Mike Noon Lands First Win At Buckmore Park


Steve Gray
Lightweight Sprint Championship 2018, Rd.1,

A great mornings racing in the bitter cold and whilst the sun stayed out there was no question of the day getting any warmer. And a fleet of brand new shiny bright Karts to play in! It seems the new machines are a step up in the handling stakes providing better front end grip and a more stable rear end. And they look the business. At least we had very healthy entries for the Lights, Heavyweights and the Super Heavyweights sponsored for the full season by EssexFlatPack.co .uk. None of the previous year’s Champions in the Lights or Heavies were present to defend their respective crowns and SHW Champion Nick Trafford had shed a few pounds to run in the Heavies so it will be new names on the honours board at season’s end.

Qualifying Group 1

First to show was Nicholas Evans who surprised everyone almost immediately topping the times and gradually working down to stop the clock at 46.778. Andrew Ward was next finally breaking the 47 second barrier after six laps whilst Chris Woodger made it into the top three on his final run. One to watch this season I feel. Craig Rankine was next missing out on the top three by just 0.017. Fifth went to Andy Cowell, bravely moving from the Heavyweights for his twentieth season of racing with Club 100.

Group 2

A faster group this one with Matt Jones, Ben Atkinson and Mike Noon all setting quicker times than Evans in Group 1. Rob Langthorp, James Venning and Freddie Fincham all broke the forty seven second barrier and down in twelfth was Guy Holliday returning to Club 100 after an absence of several years. I won’t mention his Career as a tax Inspector. But it’s a funny story related to me by Simon Lloyd last year.

Pre B Final

Matthew Bell on pole from Harry Darby with Chris Moore and Emily Rogers on row two. Birelart refugee Toby Baldry on three from Dom Whiting with Jed Hicks, Stephen Westwood, Billy Robson and Ben Jones completing the top ten with the top four in the race to move up.

Bell led the field across the line with Darby hanging on round the outside but then spinning down the order at the first hairpin. It would appear that second on the grid at Buckmore is not a great place to be as several drivers all spun out of second throughout the day. Pole sitter Bell dropped to third behind Moore but it was Whiting from grid six who led the field across the line at the end of the first lap. With two laps run he was already pulling out a lead. Bell was into second with Moore third from Baldry and Rogers in fifth. At the front Whiting continued to stretch his advantage from Bell who was also pulling away from the chasing pack still led by Baldry but with Robson now into fourth. Moore was beginning to fade with Rogers fifth from Westwood. Whiting continued unopposed at the front setting fastest lap on the sixth tour. He eventually crossed the line over five seconds up on second placed Bell who was in turn over six seconds clear of Robson in third. But then Whiting was found to have run underweight and was excluded promoting Bell into first. Robson was third, half a second up on Baldry with Rogers taking the final spot a tenth clear of Westwood.

Pre A Final

Matt Jones on pole from Atkinson with Noon and Evans on the second row. Row three, Langthorp and Venning followed by Fincham and Ward with Woodger and Rankine completing the first five rows. Jones led the field away but it was Noon quickly into second as Atkinson dropped to third. Evans spun his chances away at the hairpin whilst Fincham and Ward both made smart getaways moving up to fourth and fifth. Jones continued to set the pace at the front chased by Noon as Fincham slipped by Atkinson for third. A lap later though and Atkinson responded grabbing the place back at the hairpin. Ward, Langthorp and Woodger were keeping in touch and only just ahead of Robson who had climbed spectacularly from grid twenty two to ninth. Jones continued to pull clear at the front with Noon just staying ahead of the battling Atkinson and Fincham who swapped places a few times before settling down and homing in on Noon. With three to go they were on his bumper but Fincham was in no mood to settle for fourth and took Atkinson for third. He immediately began pressuring Noon for second whilst Atkinson fell behind Woodger. None of them could catch the leader though and Jones ran out the winner just over two seconds to the good from Noon who held off Fincham by just over a tenth. Woodger was only a couple of lengths back in fourth with Atkinson fifth. The front five were almost six seconds clear of the Venning, Langthorp, Ward battle for sixth which ended in that order. Cowell would have been next but a two place penalty for multiple contacts saw him drop to eleventh whilst Holliday fared even worse, tenth on the road but penalised down to eighteenth. Probably a little rusty. All of which saw Wheeldon and Mackenzie complete the top ten.

