The Old Yorkshire One-Two, Sort Of. This Time It’s Rob Newman After A Cone Penalty For Joe Holmes


Steve Gray
Elite Sprint Championship 2018, Rd.9,

A glorious morning greeted the competitors for the second visit of the season to Rye House for the ninth round of this season’s absorbing Championships. After the open spaces of Lydd the tight and twisty Rye circuit offers a different type of challenge. A bit like Monaco without the glamour. A circuit where it’s so important to be tidy particularly through the first two hairpins where it’s easy to out brake yourself and not only lose time but places too.

Heat 1

Pole for Dan Healey with Steve Hicks alongside. Championship leader Joe Holmes and Dan Truman on row two. Rob Newman and Chris Dixon on three from Daz Teal and Ed Barrs with Jack Bolton and David Longman completing the first five rows.
Healey led the field away but as is so often the way at Rye as the field swept into the long right handed Stadium bend Hicks on the outside lost out as Holmes dived down the inside and into second. Hicks did well to hang on to third as Newman, having got the better of Truman on the inside of Stadium, pressured him hard out of the corner and down into the first hairpin. Further back, Dixon, Barrs and Longman all got shuffled down the order whilst Bolton, a returning Steve Brown and Pete O’Connor all moved forward. Healey continued to stretch his lead at the front from Holmes whilst Hicks succumbed to the pressure from Newman and dropped to fourth. Newman rapidly made inroads into the gap to Holmes as Hicks began to fall back into the clutches of a following Truman. And closing in on both of them was Brown followed now by Jay Elliott who had moved up rapidly from grid thirteen.

Healey continued to lead, maintaining the gap to Holmes at around four tenths, with Newman a couple of Kart lengths back from the latter. Suddenly the gap was cut in half. The leader had clipped a cone, losing momentum and earning himself a one place deduction at the flag. Knocking over a cone is a penalty which is never going to be overturned. It’s clear cut. Healey got his head back down and began to pull clear again whilst Holmes and Newman gave valiant chase. Behind these three the battle for fourth intensified. Hicks still ran in the position but in the space of two laps Truman dropped from fifth to eighth behind Brown and Elliott. A lap later and he was ninth as Teal fought his way by. Healey crossed the line some four tenths up on Holmes who had pulled clear of Newman at the flag despite Newman setting the fastest lap of the race three from home. Healey’s penalty dropped him to second behind Holmes whilst Brown took fourth after a last lap pass on Hicks. Elliott took sixth with Teal next from O’Connor whilst Truman and Longman completed the top ten.

Heat 2

Pole for Longman with Brown alongside from O’Connor and Elliott. Peter Harris and Harrison Darvill on row three from Harry Neale and Rob Moore and Healey and Hicks completing the first five rows. Longman and Brown led the field away with O’Connor next but behind these three it all got a bit untidy. Elliott got shuffled down the order whilst Harris slotted into fourth ahead of a fast starting Neale. Down the order Holmes, from eleventh and Newman from thirteenth were both on the move. But then Elliott and Holmes made contact with the former judged the aggressor. Holmes spun to a halt restarting last. Newman also got delayed. Thereafter Holmes would circulate at the rear of the field picking up three penalties for cone abuse and being classified last. Longman continued to lead but O’Connor was up to second whilst Brown dropped to fourth behind Neale with Harris fifth. Elliott meanwhile, having dropped to tenth was beginning to recover. Longman continued to lead from O’Connor whilst Neale and Brown fought over third. Harris remained fifth from Healey with many holding their breath lest we had a repeat of their clash at Lydd. There were no such problems this time with Healey making it by cleanly mid race. Fifth didn’t last for long though as a lap later Elliott made the place his. Harris immediately began to fall down the order finally finishing twelfth.

O’Connor took over at the front and Neale followed him through setting the fastest lap of the race seventh time around. O’Connor’s lead lasted just a lap before Neale took over at the front. And Elliott was still making up ground rapidly and closing in on the leaders. Healey was fourth and being chased down by Teal who had climbed up from grid eleven. It was still anyone’s guess as to who would take third as they circulated nose to tail with Neale now almost a second clear in first. Final lap and Elliott made it by O’Connor for second. Neale took the win with Elliott second across the line after a great recovery drive. But it was all for nothing in the results as he was excluded after his clash with Holmes promoting O’Connor back to second with Healey third. Teal was fourth after an exhilarating drive with Brown next after relegating Longman on the final lap. Hicks took seventh with Dixon next from Darvill and Barrs.

Heat 3

Jack Bolton on pole from Moore with Barrs and Neale on row two. Teal and Darvill on three from Dixon and Harris whilst Newman and Elliott completed the first five rows. Bolton got away badly from pole as did Moore which allowed Barrs into the lead. Behind these Newman got off to a flyer fighting hard through the first turns and crossing the line fourth at the end of the lap. Holmes, from thirteenth, and Hicks, from fifteenth, also climbed into the top ten by the end of the first lap. Barrs continued to lead but Newman was looking to move further forward. Unfortunately he made contact with Bolton. Bolton slipped back to seventh but kept going as Newman slipped into third behind Moore. Holmes was up to fifth. Barrs continued to lead with Moore snapping at his bumper but not making any real attempt to make a move for the lead. Newman was over a second adrift in third ahead of Teal, Holmes and Neale and then a gap back to Elliott and Dixon. With eight run and Newman closing Moore was into the lead. But his glory was brief as within half a lap Newman hit the front. And there he stayed crossing the line a few kart lengths up on Moore but then getting docked four places down to fifth after his clash with Bolton.

So Moore took his first ever win in the Elites. And well deserved it was too after a controlled performance. Barrs was classified third ahead of the flying Holmes with Neale next from the penalised Newman. Teal was next up from Elliott with Dixon, Bolton and O’Connor completing the top ten. Holmes set the fastest lap on the final tour and established a class record.

Final

Teal on pole from Healey with Holmes and O’Connor on row two. Newman and Neale shared row three from Hicks and Barrs with Moore and Dixon on row five. Teal led the pack away with the front rows coming perilously close to overtaking the pace Kart before it pulled over. Teal led into and out of the first turns but Healey lost out dropping to fourth with Holmes second from Newman. O’Connor slipped to sixth behind Moore who was lightening quick at the start and kept himself out of trouble. With two laps run Holmes took over at the front and almost unbelievably that was it in terms of position changes at the end of the lap amongst the top eight for the rest of the race. Something of a testament to how competitive the Elites are. Newman took over in second from Teal just before half distance and then began to close the gap to the leader. But Holmes was still half a second up the road whilst Teal was holding off Healey for the final podium spot with Moore running an excellent fifth and looking comfortable. Last third of the race and Newman visibly began to close in on the leader, setting the fastest lap of the race on the twelfth tour and establishing a new lap record.

Teal began to edge clear of Healey with Moore still fifth a couple of kart lengths clear of O’Connor. Penultimate lap and Newman was just a tenth back and pressing hard for the lead. By this point he’d noted that Holmes had a penalty and the win was his anyway but he wanted to push Holmes back into second reasoning that if Holmes was classified third it would cut the points gap between them in the standings even more. But Holmes isn’t the champion for nothing. He held his ground superbly to cross the line first. Whilst he wasn’t happy with being penalised down to second it’s almost impossible to get a cone penalty overturned so he had to settle for the punishment behind Newman who took his second Final win in the last two rounds. Teal took the final podium spot but it was close. Having looked as though Healey had settled for fourth he came back strongly over the final laps missing out by a couple of tenths. Moore came home fifth. His best ever finish in the Elites and he was ecstatic. A great result. O’Connor was sixth, well clear of Neale in seventh with Hicks next from Bolton and Barrs.

Round Up

A Yorkshire one-two on the Elites podium with Rob Newman again taking the honours after Joe Holmes’ penalty. But Joe still has a healthy lead in the standings whilst Rob remains the leading Rookie. Ian Blake remains third despite missing the round with Jay Elliott next from Daz Teal.

Reflections

Some great racing at Rye but there were so many penalties. No doubt the tight and twisty nature of the circuit contributes to this but still. And many of these were for cone abuse. Cone abuse is not a penalty anyone can argue against. If you hit one you get penalised. If you don’t then you don’t. Most of the time drivers aren’t even aware they’ve hit a cone but the observers don’t give a penalty for nothing. Again at Rye there were some drivers failing to acknowledge yellow and blue flags. One driver had his race ruined by a back marker. Time to brush up on flag signals?
See you all at Clay and don’t forget the O Plate at Bayford. I understand there are still a few places left so don’t delay.

Words: Steve Gray

Library Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography

Watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6izkL6DLWhs