All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait. And for Adam Wright it’s Been Quite a Wait!
After the deluge on Saturday the expectancy was of a wet round at Whilton but the day dawned nice and bright if unseasonably cool. But as the country comes out of the grip of the pandemic it’s great to get back to racing. Hopefully it won’t be long before we all back to normal. In the meantime the racing is keeping us all sane. Here’s how the day unfolded.
The Road to the Finals
Jack Bolton marked his return to the series with a comfortable win in the first heat of the day taking the flag over four seconds clear of Miguel Hall who had started from the front row but fell back in the early stages before fighting back to take second and holding off a late race challenge from reigning Champion Joe Holmes, Curt Holmes and the star of Round 1 at Clay Matt Wileman.
Stephen Jennings crossed the line first at the end of the second heat but found himself relegated to second after clipping a cone and handing the win to Steve Bosley who had led the early laps. Chris Dixon almost snatched second on the line having closed in rapidly after getting by Mikey Nichols who claimed fourth ahead of Richie Allen who had had to work his way up from grid thirteen.
Adam Wright was in a confident frame of mind before the third heat feeling that this was going to be the day when he finally broke his A Final duck and no longer being the only driver in CLUB100 history to win a major Championship without ever winning a Championship round. Starting from the second row he had to fight his way by poleman Bradley Shears and long time leader Alex Pritchard before moving to the front with a couple of laps to go. Pritchard hung on though and was only a couple of lengths adrift at the flag with Shears third from the veteran Tim Hill and Jonathan Elliott.
Anwar Beroual-Smith opened his account for the day with a superb drive in Heat Four. Starting from grid ten he was up to sixth by the end of the first lap but then had to work his way forward picking up a place each tour before getting on the bumper of long time leader Luke Hornsby (making a welcome return to the series). Penultimate lap and Beroual-Smith slipped by to take the win with Hornsby second. Sean Brierley came home third after a strong drive up from grid twelve. Stuart Jones was next across the line but found himself docked four places after running Lennie Wood wide early in the race. Jordan Salter benefitted placing fourth with the unlucky Wood fifth.
Curt Holmes took a comfortable win in the fifth heat after making the most of others hesitant starts to leap up the order from grid seven to second after the first tour. A lap later he was by poleman Lewis Ridd and into a lead he would never lose. Ridd came home a comfortable second with Anthony Ridd a distant third from Andrew Cherry and Mikey Nichols.
Anwar Beroual-Smith made it two from two in Heat Six taking over at the front from pole man Mark Ridout mid race after starting from the second row. Alex Pritchard claimed second after another good drive from grid seven. He nipped by Ridout on the final lap. Jack Bolton was next across the line but dropped two places after clipping the kerb on the exit of the final corner once too often. Richard Newton would have benefitted but he was carrying a cone penalty whilst Garrett O’Connor crossed the line next only to be demoted six places after spinning out Steve Lindley on the opening lap. All of which handed fourth to Jonathan Elliott who had crossed the line seventh.
Benjamin Robinson led Heat Seven from pole and drove beautifully to hold off both Fran Volpe and C1 runner Chris Dixon. But Volpe slipped by on the penultimate lap to take the win. Great to see Fran back in the series after a seven year layoff. One to watch. Robinson held off Dixon to take a well deserved second with Dave Pethers fourth after holding off a very determined Miguel Hall. But Hall’s efforts were in vain as he was demoted six places after spinning out the luckless Lennie Wood on the opening lap. Stephen Jennings took fifth.
Joe Holmes knew he had to deliver the goods in Heat Eight and he did so taking a comfortable win by over six seconds. Richard Allen started from the front with Matt Wileman on pole ahead of Holmes and Lee Henderson. Allen ran second for the whole race but it was oh so close at the flag as Bradley Shears closed in. The gap at the flag was a mere 0.089 with Wileman fourth from Henderson in what was a very entertaining fight for second.
Poleman Jonathan Elliott took a lights to flag victory in the ninth heat winning by over seven seconds from Miguel Hall. Hall started from grid twelve but was up to third by the end of lap two. But he got stuck behind Harry Melvin who drove superbly to hold off the more experienced Hall who finally got past on the penultimate lap. Mark Ridout was next across the line but a penalty dropped him to eighth and promoted Garrett O’Connor to fourth. James Taylor was next across the line but he’d clipped a cone and dropped to sixth with Kevin Coombes fifth.
Sean Brierley continued his good form taking Heat Ten by over four seconds from Jack Bolton who had to fight his way up the order from grid thirteen. Fran Volpe was again the mix claiming third with Simon Kavanagh fourth from Steve Bosley.
The penultimate heat had the two great rivals Joe Holmes and Anwar Beroual-Smith starting from grids six and eight respectively. And they wasted no time in gaining places running second and third behind pole sitter Jordan Salter after just one lap. Two laps down and they were first and second. And that was how they stayed to the flag steadily moving clear of the chasing pack. Salter remained third for much of the heat before Matt Wileman slipped by on the penultimate lap. Tom Fuller took fifth.
The final heat fell to Oliver Moss who led all but the opening lap. Chris Dixon took another valuable points haul with second place after starting from grid fourteen with Dave Pethers third. Craig Brown crossed the line next. Good to see Craig back in Kart again but sadly his fourth place was taken from him after he was penalised for clipping Lewis Ridd. To compound his misery he collected a cone penalty too thus handing fourth to Adam Wright, who had to work his way up from grid thirteen, with Ridd fifth.
A nicely weighted grid for the C Final with the C2 runners mostly in the top half and the C3 runners mostly in the bottom half interspersed with four SHW drivers.
Benjamin Robinson on pole from Jason Bear with SHW Bradley Parrett alongside Richard Masterson on row two. Row three saw Paul Williams alongside C3 entrant Jaedon Cadogan. SHW Kieran Chidgzey sat alongside Richard Burrows on row four with Mark Appleton and Russell Taylor on row five followed by Elliott Mewse and SHW Vinod Harani on row six from the penultimate C2 runner Wayne Dunham alongside Frankie Bennett on row seven. Row eight had Max Jameson alongside Will Appleton with Kevin Lake and Martyn Robinson on row nine. The tenth row saw Samuel Bensley alongside Elliott Garnett followed by Thys Paine and David Wilson on eleven and the final C2 runner Vijay Patel alongside the final SHW Paul Jameson on row twelve. Chris Solomon and Jason Small shared the final row. Top four to qualify for the back of the B Final and trophy for the winner.
Robinson led the field away and as they went up the hill for the first time he was already beginning to pull out a gap to the chasing pack. By the end of the lap he was three tenths clear with Bear second from Parrett. Williams was up to fourth with Masterson dropping to fifth. Two laps down and Robinson was continuing to pull clear from Bear, Parrett and Williams whilst Russell had moved up to fifth and was pressuring Williams for fourth. Mewse was next from Cadogan and Chidgzey. Quarter distance and Robinson was almost two seconds clear and lapping consistently with Bear still holding on in second and fighting off the attentions of Parrett. Taylor had moved ahead of Williams with Mewse sixth and pulling clear of Cadogan.
At this point you might have thought that second, third and fourth would work together and pull themselves away from the chasing pack. But it wasn’t happening. Taylor moved up to third and Williams began to close back in. Whilst Taylor, Parrett and Williams squabbled over third Bear began to up his pace and cut the gap to the leader. Despite Robinson setting personal bests Bear was quicker and closing in. Parrett too was on the move and breaking clear of Williams as Taylor fell back before gathering himself together and coming back into the mix. Once onto Bears bumper Parrett was clearly intent and moving further forward and Bear went defensive slowing them both up and allowing Robinson to once more pull clear. And Both Williams and Taylor both closed back in with Cadogan and Mewse both close enough to profit from any errors in front of them. But ninth time around it all got a bit messy as the leaders rounded Christmas corner. Parrett went for second, Bear defended but got out of shape and both Williams and Taylor took evasive action with the latter having to take to the grass. As they sorted themselves out Masterson moved up only to lose it as they came onto the back straight and launch himself off the kerb collecting a cone as he did so. Williams’ was forced wide in avoidance. By the end of the lap Robinson was well clear with Parrett second but now out of the running as his number came up on the digi board showing a penalty. Bear was running third with Mewse fourth. But he too had a penalty. Chidgzey was up to fifth ahead of Williams with Masterson seventh from Cadogan, Appleton and Taylor. And save for Williams getting back ahead of Chidzgey that was how they remained all the way to flag.
Robinson claimed a fine win and the trophy. Parrett crossed the line second but lost four places after a bump and pass mid race on Taylor. Bear crossed the line third but was promoted to second with Mewse over the line fourth. But three cone penalties and an four place penalty for a bump and pass saw him classified eleventh and Williams moving up to third from fifth on the road followed by Chidgzey who was also the first SHW home. Cadogan was the first of the C3’s but missed out on promotion in fifth. Masterson was next but three cone penalties saw him drop to ninth. Taylor took seventh with Appleton eighth and Burrows completing the top ten. Way too many penalties.
C1 driver Stuart Jones on pole from Tim Hill with James Taylor and Anthony Ridd on row two. Darren Townsley and Alexander Lammin shared row three with Kevin Coombes and Simon Kavanagh on row four. Row five saw two C1 drivers, the returnees, Luke Hornsby and Craig Brown followed by two SHW’s Andrew Cherry and Richard Newton on row six. Row seven saw SHW Lee Henderson alongside Mike Bodnar followed by SHW Bill Taylor and the only C3 entrant in the field, Luke Philips. Guaranteed a trophy no matter where he finished. Jeremy Deeks and Garrett O’Connor shared row nine with Tim Williams and Steve Lindley on row ten. Chris Kirk and Lennie Wood were next followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Robinson, Bear, Williams and SHW Chidgzey. Top two to qualify for the A Final and a trophy for the winner.
Jones Led the field away with Hill just a length behind but Taylor was a touch slower and ran wide onto the concrete apron round the second turn. Ridd got hit from behind and was a little out of shape as they went up the hill allowing Kavanagh to get alongside. Kavanagh kept moving to the left squeezing Ridd who in turn was squeezing Taylor who had to take to the grass in avoidance. Both dropped back whilst the next few corners were more like kids chucking toys around on a play mat with Karts running over the grass, some half spinning and others going off completely. By the end of the lap Jones led from Hill with Brown up to third from Townsley, Cherry, Kavanagh and Coombes. Taylor was down to twelfth and would retire after another couple of laps whilst Ridd was down in twentieth and out of contention. An awful first lap from drivers who should know better. Jones continued to stretch his lead at the front whilst Hill now had Brown tucked in tight behind. Townsley was just a few lengths back and still in the hunt. Quarter distance and Brown slipped down the inside of Hill into Ashby. A clean move too without any hint of contact. Proper driving. Once free he immediately posted his fastest lap but Jones was going quicker and pulling away. Hill was now coming under pressure from Townsley and Coombes with Kavanagh just a second back in seventh closely followed by Cherry, Lammin, Hornsby, Lindley and Henderson. Jones and Brown began to pull clear whilst Hill mounted a stout defence of third. Pride and points at stake.
Two thirds distance and Townsley finally found a way by at Ashby. Townsley’s third placed was short lived however as a couple of laps later Hill came back at him into the final turn. Townsley ran wide and Hill was back into second whilst Townsley dropped back to fifth. And then it began to spit with rain. The pace immediately dropped as the drivers felt their way round. Coombes and Lammin both got ahead of Hill on the penultimate lap. Final lap and Townsley lost out badly slipping back to ninth. Jones took the win with Brown second. Coombes crossed the line third but lost four places after a bump and pass handing third to Lammin with Hill fourth. O’Connor claimed sixth ahead of Coombes and Lindley with Cherry the first SHW home in tenth.
Anwar Beroual-Smith on pole with Joe Holmes alongside. An exciting prospect. Chris Dixon and Jack Bolton shared row two with two C2 drivers on the third row, Jonathan Elliott and Alex Pritchard. Next up, Adam Wright and Matt Wileman followed by Sean Brierley and C2 driver Steve Bosley. Row six had two more C2’s Fran Volpe and Richie Allen whilst Miguel Hall shared row seven with C2 driver Dave Pethers. Lewis Ridd occupied row eight with C2 Bradley Shears with C2 Harry Melvin alongside Oliver Moss on row nine followed by a brace of C2 runners, Jordan Salter and Stephen Jennings. C2 Curt Holmes was on row eleven with Mark Ridout whilst the penultimate row had the final two C2 drivers Mikey Nichols and Tom Fuller followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Jones and Brown.
Beroual-Smith brought the field round the final turn on the rolling up lap agonisingly slowly whilst Holmes never took his eyes off the pole man, waiting for a reaction. Away they went with Beroual-Smith making the better start and Holmes tucking in behind. Dixon and Bolton both got out of shape but hung on in third and fourth with Elliott fifth from Pritchard and Wright. Second time around and Beroual-Smith was already defending from Holmes and backing Holmes into the pack. A tactic that was giving Holmes something to think about as Dixon made repeated efforts to get by. But Holmes kept him at bay whilst still keeping the pressure on the leader. Wright moved up to fifth at the expense of Elliott.
Third time around and as the leaders went up the hill Beroual-Smith kept to the right forcing Holmes to the outside as they went into the right handed Christmas corner. Beroual-Smith kept his line but Holmes was alongside and had nowhere to go. He flew across the kerb and this time Beroual-Smith had to run wide. Sadly he tagged the grass and in a flash was round and going backwards. Could Holmes have backed out a few yards earlier? Should Beroual Smith have given him more room? The observers decided it was just a racing incident and no penalty or penalties were meted out. Dixon was immediately by and into the lead whilst Holmes managed to hang on in second from Bolton and Wright who was on a charge slipping by Bolton for third at the top of the circuit. A lap later and Holmes was back at the front slipping by Dixon at the top of the hill in a carbon copy of Wrights earlier move. Once at the front Holmes gradually eased away whilst Dixon now had to keep an eye on Wright who was closing in rapidly. Bolton remained fourth but was dropping back from the leaders as he held off Elliott. Allen was next at the head of a mighty battle for sixth involving himself, Brierley, Pritchard, Volpe, Wileman and Curt Holmes which saw them all separated by around a second. But then came more drama as the leader’s number flashed up on the digi-board. A penalty for running the monster kerb a second time out of the final corner. As he crossed the line he raised his hands in frustration whilst both Dixon and Wright saw the penalty.
Wright immediately closed up on Dixon and down into Ashby tenth time around he slipped by. He would admit later that whilst he saw the penalty he didn’t know if it was for the earlier incident between Holmes and Beroual-Smith so his only thought was trying to close the gap to the leader. But he quickly found he didn’t have the pace and concentrated on keeping Dixon at bay. Holmes crossed the line first whilst Wrights final lap was his slowest of the race as he went ultra defensive through the final turns. Indeed, as they exited the Boot he faltered on the apex and was given a hefty shove from the following Dixon. That concentrated his mind and he rounded the final turn clear of Dixon and punching the air with delight. But it was agonising as he pulled up at the end of the race whilst he waited to be told what Holmes penalty was for. But it was OK. There would be no appeal and Wright had finally won an A Final. He himself said he would have preferred to have won on the road but felt he was due for some luck and whilst Holmes was understandably disappointed he was delighted that Adam had been the driver to profit.
Wright the victor then, and claiming the fastest lap,with Dixon second from Holmes with Bolton fourth from Elliott who took the C2 honours. Allen was sixth and second in C2 with Brierley seventh from Volpe who took third in C2. Wileman and Ridout completed the top ten whilst Shears set the fastest lap in C2.
The C3 honours went to Luke Philips, the only C3 runner to qualify for the B Final and showing some good pace. Jaeden Cadogan claimed second in the class with Max Jameson third.
The SHW honours went to Andrew Cherry with Richard Newton second and Kieran Chidgzey third.
Watch it back here.
Championship Round Up
Reigning Champion Joe Holmes heads the standings yet again. Whilst he lost the win due to a penalty he is on great form. A class driver. Who is going to dig deep and conquer the flying Yorkshireman? Or Superman as Adam Wright calls him. Adam Wright lies second after his win and clearly has the pace as does Anwar Beroual-Smith in third. But can they find the magic ingredient? Matt Wileman is fourth with Sean Brierley fifth.
Fran Volpe’s return to the series is clearly bearing fruit as he leads the C2 runners from Jonathan Elliott and an in form Alex Pritchard. Luke Philips heads C3 from Elliott Garnett and Max Jameson. In the SHW’s Bill Taylor is at the top of the standings with Richard Newton next from Andrew Cherry.
Whilst the Lightweights put on three great finals with some great driving the same could not be said of the Heavyweights. Way too many penalties at Whilton with drivers not showing enough respect to each other. I fielded a number of complaints regarding drivers failing to yield and trying to intimidate others. Not good to hear and not nice to see. Everybody wants to win but hopefully everyone wants to win fairly. Hope the heavies get their act together for the next round.
One last point regarding yellow flags. It was noticeable at Whilton when Sam Morris went off at the Boot the leading drivers were all raising their hands to acknowledge the waived yellow flag on the approach to the incident. (Although a check of the lap times showed they didn’t slow down). Those at the back of the pack were forgetting to raise their hands at all but in fairness they were in the main inexperienced drivers. The rule is, raise your hand and back off the throttle a little. It might be you one day that’s being rescued from the tyres and no one wants another Kart piling into the scene.
Onwards to Planet Lydd !
Words: Steve Gray
Photography: John Patterson