A Hot, Hot Double Win for Wayne Lidgbird! What Next?
A full 35 driver grid as you always expect for Heavyweight Sprint 60, on an increasingly hot and dry August Saturday afternoon and a punishing physical Buckmore Park workout for the big lads. Anwar Beroual Smith and Stu Symonds set the early pace in the 10min practice, and into qualifying pole judging by the Lights preceding it, pole was expected to be around 46.3-4. The usual suspects played themselves in in practice Carl Bannister, Wayne Lidgbird, Stuart Martin, Tim Clark – a winner here back in February, Stuart Osborn, Tarik Almou, Stephen Jennings. By the mid point Anwar was finally moved off the top by Chris Alcock, a late entry, and right on the weight limit, being a lightweight sprinter, although to hit pole with 46.44secs he would not have the luxury of 10 laps to find it qualifying.
Peter Gillett was first through the gate at the green flag, but it was Gerard Moore with 46.8 setting the target time, then first Stuart Martin then Symonds moved the pole to 46.772, but that wouldn’t be quick enough. Lap 2 saw Beroual Smith first post 46.46, then Alcock a 46.37, a time that no one could beat. Lap 3 Symonds was back into P3 with 46.468, rest of the session would see Martin and Bannister argue over P4. Anwar Beroual Smith edged closer with 46.393 but that was his best. Tim Clark moved on to row 3, ultimately with Stuart Martin on P5. Tariq Almou, Matt Horgan from the morning race, and they would feel it later, Stuart Osborn and Alex Lammin made up to the top 10.
The track temperature was up at 31.5degrees, and no one believed the air temperature was still just 27. More like 37 degrees. Tricky P2 grid for Anwar saw Alcock get away and Symonds get in ahead of Anwar from grid 3 as often happens at Buckmore Park. Beroual Smith wasted no time, to dive inside of Stuart on lap 2, and crucially Alcock was in draft range at 0.5secs. Chris Alcock, “Before the race I’d spoken to Anwar and said let’s get away then argue at the end. The usual sort of stuff, minimise the competition, then fight in the last part unless there were problems”, and that was how the game was played. Symonds had lost the draft, Clark just had hold of Stu’s, then Martin, Bannister, Lidgbird, Horgan all surfing each others wake behind. Then Alex Pritchard demoted Horgan for P8 to lead Super Heavies comfortably with Richard Allen running down in 17th.
Alcock was quite fast enough to tow the pair clear, but a queue was gradually forming behind Symonds, and one that wasn’t going to hold. Tim Clark went through on 6mins, Stu smartly getting on Tim’s bumper while the pair and Lidgbird tried to drop Martin. When you’ve got pace you go for it, so Symonds passed Clark on 9mins but this just increased the gap to the leading pair out to 3secs, and worse brought Lidgbird in and he picked off Clark for 4th, then moved to the front of the group. Tim Clark fell off.
Approaching half way Beroual Smith pulled the trigger on the lead, Alcock again, “the Club100 guys do a great job always ‘but’ my kart was not brilliant when compared to Anwar and Wayne’s. Anwar spent 15 minutes pushing me around trying to work together for the win but he realised we were being caught by Wayne so stuck a move in and went by at the hairpin”. Lidgbird had taken 0.5s out of them while Anwar was getting it done, but was still 1.3secs off the leading duo, but he had dropped Symonds. Stuart was more concerned with Stuart Martin edging in behind. Bannister was holding off Pritchard for 6th along with Steve Lindley and Alex Lammin. Matt Horgan brought the main field through through in the 10th place battle with Daniel Taylor, George Hatto, Stuart Osborn, and Stephen Jennings. Bannister lost out to the Pritchard and was shuttled down the line to the tail of his group in 9th and got a contact take out penalty around the same time. For Horgan it was all too much, his genetics hail from the more temperate Emerald Isle and after the morning heroics in Enduro 60, it was becoming all a bit too Mediterranean, “I was just going backwards and not enjoying it so decided to call it a day. I’ve never experienced anything like it in a kart before”, he parked up and went looking for the shade. He was not the only one.
Alcock was hanging on to Beroual Smith’s slipstream, Anwar possibly still dutifully lending a hand as agreed, but Lidgbird was closing, Alcock again, “Wayne had a go at hairpin 1 and I got the cut back but then he lunged at hairpin 2 from what seemed too far back, I left him room as I saw it coming but he still drove me off the track on the exit”, Lidgbird was through, and called fair racing by any clerks watching on. Could he run Anwar Beroual Smith down for the win?
Maybe he could after 20mins of racing the gap was down to 0.5secs, Alcock couldn’t live with this pace and slid out to 2.5secs, Stuart Martin was a further 5.5secs behind with Symonds on his bumper, then a gap to Steve Lindley ahead of Lammin, Pritchard and Taylor in their own race.
Battle for the lead was joined going into the final 7mins of the race, and while everybody’s attention was firmly on the front, Symonds passed Martin to go 4th. Lidgbird shot and missed for the lead and immediately started edging back in for another go, allowing Alcock to close back in, and Wayne set up for another go closing in on the final laps. Lidgbird made his move, on the penultimate lap. Only for Anwar Beroual Smith to steal it back on the last tour, Alcock again, “They both defended when in the lead, I didn’t get a brilliant view of the ABC incident but the little I did see, looked fine. Anwar won on the road but got a penalty which he was not happy about.” It would be Anwar by 0.127 at the line, what a race, but it was Lidgbird’s win in the results, Alcock was promoted to 2nd. Symonds 4th place on the road became 3rd after grabbing it back from Martin. Beroual Smith was slotted in, after his 4place penalty to 5th. Steve Lindley held off Lammin, then gap to Super Heavy Pritchard and Daniel Taylor, as Alex had for most of the race. Carl Bannister rounded out the top 10 on the road but had his own penalty, so George Hatto came up to 10th ahead of Stephen Kendall, Stephen Jennings, Stuart Osborn, Tariq Almou and Claudio Le Rosa rounding out the top 16.
That track temp was up some more to 32.2 degrees, which is 90degrees fahrenheit, in old money, while the air temperature still at 27 where it had been all morning?! That was a lie. Or that air temperature gauge must be broken. If you were not racing you were joining Horgan on the side line looking for shade, or a fridge to stick your head, social distancing there was none, some sat in the car park with the air con running as the only option.
Wayne Lidgbird led off from pole with Chris Alcock slotting in behind, Symonds holding his 3rd place, while Beroual Smith wasted no time picking off Stuart Martin for P4, and closing on Symonds. Chris Alcock knew the game again and tried to put time into a determined Anwar Beroual Smith while he could and by the end of lap 3 Anwar was by Symonds and only 1.2secs behind Alcock, but out of the draft. Not that it mattered Beroual Smith started chipping a tenth off here and there and easily shook off Symonds. Just over 5mins in Beroual Smith picked up a faint whiff of tow and the slipstream drew him. Behind Symonds was being closed down by Almou, Martin, Taylor, Gerard Moore and Stuart Osborne, while Jennings brought through Lindley, then a gap to the main field lead by Garrett O’Connor 13th through to superheavy Richard Newton in 20th.
It would take a further 5mins but battle with Alcock was joined around the 10min mark, Alcock again, “I’d pushed Wayne along for a while and then Anwar arrived and immediately went for a move to get behind Wayne. It surprised me a bit, doing it so early, but I guess he was driving a bit angry. So I thought I’d chill out in 3rd, and only get involved when they had a particularly bad corner.” The trio were already rounding Cafe Curve before the main field had exited Garda. It wasn’t all speed up front, Symonds had 4th through to Lammin in 15th lined up behind. Again that wouldn’t hold this time either, Almou picked off Symonds to go P4 only 8secs off Alcock, leaving Stu pushing track limits to hold off Moore, Taylor, Martin and Lindley. Speaking of Stuart Martin, he went down for overtaking under yellow penalty, at the same time as Jeremy Deeks did down in 18th. Symonds couldn’t hold Gerard Moore, not Daniel Taylor, nor Martin.
At the pace they were going the leaders were going to hit heavy traffic at some point in the closing stages, at 15mins they passed Wayne Bhagan, in 30th and were soon bearing down on Alex Wilmot. At same time Anwar was looking for a way by Lidgbird. Beroual Smith and Lidgbird contrived one of Alcock’s euphemistic ‘bad corners’, and Chris led again, “I was half expecting a lunge at any moment [while in the lead], there was no intent from either of them to work together to gap [me] in 3rd, so it was elbows out for the last 10minutes”. Out of sight behind it might have given Almou hope back only 8secs down but he had his own elbows out with, after Symonds faded out, Gerard Moore, on Tarik’s bumper with Taylor and Martin in behind.
Then Wayne Lidgbird was back in front Beroual Smith 2nd again, Alcock again, “There was lots of position swapping, and from my point of view Anwar was giving more racing room than Wayne”. Coming on to the last lap Alcock was back in 2nd with designs on Lidgbird and the win, Chris describes the last lap, “I was within striking distance of the win, and I’d made up my mind and my move and it would be down into Paddock, where both Anwar and myself were much faster going down the hill, but Anwar had other ideas and had a good try in hairpin 2 which I just about defended but it cost me my chance. It was the only defending I did all afternoon.” Lidgbird was out of range by Paddock, safe into Garda, flashing across the finish line with the biggest lead he’d had all race, just 0.75secs. In an almost entirely different race, Martin moved into 4th place ahead of Moore, Almou, still with Taylor in the mix, then a gap Tim Clark bringing through Lindley, Jennings, Osborn, and Phil Kendall, in a 3rd great race. On the final lap Gerard Moore passed Almou for the last time, leaving a gap to Martin, then another to Tim Clark bringing through the rest of the field.
Penalties? Not for the top 3, and Gerard Moore kept 4th place, but Almou had a 4 place advantage by contact penalty, so did Martin, and Clark, when it was all tabulated, Daniel Taylor was 5th, Steve Lindley, Phil Kendall, Stephen Jennings, Almou was 9th, Tim Clark rounded out the top 10. In Super Heavies Richard Allen had won narrowly on the road from Alex Pritchard, but 4 place penalty for Alex put him down in 20th, but it was still enough to take round win ahead Richard Newton.
In the Super Heavy Class Alex Pritchard moved into a 6 point lead over Richard Allen in their friendly rivalry. Wayne Lidgbird’s double moved him into 3rd overall 36 points behind championship leader Beroual Smith, who looks like he will be hard to shift from top spot, but Lidgbird showed he can be beaten, while Tarik Almou stays in touch with Anwar 17points behind in 2nd.
WORDS: Chris Simpson
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson