The Last Days of Summer, Jonathan Elliott Heavyweight Champion 2015
Even if Jonny failed to add to his 12 wins this season in starts 15 & 16 on Club100’s return to Lydd such has been his dominance of the 2015 Heavyweight Class we can’t start the report without congratulating him on winning the championship by simply taking the start of the A Final, sufficient as it was to confirm an unassailable lead. Which is fine as he’d done all the heavy lifting in the previous 7 rounds. At least he raced hard in A Final Jonathan finishing 2nd to Jack Bolton after his switch across from Lightweights. And with the arrival of Steve Downes winning the A Pre Final indeed it’s a shame they were not in the championship from the beginning, which is not to knock the battle for 2nd overall Darrell Lowe, Josh Pettitt, Tim Hill, Stephen Docker, Julian Clist, Daniel French, Mike Townley, Simon Lloyd, Eric Mignon and even as far as James Hattersley stepping up his game with a brace of 3rd places at Lydd. As the battle for 2nd, from 2nd to 13th is covered by 47points but it’s a shame the Heavyweight title is already decided.
Paul Williams and John Foulds comfortably qualified from the Pre B Final with Nick Butler and Ben Benneyworth, Ben started on pole position and converted it to the lead ahead of Foulds, Williams and Stuart Kirk. Kirk having to hold off Christopher Murray allowing the leading trio to get away but when the race settled down it would be Peter Watson bringing the field through as Murray began to press again on Kirk and into a 5 way fight for those 4 precious qualifying spots. Foulds dived into the lead into the Horseshoe and set up Benneyworth for Williams’ pass on the exit of the last corner after Ben went narrow to hold Paul off on the entrance. Behind Watson’s control of the pack was being challenged by Nick Butler, Daren Townsley, Mark Turner, and Karolis Koncikas. Butler got by at the 2nd attempt pulling out of the draft on the back straight. Watson then had to struggle to hold off Turner in his slide down the order. Into the 2nd half of the race Foulds, Williams and Benneyworth were clear and comfortable even if Williams was pushing Foulds and went through to the lead and a win by 0.4secs. Meanwhile Murray had seen off Kirk only to be pressed by Butler who eventually pulled a lovely move not into the Horseshoe, but inside it as Murray pulled right to straighten the line for the long left to go 4th. It was perfect timing by Nick as Mark Turner had caught up to occupy Murray to the finish.
But Christopher Murray made no mistake in the B Final as he and Mark Turner settled in to be the last 2 qualifiers for the A Final although that was by no means certain, at least for Murray. He started 4th, Turner got the perfect start from pole, while Daren Townsley on grid 2 was all crossed up into the first chicane holding off Enzo Quirino on the first start, Murray spun out, which also left Sam Jones buried in the wood chippings and the abort flag came out. Phew. The second start was probably worse, Townsley all over the place again into the first corner although the spinners were deeper in the pack as Alex Fell, Andrew Cherry and Jonathan McLeod parked waiting for assistance, and it was much to Turner’s chagrin (another huge advantage lost). We’d try again. Turner and Townsley got away, Quirino held off and up Stuart Kirk and when he went in side by side with Enzo into the 2nd chicane they both ran in too deep to allow Murray to drive straight by on the exit. Kirk, Alex Fell, Jeffrey Williams and Michael Jungling then clashed into the Horseshoe, Fell and Williams kept going. Up front Townsley had got to the lead but couldn’t drop Turner and Murray was closing. Murray caught up with Turner before halfway in a race now reduced to 13 laps and Mark upped his game closing after 2 attempts by Chris on 2nd place and the last qualifying spot for the A Final, two more failed attempts by Murray released Daren briefly before Mark tried a speculative move into chicane 2 on the lead. This brought Chris straight back into play and on the exit he dived inside the pair into hairpin for the lead. A slightly desperate Townsley lunge into the Horseshoe to provide the rare sight of 3 drivers side by side through the corner, Murray was clear as Turner muscled Townsley over the kerb on the exit to hold the high ground into the last corner, with 2 laps to go Daren was spent. Murray and Turner advanced.
In between the B Finals Martin Gurnett failed to convert his fastest time (kudos) in Timed Practice and his Pre A Final pole position, his lead lasting the half a lap down to the hairpin. He and Josh Pettitt on grid 2 had made a cracking start, leaving Bolton holding off Downes who in turn had a whole heap of trouble beginning with Michael Ballinger and James Hattersley. Pettitt grabbed an early lead but once Steve Downes had secured 4th place after a fairly frantic lap 1, he leapfrogged his way over Jack Bolton into the Hairpin, then Gurnett the next lap (in the same place), then (would you believe it?) Pettitt at the Hairpin on the next lap. This was all done by employing the slipstream in the fastest configuration of the circuit (to get on the bumper of the kart ahead) without attempting a pass into the last corner, rather employing the hairpin with it’s longer braking zone as his killing ground. He broke the invisible elastic to Pettitt which probably cost Josh 2nd place to James Hattersley, James getting passed Bolton, then Simon Lloyd after Simon’s failed attempt on Gurnett. James would have to wait a few laps to execute the same pass into the last corner to move into 3rd and the pass screwed up Martin’s exit from the corner and saw him slide down the line, finishing behind a fairly anonymous champion to be Jonathan Elliott, who’d had an early dice with Jack Bolton and Dave Pethers but appeared to be just settling for the points, he didn’t really need in 8th. Anyway Hattersley was towing a group of 4 up to Pettitt and was in position to take 2nd spot from Josh into the 2nd half of the race, I believe down at the hairpin. Pettitt finished with Simon Lloyd on his bumper in 4th, Dave Pethers coming from 16th on the grid to the top 5 as he passed Stephen Docker into the closing stages, 2nd through 6th covered by less than 2secs at the finish, but Downes was 4secs up the road. A quality drive from Steve.
Pole Position for Dave Pethers on the back of some serious drafting in the Pre A Final, probably off the bumper of Jack Bolton couldn’t carry him through the A Final, his kart just lacking the ultimate pace. Dave was annoyed, but still happy with his day. Bolton sat on Dave’s bumper until they returned to the hairpin on lap 2 for an easy pass, then champion-to-be Elliott block passed Dave the next lap as the 3 had got clear of the field on the opening lap, a field which was then being held up by Pre A Final winner Downes later Martin Gurnett. Hattersley worked his way through and caught up with Pethers to go 3rd near half distance but he was 2secs off the leader and was only on the leaders pace. It meant we were left wondering if Elliott going to win the championship in style? He was surfing in and out of Bolton’s wake into the last 6 laps, an errant back marker (Lennie Wood) gave Jack a fright, but he also messed up Jonny’s exit from the first chicane. That seemed only fair. Elliott only got close enough again on the last lap but no one could pull a move from so far back inside of the last corner at such speed, not even the champion, so Jack Bolton took his first win in Club100. He was pleased. But so was Elliott. Ben Benneyworth had come through through from the Pre B Final to finish leading SuperHeavyweight in the A Final even if it was only 20th place. A win is a class win is a win. Lovely day. If were lucky we can have sunshine again, but it won’t so warm. For. Sure.
Next stop Whilton Mill (Zulu layout) on 11 October.