Go Jonny Go Go Go…

Chris Simpson
Heavyweight Sprint Championship 2015, Rd.2,

Jonathan Elliott made it 4 finals 4 wins in 4 starts. It’s not that he’s head and shoulders above the Heavyweight Class although you could be forgiven for thinking that, he didn’t pole it, lights to flag, fastest lap – pole lights to flag, trophy it. It’s just he is consistently as good as anyone else almost all of the time. And fairly clinical nee ruthless in the red zone, to mix sports. Right now the championship scoring system shows it’s only a 28point lead over Lowe, but if Darrell, Julian Clist, Martin Gurnett and Josh Pettitt don’t up their game to Jonny’s level soon they may have a devil of a time hauling him back in the autumn when drop scores turn in his favour with all these wins.

It’s hard not to dwell on it. Elliott topped timed qualifying and if you discount Tim Hill guesting before his return to Easykart, there was no one within half a second.

Where was Josh Pettitt? On the front row of the Pre B Final. Poleman Ben Daly got the drop on the field at the start and comfortably led into turn 1, Josh dropped into the hole he left ahead of grid 3 Nick Butler. Ben fluffed the corner, it’s not a constant radius, he ran in deep had to square it off late, so Josh slid under him and never looked back. Gone. When they emerged on to the pit straight Daren Townsley was 2nd ahead of Josh Walsh, Daly, Karolis Koncikas and John Muscroft after Butler had been helped off the line in turn 5, an apex he was already missing. It’s 4 to qualify to the back of the Pre A Final, and 1 spot was already looked locked in for Pettitt. Townsley and Walsh stretched clear and the battle was as ever on for that last spot. Karolis Koncikas had to lock up trying to avoid slamming into Daly into turn 4, Muscroft, Andrew Clarke and Butler went through and the order settled down as the field stretched out. Coming up to halfway after a couple of soft attempts by Daly, he got passed Walsh into turn 2 and this allowed Muscroft to close to make it a 3 way fight for 2 places. No one likes being on the bubble in 4th so Josh dived straight back through into turn 4, side by side through turn 5, Muscroft slid under Ben in turn 6, Daly was off the Pre A grid. Walsh upped his game coming into the final quarter of the 14 lapper moving inside of Townsley for 2nd although Muscroft and Daly were still in play when lapped traffic in the form of David Stirling and Laurance Venskus loomed into view and it got messy down into turn 1 under blue flags. Daly got by Muscroft only for John to dive back under into turn 4. And that was that. Or so I thought. Muscroft had a 17a (advantage by contact) 4 place deduction from somewhere. Which watching it back must have been on lap 1 where grid 3 Nick Butler, sort of got helped out of the way by John in turn 5. Except it wasn’t John but Josh Walsh doing the helping. Maybe I’ve missed it. John didn’t look happy. I didn’t dare ask.

C100_Ellough-8367-EditPole for Jonny E and a serious examination from the ol’ silverback Tim Hill combing the rust out of his hide, along with most of title contenders up front in the Pre A Final. Elliott drove the field right up to Jonny Goddard’s bumper in the pace kart such that as he pulled off to the left, Elliott had an overlap on the pace kart to go before Hill really could. It was the sort of thing machiavellian Tim would have been proud of. Hill swapped lanes to bully Martin Gurnett away from Elliott’s bumper and this opened up the outside lane for Julian Clist to try and go around Gurnett but the door closed on the exit, his bounce down the kerb let Darrell Lowe through to 4th. Out of turn 7-8 Gurnett was looking over his shoulder at Lowe but the timing was off Darrell and very much on for Julian to diving inside of Lowe at turn 9, side by side off the corner Darrell luridly slid into turn 10, only to be sorted out by Julian’s side pod, Darrell got a way without penalty, but the front 3 were away, Julian leading the chasing pack of Lowe, James Hattersley, Eric Mignon, Mike Townley, Roger Davis, Paul Williams and Daniel French free from the melee behind over the stripe. 3 laps later Gurnett struggling with the pit in complex most of the day went in deep and Clist, who’d patiently waited for a mistake took advantage into turn 9 for 3rd, then set off after Hill. Martin fell into a fight with Darrell Lowe, Hill started making Martin’s mistake. Julian was impatient and had to wave Tim back through out of turn 4 so went back to looking for a mistake, leaving Elliott driving away from the field. Into the final third of the race Clist was pushing Hill more and more and in addition to Tim’s mistakes, he was getting narrower and narrower. Gurnett was doing much the same behind such that Lowe was joined in the queue (a tad harsh) again by Townley, Mignon and Roger Davis. Finally impatience got the better of Clist, or was he (slightly) brake tested into turn 6? You’ve watched the video on the forum, Hill was moved out of the way before turn 7, Julian was running out to 2nd, Hill was looking to the referee for a yellow card. Hill was in danger of being caught by Gurnett and Lowe as the top 10 ran in line towards the finish. Martin ran wide off turn 9 swung back across to take turn 10 on the line, Darrell saw his chance and stuck it down the inside, they ran side by side off the corner, Tim Hill would get a breather before Martin would look seriously down to turn 9 on the last lap, he didn’t press it home, so Darrell Lowe jumped in (again) into the last corner, and made his usual schtick stick this time. Somewhere up ahead Jonny Elliott had won by 5secs from Julian Clist.

SHW winner - Lee HendersonJohn Muscroft appeared to bring the B Final to the start line about as slowly as he could, if it was a plan to give his partner on the front row Chris Murray the lead well it worked. Not sure if it had for John. Michail Samaropoulos went 2nd, only for James English to pick him off into turn 5. Murray pulled clear, English started to go away with him, Samaropulos got tagged by Nick Butler into turn 1 only it was Nick spinning out and that put Muscroft on Michail’s bumper. John showed how to pass into turn 1 on the next lap but still he was nearly 3 secs down on James English and it looked like qualification was out of sight even with 10 laps to go. John made his excuses and left the chasing group, Nicholas Reynolds and Koncikas moved passed Michail and settled in to enjoy a race long dice. Muscroft had made no impression on the leading duo by halfway and that really should have been it, English was trailing Murray at half a dozen kart lengths then James locked up and spun quite inexplicably into turn 1. Maybe it was karma rebalancing for Muscroft’s previous penalty, John was back in ‘the show’, the A final. Koncikas passed Reynolds and pulled clear in 3rd. Murray won by 4secs.

HW final - Clist, PettittSo the last A Final of the day under leaden skies and in growing gloom. Still we got out of Ellough without rain. Damned cold but no rain. Fastest lap times from the Pre A set the grid which gave Josh Pettitt pole alongside Julian Clist. Now arguably if you can’t be pole, be P3 and that was Jonny Elliott. Perhaps fearing he’d never get in on Josh’s bumper, Julian went for the big one around the outside of Josh into turn 1. Josh played the game and Julian dropped in on his bumper into turn 2 and that was fine with Jonny as the trio pulled clear of grid 4 Daniel French and the chasing field. French got back in the tow, then Stephen Docker then Tim Hill. Truth is I don’t think the front of the race was going totally balls out, like they had agreed to just drop the rest and sort out the trophies from halfway. Although maybe Elliott had not been party to the script, Julian went defensive into turn 9, not nearly enough as it happens and Jonny dived inside, for good measure he chopped over to the apex into the last corner and killed Julian’s momentum. That said it might have got Julian’s back up and turned the game on as he got on it and let Jonny tow him back to Pettitt if he could. Hill overtook French into turn 2. The gaps between the leading trio ebbed to and fro and I confess I was wanting Pettitt to get the win and up to halfway it still looked on. Then Elliott got to his bumper and Clist closed in, and it felt like it was only going to go one way. Docker appeared to be only able to hold station relative to the leader in 4th, French had got back to the head of the group that contained Hill. Lowe and James Hattersley were well clear of the main body headed by Paul Williams probably already carrying his penalty. A bit tasty back there ahead of Martin Gurnett. Sure enough Josh went narrow into turn 9 that gave Jonny more momentum off the corner so when Josh wanted to take a normal line into the last corner, Jonny was well paced to launch one down the inside. Classic Ellough Park. Well executed, once again Jonny ruthlessly gave no room after the pass was done straightlining to the track out point, forcing Josh to lift, like a pro maybe, but it’s something to keep in mind going forward, and it gave Julian a run down the inside into turn 1 for 2nd that Pettitt was powerless to defend. Elliott was clear as Clist was on the defensive for half a lap, Docker and French closed back in briefly. With 2nd place secured Clist set off after Elliott and he got close for a while but Jonny kept him just out of reach. On to the last lap Julian had settled, Pettitt had dropped Docker, who in turn had dropped French in 5th. The dice between Hill and Lowe had gone Tim’s way, James Hattersley close behind in 8th. The battle for best of the rest was won on track by Paul Williams in 9th but by Mike Townley after Paul’s penalty was applied which demoted him to 13th place behind top Super Heavyweight driver Lee Henderson.

Next stop Red Lodge. Who will stop Jonathan Elliott’s winning streak?

Pictures: Alex Roache Photography