Club 100 Sprint Championship Round 3 Rye House
After the wide open spaces of Whilton Mill it was a complete contrast to visit the tight twisty confines of Rye, the self styled spiritual home of Karting. A tough little track with its long straight, the blindingly quick right handed Stadium corner before flicking left to the first hairpin, scene of many a demon overtaking manoeuvre and many shunts. A great circuit for viewing where the whole circuit is laid out before you. But a tricky circuit to get absolutely right.
Clubman’s Heat 1
What a good clean heat this turned out to be after the frantic antics of the Elites. Harry Neale led the field away chased hard by Chris Dixon with the highly experienced Simon Lloyd slotting into third ahead of a fast starting Jack Bolton followed by Luke Hornsby, Rob Moore, Frankie Hedges and Mike Townley. And almost unbelievably these top eight circulated line astern for practically three quarters of the heat. It had got a bit untidy at the rear of the field at the beginning with the pushers being called upon to cope with an errant spinner or two but everyone finished on the same lap with no severe penalties called. All good clean fun. Would that every heat would be like this. It’s good to dream. Neale was over a second to the good and controlling the pace well from Dixon but third placed Lloyd was coming under increased pressure from Bolton and Hornsby. Bolton put a move on Lloyd at the first hairpin causing both of them to run wide and allow Hornsby up to third but a lap later it was Lloyd back into third from Hornsby whilst Bolton made it by a lap later. Neale though was untroubled at the front running out the winner by almost two seconds. Lloyd hung on to third but had Bolton almost on his bumper at the end chased by Hornsby. Moore and Hedges finished line astern in sixth and seventh but Townley lost out badly over the final laps slipping from eight to sixteenth in the course of the last four laps. Shaun Hollingsworth was a superb ninth having battled his way up thirteen places from the start whilst Darrell Lowe completed the top ten after a strong drive saw him move up nine places throughout the heat.
Clubman’s Heat 2
Pietro Pagano took this one. Three laps in he was at the front and into a lead he would never relinquish finally romping home almost two seconds to the good. A good return to form. David Whitehouse had led the pack away at the restart but quickly found himself demoted to third and battling hard with Christopher Murray for second. Murray had led for a time before being passed by Pagano. Peter Harris was having a fight with Lowe for fourth which saw the two of them change places several times and get themselves involved in the fight for second. Towards the end of the race Whitehouse finally made the break from the pack to come home second whilst Lowe took third ahead of Murray. Martin Theodorou had kept himself in the mix and was rewarded with fifth whilst Harry Neale had driven a sensible race, kept himself out of trouble and picked up places steadily to put himself up to sixth at the flag. Harris came home seventh ahead of Harrison Darvill and Jamie Pender. Hornsby rounded out the top ten whilst Frankie Hedges set the fastest lap but could only finish in twenty second place.
came home third ahead of Holmes. But it was a close run battle which almost ended in tears at the last corner. Teal had never been quite close enough to challenge for the lead and bit by bit Holmes had hunted him down. Still, third looked secure but Holmes sensed an opportunity and took a dive down the inside at the final turn. It was optimistic at best. He quickly realised it wasn’t on and hit the brakes hard scrabbling over the inside kerb. Fortunately Teal was aware of his presence and left him some error room. A look behind and shake of the head said precisely how he felt. Holmes survived to finish fourth setting the fastest lap on lap ten. Williams and Mays were next up, the two of them having slipped by a fading O’Connor with three to run. Nijjar, Blake and Norris completed the top ten.
Clubman’s Heat 3
Buck led the field away chased by Martin and Scully but Darvill spun away his chances and dropped to the rear of the field in the frenetic first lap scramble. Also in the wars was Lowe who found himself forced wide and down to the rear of the pack. One down and Buck led by over a second and looked fully in command but then he managed to lose it all on his own. From hero to zero. So a grateful Martin took over at the front with Scully right on his bumper. Hollingsworth was into third but being challenged hard by Sharman and Powell. Martin continued to lead but he wasn’t getting away. Meanwhile Hollingsworth got ahead of Sharman but it would only last for a couple of laps before both Hollingsworth and Powell swept by. Their fight had allowed the two leaders to pull a small gap but Scully was intent on the win and began to pressure Martin for the lead. The latter was defending hard which allowed the following pack to close up. With two to run Scully made it by into the hairpin and Martin began to fall back into the clutches of Hollingsworth who duly made it into second on the final lap. Powell came home fourth just a couple of tenths behind Martin and a Kart length ahead of Sharman. Townley and Osborne were next up after strong drives with Hedges, Bolton and Moore completing the top ten. Neale set fastest lap despite finishing in fourteenth. A good drive though. One of those that can easily be overlooked as he had started from the back of the field.
Despite neither taking a win in the heats it was Harry Neale and Jack Bolton on the front row courtesy of consistent finishes in the heats. Shaun Hollingsworth and Christopher Murray were on row two with Pietro Pagano and Darrell Lowe on three. Peter Harris and Simon Lloyd on four with Stuart Osborn and Stefan Scully completing the top ten.
It’s a rare event when racing at the Club throws up a procession but this was one such race. Or at least it was after a frenetic opening few laps. Neale made no mistake to lead but within the course of just three laps five of the top ten had seen their chances of good finish evaporate. Bolton, Murray and Lloyd were first to fall followed by Scully who fell from tenth to sixteenth whilst two laps later Osborn, who had climbed to fifth, was suddenly at the back and lapped as he waited for the pusher. Neale continued to lead but had Pagano pushing him hard with Hollingsworth in touch but with his attention on the chasing Lowe. Next up Harris and then Hornsby, Hedges, Moore, Theodorou, Townley, Whitehouse and Powell all running line astern. With two to run Neale still led from Pagano but Lowe finally found a way past Hollingsworth to put himself into a podium spot. Almost at the same time Hornsby got ahead of Harris and Moore salvaged some valuable points getting ahead of Hedges. Neale though took the win by almost half a second from Pagano with Lowe back in a very satisfied third. Pagano set the fastest lap.
Podiums and standings
Harry Neale’ win made it three different winners in three rounds. But it’s Pietro Pagano leading the standings despite having yet to win a final. You need consistency to win a title. And a bit of luck. Pietro spun on the first lap of the final but fortune smiled on him as the race was restarted allowing him to take up his original spot. Darrell Lowe was delighted with third feeling the result had put him back in the Championship hunt. Rob Moore didn’t have the greatest of weekends but he’s level on points with Pagano at the top of the order whilst first round race winner Hollingsworth is just a point behind in third place with Jack Bolton just a couple of points back in fourth.
Round 4 will be at Llandow on 7th May 2017
Report written by Chris Simpson
Photography: Jack Mitchell