Andrew Dawson Has Arrived At The Front In Heavyweight Class
After the wide open spaces of Whilton Mill it was a complete contrast to visit the tight twisty confines of Rye, the self styled spiritual home of Karting, reports Steve Gray. A tough little track with its long straight, the blindingly quick right handed Stadium corner before flicking left to the first hairpin, scene of many a demon overtaking manoeuvre and many shunts. A great circuit for viewing where the whole circuit is laid out before you. But a tricky circuit to get absolutely right.
Jon Gooch set the quickest time and was the only driver in either of the two Heavyweight sessions. He posted a 43.923he only driver to break forty three seconds. Steve Bosley was second quickest followed by Mark Turner and Tim Hill. Close though as the second to nineteenth was covered by a little over six tenths.
A much slower group this probably due to the change in track temperature. Andy Cowell topped the times but he left it till the last lap having languished way down the order much to the delight of old adversary Hill. His 43.301 would have put him tenth in Group 1. Adam Wright was second quickest followed by Jeff Chapman and Martin Gurnett. Roger Mullen would have been quickest but he was excluded for being underweight.
Pre B final
A top four finish is all that’s needed to move up. Would it be a sensible race or dogfight? Adrian Brammer sat on pole with Ben Cottle alongside. Theo Gereoudakis and Robert Stapleton on row two followed by Daniel Godin and Paul Williams from Adam Brown and Michael Ballinger. Thomas Caen and Aaron Stevens completed the top ten. Brammer led away but Cottle, on the outside going into Stadium, got jumped by Gereoudakis for second. Stapleton and Williams both spun out of contention leaving Godin fourth ahead of a very fast starting Caen. Next to hit trouble were Cottle and Godin spinning away their chances of a top four finish and promoting Caen to third ahead of Brown, Ballinger and Super Heavyweight James Johnston, who had charged up from grid fifteen, closely followed by Nick Trafford and Andrew Cherry. These three had started line astern down the grid but had worked together beautifully to take advantage of others misfortune, stay out of trouble and move themselves up the order.
Half distance and Brammer continued at the front with Gereoudakis comfortable in second and clear of the chasing pack now led by Brown from Johnston, Caen, Trafford, Ballinger and Cherry. Next to fall was Trafford. He was fighting with Ballinger but not for long as he spun away his chances. And that looked to have settled the order but with one to go both Johnstone and Caen slipped by Brown for third and fourth. They needn’t have worried as it turned out Brown was underweight and would be excluded. So Brammer ran out the winner from Gereoudakis with Johnston and Caen the other two qualifiers. Crucially, Cottle, despite finishing seventeenth, set fastest lap on the very last tour and by some distance.
Pre A Final
Jon Gooch led the field away from pole with Steve Bosley alongside as they turned into Stadium for the first time. Mark Turner held third but Tim Hill got forced wide and dropped a spot to a hard charging Mark Figes. At the end of the lap Gooch was still out front but it was Turner up to second followed by Figes, Bosley, Hill, Ridout and Dawson who had made up four places. Gooch was looking comfortable at the front and was beginning to eke out a gap as the pack squabbled over second place. With three laps run it was Figes into second with Hill right on his bumper as Turner dropped to fourth ahead of Ridout and a fading Bosley down to sixth but ahead of Dawson. Gooch still led but was beginning to come under pressure from Figes and Hill who were running line astern. Hill looked particularly strong, letting Figes know he was there but not fighting and slowing them both up.
By half distance they were within challenging distance of the leader. Hill swept by Figes into second and wasted no further time, dispensing with the leader a lap later and immediately pulling away as Gooch defended from Figes. Hill ran out the winner by over a second whilst Gooch held off the challenge of Figes for second who faded a little towards the end allowing Ridout to pressure him hard over the final laps. Dawson finished fifth well clear of the battling duo of Turner and Wright whilst a somewhat subdued Cowell came home in eighth with Gurnett and Lammin completing the top ten. Dawson set fastest lap with Paul Goddard quickest of the Superheavyweights.
Ben Cottle on pole and Roger Mullen alongside with Super Heavy Nick Trafford and Andrew Cherry on two from Shane O’Neil and Michael Ballinger on row three all desperate for the top two finish to qualify for the A final. Cottle led the pack away with Trafford up to second ahead of Mullen whilst Cherry’s chances disappeared as he got shuffled down the order and out of contention. O’Neil ran fourth with Williams up to fifth ahead of Ballinger who was sensibly staying out of trouble and waiting for the race to settle down. Cottle continued to lead and was already building a gap whilst Mullen fought back into second ahead of Trafford with Williams now into fourth from O’Neil and Ballinger.
Half distance and Williams spun away his chances as Ballinger moved up two places into fourth and was beginning to put pressure on Mullen and Trafford as Cottle continued to pull clear at the front. With three to run Ballinger was up to third and Mullen was having to defend. The pressure was too much and he spun allowing Ballinger through. He was quickly clear as the following pack sorted itself out. There was no catching the leader though but second was good enough.
So, Cottle ran out a comfortable winner from Ballinger whilst Shane O’Neill grabbed third from Super Heavy Trafford at the flag by just 0.008 at the flag. Ballinger set fastest lap.
And so to the final race of an entertaining day at ‘Rockin Rye’. Andrew Dawson on pole from James Browning followed by Anthony Harrington and Jeff Chapman ahead of Alexander Lammin and Pre Final winner Hill. The two Marks, Figes and Ridout on four and Steve Bosley and Martin Gurnett completing the top ten. Andrew Cowell would be a non starter having damaged a rib in the Pre Final and forgotten his aspirin. A frantic first lap saw Harrington up into the lead from Dawson with Chapman getting the better of Browning to slip into fourth. Lammin held fifth but Hill lost out badly dropping to twelfth. Dawson was challenging hard for the lead and dully moved to the front after a couple of laps whilst Harrington fell to third behind Chapman. Lammin slipped by Browning for fourth taking Bosley with him into fifth.
The race then settled into a procession with Dawson leading from Chapman who couldn’t quite get close enough to challenge the leader. Harrington, Lammin and Cosley were circulating in close proximity but not changing positions until with two laps to go Lammin slipped by Harrington for the final podium spot. So Dawson ran out the winner from Chapman with Lammin hanging on to third ahead of Harrington and Bosley. Adam Wright had closed in towards the finish but couldn’t get beyond sixth whilst Browning came home seventh ahead of Ridout, Gurnett and Hill. Browning set the fastest lap with Paul Goddard the quickest of the Super Heavies.
Podiums and Standings
Three different winners from the first three rounds shows how competitive the series is. A great win for Andrew Dawson his results are improving race on race.
Jeff Chapman was having his first race of the year so second was no mean feat whilst Alexander Lammin was delighted with his third place. Perhaps surprisingly none of the top ten runners in the standings made the podium at Rye. Mark Ridout is top of the pile followed by Steve Bosley and James Browning.
Long way to go yet though. Paul Goddard took the Superheavyweight honours. A hugely popular win.
Once again our thanks to all the staff and marshals who did a terrific job.
And the best bit is it’s only two weeks to Llandow!!