It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Nervy Neale vs Charging Pagano For The Clubman Title.
Pole for Jamie Pender from Stuart Osborn with Pietro Pagano and Rob Moore next up on the second row. Again the field got away cleanly with Pender leading into the first corner but as the field steamed down the back straight into the final turns Pagano dived down the inside and into the lead. It was a brilliant move and he quickly stamped his authority on the race pulling several lengths clear by the end of the next lap as Pender, Osborn, Moore and Thomas Glyde battled over second. Inevitably the fight held them all up and Pagano began to pull further out of reach.
Pender continued to head the battle for second but Moore was now into third ahead of Osborn with Harrison Darvill now joining the fray chased hard by Simon Lloyd, up to eighth from grid eleven. Half distance and Pagano had pulled even further clear but Moore was up to second with Pender third chased hard by Darvill who had slipped by Osborn who now had Glyde hard on his bumper. Once into second Moore began to make inroads into Pagano’s lead. But could he catch him? Pagano responded setting the fastest lap of the race with two to run. He was the only driver to break the forty four second mark and eventually crossed the line over three seconds up on second place Moore who was himself almost three seconds clear of third placed Darvill. Fourth went to Pender whilst fifth went to Glyde. Great fight this for the place with five drivers covered by just a shade under seventh tenths. Lloyd was sixth from Dixon with Osborn next from Harry Neale and Darrell Lowe.
David Whitehouse sat on pole for this one with Championship leader Harry Neale alongside and Justin Buck and Stefan Scully on row two. Again the field kept it together through the tight first chicane with Whitehouse still at the front by the end of the first lap. Buck was up to second with Scully fourth and Christopher Powell in fifth. Behind these Mike Townley and Luke Hornsby had both got ahead of James Martin and Martin Theodorou. The four them then got involved in a little battle which was great to watch but did see them drop away from the front runners. Two laps in and Neale had recovered his poise and quickly dispensed of Buck and leader Whitehouse for the lead chased now by Scully who took full advantage as Neale moved through. Neale immediately set about increasing the gap to Scully.
Scully though wasn’t going to be dropped but Neale stayed just far enough in front to prevent Scully from mounting a serious attack. despite Scully setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap. The only driver to break the forty four second mark it also established a class record. Buck took third whilst Powell took fourth ahead of Whitehouse. The top five were well clear off the squabbling pack by the flag. Townley was next over the line but penalised four places after contact thus handing the place to Theodorou from Martin, Pender and Hornsby.
Pole for Jack Bolton with Stuart Foster alongside and Lloyd and Chris Penney on the second row. Bolton led the field across the line and simple drove away from the pack. By the end of the first lap he was over a second up and over the first few laps the gap continued to widen before he began to relax the pace. Lloyd had slipped into second by the end of the first lap whilst Foster fell back to fourth behind Harris. These two enjoyed a spirited dice for a couple of laps before Harris finally managed to pull a small advantage. Hornsby was also running in close attendance and just after half distance he moved himself up to fourth. It was a move which appeared to unsettle Foster as he lost a little momentum and was down to eighth a lap later.
Bolton took the win over five seconds up on Lloyd with Harris third from Hornsby. Hedges took fifth from Darrell Lowe with Penny seventh from Foster. Townley and Moore completed the top ten in what was a somewhat processional heat also devoid of penalties with just three drivers shown contact warnings.
Pole for Simon Lloyd. Long time since that happened! Championship leader Neale alongside from Bolton and Darvill with Pagano and Moore on row three. Pender and Glyde on row four with Harris and Hornsby completing the top ten. Lloyd led the pack away but by the end of the first lap he was down to fifth. Neale led with Bolton second, Pagano up to third from fifth and Darvill just behind. Moore was sixth from Glyde and Pender whilst Theodorou and Dixon had both dropped to the back of the pack.
With two laps run Pagano was up into second and quickly began to eat into Neale’s lead. Bolton remained third but he, and the rest of the pack were being dropped by the flying leaders. With five gone Pagano was almost up to the leader but Neale responded setting a succession of quicker laps to pull clear. But Pagano wasn’t done. He set the fastest lap of the race with just three to go and continued to close. But Neale had everything under control and took the win by just over seven tenths. The two of them were almost five seconds up on Bolton who took a well deserved third having been under pressure from first Darvill and then Moore who had got by Darvill with just couple of laps left. Glyde was next ahead of Lloyd who had at one time dropped back to ninth before recovering and passing Pender. Lowe was next with Harris completing the top ten.
Harry Neale extended his lead over Pietro Pagano with his second straight win in a row. He’s taken four wins this season and second placed Pietro felt after finishing second at Lydd that Harry would be crowned the Champion at the end of the season. Still five rounds to go though and anything can happen. Jack Bolton lies third from Rob Moore and Chris Dixon.
A thoroughly entertaining day at Lydd for the Sprints with some very good drives across all the grids. My only disappointment was hearing the criticism of James Hattersley from a few drivers over his decision to run in the Heavyweights in the afternoon. James has cut a pretty disconsolate figure over the last few rounds in the Elites. His height and weight have penalised him to a great extent and he was on the point of giving up which would have been a great shame. I know the sacrifices made to keep him racing and I won’t embarrass his dad by repeating them here. Enough to say that they arrived home at 1-30am on Monday morning and Wayne was back out at five to go to work. The Hattersley’s epitomise all that is right about grass roots Karting and being a part of Club 100 so suggestions that he was pot hunting are well wide of the mark, unfair and uncalled for. In fact when he stepped down off the podium the first thing he did was to give me his trophy. I did return it. James had earned it. All the family love being a part of Club 100. They derive a huge amount of pleasure off track, as do many others including myself. It’s the camaraderie, the ‘’craic’’ if you like. That sense of belonging and enjoying the company of like minded individuals. Having found that the M20 was blocked and that it would be a long drive back to Yorkshire the decision was made to make a day of it and enter the Heavyweights. As he had a perfect right to do. This was about finding a level where he would be able to enjoy the racing and not just running on his own at the rear of the Elites. In many ways it was a brave decision for a young man to admit that he was struggling in the top class. That he won was an unexpected bonus but it will have certainly given his flagging confidence a much needed boost. Everyone races to win but above all it’s about enjoyment. Both on and off the track. As our Elite drivers constantly show. I have no doubt that there are a number of them who don’t do themselves justice on the track but that misses the point. They thoroughly enjoy their weekends racing, win or lose.
Last but certainly not least our sincere condolences from all at Club 100 to Darri and Steph Simms on the sad loss of your daughter Senna. We are all thinking of you at this most difficult time.
See you all at Clay.