A Thoroughly Deserved First Win for Chris Alcock, Joe Holmes Takes Super Final
The Heart of British Karting. A proud boast on the banner on the Clubhouse. And a rightful claim. A wonderful circuit with its mix of slow and fast corners and elevation change. Showers and sunshine with a bit of breeze but low temperatures again for the club’s second visit of the season. Was it warmer in February?
The Heats & The Road to the Finals
Daz Teal opened his account for the day taking a dominant win in the first heat despite the damp conditions. After starting on grid seven he was quickly to the fore ultimately crossing the line some three seconds clear of second placed Stephen Docker who had started on grid three. Matt Jones, up from grid eight and Thanassi Barnicoat, from grid nine took third and fourth with Dan Brewer fifth after climbing through the field from grid fourteen.
Dan Truman started heat two from pole and was never headed. Max O’Shaughnessy was closing him down though on the still wet track. He’d had to make his way through the field from grid sixteen and was by some distance the quickest driver on the track. Chris Powell took third after starting mid grid with Hussain Rashid fourth. He’d dropped a spot from grid three but it was still a good result. Stef Theodorou took fifth.
And still the rain get spitting for the start of heat three. Tom Fuller had drawn pole but couldn’t make the most of it spinning away his chances in the first turns. Julian Clist led briefly before Chris Alcock moved ahead after starting from the front row. Oliver Flashman pushed him hard late on but had to settle for second whilst the star of the heat was Rob Newman who climbed up from grid fifteen to third. Clist took fourth with Andrew Ward fifth.
Mike Coppin took heat four. Starting on grid eleven he was up to an astonishing second by the end of the first lap. Clearly a man on form as the day proved. Lloyd McGeoch-Williams started from pole and led for a couple of laps before falling behind the flying Coppin. He lost out too on the penultimate lap to Adam Wheeldon. Oscar Lancaster crossed the line fourth but was excluded after bringing Liam Cochrane to a halt on the first lap. Cochrane fell to the very back of the field but staged a remarkable recovery to be classified fourth. James Rose took fifth. Another very strong drive after starting from grid seventeen
Steve Hicks made damp weather driving look easy in heat five. Starting from pole he just drove away from the rest of the field taking the win by over eight seconds. Behind him though it was first lap mayhem. Cameron Williams, starting from the front row was an early casualty whilst the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh placed starters, Keith Segal, Christian Schulz, Stephen Westwood and Rob Langthorp all went backwards whilst those from the back made up ground rapidly. Oliver Flashman took second, up from grid thirteen with Chris Alcock third from grid ten. Hussain Rashid posted another good result vaulting up from grid eleven with Peter Hobbs fifth from grid fifteen.
As the field lined up for heat six the track was at last beginning to dry. Lancaster lead away from pole but fellow front row sitter Kingsley Cummins spun away his chances as did fourth placed starter Ram Wadher. But it was Max O’Shaughnessy who caught the eye jumping from grid seven and into second. Lancaster kept him at bay though before O’Shaughnessy made it by on the penultimate lap. Third place went to Rob Newman. He’d started on row three alongside Dan Brewer and the two of them enjoyed a great battle swapping positions several time before Newman made the place his with a couple of laps to go. James rose took fifth.
As the track began to dry so the lap times began to come down. James Barnard took heat seven with a pole to flag drive. Dan Healey from grid four kept him honest but just couldn’t find away by. Harry Neale took third after starting from grid thirteen. His first two laps saw him jump up from grid thirteen but he could get no further. Mike Coppin was next across the line but a cone penalty dropped him to fifth. Dan Truman also took a cone penalty dropping him down the order and promoting Daz Teal to an unlikely fourth after finishing some six seconds adrift of Coppin.
Chris Dixon took heat eight after starting from grid six. Early race he ran third behind Stef Theodorou and Billy Robson before taking them both in one lap and then pulling clear as Theodorou, Robson, Josh Adams and Emily Rogers disputed second place. They finished in that order.
Nigel Foot was on pole for heat nine but was an early spinner allowing Rob Newman to vault up from grid six and into a lead he would never lose. Chris Woodger, from grid four chased him all the way but could never match the leaders pace and had to settle for second with Rob Langthorp taking third and just holding off a very determined Dan Truman who had driven up from the back of the grid. Harry Neale took fifth. Heat ten saw Daz Teal take his second win of the day after starting on the second row. Max O’Shaughnessy chased him hard all the way but had to settle for third behind Chris Powell after a cone penalty. Fourth went to Chris Alcock after strong drive up from grid fifteen. A sign of things to come whilst poleman Chris Scivier came home fifth.
The penultimate heat of the day for the lightweights fell to Thanassi Barnicoat. By just 0.054. He started from pole so it’s fair to say he judged his win to perfection! Ross crook had started alongside but spun away his chances in the first turns allowing Matt Jones up to second. But Dan Healey and David Longman were making up ground rapidly from lowly grid slots. Healey and Jones had great fight over second but it was Longman who took the place with just a lap to go and then closed down the leader setting the fastest lap final time around. But it wasn’t quite enough. Healey took third with Jones fourth from Emily Rogers. Another good points haul for her.
Mitchell Althasen took the final Lightweight heat of the day usurping long time leader Mikey Nichols two from home with Andrew Ward second. Hussain Rashid crossed the line third but was penalised down to seventh after gaining a place through contact which promoted Bailey Morgan to fourth. The top four had all started on the front two rows. Chris Dixon came home fifth.
Barry Williams on pole from Loic Ditchburn with Reece Pope and Martin Auger on row two. Ben Frost and club stalwart Keith Segal shared row three with Rob Dowsett and Simon Sharpe on row four and completing the first five rows Mathew Collier and Louie Ross. Four to qualify for the B Final. Williams led the field away but it was Ditchburn on the outside who got the better start to lead through the hairpins. Pope, from the second row, was just a touch too eager up to the line. The timer doesn’t lie. A jumped start and the subsequent two place result drop would make it a hard race. He had to push on now as only first or second would see him qualify for the B Final. Segal’s chances ended as he got nudged into a spin at the exit to the Esses. End of the lap and Ditchburn led from Pope with Williams third from Auger, Dowsett and Frost. Ross and Oscar Lancaster were both on the move, running seventh and eighth with the latter desperate to move up to the B Final after a fraught time in the heats. With two laps run he’d got himself up to sixth ahead of Ross but Ross was having none of it and was back in front through the hairpins. Quarter distance and Ditchburn still led from the penalised Pope with Dowsett next. Ross was up to fourth and really charging. Into the Paddock hairpin fourth tome around he dived down the inside of both Williams and Auger to move up the order. It was audacious and brave. And cleanly done. Al lap later and Dowsett was up to second demoting Pope into Hairpin one. He immediately began to close in on Ditchburn for the lead and a lap later he was through, demoting the leader with a clean move into the uphill Garda hairpin. Pope remained third with Ross fourth but being closed down by Frost. Lancaster was surprisingly being dropped and being caught by Tom Fuller who had started from the back row but made steady progress through the field. Once into the lead Dowsett immediately began to pull clear of Ditchburn who had a comfortable cushion over the remaining qualifiers. Pope still ran third but a net fifth from Ross and Frost. Frost was closing down Ross neither driver aware of Pope’s penalty. Ross again used his superior pace down the hill to slip inside Pope at Paddock. Frost couldn’t follow him through and was stuck behind Pope for several laps. Pope defended hard despite and kept Frost at bay allowing Ross to pull clear. It was entertaining stuff as Frost tried everything to get by the stubborn Pope but eventually Frost made it by into Hairpin one. Dowsett was well clear at the front but Ditchburn in second was being reeled in by Ross. Three from home Ross made it by with another brave move at Paddock. Dowsett took the win over six seconds clear with Ross second from Ditchburn and Frost fourth the latter also setting the fastest lap of the final time around. Pope crossed the line fifth but was demoted to seventh and promoting Fuller to fifth in what was arguably the drive of the race. Lancaster took sixth with Matthew Collier eighth from Simon Sharpe and Barry Williams.
Rob Langthorp on pole from Adam Wheeldon followed by the first of the C1 runners Chris Woodger with Julian Clist alongside. Stef Theodorou and Liam Cochrane shared row three with James Wattis and Mitchell Althasen on four. Bailey Morgan and Ben Atkinson completed the first five rows. Two to qualify for the A Final. A good clean start saw Langhthorp hold onto the lead with Wheeldon and Woodger hanging on to second and third. Clist lost out as did Theodorou whilst Cochrane tried his luck round the outside of hairpin one. It didn’t work out and he was down to eleventh. Althasen vaulted up from eighth to fourth with Wattis next from Atkinson followed by second in the Championship Pietro Pagano. Two run and Langthorp had stretched his advantage by a tenth with Wheeldon still second from Althasen and Woodger. Pagano was fifth but almost a second and a half adrift as he battled it out with Atkinson. A great fight this with neither driver giving an inch but operating fairly and with the utmost respect to each other. Quarter distance and Langthorp had the gap out to over a second as a result of Wheeldon defending second from Althasen. Woodger remained fourth with Atkinson fifth just a kart length up on Pagano.
Half distance and it was as you were with the front four but Pagano had nipped by Atkinson in the hairpins whilst Cochrane was beginning to close back in. Three quarter distance and there was still no change at the top of the order. Further back Ross was having an eventful run. After his C Final heroics his composure appeared to have been shot to bits as his number kept coming up on the penalty board. Most out of character but something I’m sure he will learn from. With four to go Pagano upped his pace setting the fastest lap of the race and nipping by Woodger for fourth. Wheeldon succumbed a lap later whilst Atkinson and Cochrane both slipped by the fading Woodger. Penultimate lap and he was cutting the gap to second placed Althasen. But it wasn’t enough. Langthorp took the win after a very fine drive. Under pressure all the way he just never put a wheel wrong. A well deserved win. Althasen too put in a great drive for second. Pagano came home third. A few more laps and he would surely have made it up to second but it was not to be. Atkinson took fourth. A strong drive this but I reckon he should be a regular A Final runner as should Cochrane. And he knows it. Wheeldon took sixth with Woodger next from James Martin who drove very well to climb up from grid seventeen. Billy Robson and Julian Clist completed the top ten.
Daz Teal on pole from Max O’Shaughnessy with Rob Newman and Chris Alcock on row two. Chris Powell and Dan Healey shared row two with Dan Truman and Mike Coppin on row four. Chris Dixon and Thanassi Barnicoat completed the first five rows. Top twelve to join the HW/SHW competitors in the Super Final. Teal led the pack away but it was Newman who made the better start to lead as the pack filed out of the hairpins with Alcock second from Teal and O’Shaughnessy. By the end of the lap Newman was over a second clear. By quarter distance he was almost two seconds up the road and easily the fastest man on the circuit with Alcock second from Teal. O’Shaughnessy, Dixon and Coppin. But into the hairpins fifth time around and the leader was suddenly slowing in what most assumed was a mechanical failure. But then he picked up the pace but was down in eighth. Half distance and Alcock still lead from Coppin, Dixon and Teal. Healey ran fifth with Steve Hicks next up from Powell. Newman had got shuffled down to eleventh. Alcock had managed to open a gap at the front with Dixon second just a couple of tenths up on Coppin with Teal and Healey following close behind. Hicks was still in the mix just a second back. Three quarters distance and Alcock was still over a second to the good with Coppin now up to second from Dixon. Teal had been dropped and was coming under pressure from a rapidly recovering Newman ahead of Hicks and Healey. Coppin was gradually closing the gap to the leader with Dixon still third. Newman was up to fourth but surely too far back with just two to run to get on the podium.
And so it proved. Alcock crossed the line just a tenth up on Coppin for his first ever CLUB100 Sprint win. Dixon took third with Newman fourth but laughing his socks off as he removed his helmet in the paddock after a crazy race. Dad Barry was mystified, as was I. He’d looked in the early stages as though he was going to romp to the win before he slowed. It turned out he had accidentally turned the motor off. I can think of many drivers who would have claimed some sort of mechanical malady but not Rob. A bloke although I can’t print what it his dad called him. Rhymes with banker. Teal took fifth with Hicks next from O’Shaughnessy with Healey eighth. Barnicoat came home ninth from Powell, Matt Jones and Dan Truman twelfth taking the final Super Final spot. Mitchell Althasen took the C2 honours with Dan Brewer and James Barnard second and third. Newman set the fastest lap of the race with Emily Rogers the quickest C2 runner. A great first win though for Chris Alcock and thoroughly deserved.
Altima Academy Super Final
Steve Brown on pole from Chris Alcock with Joe Holmes and Mike Coppin on row two. Anwar Beroual-Smith and Chris Dixon shared row three with Tim Hill alongside Rob Newman on four and Stuart Jones alongside Daz Teal completing the first five rows. Brown led the pack away but fellow front row sitter Alcock lost out badly through the first turns and was back in fifteenth by the end of the first lap. Coppin and Dixon also lost out badly. Holmes was quickly into second with Beroual-Smith third from a fast starting Newman with Hill fifth from Stuart Jones, Hicks and Moore. It was a fraught first lap and from my vantage point in the paddock as the karts climbed up to Cafe corner it looked for all the world as though a major incident was about to occur with so many drivers occupying too little track. But they all made it safely through. Great skills. Holmes trailed Brown by just a tenth over the first couple of laps but into the hairpins third time around he jinked to the right and slipped by under braking into a lead he would never lose. Brown remained second but Beroual-Smith hounded him all the way ready to capitalise on any error. Behind the leaders Newman and Hill were having a mighty battle over fourth. Newman just could not get away and at half distance Hill slipped by at the bottom of the hill. And stayed there for a couple of laps as his younger adversary tried everything he knew to retake the place. Penultimate lap and he finally got by at Garda. An important overtake too as it turned out. A couple of seconds back from the Newman/Hill battle Hicks, Stuart Jones and Moore were fighting hard over sixth. Hicks and Jones traded places a couple of times but Moore was just not quite close enough to mount an attack. At the front Holmes reeled off the final laps to take the win with Brown second. Beroual-Smith crossed the line third but he’d picked up a one place penalty for clipping a cone dropping him to fourth and promoting Newman onto the podium. Hill was a rueful fifth wishing he’d defended just a little harder to keep Newman behind. Whatever his thoughts though this was a very fine effort from the Club’s elder statesman. Hicks took sixth with Stuart Jones seventh from Moore. Alcock was next. A great drive this after his fraught first lap. He also set the fastest lap. Daz Teal rounded out the top ten just ahead of Healey and Coppin.
Championship leader Ed Barrs missed the round to take in a trip to Le Mans so he’s lost the lead in the standings for now. Daz Teal moves up from third to the top of the order whilst Pietro Pagano remains second. Stephen Docker remains fourth with Harry Neale moving up to fifth ahead of Liam Cochrane. Andrew ward leads the C2 class from Rob Langthorp with Hussain Rashid third.
Altima Academy Super Cup
Joe Holmes win promotes him to the top of the order just two points ahead of Rob Newman. Steve Hicks is just a point further back in third two points clear of Steve Brown in fourth. Anwar Beroual-Smith is fifth. Some of the heavyweights feel that that the weight limit favours the lights but four out of the top five runners are heavyweights so it would appear not to be the case.
Mixed weather always makes for some good if sometimes controversial racing. Great to report though that both Simon Lloyd and Max O’Shaughnessy are on the mend after their offs’. Simon’s accident looked particularly nasty. Our thanks and appreciation to the prompt actions of the medical team and as always to all the marshal’s and officials who do such a great job. And to all the sponsors of course. And guess what? Despite there being one or two controversial penalties (guess that depends on your point of view!) I didn’t witness any histrionics or aggressive acts in the paddock all day. Just how it should be.
See you all at Rye !