleven years of trying? After 582 races he finally gets to stand on the top step. Thoroughly deserved. He works so hard at his Karting. He tests; he competes in Endurance races and gets tuition from the Niki Richardson all with the aim of winning in the Sprints. And he’s a thoroughly nice bloke!
Ben Cottle too deserves a mention as he got his first ever podium. Another driver who rarely troubles the stewards but races hard and fair.
A great day at Shenington despite the antics of a few. On now to Glan-y-gors for Round five. If you’ve never been you’ve missed a treat. It’s a spectacular circuit with great facilities set in stunning scenery. Don’t miss out!

Words: Steve Gray

Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography