Anwar Beroual-Smith Maximises Joe Holmes Absence.
A beautiful sunny day for Round six at Lydd. A lovely place when the sun is shining but pretty desolate when it’s not. And the new Clubhouse looks like a great addition to the facility. Such a pity that in these Covid times we can’t make more use of it but at least with CLUB100’s superb organisation we are able to go racing. Hopefully without any further interventions. With no Joe Holmes on the entry list Anwar Beroual-Smith knew he had to deliver a good result to put some pressure on his rival. Seeing him limp towards me before the heats it looked like a tall order as he was clearly in considerable pain from an injured back. But karters are made of stern stuff. Here’s how the afternoon unfolded.
The Road to the Finals
Heat One resulted in a fine win for Jordan Salter laying the foundations for a great day. Starting from the second row he was up to second behind poleman Mark Appleton by the end of the opening lap. There he stayed for a lap before slipping by into a lead he would never lose. Appleton chased him hard all the way to the flag but couldn’t get back on terms. The battle for third went to Stephen Jennings with Lewis Ridd fourth from Stuart Jones.
Poleman Sean Brierley took the second heat chased all the way by second row starter Simon Lloyd. Lloyd could never quite get close enough to make a serious challenge but it was great drive from the returning Lloyd. Alex Pritchard came home third. He too was only a few Kart lengths back and had Mark Ridout for company for much of the race whilst Steve Downes opened his account with fifth. Someway adrift but valuable pints after starting from grid ten.
Heat Three saw one of the biggest jump starts I’ve ever witnessed with front row sitter Geoff Lamb leading poleman Vinod Harani across the line almost three tenths clear! Rather than back off and give the place back he kept his foot down crossing the line at the end of the lap over three tenths clear of second placed Jack Bolton who had started behind him on row two. Quite why he was gesticulating to race control as his penalty showed up on the digi board I don’t know. The timing computer doesn’t lie. Jump starts are a slam dunk. He continued to pull away from second placed Bolton who now had to contend with a fast closing Anwar Beroual-Smith who wasted no time in getting by and chasing after the leader. But Lamb held him at bay crossing the line a tenth up. It was great drive but his jump start penalty dropped him to third and handed the win to Beroual-Smith with Bolton second. Chris Gristwood claimed fourth with David Longman fifth.
A clean start for Heat Four saw poleman Steve Bosley take the lead with fellow front row sitter Adam Wright tucking in behind from Miguel Hall and Steve Lindley. Second time around and Lindley mad a move on Hall spinning to a halt. Wherever he finished Lindley would take a six place penalty. Lindley was slightly delayed and Anthony Ridd nipped by for third. A lap later and he was up to second before Wright hit back to take both Ridd and Bosley to lead. He then pulled clear at the front crossing the line almost a second clear only to find he had clipped a cone demoing him to second behind Ridd with Bosley third. Lindley crossed the line next but was over four seconds adrift. His penalty dropped him to tenth promoting Craig Brown to fourth and Richard Allen to fifth.
Heat Five went to the poleman Steve Downes. Despite losing out at the start he was back at the front after three laps and was never headed. Lewis Ridd chased him all the way tailed by Sean Brierley who got by Ridd on the final lap for second. Geoff Lamb took fourth after a well judged drive with Mark Ridout fifth. And two lap records were set in the heat. Nick Trafford in the Super Heavyweight Class (SHW) class and Elliot Mewse in Class 3 (C3).
Adam Wright finally picked up a win in Heat Six but he had to work for it. Starting on grid six he was down to seventh by the end of lap one before working his way up the order and taking long time leader Oliver Moss three from home. Moss came home second with third falling to Jordan Salter who trailed Moss for much of the race. Stewart Madden came home fourth with Alex Pritchard fifth.
Craig Brown took a superb win in the seventh heat leading from lights to flag. He was aided a touch by SHW James Taylor who defended second place with some aplomb until being demoted by Anwar Beroual-Smith on the penultimate lap. Beroual-Smith started from grid ten but was up to third by half distance only to become embroiled in a battle for third with a very feisty Chris Gristwood. But Beroual-Smith eventually pulled away and chased down Taylor. Gristwood too got by Taylor only to be hit with a two place penalty after multiple contact warnings which promoted Taylor back to third and Steve Bosley to fourth.
Andrew Cherry looked all set to win the eighth heat leading from the lights and holding off a very determined Jack Bolton. But it was not to as Bolton found a way by with two laps to run. To cap it off Miguel Hall also got by on the final lap. Bolton however was found to be underweight and excluded from the results handing the win to Hall from Cherry with Bill Taylor third from Richard Allen who established a new fastest lap in the SHW class. Bradley shears claimed fifth.
Heat Nine resulted in a comfortable win for Lewis Ridd crossing the line almost five seconds clear of James Taylor who defended the last six laps as though his life depended on it. It was close at then though as he held off Adam Wright over the line by just 0.045. Stephen Jennings and Nick Trafford took fourth and fifth with Jason Bear establishing a new C3 lap record down in eleventh.
Steve Downes took his second heat win of the day in Heat Ten. Starting from grid seven he was into the lead before half distance and remained there until the flag. Sean Brierley came home second with early leader Ben Benneyworth third from Craig Brown and David Longman.
The penultimate heat was an Anwar Beroual-Smith benefit. Starting from pole he lead all the way to the flag for his second win of the day which secured pole for the A Final. Dave Pethers chased him all the way home with Stuart Jones third from Stewart Madden and Bill Taylor with not one overtake amongst the top five from the end of lap to the chequered flag. Chris Kirk established in new lap record in C3.
The final heat of the day resulted in a lights to flag win for Super Heavyweight championship leader Richard Allen. Oliver Moss fought his way up to second from grid five by half distance but could not catch the flying Allen. Jack Bolton crossed the line third but he’d gained a place over Alex Pritchard unfairly and dropped to seventh promoting Simon Lloyd to third, Bradley Shears to fourth and Paul Williams to fifth. And once again the Class 3 (C3) lap record was broken, this time by Simon Kavanagh.
Aaron Stevens on pole from Andrew Perry with Peter Clark and Jonathon Purton sharing row two. Luke Philips and Richard Neale occupied the third row with James Dunnet and Lewis Mckinnon on row four. Doug Cooke and Jack Bolton shared row five the latter posting his worst ever C100 qualifying spot having lost a heat win by being underweight!! Vinod Hirani and Martyn Robinson were on the penultimate row with James Fremont bringing up the rear. Four to qualify for the B Final.
Stevens led the pack away with Perry tucking into second. Philips got away smartly and was up to third whilst Clark and Purton fell back. Philip[s however had been a bit too aggressive off the line and had pushed Purton aside. Neale climbed a spot whilst not unexpectedly Bolton was making sharp progress. Two laps down and he was up to fifth but then got stuck behind Neale for a lap before moving up to fourth. But Neale too was another in trouble as he had jumped the start. Stevens continued to lead but Perry was coming under pressure from Philips and Bolton. No one was content on just qualifying by finishing in the top four. Honour was at stake! Stevens continued to lead but Philips was up to second with Bolton almost alongside. Perry was falling back but looked comfortable in fourth a second clear of Purton in fifth.
With four to go Bolton dispensed with Philips for second and set about closing the gap to the leader. All thoughts of merely qualifying had gone as he slashed the gap. Three to go and he was at the front. But Stevens wasn’t about to let the win go without a fight and he repeatedly came back at Bolton. Over the line at the end of the penultimate lap and he was almost alongside as they approached the first chicane. But Bolton held him off. Stevens lost ground. A brave effort but he had to settle for second. An entertaining fight though. Perry was next over the line taking Philips on the last lap. Purton came home fifth with Neale next but demoted two places for his jumped start with Clark seventh over the line but about to get some unexpected good fortune. Third placed Perry was found to be underweight and excluded whilst Philips was penalised four places for his unfair move on Purton. Purton and Clark therefore joined Bolton and Stevens in the B Final.
Chris Gristwood sat on pole for the B Final having missed out on a place in the A Final by just over a tenth of a second. SHW Richard Newton lined up alongside. Alex Pritchard and Paul Williams shared the second row with Stuart Jones and Anthony Ridd on row three. Mark Appleton was alongside Andrew Cherry on row four with Simon Kavanagh and Gary Miller on row five. Next up, Elliot Mewse and Chris Kirk with Tim Williams behind on row seven with Darren Townsley. Row eight saw Matt Kendall alongside Christopher Murray. Lee Henderson and Steve Lindley shared row nine whilst Sunny Kundi and Jason Bear were on row nine. Wayne Dunham and Dmitry Zeldin were on row ten followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Bolton, Stevens, Purton and Clark. Bolton once managed to win the C Final and then the B Final to qualify for the A Final which he very nearly won. Could he do it again?
Gristwood led the pack away with Pritchard right behind and getting the better of Newton whilst Jones was quickly ahead of Williams. Behind these the start was a little untidy caused by some drivers breaking formation. Kirk made up a place before the line whilst Lindley was up four places. Both would receive a two place penalty for jumping the start. In Kirk’s case it mattered not as he outbraked himself into the first turn and resumed at the rear of the field. Near the back of the grid both Bolton and Stevens made up ground rapidly. For Stevens though that was as good as it got as he fell back. Bolton however continued to pick up places. Gristwood continued to set the pace with Pritchard a Kart length back. Newton was being dropped but doing well to keep C1 runner Jones at bay. Ridd had slipped by Paul Williams for fifth. Bolton meanwhile had climbed up to eleventh. Fifth time around and Pritchard slipped by Gristwood for the lead. Newton was still third and actually moving away from Jones whilst Ridd remained fifth albeit a second and a half back.
Half distance and Pritchard and Gristwood were well clear of third placed Newton and looking set for a comfortable one two and qualification. Unless of course they tripped one another up which seemed like a distinct possibility as they decide to squabble over the lead. Newton remained third but Jones was beginning to come back at him. Ridd remained fifth with Tim Williams next but about to be deposed by the flying Bolton. But he had over two seconds to make up on fifth placed Ridd. Three quarters run and Pritchard still led with Gristwood a tenth and well clear of Newton who now had Jones breathing down his neck for third. Ridd remained fifth but Bolton had cut the two second gap down to a couple of tenths. Sensing blood he was through to fifth a lap later. At the front Gristwood had resumed the battle for first crossing the line 0.052 adrift after thirteen laps. Newton was still holding off Jones who now had Bolton closing in. With two to go Pritchard had again rebuffed the challenge from Gristwood who lost time and now had to keep an eye on Newton. And Bolton was getting ever closer to the back of Newton. Penultimate lap and Bolton made it through but it cost him time and second placed Gristwood was almost a second clear.
Pritchard took the win with Gristwood second but another lap and it might have been a different story as Bolton took six tenths out of the gap over the final lap to finish a couple of tenths adrift. A stunning effort though. Sadly for him though he had clipped a cone and the resulting penalty would drop him back to fourth behind Newton. Jones remained fifth with Ridd sixth from Tim Williams. Paul Williams was next across the line but demoted to tenth for exceeding track limits promoting Mewse to eighth and Townsley to ninth.
Anwar Beroual-Smith on pole from Sean Brierley with Adam Wright and Steve Downes on row two. Lewis Ridd and Craig Brown shared row three with Jordan Salter alongside SHW Champion Richard Allen on row four. Row five saw Simon Lloyd alongside Oliver Moss with Steve Bosley and Miguel Hall behind on row six. Row seven had Dave Pethers alongside David Longman followed by Mark Ridout and Geoff Lamb on row eight. Stewart Madden shared row nine with Bradley Shears with James Taylor and Stephen Jennings on row ten. Bill Taylor and Lennie Wood occupied row eleven whilst Ben Benneyworth and Nick Trafford shared the penultimate row followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Pritchard and Gristwood.
Beroual-Smith made a text book start and by the end of the first lap he was a couple of tenths to the good with Wright second from Ridd, Brierley, Brierley, Brown, Salter and Allen. Down the order James Taylor was already in the wars collecting the tyres at the first chicane and clipping Madden into a spin. Taylor would retire after a few laps with Madden also calling it a day a few laps later. Beroual-Smith continued to lead from Wright with the two of them running a second clear of Ridd. Brown remained fourth from Downes with Salter next having deposed Brierley third time around. Quarter distance and Beroual-Smith was edging clear of Wright whilst Ridd was beginning to cut the gap to Wright. Brown was over a second back in fourth but holding off Downes. Salter was just a few tenths back and keeping himself clear of Brierley who was in turn clear of SHW Allen who had Moss closing in.
Half distance and the top eight remained unchanged. Lloyd and Bosley had moved into the top ten but for Bosley it would be as good as it got as he fell back down the order not helped by a two place penalty for multiple contacts. Beroual-Smith continued to extend the lead but Wright was coming under pressure from the impressive Ridd. Tenth time around and Ridd slipped down the inside of Wright into the last corner for second. Wright didn’t fight him and would later say that he felt Ridd was quicker and could possibly drag the two of them closer to the leader. But it was not to be. Beroual-Smith reeled off the remaining laps to take a gutsy win given the state of his back and the massive blister on his hand. Ridd took second and took the C2 honours. He also set the fastest lap of the race on the final tour whilst Wright had to be content with third place overall, fastest lap in the C1 class on the penultimate lap and second in C1.
One day Mr. Wright, one day you will take an overall win and get rid of the unwanted statistic of being the only Champion in Club100 to win a Championship without ever winning a race. Fourth overall and third in the C1 class went to Brown. Over four seconds adrift of the leading trio but a great drive giving him his best ever CLUB100 finish. Fifth went to Downes (not going to tip you again for the win as it appears to be the kiss of death) whilst sixth place went to Jordan Salter and second in C2. By some distance his best ever overall CLUB 100 result. Richly deserved after a faultless drive.
Brierley was next followed by Lloyd with Hall ninth and third in the C2 class with Pethers completing the top ten. Allen took the SHW honours and eleventh overall with Trafford second and Bill Taylor third.
So who won the HW/SHW pots apart from C Final winner Jack Bolton and B Final winner Alex Pritchard? Tim Williams took the Class 3 honours with a highly creditable seventh place in the B Final just holding off Elliot Mewse who claimed second in C3 with his eighth place overall just a few tenths behind Williams. Third place went to Simon Kavanagh.
In Class 2 Lewis Ridd took the prize as he finished second overall in the A Final behind Beroual-Smith. Suspect he will definitely be moving up a class in the not too distant future. Second place in C2 went to Jordan Salter with Miguel Hall third whilst Beroual-Smith took the class 1 honours ahead of Adam Wright and Craig Brown.
Across the various Championships Anwar Beroual-Smith leads the way but dropped scores have yet to come into play so expect Joe Holmes to be a major factor when they do. Steve Downes is second from Sean Brierley, Stuart Jones and Geoff Lamb. Lewis Ridd heads the C2 runners ahead of Alex Pritchard and Jordan Salter whilst Richard Allen is dominating the SHW’s and lays a highly creditable seventh in the overall standings. Bill Taylor is second with Ben Benneyworth third.
A great day in these strange times. Thankfully we did not see any mass ”bollockings” as we have had in some of the previous rounds although a couple of drivers did fine themselves on the naughty step. What did surprise me was the amount of jumped starts.
One driver crossed the line almost three tenths clear of the poleman and the proceeded to drive away without giving any thought to the consequences. And then he was gesticulating at race control as he went by clearly having taken umbrage at being caught out! The computer doesn’t lie. Jumped starts are easy to call. He could have given the place back immediately which generally leads to the officials showing leniency but no, he kept his foot down and raced on. He wasn’t the only one either. Another driver jumped several places and then complained about unfair it was. Utter madness. And appeals aren’t allowed in the heats so it’s a waste of energy. Hopefully lessons will have been learnt.
Onwards to Whilton Mill. Stay safe and don’t forget to wear a mask!
WORDS: Steve Gray
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson