Beroual-Smith Clinches Sprint 60 Title. Pritchard Phones In Super Heavies

December 9, 2020
Chris Simpson

Five years on from his Premier Sprint Championship, Anwar Beroual-Smith closed out the 2020 Sprint 60 Heavyweight Championship ahead of Phil Ingram. As reported after Rye House and before the latest lockdown, Anwar had moved himself into a very strong position either 8 or 13 points (depending how you approach dropped scores), but more importantly ‘Phil needing a big win at [the last round] perhaps needing some help to take points and Beroual-Smith from just sitting on his bumper for both races’ just didn’t happen. Instead Anwar acquired his own help (sort of) in the shape Chris Alcock, winning race 1 and ultimately the round, from Anwar and Phil, and Oli Peacock stepping into Club100 for his first run in SP60 and winning race 2. Tarik Almou may have ‘looked set for a nervous last round to secure 3rd [in the championship]’, but he couldn’t get a flight into the UK, but need not have worried, Wayne Lidgbird could not make enough progress in Race 2 to get near. And that was the trophies decided.

In the Super Heavyweight ‘tie’ coming into the final round, between Alex Pritchard and Richard Allen, was it really tied? Alex as you’ll see was pinged by NHS Track ’n’ Trace, and may have been glued to live timing like this reporter from home. But after Race 1 and certainly towards the end of Race 2 it was clear Dickie would be counting his last 2 races of the year as dropped scores, Alex was on the phone immediately to his glamorous assistant to be on hand (or rather in hand) to attend his championship trophy presentation virtually by Face Time and iPhone. Technology. One day it might all racing might be like this.

Alex Pritchard by proxy. Super Heavyweight Champion,

It’s been a strange year. Enjoy the racing. Don’t think about it too much.

Qualifying

Jeff Chapman broke the beam first to post 49.974, that lasted only a few seconds as Chris Alcock and Daniel Taylor moved ahead, then Beroual Smith moved to the top with 49.744, Tim Clark and James Johnstone slotted between Alcock and Taylor to form the 2nd row, Daniel was joined by Chapman, with Phil Ingram, Ben Hitch, Stephen Jennings and Oil Peacock making up the top 10. Lap 2 Tim Clark moved pole to 49.619 and was joined by Jennings on the front row.

With a minute to go Taylor and Ingram made up a new 2nd row, with Beroual-Smith and Johnstone in behind, Anwar briefly went fastest with 49.407 only to be replaced by Clark again, on what was clearly a drying track, but was drying at such a slow rate, then the chequered flag was out, Daniel Taylor and Ben Hitch were on row 2, Alcock and Jennings row 3, Phil Ingram was on row 4 with James Johnstone, as leading super heavy, Oli Peacock and Jeff Chapman made up the top 10. Richard Allen’s Super Heavy aspirations looked a little steeper from grid 24 on a 31 kart grid.

Race 1

Off the start, Beroual-Smith moved to the lead, the right hand lane of the grid making the most of the advantage up hill into Xmas, leaving Clark heading the main group with Alcock starting grid 5, Taylor dropped to his bumper with Ingram starting off grid 7, Hitch, Jennings, Lidgbird, Peacock and Chapman rounding the top ten as the main group. If his start didn’t go well Clark was soon shuffled down to 8th by the pack, Lidgbird pushed hard to climb up the other way. Anwar was already out to 1.5secs, Alcock and Taylor had broken into similar margins leaving Hitch looking to, but failing to escape, the chasing pack of 5, Phil Ingram replacing him in 4th place. A poor lap for Beroual Smith put Alcock on his bumper, although I suspect Anwar might have been happy to work with Chris for the mutual benefit of staying away and extinguishing any remaining hope of Phil Ingram 5secs behind to win the championship, but Alcock moved to the lead at the 5min mark and dropped Beroual-Smith immediately, Anwar falling back to Taylor.

By halfway, Alcock had been consistently, despite traffic, banging in 47.0-47.5secs lap, and a handy tow from a back marker up to Xmas gave him a few tenths to strike a fastest lap 46.918, a pace others were struggling to emulate. Beroual-Smith had slipped out to 6secs, but still quicker than Taylor 5.5secs behind him. Phil Ingram had passed Ben Hitch, and over the next 7minutes had chased down Taylor, with Ben hanging in behind, Phil wasted no time in moving through to 3rd when he caught up with Taylor. The trio would continue battle through the traffic, pole sitter Tim Clark had worked his way back up and out of the main pack, which had left Wayne Lidgbird, Oli Peacock and Jeff Chapman as the only drivers in that group. Two seconds behind Carl Bannister had moved into the top 10. In Super Heavyweights, Richard Allen’s tilt at the absent Alex Pritchard was still stalled down in 17th, when he needed points high in the top ten, instead he was 3rd in class, 10secs behind class leader James Johnstone (12th) and Richard Newton (13th) duelling over the race win.

Passing through 20mins, Alcock had put enough lapped karts between himself and Beroual Smith to settle 1st and 2nd places, even with 10mins left. 10secs behind Taylor had pushed back to 3rd place, the trio losing ground to the leaders in the process, with Hitch further losing out through the pinch points to drop off Taylor and Ingram, then Ingram pushed back into 3rd for the 3rd time. With 5mins to go Alcock had lapped everyone up to 14th place, fortunately he wouldn’t need to traverse the group forming up ahead and picking up penalties fighting over 6th, from where Tim Clark would be ejected, leaving Wayne Lidgbird, Peacock, Jennings, Bannister, and Chapman in 11th place. Clark’s slide out of the top 10 would collect James Johnstone, who had built up a 6secs gap on Richard Newton in Super Heavy in 12th and 13th places, on the way. Johnstone was gone, Clark exited.

