A Holmes, Beroual-Smith, Wileman, Wright Thriller. Another Perfect Day for Joe.

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It was good to be back at Buckmore after the circuit’s trials and tribulations over the last few months. A great circuit, the Spa of the Karting world. A pity the weather had decided not to play ball. After the brilliant sunshine of Lydd it was a shame to roll up at Buckmore to a wet track and horrible drizzle. Fortunately the rain soon eased and despite the cooler conditions the track was soon beginning to dry.  

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The Road to the Finals

Adam Wright opened his account for the day with a relatively comfortable win in the first heat. Starting from the front row he went into an immediate lead chased by poleman Lewis Ridd. Ridd gave the leader a hard time for a couple of laps on the wet track but once Wright found his rhythm he pulled clear by a few tenths. Ridd lost out to Tim Hill mid race and couldn’t get back on terms. Paul Williams trailed the front three home some distance adrift in fourth with James Appleton fifth.

As the field came out for the second heat the track was drying rapidly and the times beginning to fall. Ryan Sandall’s first CLUB100 Sprint outing (he has raced in other CLUB100 disciplines) resulted in a comfortable win over four seconds clear of George Hatto in second. Matt Wileman took valuable points with third after starting from grid eleven with Curt Holmes and Miguel Hall fourth and fifth.

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Heat 3 went to Joe Holmes. He had to work for this one though. Starting from grid eight it wasn’t until three from home that he was into second and challenging long time leader Stuart Jones who had started from grid five but taken the lead two laps in. Jones held off the challenge from Holmes but had to give best on the penultimate lap. Tim Williams took third with Oliver Moss fourth after a strong drive up from grid ten with Dave Pethers fifth.

The fourth heat was an entertaining affair with front row sitter Alex Pritchard continuing his good form by leading for much of the race only to be caught by Anwar Beroual-Smith who worked his way up from grid six. Pritchard didn’t give up the fight however and was just a tent adrift at the flag with Beroual-Smith the winner. Poleman Sean Brierley had stayed in the hunt but had to settle for third ahead of Richard Allen who put in a shift climbing up the order from grid eleven whilst Mike Bodnar finished fifth.

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Heat 5 saw the scruffiest first lap of the day with so much contact in the first hairpins that it was virtually impossible to sort out who did what to whom. By the end of the first lap poleman Kieran Chidgzey led the way with Dave Pethers up to second from grid six, James Appleton third from grid eleven, Stuart Jones fourth from grid four and Matt Wileman fifth from fifth. Front row starter Joel Arguelles was down to sixth whilst second row starter Lee Henderson had dropped to thirteenth.  SHW Chidgzey was driving well at the front but Pethers found a way by mid race quickly followed by Jones and Appleton. Jones then set about catching Pethers and did so within a couple of laps. He then extended his lead to win comfortably from Pethers. Appleton was next over the line but lost two places for multiple contact warnings handing third to Wileman and fourth to Chidgzey.

Joe Holmes took his second win of the day in Heat Six. Starting from grid ten he was up to second two laps in but then got held up behind a spirited Jonathan Elliott who kept Holmes at bay for a couple of laps before Holmes went by. Elliott crossed the line second but then lost two places for jumping the start which promoted Jason Bear to second and Mike Bodnar to third with Miguel Hall fifth.

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Richard Allen led away from pole in Heat 7 and was never headed although he was pressed hard by Fran Volpe. Unfortunately for Volpe he’d clipped a cone and dropped to third. Curt Holmes crossed the line third but was hit with a four place penalty after a bump and pass on Lennie Wood. Sean Brierley was the big winner jumping two places to second with Adam Wright fourth and Anthony Ridd fifth.

Chris Dixon took a comfortable win in the eighth heat. After starting from the second row he led after the first lap and was never headed leading home Alex Pritchard who had started from grid seven. It took him three laps to get into second but he couldn’t catch the leader. Anwar Beroual-Smith claimed third with a last lap pass on Ryan Sandall. Good points for Beroual-Smith after starting from grid eleven. Oliver Moss was fifth.

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Elliot Mewse led the opening laps of Heat 9 before coming under pressure from Anthony Ridd, Jordan Salter and Jonathan Elliott. All three went by in the space of a lap with Ridd leading. He remained there for a couple of laps before dropping behind both Elliott and Salter. Adam Wright took another fourth place finish with Fran Volpe fifth but only after Miguel Hall had been penalised four places for a bump and pass on Richard Allen who finished sixth.

