Is it Premature to Talk of a Joe Holmes Three-peat?


Steve Gray
Super-Heavyweight Sprint Championship 2019, Rd.2, Class 2 – Heavyweight Sprint Championship 2019, Rd.2, Class 1 – Heavyweight Sprint Championship 2019, Rd.2,

A lovely bright spring morning greeted the competitors for round two at the historic Oxfordshire circuit. Full grids too proving the huge popularity of CLUB100. Shenington is one of the oldest Kart circuits in the country formed from the remains of a World War 2 RAF station which was once the site of test flights for a revolutionary new engine which would change the course of aviation history, Sir Frank Whittle’s jet. A great circuit with several overtaking opportunities. From the start line the circuit swings through a flat left, Park, before breaking for the right handed Cafe corner, a long hairpin followed by a short straight and then the flat out left handed Pits Bend. Onto the Stratford straight and into the tight right handed hairpin at Stratford corner followed by the run down into the tricky Bruno chicane which features some nasty Kart breaking kerbs and requires a deft touch to thread the Kart through. Once clear it’s a run down the Hangar straight to the Wilkins complex which viewed from above looks a little like a hockey stick. A tightening right followed by a left as you accelerate back onto the start and finish straight. The Heavyweights and EssexFlatPack sponsored Super Heavyweights were the first to take to the track for the morning session.

Heat 1

Rob Adlam drew pole for this one with Dan Giles alongside. A returning David Stirling occupied row two with Chris James alongside whilst Helen Gander and Vinod Harani shared row three. Adlam led the field away but both Giles and Gander spun to the rear of the pack leaving Stirling and James in second and third. Further down the order Tim Hill was up from grid fifteen to eighth whilst Chris Blooman, starting alongside Hill, was up to seventh. Two laps in and Adlam was pulling clear with Stirling hanging onto second from Alex Pritchard. Stephen Jennings was up to fifth from grid nine with Blooman and Hill in his wheel tracks. And just behind was Buckmore podium sitter and 1017 HW Champion Adam Wright who had worked his way up from the back of the grid. Adlam continued to lead but Pritchard was up to second and beginning to close the gap. Blooman spun away his chances whilst Wright moved up to third and set about chasing down Adlam and Pritchard. Adlam lost out to Pritchard at Wilkins and Wright also moved by setting fastest lap in the process. But despite closing in he couldn’t get by the leader and Pritchard took the first win of the day by just over a tenth from Wright with Adlam third and first C2 finisher. Jennings took fourth with Hill fifth from James and Stirling. Peter Harris, Mike Bodnar and the first of the SHW Jordan Salter completed the top ten.

Heat 2

Ben Benneyworth on pole from Bill Taylor with John Salter and Jack Bolton on row two. Dan Taylor and SHW sponsor Stuart Germon shared row three. Benneyworth led the field away but his getaway was a tad slow. Both Bill Taylor and Salter fell down the order whilst Germon was very aggressive off the line and quickly into the lead followed by Benneyworth who had defended hard into cafe to hold onto second. Miguel Hall was up to third from grid eight with Bolton fourth. Hall took a lap to get by Benneyworth and then closed in on Germon for the lead. He wasted no time in getting by but Germon fought back to retake the lead. Bolton moved up to third with Konstantinos Kyritsis fourth and Benneyworth dropping to fifth. Germon’s lead lasted just a lap before Hall forced his way by. Germon then went defensive from Kyritsis but overdrove and ran wide allowing Kyritsis, Bolton and Anwar Beroual-Smith to get by, the latter having worked his way steadily up from the back of the grid. Hall took the win and was also the first of the C2 runners with Kyritsis second, and first C1 runner, from Bolton, Beroual-Smith and Germon. Benneyworth took sixth and first SHW runner with Harrison Darvill, Daniel Taylor, Luke Hornsby and Philip Charman completing the top ten.

Heat 3

Chris Sawyer on pole from Martin Gurnett with Dmitry Zeldin and Simon Lloyd on row two. Robert Purtak and Steve Lindley shared row three. Sawyer was swiftly away but it was Lloyd into second from a fast starting Lennie Wood, up from grid seven, whilst Gurnett dropped to fourth ahead of Purtak. Zeldin spun away his chances whilst Championship leader Joe Holmes moved into fifth from grid fourteen. Sawyer continued to lead from Lloyd whilst Gurnett forced his way back ahead of Woods. But his move was adjudged unfair and he would be penalised four places post race. Woods dropped to fifth whilst Holmes moved into third and quickly closed down the leading pair. Within a lap he was ahead and into a lead he would never lose eventually crossing the line almost two seconds to the good. Sawyer took second, and C2 honours, but Lloyd almost got him on the line missing out by just 0.078. Gurnett crossed the line next but was penalised down to eighth allowing Paul Jennings and Steven Downes to claim fourth and fifth with Woods sixth. Nima Oparvar took seventh with Purtak and Kieran Chidgzey tenth and first SHW runner. Holmes was first in C1, setting the fastest lap and establishing a new record with Gurnett fastest C2 runner with Blaze Sienko fastest SHW.

Heat 4

Lee Carey on pole from Andrew Cherry with Paul Williams and Jamie Crease on row two. Rob Moore and Andrew Perry shared row three. Both Carey and Cherry made something of a mews of the start and spun to the rear of the pack. Williams too was forced wide and would be down to eighth by the end of the lap. Moore kept out of trouble and led the field across the line at the end of the lap chased by Crease. Netting was up to third, from grid twelve, with Stuart Jones next, up from grid fourteen, and Craig Brown fifth, up from grid twelve. Half distance and Moore still lead whilst Crease began to fall back. Brown was up to third from Netting with Steve Bosley next from Jones. Crease chipped a tenth away from Moore’s lead only for the leader to up his pace and pull clear. He took the win by just over a second with Crease second and well clear of the battle for third which went the way of Netting who fought his way back past Brown on the penultimate lap. Brown took the C2 honours with Bosley fifth from Jones. Adrian Brammer and Jordan Hawkins were seventh and eighth with Williams next, and first SHW, whilst Stephane Appleton completed the top ten.

Heat 5

Benjamin Robinson on pole from reigning SHW Champion Trevor Randal with James Workman and Bodnar on two. Hill and Blooman shared row three. Robinson, Randall and Workman all made clean starts with Hill and Blooman moving ahead of Bodnar. Randall was quickly ahead of Robinson whilst Hill was forced to run wide and dropped down to eighth. Blooman was flying and homing in on the leader. He made a move into Wilkins but forced Randall wide. Unfairly. He would lose four places at the finish. He continued to lead with Randall running second but coming under pressure from Beroual-Smith whilst Robinson spun to the rear of the pack. Beroual-Smith took Randall with two to run and quickly chased down the leader. Final lap and he was at the front. But he’d also transgressed and would be deducted places to be classified fifth. Blooman crossed the line next but his penalty dropped him to sixth. All this handed the win and maximum points to Randall with Workman second from Kyritsis who had made his way through from the back of the grid. Downes took fourth with Hill, Lloyd, Bodnar and Gurnett completing the top ten.

Heat 6

Bosley on pole from Oparvar for this one with Charman and Brown on row two and Holmes and Pete Newbury on three. Bosley led the pack away but both Brown and Holmes were aggressive off the start and quickly ahead as the field exited Cafe corner. End of the lap and Brown led with Holmes right on his bumper from Holmes with Charman third from Bosley. Oparvar was down to sixth behind Newbury whilst further down the order both Wood and Hall had made spectacular progress into the top ten from the back of the grid. Two run and Holmes was at the front ahead of Brown with Bosley back into third at the expense of Charman. But it had not been without contact. Charman dropped to fifth and would continue to fall back down the order. Holmes meanwhile was pulling clear at the front with Brown second from Bosley, Newbury and Hall. Adlam was next with Mark turner closing in. He’d started ninth, dropped to twelfth and then gradually worked his way forward. Holmes continued to pull away and as if to emphasise his dominance he posted the fastest lap of the race final time around to take his second win of the day. Brown took a lonely second with Newbury third from the impressive Hall. Bosley was next over the line but penalised down to ninth promoting Turner into the place. Adlam took sixth from Jordan Hawkins who was also the fastest of the C2 runners with Wood ninth and Daren Townsley in tenth.

Heat 7

Paul Jennings on pole from Netting with Vijay Patel and Tarik Almou on row two Darvill and Buckmore SHW sensation Richard Allen on row three. Jennings led the pack away with Netting slotting into second. Patel missed out in the first lap scramble dropping to eighth by the end of the lap. Darvill was up to third with Wright next, up from grid eight. Almou ran fifth ahead of Allen. Jennings continued to lead but Darvill slipped ahead of Netting whilst Wright made an error and dropped back into sixth. Three run and Jennings was coming under pressure Darvill with Netting still third from Almou and Allen. Wright though was back on the pace and quickly dispensed with Almou and Allen. Netting was next to succumb. Darvill had taken over from Jennings at the front but wasn’t pulling away. Down the order Moore had moved up to seventh from grid fourteen. Having run tenth for a couple of laps he’d taken full advantage as Allen, Benneyworth and Harris all fell over themselves dropping Allen to tenth. Penultimate lap and Darvill still led but Wright was flying taking out two tenths a lap from the leader over the preceding laps. Darvill had no response. Wright dropped his pace over the final lap allowing Darvill to close up and almost get the better of him as they headed towards the line. But Wright held on by 0.061. Jennings took third, half a second adrift with Netting Fourth from Moore who also netted fastest lap and established a new lap record. As too did netting in C2. Crease took sixth with Harris next from Almou. Ninth and first SHW went to Benneyworth who also set the class lap record whilst Allen rounded out the top ten.

Heat 8

Paul Hibbeard on pole from Andy Henley with Mark Appleton on row two alongside Keith Evans. Richard Newton and Stuart Jones shared row three. Hibbeard spun away his chances whilst Jones got off to a flyer to lead at the end of the first lap from Henley and Appleton. Chidgzey was up to fourth from grid eight. Further back, Daniel Taylor had also got off to a great start moving up to eighth from grid thirteen. Jones steadily eased away at the front with Henley now coming under pressure from the impressive Chidzgey. Taylor though was continuing to make progress and by half distance he was up to fourth. Henley was mounting a stern defence but Chidgzey found away by. Taylor followed him through and within a lap was up to second. But Jones was too far up the road and took the win well clear of Taylor. He also set the fastest lap of the race final time around. Taylor set fastest lap of the C2 runners and thoroughly deserved his second place after a storming drive whilst third placed Chidgzey was first, and fastest SHW. Evans took fourth with Henley fifth. Bolton would have been next but a penalty dropped him to tenth. Mark Appleton had also transgressed and he fell to eighth promoting Stephen Jennings and Williams to sixth and seventh with Stephane Appleton ninth.

Heat 9

Jaedan Cadogan on pole from Beroual-Smith with Brammer and Wood on row two and Blooman and Newbury on row three. Cadogan’s chances of a good result evaporated as he spun down the order whilst Blooman’s day got worse with another spin. Newbury too fell down the order all of which left Beroual-Smith in the lead from Wood and Brammer as the pack crossed the line at the end of the first lap. Ominously Holmes had moved up to fourth from grid nine with Germon fifth from Moore and Workman. Two down and Beroual-Smith still led but Holmes was right with him. Wood ran third whilst Moore had climbed to fourth ahead of Brammer and Germon. Three down and Holmes was at the front. Thereafter he pulled steadily clear to take his third win of the. He also set fastest lap and established a new record. Behind, Beroual-Smith continued in second from Moore he steadily began to close the gap with a string of best laps. But it wasn’t enough. Beroual-Smith held him off by just 0.028 at the flag. Crease took fourth. A great drive this. Having started on grid eleven he was up to ninth by the end of the first lap before dropping back behind Randall. Once back past he made steady progress with an assured drive. Wood took fifth. After running fourth for several laps he dropped to fifth when Crease took him on the final lap. Brammer took sixth ahead of Workman and Germon with Randall ninth and first SHW. Newbury completed the top ten.

Heat 10

Stephen Jennings on pole from Mark Green with Jordan Hawkins and Hall on row two. Jordan Salter and Daren Townsley shared row three. Jennings led the pack away but Green spun away his chances as did Hirani down on grid eight. Also out of the picture were Darvill and Evans, both spinning out. Hall moved into second with Jones third from Hawkins, Salter and Townsley. Hall and Jones both pressed Jennings hard and by the end of lap three both were ahead. Hall’s lead lasted a lap before Jones slipped by and into a lead he would never lose. Hall kept him honest but Jones took the win by just over three tenths for his second win of the day. Jennings hung onto third despite Hawkins pressing him hard. Lloyd took fifth. Having started on grid twelve he was soon into the top ten. Mid race and he was up to fifth but he could get no further.. Darvill took sixth and netted the C1 fastest lap. A great comeback this after dropping from tenth to sixteenth on the first lap. Townsley had to settle for seventh after losing out to Darvill on the final lap. Gurnett and Charman took eighth and ninth with Jordan Salter tenth, first and fastest of the SHW runners.

