Club 100 Sprint Championship Round 4
Bore Da! Croeso i Llandw.
Round four for the Elites, Clubman’s, Lights and Heavies at the quick and physical Welsh venue. A super circuit this with its quirky start line followed by the fast right, left, right of the Hook. A great overtaking opportunity here but get it wrong and you’re right under the eyes of the Clerk of the Course! Out of here and down the Bomber straight before the left hander into Surtees and then on to the double apex right at Macwhirters, round the very slight Lancaster curve and down the very slight gradient to the right handed Chandlers. Then it’s a blast along the Spitfire straight before the chicane at the Dell. Exit this onto the first part of the Hanger straight, sweep thought NGK chicane which splits the Hangar straight and then the flat out run to the quick Raymond’s hairpin. Watch the Niki Richardson DVD to see how to take this corner correctly. It’s an awesome piece of Kart control. Round the corner and onto the start/finish straight to complete the lap. At Just over a thousand metres long it may not be the longest of circuits but its quick, challenging and offers good overtaking opportunities at almost every corner. High cloud, cool temperatures but no threat of rain, and everyone looking forward to a great days racing.
Rye winner Joe Holmes took this one with ease. Lights to flag doesn’t come anymore dominant and although Tom Dix gave valiant chase he was never close enough to challenge. A good effort though from Dix but such a pity that his result was spoilt after clipping a cone and receiving a one place deduction. Behind these was good battle for third. Ray Norris started third on the grid but gradually slipped back down the order finally finishing down in thirteenth suffering from the effects of a very late Saturday night.
James Hattersley and Dan Longman also lost out badly at the start whilst Tyler Mays and Edward Barrs both made rapid progress. Jack Harding was looking very feisty early on and climbed as high as sixth before getting shuffled down to eleventh, a victim of the O’Connor, Brown and Small fight. Good to see James Small back and looking as accomplished as ever. As the leaders continued it was Blake now into third whilst the rest of the field were being dropped, losing time as they battled between themselves. Holmes crossed the line well over a second to the good from Dix with Blake a lonely third on the road but promoted to second. Hatterseley was next over the line but he too suffered a penalty for cone abuse promoting O’Connor in fourth. A good drive this. He made steady progress throughout the heat. Behind these two we had reigning Champion Steve Brown and Small. Both these made up eleven places through the heat which boded well for their prospects for the day. Jay Elliott was next and he set fastest lap.
Elliot led the pack away and quite literally drove away from the rest of the field! Nijjar and Docker were early challengers but Truman lost out badly at the start dropping from fourth to tenth. And it got worse for him dropping to thirteenth before staging a mini recovery. Fast movers on the first lap were Championship leader Brown and Holmes. Whilst Elliott continued to stretch his lead Nijjar was coming under pressure from Docker and Brown the latter looking very strong out of the hairpin. He was into second with only three laps but could he catch the flying Elliott? Teal was on a mission, taking advantage of the Nijjar and Docker fight to move ahead of them both. And Holmes wasn’t out of the picture latching quickly onto Teal’s bumper. Half distance and Brown was making no inroads into Elliott’s lead whilst Holmes had got the better of Teal. But this fight wasn’t over. Williams was up to fifth having recovered some of the ground he lost at the start. Docker was next ahead of Nijjar with Small looking for a way by. He got a good run out of the Hook and looked likely to move up at Surtees but it was not to be. He spun and would resume dead last. Elliot and Brown continued at the front the former taking the win by over two seconds at the flag. Teal came home third having battled back in front of Holmes who stayed in touch but couldn’t quite get back on terms. Coming up fast though was Blake. Having started on grid seventeen he had picked up four places at the start and thereafter made up one place every lap setting the fastest lap on the eighth tour. He was into fifth by the last lap but was almost a second down. By the final turn he was with Holmes and as they accelerated to the line he was alongside. They crossed the line side by side for the first dead heat finish I can remember but by dint of his fastest lap he was credited fourth. An extraordinary drive. Williams was next up from Docker and Healey with Nijjar and Dix completing the top ten. And no one took a penalty. Good clean racing.
Harding led away from pole with Healey tucking in behind whilst Small tucked into third ahead of O’Connor. Barrs got a flyer from seventh to get ahead of both Blake and Brown. The latter was on the grass out of the Hook and lost out badly on the run down to Surtees as he couldn’t find a gap to get back into the pack. He would cross the line fifteenth after the first lap. Teal was up one into seventh whilst Norris and Hattersley were up to eighth and ninth respectively having started fifteenth and thirteenth. Harding led from Healey but Small in third was looking particularly quick and anxious to make up for his spin in the previous heat. Third lap and he was into second after a good move at Surtees and by the end of the lap he was into first. It was a lead he would never relinquish. Behind, Harding was about to lose second as he ran wide out of Chandlers and drove a few ragged laps before regaining his composure. He’d dropped to fifth behind Healey, a recovering Blake and Barrs. O’Connor was next up with Teal on his bumper. With four to go both Blake and Barrs made it by Healey but they couldn’t catch Small who took a comfortable win. Barrs pipped Blake for second on the final lap by just 0.018 at the flag with Healey fourth. Teal made it past Harding on the final lap with O’Connor next up from Hattersley with Williams and Norris completing the top ten. Barrs set the fastest lap.
Pole then for Ian Blake with Championship leader Steve Brown alongside. Rye winner Joe Holmes and Daz Teal on row two from Dan Healey and Jay Elliott on three followed by Pete O’Connor and James Small with James Hattersley and Tom Dix completing the top ten.
Blake led the field into the Hook and got pushed wide but not badly so and he emerged with Brown alongside as they exited the corner and sped down the Spitfire straight. Blake had the momentum down into Surtees and made the most of it, pulling clear into the corner. By the end of the first lap he was already several tenths to the good. Behind, Brown was fighting to hang onto second from Holmes whilst Teal and Healey had lost out to the fast starting pair of Elliott and Small. With just two laps run Blake was pulling well clear but it was Holmes into second after getting the better of Brown round the final corner. Elliott was up to fourth whilst Healey had fought back into fifth ahead of Teal and Small. Four laps run and Brown was down to fourth behind Elliott and clearly struggling out of the slower corners. Teal had usurped Healey for fifth ahead of Small who now had Harding for company ahead of O’Connor, Williams and Hattersley. Having lost places at the start Hattersley had settled down and was running on the leaders pace but coming out of the Hook for the eighth time he clipped the end of the tyre wall and spun. An unsighted Nijjar hit him and came to a halt. Both got going but Hattersley ran for only a few yards his steering having been broken. A disconsolate James spent the remainder of the race watching from the tyre barrier and admitting later that the incident was totally his fault. Blake was continuing to control the pace at the front with Holmes second whilst Elliott was homing in on the latter. Behind these Teal was closing down the gap to Brown with Harding close behind. Blake duly took the win nearly two seconds to the good from Holmes and Elliott. Fourth went to Teal who nicked the place right on the line having out accelerated Brown off the final turn. Harding took sixth. A good drive this too. Another couple of laps and he might well have made it up to fourth. Healey took seventh well clear of O’Connor and Small. Dix completed the top ten. Blake set the fastest lap.
Podiums and Championship places.
Ian Blake was all smiles after his win and is now claiming to be the Club 100 Champion of Wales. Sadly the trophy he might have got went to Ray Norris earlier in the day for his efforts in boosting the Welsh economy. Joking aside this was a very dominant performance and puts him well in the Championship hunt. Joe Holmes drops to third in the order but only by a few points. Second was a good result whilst Jay Elliott can’t be discounted either after his first podium of the season. Steve Brown had a trying final at Llandow but still heads the standings. His lead has been cut again though. After dominating the first two rounds he’ll be looking for a return to the top step at Ellough.
Report written by Chris Simpson
Photography: Jack Mitchell