Joe Holmes made it three from three in Heat 10 leading home Anwar Beroual-Smith in what most thought would be an A Final rehearsal. James Appleton set the pace over the opening laps with Beroual-Smith second from Stuart Jones and Holmes. Holmes took a couple of laps running fourth before taking Jones and Beroual-Smith in consecutive laps. Beroual-Smith then took Appleton but had to settle for second a couple of lengths back from Holmes. Dixon and Jones were fourth and fifth.

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The penultimate heat resulted in a win for Matt Wileman helped in no small measure by both front row sitters, Paul Jameson and Harry Melvin spinning out on the opening lap. Wileman and Darrell Lowe took full advantage to run first and third with Rory Severn in second. Wileman pulled clear whilst Severn came under pressure from Tom Fuller and Lowe. Both went by at two thirds distance to finish second and third with Kevin Coombes fourth and Curt Holmes fifth.

The final heat resulted in a win for Simon Lloyd. Starting from the second row he was at the front by the end of the first tour. Steve Lindley kept him under pressure for much of the race but he had Oliver Moss all over his rear bumper as the race wound down and had to give best on the penultimate lap. Sean Brierley took a hard earned fourth after working his way up from grid twelve with Alex Pritchard fifth after working his way up from grid thirteen.         

The Finals

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C Final

(All drivers C3 unless otherwise noted)

Marcus Naris on pole from SHW Richard Newton with Max Jameson and C2 driver Vijay Patel on row two. Sam Bensley and Michael Newell shared row three with C2 Wayne Dunham alongside Mathew Batter on row four. Row four saw SHW Vinod Harani alongside Adam Heit. Daniel Hollingshead shared row six with SHW Joel Arguelles. Luke Elliott was alongside Chris Solomons on row seven with Adam Hyland and Jaeden Cadogan on row eight. SHW Paul Jameson and Martyn Robinson occupied row nine with Leon Du Preez and David Wilson on the penultimate row. C2 driver James completed the grid. Top four to qualify for the B Final and a trophy for the winner. 

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Naris led the field away but it was Newton who made the better start to lead round the first turn. Naris was forced to go wide and Patel, Jameson, Newell and Dunham all went by. Further back Heits good work in the heats came to nothing as he spun out at hairpin one. After a frantic first lap the field settled down for a few laps with Newton continuing to set the pace from Patel, Jameson and Newell with Dunham fifth and homing in on Newell. Naris was just a few lengths back and still in the hunt. 

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Quarter distance and Newton remained at the front with Patel second. The gap between the two remained the same as they began to run clear of the chasing pack. Jameson remained third whilst Dunham was up to fourth at the expense of Newell. Naris remained sixth, still in touch with the leaders with Batter next and running clear of Hollinshead in eighth. Dunham got a run on Jameson up the hill crossing the line almost alongside. He stayed to the inside round the first turn but made heavy contact with Jameson into the first hairpin. He was through but his number flashed up on the digi-board. Barring a successful appeal his day was run. But rightly he continued to race. Newell also took advantage of Jameson being forced wide by Dunham to move up to fourth on the road. Half distance and Newton was beginning to break free of Patel, the gap now out to a shade over two seconds. Dunham remained third from Newell and Jameson whilst Naris had cut the gap to fifth. Batter was over a second and a half back in seventh whilst Hollinshead was beginning to get closer. Over the next laps the order remained the same save for Hollinshead getting by Batter for seventh. 

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With two to go Newton was well clear but Dunham decided to prove a point and went by Patel for second only for Patel to fight back on the final tour taking second and taking Newell with him. SHW Newton took the win over three seconds clear and set the fastest lap in the class with Patel next from Newell. Dunham was next over the line but demoted four places down to eighth. He did have the consolation of fastest lap in the C2 and overall. His demise promoted Jameson into the final qualifying spot the latter setting the fastest lap in C3 and establishing a lap record. Naris was next but he lost a place for cone abuse handing fifth to Hollinshead. Batter was seventh with Bensley and Cadogan completing the top ten. Chris Solomon was excluded from the results after finishing last and then deliberately running into a fellow competitor after the chequered flag. Not behaviour that belongs in Karting anywhere.     

B Final

(All drivers C2 unless otherwise noted)

Steve Bosley on pole from Steve Lindley with Jason Bear and Mike Bodnar on row two followed by Tim Hill and Darrell Lowe on row three. Paul Williams and Anthony Ridd shared row four with Tim Williams and Callan Sigafoos on row five. Tom Fuller and SHW Andrew Cherry occupied row six with two SHW’s Lee Henderson and Kieran Chidgzey on row seven. Rory Severn and Mark Appleton were on row eight with Simon Kavanagh and Lennie Wood on row nine. Row ten saw SHW Bradley Parrett alongside Harry Melvin with Elliot Mewse and SHW Ben Benneyworth on row eleven. The final two rows were occupied by the qualifiers from the C Final, SHW Newton, Patel and the two C3 drivers Jameson and Newell, the latter two guaranteed a trophy as the only C3 drivers in the B Final.  Top two to qualify for the B Final and a trophy for the winner.

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Bosley led the field away from the line whilst Bear slotted into second at the expense of Lindley. Hill got by Bodnar whilst Lowe dropped to tenth with Ridd up to sixth from Paul Williams. Sigafoos and Tim Williams ran ninth and tenth. With three laps run the order at the top remained the same. Ridd went for a move on Hill in the hairpins but made heavy contact. It would prove costly. Down the order Tim Williams, Fuller and Henderson were having a great battle over tenth. Henderson looked to have got ahead but the Williams and Fuller clashed down the hill and Fuller collided with Henderson spinning the latter to a halt.  It was a cruel blow to Henderson’s hopes. Half distance and Bosley was well clear at the front with Ridd running second from Bear and Hill. Bodnar was fifth whilst Lindley had dropped to sixth. Sigafoos was next but over two seconds back from Lindley. Hill slipped by Bear and Lindley was gathering himself together to get back on terms with the leaders. 

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With ten laps run he was back to fourth. Three quarters run and Bosley was over four seconds clear with Lindley now up to second crossing the line 0.088 ahead of Hill with Ridd next. Bodnar was just over a second back but not out of the running. A lap later and Ridd was back up to second but he’d got over excited and overtook Lindley under a yellow down at Garda. An even more costly error. Penultimate lap and Bosley was over six seconds clear with Ridd still running second. Lindley made it back by Hill but had made contact once too many times. Hill took him on the final lap to render any penalty for Lindley irrelevant to qualification for the A Final. 

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Bosley crossed the line to take the win with Ridd second but penalties, for a bump and pass on Hill, the same offence on Lindley and overtaking under a yellow flag saw him drop to fourteenth. Hill was promoted to second and took the final qualifying spot for the A Final. Bear was placed third with Bodnar fourth from Lindley with Tim Williams sixth ahead of Sigafoos.

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Cherry took eighth and the SHW honours for the event. Lowe was next with Kavanagh completing the top ten.  Newton collected his second trophy of the day with twelfth place and second in SHW with Bradley Parrett third in the class after finishing nineteenth.

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Jameson won the battle of the two C3’s in the race finishing a superb twelfth with Newell second in the class after finishing seventeenth. Fastest lap in the race went to Ridd with Henderson fastest in the SHW division and Jameson fastest in C3 which also established a new record.       

A Final

(All drivers are C1 unless otherwise noted)

Joe Holmes on pole with Anwar Beroual-Smith alongside followed by Matt Wileman and Stuart Jones on row two. Row three saw Adam Wright alongside C2 frontrunner Alex Pritchard with Sean Brierley and C2 Richard Allen on row four. Chris Dixon and Oliver Moss shared row five followed by two C2 runners, James Appleton and Ryan Sandall. Row seven had Lewis Ridd alongside Jordan Salter from C2. Simon Lloyd and C2 runner Curt Holmes were on row eight followed by four C2’s on nine and ten, Kevin Coombes, Jonathan Elliott, Fran Volpe and Dave Pethers. Miguel Hall shared row eleven with George Boothby(C2) with the penultimate row occupied by two C2’s, George Hatto and Mikey Nichols followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Steve Bosley and Tim Hill both running in C2.

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Drama before the green light. Holmes and Beroual-Smith were circulating in the warm up just a few lengths apart with Holmes in front. But then  Beroual-Smith went by the Championship leader and pulled clear by several lengths. Holmes realised his rival had a quicker Kart and as the chequered flag flashed at the end of the warm up Holmes darted to the left of the pack and into the pits to change his Kart. But he was too late. Drivers can’t change a Kart after the chequered flag so out he came to resume his place on pole and with a problem to solve. Holmes usually makes good starts but this time it would be vital and even if he got away well would he be able to defend for sixteen laps? Up the hill towards Cafe corner on the rolling up lap he suddenly darted forward only to back off as Beroual-Smith went with him. Out of the corner he went again and this time he caught Beroual-Smith out. Wileman too got the better of Beroual-Smith off the line. Holmes was several lengths clear as the field headed for the first turn with Wileman second from Beroual-Smith. As the pack squabbled through the first turns all bar Holmes got delayed. Jones lost out badly slipping back to eighth. Beroual-Smith got by Wileman for second. Wright moved into fourth followed by Brierley whilst Pritchard hung onto sixth. Allen and Moss both fell back whilst Appleton jumped up to seventh. Running in clear air Holmes was easily the quickest round the first lap and crossed the line almost a second and half to the good. Second time around though and Beroual-Smith went quicker cutting the gap by a tenth. Wileman was half a second back with Wright in close attendance followed by Brierley, Pritchard and Appleton. But already a gap to the front four was beginning to open up. Third time around and Beroual-Smith cut the gap again. Wileman was dropping back whilst Wright remained a length behind in fourth. 

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Quarter distance and Beroual-Smith had the gap down to under a second as he set his fastest lap thus far. Wileman and Wright still circulated in tandem but were now over a second adrift. Brierley remained fifth but was losing ground to the front four. Over the next laps Beroual-Smith continued to cut the gap. Over the line at half distance he was almost alongside, a mere 0.098 adrift. Wileman and Wright were still circulating a couple of tenths apart in the battle for third with Brierley still running fifth albeit almost two and a half seconds now behind Wright in fourth. Pritchard remained sixth from Appleton, Sandall, Dixon, Allen and Jones. But it was all about to change as they all fell over each other through the hairpins. Brierley held on to fifth but Sandall was up to sixth from Allen, Dixon, Pritchard and Appleton. 

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At the front Beroual-Smith was even closer crossing the line 0.097 adrift of the leader. But Holmes defended well, keeping his rival to the outside as they entered the hairpins and keeping enough momentum to keep the lead through and out of hairpin two. All of which allowed Wileman and Wright to close the gap. Beroual-Smith’s aborted attack cost him time and as they crossed the line for the tenth time he was almost half a second adrift with Wileman closing to within a couple of tenths and Wright even closer to Wileman. Brierley remained fifth but was coming under increasing pressure from Sandall whilst Allen was seventh but dropping away. It took Beroual-Smith a couple of laps to get back on terms with Holmes. Wileman and Wright were both now very much in the hunt just a couple of lengths back. Brierley was over three seconds back, still in fifth but driving superbly to hold off the equally superb Sandall. Over the line at the end of the tenth tour and Beroual-Smith tried again with just 0.088 separating the two leaders. But Holmes made him go the long way round at the first turn again and held on. But Beroual-Smith wasn’t done and kept his momentum into Hairpin two. Bravely he dived to the inside. But Holmes kept his line tight and Beroual-Smith had to keep an even tighter line to avoid running Holmes off the circuit. Wileman was close enough to have a go at Beroual-Smith for second but his challenge was rebuffed and Wright took full advantage to nip by into third. Penultimate lap and Holmes crossed the line at the start of the final tour a couple of lengths clear. Beroual-Smith wasn’t close enough but Wileman got a run on Wright and was back into second as they went through the hairpins. Holmes crossed the line for a famous victory just a tenth clear of Beroual-Smith after an absorbing tussle. Wileman claimed the last podium spot in one of those races where all four deserved to be on the podium. 

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A thrilling race where the top four had left nothing on the table. Beroual-Smith in particular had give it everything he had. Brierley held on to take fifth from Sandall by just 0.090. Fine drives from them both.

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Sandall took the C2 honours in his first CLUB100 sprint event. Allen was next having closed in over the final laps as Brierley and Sandall fought over fifth. Allen was also second C2 home. Dixon and Elliott were eighth and ninth with tenth placed Pritchard taking the final C2 podium spot. Beroual-Smith set the fastest lap of the race with Sandall the quickest C2 runner.  

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Championship Round-up

Another win for Joe Holmes and a perfect day with three heat wins and taking the Final. Whilst he had to fight hard for the win he had to use all his guile and his brain to win this one. Adam Wright remains second whilst Anwar Beroual-Smith can be well satisfied with his days work. He gave it his all but Holmes just had the edge. Sean Brierley remains fourth with Matt Wileman fifth.

Alex Pritchard is sixth and leads C2. He’s been a revelation this year. Jonathan Elliott is seventh and second in C2 with Fran Volpe in tenth overall and third in class C2

Despite a bad day Lee Henderson leads the SHW’s from Richard Newton and Andrew Cherry whilst the C3’s are led by Max Jameson from Sam Bensley and Martyn Robinson.

Onwards to Rye House for Round 5 in three weeks!

Words: Steve Gray

Photography: John Patterson