Tim Hill Continues To Make His Run At Heavy Title. Randall Dominates Supers


Steve Gray
Super-Heavyweight Sprint Championship 2018, Rd.7, Heavyweight Sprint Championship 2018, Rd.7,

Ellough might be a long drive being the most easterly Kart Circuit in the country but it’s well worth it. It’s a fabulous circuit with its mix of slow and fast corners. The circuit has been steadily improved over the years as have the off track facilities. Coming off the start and finish straight which is very slightly downhill the first corner is a quick right hander which almost doubles back on itself before running up the back straight into turns two and three which are almost one corner. Then it’s down to turn four, a sharp left hander followed by a short straight running parallel to the start and finish straight. Turn five is a very fast left hander followed by a short straight and a quick right hander, over a bump and then into the right and left complex at the entrance to the pit lane. So easy to get this corner wrong and lose momentum down the pit straight making yourself vulnerable into the right handed pit lane exit hairpin. This is followed by a short straight and then a left handed hairpin which leads into the final corner on the circuit which is taken hard on the throttles as it unwinds onto the start and finish straight. It’s great. With several drivers missing from the entry JV had once again thrown the meeting open to allow drivers from the Lights and Heavies to race in the Elites and Clubman’s in the morning and for Elite and Clubman drivers to race in the afternoon with the Lights and Heavies. Here’s how the day unfolded. Into the afternoon for the Lights, Heavyweights and EssexFlatPack Super Heavyweights the skies remained overcast with the breeze still gusting from the west. But it had stopped raining and the circuit was beginning to dry out just in time for the qualifying runs.

Qualifying

Mark Ridout topped the first session with a 53.132 nearly three tenths up on SHW Championship leader Trevor Randall whilst Rob Stapleton was third having topped the times for awhile. Stuart Jones was next. Great to see him back in the driving seat after his recent health scare. Miguel Hall completed the top five.

Nick Trafford topped the group 2 times initially but it wasn’t long before the qualifying maestro Tim Hill topped the times with a 53.079 which looked to have secured pole until on his very last lap Mark Turner produced a stunning 53.040 lap to take his first ever pole. Mathew Forkes was next from Rob Moore with all the top four quicker than the fastest group one runners. Nick Trafford was fifth with Jordan Salter the quickest SHW runner.

Pre B Final

Championship leader Seb Algieri just missed out on qualifying for the Pre A Final so he had it all to do from pole in the Pre B Final to have any chance of scoring some good points. Ben Cottle was alongside, just 0.003 slower than the pole sitter. Jeremy Deeks and Daniel Taylor shared row two with Lennie Wood and Mike Bodnar on three. Wayne Dunham and Ben Johnson occupied row four with Kelly Rogers and the first of the SHW runners Paul Williams on row five. And as the grid formed up a few spots of rain began to fall. Algieri led the pack away with Cottle behind but Deeks chances evaporated as he spun in the first turn. As the pack sorted itself out on the run up to turn two Algieri was already pulling clear of Cottle with Williams already up to third after a sensational start. Bodnar ran fifth behind Taylor with Dunham next from Johnson and Wood who dropped back after a moment at turn two. With Algieri pulling clear and lowering his lap times Cottle settled down in second dropping away from the leader but still pulling clear of the battle for the final qualifying spots.

Williams held third with Bodnar now up to fourth. Taylor was still in the hunt with Wood running sixth but well back down the road. He had Nima Oparver closing in. Oparver had been excluded from qualifying for being under the weight limit. He’d climbed rapidly up through the field. Algieri was by now well clear at the front with Cottle a safe second but Bodnar was intent on moving up to third. He dived up the inside of Williams into the hairpin at the pit lane exit only to lose the place as Williams cut back. Williams held on into the first turn whilst Taylor closed up on Bodnar. Bodnar though got better traction out of the turn and closed back up to Williams taking the place on the exit of turn three as Williams ran a little wide. Bodnar immediately began to pull clear as Williams was forced to defend from an increasingly feisty Taylor. As the track dried so the times came down with Algieri setting the fastest time on the final lap and crossing the line over four seconds clear of second placed Cottle. Bodnar took third with Taylor in the final qualifying spot having usurped Williams on the penultimate lap as they ran down to turn two.

Pre A Final

Turner on pole after a stunning qualifying lap with Hill alongside. Forkes and Moore on row two from Ridout and Trafford. Andrew Cherry and Michael Ballinger on four from Randall and Stapleton. Turner led the field up to the line but was a little slow getting away allowing Hill into the lead and as they ran down to turn two Moore also made his way by into second with Forkes next from Ridout and Trafford. The order remained static at the front for a couple of laps with Hill and Moore pulling clear of Turner. Out of turn one for the fourth time and Turner ran wide allowing Forkes to get a run up the inside into turn two. Turner defended but ran wide allowing Forkes through and as they ran down into turn four Turner again went wide allowing Ridout through and Trafford to get alongside. Turner though got better traction off the corner and swept back ahead at the fast left hander only to lose the position again over the final few corners of the lap. Stuart Jones also forced his way into the battle. Having started on grid eleven he’d quickly worked his way forward. Turner became his next target and he duly took him into the first corner. Contact was made however and Jones would take a four place deduction post race. Trafford too followed him through demoting Turner to seventh. Moore and Hill were running well clear at the front from Ridout, Forkes and Trafford.

Turner was coming under pressure from Ballinger who was mighty in the latter stages of the race holding off a very determined Darrell Lowe whilst coming into the picture was Algieri who had worked his way steadily up from grid twenty one. Penultimate lap and the order at the front looked settled but Turner got shuffled further down the order by Ballinger, Lowe and Stapleton. And then his race was suddenly over as he defended into turn two from the flying Algieri. They touched and Turner went off. It was adjudged a racing incident. Moore took the win a few Kart lengths ahead of Hill who took the maximum points as Moore was ‘’guesting.’’ Ridout took third ahead of Forkes and Jones who dropped to ninth promoting Trafford to fifth. Ballinger was next from Lowe and Stapleton with Algieri scoring much needed points in tenth. Trevor Randall was the leading SHW whilst Stuart Germon set the fastest lap in the class.

B Final

Just two to move up to the A Final. Pole for SHW Paul Williams with Lennie Wood alongside. Pre race Paul’s objective was to just make it to the A Final. Lennie was determined to go home with a trophy. Oparver was third on the grid alongside SHW Andrew Clarke. Row three saw two more of the SHW runners, Paul Goddard and Jonathan Mcleod with Jack Hollingsworth and Ben Johnson on row four and two more SHW’s Peter Gillett and James Edwards completing the first five rows.

Williams led the field away with Wood tucking in behind from Oparver and Goddard with Clarke dropping to fifth. A lap later and Goddard was into third but already the leaders were moving clear at the front. At the rear of the pack was another incident at the fast left handed turn five with six Karts off the road again fortunately again with no injuries to the drivers. It did take a while to clear up though. The leaders all raised their hands as they approached the scene and slowed the pace. Exemplary driving. Others please note. Williams continued to lead and it was clear that barring incident Williams and Wood would both make it to the A final. Mid race and Wood took over at the front as they exited the pit lane chicane. Williams didn’t defend the manoeuvre and settled in behind happy with second. Wood reeled off the remaining laps to take the win and the trophy with Williams second a couple of tenths adrift. Third went to Oparver with Goddard next from Johnson.

A Final

Moore on pole for the final race of the day from Hill. Ridout and Forkes on row two. Trafford and Ballinger on row three from Lowe and Stapleton with Jones and Algieri completing the first five rows. Moore led the field away but Ridout was into second as they went round the first corner. Hill though got better traction and was back into second as they approached turn two. Stapleton spun on the exit. Over the line at the end of the lap and Moore was pulling clear with Hill second from Forkes. Ridout was fourth from Ballinger and Lowe. Algieri was up to seventh ahead of Trafford who had a torrid first lap. Down the order the SHW runners were being led by Randall, running tenth on the road with Williams and Germon second and third in the class but running near the back of the field. With three laps run Moore had built a commanding lead. Forkes got inside Hill at the pit lane chicane to take second. Hill’s compromised line cost him momentum and both Ridout and Lowe moved ahead into, and out of, the Pit lane exit hairpin. But these were all drivers who might be taking home the silverware but wouldn’t be scoring points. And then came the drama.

Steve Bosley spun hard into the tyre wall at turn five and immediately Turner, Taylor, Williams, English, Brown and Germon followed him in. It was a hard hit but fortunately all the drivers escaped serious injury. Initially, there were those who thought Nick Trafford had been a bit ambitious with the kerb and dragged water on to the circuit but that wasn’t the case. Steve Bosley thought he had caused it by dragging water onto the circuit as he spun. But that wasn’t the case either. It had rained, very briefly and very localised but enough to catch the drivers out down the order. With the tyre barrier needing repair the decision was called to end the race with Moore taking the win from Forkes with Ridout taking the final podium spot. Lowe took fourth ahead of Hill who took maximum points with Ballinger next from Trafford and Algieri. A good performance from him after a poor start to the afternoon. Randall was next and first in the EssexFlatPack SHW division with Jones completing the top ten. Williams took second in SHW’s with series sponsor Germon third.

Round up

In the HW class Tim Hill takes over at the top after taking maximum points from the last two rounds. Seb Algieri drops to second with Nick Trafford third. Ben Bennyworth is fourth from Stuart Jones. Still all to play for though.

In the EssexFlatPack Championship Trevor Randall continues to dominate with Stuart Germon second from Paul Williams.

Reflections

A very entertaining days racing despite the weather. We were pretty unfortunate to have a wet and windy day in the middle of a heatwave but I’m sure most drivers and spectators enjoyed the day. Sadly there were a couple of incidents which could have been very serious but thankfully no one got badly hurt. Whilst the weather certainly played its part it was sad to see a number of drivers not heeding the yellow flags. I would suggest that all drivers have a good look at the rules regarding waved and stationary yellow flags. In the incident involving the Lights one driver actually came upon the scene and weaved his way through the stationary Karts and drivers. With drivers out of their Karts and pusher karts on the scene a nasty situation could have been made much worse. Be aware drivers, raise an arm and back off a little.
Also, some of the races got a little delayed as the grids formed up with drivers weaving to supposedly warm the tyres. Unfortunately, in doing so, they were preventing drivers from taking up their grid slots necessitating another rolling up lap. I think it’s dangerous. Aside from that it wastes time and I don’t believe it actually does any good.
Finally thanks to all the officials and the staff at Ellough and to Double Dash Media who I’m told did a great job commentating and filming at Ellough. I’ve not watched it yet. It’s my Thursday treat after finishing the reports. Had to feel for the camera operators who were standing out in the rain and wind all day. At least the marshal’s have little huts!
See you all at Lydd !

Words: Steve Gray

Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography