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Round 2 Whilton Mill
A grey overcast sky, a stiff breeze blowing in from the west, cool temperatures and the threat of rain. A typical March day as the competitors gathered for Round 2. With all the grids practically full it promised to be an intense days racing across all the classes in both the morning and afternoon sessions. And what a fantastic circuit Whilton Mill is. 1120 metres of pure adrenalin. A fast start into the left at Oblivion and almost immediately into the right handed Crook opening out onto the straight, flat through the Fine Lady kink and climb up to Christmas, a great overtaking spot with the gradient allowing for some late breaking. Too late for some. Then it’s hard out of the turn and into the off camber kink before the flat right at Inkermans and then down into the hard braking zone at Ashby. A corner made easier, or less prone to breaking Karts, now that there is a concrete apron on the exit. A short straight to the left hander at Parker, down the hill into Chapman and then a blast down the back straight before the left, right, right Boot complex. Then it’s hard on the power and flat through the final corner using the apron but not exceeding the track limits. A great circuit with plenty of overtaking opportunities.
Clubman Heat 1
Twenty five runners and a random grid. What better place to stand than turn one? Stuart Osborn had the pole with Stuart Gough alongside. The Buckmore podium finishers were scattered nicely throughout the grid. Round one winner Shaun Hollingsworth and third placed Pietro Pagano were down in fifteenth and sixteenth whilst second placed Rob Moore was on row two and looking the favourite to take this one. Away from the line and Moore was immediately into the lead whilst Osborne and Gough gave chase. With twenty five excitable chargers fighting for places it was probably inevitable that one or two would trip each other up. Simon Lloyd, Harrison Darvill, Christopher Powell, Luke Hornsby and Hollingsworth all fell to the back of the field. James Taylor was a man on a mission. Starting ninth he was up to fourth by the end of the first lap and challenging Gough for third but Gough wasn’t looking behind. He had Osborne in his sights and moved by on the second lap taking Taylor with him. Osborne dropped to sixth behind Peter Harris and David Whitehouse. Moore was into his stride and pulled a slight gap but it was Taylor giving chase now as Gough fought to stay in touch. Bit by bit Taylor began to reel the leader in and with two to go he nipped by into Christmas. He took the win by over half a second with Moore second from Whitehouse and Gough fourth after a great battle with Harris. Frankie Hedges took sixth with James Martin seventh. Justin Buck should have been next up but he picked up a penalty after a contact warning and exceeding track limits. Myles Sharman took eighth with Jack Bolton ninth after moving up thirteen places.
Clubman Sprint Heat 2
Darrell Lowe on pole from Jack Bolton with Hollingsworth and Pietro Pagano on two and first heat winner Taylor on row three and acknowledging the need for a good result as he would start his third heat from the very back of the grid. Lowe led the field away chased by Bolton with Taylor getting the better of Hollingsworth to slot into third. Pagano, Christopher Powell and Darvill were holding station behind. Luke Hornsby, Mike Townley and Thomas Glyde all fell victim to the first lap overcrowding and fell back. At the front Lowe continued to look comfortable but Bolton had to relinquish second to the flying Taylor with Hollingsworth just adrift in fourth. Taylor closed in on Lowe for the lead, the latter being particularly inconsistent through the Boot which proved to be his downfall as Taylor slipped by at mid distance with Bolton also taking advantage. Lowe wasn’t about to give up though and he and Bolton fought out a frantic battle for second over the remaining laps all of which allowed Taylor to pull a small, but significant gap over the final laps to take his second win of the day. The battle for second finally went to Bolton from Lowe whilst Hollingsworth was safe in fourth. He just didn’t quite have the pace to get on terms with the front three. Murray came home fifth ahead of Pagano with Dixon sixth, up six places with Powell next after an eventful drive which had at one time seen him running in fifth. Lloyd put in a real shift climbing eight places to ninth whilst Martin Theodorou completed the top ten and set fastest lap.
Clubman Sprint Heat 3
Jamie Pender made the most of his pole position to lead away from second placed Harry Neale but Myles Sharman was already in trouble spinning down the order and allowing Murray up into third. Townley dropped a couple of spots allowing Glyde and Dixon to make early progress. Man on the move though was Justin Buck, up three places to fifth and looking particularly racy. Down the order Lloyd and Stuart Osborn were both in trouble spinning to rear of the field. Pender continued to lead but was under fierce pressure from Neale who moved ahead at the exit of Christmas after a good run up the hill. A lap later and Buck deposed Murray for third and set about chasing down Pender. Murray had Glyde in close attendance and these two had a mighty fight for fourth which lasted all the way to flag. Neale took the win chased hard by Buck who set the fastest lap of the race on the final tour. Pender took a lonely fourth aided by the Glyde and Murray holding each other up as the battled over fourth. Gough took sixth and was closing on Murray who faded a touch over the final couple of laps. Moore was next up ahead of Bolton with Sharman just behind having failed to recover from his first lap drama. Peter Harris completed the top ten.
Clubman Sprint Final
When the points were totalled up Bolton was on pole by a single point from Taylor. Buck on row two with Murray alongside followed by Moore and Gough. Harris and Lowe on row four, Neale and Dixon completing the top ten. Bolton got a cracking start but it was Buck slotting into second place as Taylor dropped to third ahead of Murray. Neale got off to a flyer was up from tenth to fifth by the end of the first lap relegating Moore, Harris and Lowe. With two laps run Bolton continued to lead from Buck and Taylor but Gough was back up to fourth. However his overtake on Taylor had earned him a penalty. Bolton continued to lead but Buck was pressing hard whilst Gough still ran third with Neale on his tail ahead of Taylor. Damage limitation had become the order of the day for Gough. A win would drop him to fourth but with a valuable points haul. Dixon was running sixth ahead of Murray, Glyde, Lowe and Moore who had recovered briefly to sixth before immediately falling down to tenth in the frenetic battle. Bolton, Buck and Gough were having a real dogfight at the front. Buck briefly got ahead at Ashby but Bolton fought back to lead at the end of the lap with Gough still hanging on in third. A lap later though and Buck made the move stick moving into the lead and immediately pulling a small gap as Bolton fought off Gough. As the leaders reeled off the final laps Taylor closed rapidly on Neale and with one to go moved up to fourth on the road. Dixon held sixth ahead of Glyde and Murray. No one could get on terms with Buck and he ran out the winner, his first win in Club 100 after over ten years of trying. A hugely popular winner. Bolton had to be content with second whilst Taylor took the third step on the podium with Gough demoted to seventh. Neale took fourth with Dixon fifth and setting fastest lap. Glyde took sixth with Townley, Moore and Theodorou completing the top ten.
Podiums and Championship positions
Podiums should always be happy places. Justin Buck stood on the top step for the first time in his lengthy career and judging from the cheers he was probably the most popular winner all day. When asked how he felt he replied, ‘weird’ but that was probably as a result of being dizzy on the top step. He was very gracious in victory claiming that he was lucky as he felt Jack Bolton had a slower Kart. Perhaps that was true but he should not let it detract from a very fine performance which moves him into second place in the standings. Jack Bolton’s second place clearly pleased him and sees him fourth in the overall standings behind Rob Moore who didn’t have the greatest of days whilst James Taylor’s third place sees him move to the top of the order whilst Shaun Hollingsworth drops to fifth.
Roll on Rye House!!
Round 3 will be at Rye House on 23th April 2017
Report written by Steve Gray
Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography