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Club100 2017 Round 10 Report – Clubman

Club 100 Sprints Round 10 Whilton Mill

The second visit of the year to Whilton Mill and this time using the shorter ‘Zulu’ circuit which turns the flat right handed Inkermans into a tight hairpin before running into a short straight and then a tricky left, right, left sequence of corners known as Zulus one, two and three and named not after some African tribe or 60’s film but christened after the circuit owners dog. The final left hander leads onto the back straight. Some love the configuration and some loathe it but never let it be said that Club 100 doesn’t supply variety.

Heat 1

Despite the forecast being for a hot sunny day the morning sessions started in chilly overcast conditions with some moisture in the air as the Clubman’s took to the track for the first heat and the first false start of the day as several drivers fell off at the top of the hill. Second time around and pole sitter James Hattersley made no mistakes to lead the field up the hill and into Christmas corner. Harrison Darvill, starting alongside Hattersley, was slow away and tripped over Championship contender Pietro Pagano putting them both to the back of the field. Darvill was adjudged at fault and would be excluded at the end of the race.  Hattersley led the field across the line at the end of the lap with a sizeable lead from Mike Townley and Luke Hornsby whilst Peter Harris had driven a sensational first lap moving from Grid eleven to fourth. Martin Theodorou was next up ahead of Justin Buck who had his hands full holding off the attentions of Richard Evans who was having his first ever outing in a Club 100 Kart. He currently lies second in the Birelart UK Super Elite series so he’s no slouch. Chris Penny was next ahead of Darrell Lowe with Stefan Scully completing the top ten.

Another driver who put in an astonishing first lap moving up from Grid twenty three. Hattersley continued to stretch his lead at the front as Townley fought to hang on to second from Hornsby and Harris. Not for long though as he was soon demoted to fourth behind Hornsby, Harris and Theodorou. Rob Moore had quickly worked his way up to sixth from Grid twenty one but his challenge looked to have stalled as he settled on the tail of the battle for second. Just after half distance though he made it by Townley and a lap later dispensed with Theodorou for fourth. Hattersley looked to be well in command at the front but with four to go he suddenly began to lose power and Hornsby and Harris quickly began to close in by over a second a lap. Into the final lap he was still ahead. Harris forced his way by Hornsby at the start of the lap and closed in on Hattersley. Powerless to defend the leader had to cede the place but still had enough left to hang onto second from Hornsby. Moore came home fourth with Buck fifth and the impressive Scully sixth from Lowe. Theodorou took eighth from Evans who admitted that he hadn’t quite expected the intense level of competition. Jack Bolton rounded out the top ten. Pagano set the fastest lap but it was scant reward for twenty first place.

Heat 2

Another heat that had to be restarted prompting a reduction in laps and race time. James Martin led the field up to the start for the second time but he was quickly demoted by a fast starting Thomas Glyde. Too fast as it happened as he was penalised two places for a jumped start. His day got worse as he was also adjudged to have made contact as he forced his way to the front handing him another four place demotion. Still, at least he led on the road. Championship leader Harry Neale moved up into second with Jamie Pender third ahead of Frankie Hedges. Down the order Simon Lloyd and Hattersley both spun to a halt in separate incidents. Hattersley resumed last and would ultimately finish sixteenth and set the fastest lap of the race.

Two laps gone and David Whitehouse and Stephen Docker both spun to the rear of the field. Glyde continued to lead with Neale close behind from Pender and Hedges with Martin, Bolton and Moore running line astern. Neale moved ahead with three laps remaining and promptly began to pull away from Glyde who continued to hold off Pender. Neale made no mistake to record a comfortable win with Glyde still second on the road but demoted to seventh thus handing second to Pender. Moore took third from Hedges but the latter was found to be underweight and excluded from the results handing fourth to Bolton from Martin and Townley. Dixon, Buck and Scully completed the top ten.

Heat 3

Marc Craddock on pole from Stephen Docker with Evans and Lloyd next up. This time everyone behaved themselves away from the line. Well almost. Evans and Lloyd went missing and would resume dead last but no penalties were called. Scully moved into third from Grid six with Moore driving yet another strong opening lap to move into fourth from Grid ten. David Whitehouse slotted into fifth ahead of Chris Dixon, another strong starter up from Grid twelve. Hedges Bolton and Pagano too all made strong starts from lowly Grid slots to run inside the top ten. Craddock continued to lead but was being hard pressed by Docker. But not too hard as it allowed them to build a gap to the chasing pack still headed by Scully.

Just before half distance Docker moved to the front but Craddock wasn’t going to allow him to get away and remained on his bumper. Behind, Moore made it by Scully and began to close in on the leaders. Craddock meanwhile allowed Docker a couple of laps at the front before moving back ahead. This time Docker lost a bit of momentum and from that moment on the result was never in doubt as Craddock pulled further away eventually crossing the line almost three seconds to the good. Docker was equally comfortable in second as was Moore in third as the leading five spread out. Whitehouse was an excellent fourth ahead of Dixon who set the fastest lap of the race on the final tour. Hedges was next, promoted at the expense of Scully who was penalised for cone abuse. Bolton would have been next but he too was penalised for cone abuse promoting Neale into eighth. Lowe completed the top ten.

Final

Moore on pole from Neale with Bolton and Scully on row two from Craddock and Harris on three. Hattersley and Townsley on row four and Pender and Dixon completing the top ten. Once again the field got away cleanly with Moore in the lead chased by Neale. Scully got the better of Bolton in the run up to Christmas with Harris also getting the better of Craddock. Hattersley, Townley and Pender ran line astern with Buck completing the top ten after a sharp getaway. Further back Evans was on the move. Having felt he’d been roughed up a little in the heats he’d decided to get a bit firm and was really getting his elbows out. With two laps run Neale slipped by Moore for the lead and as the chasing pack squabbled over third the two of them began to steadily edge away. Harris moved up to third with Bolton fourth and Scully into fifth having dropped briefly behind Hattersley. Craddock ran seventh and was gradually being dropped. Neale and Moore continued to pull away at the front with Neale clearly having the upper hand and under no pressure whilst equally Harris looked safe in second. The battle for third though was really hotting up.

Half distance and Bolton was back into third with Hattersley and Moore right behind. Scully was dropping away from the fight and being reeled in by Craddock whilst the charging Evans was up to eighth and closing in on Glyde. Dixon completed the top ten and then a big gap back to Pagano who was leading the remaining runners. Neale and Moore reeled off the remaining laps to take the top two spots but behind the battle raged. A couple of times Hattersley almost made it into third but Bolton was resolute in his defence. Sadly for him on the penultimate lap he clipped a cone going into the boot. Wisely Hattersley sat back, defended from the following Moore and let Bolton cross the line third having noted the penalty on the start line gantry. A wise move giving him a well deserved final spot on the podium. Bolton took fourth after an eventful drive with Moore fifth. Scully kept Craddock at bay for sixth. Next up on the road was Evans but a three place deduction, one for cone abuse and two for multiple contacts, saw him placed out of the top ten. Still, he’d enjoyed himself and did have the satisfaction of setting the fastest lap. Hopefully it won’t be just a one off drive. Glyde, Dixon and Pagano completed the top ten the latter cutting a disconsolate figure in the paddock knowing that his chances off the Championship for this year had just about evaporated,

Championship

After his second final win in a row Harry Neale now has one hand firmly on the Championship trophy. It will take a major upset to deprive him. He’s been the dominant racer all season. He’s missed two rounds and stood on the top step in six out of the other eight.

Peter Harris has run into some good form over the last few rounds and has been runner up to Harry over the last two events. He sits sixth in the standings. James Hattersley’s third place was his first in Clubman’s this year. But then he’s only competed in three rounds having started in Elites. Rob Moore remains second in the Championship from Jack Bolton.

 

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Report written by Chris Simpson

Photography: Jack Mitchell – JAM Motorsport Photography

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MSA British Superkart Championship – Rounds 9, 10 & 11 and F450 Challenge – Rounds 9, 10 & 11

Anglesey 2nd & 3rd September 2017

Clark Edges Closer Title

Dan Clark continued his advance to the MSA Championship with a win and two other podium finishes. In difficult conditions, he took overall honours in some very close racing.

The MSA Championship returned to Anglesey for its annual visit on the Coastal Circuit and the infamous Corkscrew. After a free practice session, there was a twelve-minute timed qualifying session. It was interesting to see the main championship rivals Dan Clark, Jack Layton and Gavin Bennett start the session line astern. However, Bennett only got as far as the Banking on the opening lap before the battery went flat. Without a time to his name he would be starting at the back of the grid. Clark and Layton continued to run close together and it was the Redspeed driver who was the first to dip under the 1m5s bracket.

His lap of 1m 04.630s was good enough to take pole position before pitting 5 laps later. “I am happy with the chassis and engine and didn’t want to show my hand in the early laps as Jack was right behind me.” Layton felt that his DEA was running a bit on the rich side as he chased the Gas Gas and put in a 1m 04.917s before he followed Clark into the pits. After a couple of adjustments, he went out again but left it too late to improve. In the meantime, Andy Bird put in three quick laps and pipped Layton to the other front row slot with a time of 1m04.891s. Paul Platt spent a bit of time in the pits but put in a quicker lap at the end of the session to record 1m04.987s and line up alongside Layton on row 2. James O’Reilly headed the next row on 1m 05.606s and he was joined by the quickest of the 450’s, Andy Gulliford who recorded a 1m 06.079s.

The grid exited the Corkscrew and when the lights went out at the start of race 1 it was Clark who led them away and round to the Banking. While the leaders were through the first corner there was a scattering of karts in the midfield when Ross Allen, Gareth James and Andy Waite spun. They all managed to continue while Steve Burton went off trying to avoid them and was out. Clark crossed the line at the end of the opening lap with an advantage of 0.546s. O’Reilly had make a great start from the third row and held second place but then the Viper motor seized on the approach to the Banking and his race was over. That elevated Platt into second spot ahead of Bird, Layton, Gulliford, Stephen Clark and Sifleet. The pace of the Gas Gas motors was drawing Clark and Platt away from Layton who was struggling to keep Bird behind him. “I was losing out when they went from 4th to 5th gear out of Church and along the back straight,” explained the reigning champion. Bird went past on lap 4 at Rocket but he was two seconds behind the lead pair.

Platt had been biding his time and went ahead of Clark into Rocket on lap 8 followed by Bird who had closed the gap dramatically and set the fastest lap of the race.  On the next lap Bird tried a pass on Platt into Rocket but didn’t want to take his team mate off and hung back. On the final lap he was too far behind to make another attempt and Platt crossed the line to win by 0.445s. Clark thought he could get ahead of the pair but had to settle for third spot just over a second behind. There was joy in parc ferme afterwards as this was the first time there had been a 1-2-3 for the Redspeed team. John Riley was over the moon. Layton was suffering from a bit of understeer at the top of the hill and collected fourth place but was five seconds behind Clark. Stephen Clark took fifth place and maximum points in the 450cc after rival Gulliford understeered off at the exit of turn 1 on lap 4. “I was trying Hoosiers for the first time. The chassis needs a bit more set up so I pulled in as it wasn’t worth continuing.” Bennett did well to keep out of trouble on the opening lap and was up to 14th spot. He dispensed with the midfield runners by lap 4 and chased after Sifleet, finally grabbing sixth place on the last lap.

What a difference a day makes. After the bright sunshine on Saturday the circuit was shrouded in rain on Sunday. Sensibly, everyone was given two warm up laps to acclimatise to conditions. Bird was on pole position for race 2 with Platt alongside. But coming out of the last corner on the approach to the lights Platt’s Gas Gas motor died. The ignition box had failed. Somehow everyone managed to avoid the stranded kart. Bennett took advantage of the gap that appeared in front of him and led away followed by Clark and Bird. Stephen Clark saw an opportunity along the back straight and charged up the inside on the approach to Rocket. But he had picked up a puncture and skated off at the top of the hill just missing the leaders.

Layton was forced wide in avoidance. At the end of the opening lap Bennett led Dan Clark with Bird, Layton and Gulliford nose to tail. Stephen Clark pitted for a new tyre and lost three laps in the process. His cousin was making no mistakes and passed Bennett on lap 2 to take the lead. Layton also moved up a place but then ran wide at Rocket and dropped back behind Bird. Bennett set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4 but was only marginally quicker than Clark. The Redspeed driver controlled the race and thought he had pulled out a gap over the others. “But when I looked over my shoulder they were still there.” The trio closed up on the final lap when they encountered traffic but Clark took an important win by 0.488s from Bennett with Bird only another 0.261s adrift. “I got the gearing wrong and it wouldn’t pull along the back straight so I couldn’t get past Gavin,” explained Bird later. Layton had to settle for another fourth place with Gulliford take the 450cc class win in fifth place. Aaron Sifleet was heading for sixth place but dropped to the back of the field on lap 6 allowing Ross Allen to come through and hold that position to the flag.

The weather had improved for race 3 but the track was still greasy. Bennett made no mistakes from pole position and led the field into turn 1. Clark’s Gas Gas ‘popped and banged off the line’ and he lost ground while Platt, starting from the back of the grid, again suffered with an ignition problem and pulled off soon after the start. Bennett led at the end of the opening lap with Gulliford up to second place from the third row of the grid. Bird had Layton on his tail then it was Allen and the two Clark’s, Dan ahead of Stephen. Bennett set the fastest lap of the race as early as lap 2 and continued to extend his lead from then on. His final winning margin was nearly twelve seconds. “We tried a few changes and they worked,” he said later. Gulliford looked comfortable in second place and was under no pressure from behind until Bird flew past on lap 7. Bird couldn’t relax as the four stroke was still on his tail as they started the last lap with Layton and Dan Clark two and a half seconds behind and having their own dice. Up at Rocket for the final time Bird lost the back end of the Anderson on the exit, or was he distracted by a wayward seagull. Gulliford spun to avoid him and Layton and Clark nipped past the pair of them.

Clark chose the inside line and found himself in second place with Layton going around the outside of the two karts to claim third spot. Clark held on to his second place and crossed the line 0.327s ahead of the reigning champ while Bird and Gulliford recovered to finish just behind them. James O’Reilly had been heading for sixth place but his miserable weekend continued when the fuel cut off valve stuck and flooded the motor with one lap to go. Allen inherited the place with Stephen Clark finishing seventh. “We got the gearing wrong but I knew that second place in class would be enough to keep me on track for the 450cc championship.” However, it was cousin Dan that had the biggest grin knowing that he could wrap up the MSA Championship at Oulton in October having come close in the past.

MSA British Superkart Championship Positions after 11 rounds (Best 10 scores to count)

1 Dan Clark             343 pts

2 Jack Layton           296

3 Gavin Bennett       293

4 Andy Bird             282

5 Paul Platt              267

6 Ross Allen             214

 

Words by Gary James

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OEKC British Championship Round 8 Report

2017 Championship Round 8 Whilton Mill

An overcast day with rain forecast greeted the teams as they arrived at Whilton Mill for round 8 of the 2017 championship.

At round 8 Ikonn and Indi-Cars teams made a welcome return to the OEKC and new team Capital Racing joined the series.

After 1 hour of practice the teams entered the 15 minute qualifying session ready for action. Pole position was challenged for by the usual contenders, but a great drive by Vivo gave them the number one spot with a qualifying time of 47.3 seconds. Insure2Drive took second place. Behind them were TTM and series leaders Specsavers. Row three was occupied by TT Sport and KKC. Peach Racing were seventh alongside Team Sage. Synergy Syndicate and G-Tech completed the top 10 teams.  Indi-cars pitted due to a problem with their axle moving laterally. This resulted in them dropping down to last place.

The race started on a cool dry track and Vivo quickly started to build a small lead and by lap 40 they were over 6 seconds ahead of Insure2drive who were leading KKC & Specsavers. The top ten teams were all on the same lap and covered by 42 seconds. By lap 90, hard charging Vivo had a lap lead over Insure2drive, Specsavers, TTM, KKC and G-Tech.  By lap 160 Vivo were now leading by a lap with G-Tech second, Insure2drive third, Specsavers fourth and TTM fifth.  As the 185th lap passed Insure2drive were back in second place and back on the same lap as leaders Vivo. New team Capital Racing were getting to grips with the racing and had improved their lap times by over 3 seconds.

By lap 210 the sun was shining & the forecast rain had not appeared. After almost three hours of racing saw Specsavers leading the race from Insure2drive and G-Tech. Vivo were now a lap behind and being chased by TTM. TT Sport in eight place were top Clubman team and well ahead of their championship rivals Project 4 who lost a few laps with a long visit to the pits. 25 laps later and Insure2drive were back in front of Specsavers and G-tech with Vivo now in fourth place, a lap behind the front three teams. TTM, Team Sage, KKC & Team JT completed the top 8. In 9th place were Project 4 who were making good progress and were now just 3 laps behind TT Sport & Synergy Syndicate.

The 280th lap arrived and Insure2drive were now leading Specsavers by a lap and G-Tech were a further lap behind them. 20 laps later and although Insure2drive were leading, Specsavers were now on the same lap. G-Tech in third were a lap ahead of Vivo who were a lap ahead of TTM. Team Sage were a further lap behind with KKC a lap behind them.

The chequered flag dropped after 4.5 hours racing with Insure2drive winning the race 18 seconds ahead of Specsavers who were now on the same lap. A great last session by Vivo put them on the podium in third place and ahead of G-Tech who were just 35 seconds behind. TT Sport won Clubman class a lap ahead of Synergy Syndicate. Project 4 completed the Clubman podium.

The final race of the 2017 OEKC season is on Sunday October 22nd at Daytona Milton Keynes.

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Club100 2017 Round 8 Report – Heavies

Club 100 Sprint Series Round 8 Clay Pigeon

Back to Clay for the second time this season and the Championships are really beginning to heat up. Joe Holmes leads the way in the Elites but will a resurgent Steve Brown continue his return to form in the defence of his title. Or will Ian Blake upset them both? In the Lights will Darri Simms get back on the top step of the podium or will Liam Cochrane continue his run of form. And lets not forget Lydd winner Christopher Bell. Probably the driver under the least pressure and it may well work to his advantage. In the Clubman class can anyone stop Harry Neale? Pietro Pagano reckons the Championship is Harry’s to lose but Harry was missing from the entry list at Clay so it was up to Pietro to produce a good result and keep up the pressure.  But there’s many a slip between cup and lips. And in the heavies James Browning was back after missing Lydd because of family commitments. Could he stave off the rapidly advancing challenge from Mark Ridout and Adam Wright?

Having had a beautiful sunny Saturday for the Endurance round the Sprint series arrived to find the circuit awash and a very stiff wind blowing from south to north across the circuit. The rain was a fine drizzle which never stopped all through the event. Days like these often throw up surprise results as the heavier drivers gain better grip. Here’s how the day unfolded.

Qualifying

Group 1

For much of the session it looked as though the two veterans, Andy Cowell and Tim Hill were going to be heading the times but despite improving their times over the final lap it was Adam Wright who just shaded it edging out Cowell by just 0.004. Championship leader James Browning was next up. Having missed the last round he admitted that he badly needed a good result to fend off the mounting threat from Mark Ridout who was in the second group. Andrew Clarke was the fastest SHW.

Group 2

SHW Nick Trafford was an early front runner before Anthony Harrington topped the order. But not for long. Previous Clay winner Steve Bosley was languishing down the order before moving up to third but it was Mark Ridout who finally topped the order on his penultimate lap. He was the only driver to break the fifty five second barrier. Paul Williams was fourth quickest with Trafford the leading SHW.

HW/SHW Pre B Final

Mike Bodnar on pole from Paul Goddard with Lennie Wood and Gerard Moore on row two. Peter Hobbs and Craig Rankine shared row three from Alexander Lammin on four and Robert Stapleton and Jordan Salter on five. Top four to qualify for the Pre A final. Would we see the front runners settle into a rhythm and not challenge each other too hard? Not a chance. Bodnar led the pack away but Goddard lost out as Hobbs moved up to second from grid five. Wood remained third but Moore fared badly dropping back to seventh. Bodnar continued to lead but Wood was intent on second and slipped by Hobbs only for Hobbs to reclaim the place a lap later. Hobbs then managed to pull out a couple of lengths whilst Goddard remained fourth with Moore now back up to fifth. Half distance and Hobbs took over at the front with Wood now beginning to fall further adrift but on his own as Goddard and Moore battled over the final qualifying place. Bodnar moved back in front of Hobbs with four to run and Hobbs wisely settled for second realising that he and Bodnar were now well clear of Wood in third and safely into the Pre A Final. Not so Goddard and Moore however who fought hard over fourth before Moore finally got ahead on the penultimate lap. Bodnar crossed the line just over half a second up on Hobbs with the two of them almost twelve seconds up on third placed Wood who was well clear of fourth placed Moore with Goddard just missing out.

HW/SHW Pre A Final

Ridout on pole from Harrington with Bosley and Wright on row two from  Cowell and Williams on row three. Leading SHW Trafford on four with Hill and Cottle and Gurnett completing the top ten. Ridout led the field down to the first turn but as the field sped down the back straight it was Cowell into second from Williams with Harrington in fourth whilst Bosley spun away his chances of a good finish. Trafford too fell back as Championship leader Browning attempted to move forward. The digi board though was showing a penalty for 46, Cowell. Most thought it for a jumped start but he had been adjudged to have tapped Harrington as he moved into second on the first corner. A little harsh perhaps but then he does have a reputation. I’ve not forgotten Fulbeck 2000. Ridout continued serenely at the front and was pulling clear of the Cowell, Williams and Harrington battle for second. Half distance and Williams had gone missing having spun out. He would later claim that it was down to Cowell slowing suddenly in front of him.

All this promoted Hill up to third with Mark Turner fourth having started twelfth. Wright was hanging on in fifth just ahead of Browning who was trying all he knew to get by. Ridout continued to pull ever further away as Cowell remained in second over a second clear of third placed Hill whilst Wright got back ahead of Turner who fell briefly behind Browning before reclaiming the spot. Ridout crossed the line over nine seconds to the good with Cowell next to finish on the road but penalised down to fifth thus handing the place to Hill who slipped ahead of Wright on the final lap. Turner was next with Stuart Jones in sixth. A really fine drive this coming up from grid twenty. Browning was a disappointed seventh with Bodnar eighth. Another performance worthy of note, the Pre B Final winner having fought his way up from grid twenty one. Harrington finished ninth with Michael Ballinger completing the top ten.

HW/SHW B Final

Just two qualifiers for the main event from the fourteen runners. Rankine on pole from Super Heavy Gillett with Stapleton and Clarke on row two. Goddard and Lammin on three from Green and Germon on four with Storey and Townsend completing the top ten. Again the field got away cleanly and by the end of the lap Rankine led from Gillett with Stapleton third. Clarke had lost out dropping to seventh behind Goddard, Green and Lammin. A lap later and Green was into fourth chased by Lammin. With three laps run Stapleton made it up to second whilst Rankine continued to pull away at the front. Then Lammin got ahead of Green and began to pressure Gillet for third. Gillett then spun out and Lammin began to chase down Stapleton for second. Rankine was way up the road and would eventually take the win by almost seven seconds. With two to go Lammin was on Stapletons bumper and quickly by into second. He quickly pulled away too to take the second qualification place.

HW/SHW Final

Mark Ridout on pole from Turner with Bodnar third from leading Superheavy Trafford. Row three, Cottle and Wright from Jennings and Hill on four with Wood and Ballinger completing the top ten. The final start of the day and once again the field got away cleanly. Bodnar made a superb start and was ahead as the field exited the chicane for the first time. Poleman Ridout challenged hard but ran a little wide and Turner moved into second. Trafford lost out and slipped back to eighth allowing Cottle into fourth ahead of Jennings, Hill and Wright. Bodnar continued to set the pace and was pulling a gap from Turner who had Ridout close behind and Looking to move forward whilst Jennings moved into fourth with Hill and Wright behind as Cottle dropped to seventh. Down the order Championship leader Browning was making up ground moving  inside the top ten. Ridout homed in on Turner and duly moved ahead with six laps run. Bodnar though looked comfortable at the front but coming down the back straight for the tenth time the yellows were being waved at the hairpin. Bodnar slowed but Ridout didn’t and the gap closed dramatically.  But not by enough and Bodnar quickly responded to pull clear again by a few Kart lengths. Jennings was into third at the expense of Turner with Hill just behind in fourth and setting the fastest lap of the race. Browning had got up to sixth but he was too far adrift to trouble the leaders over the final laps. Bodnar reeled off the remaining laps to take the win by just under a second from Ridout with Jennings taking the final podium spot. Hill took fourth just ahead of Turner with Browning a lonely sixth. Ballinger was seventh ahead of the leading Superheavy Trafford with Cottle and Cowell completing the top ten.