Heat 11

Luke Hornsby and Mark Turner shared the front row for the penultimate heat with the former on pole. Wright and Pritchard shared row two with Solomon and Hill on the third row. Hornsby led away but it was Wright in third place who got the better start and was quickly into the lead chased by Turner and Pritchard with Hornsby dropping to fourth. Solomon was an early spinner whilst Hill moved into fifth. Three laps down and Wright remained at the front but Pritchard was up to second ahead of Turner. The two of them were going hard at it and only half a second adrift of the leader too whilst Hill remained fourth but over a second off the pace. And he had Brown closing on. Mid race and Wright began to stretch his advantage over Pritchard who was in turn beginning to edge away from Turner whilst Hill remained fourth from Brown. And Bolton was closing them all down. With two to go Wright was clear at the front from Pritchard and Turner but it was mighty scrap for fourth. Hill still held the place with a lap to run but Bolton was into fifth ahead of Brown with Bodnar and Hornsby still in with a shout. The place though would go to Brown as he swept by both Hill and Bolton. Hill took fifth with Bolton next from Bodnar and Hornsby almost line astern. Daniel Taylor and Paul Jennings completed the top ten with the latter setting the fastest lap of the race. Robinson was the quickest of the C2 runners with Paul Williams the first, and fastest of the SHW runners finishing in twelfth.

Heat 12

Downes on pole from Harris with two SHW’s behind, Chidgzey and Sienko. Kyritsis and Stephane Appleton completed the first three rows. Downes got away smartly with Kyritsis moving sharply into second as Harris and Chidgzey slotted into third and fourth with Allen moving up a couple of spots to fifth. Chidgzey slipped by Harris for second and there he was determined to stay defending for all his might from the more experienced Harris. All of which allowed Downes and Kyritsis to pull several Kart lengths clear of the chasing pack. Mid race and Kyritsis took over at the front from Downes with Chidgzey still third but now coming under pressure from Allen who had slipped by Harris. With two to run Kyritsis had opened up a gap to Downes who looked to be safe in second from Allen. Penultimate lap and Allen remained third but Chidgzey’s resolute defence had finally been breached and Harris was back into fourth with Almou fifth after a tremendous drive up from grid eleven. Kyritsis took the win from Downes but the battle for third raged all round the final lap with Harris crossing the line third only to be penalised down to seventh. Almou crossed the line fourth and was then promoted to third with Stephane Appleton fourth from the first SHW runner Allen and then Chidgzey after a fraught final lap. Bosley set the fastest lap of the race and finished eighth with James and Newton completing the top ten.

The Finals

C Final

Chris Blooman on pole from Keith Evans with Steve Lindley and David Stirling on row two. Row three saw the first of the SHW runners Jordan Salter alongside Benjamin Robinson. Robert Purtak shared row four with Andrew Cherry whilst Bill Taylor and Jaeden Cadogan rounded out the first five rows. Top four to qualify for the B Final. Blooman led the field off the line with Evans tucking into second from Lindley. By the end of the lap Blooman was six tenths clear with Evans half a second up on Lindley and the rest of the pack. But coming out of Cafe corner he was too hard on the loud pedal and spun away his chances. Blooman and Lindley rapidly began to pull clear of the chasing pack now led by Salter from Taylor and Robinson. Salter’s third place lasted but a lap as Taylor moved into third with Salter fourth but coming under pressure from Cherry, Robinson and Chris James who had moved smartly up from grid eighteen.

Half distance and Blooman was in a race of his own at the front with Lindley a comfortable second. But the third and fourth qualifying places were anybody’s guess. Taylor held third but in the space of a lap dropped to sixth behind Cherry, Salter and Robinson. A lap later and he was back to fifth whilst Robinson moved up to third and Cherry fell back to sixth. Penultimate lap and Robinson and Salter both occupied the final two places but Cherry was a man on a mission and fought his way back up to fourth. Blooman took the win seven seconds clear of second placed Lindley who was in turn seven seconds clear of Salter and Cherry. Robinson crossed the line fifth but took a one place penalty for cone abuse dropping him to sixth behind Taylor with James next from Purtak. Cadogan and Giles completed the top ten with Blooman setting the fastest lap of the race whilst Sienko was the fastest SHW runner.

B Final

Rob Adlam on pole from Steve Bosley with C1 runner Pete Harris alongside James Workman on row two. Row three saw Tarik Almou and Stephane Appleton side by side with Adrian Brammer and Mike Bodnar on row four. Martin Gurnett and SHW Ben Benneyworth rounded out the first five rows. Just two to move up to the A Final. Adlam lost out at the start as Bosley and Harris moved ahead whilst Workman remained fourth ahead of a fast starting Benneyworth. Almou dropped a spot but remained ahead of Brammer and Bodnar with Allen up to ninth. Bosley immediately began to pull a few lengths clear of Harris with Adlam third from Workman and Brammer whilst Allen moved up to sixth ahead of Benneyworth.

Bodnar’s chances ended as he spun out. Bosley continued to lead from Harris but Allen was up to third and closing in. Half distance and he was up into second and chasing after the leader. He rapidly began to pull clear of the chasing pack who became embroiled in the battle for third preventing them all from mounting a challenge on the leading pair. Bosley took the win over a second clear of Allen who set the fastest lap of the race with Brammer finally taking third from Harris but over four seconds behind the leaders. One wonders whether they might have been better served working together rather than fighting over third. But racers are racers. Workman took fifth and was the fastest C2 runner with Benneyworth sixth from Adlam. Gurnett, Newbury and Lindley completed the top ten. A great effort from the latter after qualifying through the C Final.

A Final

After his three hear wins Joe Holmes sat on pole with Adam Wright alongside. Kyritsis and Hall shared row two with Jones and Moore on row three. Brown and Beroual-Smith occupied row four with Downes and Crease completing the first five rows. Chidgzey headed the EseexFlatPack SHW runners in twenty second place with Randall twenty third and Allen twenty sixth. Holmes got away from the line smartly and instantly moved across as the field rounded the first turn to discourage Wright from taking a run up the inside. He just lightly brushed Wrights front wheel but there were no complaints from Wright and the observers took no action. Indeed Wright almost got alongside as they exited Cafe corner but couldn’t quite make the move stick and he tucked in behind the leader as they ran down to the Stratford hairpin. Behind the leaders Beroual-Smith had made a swift getaway and was up to third with Moore fourth from Kyritsis and Jones with Brown seventh. Both Stephen and Paul Jennings fell to the rear of the field. Two laps run and Holmes and Wright were pulling clear of the pack now led by Moore from Beroual-Smith and Kyritsis. Jones and Brown were beginning to be dropped.

Holmes and Wright continued to pull clear but Holmes had broken the tow putting in his quickest lap of the race on the sixth tour. Wright would admit post race that that lap broke him and he settled down to concentrate on second place. Kyritsis took Moore for third at half distance with Beroual-smith less than a tenth adrift of Moore. Jones was a second adrift of the front five and had Jack Bolton closing in rapidly. After starting a lowly seventeenth he was flying. He took a lap to get by Jones and then set about chasing down Beroual-Smirh. It took a couple of laps but he found away by and began to close in on Moore. Holmes took the win over three seconds clear of Wright. Great drives from them both. Kyritsis took the final podium spot with Moore an excellent fourth from Bolton with Beroual-Smith sixth. Jones crossed the line next bur was penalised down to eleventh with Hill a happy seventh after starting from grid sixteen. Brown was next and took the C2 class honours for his first ever Club100 win. Crease and Daniel Taylor completed the top ten with Richard Allen again taking the EssexFlatPack SHW honours from Kieran Chidgzey and Trevor Randall.

Round up.

Who can stop Joe Holmes? He surely can’t go all season winning every round? Quite a challenge despite two A Final wins in a row. And they don’t get anymore dominant than taking maximum points in the heats, a win in the Final and fastest lap. Adam Wright’s second place sees him second in the standings. He was quick to acknowledge his rivals dominance. After taking most of 2018 off Adam is back to his best. It would be great to see him take a win this year. Konstantinos Kyritsis took a well deriver third and lies third in the standings ahead of Anwar Beroual-Smith. Good to see him back after a couple of years away. He might be a little rusty but watch out for him as the season progresses. Rob Moore lies fifth. He was happy with his day’s efforts and so he should be. He has a refreshing attitude to racing. As he says, he‘s not going to progress to F1 so he’s just going to enjoy every minute without getting too serious.

Daniel Taylor heads the C2 class from Stephen Downes with Craig Brown third.

Richard Allen leads the EssexFlatPack SHW class after two wins. He is a very experienced Kart racer and it shows. Reigning Champion Trevor Randall is second and he knows he has a real fight on his hands to retain his Championship. Ben Benneyworth is currently third.

Reflections

Another great morning’s racing that would become another great day’s racing. Slick organisation too from the pit lane saw everything run pretty smoothly. Thanks as always to all the officials and marshals who always do such a great job and also to the sprint sponsors Dartford Karting and EssexFlatPack.co.uk for their generous sponsorship.

Between races at Shenington there was some discussion as to why corners get there name. At ”Sheny” most of them are obvious like Cafe. The Wilkins complex is named after a club stalwart but most of the speculation was as to why the Bruno chicane is so named? Well, it’s named after Bruno Ferrari who was a famous Kart racer in the 60’s.

So now you know.

Next up Whilton Mill for the first all ‘’dayer” featuring the first Altima Academy with Mutation Motorsport sponsored Super Final Weekend of the year. And it’s all being filmed and broadcast Live. So make sure your helmets and overalls are all clean and shiny!

See you there!

Words: Steve Gray
Pictures: John Patterson