First Club100 Win For Jon Gooch, From Ben Atkinson & Sam Nash. Bad Day For Noon, Quiet For Woodger


Steve Gray
Lightweight Sprint Championship 2018, Rd.9,

A glorious morning greeted the competitors for the second visit of the season to Rye House for the ninth round of this season’s absorbing Championships. After the open spaces of Lydd the tight and twisty Rye circuit offers a different type of challenge. A bit like Monaco without the glamour. A circuit where it’s so important to be tidy particularly through the first two hairpins where it’s easy to out brake yourself and not only lose time but places too.

Not a cloud in the sky for the afternoon races as the sun continued to beat down for Lightweights and the Heavyweights with the EssexFlatPack.co.uk sponsored Super Heavyweights, with the latter first out on the track for Qualifying.

Qualifying

Good to see Sam Nash back on track with the club and he certainly made his presence felt leaping to the top of the group 1 times on his last flying lap with a 42.507 just edging out Andrew Ward by 0.073. Third went to Rob Langthorp who set his quickest time on his first flying lap but couldn’t improve. Steve Moody took fourth just edging out Matt Jones by 0.014 whilst Matt left it till his last lap to edge out Matthew Hale by just 0.024. Indeed third to thirteenth were covered by a shade over three tenths.

Jon Gooch went quickest early on in group 2 and stayed there taking the session just a tenth clear of Championship leader Jon Gooch with Emily Rogers a fine third just 0.045 back from Woodger. Hussain Rashid and James Venning were fourth and fifth but again it was so close with less than three tenths separating third from thirteenth.

Pre B Final

Josh Adams on pole with Adam Wheeldon alongside. A real surprise this as he was the runner up the last time the Club visited Rye. Daryl Snelling and Dane Christison claimed the second row with Billy Robson and Matthew Collier on row three. Ewan Bennett and George Wood shared row four with Charles Jackson and Alessandro Carloni completing the first five rows. Adams took full advantage from pole but Wheeldon lost out round the outside of Stadium and dropped to third behind Snelling. Christison got a very poor start and dropped back into the pack where he was collected by a fast starting Luke Stedman. Both spun out with Stedman judged the aggressor and taking the inevitable penalty.

Adams was over a second clear by the end of the lap chased by Snelling, Wheeldon and Robson. Collier was fifth but almost three seconds adrift with a lot of work to do if he was to get on terms with the front four. Adams continued to lead by just over a second with Wheeldon now up to second from Robson and Snelling. Collier remained fifth with Joshua Sergeant sixth but making no impression on the gap to Collier. Wheeldon quickly closed down Adams setting the fastest lap of the race fourth time around. Sensibly Adams didn’t defend his position and once by Wheeldon immediately began to pull clear. Wheeldon took the win by just over three seconds with Adams next from Robson who closed up on Adams a couple of times but remained third with Snelling the fourth qualifier well clear of Collier. Sergeant upped his pace over the latter stages and was just half a second behind Collier at the finish which boded well for the B Final.

Pre A Final

Gooch on pole from Nash with Championship leader Woodger on row two accompanied by Ward. Emily Rogers and Rob Langthorp on three from Hussain Rashid and James Venning. Mike Noon and Stephen Westwood completed the first five rows. Gooch led the pack away with Nash alongside. Perhaps mindful of his Championship lead Woodger gave Nash room at the exit of Stadium and tucked in behind him to run third. Ward got crowded out and dropped to ninth with Langthorp and Venning both moving up the order into fourth and fifth. Rashid too got shuffled down the field dropping to fourteenth. Gooch led across the line at the end of the lap but Nash was flying and moved into the lead completing the lap almost a second quicker than Gooch and giving himself some breathing space whilst Woodger continued in third ahead of Langthorp and Venning.

Craig Rankine was up to sixth from grid eleven with Rogers hard on his bumper from Westwood and Ben Atkinson. Nash continued to lead but Gooch had composed himself and began to close in. But then he ran a little wide at Pylon and dropped away back into the clutches of Woodger. Langthorp and Venning continued to circulate a tenth or so apart but almost a second adrift of Woodger. Rogers got by Rankine but not without making contact. She would be penalised four places post race dropping her out of the top ten. Gooch continued to close in on the leader and just after half distance he got by. But only for a lap as Nash snatched the place back and took Woodger with him into second. And that was how they finished. Nash took the win three tenths up on Woodger with the latter three tenths clear of Gooch. Ben Atkinson took fourth after a very strong drive up from grid fourteen. He’d made up ground rapidly over the first quarter of the race and then settled down to chase down Langthorp and Venning in fourth and fifth. He finally got by them both on the very last lap. Rankine recovered, after his clash with Rogers, to finish seventh ahead of Ward, who at least had the satisfaction of fastest lap. Westwood took ninth with Wheeldon tenth after a strong drive up from grid twenty one.

B Final

Matthew Collier on pole from John Haddick with Alessandro Carloni and Joshua Sergeant on row two. Benjamin Carew and Dan Crawley on three from George Wood and Ewan Bennett. Dane Christison and Charles Jackson on row five from Ben Davidson and Like Stedman with Martin Auger the final runner. Just two to qualify for the A Final. Collier led the pack away with Haddick into second. Carew made a sharp getaway but made contact with Carloni resulting in a penalty which put him out of contention. A lap later his day got worse after another collision with Crawley that would ensure that he would be classified last. Collier continued to lead but Sergeant had moved ahead of Haddick into the second qualifying spot. Sergeant immediately began to lap quicker than the leader and was ahead before half distance. Thereafter he and Collier settled into a rhythm and pulled steadily clear of Bennett. Sergeant took the win and the B final trophy with Collier second several seconds clear of third placed Bennett. Christison set the fastest lap.

A Final

Pole for Nash with Woodger alongside. Gooch and Atkinson on row two from Langthorp and Venning. Rankine and Ward on four with Westwood and Wheeldon completing the top ten. Nash led the pack away but Woodger lost out round the outside of turn one to emerge on the run down to the first hairpin in sixth. Gooch was up to second from Langthorp followed by Atkinson and Venning. Westwood was up to seventh from Rankine, Ward and Wheeldon. With two run Nash still led but Gooch was pressing hard whilst Atkinson was up to third at the expense of Langthorp whilst Venning and Woodger remained fifth and sixth. Nash couldn’t hold off the flying Gooch who moved ahead on lap three. A couple of laps later and Atkinson was up to second as Nash fell back. Venning was up to fourth from Langthorp whilst Woodger remained sixth. Gooch continued to lead with Atkinson fighting tooth and nail to close the gap whilst Nash continued to drop back but still well clear of fourth placed Venning. Langthorp was coming under pressure from Woodger who duly took the place just beyond half distance.

Woodger then began to close in on Venning whilst Langthorp began to fall away coming under pressure from Rankine, Ward, Wheeldon and Rashid who was giving Wheeldon a hard time. Then Ward suddenly slowed on the start and finish straight the victim of a very rare mechanical failure. Gooch reeled off the final laps to take his first ever Club100 win with Atkinson a very jubilant second after a strong run. Nash took third well clear of Venning with Woodger next. But it was close. Over the final laps Woodger had moved closer and when Venning made a mistake out of Pylon Woodger sensed an opportunity for a few extra points. Venning swept back to take his line not realising that Woodger was there. Woodger momentarily took to the grass but managed to keep control and retain his place ahead of Rankine. Langthorp came home seventh with Wheeldon next. A good result after a hard day’s work. Matt Jones was ninth and set the fastest lap with Rashid a very good tenth.

Round up

Chris Woodger remains at the top of the order in the Lightweights from Mike Noon who had a dreadful time at Rye spinning out of the A Final. In truth however he was never a factor. But I’m sure he will bounce back. James Venning is third and is probably the only realistic challenger to the leading duo with Matt Jones and Rob Langthorp a little too far adrift in fourth and fifth.

Reflections

Some great racing at Rye but there were so many penalties. No doubt the tight and twisty nature of the circuit contributes to this but still. And many of these were for cone abuse. Cone abuse is not a penalty anyone can argue against. If you hit one you get penalised. If you don’t then you don’t. Most of the time drivers aren’t even aware they’ve hit a cone but the observers don’t give a penalty for nothing. Again at Rye there were some drivers failing to acknowledge yellow and blue flags. One driver had his race ruined by a back marker. Time to brush up on flag signals?
See you all at Clay and don’t forget the O Plate at Bayford. I understand there are still a few places left so don’t delay.

Words: Steve Gray

Library Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography

Watch it here & subscribe to our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZwnhoh20Sc