Lydd proved decisive for all but one of the Club100 Senior Titles, the SP60 Heavy. But another round win, with a win and yet another 2nd place, has moved Anwar Beroual-Smith to within 1 point of retaining his SP60 Heavyweight title, commenting, “Lydd was good fun – some cracking races with Mike [Coppin], Dan [Brewer] and Dickie [Allen]. I can’t remember the points exactly but I believe Dan has to win both races at Bayford to win, so if he fails to win one of them then it’s over.” My reading is precisely the same, Brewer with only a 2nd place and a 4th to show for his efforts in Round 10 has kept his title chances alive, thats true, but nothing short of a win in Race 1 at Bayford Meadows will make Beroual-Smith champion again. Given that Anwar can actually only improve his own tally with wins, such is the number of those 2nd places he has accrued, and given how the pair have been consistently the class of the field all season, save for flashes from Tim Clark, it’s likely that if Dan doesn’t win Race 1 at Bayford Meadows, it’s because Beroual-Smith just has, and it’s all over. Right now Beroual-Smith is 11 points clear, counting 16 final scores, the maximum Brewer can improve his 15th and 16th best scores (both 44 points) is with wins (at 50points each), and would be a net gain of 12. It’s not over. But really it is. Dan Brewer, “Tough day! Having not done the endurance in the morning I was on the back foot – I managed to qualify 5th but was a bit off the pace, Race 1 the kart just wasn’t there, and I brought it home in 4th but was massively disconnected from the top 3.” And the championship slipped away right there.
In the SuperHeavyweight class it is a similar story, sort of, Richard Allen ran up front in both races added 86 points to his tally, class leader James Johnstone finished the event behind Peter Gillett, and as the class uses the same main points system, a 19th and 21st place are James’ 14th and 15th best scores so they have barely moved the dial on his championship total, but he does have 16 scores to count, and Allen will have only 12 after Bayford Meadows. Johnstone commenting, “I was nowhere throughout both races, this was the opportunity for Richard [Newton] to make things a little bit more interesting going into Bayford, I’m gutted for him and his injury, and thank God he was okay after his shunt. I was lucky to get a podium. I’m just hoping now for a strong end to the season to claim the title! I cannot be caught, if Dickie had come back a round earlier to the class, then it would be a different story”. It is a rather unlikely scenario but Johnstone could still be caught for the title by his main rival all season Richard Newton, but the gap is 57 points, Richard is slightly banged up and would have to some kind of mind meld, or a late rule change to allow Joe Holmes or Jack O’Neill to race in his stead, and/or bang in a couple of outright wins in Sittingbourne to put the frighteners on Johnstone. It seems with respect to Newton extremely unlikely, although look closely to see if Beroual-Smith and Newton swap racesuits, helmets, number plates and transponders. Now that would be funny.
In the minor class placings Tim Clark will finish 3rd in the championship, Alex Pritchard appears to have the measure Ryan Sandall. In SuperHeavyweights, Newton will be overhauled by Allen if either race. The minor placings are between Peter Gillett, Christopher Heath, Stuart Kirk and Mark Ford, although not Jamie Garside, who I learn is nursing his own ribs back to health for 2022. Any of them has a strong race at Bayford and one of them they will move into 4th place into the SHW championship final table.
So really, like so many of the senior championships the titles are done which makes Round 11 at Bayford Meadows, the weekend after next, an end of term, last hurrah and celebration of Club100 season 29 and the Club100 karting year in 2021. It’s just racing.
Anwar Beroual-Smith led out of practice on a track that was just starting to dry up after the morning deluge, but was far from dry. When the session went green Dickie Allen set the mark with 57.901 from Mike Coppin, Tim Clark and Alex Pritchard. The next lap Tarik Almou posted 57.079 and Dan Brewer moved on to the front row only for Allen to respond again to go back P1 with 56.964. Not to be deterred Almou moved back to the pole with 56.915 on the next lap and Brewer pushed Allen off the front again. Chequered flag out, and Richard Allen took the pole for Race 1 with 56.156, with the track speeding up, joined by Anwar Beroual-Smith on the front row, Mike Coppin moved into P3 with Almou unable to improve, Pritchard, Brewer on row 3, Clark, Matt Horgan, Daniel Taylor and Ryan Sandall rounded out the top 10 on a full grid of 37. Strangely for a qualifying session there were a few penalties notably for track limits and cones as well as contact for Allen, Almou, Pritchard and Taylor making the actual grid Beroual-Smith, Coppin, Allen, Brewer, Almou, Clark, Horgan, Sandall, Pritchard and Stuart Martin.
Half an hour or so had passed with Lightweight practice and qualifying and the track had dried up to low 50secs pace when the Heavies started race 1, and they set off in sensible fashion, Mike Coppin slotting in behind Beroual-Smith, Mike commenting,” I’d already said to Anwar and Dan (Brewer) that I wouldn’t get in their way as I’m not in the championship. Race start and I managed to follow Anwar through to P2.” It would not stop Mike moving to the lead on lap 2 and they’d be joined by Allen in 3rd as Brewer struggled with the conditions and the lack of morning practice, and his kart. Dan would have to contend with Tim Clark on his bumper, then a gap to Sandall, Almou, Horgan, Pritchard, and a gap to Taylor who’d had made short work of his 4 place penalty in qualifying to get back to 10th place.
Dickie Allen with nothing to lose and revelling in the conditions moved to the front, Anwar slotting into 2nd with Coppin 3rd, Brewer bringing Clark, Sandall back towards the front. Behind Pritchard had worked his way up the line to lead the chasing pack in 7th place, with Almou sliding out the other way down 9th place, Stephen Jennings moved into the top 10. Coppin struggled to hang on to the top 2 and Clark moved passed Brewer for 4th. By the 10minute mark the testing conditions had meant the leaders were already working into lapped traffic, Anwar reporting, ”First race was pretty much decided by back markers some of whom were defending from us and a couple even almost spun me out.” A theme agreed by Coppin, “It was when we got to the traffic that things rapidly changed. Dickie got me at the bottom hairpin to go 2nd and I dropped off him and Anwar by maybe a second before they hit traffic and I reeled them back in. Each time they caught a back marker, they got quite held up.”
Approaching the 20min mark, the traffic played Mike’s way again, he moved to the lead, only for it swing back to Beroual-Smith a few minutes later. By this point it was clear the race winner would be one of the three, Tim Clark was 5.5secs behind in 4th place, with similar margins between Brewer, Sandall and Pritchard. Alex had Horgan on his bumper in 8th place, with Garrett O’Connor a long 13secs behind in 9th place and who was in turn over 7secs ahead of Stuart Martin. Indeed such was the diffculty in mastering a gradually drying track condition Jason Bear in 11th was the only other driver on the lead lap as the field stretched massively.
Coppin wasn’t finished and the fortunes with traffic swung back to him again, inside the final 5mins, “I managed to slip by for the lead of the race at the kink before the horseshoe. More traffic negotiation and both Dickie and Anwar got held up further. I think I won by 2 seconds. Fantastic race – the three of us bump drafting each other along the top straight was mega – 3 screaming Rotax engines all singing was quite something!” With a couple of laps to go Coppin had over a second’s lead for the first time, he would not be caught. I suppose it goes without saying there is no one more expert at defending a 2nd place than Anwar Beroual-Smith, And Allen, winning the SuperHeavyweights obviously, could not find a way by. And that’s how it finished. On the road at least.
Unfortunately Dickie Allen had a +2 Positions, rule 15 t – Track Limits, perhaps the most notable, demoting him from 3rd to 5th, Clark promoted to 3rd with Brewer 4th. Sandall gained a point in his championship battle with Alex Pritchard in 7th place, Horgan, O’Connor. Stuart Martin was replaced by Jason Bear in the top 10, due to the former picking up, +2 Positions, rule 15 i – Multiple contact. Peter Gillett finished 13th to pick up 2nd in SHW, Chris Heath 3rd with 17th overall.
Race 1 had finished with the track dry, and it was still dry after Lightweights’ first race. Mike Coppin again, “I got a decent start but a red flag came out for an incident at bus stop 2. Second time around, I had another decent start and I’d pulled a half second gap by the end of first half of the lap. However I quickly realised my karts lower to mid range wasn’t there and around Lydd, with a headwind, I knew I was in trouble unless I could hold a tow with someone. So it was no surprise when Anwar, Dickie and Dan got me and to be honest, it was fairly uneventful after that.”
Coppin would lose the lead on lap 3 to Beroual-Smith, the latter reporting, “I hit the front early and built a little bit a gap until an unfortunate situation at the first chicane wiped my lead out completely. Essentially a back marker was slowing to let me through, but he hadn’t seen there was a yellow flag so I couldn’t go past. So I had to just crawl behind him to avoid the penalty.” Before that happened Brewer slipped passed Coppin to go 2nd a lap later 0.8secs down, Allen set up to move passed Coppin a few laps late, Mike struggling as he said to hold Allen’s slipstream, then a the back marker gave Beroual-Smith’s pursuers on 9mins. The top 4 concertinaed up. Allen was able to get through to 2nd, andthe trio were together for the next 9mins, Coppin sliding back off the group and gradually back to his Applewood team mate Pritchard.
Once again, and quite possibly driving Alex Pritchard’s winter dieting, he’d missed the leading bus and was 2secs off the group, initially with Tim Clark, his rival Ryan Sandall, Garrett O’Connor, Matt Horgan and Tarik Almou making up the top 10, in a line behind, and clear of Stuart Martin and the rest of SP60 behind. But the middle of the race had gone well for Pritchard and he was eating into Coppin, and the top 10 had started to stretch out behind. His championship rival Sandall was doing him a favour busying Clark in 6th place behind him, then gap to Horgan dicing with O’Connor and Almou, Matt reporting, “Race 2 was basically dry and fairly uneventful after a good initial battle with Garrett”. Race 2 was certainly more pleasing for Brewer, by 18mins, “I’d made my way up to 2nd and went about attacking Anwar. I tried to get by him for a couple of laps until [another] back marker got in the way and Dickie got back through. Once I’d got back to P2 it was too late and Anwar was gone.”
It would take 4 laps for Brewer to get back passed Allen, out of the other side and looking up the road Anwar was 2.2secs up the road, and Dan would need to shake Allen, even Coppin wasn’t far off again in 4th place with Pritchard on his bumper. But the race had been shortened for the red flag period and there were only 2 laps remaining. Beroual-Smith was not going to drop the ball this close to closing out the championship and he extended his lead to 3secs at the finish. Coppin watched Pritchard go by, probably helping secure Alex’s 4th place in the championship at the same time, as Sandall finished behind Clark finishing 6th. Mike again, “Shout out to Alex who caught me like a steam train after negotiation the second group and with two laps to go was giving me whiplash out of most of the corners! I waved him through on the final lap for the extra points but he’d likely have got me within 2-3 laps, such was his pace advantage. And if Dickie keeps driving like that, he’ll be a proper force in 2022.”
The only penalty in Race 2 was for James Johnstone, his 17th place turned into 21st with +4 Positions, rule 15 a – Gaining single place advantage. Horgan, O’Connor and Stuart Martin rounded out the top 10. Johnstone’s penalty pushed him off the 2nd step of the event podium for Super Heavies giving Peter Gillett the spot. In the main class Anwar Beroual-Smith took the round, and even though he didn’t mean to, Mike Coppin’s 2nd in the event, like Allen’s presence on track, did take to points out of Brewer’s championship aspirations. But that’s racing and Brewer is not the sort to complain about it, he’s enjoyed his run and will be a favourite for 2022, but the title is going back where it belongs. At least for this year and Anwar will be tough to be for sure in 2022.
Words: Chris Simpson
Photography: John Patterson