Super heavies star at Whilton
Stuart Martin dominates proceedings but the super heavies are closer than you’d think.
Round 8 of the heavyweight sprint 60 championship saw the teams make their second visit of the year to Whilton Mill. Karting’s answer to Silverstone. The popularity of the event was highlighted by the 34 entrants. The circuit had also introduced a small mountain in place of a curb at the final corner and painted a few other bits red and white. It looked nice. Really nice. Something else that was nice for championship contenders Stuart Martin and Andrew Hall Jr was the absence of Matt Edmondson-Jones.
Anyway, Jack Noller put in a good lap to secure pole position for race one. Andrew Hall Jr was just over a hundredth of a second behind and joined him on the front row. Stuart Martin and Richard Allen made up the second row – Allen being the fastest of the superheavyweights. Steven Jennings was fifth. Six and second in class was Alex Pritchard. Chris Dean was third of the super lardarses and eleventh overall.
Noller led Hall Jr and Martin round the opening lap. Tubby boy Richard Allen was right behind them and leading fellow pie eater Alex Pritchard. Next up was Steve Jennings with Tim Hill and Tim Clark both getting past Josh Craft. Paul Mason was the big loser and dropped to the rear of the field after a first lap altercation.
Jack Noller came under increasing pressure and was run wide on lap two. He was bumped down to sixth place and had to make up ground. In the melee, super heavyweight Richard Allen took the overall lead. Hall Jr and Stuart Martin stayed second and third with Alex Pritchard now coming under pressure from a hard charging Tim Clark.
It wasn’t long before Andrew Hall Jr took the lead from Richard Allen but the super heavyweight didn’t seem at too much of a disadvantage and hung on to the back of him for a few laps before having to give way to the flying Stuart Martin. Martin was really on form and managed to get past Hall on lap 10.
While the battle at the front was close and intense, there was an equally close battle going on for the lead in the super heavies. Richard Allen was being hounded by Alex Pritchard. The duo keeping pace with the leading heavies despite their horizontally challenged form. There were some good midfield scraps going on as well; Mark Starling was leading a train of five drivers consisting of Daniel Russell, Jonathan Wort, Alex Lammin, Tarik Almou and Andrew Cherry. Likewise, a second behind this train, Jeremy Deeks, Stuart Osborn, Richard Newton, Damien Holmes and SpirosChristoforou were scrapping hard.
Pole sitter Noller had dropped well down the order. Clearly struggling with the pace of his kart, he was just about holding on to the tail of the top ten.
Former endurance team mates Stuart Martin and Tim Clark were still running first and second by half distance. Martin had pulled a gap of around a second from Clark who had leading super heavyweight Richard Allen right on his tail. Andrew Hall Jr and Alex Pritchard were also right in the mix.
Over the second half of the race, Clark managed to pull away from the group and close right up on Martin. Hall Jr finally managed to get past Allen for third, although the latter still led the super heavies from Alex Pritchard by a margin which had grown to three seconds.
Hall Jr had closed the gap on Clark In the closing stages but Clark was still hounding the leader. His attempts at the lead had failed and, starting lap 31, Hall made a move for second which he managed to make stick.
It had all been very close at the front. After 34 laps Stuart Martin crossed the line to win by half a second from Andrew Hall Jr. Tim Clark came home third, just holding off super heavyweight winner Richard Allen. He finished nearly four seconds clear of Alex Pritchard. A stunning performance by both drivers. Chris Dean was third but a long way back.
Because of his victory, Stuart Martin was on pole for race two. Hall Jr was alongside and Tim Clark third. It looked like being another intense race.
The top four held their positions off the line. Stuart Martin was on fire and built a two second lead by the end of the second lap. Tim Clark took second from Hall Jr and Richard Allen got back past Tim Hill and Alex Pritchard after having lost out on the opening lap.
As Stuart Martin continued to pull away at the front, this left Clark and Hall Jr to fight over second. As in the first race, Richard Allen was right behind them and leading fellow tubsters Tarik Almou and Alex Pritchard in a very close battle. Pritchard seemed more interested in waving his hands, pointing his fingers and looking behind him rather than focusing on getting on with actually driving which was as funny to watch as it was annoying. Seriously, it’s pointless.
Anyway, Steve Jennings was having a good battle with Tim Hill. Fighting over seventh place, they had Andy Hall Sr, Jonathan Wort, Daniel Russell and Jeremy Deeks right with them. In fact the mid field was very close throughout most of the race.
Andy Hall Jr spent several laps defending hard, having got past Clark on lap 15, . Clark’s attempts to get past cost him dearly on lap 20 and he dropped three places behind the super heavy triplet. Despite losing time he was still third in class with a comfortable gap over Steve Jennings and Jonathan Wort who was having a great day. Tim Hill had dropped out of this battle early in the race, retiring and watching from the sidelines.
By lap 22, Stuart Martin had extended his lead to 12 seconds. Traffic later in the race helped Andy Hall Jr to close the gap quite dramatically but, once clear, the gap went up again. Hall had a goo second and a half over the supremely chubby class which was now being led by Alex Pritchard once he’d stopped waving his arms like he was giving the Team America signal. Behind this group, Jack Noller was having a good recovery drive having started near the back of the field. He was slowly picking off drivers one by one and was knocking on the door of the top 10.
Although the battle for second overall remained close right until the chequered flag, it was an easy win for Stuart Martin who cruised home to win by a whopping fourteen and a half seconds. Andy Hall Jr came home second and Tim Clark was fourth on the road but third in class. Third on the road but first in class (confused?) was Alex Pritchard. Richard Allen managed to keep Tarik Almou at bay to take second by just two tenths of a second. That’s close.
Because of his double win, the overall victory went to Stuart Martin. Andrew Hall Jr’s two second places gave him a clear second overall. Tim Clark took third. Alex Pritchard took the super heavyweight win ahead of Richard Allen and Tarik Almou.