And He’s Back! Another Win for Joe Holmes…
The Road to the Finals
Joe Holmes sat on pole for the first heat of the day and did win it but initially he was made to work for it as David Longman got away smartly from the second row to lead the first couple of laps before order was restored. Thereafter Holmes steadily pulled away as Longman and Adam Wright fought over second. Wright would cross the line second but a cone penalty dropped him back behind Longman. Craig Brown came home fourth and was hoping to repeat his Lydd heroics whilst Nick Trafford took fifth after starting from grid nine.
Matt Wileman took the second heat. Starting from the second row he was in the lead by the end of the first tour and thereafter drove away taking the win by over three seconds from Sean Brierley who had started from the front row. James Taylor took third with Geoff Lamb fourth and Stuart Jones fifth in what was a procession.
Anwar Beroual-Smith opened his account for the day with a huge win in the third heat. After starting on the second row he was into the lead on the first lap and drove away winning by over ten seconds from Paul Goddard who probably drove the race of his life after starting from grid thirteen and working his way through the pack to take Anthony Ridd for second on the penultimate lap. Steve Bosley was next over the line but was hit by a two place deduction for multiple contacts promoting Alexander Lammin to fourth and Paul Williams to fifth.
Miguel Hall made no mistakes in Heat Four taking a lights to flag win. But he had to work for it. Jonathan Elliott and Chris Gristwood both kept him honest but had to settle for second and third respectively with Dave Pethers fourth. Lennie Wood crossed the line fifth but a penalty dropped him to ninth and promoted Bradley Shears to fifth.
Heat Five saw Joe Holmes take his second win of the day. Starting from grid seven he took a couple of laps to hit the front taking pole sitter Stuart Jones into the Boot. Adam Wright went with him. Steve Lindley spun away his chances third time around promoting Matt Wileman to fourth. A lap later he was third and chasing after the leaders. Penultimate lap and he slipped by Wright for second whilst Wright then lost out to Jones on the final lap. Craig Brown took fifth after starting from grid ten.
Curt Holmes crossed the line first after the sixth heat completing a storming drive up from grid thirteen. But it was not without incident and a penalty saw him drop to fifth handing a second win of the day to Anwar Beroual-Smith who had to fight his way up from grid nine taking long time leader Richard Newton on the final lap. Steve Bosley was placed third with Geoff Lamb fourth.
Heat Seven went to Jack Bolton courtesy of a last lap pass on pole sitter Oliver Moss. Moss led all the way chased hard by Bolton. The two of them were running several seconds clear of third placed Miguel Hall before Bolton got by. Hall closed the gap but had to settle for third from Jordan Hawkins and Sean Brierley.
Steve Downes took the win in the eighth heat. Paul Goddard made him work for it though in the early stages. Starting from pole he held the advantage from fellow front row starter Downes before the latter got by. Goddard then had to defend from SHW frontrunner Richard Allen who had worked his way up from grid eight. He took second with a couple of laps remaining with Goddard third from Alexander Lammin and Stuart Symonds.
Heat Nine resulted in a win for Adam Wright. Starting from grid eleven he worked his way to the front by half distance taking over from early leader Stuart Jones who then kept Wright honest all the way to the flag as did a very pacy Lee Henderson who was right on Jones tail at the flag. Sadly he’d picked up a penalty along the way and was classified seventh handing third to Geoff Lamb. Jordan Salter and David Longman took fourth and fifth.
Curt Holmes took a well judged win in Heat Ten leading all the way from lights to flag. Lewis Ridd chased him hard over the second half of the race but couldn’t quite get close enough to make a challenge. He had to contend with fighting off Mark Ridout who ultimately took second on the penultimate lap with Jonathan Elliott fourth from Alexander Lammin.
The penultimate heat went to Joe Holmes, his third win of the day securing himself pole for the A Final. James Workman started from pole and led the early laps. Fellow front row sitter Benjamin Robinson was looking for a strong result after his previous heat dramas but it was not to be as he was punted out of the race at the entrance to the Boot by a hard charging Stuart Symonds. Symonds took a penalty although from my vantage point I felt that Robinson turned in on him. Jack Bolton was up to second and pressuring Workman for the lead finally slipping by at the top of the hill. Workman lost out badly losing seven places over the next few corners whilst Holmes moved up to second which a lap later became first. Anwar Beroual-Smith was having to battle hard to make progress stuck behind Miguel Hall. He finally got by at Ashby but not without contact. Oliver Moss took Bolton for second but not without contact. Fearing a penalty he eventually let Bolton back through but he left it far too late and a penalty was applied. Beroual-Smith meanwhile was closing in rapidly on the battle for second and with half a lap to go he nipped by Moss. Round the final turns he attacked Bolton crossing the line ahead by just 0.013. His four place penalty dropped him to sixth but he’d accrued enough points to start on the second row immediately behind Joe Holmes. Not a bad spot to be in. After the numerous penalties had been applied Bolton took second with Hall third from Paul Williams and Richard Newton. A controversial heat which also saw one of the back markers ignoring blue flags.
The final heat of the day fell to the brilliant Richard Allen. Anthony Ridd led away from the line but ran very wide out of the first turn along with second row starter Bill Taylor. Nick Trafford went to the front but Allen got inside him round the Boot to lead over the line at the end of the lap. And there he stayed despite the close attention of Trafford, Steve Bosley, Alex Pritchard and Steve Lindley. Allen crossed the line just a tenth up on Bosley after a superb defensive drive with Pritchard third from Trafford and Lindley.
Darren Townsley secured pole for the first Final of the day with C3 entrant Wayne Dunham alongside. SHW Ben Benneyworth and C3 driver Elliott Mewse sat on row two. Or should have done. Ben withdrew from the event despite being well placed to take the win and secure a place on the back of the B Final. It’s been a tough year for Ben but hopefully he’ll be back after a period of reflection. Tim Williams and Simon Kavanagh shared the third row. Row four saw James Workman alongside James Dunnett with Andrew Perry alongside Sunny Kundi on row five. Jaeden Cadogan shared row six with Luke Philips with Dmitry Zeldin and Chris Warton on row seven. Matthew Batter was alongside Peter Clark on row eight with Blake Temperley (great name for a hero or villain in my next novel) sharing row nine with Martyn Robinson. Benjamin Robinson was alongside Chris Solomon on the tenth row with Nick Pollicott and newcomer Karim Hijazi on row eleven. Lewis McKinnon and James Fremont occupied the penultimate row with Will Appleton bringing up the rear.
Four to qualify for the B Final and a trophy for the winner. Townsley brought the field round to the line with Dunham slightly adrift whilst Williams had a nice bit of space in front of him to exploit in the absence of Benneyworth. Down into Ashby for the first time and Kavanagh went down the inside of Townsley to take the lead. Dunham went wide on the concrete and immediately came to a halt the victim of a rare mechanical failure. But it turned out to be something of a blessing as the failure was no fault of his and he was awarded a spot on the back of the B Final grid to compensate for the lost race. Townsley meanwhile regained the lead with a run on Kavanagh into the Boot. Kavanagh fought the move but lost momentum and dropped to third with Williams second and Workman fourth. Townsley continued to lead but wasn’t pulling away. Williams closed in and tried a move into the left handed Wilkins but it didn’t come off and Kavanagh went down the inside into Ogiers. He made it through but not without contact, the resulting penalty costing him a place in the B Final. His day would get worse. Both he and Williams lost ground and Workman moved up to second. Four laps in and Townsley remained at the front with Workman second from the penalised Kavanagh and Williams fourth. Mewse was fifth, just a few kart lengths back and now occupying the fourth qualifying spot. Dunnett was sixth from Philips with Robinson eighth and setting fastest laps as he fought his way up from grid nineteen. Mewse looked to get himself up to fourth not knowing that he was running in a qualifying spot and ran wide out of Parkers immediately dropping to eighth behind Philips, Dunnett and Robinson.
Townsley continued to lead whilst behind Workman, Kavanagh and Williams continued to fight over second. Dunnett was up to fifth but some three seconds adrift. Philips was sixth defending for all his worth from a frustrated Robinson who finally got by and set about closing the gap to Dunnett. He made a move into Ogiers but it didn’t come off. Philips took him on the back straight only for Robinson to fight back and take the place back round the outside of the Boot. It looked to be a superb move but he’d tagged Philips on the entry and was penalised. Kavanagh moved up to second but clipped Workman on the way by resulting in his second penalty of the race. Probably a victim of his inexperience. Despite crossing the line third he would be excluded from the results. Penultimate lap and Williams eased past Kavanagh for second on the road. Townsley took the win after leading all the way with Williams second. Kavanagh was next but excluded promoting Workman to third. Robinson crossed the line next and would have benefited from Kavanagh’s misfortune but for his own penalty which saw him classified eighth. He did however set the fastest lap of the race. He clearly has some pace but needs to work on his racecraft and attitude. Philips took the final qualifying place despite finishing sixth after a last lap pass on Dunnett. Williams set the fastest lap in the C3 class and established a new class record.
