Four maximum point final wins now for Tom Golding, it’s impressive and it installs him as championship favourite, even early days as it is. Or does it? There’s no need to panic, Matt Hale was sort of on his pace in the challenging puddled conditions in the main A Final and Martin Theodorou grabbed an early lead before the order settled and Golding ran out the winner ahead of Matt and Martin. So maximum points again for Tom, yet as Theodorou moved ahead of Ben Atkinson (in the fairly meaningless championship table, at this stage), Ben who spun early on in the main event and I’ve learnt Tom can’t make every round that then requires a fault free run at every round. That will be a bit of an ask.
Indeed we could be looking in the wrong direction, as Tom explains, “I can’t make the 3rd or 4th round so I’ll have to come back for GYG and will have to keep winning, strong results will be minimum requirement if I’m to win the championship after missing 2 rounds. Time will tell and there are a few tracks on the calendar I’ll be new to so I have a lot on my hands really.” As to talk of championship favourite status, perhaps he’d have us look elsewhere, “I’m not sure if Nuno Costa is doing the rest of the season but he seemed quite fast around Buckmore.” Matt Hale, “I only did the sprints as our G3Pro Inters team had no race on the Saturday and I wanted to race with them. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest but qualifying went well and I made the A final. I should have put Tom under more pressure but I wanted a podium. Next time I won’t hold back.” Fair comment, by mid race it looked as Hale had indeed settled and the entertaining track limits and beyond, looking for grip style of Theodorou also made for mistakes and that time lost meant he finished 5secs back, but on a dry track, I’m sure Martin can push Tom hard and is unafraid of ‘having a go’ for sure.
It’s fair to say, without fear of contradiction, Rye House threw up variations in racing weather and track conditions, I haven’t seen outside karting in the Belgium Ardennes. Qualifying was dry Group 1 headed by Chris Powell, Hale and Ben Atkinson, Golding only managing 4th and Group 2 was very wet, headed by Theodorou, William Hemsley and Chris Penny.
That meant a wet track for the Pre B Final (that I regrettably missed) Chris Dixon and Jeff Chapman were on the front row, but their fortunes diverged, Chris off, Jeff leading, Adrian Mertens off row 2, David Darling off grid 5 and Derek Beckley, off grid 15, the latter making a superb start, to end lap 1, in the last 4th crucial qualifying spot for the Pre A grid. The force of nature that is Dominic Green moved into the frame, then later the dock, as he picked up the 3 penalties on his way to exclusion before the finish. Chapman held a comfortable lead into the 2nd half of the race, but one Green or another (Andrew) would eventually run him down, or over. To be fair Andrew ran cleanly to the victory from Chapman, it was then a long wait of 8secs before Sam Dicker came through in 3rd another 7secs before Lee Green, who after avoiding the carnage to emerge 9th from 19th on the grid at the end of lap 1, had run steadily as others fell off or were pushed off. When Stewart Luetchford slipped down the time sheet on the last lap, Lee moved into the last qualifying birth for the Pre A Final.
Expected to shine this season Christopher Powell had qualified fastest and of course started in pole position with Theodorou on the front row, Hale and Hemsley on row 2 for the Pre A Final, on a drying track with the sunshine and the breeze. Powell converted the hole shot into Stadium but tip toeing around the corner on the tighter line allowed Theodorou to push harder off line, finding first grip then traction around the outside on the exit for the lead, only for it to be Martin’s turn to be gentle through hairpin 1 so Chris could lead again out of the infield. Martin would not be denied and he’d edge into a few kart lengths lead, Tom Golding had made the best start, running 4th from 7th on the grid into Stadium behind Hale as the top 4 strung out. All were clear of Chris Penny, Ben Atkinson, William Hemsley and Alexander Lammin fighting over 5th. The race for the win was clearly going to be sorted between the top 4, or was it Theodorou and Golding? Tom picked off Matt into hairpin 1 and then Powell in Pylon two laps later to leave himself only half a second behind leader Theordorou. The second half of the race would be a driving competition, a test of skill yes, and bottle as the track dried rapidly and grip increased lap on lap. But it would be between Martin and Tom for the win, and Chris and Matt over 3rd place as Penny tried to settle into a comfortable (as it could be) advantage in 5th with time and space over Atkinson, Hemsley, Lammin, Andrea Fioravanti and Bobby Dawes, but that wouldn’t see him through to the finish. Golding moved on to Theodorou’s bumper, and briefly lead, but would have to wait until Martin was put off by trying to lap a back marker to take the lead, Martin pushing Tom hard right to the finish. Hale 2secs off the lead finished 3rd after seeing off a disappointed/ing Powell, quick again, but where does it go in races too often? 10secs off the lead Atkinson was 5th well clear of Lammin under pressure from Fioravanti. Hemsley overhauled a fading Penny in the closing stages for 8th. I guess Chris likes it wet. Stefan Scully made up the top 10.
The question for the B Final was always the obvious one, who will be the 2 drivers to qualify? But an additional corollary to this race was how long would it be before it tipped down? Just as the track was finally approaching dry after the qualifying rain, skies darkened and the wind whipped up again. Jacopo Fioravanti and Andrew Ward started on the front row and it was a clean start, through Stadium and as far as hairpin 1 at least. Fioravanti and Craig Luetchford off grid 3 emerged comfortably from the melee and the contact that left Ward down in 14th place. Jacopo had a race winning 1.2secs lead over Craig who had in turn a similar margin over Derek Beckley, Jason Kirk, Lee Norris and Stewart Luetchford chasing. But before 2 laps were in the books, it started to rain, and something about raindrops on the visor and leaving a margin had been strangely lost on the field. Fioravanti was first back to Stadium and first to back it into the tyre wall, he’d not be alone. The next lap Jason Kirk passed Beckley into Stadium still very obviously under yellow for the lead (for a penalty 17e) on the now shiny track. He pulled clear, lap times and driving standards plummeted with the condition of the track. Dominic Green moved through in devastating form last on the grid (26th), after his Pre B exclusion, to be 3rd on the road but he’d already picked up at least one of another 2 ABC penalties as the track started to puddle up in a fearsome downpour. Into the final quarter, Kirk was 3secs clear on the road, but really running 5th, or maybe 4th as Green, running down Derek Beckley, was running with 4, or 8 place penalties which left the 2nd spot up for grabs between the Luetchfords, only Craig had an undertaking under yellow 4 placer himself. I don’t know if Derek knew this but Green and Craig Luetchford moved on by only to be demoted to post race to 4th, 8th and Craig 14th after something else on the last lap, perhaps with Dominic, perhaps not. The good news was that handed 2nd place in the race results to Stewart Luetchford, David Darling was
3rd, 7th 3secs behind, as he had a 4 place penalty for undertaking under yellow, so it was James Munro 7th on the road, 5th in the result sheet behind race winner Jason Kirk. Confusing and very, very soggy.
In the A Final a lap 1 spin (behind a bushy track feature) at hairpin 2, I think for Ben Atkinson off grid 5, it ruined Ben’s chances and handed Theodorou, Golding and Hale a 3secs disheartening advantage over the rest of the field, that Powell, Hemsley, Oliver Knighton, Stefan Scully were always going to struggle to recover given the aquatic conditions – heavy standing water but sunny, and not run the risk of falling off themselves. Would you prefer 4th or 24th? Golding had started in pole position but had been tentative and had covered down the centre of the road, Martin had no hesitation cutting across and running inside then all the way to the tyre barrier on the outside before tacking (sailing term – seems appropriate) towards the clubhouse. When they arrived at pace the next lap Theordorou had a few kart lengths lead and Hale nearly took Golding out, Martin had bounced off the outside tyre barrier mid-Stadium perhaps as a novel way of making the turn, or maybe not. Martin drifted into and through and out wide Stadium on the next lap, a ‘karting line’ yes, but reminded me more of Speedway, Golding led, for about a second, then Theodorou hooked up traction while Tom fought understeer and led out of the corner. Great stuff. Martin then ran slow off the hairpin to drop to 3rd behind Hale who set off after Golding. Behind Oliver Knighton had worked his way through to 4th place replacing Powell who is still very much in the battle with Knighton, Hemsley and Stefan Scully. Hale pressed but couldn’t get it done, Scully moved through to lead the chasing 9 kart pack. It would be lap 5 before Golding established some kind of control up front, the leading trio were over 6secs clear of the rest who in turn were settling down to a spreading field who were by and large running to just the best pace they could without scaring themselves. Too much. The second half of the race was a fairly unremarkable run to the flag Golding had 1.5secs lead over Hale, who had 3secs on Theodorou, behind Scully held off Powell, Kinghton faded and would be under pressure from Sam Dicker who’d started slowly off grid 13, but had played himself in but was marginally quicker than the drivers around, and picked Penny, Beckley, Hemsley but couldn’t find a way passed Knighton, and Beckley could get 7th back from him. Jeff Chapman and Bobby Dawes made up the top ten.
We’ll see you at Lydd on 17th of April 2016.
And as Tom asked and I do do (occasionally) requests please check out his racing website tomgoldingracing but ignore any mention of any other race series that doesn’t use Club100’s winning TKM clutch-less 2stroke formula, it’s just not in our league, of course, and it’s on the understanding you’ll ask your female fans to refrain from posting video on our Club100 Facebook timeline of other karting… Uncle John doesn’t want to see it.