Heavy Reign in Wales, Elliott Set For Coronation At Lydd. Bring Bunting.
Mixed conditions made for a topsy turvy event certainly in Premier Class as they headlined the morning session but Heavyweight Class delivered more of the same. Back to back final wins for Jonathan Elliott – 8 straight and 12 wins in 14 Finals this season. No, no, no that would be unfair, particularly to Josh Pettitt to just leave it there as he pushed Jonny in both finals and looked to heading for at least one win but a mistake in the Pre A Final out of the Raymonds hairpin with a few laps to go gave Elliott the chance to retake the lead into The Hook complex, and Josh’s fire had fizzled out before the finish, in the drizzle or maybe Jonny make’s leading look easy, he doesn’t make many mistakes for sure. Stephen Docker was 3rd.
Steve Downes on his debut had pole position for the Pre A Final after he had topped group 2 in timed qualifying, the second group were 5secs faster due to the drying track, but that went into reverse as the first Premier Class heat finished, shined up in the Pre B Final, and was properly wet as Downes brought them through with Elliott, Pettitt and Dan French on row 2, Docker and Stuart Kirk on row 3 for the start. Elliott wasted no time getting inside into McWhirters and trying lead down the Lancaster Curve but like Pettitt stopping Kirk doing the same, Steve led into Chandlers. Elliott would not be denied and Pettitt pushed through into Raymonds at the end of the lap. Kirk pushing on to Downes as the rest of the field spread, Docker, Bolton under pressure from French, then James Hattersley, Darrell Lowe, and Tim Hill. Now here’s the thing – Josh took the best part of second out of Jonny, on the next lap, of course it’s easier to follow when you’re not first one in, but it was game on, we were going to have some sport up front. Hill squeezed inside Lowe for 9th at Raymonds, Ben Cottle tagging on the back of the group in 11th briefly. Elliott responded and with Pettitt, they were the only drivers in the mid-63secs when most were low 65s. Josh got on Elliott’s bumper and on lap 5, 4.5secs ahead of Kirk under pressure from Docker having dropped Downes, soon to be engaged by Bolton and French, Pettitt struck for the lead into The Hook, ran wide enough in McWhirters to give Jonny a run on the inside only for Josh to cross behind to drive out on the inside into the lead, Elliott lifted for Chandlers. Great stuff! End of lap 7 Elliott was tracking Pettitt at 0.5secs, 5secs behind Kirk was managing to hold Docker at a similar margin, while after being initially dropped Hill had come back to and through Bolton then French as they all had closed on to Downes in 5th. Josh ran wide off Raymonds, spun up and splashed wide over the kerb. Another time, maybe another driver he’d have got a way with but Elliott saw his chance and ran hard into The Hook, behind Hill had charged up the inside of French into the hairpin and came off the corner with Downes on his left, French crossing behind, to his right went 3 wide over start finish for 5th. Elliott led, Kirk was holding off, and up Docker, Downes had got his position back, Hill nearly taken out on his narrow exit line as Bolton tried to force a pass on French. Stephen Docker ran down the inside of Kirk into Raymonds and despite Stuart’s best efforts he would have to settle for 4th, while I just sensed Pettitt had settled for 2nd pretty quickly. Hill shot and missed again on Downes, but he’d get his man in Raymonds, he arrived inside a little than before, ran Steve out wider and would run to the finish in 5th. Win #11 for Jonny Elliott.
This had followed Paul Williams winning the 24 kart Pre B Final from pole position ahead Daren Townsley and Mike Townley, the latter a surprise not to qualify directly to the Pre A as one of the top 20 qualifiers in TQ, James Green made up the 4 qualifiers. Richard Francis had been on the front row with Williams, Paul had got the hole shot while Matt Ogle had gone ‘go big or go home’ up the inside of Francis to find himself in 2nd but outside in the long left of The Hook, he still squeezed inside of Francis on the exit and ran into a recovering Lennie Wood who’d started 4th but had bypassed half of the complex and wisely let the leading trio back through. The track conditions were on the turn and Williams pulled clear while Francis seemed keen to let Ogle do his thing to run Williams down. After a couple of ‘moments’ that allowed Green through then Townsley into the chicane. Francis struck back into the hairpin on Daren but over start finish Richard spun around, did he light the rears up on a white line? Daren was awfully close behind. No penalty. Conditions were tricky. Jonathan Mayne stuffed himself backwards into the tyres while braking (?) for Raymonds on lap 6. Williams was clear of Ogle, Green, Townsley, as a qualifying quartet, Martin Gurnett had moved through to 5th, with Mike Townley as Wood had slipped up again, Michael Ballinger, Michael Dendy and Roger Davis rounded out the top 10. Moving into the closing stages James Green had been dropped from the leaders, Townley moving through Gurnett but with a lot to do 3secs behind with 5laps to go. Any mistake in the wet is magnified but that works both ways of course. Mike set the fastest lap of the race to half the advantage, Ogle lost 2secs getting passed Townsley and lapping Mayne as he slowed for a yellow flag covering Alex Wood, a lap down, who race leader Williams under pressure from Townsley had effectively binned Wood into tyres (not deliberately I’m sure) before Raymonds. Townsley struck for the lead in McWhirters but Paul was willing to risk all into Chandlers and Daren let him have it. Green had moved into 3rd and had Ogle, Townley, Wood, Gurnett, if he could clear the lapped Mayne, behind him for the final lap and a half. Mike Townley moved into 4th down into Chandlers, a scary place to pass. Ogle did not appear at Raymonds… Townsley tried again and missed, and Paul covered up into McWhirters, which only left a boom or bust into Raymonds. Williams covered up again, and Townsley could not out drag him to the line. Williams, Townsley, Townley and Green qualified to the Pre A Final.
Seems only fair that in the B Final Matt Ogle drove clear of the field to qualify for the trophy A Final to win by 10secs and would be joined by fellow front row starter Lennie Wood, but while Ogle had led from the gun, Wood had initially lost out to Michael Ballinger off the start, before recovering and towing Martin Gurnett into the fight for the last qualifying spot. Behind and falling away Roger Davis was holding off Richard Francis until Richard ran over Roger exiting the chicane that put Roger a lap down, and left Richard looking at dots in the distance. Into the 2nd half of the race Matt Ogle extended his 5secs lead into a winning 10secs however Ballinger was far from convincing in 2nd but was being aided by Martin Gurnett and Lennie Wood going to war usual down into Raymonds each lap. the main danger for Michael was the risk of being swept up in a Gurnett-Wood binning into the hairpin. It was close every lap. Francis in 6th might have caught them. But Wood got a run into Raymonds and Gurnett sat on his bumper to run Michael wide to start the penultimate lap demoting him to 4th. Ballinger messed up Chandlers dropped off Wood and Gurnett and Francis put one down the inside of Raymonds. Richard needed Wood and Gurnett to clash but Lennie drove a mistake free last lap and Martin never got the chance.
Josh Pettitt had still had the fastest lap in the Pre A Final so had pole position for the A Final ahead Elliott, Daniel French and Stephen Docker on row 2. Josh held off Jonny through The Hook off the start, Daniel French making a determined attempt on Elliott for 2nd into Raymonds at the end of lap 1, Jonny resisted. Pettitt was clear of Elliott, 1.7secs clear of French and leading SuperHeavy Stuart Kirk by the end of lap 2. Then on a drying track Elliott took 0.7secs out of Josh’s lead, while putting nearly 1.5secs into French on lap 4, signalling the A Final was on mano a mano, while French was loosely followed by Kirk and debutant Steve Downes, Darrell Lowe was a distant 6th as the field stretched out lazily around the lap. Downes was first to move inside Kirk as he ran wide in the The Hook to go 4th. Two laps later Lowe caught up with Kirk and they would fight over 5th for the remainder of the race. Elliott started the move to win the race in the middle of The Hook but did not complete it until running out of Surtees, a tight squeeze, that would earn Elliott a hotly disputed contact penalty which to Pettitt’s credit he had not felt victim of, the penalty was reversed post race. Elliott had win #12. 7secs behind French was left hopping his kart over the finish to just edge out Downes in a slither out of the last corner, side by side to the line. The chequered flag had come just in time, or a lap too early depending whether you were on the podium like Dan or off it like Steve…
It leaves Elliott set to be crowned 2015 Heavyweight Champion at Lydd, I can’t see the point of checking the math, but there is a cracking battle for 2nd place in the championship with less than 50points covering Lowe in 2nd to James Hattersley in 13th place after dropped scores are applied.