Steve Downes on pole from Paul Williams with Bradley Shears and James Taylor on the second row. Mark Ridout shared the third row with Lewis Ridd followed by Lennie Wood and Jordan Salter. Row five saw Matt Kendall alongside Anthony Ridd followed by Stuart Symonds and Lee Henderson. Steve Lindley occupied the seventh row alongside Mark Appleton with Richard Burrows on row eight alongside Chris Kirk. Jeremy Deeks shared row nine with Bill Taylor followed by Gary Miller and Jason Bear with Andrew Cherry and Vinod Hirani next up followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Townsley, Tim Williams, Workman, Philips plus Wayne Dunham.
A trophy for the winner and the top two to qualify for the A final. A strong B Final grid and it would make for a very interesting race. Possibly not the best example of how CLUB100 drivers should conduct themselves with nigh on forty penalties dished out over the course of fourteen laps. But there were some mitigating factors. Or perhaps that should be one mitigating factor. Downes led the field away whilst Taylor got a great launch off the second row and was up to second as the pack streamed up the hill. By the end of the lap Downes was over two seconds clear of the second placed Taylor. He would never be threatened as he pulled steadily away from the squabbling pack behind.
Anthony Ridd was the first to show on the penalty board having tagged Wood mid pack on the first lap. Symonds too was in trouble picking up two ABC’s in consecutive laps. For a driver of his experience and quality it was inexcusable. He would also be guilty later in the race of forcing Paul Williams off the circuit at Wilkins although a further penalty wasn’t handed down. He would be excluded from the results and given further contact warnings before retiring after eleven laps. Not his finest hour. Perhaps a black flag and removal from the race rather than just the results might be the way to go but I guess we could then have the possibility of a driver being excluded when they are innocent. But he wasn’t the only one getting a penalty. Contact warnings were flashing up on the digi board in an almost continual stream. Miller was penalised for a move on Lindley and would receive a further penalty for excessive use of the kerbs. Shears got hit with a four place deduction and was then himself sinned against, first by Wood and secondly by Paul Williams. Appleton too would take a penalty after a move on Henderson. But was there an underlying cause of these excessive amounts of incidents.
After Taylor moved up to second on the first lap he put in a defensive masterclass. He did absolutely nothing wrong placing his kart exactly where he needed too to hold his position. But behind him his defensive display was causing the whole field to bunch up and continually trip over each other as they fought to move up the order. Ridout ran in Taylors wheeltracks separated by a fag paper as they circulated nose to tail. Ridout tried everything to get by but Taylor read his every move and stayed ahead. And Ridout had to be mindful of Ridd who was just a kart length back. The penalised Symonds had managed to work his way up to fourth ahead of Ridd who found himself shuffled down the order to eighth behind Paul Williams, Shears and Salter. Williams slipped by Symonds at Ashby only to be pushed off the circuit at the next corner, dropping down to tenth. As Taylor continued to defend up the hill Symonds forced his way by Ridout outing them both off line. Ridd took full advantage and slipped back into third with Symonds fourth. Taylor continued to defend but whilst Ridd defended from Taylor. But into Ogiers eighth time around Taylor got in just a shade deep. Symonds took to the grass whilst Ridd kept it together on the inside to emerge alongside Taylor on the run up to the Boot. Taylor lost vital momentum and Ridd was up to second whilst Taylor defended from Ridout and just held him off as they rounded the Boot. Williams was back up to fifth and hounding Ridout taking him for fourth as they rounded the Boot. Williams hounded Taylor for a lap before slipping inside at Ogiers forcing Taylor wide and over the grass. Taylor lost momentum and dropped to sixth with Williams third from Wood and Ridout.
Finally the race settled down. Downes set his fastest lap with two to go but it wasn’t the fastest lap of the race. That accolade fell to C2 driver Lindley whilst Henderson was the fastest SHW and Tim Williams fastest in C3 and breaking his own record set in the C Final. Downes crossed the line almost eighteen seconds clear of second placed Lewis Ridd to fulfil my prophecy that he would win the Final. Except it was the wrong final Mr. Downes. Paul Williams was next across the line but penalised down to eighth with Wood next but penalised down to ninth. All of which lifted Taylor back up to a deserved third ahead of Ridout with Salter next from Kirk who was the leading C3 runner after penalties were applied. Anthony Ridd was next across the line but penalised down to twelfth. Shears crossed the line ninth but was penalised down to thirteenth lifting Tim Williams to ninth ahead of Wayne Dunham in tenth. Good drives from these two after starting from the back of the grid and staying out of trouble. Perhaps they should teach some of their fellow drivers how it’s done? However, no one could say it wasn’t entertaining.
Joe Holmes on pole from a very on form Miguel Hall with Anwar Beroual-Smith and Adam Wright on row two. Anwar had picked a penalty in the penultimate heat which cost him a spot on the front row. But would lining up behind Joe rather than alongside prove to be a blessing in disguise? Matt Wileman and Stuart Jones shared row three followed by Jack Bolton and Geoff Lamb with Steve Bosley sharing row five with Curt Holmes. SHW Jonathan Elliott occupied row six with Paul Goddard. Good efforts from both these two in the heats. Alexander Lammin shared row seven with David Longman followed by Chris Gristwood and Sean Brierley. Next up, two SHW’s, Richard Newton and Championship leader Richard Allen followed by Oliver Moss and Nick Trafford. Alex Pritchard and Dave Pethers were on row eleven with Craig Brown and Jordan Hawkins on the penultimate row followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Downes and Ridd.
Holmes led the field away from the line whilst Beroual-Smith was quickly away from the second row and into second as they ran up the hill benefitting from being totally uninhibited by one of Holmes tactical starts. Hall ran third ahead of Wright and Wileman. Bosley made a great start to climb up to sixth. Down the order Downes got away well but then tangled with Brierley at Ashby. Both spun. Downes was rightly penalised and would ultimately be classified twenty fifth with Brierley twenty first on a day that helped neither of their Championship hopes. Holmes continued to lead with Beroual-Smith second from Hall and Wright. Wileman was several lengths back in a lonely fifth with Bosley next from Lamb, Jones, Curt Holmes and Bolton, the latter then dispensing with Curt Holmes and Jones in the space of a lap. Holmes continued to lead setting fastest lap after fastest lap as he pulled away from the fight for second. Wileman remained fifth but was being dropped by the front four. Bosley was next but had Bolton closing in having slipped by Lamb at half distance. Holmes continued to increase his lead with Beroual-Smith still second just a few kart lengths clear of Hall and Wright. Wright slipped by Hall for third into at the top of the hill and did well to then keep Hall at bay over the next few corners. Their fight though allowed Beroual-Smith to get clear. Wileman continued to run fifth whilst Bosley was now having to defend from Bolton. At the front Holmes set the fastest lap of the race whilst Hall got by Wright into the Boot only for Wright to repass him at the top of the hill. Bolton slipped by Bosley at the same place a lap later. But the race belonged to Holmes. He came home almost four seconds clear of Beroual-Smith who was himself over three seconds clear of third placed Wright with Hall fourth ahead of fifth placed Wileman. It was Wileman’s best finish of the year whilst Hall’s fourth place saw him take the C2 honours. Bolton took sixth ahead of Bosley who took second in the C2 class with Curt Holmes next across the line but hit with a two place penalty for multiple contacts. His demotion promoted Lamb to eighth and Lammin to ninth. Lammin took third in the C2 class. Richard Allen was the leading SHW in twelfth, one place ahead of second in class Elliott with Newton third in twentieth.
Another win for Joe Holmes, another second for Anwar Beroual-Smith and another podium for Adam Wright in third.
Miguel Hall pushed them hard and was rewarded with first place in the C2 class. Steve Bosley claimed second in class with his seventh place finish with Alexander Lammin third after finishing ninth overall.
Richard Allen took the SHW honours after a thrilling battle with Jonathan Elliott. They finished twelfth and thirteenth overall separated by just short of four tenths at the flag. Third in class went to Richard Newton.
C3 Honours went to Chris Kirk with a sixth place finish in the B Final with Tim Williams second, ninth overall, and Wayne Dunham third, tenth overall.
With dropped scores now coming into play Joe Holmes has leapt to the top of the standings just three points clear of Anwar Beroual-Smith with Adam Wright third from Sean Brierley and Steve Downes.
Richard Allen heads the SHW class from Bill Taylor and Nick Trafford whilst the C3’s are headed by Chris Kirk from Wayne Dunham and Simon Kavanagh.
We again saw quite a few penalties at Whilton but thankfully it didn’t appear to me that they were result of too much ego or lack of respect for other drivers. For the most part they looked like simple errors of judgment. One point of note was drivers not slowing under yellow flags or raising an arm in acknowledgement. Something to be mindful of. It was also a pity to see one driver deciding to ignore waived blue flags. Not good. Still, all in all a great days racing and the discovery of a new CLUB100 star in Peter Knight. Definitely a young man to watch.
Onwards to Round Eight at Rye, Government willing.
See you at Rye and don’t forget to wear a mask!
WORDS: Steve Gray
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson