A Rollercoaster But Tim Hill Breaks His Duck With Title After 25 Years Trying…
ade ad victors spoila. To the victors the spoils. The final round of a long season with all four Championships finely balanced. A two horse race for the Elite crown between the two flying Yorkshiremen, reigning Champion Joe Holmes and Rob Newman with Holmes twelve points ahead. In the Clubman’s, five time A Final winner James Taylor against Stefan Scully who had yet to win a race but arrived at Buckmore with an eleven point advantage. In the lights Mike Noon leading the way from Chris Woodger by just eight points. And finally the Heavyweights with the oldest winner in Club 100 Sprints level on points with the youngest winner Seb Algieri. Here’s how a dramatic day unfolded.
The track was drying out nicely as the Group1 HW/SHW runners appeared on track. Both Aaron Stevens and Nick Trafford took at turn at the top of the times but it was Tim Hill who took the honours edging out Trafford by just 0.053 with Daniel Taylor just 0.034 adrift of Trafford. Stevens was fourth with Nima Oparver fifth. A great effort this from Oparver. Paul Williams was the fastest of the EssexFlatPack SHW runners.
And as the track dried the times continued to tumble. Miguel Hall topped the times in Group 2 from Darren Townsley with Alex Lammin third from Championship contender Seb Algieri. Stuart Jones was fifth whilst Stuart Germon was the quickest of the EssexFlatPack runners in a highly creditable seventh overall and over three tenths quicker than soon to be crowned EssexFlatPack SHW Trevor Randall.
Heavyweight Pre B Final
Philip Charman on pole from Steve Bosley with Ben Cottle and Lennie Wood on row two. Chris Sawyer and Stephane Appleton on row three with the first of the SHW runners Andrew Clarke alongside wet weather specialist Mike Bodnar on row four. SHW runner Paul Goddard and Barney Langley completed the first five rows. Charman lost out as the field raced into the first turns and slipped back whilst Wood was an early spinner. All of which left Bodnar in the lead as the field crossed the line at the end of the lap with Cottle second from Bosley. Sawyer was third from Clarke and Goddard. Bosley was quickly by Sawyer and immediately opened up a gap as he chased Bodnar the latter crossing the line over a second to the good. As they swept down the hill for the third time Bodnar ran a little wide and snapped sideways.
He recovered brilliantly but was running out of road. And heading straight for me. In my mind the thick barrier had suddenly disappeared and all I could see was Mike’s eyes on stalks in sheer terror as he speared towards me. At the last moment the kart swung right and ran down the barrier as Bosley took over the lead and I nipped to the loo. Cottle moved up to third and the leading three gradually began to pull of Sawyer in fourth. Bosley continued to pull clear of Bodnar with Cottle third but a couple of seconds adrift. Sawyer though was beginning to come under pressure from Barney Langley and Martin Gurnett. With eight laps run Langley made it by Sawyer for the final qualifying spot only to lose the place as he spun out promoting Sawyer back into the place. But not for long as Gurnett took the place on the final lap. Jordan Salter was the first of the SHW runners in sixth place.
Heavyweight Pre A Final
As darkness descended the rain abated but the circuit remained damp. Miguel Hall on pole from Tim Hill with Daren Townsley and Nick Trafford on row two. Alex Lammin and Daniel Taylor shared row three with Seb Algieri and Aaron Stevens on four and Stuart Jones and Nima Oparver completing the first five rows. Hall got cleanly away from pole but Hill on the outside was always going to be vulnerable as the circuit swung right. Algieri was keen to make up ground as quickly as possible and was probably a little unfortunate to get squeezed and with very little room to manoeuvre on the wet surface he hit Hill spinning his rival round to a halt. Also in trouble on what was a chaotic first lap were Townsley and Trafford. Down the order Craig Brown, Trevor Randall and Wayne Dunham all got delayed. By the end of lap one Hall led from Taylor with Stevens third from Jones. Fifth was Adam Wright, having his first outing in the Heavies since taking the title in 2017. Good to see him back. Oparver was sixth from Cottle and Lammin with Algieri ninth from Turner. Hill crossed the line down in twenty second place, his Championship chances seemingly dealt a huge blow. Three laps gone and Hall was over two seconds clear at the front with Jones now up to second ahead of Stevens and Wright. Taylor ran fifth from Cottle, Lammin and Turner with Bosley ninth having started from grid twenty six.
Algieri was tenth and struggling for pace. Half distance and Hall was still out front from Jones with Wright now up to third from Taylor, Stevens and Lammin. Cottle had spun away his chances of a good finish promoting Bosley up to seventh from Turner and Bodnar who had worked his way up from grid twenty four. Michael Ballinger was into the top ten with Randall next from Hill who was putting in one of the great drives of his career. Algieri had dropped to fourteenth. With three to go Hall still led but Jones had cut the gap to three tenths whilst Wright was also closing in setting the fastest lap of the race ninth time around. Taylor was fourth but Bodnar was now up to fifth ahead of Bosley with Stevens next from Hill. Penultimate lap and Hill was up to seventh and catching Bosley but the latter responded keeping himself just out of reach. Hall took the win and it should not be overshadowed by what went on in his wake. Pole and leading all the way was a superb drive in the tricky conditions. Jones was just half a second adrift at the flag with Wright third. And let’s not overlook the fact that these three were some twelve seconds clear of fourth placed Bodnar. Another great wet weather performance. Taylor was fifth from Bosley with Hill seventh. He looked despondent in the pit lane as he had no idea where he’d finished. Seb Algieri was one of the first on the scene to apologise to Tim for spinning him out, a move which had cost Seb eight places dropping him to twenty first. But what of the Championship? With dropped scores taken into account Tim was now just one point ahead of Seb but crucially would start some fourteen places ahead on the grid for the A Final. Advantage Hill.
