Jack ‘Late To The Party’ Bolton Brings The Champers!
‘Late to the party’ Jack Bolton took his 2nd A Final win in a row in the dusk of the last race of the day. It was first absence of newly crowned eavyweight Class champion Jonathan Elliott. He skipped round 9, leaving the way clear for ‘If only he’d entered the class at the outset of the season we might have had a very different season” Bolton to take the main honours. Hey ho, still there won’t be another word spoken of our champion in this report. Jack started and finished 2nd to pole man Stephen Docker in the Pre A Final after Stephen put his home track knowledge to good use in timed qualifying to take pole position. Stephen would lead every lap to win by 1sec, from Jack, and move himself into 2nd in championship at the end of the day. Job done. Easykart UK Masters front runner Neil Fisher set the fastest lap in the Pre A Final, while still getting used the Club100 kart to take pole position for A Final. Fisher and Bolton, off grid 3 this time, would share leader duty for a 9 kart breakaway running nose to tail for the entire race. Jack leaving it late on to the final lap to take the decisive 5th change of lead in the best race of the day. James Hattersley finished 3rd to keep his hopes of 2nd in the championship alive even though he lies in 7th place in the table as 2nd through 10th are covered by only 40points. The champion is decided but a real, genuine competition rages on to be runner up.
After failing to qualify directly to the top 20 Pre A Final, the remaining 21 driver field set off behind Roger Mullen and Christopher Murray, Matt Liston and Nick Butler holding the prized 4 qualifying spots on the grid in the Pre B Final shooting for the Pre A. That is the game. The pole man got a clean run through the left, right flat out Crook complex off the start and it was still 3 kart lengths at the bottom of Zulu. Liston, Murray, Rob Adlam off grid 5, with Butler relegated to his bumper, Nick Breadner and Lee Henderson. Adlam pushed through to 2nd into Inkermans, perhaps not cleanly and Mullen was handed another second and would stay clear for the race. The group behind argued over the order as it settled in for the 16 laps, Adlam stretched the elastic to Liston and Breadner and pulled free. The racing got going again around halfway with Breadner forcing his way to the front of a developing 4 way dice for the P3 and P4 with Liston, Murray and the just joined in Nick Butler and this group appeared to have the qualification battle to themselves as Reynolds and Henderson had fallen to 2secs behind and headed a long line all the way to Andrew Cherry in 15th. But the more the quartet argued, lunged each other and missed apexes the more likely A) someone was going off, and B) the pack would become embroiled. Murray missed his apex into the Boot by about 6ft, in sorting it out the quartet bungled into the Toe and Breadner limped out with a spluttering kart and was swallowed by Reynolds, Richard Burrows, rapidly climbing up from 16th on the grid, and Jonathan McLeod. Into the closing stages Mullen and Adlam were just over a second apart and could look back from the exit of the Inkermans hairpin to see the bun fight over 4th starting with Murray and Liston and the line all the way back to Ben Benneyworth in 12th, exiting Xmas. Nick Butler must have been happy to be well clear in 3rd. Murray and Reynolds would eventually break free into the last few laps, but when Chris stopped making mistakes the contest was over in his favour. His 4th place finish became 3rd as Adlam 1.2secs behind Mullen on the road was demoted to 4th by an Advantage By Contact penalty he’d been carrying from lap 1.
In a repeat of almost every race of the day the pole man, Stephen Docker in this case, got an unhindered run through Crook off the start of the Pre A Final, the short run to the first corners, probably a deliberate safety measure, lent itself to it. You’re pole you decide when to go when the lights are about to go green and grid 2 just has to wait a split second to be sure you are going, before he can get on it. That’s all the time the pole man needs to be a kart length ahead into turn 1, while grid 2 is side by side with grid 3. So it is written, and so it would be normally. Although on this occasion Jack Bolton slotted into 2nd, Tim Hill settled on his grid 3 and Martin Gurnett fought off the fast starting Darrell Lowe. Docker had a 0.7secs lead at the end of lap 1, and Bolton had a similar margin over Hill, gap to Gurnett and the field settled into line to check their speed and set good times for the next grid. A tenth here, a tenth there, the field circulated. Gurnett caught Hill’s tow on lap 5 to make it a 5way dice for 3rd, James Hattersley moving by Lowe, Simon Lloyd bringing up the rear but moving ahead of Darrell as Mike Townley and Josh Pettitt faded from the scene, Julian Clist heralding the main group in 10th, he was 6secs off the lead. Into the 2nd half of the race, Bolton crept a little closer to the leader but was waiting for a mistake to join battle. A couple of small errors is all it takes, a heavy kerb here an over shoot there, and Hattersley was on Gurnett’s bumper looking for 4th, pulling the trigger inside into Xmas, putting Lloyd on to the back of Martin to make a trio. Bolton got to within 0.3secs of the leader (a few kart lengths) and stalled unable to close, edging in and out of the tow up to Xmas. Hattersley towed Gurnett, Lloyd and Lowe back up to Hill to make it 5 after 3rd place. A grandstand finish that could yet see the leaders come back to them as Bolton edged a little closer 0.2secs. 0.3, 0.4, 0.3, arrrrgggh Stephen got a better run out of the toe of the boot, that the slipstream could not compensate enough for a pass into Xmas. Hattersley took a pop at Hill into The Boot, but the old man was having none of it, James got him into turn 1, only for Sonny Jim to have to hand it back into Xmas and then Gurnett took a lump out of James into Inkermans for a 4place penalty. That was the end of that, Hill was safe, Lloyd would settle for 4th, Lowe with a contact penalty of his own finished 5th but handed it over to Hattersley. Up front Bolton couldn’t close the gap on Docker. It was lights to flag and an excellent 1st win of the season Stephen.
Richard Burrows did not even contest turn 1 from grid 2 in the B Final, he lifted to let Nick Breadner have the line from pole position, it seems like a sensible idea, but that lift when everyone is foot to the stop, even for an instant is a mistake. It’s a learning curve, being learnt quickly by Riko, but Ben Benneyworth moved into 2nd place. Richard was holding off the field up to Xmas and effectively handing qualification to Breadner, and Benneyworth was pulling clear. To be fair it did look like it had set up an entertaining battle for 4th place between Burrows, Sam Jones, Andrew Cherry ,Paul Goddard and Matt Liston. But Burrows wandered off the racing line in Crook, and Goddard half spun at Xmas even though he kept going, and that pulled it apart before it had got started. Breadner was gone, gone. Benneyworth had had to check up to lap the recovering David Stirling, Nick Reynolds and Jonathan McLeod, excluded for a clumsy mess in Zulu on lap 1, so Sam Jones was in play for a while before Ben stretched away into a comfortable 2nd place. Matt Liston closed on Jones into the last couple of laps but there was precious little sport to write about. The pair were nearly 7secs behind race winner Breadner. Lee Henderson drove up from 12th to finish 5th 10secs off the lead. A poor race.
Still that left us the last race of the day and the A Final would not disappoint. Not at all. Neil Fisher who I know from Easykart, always good value in terms of racing had said “Hi”, wondered why I’m not covering Easykart [Rolls Eyeballs] anymore earlier on. Why indeed? When I have Club100… He had pole position and he couldn’t believe how heavy (and a bit slow) Club100 karts were in the Pre A compared to his Easy (honestly, I’m not trying to cause trouble for Neil with Massive, I said if you saw how this lot drive [thumbs toward dummy grid] you’d understand why a chewing gum owner driver chassis just won’t do… Had pole position.
If you couldn’t be pole, then grid 3 was probably better than grid 2, so Bolton was well placed, James Hattersley was poor, giving Bolton a clear run into 2nd and Lowe had done James by the exit of Crook. Zulu did its filtering job and on to the back straight the line was admittedly stretched but everyone was in draft range of the kart in front, beginning with Fisher, then Bolton, Lowe, Hattersley, Gurnett, Lloyd, Hill, Docker, Price, Ballinger with maybe Chris Murray just out of the tow heading the rest of the field in 10th. Bolton took a run into Inkermans side by side with Fisher into Zulu, Neil lifted and let Jack take the line and the race was on, Lowe, Hattersley, Gurnett concertinaed in. Lap 3 Fisher struck back into Inkermans and by the bottom of Zulu, Lloyd and Hill were into the group. A lap later Docker drafted in to make 8 for the win. When Hattersley pushed through Lowe at Inkermans, Ballinger joined the tail of the group, Fisher and Bolton edged clear, only for Neil to run wide at Inkermans to let Jack take on the lead and by the time they’d spoilt each other’s line through Zulu the group was coming back together as a 9… -ish as Ballinger struggled to stay in tow. Behind Dave Price and Chris Murray must have been wishing they could join the party. Inkermans on lap 11 Fisher emerged in front after a determined attempted by Hattersley to do the pair around the outside into Zulu but he had had to let it, and Bolton go. It’s fair to say the trio held the whip hand while Lowe, Gurnett and Lloyd were just pleased to be there but willing, Hill had passed Docker which had detached the pair into Ballinger but it was clear they were desperate to get back on the bus. Mike Townley had moved to the front of 4 kart dice with Murray, Stuart Kirk, comfortably heading for Super-Heavy honours, and Dave Price over 10th place. Shenanigans at Xmas let Hill & Co back onboard.
Ultimately it always looked like it was going to Fisher vs Bolton for the win, the others were there fair enough but neither could really be shifted out off the front two positions, although was Hattersley was game to try when he could. Lowe looked in it for the points. Three laps from the finish Neil ran a little wide out of Zulu, not a mistake as such, but by this stage, possibly the only chance Jack might get, he threw it down the inside into The Boot, compromised Neil had James inside past the Toe and through to 2nd inside into Paddock. This was Bolton’s chance, James drafted in but had to cover up to Xmas, slow off the corner Neil dived into Inkermans, side by side coming off James hung on, by exit of Zulu Jack was gone. Penultimate lap Fisher got Inkermans to work again running James out wide, there was too much to do to run Bolton back down.
Best race in Heavies since Red Lodge.
Next stop Rye House on 25 October.