At the finish, Chris Alcock won by 12secs from Anwar Beroual-Smith, 6secs behind Ingram beat Taylor by 2secs, only for a cone penalty collected much earlier to be applied to Ingram, but so had Taylor, so Ben Hitch was 3rd in the classification, then Lidgbird, Bannister, Jennings, Chapman and Oli Peacock making up the top 10, was transformed by penalties into Carl Bannister in 5th, Taylor, Jeff Chapman, Peacock, Richard Newton, winning Super Heavyweights, and put Alex Lammin up to 10th.

Race 2

Chris Alcock converted pole position off the start, Anwar on his bumper with Ingram moving ahead of Taylor, this quartet making the best of it and into a 1.5secs lead over Ben Hitch, who had slipped back off grid 4, and to be tailed by a fast starting Oli Peacock, with Carl Bannister, Jeff Chapman, Wayne Lidgbird and Garrett O’Connor as the top 10. It would be Ingram and Peacock moving forward, Oli to the front of this group displacing Hitch, then the next lap Phil passed Anwar to go 2nd. Unlike Race 1, Alcock had not broken the tow while that was going on. Indeed it might have looked like the leading trio were going to work together to break Taylor in 4th place, but instead Alcock and Ingram started to stretch Beroual Smith, and Anwar lost the tow. Behind Hitch’s poor start was compunded by a cone penalty and the slide down the field saw Lidgbird go by, and a rapid Garrett O’Connor move through to 7th.

Beroual Smith had been losing a couple of tenths per lap on the leading duo, as the 2 karts together ahead, will go quicker than 1 and with traffic of any size to appear yet, Anwar settled into pushing out and away from Taylor. Daniel had troubles of his own, Peacock was looking rapid and was edging in a tenth or so every other lap, when he’d reached the suck zone, of the slipstream on 9mins it was only a matter of time before the slip stream brought rushing up to Taylor’s bumper. Up front, Ingram took a turn on the front, Alcock sat on his bumper, after all it might be useful to know where Phil was strong for the finish. Sure enough Peacock’s pace had got the gap down to Taylor to 0.3secs, when the tow really kicks in and he was through the next lap to 4th place, he was 2secs down on Anwar in 3rd place, who must have worked out the strengths and weaknesses of his kart, and adapted, as he started to close the gap to the leading pair to 1sec. Then down to half a second, then it was game on, as the trio started to pick more and more traffic.

Oh dear, Phil was gone, losing 7secs in what I can imagine was contact of some description into a spin, he came through in 5th place, clear of Lidgbird, O’Connor and Hitch, but 3secs down on Taylor, but when he gets knocked down Phil gets up again. Alcock’s lead was brief, Beroual-Smith getting through on the next lap. All this dicing however was playing into the hands of Oli Peacock, he moved on to Alcock’s bumper and into the 3 way fight for the lead, and lapped traffic kept coming up and getting in the way, in the wrong places, at just the wrong time. Peacock passed Alcock, at the same time 4secs behind Ingram caught up with Taylor, wasting no time going for 4th place, and O’Connor put the manners on Lidgbird for the pass. It was then all change as Oli Peacock moved to the lead, with 10mins to go.

Super Heavyweight Round Winner – Richard Newton

Same trio different order, change again, Alcock back into 2nd place, and while there was churn up front, Ingram was flying catching back up to Beroual Smith and going straight on by, next target Alcock just a second ahead, Oli Peacock initially pulling out a 2.5secs lead. But 2.5secs could be gone in a run across from Xmas to Inkermans and down through Zulu with the wrong crowd in the way. Peacock had worked his way up to lapping a group headed by Super Heavy class leader Richard Allen, 15th, his rival James Johnstone, Philip Hoodless and George Watson. Ingram broke 46secs to set the fastest lap 45.948 in Alcock’s slipstream, moving by the next lap, Peacock could only post 47.3, Ingram had a whiff of Oli’s slipstream at 0.7secs behind, and took the lead on the next lap. Beroual Smith moved by Alcock for 3rd at the same time. Trouble was there was still 3 karts to lap before clear track would be reached to run the last 4minutes, to the finish, so Hoodless, Allen and Watson needed to be cleared. Watson and Allen were cleared, Anwar moving up to 3rd. But Hoodless provided the opportunity for Peacock to get by, and then the top 4 were free to go at it for the last 3 laps, on a now clear track. Real pace was called upon and Oli stretched them with first his fastest lap of the race, then the fastest lap of the race 45.878 on the penultimate lap, Ingram was hanging on for a mistake at 0.7secs behind, and Anwar at 0.8 behind Phil. Neither could get close enough to have lunge.

Round Winner – Chris Alcock

So the race result Peacock, Ingram, Beroual-Smith, finishing off the championship by being on Phil’s bumper, and Alcock. Five seconds behind was Daniel Taylor, another 11secs to Garrett O’Connor, under pressure from Alex Lammin, then a gap to Jeff Chapman, Stephen Jennings and Tim Clark in 10th over 30secs off the lead. James Johnstone took the Super Heavyweight win in Race 2. In the final round result Chris Alcock took the win from Beroual-Smith, Ingram and Peacock. Richard Newton took the SuperHeavyweight round win breaking the Pritchard – Allen stranglehold on the season.

And that was 2020.

WORDS: Chris Simpson
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson

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