Heavyweight B Final
Sawyer on pole from SHW Salter followed by two more EssexFlatPack runners, Clarke and Edwards. Scivier and Langley shared row three with Rogers and Johnson on four and SHW Goddard alongside Appleton on row five. Sawyer led the field away but Clarke was up to second as Salter dropped to third. Scivier spun out whilst Goddard kept out of trouble and moved up to fourth. Sawyer continued to stretch his advantage at the front whilst Salter moved back to second with Goddard third from Langley.
Clarke spun out of fifth in his efforts to stay on terms. For several laps it was as you were at the front with Sawyer still pulling clear of second placed Salter. Goddard was third but having to defend hard from Langley. Rogers ran fifth but was some six seconds adrift and surely out of the running. Half distance and Langley was up to third. He immediately began to drop Goddard but looked to be too far back from Salter to challenge. But then Salter made a mistake and lost a second whilst Langley set his quickest time and moved into second. But Sawyer was too far up the road and took the win with Langley second from Salter and Goddard with Lennie Wood fifth.
Heavyweight A Final
The final race of the day and the final race of the TKM era. And a Championship still to be decided. Hall on pole from Jones with Wright and Bodnar on row two. Taylor and Bosley on row three from Hill and Randall with Lammin and Ballinger completing the first five rows. Algieri would start on grid twenty one. But he wasn’t giving up. Hall led the field away but it was Bodnar into the lead as they went through the hairpins. By the end of the lap he was a second clear of Wright, Jones and Hall. Hill was up to fifth and taking no chances on the slippery track a kart length up on Randall who was mindful of just where he was on the track. Bosley ran seventh ahead of Taylor and Brown who both spun out on the third lap. Further back Algieri was giving it his all. By lap four he was up to twelfth and charging. Half distance and Bodnar was being pressed hard for the lead by reigning heavyweight Champion Wright. He won the 2017 Championship without ever winning a race. How ironic would it be to win a race in a year where he hadn’t competed? Jones remained third from Hall with Hill a couple of kart lengths clear of Randall who in fairness was making no attempt to get by. Bosley, Ballinger, Stevens and Trafford completed the top ten whilst Algieri’s charge had been blunted behind Cottle. Then he lost a spot to Turner. Stevens and Trafford both spun out giving Algieri hope.
Bodnar continued to lead but Wright was all over him like the proverbial rash but he just could not get by. Three to go and the order remained static with Wright just a tenth behind the leader. Algieri finally found a way by Cottle for tenth but all he could hope for now was for his Championship rival to make a mistake. But he didn’t. Bodnar crossed the line for another inclement weather victory. This after having to fight his way up from the Pre B Final. He really is extraordinary when it’s wet. Wright took second well clear of third placed Jones whilst Hall took a cone penalty promoting Hill to fourth. Randall crossed the line next but was demoted a place after a cone penalty handing the place to Bosley. It made no difference as he was still the first EssexFlatPack runner. Ballinger and Turner were eighth and ninth with Algieri tenth. And the first thing Seb did when he got out of the kart was to go and congratulate his rival on winning the Championship.
Twenty five years of Sprint racing. An amazing achievement by Tim Hill. And this year he’s the Heavyweight Champion and it’s richly deserved. And that’s not to detract anything from runner up Seb Algieri. The oldest winner in Club 100 against the youngest. There is an old saying that goes along the lines of old age and treachery will always beat youth and enthusiasm. But there has been nothing on those lines between these two this year. They have both battled hard and the mutual respect they have shown each other is a fantastic example of what Club 100 is about. Stuart Jones took third which gives him the bragging rights over brother Matt. Just. It took his third place at Buckmore and a bad day at the office for Nick Trafford to just edge out the latter. Nick had a good season. Nineteenth overall last season he would have been happy to be in the top ten. A win can’t be far away. Fifth went to Trevor Randall who also took the EssexFlatPack SHW honours. He might have packed on the kilos but he still knows how to drive a kart. Second place in the EssexFlatPack division went to series sponsor Stuart Germon. And he finished nineteenth overall. A good result and he will, I’m sure, get better. Jordan Salter took the third spot just edging out the veteran Paul Williams by eight points whilst Paul Goddard took fifth. One of life’s true gentlemen.
As I intend to write up a season review in December I’ll keep this brief. I just want to say a huge thank you to all the marshals, the medical team, the mechanics, observers and our Clerk of the Course Niki Richardson who all do such a great job all season although I do think Carson’s statement ‘’ and… we’re….sexy..’’ might just stretch the imagination a touch. And not forgetting JV and everyone connected with Club 100 who make everything run so smoothly. Thanks also to the sponsors G3Pro, Dartford Karting and EssexFlatPack.co.uk for their generous support. It’s the end of the TKM direct drive era with the switch to Rotax engines. Exciting times ahead. And no longer will we hear the call ‘’We need pushers!!’’
Words: Steve Gray
Library Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography