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Darri Simms takes double win, Dawes joins title battle as contenders take day off figuratively & literally.
It doesn’t detract from an impressive double win for Simms, well the Pre A Final win was post race after William Whitelock was too heavy in a three way battle with Simms and endurance team mate Bobby Dawes. Who perhaps deserved the Pre Final win. But there was no doubt in the main Final, Simms started from pole position, Dawes played wingman for a while, and only local James Martin could live with the pair off the start.
Perhaps the surprise was only Stefan Scully, of the championship contenders was close, starting on P4 but he’d have his hands full of Whitelock, starting a little further back than perhaps he felt he should be after his penalty, and his tow to the leading trio was broken on the first lap. Pietro Pagano and Martin Theodorou were absent from the event, Tom Golding and Christopher Powell were bottom of the top ten off the start, and by the the time Golding had cleared Chris Dixon, who’d started on the 3rd row with Whitelock, on lap 3 he was over 3secs and embroiled with championship rival Scully.
Tom would still be the same margin down passed halfway after clearing Scully and Whitelock but the podium was never in reach. Simms never looked like losing his lead, it must be reassuring to know that your enduro team mate is hardly likely to drill you with a crazy move, although to be fair I think I might have had the odd one who would, especially as it would be Bobby’s first A Final podium. Darri had the measure of him, and Bobby kept Martin at arms length for the closing laps.
Tom Golding turned a 7 point deficit to Pagano into 10point lead over Christopher Powell as he returned to the top of the championship. Simms moved back into the top ten with 2 maximum scores that stick out in a season of ordinariness after a bright start at Buckmore Park and likewise Bobby Dawes who has been moving forward since finding his feet in sprints at Lydd moved into the top 5. Indeed and arguably 28points off the championship lead, behind Golding, Powell, Pagano and Scully. If this is a step change and not familiarity with the circuit, then Bobby is a player in the championship.
Only 13 for the Pre B Final, but thats good when there’s 4 places up or grabs, thats almost a 1 in 3 chance right? Andrew Mather started on pole with David Darling on the front row, Michael White and Keith Segal on row 2 and not a lot of stand out names behind, Daniel Becker perhaps the only other driver who might have felt qualifying directly to the Pre A Final top 20 ought ot have been by right and might be expecting to drive through to it. Mather converted his pole to lead lap 1, Darling, White and Segal lining up to qualify leading Daniel work to do in 5th while holding off Joseph Liddiard. Segal moved passed and dropped White then Darling passed Mather, who fell behind Segal. Darling was free and clear, Becker moved into the top 4 as White slid backwards. By halfway the top was set, Darling cruising, clear Segal who in turn had dropped Mather into Becker, Rafal Drazaszcz emerging from the rest into the final 1/3 of the race and there was time to run down Becker 0.9secs up the road, but in reality, Rafal was trying to set himself up for one of the last 2 grid slots on offer from the B Final.
William Whitelock had pole position for the Pre A Final, and that looked right, William has shown flashes of real pace in his infrequent appearances, a brace of 2nd places at Whilon Mill comes immediately to mind. Dawes on the front row, it’d been coming, Simms on row 2, with James Martin. Jacob Lewis I didn’t know, James Venning on row 3, Chris Dixon and Chris Powell on row 4, John Foulds and Tom Golding, the latter only 10th? Scully 14th?! Hmmm… Llandow offers opportunities to overtake but not perhaps in big lumps like 2-3places at a time, the straights aren’t straight for the most part, and Whitelock got off to a strong start, Dawes moved into 2nd Simms, Venning coming through to 4th but Dawes had pace and soon closed on the leader and when battled was joined he moved to the lead and his dice with Whitelock made a hole big enough in the air, to suck Simms in from halfway, the trio 3.4secs clear if James Martin, just off Dixon, Venning, and Lewis, tripping each other up Scully, Golding and Powell rounded out the top 10.
And who could blame the latter trio, that was the championship battle right there. Talking of battles the leading trio were going at it hard, I had the odd involuntary wince as there wasn’t a lot of room being given and the racing, was rubbin’. It left Dawes upset at missing out on a first Club100 sprint win, Whitelock took it on track from Simms, only to be demoted for contact. It gave Simms the win, not undeserved, Darri had fought his corner, Dawes promoted to 2nd. Martin had long since given up the chase, but he got promoted to 3rd. Stefan Scully had broken clear of Golding to finish 5th with a late pass on Dixon, Whitelock had to settle with 5th, James Venning, Golding, Jacob Lewis and James Munro passed a disappointing Powell on the last lap.
So just 9 for the B Final and a different Michael White compared to Pre B, taking the lead from pole man Rafal Drzaszcz, Rhys Clarey on his bumper with Rainer Dullnig behind. White pulled clear Rafal was inconsistent and allowed Rainer to get on his bumper with Clarey. Rafal picked up his pace and looked secure with Dullnig and Clarey engaged over 3rd only for Rafal to drop it I believe, and that was that it left White 3.7secs clear of Dullnig who had control, if he could be consistent, Clarey couldn’t go any quicker, until Rainer made a mistake too many and invited Rhys in for the last couple of laps. Fortunately that was the last one and Rainer Dullnig joined Michael White in the A Final.
The A Final well the main bullet points are in the opening. No really. Dawes was looking to let pole man Simms tip into the Hook off the start, happy to be on his bumper coming out, James Martin and Stefan Scully were side by side contesting 3rd, it went Martin’s way out of my sight and it left Scully just out of his draft coming into Raymonds at the end of the lap and with William Whitelock, Chris Dixon, James Venning and the rest of the field in echelon on his bumper. Whitelock wanted to be by and if he couldn’t so did Dixon, and out the back of the circuit William made his move, Tom Golding piled in hard on Venning at the hairpin, giving James Munro a run on 7th place up to the Hook, but Tom wanted it more. And then he wanted Dixon’s 6th place although with a more cultured overtake at the hairpin.
A run wide at the hairpin on halfway allowed Simms to edge clear, just enough to break the tow, leaving Dawes to hold off Martin, although James, not holding back but not able to show like he wanted 2nd place but still able to go home with a trophy for 3rd. Golding had edged up to Scully and passed him moved straight on to Whitelock, but 2.2secs off Martin, was too much to do in the remaining 6 laps, unless Dawes slowed and Martin showed more intent. He did not. Whitelock, Scully and Dixon were hanging on to Golding, if he pushed too hard. A gap then to Christopher Powell and James Venning, gap to Jacob Lewis rounding out the top ten. And aside from a last lap by Powell on a fading Dixon thats how it finished.
Simms, Dawes, Martin made up the podium, and they all looked happy with a trophy, Golding, I am sure, would be content with 4th place when he saw the championship table on Sunday night.
Round 8 is at Red Lodge, Suffolk on 18 September 2016.
Report written by Chris Simpson
Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography