Ed Barrs Makes Winning Lights Look Easy. Joe Holmes Shows Everyone He Can Win Hard or Harder in Super.


Steve Gray
Class 2 – Lightweight Sprint Championship 2019, Rd.7, Class 1 – Lightweight Sprint Championship 2019, Rd.7,

Lydd. Karting’s answer to Montreal but without the city backdrop. A great circuit though offering plenty of overtaking opportunities

The Route to the Finals

Rob Newman took the first heat but CLUB100 Sprint debutant Alisdair Irvine ran him close. Dan Truman had drawn pole and led till half distance when Newman took over after starting from grid five. Irvine made it by Truman a lap later but couldn’t get on terms with Newman. Hussain Rashid took fourth with Adam Wheeldon fifth.

Ed Barrs won Heat Two but he had to work hard for the victory. He started from grid sixteen but was up to sixth by the end of the first lap. Keith Segal and Max O’Shaughnessy were early spinners the latter the victim of a late lunge from Pietro Pagano which would lead to Pietro’s exclusion and leave him with much to do. Good to see Max back after his involvement in Simon Lloyd’s accident at Buckmore. Neither he nor Simon were at fault and were fortunate to escape without more serious injuries. Barrs worked his way to the front and once there he was never under serious threat. Steve Hicks came home second after starting on grid eight with Mitchell Althasen third from third on the grid. Christopher Powell and Peter Hobbs took fourth and fifth after both of them had led in the early stages.

Heat Three went the way of Mike Coppin. Starting from row two he ran second behind front row starter David Longman for much of the race before slipping by and taking advantage of Longman having to defend from Harry Neale and slowing them both up. Longman held onto second with Neale third from Tom Fuller who had started fourth. Matt Jones was arguably the star of the heat finishing fifth after working his way up from grid seventeen.

Ed Barrs took his second win of the day in Heat Four. Starting from row two he was into second by the end of the first lap but pole sitter Peter Hargreaves was in no mood to let him by easily and fended off the challenge until just after half distance. Once in the lead Barrs comfortably pulled clear. Hargreaves came home second with Steve Hicks third after starting from grid seventeen. He deposed Dan Truman for the spot on the final lap. Hussain Rashid took a well judged fifth with Pagano next earning himself valuable points

Dan Healey ran second for most of the fifth heat but took the win by virtue of James Barnard being docked two places after a jumped start. Bailey Morgan also profited taking second with Daz Teal fourth from James Rose.

Emily Rogers drew pole for Heat Six and led the first lap from fellow front row starter Andy Yelland. But Yelland was soon by and into a lead he would never relinquish despite late race pressure from Neale and James Wattis. Neale had to work hard for his second place after starting on grid sixteen. Wattis took third with Rogers fourth and Coppin fifth after working his way up from grid twelve.

Ed Barrs took his third win of the day in Heat Seven but it was far from straightforward. Josh Halloran started from pole alongside James Martin but it was Martin who led after the first lap. Barrs started down on grid eleven but was up to third by half distance but almost two seconds adrift of the leaders. He quickly trimmed the gap moving ahead of Halloran and taking Pagano with him. And Dan Healey was reeling them all in. Barrs took a couple of laps to get by whilst Pagano moved into second. Healey was into fourth but made it second taking both Pagano and Martin on the final lap.

Harry Neale finally crossed the line first in the penultimate heat. After starting from grid nine he was up to second at one third distance but almost two seconds back from Daz Teal. But he chipped away at the leader’s advantage finally catching him and taking the place as they entered the horseshoe for the final time. And it secured a front row spot for the A Final. Mikey Nichols came home third after starting third with Rob Newman fourth after fighting his way up from grid thirteen.

Dan Brewer took the final heat. After starting second he led for much of the race but then had to contend with a hard charging Steve Hicks. Hicks took over at the front with a couple of laps remaining but Brewer responded and took the win by a Karts length with Chris Alcock third from Andrew Ward and James Wattis.

The Finals

C Final

Dry at last and the sun breaking through after a cloudy morning with the odd shower. And a bit of drama before the start. Hussain Rashid was originally showing on pole but he successfully appealed a penalty which promoted him into the A Final and demoted former Championship leader Pietro Pagano from the B to pole for the C Final. A major surprise after his excellent showing at Rye the previous round. Stef Theodorou shared the front row with Craig Rankine and Billy Robson behind. Chris Kirk and Keith Segal shared row three with Reece Pope and Corey Smith on four. Daniel Gamblin and Barry Williams shared row five with Cameron Williams and James Browning on the penultimate row and Charlie Folland sharing the final row with Jordan Cranstoun. Top four to qualify for the back of the B Final.

Pagano led the field away and immediately began to pull clear as the following rows sorted themselves out. Rankine got ahead of Theodorou for second with Robson fourth from Pope, Kirk and Segal. Pagano continued to pull away at the front but the battle for the next three spots was shaping up nicely. Quarter distance and Robson was up to second with Pope third from Rankine and Theodorou. Kirk was hanging on in sixth but was being caught by Folland who was putting in a mighty drive from the back row. Robson held onto second for a couple of laps before Pope slipped by with Rankine still in the final qualifying spot but coming under increasing pressure from Theodorou. Kirk was next but Folland was right on his bumper. But in the space of a couple of laps the whole complexion of the race changed. Pagano was over eight seconds clear at the front and barring incident safely through to B Final. Pope held second from Robson but Theodorou was back up to fourth. Rankine was still in the hunt but now had Folland with him for unwelcome company. Folland nipped by but into the second chicane Rankine fought back. Contact was made as he went by and sportingly he waived Folland back through. Folland appeared to be a little confused as to what the arm gesture meant and took a few seconds to realise by which time they were heading over the bump towards the final chicane. Folland went through but then cut back across to take his line. Rankine, whether by lack of concentration or surprise, went up the kerb and clipped Folland’s rear wheel punting him off and out of contention. Rankine would suffer the inevitable post race exclusion. An unfortunate incident for both drivers. With those two gone the race became a little more processional.

Pagano took the win and fastest lap with Pope over eight seconds back in second and setting fastest lap of the C2 runners. Robson took third a couple of seconds back with Theodorou taking the final spot well clear of the excluded Rankine. Kirk was placed fifth but well adrift of the top four with Smith next from Williams. Gamblin took eighth getting the better of an entertaining battle involving Cameron Williams, Cranstoun and Browning. The four of them were separated by just a few yards as they crossed the line. Segal took the penultimate spot after a late race spin with the unfortunate Folland last. But certainly not least.

B Final

Alisdair Irvine on pole for this with Mario Blanco-Gonzalez alongside. Emily Rogers and Josh Adams on row two from Richard Gander and Mitchell Althasen on three. Rob Dowsett and Lloyd McGeoch-Williams occupied row four with Louie Ross and Joshua Halloran behind on five. Next up, James Rose and Adam Wheeldon with Josh Wellard and Ben Frost on seven. Row eight, two Class one drivers, James Martin and Max O’Shaughnessy followed by a returning Mike Noon and Loic Ditchburn. Pete Hobbs and Mikey Nichols shared row ten with row eleven occupied by Stuart Hubbard and Stephen Westwood followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Pagano, Pope, Robson and Theodorou. Two to qualify for the A Final.

Irvine led the field up to the line but it was Blanco-Gonzalez who led into the first chicane. But it was courtesy of a jumped start and he’d gained a clear advantage. Almost immediately his number came up on the digi-board showing the penalty. A two place deduction post race. No matter where he finished he was out of contention for a place in the A Final. Adams slipped into second followed by Irvine from a fast starting Althasen with Rogers down to fifth ahead of Gander. Blanco-Gonzalez continued to lead with Adams right on his rear bumper and Irvine a couple of Kart lengths back. Althasen was almost two seconds back but third to eleventh was covered by a little over two seconds. Great racing. Quarter distance and the front three were beginning to eke out a gap to the chasing pack, still headed by Althasen. Behind him though was a mighty fight. Gander remained fifth but O’Shaughnessy had got by Rogers. With six run Adams finally found a way by Blanco-Gonzalez for the lead and began to pull clear as the latter came under pressure from Irvine. For several laps the order in the top ten remained static but then Rogers went missing, spun out on the outside of the final turn after a tap from Martin.

It was disappointing to see that for several laps as she tried to extricate herself from the barriers with the help of the Clerk of the Course not one driver from the leading bunch raised their arm or slackened their pace. Only when she actually restarted did anyone respond. Not good enough, the rules are clear. Adams continued to pull away at the front but Blanco-Gonzalez was coming under increased pressure from behind and looking more and more ragged in his defence. He couldn’t hold out and in the space of a couple of laps he went from second to sixth whilst Irvine took over in second.

Adams crossed the line to take the win over three seconds clear of Irvine who defended mightily over the final laps holding off the challenge from a resurgent Althasen with O’Shaughnessy fourth and first of the C1 runners. Gander was next and fastest in the C2 class whilst Martin crossed the line next only to be excluded after his unfortunate incident with Rogers and promoting the flying Pagano up to sixth. A great drive netting him fastest lap. And next up was Robson. An equally strong drive up from the back of the grid. Blanco-Gonzalez would have been next but his jumped start penalty dropped him to tenth behind Noon and Ross.

A Final

Pole for Ed Barrs from Harry Neale with Stephen Hicks and Dan Healey on row two. Rob Newman and Mike Coppin shared row three with Dan Brewer and David Longman on four. Next up, James Wattis and Matt Jones with Alan Curtis and Rob Langthorp on row six. Daz Teal and Dan Truman shared row seven ahead of Chris Alcock and Andrew Ward. Row nine saw Chris Powell and Oscar Lancaster alongside one another with Hussain Rashid and Peter Hargreaves on eleven. Bailey Morgan and Tom Fuller shared the penultimate row with the B Final top two Adams and Irvine on the final row.

Barrs led the pack away with Neale and Hicks tucking in behind. Healey and Newman both dropped a couple of spots whilst Coppin vaulted up to fourth ahead of a fast starting Wattis. Two laps in and Barrs and Neale were dropping Hicks in their wake with Coppin still fourth whilst Healey and Newman had quickly recovered to depose Wattis who had Brewer and Teal close behind. Newman moved into fifth getting by Healey into the horseshoe and set about closing the gap to Coppin. Fourth time around and Barrs remained just a couple of kart lengths clear of Neale but Coppin was up to third after getting by Hicks. Not without contact though and he would take a penalty post race. A lap later and Newman was into fourth. Behind these Teal was really flying anxious to take as many Championship points as possible with Championship rival Pagano failing to qualify for the A Final. Half distance and he was into fourth. Barrs began to edge away from Neale and had the lead out to just over half a second with Newman third but almost three seconds adrift of Neale whilst Teal was closing in and moving clear of Coppin who was holding off a challenge from Healey, Brewer and Hicks. Three quarter distance and Barrs looked comfortable at the front, lapping consistently and holding the gap back to Neale by just a few Kart lengths with Newman still third but not making a huge impression on the gap to Neale despite setting the fastest lap of the race twelfth time around. It established a record too but it was to no avail. Barrs reeled off the remaining laps taking the flag just a couple of lengths clear of Neale but although Neale kept him honest he’d never been close enough to mount an attack.

But it was Neale’s first podium of the season. Newman took third with Teal fourth from Healey. Coppin crossed the line some four seconds behind Healey but his penalty dropped him to tenth. It was still enough to qualify for the Super Final. Hicks was promoted to sixth with Brewer next and first in the C2 class. He also set the fastest lap in the class. Wattis was next and C2 runner up with Longman ninth ahead of the penalised Coppin. Jones and Alcock took the final places for the Super Final whilst Hussain Rashid finished fourteenth but took the final place on the C2 podium.

Super Final presented in association with Altima Academy with Mutation Motorsport

Pole this time around for Championship leader Joe Holmes with Ed Barrs alongside. Jack Bolton and Harry Neale on row two with the remarkable Richard Allen on row three alongside Rob Newman. Steven Downes and Daz Teal shared row four with Steve Brown and Dan Healey on row five. Mark Ridout and first round winner Steve Hicks occupied row six with Adam Wright and Dan Brewer behind. Row eight, Miguel Hall and James Wattis ahead of Alex Pritchard and David Longman on nine. Row ten, Steve Bosley and Mike Coppin. Dan Taylor and Matt Jones shared the penultimate row with Craig Brown and Chris Alcock on the back row.

Holmes brought the field round to the start so slowly that some behind feared their engines would cut out. They didn’t and Holmes accelerated away moving smartly to his left to thwart any move from Barrs. Out of the first chicane though and Newman was in the tyres. Rob rarely blames anyone but himself when things go wrong. He felt he’d put himself in a stupid position. He got tagged and Neale ran over the front of his kart. Newman was out on the spot whilst Neale drove on slowly checking his kart out for damage. He was down to thirteenth by the end of the lap but back up to speed. Holmes continued to lead from Barrs with Bolton third from the impressive Allen. Teal was next from Downes, Hicks and Steve Brown. Four laps down and Holmes had the gap out to just over a second from Barrs who was keeping a wary eye on third placed Allen. He’d slipped by Teal second time around. Teal missed out badly down the back straight and dropped to ninth. Bolton remained fourth almost a second clear of Hicks. But Hicks was really getting a move on lapping a couple of tenths quicker than the leader but surely too far down the order to be a threat. Holmes continued to inch away from Barrs whilst Bolton slipped by Allen for third. Hicks followed him through and immediately closed in setting the fastest lap of the race thus far. A lap later and he slipped by Bolton into the horseshoe. Allen also took advantage of Bolton’s compromised line to slip back into fourth.

Half distance and Holmes was still edging away at the front. Barrs remained second but Hicks was closing in and dragging Allen along with him. Bolton remained fifth with Steve Brown next from Downes, Ridout, Teal and Brewer. Holmes set his fastest lap tenth time around but Barrs went quicker with third placed Hicks quicker still and just a kart length behind Barrs. Allen was being dropped but was still hanging onto fourth ahead of Steve Brown with Bolton down to sixth. With three to go Hicks took Barrs into the horseshoe but Holmes was still over a second clear at the front. Two to go though and Hicks crossed the line just seven tenths adrift with Barrs now out of contention. Penultimate lap and Hicks set the fastest lap of the race taking almost half a second out of the leader. It was going to be close. Holmes defended into the horseshoe but compromised his line in and out. But not by enough. Hicks kept it tidy and as they raced down the back straight Holmes forced him to go to the outside for the final turn. A hard move but perfectly fair as he held his line giving Hicks just a kart’s width as they raced into the turn. Hicks remained on the outside looking to cut back as they exited the turn.

But Holmes was wise to the move and as they came off the turn he moved right blocking off the move he knew was coming. Great driving from both. Barrs came home third with Allen fourth from Steve Brown and Bolton. Downes was seventh but some three seconds adrift of the top six. But it was a fine drive nonetheless. As was Brewers eighth. Wright took ninth after a late race charge with Ridout tenth. A strong drive from him too.

The Championships Round Up

Both Daz Teal and Harry Neale took full advantage of Pietro Pagano’s off day at Lydd to move further away in the Lightweight standings. But Ed Barrs is looking the favourite. Although currently fourth he’s missed a round. And neither Steve Hicks nor Rob Newman can be discounted despite not showing in the top ten. They too have missed a round. Rob Langthorp leads the C2 class and is fifth overall followed by Andrew Ward and Hussain Rashid.

Joe Holmes has taken three wins from four rounds in the Super Final Championship. But he’s set to miss a round which will score a big fat zero and keep the Championship open. Steve Hicks is back up to second after his brave drive at Lydd with Steve Brown third just a couple of points adrift. The unlucky Rob Newman is next just three points clear of Chris Alcock. The top five are the only drivers to have qualified for every round. With Joe missing a round it will be interesting to see how they approach the final rounds. They dare not miss out.

Reflections

What a great venue Lydd is. It’s a pain for a lot of drivers to get to but the rewards are considerable. It’s a fabulous driver’s circuit and always makes for some great racing. Good for viewing too and it will be even better when the new Clubhouse is finished.
It was disappointing to see the actions of drivers in the Lightweight B Final when Kelly Rogers went off at the final turn. With Kelly beached and Niki Richardson on circuit assisting her not one of the leading drivers raised their arms in response to the waved yellow flags. And looking at the lap times nor did they slacken their pace. Personally I would have excluded them all. The rule is quite clear. When you see a yellow flag raise your arm, back off the throttle and don’t overtake. Just think, it might be you one day stuck in the barrier. Respect your fellow drivers and the officials.

An interesting discussion in the paddock over the use and position of the digi-board. Several drivers thought it should be over the racing line rather than to the side as it’s easier to see whilst several other drivers felt they’d rather not see any penalties posted during the race as it messed with their heads and caused them to lose focus. Guess you can’t please everyone.

There also seems to be some confusion amongst the Super Finalists as to how the grid is formed. It’s quite simple. Top twelve from each of the A final’s line up for the Super Final and they line up alternately through the grid. If it’s the turn of a heavy to be on pole then a light will be alongside. Second row will feature the second placed heavy alongside the second placed light and so on right down the grid. And the Karts are lined up in grid order.It’s not difficult to work out is it?

Our thanks as always to all the marshals, Club100 staff and circuit staff for their hard work and not forgetting our sponsors, G3 Pro, Dartford Karting and the Altima academy. And race commentators Andrew Mather and Howard Mitchell. Great work gentlemen.

See you at Whilton!

Words: Steve Gray

Library Photography: John Patterson