Its an A Final Win for Steve Brown, but the Super Final is Joe Holmes’
The Heart of British Karting. A proud boast on the banner on the Clubhouse. And a rightful claim. A wonderful circuit with its mix of slow and fast corners and elevation change. Showers and sunshine with a bit of breeze but low temperatures again for the club’s second visit of the season. Was it warmer in February?
The Heats & The Road to the Finals
Craig Brown dominated the first heat starting from pole and setting the fastest lap in the C2 class as well as taking the overall win. Rob Moore took second after starting from grid ten. He was up to second third time around but could do nothing to catch the flying Brown. Tim Hill took third and fastest lap just a tenth up on winner Brown after starting alongside Moore whilst Robert Purtak converted his front row start to a fourth placed finish. Good points. Paul Williams took fifth and leading SHW after a very strong drive up from grid thirteen.
Heat two fell to another C2 driver Steven Downes. Starting from the front row he’d dropped to third behind poleman Stuart Jones and Anwar Beroual-Smith. Both C1 runners. Beroual-Smith lead for a couple of before falling behind Downes who then pulled clear taking the win by over two seconds from Beroual-Smith. Jones took third holding off a very determined Luke Hornsby sporting a natty new helmet with Chris Blooman fifth.
Heat three fell to Joe Holmes in what was probably the most dramatic heat of the day. The race started in the dry with SHW Richard Newton on pole from Andy Henley. Newton led for the first two laps holding off Peter Harris and Steve Brown but two laps in the rain began to fall catching the leader out as he entered the Esses. Coming back on he forced a following Brown wide. Brown hit the wall hard but square on and managed to keep controlling but running wide down Symes sweep as he regained the circuit in Pullmans Newton spun. As he got going he took out Miguel Hall forcing him to a halt. Brown meanwhile had somehow managed to hold onto second behind Harris! But Holmes was up to third and soon made it through into the lead taking the win with Brown second from Harris. David Whitehouse put in a very strong performance to take fourth with Adam Wright fifth after superb drive through the field from grid nineteen.
The track was fully wet for heat four which fell to SHW Kieran Chidgzey. Starting from the front row he was into the lead by the end of the first tour and never headed. It was close at the end though as Steve Bosley closed in over the final couple of laps. Steven Downes was next across the line but found himself losing two places after a jumped start and promoting Tim Hill to third. Rob Moore would have been next but he got docked two places for multiple contacts promoting Craig Brown to fourth and more important points.
Dan Taylor took heat five with ease. Starting on grid seven he made the most of others misfortune to lead the field at the end of lap two. Thereafter he pulled clear of the pack taking the win by over four seconds from Steve Brown who had had to work his way through the field from grid eighteen. SHW Paul Williams started third and finished third with Peter Harris fourth after a hard drive up from grid fourteen. Tarik Almou took fifth after starting fifth.
Heat six saw SHW Trevor Randall on pole and he lead from lights to flag. But he didn’t win. Unfortunately for him he’d hit a couple of cones and was placed third. Joe Holmes took the win after a typically determined drive up from the back row. He was up to fourth after a couple of laps and ran there until the penultimate lap when he took front row starter Mark Ridout and then SHW Richard Allen who had started from grid three. Randall’s demotion handed Holmes the win and gave Allen second. Adam Wright was next across the line but demoted a spot, also for cone abuse, handing fifth to Stuart Jones.
Heat seven started damp but the track was beginning to dry as the poleman Vijay Patel crossed the line to start. But it was fellow front row starter David Whitehouse he burst to the front. By the end of the first lap he was over two seconds clear of Patel with Steve Brown third but struggling to get by Patel. With two run Whitehouse was well in control but once into second Brown gradually began to cut the gap. Two thirds distance and they were together on track. Whitehouse though was in no mood to surrender and held on stubbornly until the start of the final lap when he looked over his shoulder and then ran wide in the first turn. Brown slipped by to take the win. A good drive into second though for Whitehouse. Tim Hill took third some eleven seconds adrift of the leaders with Dan Taylor fourth and Luke Hornsby fifth.
Rob Moore took heat eight after starting on the front row. Ben Benneyworth had a brief spell at the front before Moore reclaimed the place. Jack Bolton took second and was just a tenth back at the flag after a strong run from grid nine. Benneyworth came home third ahead of Steve Bosley and Chris Blooman.
The final HW/SHW heat of the day fell to Joe Holmes and secured him pole for the A Final. Starting from the second row alongside Adam Wright he was into the lead by the end of the first lap chased by Wright. A familiar scenario. Holmes was never headed although Wright hung on as he always does. Third place went to Simon Lloyd some eight seconds back. Anwar Beroual-Smith took fourth after starting from grid fourteen with Stuart Jones fifth a strong drive up from grid nineteen.
Benjamin Robinson had amassed enough points to qualify for the back of the B Final but missed out on time with Vinod Harani and James Workman both on the same points but a quicker lap time. But it did give him the chance of an extra race starting from pole from the C Final with Dan Giles alongside. Vijay Patel and Kelly Rogers shared row two with Chris Solomon, the first of the SHW runners, and Dimitry Zeldin on three. Ben Harper and Andrew Larsen shared row three with Less Hill and SHW Richard Newton on the penultimate row from Mark Appleton and the final SHW Jeffrey Williams. Top four to qualify for the back of the B Final. Robinson made a smart getaway and by the end of the lap was almost two seconds clear of Patel who had Rogers all over his back bumper. Solomon held third but all eyes were on Appleton who had moved up from the back row to fifth. Patel lost out badly through the hairpins as he came under attack from Rogers and dropped to fifth. Giles too had lost out badly over the first lap and dropped to sixth. He recovered quickly with some audacious moves down the bottom of the circuit only to throw away all his good work as he rotated in the hairpins and dropped to the rear of the field. He did at least have the satisfaction of setting the fastest lap of the race but failed to qualify for the B Final. Robinson continued to pull clear at the front with Rogers second from Appleton and SHW Newton. Williams ran fifth but was gradually dropping back from the leading quartet. Over the remaining laps Robinson dropped his pace a touch but still took the win over two seconds clear Rogers with Appleton and Newton taking the final two qualifying spots. The top four were some seven seconds clear of fifth which went to Patel after a last lap pass on Williams. Giles came home seventh with Solomon eighth from Harper whilst Zeldin, Hill and Larsen completed the order. And there were no penalties.
SHW Paul Williams on pole from Ashley Cole with Ben Cottle and Robert Purtak on row two. Darren Townsley and Lennie Wood shared row three with Steve Lindley and Miguel Hall on four the latter not normally a B Final runner. An incident in the heats had seen him post a non finish. Joshua Sergeant and Philip Charman completed the first five rows. Top two to qualify for the A Final. Williams got a solid start to lead from Cottle and Clifford but Purtak got shuffled down the order. Townsley’s chances of progression ended with a spin. It was as you were at the end of the first lap but Clifford got a run on the leader into the first turns and moved ahead. Williams ran wide in Hairpin one and lost out to Hall. Cottle briefly got ahead but Williams was back ahead as they exited Hairpin two and remained ahead over the line at the start of lap three. But both Cottle and Lindley were swiftly by whilst at the front Hall took over from Clifford. Charman was up to sixth but Lennie Woods chances evaporated as he spun out at the bottom of the hill. At the front Hall and Clifford immediately began to pull clear as Cottle and Lindley squabbled over third. Although Lindley kept his nose in front at the end of each lap Cottle would briefly be ahead at various points round the circuit. Williams was gradually losing touch and coming under pressure from Charman and Jordan Hawkins. With two to go the qualification spots looked settled with Hall ahead from Clifford and Lindley ahead of Cottle but some eight seconds adrift of the leaders. Hawkins was up to fifth with Charman a few tenths back. Penultimate lap and Clifford suddenly dived up the inside of Hall into Garda to take over at the front. There is always the danger in these situations that a move which most might think unnecessary as they had both qualified could result in a coming together. But I guess racers are racers and there is a trophy at stake for winning the B Final. Hall gave him room. A lap later and Hall made the same move at the same corner. Clifford squeezed him a little and contact was made, sidepod to sidepod, but Hall was through. I thought the move fair but Hall decided, fearing a penalty, that discretion was the better part of valour and moved aside letting Clifford back into the lead. Behind these Cottle finally got by into third only to lose the place final time around. It had been a stirring battle. Clifford crossed the line a few lengths clear of Hall to take the win but was then found to be underweight and excluded from the results promoting Hall back to first and the trophy. Lindley’s third place therefore became second and qualification for the A Final with Cottle third just a tenth adrift. Charman finished fourth after a strong drive with Hawkins fifth from Sergeant whilst Andrew Cherry put in a late race charge after starting on grid sixteen. Eighth went to Jordan Salter who was also the leading SHW with Stephane Appleton ninth from second SHW Williams in tenth. Ben Robinson set the fastest lap of the race with Salter the quickest SHW.
Joe Holmes on pole from Steve Brown with Tim Hill and Rob Moore on row two. Adam Wright and Steve Bosley shared row three with Stuart Jones and Craig Brown on four and Anwar Beroual-Smith and Daniel Taylor on row five. Top twelve to qualify for the Super Final. Holmes led the field off the line but Brown was just a touch tawdry off the line and Hill nipped by into second. But not for long. Brown was better on the brakes into hairpin one and moved back into second. As the field streamed through the Esses Jones ran wide. As he came back on those at the back moved left. In a heartbeat Chris Blooman and Simon Lloyd were in the wall. Blooman stopped but Lloyds severely damaged machine roiled down the hill before coming to a halt at the pit entry. Lloyd was clearly in some distress and the race was halted whilst Lloyd received medical attention. Fortunately Simon was up and on his feet albeit badly shaken and with some sever bruising but his sense of humour was still intact as he announced that he was so far back it was the only way he could get his names in the race report. Chris Blooman too was shaken but not stirred and would bravely take the restart before calling it a day after a couple of laps. Never forget, motor racing is dangerous and accidents such as this are very rare in Club100. But that doesn’t mean we should ever get complacent.
With everything tidied up the grid reformed for a shortened race. Holmes again got away smartly whilst Brown had learnt his lesson and made a quick getaway to hold onto second. Hill held third but Wright displaced him on the run up to Garda only for the veteran Hill to grab the spot back at hairpin one on lap two. Moore, in fifth, almost made it through but Wright held onto the place albeit not without contact. Moore ran wide out of the hairpins allowing Jones into fifth. Two laps later and it was all change again. Holmes continued to lead pursued by Brown but Wright got a run on Hill and was ahead as they ran into the hairpins for the fourth time. Jones too attempted to get by Hill but was rebuffed whilst Moore made a trademark opportunist move to get ahead of them both. Sadly though it was not without contact. Half distance and Holmes led by a couple of Kart lengths from Brown with Wright running some three seconds back in a lonely third place as Moore was almost two seconds back in fourth at the head of a chain of Karts which saw the rest of the field covered by just ten seconds! Three quarters of the race covered and Brown had cut the gap to Holmes to a tenth with Wright still third but almost four seconds back. Moore held fourth from Hill with Beroual-Smith into sixth ahead of Jones and Bosley. Bolton was next up from Daniel Taylor with Craig brown next followed by the leading SHW Trevor Randall. These twelve the qualifiers for the Super final. Penultimate lap and Holmes led across the line but Brown was right on his bumper and pulled alongside into hairpin one to take the lead. But Holmes doesn’t give in without a fight. Into the last lap and there was a fag paper between them as they went through the hairpins. Down into Paddock for the final time and Holmes dived to the inside. Brown moved left to give his rival room and ran wide going the wrong side of the bollards before resuming in first. There were those in the paddock who thought it a ‘’Vettel-esque’’ move worthy of a penalty but there were no complaints from Holmes and Brown crossed the line to take the win and bring an end to Holmes fantastic winning streak. Wright crossed the line third with Moore fourth from Beroual-Smith.
Hill was next up from Jones with Bosley next and the first of the C2 runners. Bolton took ninth with Taylor tenth and second in the C2 class, Brown eleventh and third in the C2 class followed by the leading SHW Randall in the final Super Final qualifying spot. Richard Allen took second in the SHW field with Ben Benneyworth third. But the drama wasn’t done. Whilst Brown and Holmes celebrated Wright was on the scales and found to be 0.2 kilos underweight resulting in exclusion from the results and the Super Final. But fourth placed Moore was in trouble too. He’d been hit with four place penalty for a bump and pass early in the race and despite a lengthy debate the penalty stood. All of which promoted Beroual-Smith onto the podium and Steven Downes onto the back of the Super Final.
Altima Academy Super Final
Steve Brown on pole from Chris Alcock with Joe Holmes and Mike Coppin on row two. Anwar Beroual-Smith and Chris Dixon shared row three with Tim Hill alongside Rob Newman on four and Stuart Jones alongside Daz Teal completing the first five rows. Brown led the pack away but fellow front row sitter Alcock lost out badly through the first turns and was back in fifteenth by the end of the first lap. Coppin and Dixon also lost out badly. Holmes was quickly into second with Beroual-Smith third from a fast starting Newman with Hill fifth from Stuart Jones, Hicks and Moore. It was a fraught first lap and from my vantage point in the paddock as the karts climbed up to Cafe corner it looked for all the world as though a major incident was about to occur with so many drivers occupying too little track. But they all made it safely through. Great skills. Holmes trailed Brown by just a tenth over the first couple of laps but into the hairpins third time around he jinked to the right and slipped by under braking into a lead he would never lose. Brown remained second but Beroual-Smith hounded him all the way ready to capitalise on any error. Behind the leaders Newman and Hill were having a mighty battle over fourth. Newman just could not get away and at half distance Hill slipped by at the bottom of the hill. And stayed there for a couple of laps as his younger adversary tried everything he knew to retake the place. Penultimate lap and he finally got by at Garda. An important overtake too as it turned out. A couple of seconds back from the Newman/Hill battle Hicks, Stuart Jones and Moore were fighting hard over sixth. Hicks and Jones traded places a couple of times but Moore was just not quite close enough to mount an attack. At the front Holmes reeled off the final laps to take the win with Brown second. Beroual-Smith crossed the line third but he’d picked up a one place penalty for clipping a cone dropping him to fourth and promoting Newman onto the podium. Hill was a rueful fifth wishing he’d defended just a little harder to keep Newman behind. Whatever his thoughts though this was a very fine effort from the Club’s elder statesman. Hicks took sixth with Stuart Jones seventh from Moore. Alcock was next. A great drive this after his fraught first lap. He also set the fastest lap. Daz Teal rounded out the top ten just ahead of Healey and Coppin.
Joe Holmes first defeat saw him actually increase his lead in the standings after Adam Wright’s exclusion. Adam remains second ahead of Anwar Beroual-Smith who takes over in third after Konstantinos Kyritsis missed the round due to work commitments. Tim Hill moves up to fourth with fifth sixth and seventh being held by the leading C2 runners Dan Taylor, Craig Brown and Steven Downes. Richard Allen leads the SHW field from Jordan Salter and Paul Williams.
Altima Academy Super Cup
Joe Holmes win promotes him to the top of the order just two points ahead of Rob Newman. Steve Hicks is just a point further back in third two points clear of Steve Brown in fourth. Anwar Beroual-Smith is fifth. Some of the heavyweights feel that that the weight limit favours the lights but four out of the top five runners are heavyweights so it would appear not to be the case.
Mixed weather always makes for some good if sometimes controversial racing. Great to report though that both Simon Lloyd and Max O’shaughnessy are on the mend after their offs’. Simon’s accident looked particularly nasty. Our thanks and appreciation to the prompt actions of the medical team and as always to all the marshal’s and officials who do such a great job. And to all the sponsors of course. And guess what? Despite there being one or two controversial penalties (guess that depends on your point of view!) I didn’t witness any histrionics or aggressive acts in the paddock all day. Just how it should be.
See you all at Rye !