Hattersley Remembers That Winning Feeling, Adam Wright Adds His Name To Contenders
After a great morning of good clean racing it was the turn of the Lightweights and the Heavyweights/Superheavyweights to provide the entertainment in the afternoon. Despite being out in the middle of nowhere Lydd always reminds me of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Notre Dame Island in Montreal reports Steve Gray. Almost surrounded by water and on a long, thin piece of land it may have an atomic power station as a backdrop rather than elegant skyscrapers but it remains an awesome driver’s circuit. It’s fast, flowing and with some good overtaking spots. Recent upgrades have seen the circuit resurfaced and plans are afoot to upgrade the catering facilities and hopefully widen the tight pit lane. It really is well worth the long drive south. Even when the Motorways get blocked and you don’t get home until the wee small hours!
Qualifying – Group 1
Championship leader James Browning was missing from the competitors list but we had a last minute entry from James Hattersley. More of this later. Also back was Steve Townsend, one of the longest serving members of the Club. Thomas Caen went quickest early on before Andy Cowell usurped him. But not for long as Caen responded only for Cowell to fight back and beat him on his very last lap. But it wasn’t good enough to top the times. That honour went to Mark Ridout who also left it until his final lap to set his best time. Fourth place went to Hattersley with Clay winner Steve Bosley in fifth. Nick Trafford was fastest of the SHW’s.
Mathew Forkes and Michael Ballinger were early front runners but within a couple of tours it was the veteran Tim Hill who topped the times. And there he stayed. Indeed, he managed to complete nine laps to everyone else’s eight and set his best time on his ninth lap bettering Ridouts time from Group 1 by just 0.006. Stephen Jennings was next up. A good performance after a year out. Forkes finally finished third from Andrew Dawson and Ben Cottle. James Johnstone was the quickest of the SHWs.
Pre B Final
SHW Nick Trafford on pole with Andrew Cherry alongside from Mark Turner and Paul Williams on row two. Adrian Brammer and James Edwards on row three from Claudio La Rosa and somewhat surprisingly Adam Wright who is more usually found near the front of the A final. Aaron Stevens and Craig Rankine completed the top ten with the first four finishers promoted to the pre A final. Trafford led the field away and made the most of running in clean air as the following runners fought for position. Cherry fell to fourth as Turner and Williams moved into second and third respectively with Brammer holding station in fifth ahead of Wright who had made up a couple of places. Trafford, Turner and Williams settled into a rhythm and it looked from the pit lane as though they would be content to stay in formation and qualify for the pre A final. Wright though was beginning to close in with Brammer on his tail and Robert Stapleton homing in having started on grid twelve. Trafford was suddenly having his lead cut and at half distance Turner moved ahead. A lap later and Wright was through as well having dispensed with Williams a lap earlier. Brammer still held fifth but Stapleton was right with him.
The front runners were having a real go now all thoughts of coast and qualify out of the window. Wright moved into the lead with four to go but only for a lap as Turner moved back ahead with Williams up into second. Trafford was still holding fourth but Brammer wanted the place and attacked into the final corner. Briefly he got ahead but ran wide forcing Trafford out as well and allowing Stapleton to slip by them both. Turner hung on to take the win from Wright who fought back past Williams with two to run. Stapleton took the final spot with Trafford a slightly unlucky fifth ahead of Craig Rankine. Brammer finished seventh from Aaron Stevens, Craig Brown and Daren Townsley. Probably the best Pre B final I’ve ever witnessed despite the numerous penalties.
Pre A Final
Hill on pole from Ridout with Cowell and Caen on row two. Not sure who it was that said pole was the worst place for Hill to be with his mate Mutley starting immediately behind him. Whatever did they mean? Hattersley and Jennings were on row three with Forkes and Dawson on four and Cottle and Bosley completing the top ten. Hill got smartly away as did Cowell who followed him through the first corner and out muscled Ridout to slot into second. It was to be his only moment of joy but it was great to see the two veteran campaigners out in front. It didn’t last.
Into the final turn at the end of the lap Hill led but Cowell got jumped by both Ridout and Hattersley the latter crossing the line in second and just holding off Ridout into the first turn. Cowell was hanging on in fourth but was being harried by Forkes with Caen, Jennings and Dawson in close attendance. At the front Hattersley was closing down Hill for a shot at the lead with Ridout close enough to take advantage whilst Forkes slipped by Cowell into fourth. It was clear that Cowell was the cork in the bottle at this stage. Struggling for pace he was using all his vast experience to keep the pack at bay. It took a couple of laps but eventually he succumbed and slipped down the order. After numerous penalties for exceeding track limits and an ABC he would eventually finish in twentieth. Not his finest hour. Or rather thirteen minutes. Half distance and Hattersley took Hill for the lead down the bottom of the circuit but not for long. He thought he would pull away once past but the redoubtable Hill wasn’t going to give in without a fight. He surprised the leader down into the final turns and Ridout followed him through demoting Hattersley into third. Hattersley fought back and a couple of laps later got back through in the final turn. Ridout actually made heavy contact but wisely backed out of taking advantage.
The little contretemps allowed Hill to make a break and he duly reeled off the final laps to take the win with a delighted double pump of the fists as he crossed the line just over a couple of tenths up on the chasing Hattersley who dropped Ridout in the final stages. Third place though was good points for Ridouts Championship aspirations. Forkes took fourth and had closed in on third by the end. Jennings crossed the line fifth but was demoted to seventh after exceeding track limits once too often. The front five were some six seconds clear of the chasing pack with Dawson classified fifth from Bosley and Jennings. Wright drove a storming race up from the back of the field to take eighth and a valuable points haul after his disasterous qualifying had left him to fight his way through the Pre B final. James Shield and Anthony Harrington completed the top ten.
Townsley on pole from Stevens. Brammer and Wood on row two. A trophy for the winner and the top two earning the right to start at the back in the A final. Townsley led the field away pursued by Stevens and Brammer with Wood fourth. Rankine dropped from fifth as Edwards spun out of contention. Stevens and Brammer briefly got ahead of Townsley but by the end of the lap he was back at the front.
Second lap and Brammer spun out of third allowing Wood to join the fight for the lead hotly pursued by Brown, Rankine and Morter who had risen quickly up from grid fourteen. Townsley continued to lead from Stevens as Brown found away past Wood for third. Then we had a change of leader as Stevens out fumbled Townsley in the final turns. And then Wood was back into third. And then we had mayhem at the second chicane. Stevens led but Wood put a move on Townsley for second. Both went in a shade too quick and deep but it was a fair move from Wood. Townsley got off line and lost momentum and the following Brown hit him. Hard. He launched over the hapless Townsley’s shoulder and landed on the latter’s foot. Both drivers came to halt along with Morter. Although Townsley’s machine was still running he couldn’t continue whilst Brown and Morter were also out. Brown was adjudged the aggressor.
Thankfully Townsley escaped with no more than severe bruising. It could have been so much worse. Stevens duly took the flag for the win with Wood second and both earning promotion to the A final. Gillett in fifth was the leading Super Heavyweight.
The final race of a very entertaining day. Pete Gillet had already taken the SHW honours after the B final. Jennings was on pole with Wright alongside. Hattersley and Ridout shared row two with Townsend and Forkes on three. Hill and Gereoudakis on four with Dawson and Gurnett completing the top ten.
Another clean start with poleman Jennings holding the lead by the end of the lap from Wright and Hattersley with Ridout fourth from Hill whilst Townsend and Forkes both dropped a place from their starting positions. Two laps in and Hattersley was up into second and rapidly closed in on the leader. A lap later and he was at the front with Wright back up to second and Jennings down to third chased by Ridout, Hill and Forkes. Townsend had dropped from seventh to fourteenth. Down the order Cowell was making strong progress from his lowly grid position. At the front Hattersley began to pull away from the Wright, Ridout, Jennings battle whilst Forkes and Hill were enjoying a battle over fifth. The top six were by this time pulling well clear of sixth placed Gereoudakis.
Hattersley continued at the front just out of reach of the battle for second and duly took the win with Wright second but on the penultimate lap Jennings got the better of Ridout to claim the final podium spot. Forkes took fifth ahead of Hill who dropped back a little over the final laps but was still nearly ten seconds ahead of Gereoudakis who was penalised for exceeding track limits and classified eighth thus promoting Cowell to seventh after a strong drive up from grid twenty one. Stapleton and Bennyworth completed the top ten with Wright setting the fastest lap.
Despite being absent from Lydd James Browning still leads the standings from Mark Ridout. Adam Wright is third and he certainly got his money’s worth at Lydd having to come through the pre B final, pre A final and then the A final. My driver of the day. Anthony Harrington and Tim Hill are fourth and fifth.
A thoroughly entertaining day at Lydd for the Sprints with some very good drives across all the grids. My only disappointment was hearing the criticism of James Hattersley from a few drivers over his decision to run in the Heavyweights in the afternoon. James has cut a pretty disconsolate figure over the last few rounds in the Elites. His height and weight have penalised him to a great extent and he was on the point of giving up which would have been a great shame. I know the sacrifices made to keep him racing and I won’t embarrass his dad by repeating them here. Enough to say that they arrived home at 1-30am on Monday morning and Wayne was back out at five to go to work. The Hattersley’s epitomise all that is right about grass roots Karting and being a part of Club 100 so suggestions that he was pot hunting are well wide of the mark, unfair and uncalled for. In fact when he stepped down off the podium the first thing he did was to give me his trophy. I did return it. James had earned it. All the family love being a part of Club 100. They derive a huge amount of pleasure off track, as do many others including myself. It’s the camaraderie, the ‘’craic’’ if you like. That sense of belonging and enjoying the company of like minded individuals. Having found that the M20 was blocked and that it would be a long drive back to Yorkshire the decision was made to make a day of it and enter the Heavyweights. As he had a perfect right to do. This was about finding a level where he would be able to enjoy the racing and not just running on his own at the rear of the Elites. In many ways it was a brave decision for a young man to admit that he was struggling in the top class. That he won was an unexpected bonus but it will have certainly given his flagging confidence a much needed boost. Everyone races to win but above all it’s about enjoyment. Both on and off the track. As our Elite drivers constantly show. I have no doubt that there are a number of them who don’t do themselves justice on the track but that misses the point. They thoroughly enjoy their weekends racing, win or lose.
Last but certainly not least our sincere condolences from all at Club 100 to Darri and Steph Simms on the sad loss of your daughter Senna. We are all thinking of you at this most difficult time.
See you all at Clay.