Podiums and Championship standings

According to JV the last time Mike Bodnar stood on the podium the former had hair. I suspect it was even further back in time. Nevertheless it was a great win and a hugely popular one too.

Mark Ridout’s second place moves him to the top of the standings ahead of James Browning who needs a sharp return to his early season form. Stephen Jennings third place was his second podium in a row. I wonder where he would have been had he raced all season. Adam Wright remains third in the standings ahead of Tim Hill and Anthony Harrington.

Reflections

The weather at Clay was truly awful and played a big part in some of the results. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many smiling drivers. It may have been wet, windy and cold but the majority of drivers certainly enjoyed themselves. There was some very good driving too in the tricky conditions and surprisingly few penalties. As always the organisation was slick and the marshalls did a great job. Not easy for them in the rubbish weather. Next on the calendar is Red Lodge. I’ve never been. Some drivers like it, some don’t so we shall see. You can’t beat a bit of variety though.

See you there!

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Report written by Chris Simpson

Photography: Jack Mitchell – JAM Motorsport Photography

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Club100 2017 Round 8 Report – Lights

Club 100 Sprint Series Round 8 Clay Pigeon

Back to Clay for the second time this season and the Championships are really beginning to heat up. Joe Holmes leads the way in the Elites but will a resurgent Steve Brown continue his return to form in the defence of his title. Or will Ian Blake upset them both? In the Lights will Darri Simms get back on the top step of the podium or will Liam Cochrane continue his run of form. And lets not forget Lydd winner Christopher Bell. Probably the driver under the least pressure and it may well work to his advantage. In the Clubman class can anyone stop Harry Neale? Pietro Pagano reckons the Championship is Harry’s to lose but Harry was missing from the entry list at Clay so it was up to Pietro to produce a good result and keep up the pressure.  But there’s many a slip between cup and lips. And in the heavies James Browning was back after missing Lydd because of family commitments. Could he stave off the rapidly advancing challenge from Mark Ridout and Adam Wright?

Having had a beautiful sunny Saturday for the Endurance round the Sprint series arrived to find the circuit awash and a very stiff wind blowing from south to north across the circuit. The rain was a fine drizzle which never stopped all through the event. Days like these often throw up surprise results as the heavier drivers gain better grip. Here’s how the day unfolded.

Qualifying

Group 1

All the leading Championship contenders were in this group but it was no surprise to see Championship leader Darri Simms finally top the times. He’s always quick over one lap and this was no exception although he left it till his last lap to usurp Christopher Bell. These two were in a class of their own being the only drivers to get under fifty five seconds. Ryan Williams was next ahead of Liam Cochrane.

Group 2

Jon Watkins headed the list here setting his fastest time as early as his third lap. It would prove good enough for pole too in the Pre A Final. Bobby Dawes was next but almost a second adrift    with Sammy Venables next ahead of Jacopo Fioravanti who was back after missing several rounds.

Lightweight Pre A Final

Watkins on pole by a healthy margin from Simms but could he convert pole to a win? Bell and Dawes on row two from Venables and Ryan Williams on row three. Row four saw Cochrane alongside James Williams with Woodger and Jacopo Fioravanti completing the top ten. Simms looked to have got the better start but he got in way too deep into the first turn and emerged from the following chicane in sixth. Bell took over in second whilst Dawes also ran wide behind Simms and would cross the line down in eleventh at the end of the first lap.

Venables was up into third followed by Ryan Williams and Cochrane whilst James Williams fell back to twenty third. With two laps run Watkins looked as though he would drive away from the rest of the field as Bell fell back a touch but still remained ahead of the battle for third briefly headed by Ryan Williams before Venables reclaimed the place. Cochrane remained fifth just ahead of Simms. With five laps run Venables finally got ahead of Bell whilst Cochrane slipped by Ryan Williams to put the pressure on the chasing Simms. Simms knew he needed to stay on terms with Cochrane and a lap later he was ahead of Ryan Williams with Andrea Fioravanti now into seventh after starting on grid fourteen.

Watkins continued to pull away from Venables with Bell third but under threat from Cochrane who duly moved ahead at two thirds distance taking Simms with him as Bell got impeded by a backmarker into the Horseshoe. Simms fourth place was under threat though as first a recovering Bell slipped ahead at the chicane followed a lap later by Ryan Williams.  Watkins took the win over four seconds up on Venables with Cochrane third and setting fastest lap. Bell placed fourth from Ryan Williams and Simms as the field spaced out towards the finish. Andrea Fioravanti was next across the line but penalised down to ninth behind Jacopo Fioravanti and promoting Sam Nash into seventh whilst Mike Noon completed the top ten.

Lightweights A Final

Watkins on pole from Cochrane and Championship leader Simms on row two with Venables. Bell and Robinson on three from Dawes and Ryan Williams on four. Woodger and Mackenzie completing the top ten on row five. Watkins brought the field round to the start but then managed to get on the grass on the outside of the little left kink before Billy’s. With no chance of saving the moment he headed across the grass keeping the Kart dead straight and emerging in front of the pack as they rounded Billy’s. He had enough momentum to keep going and was fortunate not to spin or collect anyone else but he was down to ninth as the field arrowed down the back straight. Cochrane led the field over the line at the end of the lap chased hard by Simms. The two of them were already beginning to pull out a gap to the chasing pack led by Dawes from Bell, Ryan Williams, Venables, Robinson, Woodger and Watkins.

A lap later and Watkins had fallen to sixteenth but his race was far from over.  Cochrane and Simms continued to circulate at the front with Dawes third but being pressured by just about everybody as far down as ninth. It was a humdinger of a battle with places changing all round the lap and Karts going through the Horseshoe three and four abreast.  Yet it was surprisingly clean in the early stages. Half distance and as the leaders came down the back straight Cochrane went into the hairpin just a little too deep. He kept it on the circuit, just, but was tippy toeing round the outside. Simms took to the inside and was through into the lead. Behind, Ryan Williams made it by Dawes for third with Ben Atkinson into a scarcely believable fifth.

Having started on grid eighteen he’d moved up into the top ten and was tracking the ferocious battle for third which was playing out in front of him. He chose his moments to attack well. Sixth at this stage was Venables from Bell and Robinson.  Simms continued to lead with Cochrane a few lengths back and trying desperately to close the leader down. Onto the straight he tried a different tack as Simms stuck to the conventional line. It looked for a moment as though it had worked but Simms had the better traction and stayed ahead. As Cochrane dropped away he glanced over his shoulder. Suddenly his front wheel was on the grass and he did the Karting equivalent of a tank slapper. Fortunately he ran on to the cut through and kept it together. Had that piece of tarmac not been there he would undoubtedly have spun out. And that was game over at the front. Cochrane’s pace dropped and although he kept Simms honest he was never close enough to attack despite Simms being impeded by a backmarker. It was a welcome, and emotional, win for the Championship leader. But what of the battle for third? Ryan Williams’s third place lasted a lap before Dawes got him back. But he wasn’t done and a lap later he had the place back.

Dawes dropped to sixth behind Atkinson and Venables with Woodger seventh from Robinson and Bell. But still any of these could have a shot at third. But then, after a great and clean battle it all got a little fraught. Atkinson took third, grabbing the spot on the penultimate lap and pulling clear over the final tour. Venables took fourth. With two to run he’d been ninth! Dawes was next across the line but penalised three places after gaining a place through contact and classified seventh. Robinson placed fifth having been down in eleventh at the start of the penultimate lap. Watkins was sixth, up from twelfth with just two laps left. Next across the line was Woodger but he took a six place penalty after putting Ryan Williams out of the race on the penultimate lap.  Chris Chubb too took a six place penalty after causing Bell to come to a halt.  All of which left James Williams, George Wilson and Tom Mackenzie to complete the top ten.

Podiums and Championship standings

Darri Simms top step on the podium was only his second A Final win of the season and was a welcome relief and boost after recent events. He also increased his Championship lead. Liam Cochrane was happy enough with second. Since returning for round five he’s consistently scored big points. He remains third in the standings behind Christopher Bell who failed to finish at Clay after a fraught final. Ben Atkinson’s third place was his first podium of the season having just missed out previuosly finishing fourth on a couple of occasions.

Reflections

The weather at Clay was truly awful and played a big part in some of the results. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many smiling drivers. It may have been wet, windy and cold but the majority of drivers certainly enjoyed themselves. There was some very good driving too in the tricky conditions and surprisingly few penalties. As always the organisation was slick and the marshalls did a great job. Not easy for them in the rubbish weather. Next on the calendar is Red Lodge. I’ve never been. Some drivers like it, some don’t so we shall see. You can’t beat a bit of variety though.

See you there!

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Report written by Chris Simpson

Photography: Jack Mitchell – JAM Motorsport Photography

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Club100 2017 Round 8 Report – Clubman

Club 100 Sprint Series Round 8 Clay Pigeon

Back to Clay for the second time this season and the Championships are really beginning to heat up. Joe Holmes leads the way in the Elites but will a resurgent Steve Brown continue his return to form in the defence of his title. Or will Ian Blake upset them both? In the Lights will Darri Simms get back on the top step of the podium or will Liam Cochrane continue his run of form. And lets not forget Lydd winner Christopher Bell. Probably the driver under the least pressure and it may well work to his advantage. In the Clubman class can anyone stop Harry Neale? Pietro Pagano reckons the Championship is Harry’s to lose but Harry was missing from the entry list at Clay so it was up to Pietro to produce a good result and keep up the pressure.  But there’s many a slip between cup and lips. And in the heavies James Browning was back after missing Lydd because of family commitments. Could he stave off the rapidly advancing challenge from Mark Ridout and Adam Wright?

Having had a beautiful sunny Saturday for the Endurance round the Sprint series arrived to find the circuit awash and a very stiff wind blowing from south to north across the circuit. The rain was a fine drizzle which never stopped all through the event. Days like these often throw up surprise results as the heavier drivers gain better grip. Here’s how the day unfolded.

Heat 1

With the track well wet everyone held their breath as the field accelerated down into Billy’s for the first time. But everyone made it through without incident. By the end of the lap  Luke Hornsby had dropped to second from pole with Harrison Darvill up into the lead having started third.  Jamie Pender though dropped away from his front row spot crossing the line fifth whilst Stephen Docker remained in fourth. Down the order James Taylor drove a fantastic first lap moving up from grid twenty to twelfth. Martin Theodorou was another driver on the move. As the field continued to slither around the track Darvill continued to set the pace but Chris Dixon was up into second now ahead of Hornsby and Docker. Moore was into fifth having started on grid eleven whilst Taylors charge appeared to have evaporated down in ninth chased by Theodorou who was ahead by lap three and revelling in the wet conditions. Darvill continued to lead and was pulling a gap from Dixon and Hornsby who mid race found themselves demoted by Docker who then began to home in on the leader. With one to go the order looked to have settled but into the Horseshoe for the final time Docker spun to the outside throwing away a certain second place. Darvill took the honours with Dixon just holding off Hornsby for third. Fourth went to Moore with Taylor fifth after a late race surge. Sixth went to the former Elite runner James Hattersley. Having started on grid twelve he’d dropped to fifteenth early on before fighting back. Theodorou was next up from Jack Bolton. Another good drive having started on grid nineteen. David Whitehouse and Darrell Lowe completed the top ten.

Heat 2

Poleman Lowe led the field down into the first turn but it was a determined Pagano who came out in front and would still be at the front by the end of the lap. But not for long. Taylor was up to second from grid eight and clearly intent on first. Lowe was down to third with Theodorou fourth from a fast starting Stuart Osborn, up from grid nine. Taylor continued to pull clear at the front as Lowe, Theodorou and Pagano battled over second. With four gone Theodorou was up to second and chasing the leader quickly pulling out a gap. Pagano was third but then spun away his chances at the Horseshoe allowing Lowe back into third ahead of Peter Harris.  No one though could catch Taylor and he ran out the winner. Theodorou was some three seconds adrift at the flag but well clear of Harris who grabbed third from Lowe with two laps to go. Next up was Hattersley. Starting twenty third and last he’d moved up to sixteenth by the end of the first lap. He remained there for a lap before picking up places gradually over the course of the race. Steady rather than spectacular but staying out of trouble does work. Hornsby was sixth. Another good drive up from grid twelve. Bolton was seventh which was where he had started. Osborn took eighth. Having run as high as fifth he’d dropped back to tenth before recovering a couple of spots over the final laps. Moore was next holding off a very determined Justin Buck. He could have let him by as Buck was excluded from the results after colliding with Hodge at the hairpin and bringing him to a halt. Dixon completed the top ten.

Heat 3

Hattersley led the field way from pole but it was Buck who led the field into the chicane with Moore settling into third. Taylor was up to fourth from eighth ahead of Foster and Whitehouse who had made a great start up from grid eleven. He would be fifth after four laps before spinning out and finishing down in twenty first. Martin and Osborne, starting fourth and sixth respectively were both out of the picture dropping out of the top ten but still running. Buck continued to set the pace at the front from Hattersley who was just a few Kart lengths ahead of Moore who in turn was just a few lengths ahead of Taylor. Buck was really driving hard but was a little ragged a couple of times out of the chicane. It would be his undoing. Hattersley closed the gap and coming through the chicane for the fourth time Buck ran wide across the exit kerb and a large puddle. It was enough to lose a little momentum and as they slowed at the end of the back straight Hattersley moved to the front. Buck though didn’t fall away and the gap ebbed and flowed by a matter of hundredths as the race wound down. Half distance and Taylor slipped by Moore for second but could make no impression on the leaders. Final lap and Hattersley set the fastest lap taking the win by a fraction under half a second from Buck. Taylor took a lonely third ahead of Moore. These four had been the class the field.  Darvill was next some seven seconds adrift. A good drive though after starting on grid nineteen and really having to work hard to move up the order. Stefan Scully took sixth. After starting ninth he’d fallen back out of the top ten before moving forward. Theodorou was next. He’d started down in sixteenth but was ninth by the end of the first tour. Then he fell away by a couple of spots before settling down and moving up the order. Harris, Bolton and Docker completed the top ten.

Final

Taylor on pole from Hattersley with Theodorou and Darvill on row two. Row three was Moore and Hornsby with Bolton and Hornsby on four and Dixon and Harris completing the top ten. Taylor led the field down into the first turn but Hattersley lost out on the outside as Darvill powered his way through into second. Theodorou couldn’t quite take advantage and slotted into fourth with Moore fifth. Bolton got the better of Hornsby off the line for sixth. The order remained as you were for the opening laps but as they came down the back straight for the fourth time Hattersley was visibly closing in on Darvill for second. Then he spun. All on his own. Having braked he flicked the rear out but failed to catch it. A strong result gone. So Theodorou took over in third with Moore fourth but losing out just a shade on pace allowing Theodorou to keep him at bay. Taylor and Darvill were long gone and although the latter kept the leader honest he could never quite get close enough to mount a challenge eventually losing out by just over a couple of tenths. Theodorou took the final podium spot from Moore who was well clear of Dixon by the flag. Bolton ran fifth for a time before running wide at the hairpin and dropping to ninth. Two from home that became tenth as Scully powered past him. Hornsby was sixth losing fifth right at the end to Dixon. A good drive though. Pagano took seventh after starting down in twentieth. He needed the result too after disastrous heats. The pressure was really on him to produce something in the final to keep his Championship challenge alive. Scully, Harris and Bolton completed the top ten whilst Docker set the fastest lap of the race.

Podiums and Championships

James Taylors win was his best result of the season and came on his birthday too which earned him a rendition of Happy Birthday from JV. It was certainly more tuneful than the infamous winkle song but not as funny. Whilst the conditions played to James’s strengths it should not detract from a fine performance. Harrison Darvill too revelled in the conditions to post his best result of the season and the same is true of Martin Theodorou. None of these three are likely to be in with a shout at the Championship though unless of course we get rain at the next four rounds. That could mix things up!

Despite being absent Harry Neale continues at the top of the order from Pietro Pagano and Rob Moore.

Reflections

The weather at Clay was truly awful and played a big part in some of the results. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many smiling drivers. It may have been wet, windy and cold but the majority of drivers certainly enjoyed themselves. There was some very good driving too in the tricky conditions and surprisingly few penalties. As always the organisation was slick and the marshalls did a great job. Not easy for them in the rubbish weather. Next on the calendar is Red Lodge. I’ve never been. Some drivers like it, some don’t so we shall see. You can’t beat a bit of variety though.

See you there!

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Report written by Chris Simpson

Photography: Jack Mitchell – JAM Motorsport Photography

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Club100 2017 Round 8 Report – Elite

Club 100 Sprint Series Round 8 Clay Pigeon

Back to Clay for the second time this season and the Championships are really beginning to heat up. Joe Holmes leads the way in the Elites but will a resurgent Steve Brown continue his return to form in the defence of his title. Or will Ian Blake upset them both? In the Lights will Darri Simms get back on the top step of the podium or will Liam Cochrane continue his run of form. And lets not forget Lydd winner Christopher Bell. Probably the driver under the least pressure and it may well work to his advantage. In the Clubman class can anyone stop Harry Neale? Pietro Pagano reckons the Championship is Harry’s to lose but Harry was missing from the entry list at Clay so it was up to Pietro to produce a good result and keep up the pressure.  But there’s many a slip between cup and lips. And in the heavies James Browning was back after missing Lydd because of family commitments. Could he stave off the rapidly advancing challenge from Mark Ridout and Adam Wright?

Having had a beautiful sunny Saturday for the Endurance round the Sprint series arrived to find the circuit awash and a very stiff wind blowing from south to north across the circuit. The rain was a fine drizzle which never stopped all through the event. Days like these often throw up surprise results as the heavier drivers gain better grip. Here’s how the day unfolded.

Heat 1

Down into Billy’s for the first time and it was Jonathan Lissetter from fellow front row sitter Tyler Mays ahead of David Longman and Dan Truman. But one driver was off and it was Championship leader Joe Holmes who was backwards into the barrier. Clay is not his favourite track at the best of times. By the end of the lap Lissetter still led from Mays but James Small was up into third from grid seven. Clay was only his second start of the season having been studying hard for his A levels but he was already showing that he’d not lost any of his flair. By the end of lap two he was into the lead.  Also on the move was Championship contender Ian Blake who moved up from fourteenth to fifth on the first lap. It would be an interesting heat for Blake.  Small began to eke out a gap at the front pursued by Lissetter and Mays with Daz Teal now into fourth. He’d started tenth and was looking particularly smooth. Half distance and he was up to second but well adrift of the flying Small who ran out the winner by just over eight seconds. Teal came home second with Blake third. After his early surge up to fifth he’d dropped back to sixth before climbing to fourth, dropping back to fifth behind Steve Brown before climbing back into third. Brown crossed the line fourth but was penalised back to eighth promoting Pete O’Connor into fourth. Another strong run having started on grid eleven. Dan Healey took fifth which was just where he had started although he’d dropped to tenth by the end of the first lap before fighting his way back. Lissetter came home sixth. Fourth with one to go he lost out over the final lap. Mays was next. He fell away from around half distance. Brown was a penalised eighth with Edward Barrs and Brandon Williams completing the top ten.

Heat 2

Ben Yarwood led away from pole but by the end of the lap O’Connor was into the lead ahead of Teal who had started from the front row. Harding was up to third having started seventh with Williams remaining in his starting position of fourth. Blake was next. Having started alongside Holmes on the third row he’d got the better start. Wisely Holmes didn’t force the issue too much as he needed a good result after finishing at the back in the first heat. O’Connor was comfortable at the front and increasing the gap as Teal defended from Harding. With four laps run though Harding was through into second. But he could make no impression on the leader as O’Connor promptly set the fastest lap and continued to pull away. Holmes was now into third having slipped by Teal at half distance. At this point Teal was dropping away and over five laps he dropped back five places before settling into seventh. O’Connor took the win by a hugely impressive margin of over six seconds after an imperious performance. Holmes was next having taken Harding on the penultimate lap. Third place went to Small. Starting fifteenth he’d made up seven places on the first lap before settling into seventh for several laps and then picking off places over the closing laps. Harding came home fourth just holding off Blake with Williams next up from Teal. Barrs, Brown and Yarwood completed the top ten.

Heat 3

Barrs and Norris on the front row got away cleanly as did Small from row two but Harding spun away his chances whilst further back Healey and Truman were early casualties. With one lap run Small slipped into second with Blake taking the opportunity to also move ahead of Norris as Barrs began to pull a slight gap. Williams was on a charge moving up to fifth from tenth. Barrs continued to lead but Small was into a rhythm and beginning to reel him in whilst Blake remained third but was making no impression on the leaders. Norris remained fourth but was dropping away from third as he defended from Williams, Holmes and Brown. Teal was next from O’Connor, Healy and Lissetter. A small battle this but as they each attacked, or defended, they fell away from the front runners. Half distance and Small slipped by Barrs for the lead and promptly began to pull away to take the win by almost two seconds from Barrs. Blake closed up towards the end but never seriously challenged Barrs whilst Holmes made up a couple of places over the final laps to take fourth ahead of Norris. Brown took sixth ahead of Williams grabbing the place on the final lap. O’Connor was next but well behind Williams whilst Teal and Healey completed the top ten.

Final

With all the points from the heats totted up Small was on pole from Blake with O’Connor and Teal on row two. Barrs and Championship leader Holmes on the third row with reigning Champion Brown and Williams on row four from Harding and Lisseter on row five. A lively race in prospect on the treacherous circuit and what we got was a race which surely sets a record in Club 100. In a sport renowned for overtaking if you discount the first

lap there were just five overtakes over the course of the next eleven laps and three of those were over twelfth place! It’s not intended as a criticism either, it was just one of those freak events that motorsport sometimes throws up. Small converted pole to a win coming home by almost three seconds from Blake who lost out at the start to O’Connor. It took him until the fifth lap to find a way past and set about the leader. it was a lost cause but still netted him valuable points for the Championship. O’Connor kept everything together coming home third for his best result of the season. Teal was next in fourth for his best result for a while whilst Championship leader Holmes took fifth. Harding was next. He made up a couple of places on the opening lap and then overtook Barrs for the place on the third lap. Barrs was next ahead of Brown followed by Healey and Williams. Norris was eleventh and then came the real battle between Longman and Mays. Longman was last on the grid but made up four places on the opening lap to slot ahead of Mays. Within a lap though Mays was back in front whilst a lap later they had changed places again. Exciting stuff! Two laps later and Mays was back into twelfth. And that was it. The field reeled off the remaining laps finishing as they were with Truman and Yarwood taking the final two places.

Podiums and Championships

James Small’s win was richly deserved and hopefully he’ll be back for some more races over the remaining rounds. Obviously he can’t win the Championship but he might well have a say in who does. Ian Blake’s second place was his second in a row whilst Joe Holmes still retains the Championship lead. Joe isn’t a lover of Clay and it wasn’t his greatest day but with Steve Brown fairing even worse and dropping to third in the standings behind Ian it could have been worse. Pete O’Connor’s third place was his best result of the season. He wasn’t disappointed and was full of praise for Small and Blake. He felt he could have driven a little better in the third heat but nevertheless it was a good result.

Reflections

The weather at Clay was truly awful and played a big part in some of the results. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many smiling drivers. It may have been wet, windy and cold but the majority of drivers certainly enjoyed themselves. There was some very good driving too in the tricky conditions and surprisingly few penalties. As always the organisation was slick and the marshalls did a great job. Not easy for them in the rubbish weather. Next on the calendar is Red Lodge. I’ve never been. Some drivers like it, some don’t so we shall see. You can’t beat a bit of variety though.

See you there!

Click here to read all Club100 Reports

Click here to see more Club100 Videos

Report written by Chris Simpson

Photography: Jack Mitchell – JAM Motorsport Photography

Like this article? Then check out all our other race reports here:

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