Lights To Flag Win For Joe Holmes But Steve Brown Stays On Top


Steve Gray
Elite Sprint Championship 2018, Rd.3,

Rye. The home of British Karting. A proud boast from another iconic track. Is it the Karting equivalent of Monte Carlo with the canal as its backdrop? Probably not. Great track though and good for spectating too as its compact nature allows for a view of the whole circuit. It’s one of the oldest Kart circuits in the country and is, as most people are aware, the circuit where Lewis Hamilton was first introduced to motor racing. Like many circuits it’s getting ready for some re-surfacing and it’s a pity about the permanently wet infield which can lead to water being dragged on to the track. But then, that’s part of the challenge. For the third round in a row the weather was overcast and cold with a threat of rain later in the day. A day for the spectators to wrap up well. Or hide in the Clubhouse!

Heat 1

Steve Hicks on pole from Dan Healey with Pete Harris and Adam Wright on row two from Rob Newman and David Longman. It was a bit of a scruffy start as the field entered the long right handed Stadium corner for the first time with Hicks just hanging on to the lead. But not for long. By the time the field crossed the line at the end of the lap he was down to fifth with Harris leading from Longman, Stephen Cornwell and reigning Champion Joe Holmes both of whom had started alongside each other on the fourth row. Healey had had a fraught first lap and dropped to sixth. Second lap and Longmans hopes took a dive as he was punted out by Cornwell at the hairpin resuming dead last whilst Cornwell would suffer the inevitable post race exclusion. Holmes kept himself clear of the incident and swept by into second, rapidly closing in on Harris for the lead. Hicks too took advantage to move back into third. Four laps in and Holmes was at the front and immediately began to stretch his lead eventually taking the win but over four seconds to lay down a marker to his rivals. He also set the fastest lap on his final tour. Harris came home a comfortable second with Hicks third having not quite had the pace to challenge for second. Healey was next. After a scruffy few laps he got it together deposing Jay Elliott and Chris Dixon in successive laps. Dixon came home a lonely fifth with Elliott next leading a quartet of drivers covered by less than a second who gave us an entertaining battle over the closing laps. Steve Brown was just 0.063 adrift of Elliott as they crossed the line ahead of Tom Dix and Ian Blake whilst Rob Newman completed the top ten.

Heat 2

Jack Bolton on pole from Elliott with Blake and Sam Spinnael behind. Rob Moore and Dix next from Championship leader Brown and Jack Harding. A good clean start from the front row and Bolton led across the line at the end of the first lap already seven tenths up on Elliott. Spinnael was next from Blake with Dix fifth. Down the order, Harris was up to ninth from grid thirteen whilst Holmes had climbed from grid eighteen to twelfth. At the front Bolton continued to lead but Elliott had stabilised the gap whilst Blake had moved back into third. But it was Dix into fourth as Spinnael fell to sixth behind Brown. The leaders steadily pulled out a gap as Elliott settled into second and didn’t press the leader too hard until the penultimate lap when he dived to the inside at Pylon to take the lead. The win would have been his in any event as Bolton had picked up a penalty for cone abuse, a fate which also befell Moore and Harding dropping the former from a well earned sixth to seventh. With Bolton dropping to third Dix took second with Spinnael fourth from Newman who fought his way up from grid fifteen. Blake was next. Having run third for much of the race he dropped to seventh on the final lap only to be promoted to sixth after Moore’s penalty. Brown, Hicks and Holmes completed the top ten with Holmes setting the fastest lap.

Heat 3

Pole for Dan Truman with 2017 Clubman’s Champion Harry Neale alongside. Dixon and Ed Barrs next from Holmes and Harding. Cornwell and Brown on row four with Longman and Dix completing the top ten. Truman led the field away but it was Holmes who caught the eye going the long way round the right handed Stadium and getting hit several times. But he’s a tough racer and he was resolute in his defence and up second as the field sped down to the first hairpin. Dixon hung onto third with Brown up to fourth. Neale lost out badly dropping to eighth by the end of the lap. It would get worse too. By the end of lap four he was at the back of the field after a coming together with Barrs. A racing incident. As the leaders came out of Pylon for the third time Truman ran a little wide and Holmes seized the opportunity to make a move into the final turn. He made it stick and was through into the lead. Dixon still ran third but Cornwell had moved past Brown for fourth. But not for long. Within a lap Brown was up to second ahead of Dixon with Truman fourth. Brown immediately began to close in on the leader but could he get by? Despite His best efforts the answer was no Holmes taking the win by just 0.094. Newman took third. A good drive this too. Starting from grid eleven he’d climbed to fifth after three laps only to drop back to eight and then fighting back up to third. He gave vain chase to the leaders but couldn’t make up the gap. Blake took fourth. Another great drive which saw him climb from grid sixteen whilst behind him was Elliott who arguably put in an even better shift climbing up from grid eighteen although his cause was helped by a one place penalty for Truman, again for cone abuse. Harris was next ahead of Cornwell, Healey and Spinnael the latter suffering a two place drop for climbing the kerbs too often.

Final

With two heat wins Holmes was on pole with Elliott alongside and Brown and Newman on row two. Blake and Dix on three from Spinnael and Healey with Bolton and Harris completing the top ten. Holmes led the field away but it was Blake from the inside of row three who caught the eye, muscling his way into second with Elliott third ahead of Newman as Brown dropped to fifth. Dix and Spinnael both got delayed whilst Hicks moved up from grid eleven to sixth. Moore too got a great start climbing from thirteenth and into the top ten. Holmes continued to pull steadily clear at the front whilst Blake’s second spot lasted but a lap as he fell back to fifth behind Elliott, Newman and Brown. Hicks had the bit between his teeth and deposed Blake for fifth only for the latter to grab the place back a lap later. Newnan was pressing Elliott hard for second and moved ahead with four laps run. Half distance and Holmes was well clear and keeping everything clean and tidy whilst Newman, Elliott, Brown, Blake, Hicks, Healey, Bolton, Dix and Moore were running line astern. With two to go no one was going to catch the flying Holmes but Elliott briefly took over in second. Newman fought back past Elliott but ran wide falling briefly behind Brown before grabbing the place back at Pylon on the final lap. Holmes took the win almost four seconds up the road whilst Newman crossed the line second only to drop a place for cone abuse thus handing second to Elliott. Brown was next with Blake next across the line but penalised for cone abuse handing fifth to the irrepressible Hicks. Healey was next with Bolton in his wheel tracks. Spinnael and Dix completed the top ten with Elliott spoiling Holmes record by taking fastest lap.

The Championships

Despite finishing off the podium Steve Brown remains at the top of the standings from Joe Holmes with Jay Elliott third after his best result of the season. Ian Blake drops to fourth with Rob Newman fifth and the leading Baby Prem.

An exciting mornings racing for the Elites and Clubman’s so how would the Lights, Heavies and the EssexFlatPack Super Heavies fare in the still bitterly cold weather for the afternoon entertainment?

Reflections

A day for a few firsts. A first Clubman’s win for Darrell Lowe. A first win in the Lights for James Venning. A first win for Seb Algieri in the Heavies and A first SHW win for Paul Williams. Great to see the joy spread around.
Will it ever warm up? With a month to go before the next round at Shenington JV has promised that it will. So don’t forget your umbrellas. I confess that I was so cold at Rye that I didn’t spend as much time in the paddock as I would have liked instead opting for the relative warmth of race control. A very interesting experience listening to all the radio chatter and watching just how much work goes into making the days racing so successful. We saw some very good marshaling too at Rye. They were very alert and used the blue flags when necessary to good effect. A couple of points to note. It was a little disappointing to see several drivers throwing the front end of the Karts down when things hadn’t gone right. Don’t blame the karts. They are not at fault and should be loved and cherished. Also, let’s not forget the golden rule. When you spin off, get your foot on the brake. No one should need reminding of this.

See you all at Shenny, the Club’s first visit for eleven years. It’s good to have a change!!