Club 100 Sprint Championship Round 6 Clay Pigeon
Round six at the Dorset circuit marked the halfway stage of the season for the Sprint Championships. A great little circuit steeped in history and with superb off track facilities after the building of the Clubhouse. And there are rumours of a planned track extension too.
David Whitehouse made the most of pole to lead the field down to Billy’s Blind for the first time hotly pursued by Harrison Darvill and Harry Neale who had got the better of Mike Townley down the straight. Darrell Lowe and Jamie Pender took full advantage of those in front fighting each other for a first lap advantage which only served to delay. Lowe and Pender both kept out of trouble and found themselves up to fifth and sixth after starting from grids nine and eleven. Also on a charge was Frankie Hedges. Starting from grid fourteen he was soon inside in the top ten and setting fastest times. Championship leader Pietro Pagano was in trouble though after tangling with Martin Theodorou and spinning to a halt. At the front Whitehouse continued to lead with Darvill second chased hard by Neale with Townley keeping a watching brief. Down the order the opening few laps were blighted by drivers making contact with each other accompanied by much arm waving. Races aren’t won in the opening laps but they can be lost.
Whitehouse continued to lead and was beginning to pull a slight gap as Darvill defended from Neale. Townley was being dropped but looked reasonably secure in fourth. Three from home and Neale finally found a way by Darvill and began to chase down the leader. But it was not to be. Whitehouse kept his composure to take the win by just under a second from Neale with Darvill third. Townley hung onto fourth but had Hedges and Lowe all over him at the flag. A great stint from Hedges who also set the fastest lap of the race. Pender was next up, just holding off a flying Chris Dixon who had battled his way up from grid twenty three. Chris Penny was next across the line but a two place penalty would see him demoted to eleventh. Stephen Docker and Rob Moore completed the top ten.
Hedges led the field away but after starring in the first heat he was soon dropping down the order crossing the line ninth by the end of the first lap. Any thoughts of a recovery were soon extinguished with a spin which dropped him to the rear of the field. Theodorou led at the end of lap one but it was Rob Moore into second after a blistering start from grid five. Hollingsworth settled into third with Bolton on his rear bumper. Unfortunately he got a bit too close and made contact with Hollingsworth spinning him out of third. Also gone from the fray was Peter Harris. Moore continued to lead from Theodorou and Bolton but the latter was in trouble and although he would eventually cross the line second he would be excluded from the results after his brush with Hollingsworth. The front three pulled quite a gap on the rest of the field with Moore controlling the pace well to take the win with Theodouro classified second after Bolton’s exclusion. Dixon took third after a fine recovery drive. Having started on grid ten he dropped to thirteenth before battling his way back through the field. Neale took fourth. Starting on grid sixteen he made rapid progress into the top ten after a couple of laps. Thereafter he kept his head down and picked off places with some very clean moves. Docker took fifth by just 0.032 from Thomas Glyde with Stefan Scully next but docked two places for multiple contact warnings leaving Christopher Powell to take seventh from Pietro Pagano. Justin Buck completed the top ten.
James Taylor sat on pole for the final heat with Scully alongside but by the end of the first lap he was down to fifth with Scully in the lead from Osborne, Pender and Sharman. Two laps in and Scully still led from Osborn but Sharman was back into third with Pagano up to fourth from grid seven and desperately seeking a good result to rescue his day. Taylor remained fifth but then spun away his chances and retired promoting Dixon into fifth. Scully meanwhile was controlling the race from the front and beginning to open up a gap from Osborn who in turn was moving away from Pagano and Dixon who were fighting over third whilst Sharman now had Moore for company, the latter having made rapid progress over the course of the opening three laps moving up from grid sixteen. Pender was next up. Having run in third early on he’d dropped back to twelfth before battling back. Unfortunately he’d battled a little too hard and would be deducted four places dropping him out of the top ten at the end of the heat. Scully ran out a comfortable winner with Osborn equally comfortable in second. But it was Dixon third having demoted Pagano with four to run. A good fight this though. Sharman held off a very determined Moore who got his nose in front on several occasions but just couldn’t make a move stick. Next up was Powell followed by Harris, Bolton and Hollingsworth with the four of them covered by half a second. Great racing showing just how closely matched both the drivers and Karts are.
When the points were added up Chris Dixon found himself on pole from Rob Moore with Stefan Scully and Harry Neale on row two. Next up Stephen Docker and Jamie Pender followed by Darrell Lowe and Thomas Glyde. Pietro Pagano and Martin Theodorou completed the top ten.
Dixon led the field across the line but it was Neale from row two who got a real flyer to take the lead. By the end of the lap he was over a second up on Dixon in second. Pender was up to third after a good tow from Neale whilst Moore and Scully dropped to fourth and fifth respectively. Over the next three laps Dixon clawed back some of the deficit to Neale but then Pender began to close in and as Dixon began to defend Neale began to pull away again. Behind these Scully had fought back past Moore as did Lowe. Having dropped a place at the end of the first tour he’d fought his way back into contention for a podium spot. But then he got involved in a spirited dice with Scully costing them both time.
At the front Neale continued to pull away whilst Dixon and Pender scrapped ferociously over second. Scully and Lowe swapped places several time before Lowe finally got ahead and made a break setting the fastest lap of the race at three quarter distance. Moore ran sixth but was beginning to drop back into the clutches of Pagano, Docker and Theodorou. By half distance he was down to ninth. Neale took the win finally finishing over two seconds ahead of the chasing pack. Dixon hung on to second just a tenth ahead of Pender who fought really hard but just couldn’t quite make it into the runner up spot. Good drives from the both of them and posting their best results of the season. Lowe came home a comfortable fourth ahead of Scully who was in turn well clear of Docker who was also well clear of Theodorou and Pagano who fought hard over seventh. Moore was a disappointed ninth with Whitehouse completing the top ten.
Harry Neale’s third win of the season sees him go to the top of the standings demoting Pietro Pagano who had a poor day by his standards at Clay. Harry is in a rich vein of form at the moment and if it continues he’ll take some beating. Chris Dixon is third. He took his second podium in two rounds at Clay after his third place at Ellough. A win must be close. Justin Buck and Jack Bolton are next.
Another great days racing at Clay and fortunately, despite the forecast of rain it stayed dry. The only downside to the day was what I felt was a lack of respect shown by some of the backmarkers as the leaders came upon them. You know who you were and you should by now know the rules and indeed the etiquette. The Championships are really starting to warm up and its going to a great second half to the season
Roll on Lydd !
Report written by Chris Simpson
Photography: Jack Mitchell – JAM Motorsport Photography