Steve Brown Wins Championship In Style, Joe Holmes Is For Real, Top 5 Falls Into Place…
Thirty-four entries, the biggest entry since Round 4 at Whilton Mill, Elite never quite recovering from the long distance rounds Glan-Y-Gors-Clay Pigeon-Llandow, necessitated 5 heats and B & A Finals for the last time, as a single grid and Clubman (or Premier?) Class as a separate championship returns for 2017.
Watery sunshine and a heavily dewed track for , or perhaps the previous day’s downpour was just reluctant to dry up and bugger off, Parmveer Nijjar started on pole but it would be a returning Russell Endean and Jay Elliott off the 2nd row tussling with Stephen Hicks for the lead off hairpin 2. This trio gapped Parmveer holding off Stuart Martin and the field. Endean would run deep and wide off hairpin 1 on the next lap to invite Elliott in and he’d out drag Russell into the Esses for the lead. Elliott served notice on Nijjar that it wasn’t going to be his day, winning by 9secs, Parmveer joined Endean and Hicks in fighting over 2nd place while Ed White and Joe Holmes had made rapid progress from the 7th row to find themselves ultimately fighting over 2nd place with Hicks, after Endean had been dumped out, Nijjar came home in 5th, Ed and Joe had seen off Stuart Martin and an excluded Ian Blake, possibly doing the seeing off of Martin…
The other Ian Blake (the one that is not in danger if getting a reputation for being a “bandit”) won Heat 2 into turn 1 with a champion’s move from grid 5 inside of David Longman ahead of him then Scott Martin on pole position as he slithered (or was perhaps was helped) wide. Whatever, Ian held off Scott to take the inside into hairpin 1. Then Pete O’Connor held up Scott long off, with a move inside of hairpin 2 so Blake could be comfortably clear into the Esses. Martin spun out entering Pullmans, O’Connor ran wide off Garda, Marc Craddock went 2nd, but he was 1.1secs behind Blake ending lap 1. Jay Elliott was 4th, he’d started 15th. Blake and Craddock made good an escape, O’Connor was sucked back into Elliott, Tyler Mays, Dan Healey, James Small and returnee Tim Clark. Craddock started to worry Blake, making a move into hairpin 1, only for Blake to push back through into the Esses and it seemed to wake Ian up, pulling a few kart lengths lead, and when Mays arrived on Craddock on to the last lap, the gap would break out to 1.6secs, as Mays tried and failed to pass Craddock, letting Small, Elliott, and Healey join in for the last half lap. Marc ran side by side with James Small down the hill before securing 2nd for himself into Garda, Mays, Elliott, promoted above Healey after contact earned him a 1place penalty.
From pole position Joe Holmes got the drop on James Taylor into turn 1 in Heat 3 James in the lonely grid 2, would be still sorting out which way was north while Ed White, Ray Norris, Darren Teal sailed through inside. Taylor gathered himself but was shuffled further on down the outside around and off the corner. The field splitting into the top 4, a second trio of Jon Lisseter, Steve Brown and Parmveer Nijjar, all 3 looking for good results for different reasons, then another gap to Thom King being eased out of 8th place by, I imagine, a frustrated James Taylor. Up front Norris went inside of hairpin 2 to make it 3 wide with Teal and Lisseter only to lose it all and more in squaring it off and in avoiding collecting Teal, so Nijjar slipped through to 5th. Then Brown put it inside of Norris into Garda for 6th, which in turn set up Taylor’s run around the outside of Ray before Cafe Curve. Holmes was reinforcing the ‘don’t let him have a clear track or he’ll drive away from you’ reputation, I’ve been pushing, the dicing behind had allowed White and Lisseter to get away and would go Jon’s way further on. Nijjar went for a move on Darren Teal into hairpin just as Taylor tried to repeat it on Brown behind, this kicked off a round robin that would then continue being wound up, after Brown had escaped it, later Nijjar slipped away, until morphed into a game of Battling Tops (ask a parent) over the bottom of the top 10. On to the last lap between Teal, Taylor, Norris, James Hattersley, Thom King, Tom Dix, Ben Yarwood, Stuart Martin and Ed Barrs, and it is worth a watch on our Facebook site, right up until Teal and Taylor exited the Esses on the last lap and the contact between spears Darren nose first into barrier. And thank you to John Surtees for upgrading the barriers to the very latest spec, Darren walked away, eventually, and rather gingerly, but walked nevertheless.
Perhaps the grid just fell right for Simon Young for Heat 4, he started P4 behind Myles Sharman, Stephen Docker and Jack Harding, but it was a poor start for Jack, leaving Simon off Stephen’s bumper and ahead of Myles, then a gap to James Hattersley, Scott Martin already with a penalty (?), Dan Truman and the rest of the field and a frantic midfield once again. Young would break the tow to Sharman to be up on Docker’s bumper, and looking for a good move before getting through. Maybe he’d taken too long Scott Martin and Joe Holmes would pass Sharman then Docker in short order, Scott got to Young’s bumper on to the last lap. Martin looked for a way by, Simon covered up around the top of the circuit, Scott pressed again into Paddock, Simon would be waving his arm in disgust as Martin dived in, then Holmes jumped in at Garda, however both by then had picked up penalties for contact and would be demoted to 5th and 6th respectively behind Young, Docker, Sharman and Ed White. But for Holmes starting 19th, even being adjusted back to 6th, was still comfortably enough for A Final pole position, his 2nd Elite A Final in only his 2nd start in the class.
After nearly being pushed off his line through turn 1 by James Small starting behind him, Thom King recovered to have a comfortable lead in Heat 5 into hairpin 2. What went on out of sight I know not, but Mays emerged 2nd, Small holding off Brown, Barrs, Craddock and Harding. King looked unconvincing, which was odd given his pedigree around Buckmore Park(previously their own Elite Champ in Club100 karts), and Steve Brown would be along if he could get passed Small and perhaps Mays would be there sooner. Brown drafted passed Small down to turn 1, then James lost out to Craddock and Barrs off hairpin 1. Seeing Brown coming Mays gave himself the hurry up diving in for the lead at hairpin 2, perhaps before he was quite ready, the pair rubbed side-pods, scrubbed off speed and Brown out dragged the pair to the Esses, and was gone as Tyler had to busy himself holding off Thom, Marc and Ed. Mays held off first Marc Craddock, and then a pretty racy Ed Barrs towards the finish after King had run Craddock out wide in Garda. These young lads have no respect for elders, no matter how illustrious they are. Quite right this is Club100.
Twelve on the grid for B Final, Pete O’Connor on pole position, good job, 5th in the championship was out of reach, and although Mays was comfortably in the A Final and mathematically in with a chance of 6th in championship, I don’t think Pete was bothered and pole is a good place to start, if you were, getting to the A would be enough. You need a good start to make the top 4, and thats needs a good start, Tim Clark was rusty on grid 2, and Pete went early, and went hard, clear into turn 1. But too strong, Clark ran into turn 1 with the lead, Russell Endean had sliced through the gaps off the fast start to emerge 3rd, off grid 11, ahead of Andy Cowell and Ben Yarwood, Dan Truman off grid 3 would have to work his way back through to qualification and of course there was a big beast in the field Ian Blake, but good Blakey or bad? Ian picked off Thomas Glyde at Paddock to start lap 2 in 7th. O’Connor had taken a shot at the lead off Garda, missed and Endean would out drag him to Cafe Curve and still enough extra momentum to run up to and on through Clark for the lead into turn 1. At the same time Yarwood drafted up alongside Cowell into turn 1, bringing Truman back into play, and let Blake close rapidly. Dan demoted Andy into hairpin 1, and Ian did him into hairpin 2, You didn’t know where to look, as Clark was leading again into Esses ahead of O’Connor and Endean. Russell ran Pete wide out hairpin to recover 2nd place, Truman took too long to close on Yarwood in 4th place, so Blake squeezed inside of Dan into Paddock and down the escape road, to give Ben a breather and the loose line of 7 ending into Tom Glyde settled to run just as fast as they could for a few laps.
Glyde lost the tow. Endean grabbed the lead from Clark in hairpin 2, six beginning to split into 2 as Yarwood lost the tow to O’Connor. Once again Blake spoilt Truman gradual creep up to Yarwood, diving in at Garda to get it done, then shouldering wide off Senna to secure 5th and set off after Ben who was closing back in on the dicing trio up front. Back to fast lappery. Blake edged and dived up the inside of Yarwood as he had on Truman a few laps before and set off after O’Connor leading again, Endean and Clark. He was also towing Yarwood and Truman back to the lead. Ian caught with Endean first, sort of getting alongside into turn 1, it would be Yarwood into 2nd into hairpin with Blake and Endean side by side, Truman making it 4. It looks like Ian pushed Ben passed the turn in for hairpin 2 to go 3rd, I’m guessing thats his 4place deduction. On to the last lap O’Connor was clear, Clark as well, the chequered flag missed them Blake saw it first, followed in by Truman to make 4, at least 4 with Yarwood, seeing off Endean behind, Russell track limit penalty anyway which promoted Tom Gylde to 5th, demoted Endean, Blake, then a long way off Stuart Martin was 10secs off the lead in 8th.
To the A Final. And what great A Final to finish the season with. Lots of surprises, great racing, building up to a climax and a bit of farce after/before/after the chequered flag. The best A Final of the year? Pole man Joe Holmes dangled grid 2 Ed White out front running up Cafe Curve, getting on it, to be clear of a challenge by Ed or Marc Craddock on row 2 with Parmveer Nijjar, Joe sweptconfidently to the outside to the racing in to maximise the line through turn1. The start was nailed. Craddock and White ran side by side behind to allow Joe just enough room to take the racing line through the infield and down the hill. Still by side with Marc to the exit of hairpin 1, Ed would use his inside line into hairpin 2 to secure 2nd place. Jay Elliott had run through from grid 7 to demote Simon Young, an excellent grid 5, but perhaps, with a staff kart, a row or 2, too high on pace, on the grid, but he’d prove difficult to overtake. That would be a problem for Parmveer Niijar well placed on grid 4, he’d seen Elliott blast through, ending his chances of the runner up in the championship, if he could not run him Simon down quickly, while holding off the main body of the field beginning with James Hattersley and Steve Brown. Jay towed in behind Craddock into turn 1, waited to ease Marc wide off hairpin 2, and wave to him inside of Esses, perhaps it served both of their purposes to have Jay pull him up to Ed White, and remain clear of the wave of Nijjar, Hattersley, Brown and Thom King breaking over Simon Young through the hairpins, Dan Healey too late and he’d have to click his heels for a crucial lap or so, looking for a way by. Brown ran Hattersley wide out side in Garda to go 6th, James losing 7th to King, as he sorted that out up to Cafe Curve. And finally the race settled so pace could be judged. Well half a lap, as Jay was on fire getting down the inside of White into Paddock, to lead the pursuit, although doubted there would be on to be honest of Holmes 1.2secs clear up front. I was wrong. Brown passed Nijjar into hairpin 2, probably critical as it allowed him to surf Craddock’s tow, who in turn was in White’s, who was sitting on Elliott’s bumper, for the free ride to the leader, if he could hang on to it. 0.2, 0.1, 0.1, 0.2 Elliott chipped off Joe’s lead, it was happening. Behind Brown had repeated his hairpin 2 move on Craddock, then worked his way back into White’s slipstream and pulled it again 2 laps later on White. Then Steve would have to work his way back into Elliott’s slipstream, in time, for the battle for the lead to commence, end of lap 10 Elliott had the lead down to 0.35secs and as we all know the slipstream activates at that range, game on for a 4 lap shootout.
Jay grabbed the lead into hairpin 2, that put Joe his bumper, and Steve on his. Brown block passed Holmes into Garda, love tapping Elliot at the same time, Joe snuck back through into Senna. Elliott ran wide into turn 1, Holmes led, side by side with Elliott off hairpin 1, pinning Jay to a wide turn in to hairpin 2, Brown drilled it inside the pair to lead down the hill. I think Elliott resolved to execute a pass into Paddock even if Joe wasn’t agreeable, and Holmes wisely gave him room, White was back on his bumper with Craddock, Healey and Nijjar in his wheel tracks. Elliott’s move for 2nd had given Brown a few kart lengths, over start finish for another lap and still no sign of the final lap board. The top 7 flashed through and only now the chequered flag came out. Which is just as well as a great race fell apart, with desperate moves from hairpin 2 to Paddock. Fortunately the race was over. 2016 was over. Steve Brown was champion, Jay Elliott was runner up, Joe Holmes had made a big splash on Elite Class, which is some going, as he competed in Heavyweight Class until Ellough Park, Ed White introduced himself, Marc Craddock can rest assured Club100 Sprints is in rude health for 2017, Dan Healey was 6th and Parmveer Nijjar was satisfied with 3rd in championship in 7th.
Round 1 /12 will be at Buckmore Park on 26 February 2017.
Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography