Anwar Beroual-Smith Takes Win in 5 Cornered Title Battle. Lee Henderson Wins Super Heavy

DSC 5187 1 scaled

In a pattern that emerged early in the season, the same top 5 were once again the same top 5 at Ellough Park. But it is also the case that in a close run thing, it always seem to be the reigning champion Anwar Beroual-Smith coming out on top, at least more often than anyone else. 

Depending on how you count the points from the rounds already scored Anwar’s lead is either 11points over Dan Brewer or a deficit of 1 point to Brewer and Tim Clark, also standing within possible striking distance is Alex Pritchard and Ryan Sandall, 19 and 20points behind the championship leader. While as we reach the summer break I can be sure those 5 drivers if they can get to enough rounds will be the top 5 in the championship at the season’s end, who will be champion and the order that they will finish is hard to tell.

DSC 1563 1
Heavyweight podium – winner Anwar Beroual-Smith flanked by Tim Clark and Ryan Sandall.

All that is sure right now is Beroual-Smith’s 2nd place in race 1 and his win in race 2 was enough to claim the round win and winner’s trophy from Clark, Sandall and Pritchard the trio needing a tie breaker to split them, on a relatively poor day for joint/not joint championship leader Dan Brewer, “It was my first time at the track which put me on the back foot.” Inexperience of Ellough Park is not something that Anwar could claim, instead “I hadn’t lost any weight since the last round and I pigged out last week, [fortunately in] Race 1 it was great working with Alex. He was unfortunate to get held up by a defending back marker on the last lap, so I used that chance to slip by and secure my usual P2. Race 2 I could see Tim had a poor kart, so knew I had to clear him quickly, so went for it at the end of lap 1. From there I just stretched the gap until the last lap where a half spun back marker nearly collected me.” 

It had been a poor morning for Alex Pritchard but the afternoon was an improvement, up to a point, “Race 1 was great, Anwar could only follow me because of my tow, he wasn’t quick enough to pass but was happy to be dragged to the back of Tim”, setting him up with a shot at a win, but having to settle for 3rd, “on the last lap a back marker decided to defend, yes defend! The second race was basically damage limitation and a 30 minute defensive drive. Ryan Sandall did a great move to get passed which I didn’t see coming. Lewis Ridd and Tim Williams stormed passed eventually but there were a few spots of rain (much to my delight) and I demolished them both to reclaim the places back, we had just one wet lap then it dried near the end of the race. What made things even worse was that there were three of us tied on points for 2nd and I finished 4th without a pot because Tim had a win and Ryan had a second.” Sandall agreed, “Overall it was very good for a new track to me, and I thanked my race 2 performance for getting me on the podium. I had had 25mins to chase down Anwar in Race 2 and his two second lead and had got it down to a second by halfway, then all my hard work was undone with back markers.” And carrying on the theme, “Until the final lap where in the light rain he was blocked by several back markers and only won by 0.6secs. So a new track learnt and a decent result, Bayford Meadows will be another new track to me”.

DSC 1533
SuperHeavyweight – winner Lee Henderson, flanked by Richard Newton and Stuart Kirk.

In Super Heavyweights, James Johnstone never did pick up that late cancellation entry, but he continues to lead the championship with dropped scores applied. In his absence Lee Henderson on his 2nd appearance of the season with an excellent 9th place in Race 1 and 20th in Race 2 had an easy round win, from Richard Newton who must have a shelf full of 2nd place trophies now from 2021.

Qualifying

DSC 3735

Alex Pritchard set the early mark with 53.177, ahead of Sandall, Brewer and Matt Horgan, then Tim Clark hooked a sweet lap of 53.001 which no one could beat subsequently. It must have been either a perfect lap, or a massive slipstream, Beroual-Smith and Sandall moved to within 2 tenths of it late in the session before Matt Horgan got to within 1/10th on his final lap of qualifying. Sandall set his fastest lap to go grid 3, and should have had Alex Pritchard on his outside, but Alex collected a cone penalty which promoted Beroual-Smith from P5, Alex would join championship leader Brewer to his outside on row 3. Lewis Ridd, Tim Williams, Lee Henderson took the SHW pole, and with Jason Bear rounded out the top 10, on a 38 kart grid.

Race 1

DSC 3734

Matt Horgan takes up the tale, “I lost out on the left side of the grid at the start and spent a while trying to get past Ryan.” Inside of row 2 is almost always preferable to grid 2, so long as the pole man knows what he is doing, and Tim Clark did. Initially Tim grabbed a 0.4sec lead, although Sandall soon started to edge back in, behind him Horgan looked for a way by before Beroual-Smith and Pritchard moved by. Ryan again, “Initially I was sitting there comfortably but soon realised I was having to really push through the corners and losing a little bit in a acceleration out of the slow corners onto the big straights, then I lost Tim’s help which meant I dropped into the guys behind and one by one each of them managed to make a pass. I wasn’t losing much, maybe 0.1-0.2 of a second but it was more than enough to prevent me holding on to, or attacking for, a position.” He’d hold the pack up behind for 5mins before Pritchard and Beroual-Smith got by, and he’d also created a queue with Horgan, Brewer and Lewis Ridd waiting their turn. Again Anthony Ridd was nearby as the family really do try to race together, 2.2secs further back, he pulled through Henderson still in 9th place and leading Super Heavies, Dan Taylor, Jason Bear, Daryl Snelling, Steve Lindley, and Tim Williams, 14th in the second group.

DSC 3856

Pritchard again, “I realised Anwar was only following me because of my tow, he wasn’t quick enough to pass and was happy to be dragged to the back of Tim.” Alex was chipping 2-3 tenths off per lap out of Clark’s lead, and with no dropped noses in Club100 yet (and no, there are no plans, that I’m aware of – CS), Anwar was happy to help push, “I could see Alex had an edge, so once we cleared Ryan, I just set about working with him and pushing him in his tow back onto Tim.” It would take nearly 10mins to get to 0.7secs where typically the slipstream of the air being moved by the kart ahead begins to work for the chasing kart, and the gap went to 0.5, 0.3, and game on. Pritchard again, “Tim defended really well in fairness and the race was very clean and fair.” And he could not find a way by and Beroual-Smith was just happy to be there. A sort of stalemate ensued. Behind Horgan was 1.6secs behind in 4th place, but clear of Brewer, still learning the track, “I’d had a pretty large hit from behind at the start and that dropped me well behind the lead pack and then I could only catch and pass Ryan.” Horgan again, “I spent the rest of the race probably a second back from Alex and Anwar.” Two seconds behind Sandall, Lewis Ridd ran alone, 4.5secs ahead of Anthony Ridd, with Henderson just off with Lindley, Taylor and Williams still circulating as a group, after dropping Snelling. 

DSC 4116

Into the final quarter the leading trio were running into more and more traffic going a lap down, and it seemed to be falling neater for the leader Clark, Beroual-Smith still working with Pritchard, “Unfortunately we just never got the chance to make a move as the traffic intervened!” The gap opened up to 0.4, 0.8, 0.9 to 1 secs with 5mins to go. Then it flipped 0.9, 0.7 going to the final lap, and a back marker insisted on defending being lapped, Pritchard again, “It allowed Anwar to get through and then the back marker defended against Anwar too, aggressively. It cost me my second place and almost cost Anwar too. Not on in either of our opinions. Great opportunistic move on me from Anwar though, top class.” Clark ran out clear to the finish. Horgan cruised in alone in 4th place, as did Brewer, Sandall, Lewis Ridd, Anthony Ridd pulled a second or so on SHW winner Lee Henderson in 9th place, Steve Lindley rounded out the top 10. In SuperHW, Henderson had qualified so well and had been pulled along or pushing others along in a group into a different race from the rest of his class, Peter Gillett in 25th place was 2nd but only after Richard Newton had been demoted 4 places for advantage by contact from 22nd place, to 26th.

Race 2  

It would be fair to say that same advantage of a high grid slot would be available again to Henderson for the second race, and a 8 row or 16place start, but most importantly the faster flow of the top 10 rather than deep in the midfield and what was 1.5secs over the start line, might have been 5secs with the field spread at the end of lap 1. Instead, Lee reported “Lap 1 chaos”, and he’d come through in 29th place, as Richard Newton led the class after a good start up to 19th, 1 second clear of Peter Gillett, Stuart Kirk and Mark Ford. Fortunately for Henderson that 9th place finish overall in race 1 and the points from it, would be near impossible to overhaul for Newton. 

DSC 4739

On the subject of first lap chaos, Sandall appeared to be pushed wide into turn 1 on lap 1, the Ridds getting by, only for Anthony Ridd to be flipped around and facing the wrong way in turn 4. Ryan came through where he started in 6th place, Horgan losing out coming through in 7th. Up front Beroual-Smith had made great use of grid 2, “I could see Tim had a poor kart from the exit of T1, so knew I had to clear him quickly, so went for it at the end of the lap.” Pritchard held on to his 3rd place ahead of Brewer, Alex, “Tim didn’t have the engine and my kart was also far off.” But he had enough to get by Clark on lap 3, but that let Anwar get away and Anwar needed to make hay while the sun shined as even if Pritchard would not catch Anwar, Ryan Sandall had a fast kart, would quickly move by Ridd, then Brewer and then Pritchard with a dive up the inside of the last corner on lap 7. By then Clark was half a second off the pace and down to 7th behind Horgan and holding off his old nemesis Stuart Martin.

DSC 4779

So Sandall was up to 2nd place, 2secs behind Beroual-Smith, Ryan again, “the kart was a much better for me, with a little bit of extra acceleration” which almost certainly makes things easier. He could however make no impression on the leader, although Pritchard could not live with either of the front pair’s pace, so while the lead gap remained static, Alex was getting dropped, Brewer moved through to 3rd place, “It took a while to clear Alex as he was defending, but after I did it was a pretty lonely race.” As with race 1, the defending from Pritchard had created a queue with Lewis Ridd, Stuart Martin, Horgan and Tim Williams with Tim Clark trying to use their slipstream to prevent losing anymore places and points to his rivals, and all were trying to find a way passed Alex and each other. 3.5secs behind Steve Lindley was 10th, towing Phil Hoodless, Daryl Snelling, Stuart Osborn, Matthew Jones, Joe Wright and Dan Taylor in 16th. 

DSC 4913

Just passed halfway Stuart Martin had worked his way up through the first group and passed Pritchard for 4th, he was 4secs behind Brewer in 3rd place. Pritchard was dropped quickly as set about defending 5th for as long as possible, which became 4th again as Martin (I’m guessing had a mechanical of some sort). Into the final quarter of the race with 8mins remaining, Ridd and Williams burst through Alex’s defence, but the skies were looking threatening. And with 4mins remaining the spots of rain on the visor made everyone back off. Oh-oh it was rain, Pritchard overtook Ridd for 5th, and was back in 4th place as the final lap board came out, Ridd getting by Williams again. Beroual-Smith’s lead was 2.7secs, Sandall was 15secs clear of Brewer. Anwar had his moment with the half spun back marker, and won by 0.7 of a second, to take the round win as well. Pritchard’s recapture of 4th place was not enough to put him on the round podium, he crossed the line with Lewis Ridd, Tim Williams, Matt Horgan, Daryl Snelling, Tim Clark and enough to put on 2nd place for the round, with his race 1 win for the tiebreaker with Sandall and Pritchard, and Daniel Taylor were strung out in a loose line behind him as the top 10.

DSC 5066

In Super Heavyweight’s Richard Newton won the race in 17th, Lee Henderson had recovered, working his way through the class to finish 20th, and 2nd in class, to win the event, with Peter Gillett in 3rd in 22nd place. However after a hectic lap 1 and a bit rain, it was inevitable some penalties were coming and amongst them, Newton was promoted to 16th overall, Pete Gillett was demoted for an advantage by contact penalty to 28th and 6th in class, this allowed Stuart Kirk to take 3rd place in 24th in the race and it would also move Stuart on to the SHW podium, at the expense of Gillett, for the round as as well.

Words: Chris Simpson

Photography: John Patterson