B Final

Just two to qualify for the A final from the eighteen strong grid. Westwood on pole from Carew. Moore and Redstone on the second row from Cummings and Darby. Hicks and Jones on four from Mackie and Newburn on row four. Westwood made the most of his pole slot to lead at the end of the first lap but it had been a little frantic behind him. Carew dropped to sixth with Moore moving into second. Redstone fell to seventh and would fall down to ninth by the end of the second lap. Darby made a great start and was up to third followed by Cummings and Hicks. But it was Whiting who really caught the eye moving up from grid eighteen to ninth. A lap later and he was into seventh. Westwood continued to lead but it was Darby behind from Moore who had briefly fallen to fourth. Hicks was next from Carew ahead of Cummings with these runners some distance ahead of the flying Whiting. A couple of laps saw no changes in the top seven but Whiting was homing in on Cummings for sixth. It didn’t take long and he immediately began to close in on the rest of the leading pack. Westwood was looking comfortable at the front although Darby was still in touch. Behind though Whiting was moving inexorably up the order setting the fastest lap of the race on the eighth tour. In the space of two laps he caught and passed Carew, Hicks and Moore. He then got stuck for a lap behind Darby allowing Westwood to pull clear. Second though would be good enough to move him into the A final. With five to run he was into the qualifying spot. It was all he needed to do and it had been a remarkable effort. Two laps later and he had closed down the leader and looked to be intent on taking the lead. Into the second hairpin he made his move but Westwood held him off. At the top of the hill, not the greatest overtaking spot, he dived to the inside as they swept into the right hander. But Westwood had the line and Whiting got up on the kerb and spun backwards into the barrier in front of the paddock. A bad error but hopefully he’ll learn from it. I guess he wanted the B Final trophy more than he wanted another race. He certainly has some pace. Westwood took the win a tenth up on Darby but the latter was penalised two places handing the second qualifying spot to Moore.

A Final

Jones on pole from Noon with Fincham and Woodger on row two. Row three Atkinson and Venning from Langthorp and Ward on four and Wheeldon and Mackenzie completing the top ten. Jones failed to convert pole into the lead dropping to third behind a very fast starting Fincham with Noon hanging on in second. Woodger got shuffled down the order in the hairpins and would complete the first lap down in ninth. Atkinson was into fourth with Venning and Wheeldon immediately behind ahead of Cowell who had moved up from grid eleven. The three front runners were setting ferocious pace and quickly easing away from fourth placed Atkinson who was fending off the advances of Venning and Wheeldon. With five laps run we had new leader as Noon took over at the front and Jones moved into second as Fincham got a little out of shape as Noon passed him. He quickly recovered and began to pressure Jones for second which allowed Noon some breathing space at the front. If you can call three Kart lengths breathing space! Half distance and Jones succumbed to the pressure from Fincham but a lap later he had the place back. Venning meanwhile had finally had to give best to Wheeldon who homed in on Atkinson for fourth. The two of them ran almost line astern and quickly moved clear of Venning in sixth. Noon continued to lead but Fincham was now back into second and getting ever closer as Jones just dropped back a touch. Over the final laps Fincham tried everything he knew to get by Noon but it wasn’t quite enough and Noon took the win by just 0.056 with Jones third a little over half a second adrift. A great race. Atkinson took fourth some five seconds behind the leaders with Wheeldon next. These two had circulated almost together for over half the race with Wheeldon never quite close enough to get by. Good drives from them both though. Cowell was next just ahead of Woodger who took a one place penalty for cone abuse dropping him to ninth behind Mackenzie. Langthorp would have been next but a four place penalty saw him drop out of the top ten promoting Williams into the place. A good drive this from Williams up from grid twenty which also saw him set the fastest lap of the race.

Podium

Big smiles on the lights podium. Mike Noon was relieved to have held off the late race challenge from Freddie Fincham and Matt Jones. These three really were the class of the field in the lights Final. The bar has been set and it’s a high one.

A great days racing. Our thanks in particular to all the marshals and officials who had to stand out in the bitter cold. And a cracking job they did too. As did Chris Simpson and his team producing the live feed. This was brilliant. The two commentators, Andrew Mather and Howard Mitchell were very, very professional. If you haven’t seen it, take a look and remember to like and share it.

And finally a word of thanks to our sponsors, EssexFlatPack.co.uk, G3Pro and Dartford Karting.

Roll on Whilton Mill.