Jenman takes advantage. Both O’Neill’s pointless
Jack O’Neill in Le Mans. Andrew Neill underweight. Jenman dominates and some lanky bloke gets a trophy.
As we reach the halfway point in the championship, the battle for supremacy already looks to be between Owen Jenman and Jack O’Neill. The more interesting fight is really for the title of “best of the rest”. With O’Neill missing this race to watch Alonso take a lucky win at Le Mans, the victory was Jenman’s to lose. Things are very close between Greg Barnard, Darri Simms, Eddie Hall and Geoff Saunderson. Having missed the last round, Simms needed a strong result at Buckmore park.
As with the morning endurance, qualifying saw one of the closest sessions this year. Jenman and Chris Brown set identical times to the nearest thousandth of a second. Jenman was awarded pole position by virtue of setting the lap time first. Alex Ring was third but only seven thousandths of a second off the fastest time. Greg Barnard, Andrew O’Neill and Eddie Hall were next up. In fact the top 19 karts were separated by less than a second, such is the competitiveness of Club100.
Chris Brown was caught napping at the start and he had a slow getaway. This caused the whole of the outside row to be slow away. Andrew O’Neill slotted in behind Owen Jenman and Alex Ring moved to third. Brown ended the first lap down in seventh. Eddie Hall was eighth, Mitchell Althasen ninth and Geoff Saunderson tenth.
Greg Barnard took Daryl Snelling for fourth place on lap three. Behind these two there was a fierce battle going on between Darri Simms, Chris Brown, Geoff Saunderson and Eddie Hall. This quartet swapped places a number of times over the next few laps. Chris Brown was the big loser in this battle; appearing to struggle for pace, he dropped further and further back.
Hall got past Snelling and set about catching back up to Saunderson, Barnard and Ring. Both had all managed to pull out a couple of seconds during the battle. Ring was managing to hold them at bay but was dropping further behind Andrew O’Neill who was, in turn, unable to keep up with Jenman’s pace.
By half distance, Jenman had a comfortable two and a half second lead over Andrew O’Neill. Ring was coming under increasing pressure from Saunderson and Barnard. Further down the order, Chris Brown was continuing to struggle and was doing well to hold off a huge train of karts led by Daryl Snelling. Kyle Sager, Darri Simms and Emil Bernstorff were all right there and ready to punce. There was a bit of a gap to Tim Ellis who was enjoying a duel with Jack New. Then there was a large gap to Tom Maton and Tobi Shomade who were also in a close battle and swapping places and being chased hard by Iain McGregor and David Hamer.
Back at the front and Geoff Saunderson tried to muscle his way past Alex Ring for third. An opportunist move from Greg Barnard saw him take them both. This trio continued to fight it out and Ring took the position back three laps later. The positions swapped many more times before finally settling down with Saunderson managing to pull out a gap over Barnard.
Almost unnoticed at the front, Owen Jenman took an easy win, over four seconds clear of Andrew O’Neill. He was a further eleven seconds clear of Saunderson who finished third on the road. However, he had received a four place penalty for contact during his battle with Barnard and Ring and this demoted him to seventh. Andrew O’Neill received a two place penalty for exceeding track limits and dropped to fourth. So Jenman won with Greg Barnard classified second, Alex Ring third, O’Neill fourth and Eddie Hall fifth.
His race one victory gave Jenman pole for race two. Once again the outside line was slow getting away. O’Neill lost three places in turn one but an amazing couple of manoeuvres saw him quickly into second by the time the karts rounded the second hairpin. It was almost as if his kart weighed nothing…
There was quite a spectacular pile up at the exit of hairpin one with a number of karts mounting each other. With usual Club100 efficiency, they were able to clear the track without needing to stop the race.
With Jenman and O’Neill disappearing into the distance again, it was Alex Ring who was having to defend third place, this time from Eddie Hall and Greg Barnard. Hall made a move on lap eight and Barnard duly followed him through. Jack New, Geoff Saunderson and Emil Bernstorff also joined the party. By half distance Ring was struggling to defend from the charging pack and he ultimately came off badly on lap 24 when Saunderson attempted a move which didn’t work. He dropped behind New and Bernstorff and Ring dropped six places.
Behind this battle, Darri Simms was slowly trying to work his way up the order. A lot of the midfield had spread out but there were still a few dices going on. Tobi Shomade, Tim Ellis and Kyle Sager were running nose to tail. Tom Maton and John Regan were also in an extremely close battle.
Back with the leaders and Owen Jenman was coming under increasing pressure from Andrew O’Neill. He managed to find a way through with ten laps to go but, sadly, in his efforts to chase Jenman down he clipped the bollards too many times and was handed a one place penalty, meaning victory would be impossible. Some thirteen seconds behind this duo, Hall had been valiantly holding off Gred Barnard for the majority of the race. Lap 30 and Greg Barnard finally got past Hall but had a penalty hanging over him for earlier contact with both Hall and Jack New. With three laps to go, Jack New also got past Hall, demoting him to fifth on the road.
So Andrew O’Neill took victory on the road but his one place penalty dropped him to second. There was more controversy after the race, however, when it emerged that, either by virtue of a miscalculation or blatant cheating, he was found to be underweight and was promptly excluded from the result. This left no doubt as to the victor. Owen Jenman made it a double win. O’Neill’s disqualification and Barnard’s penalty handed second place to Jack New and third place to Eddie Hall.
It was pretty inevitable before anyone set wheel on track really. His two wins gave Owen Jenman the overall victory. A second and a fourth gave Greg Barnard second place. A fifth and a third was enough to give Eddie Hall third place and mean he had to refer to himself in the third person quite a lot in this race report.