Beroual-Smith Takes Round Win, Ingram In for the Season, & the Legend of #StaffKart2.0!
“In my 25years racing Club100 I’d always thought it [the StaffKart] was a legend. I’ve certainly never driven it” was how Phil characterised Anwar Beroual-Smith’s race 1 winning kart. This is the urban myth started and propagated by perennial A Final midfielders to colour their obvious disappointment of having plateau’d short of regular trophy glory (not looking at myself in the mirror much here). That they had only been denied a sprint win by never having a ride in the unicorn ‘rocketship’ of perfectly assembled and operating parts, from a good grid slot. If I have a large readership, there’s some nodding and recognition here. Most of it deluded. Even now I’m sure to this day there is the warm comforting blanket of leaving a circuit in the evening without a pot you so richly deserved but for ‘[insert name] in the Staff Kart.’ Phil explains, “Darren Teal who won the lightweight race [one], and his kart parked up in 5th which is where Anwar had qualified. I guess what I’m saying is the first 4 of us got karts that finished towards the back of the lightweight field.” Darren Teal (dipping in from the lightweight report), “I had a kart with decent mid to top end, then couldn’t get within 3-4 tenths in the second race!”. Joking aside a spread of 3-4/10ths from one sweet kart to one not so much, sounds little, but makes life easier on a power layout on the Monza like Lydd, thats why Enzo loved his V12 engines so much. At the front, and close to the limit, even tiny margins matter, if you don’t have to push it to the absolute limit, you’re going to make less mistakes. Anwar Beroual-Smith, “I knew it was a good one and hit the front early and and just tried to break the tow.” The impartial Swiss jury on this one, Mike Coppin, “He had a rocket!”.
Due to the unique way Club100 service and life parts, letting students abuse them mercilously at the BUKC Finals at Clay Pigeon (this coming weekend), by Whilton Mill, #StaffKart2.0 will be back in his/her mythos stable. But it allows some to still go tilting at wind mills, ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ on the way home, even years later, and they say it really does even out, Phil Ingram again, “I enjoyed the weekend and felt fast all day, I walked the 2nd race, when I got a decent kart.” ‘Decent’ you say? Any rocketry?
I return you now to our usual corporate programming in the hopes of getting my invoice paid.
It was SuperHeavyweight Richard Allen setting the pace in practice, briefly before Tariq Almou and Mike Coppin started exchanging top spot, Ingram and Beroual Smith moved in behind. Stephen Jennings moved to the top, then Ingram with 44.496, then Allen again, 44.343, by the end of the session Lidgbird was on top with 44.166, ahead of Coppin and Ingram. It boded well for an exciting qualifying, with something like 44 flat looking like a potential pole time.
Leo Stolyarov broke the beam to start the 5minute session, but Rob Bennett ever so briefly was pole, before Tariq Almou, then Mike Coppin took over and Jennings, Ingram, Allen, and Lidgbird squeezed into the 1/10th of second between Coppin’s 44.279 and Almou’s 44.393. It was tight.
Lap 3 Jennings went pole only to be replaced by Ingram, then Lidgbird with 44.117. Halfway through Beroual-Smith was outside the top 10, in 11th 44.459, half a second covered the top 17 (Alex Lammin 44.624). Anwar responded and moved into P5 ahead of Allen, before Almou joined Anwar on the provisional 3rd row, only Anwar to hit it again to inside of the 2nd row with 44.223 with 1 minute to go. Taking the chequered flag, Lidgbird had moved pole position to 44.037, Ingram could not improve on 44.173, Jennings demoted Beroual Smith from P3 only to be replaced by Allen, aa leading SuperHeavyweight, pushing Anwar onto row 3 with Coppin, Tim Clark and Stuart Martin moved into row 4 to leave Almou and a quick John Wort rounding out the top 10 covered by 0.35, top 17 by 0.6. Making my point about kart to kart performance above. Tiny differences.
Off the start it was clear no one was going to give too much room, but it was fair, and when the 35 kart grid had sorted themselves out Lidgbird had a 0.8secs lead over Jennings off grid 4, Ingram, Beroual-Smith, Allen and Coppin. Wayne wasn’t going far as the trio ran nose to tail, and just off them Allen was towing or being pushed by Coppin, Almou and Clark. Coppin moved passed Allen but in doing so lost the draft from the trio ahead. After pushing him over the line the previous lap, Anwar passed Ingram for 3rd, as Jennings sucked up behind leader Lidgbird. Almou picked up a penalty, later reversed, for bump and pass, presumably on Allen for 6th, because Coppin had immediately pulled clear into 5th ahead.
By now Anwar was into his flow, confident in the kart beneath him, breezing passed Jennings, and then into the lead on the next lap. The leading quartet was joined by a flying Mike Coppin who had bridged the gap, I suppose I should note this was Jack O’Neill’s kart from LW Race 1 and another that Ingram could not hold off. Phil again, “See that’s Lady Luck there, playing her part.” Mike move passed Jennings to take up 3rd place, behind Lidgbird. And fairs fair Tariq Almou,pedalling an ex-Andy O’Neill kart, was slipstreaming in to make it 6 for the lead. Then a gap to the chasing pack Tim Clark just passed Allen 2.3secs behind with a line of 13 karts back to Steve Lindley in 19th place.
By the 10min mark, 4th placed Jennings had been drafted by by Ingram and Almou, and Steve slid off the back of the group. Coppin moved passed Lidgbird, to see Beroual Smith was 1.5secs up the road, Almou had also worked his way passed to move into 3rd place and started to suck in behind Mike. Sensing the danger of being dropped with Lidgbird, Ingram made his move but in getting it done the string had broken and he did not have the pace to get back on. Coppin was slipping a 1/10th or so a lap from Anwar, while Almou was looking for a way by. Ingram towed Lidgbird around, then another 2secs to Jennings sliding out, and beyond a further 2.5secs dropped you back to Tim Clark and Carl Bannister, another 4.5secs dropped you to Gerard Moore and Jeff Chapman fighting over 10th with Richard Allen, Billy Watts came through 12th 20secs off the lead and towing 13th to 18th, Richard Newton.
By 20mins, Anwar’s lead looked a comfortable at 2.5secs, only lapping traffic would stop him taking the win, it seemed, and unfortunately 25th Pete Gillett to 35th Steve Farmer was just a few seconds up the road in a long line. It was an opportunity for Coppin and an opportunity for Almou on his bumper, Mike Coppin, “I’m confident I’d have got him (Anwar) had Tarik not made a lunge.” And Mike had got the lead down to under 1secs, but he had the same traffic to work through, and of course, Almou dived in. Anwar broke out into clear air and the gap was up 2secs again, with the 7mins to go. By the time Coppin had recovered 2nd he was 2.2secs off the lead with only 4mins left. It would not be enough time. His momentum was gone as much as Tariq’s presence, and that was the winning margin.
Ingram trailed in 7secs behind, possibly to head off for a chat with JV about kart allocation. Phil had still dropped Wayne Lidgbird a long way from the finish, and Wayne had also been run down in impressive style by Carl Bannister, who passed him on the penultimate lap. Gaps to and between Jennings, Clark, Chapman and an 8secs gap to Alex Lammin, in 10th 28secs off the lead. The Superheavyweights had been a quiet affair, Richard Allen after superb qualifying had slowly slid back through the front runners while Alex Pritchard had never really got out of the midfield, the pair reacquainted themselves initially in the main group and as Allen had been picked off, Alex had struck on the penultimate, 14th and 15th at the finish. There were 10 SuperHeavyweights in the field, but they were the only ones on the lead lap.
Mike Coppin, “From my perspective it was a cracking race Anwar and I must’ve swapped positions 6-7 times without contact!” And Mike was Anwar’s bumper as they emerged from the Parabolica at the end of lap 1, with Ingram moving up and past Almou from grid 3, then Bannister, Jennings, Clark and a fast starting Garrett O’Connor at the expense of Lidgbird.
Coppin struck early for the lead and Ingram followed him, and the mutual appreciation society was in full flow, Anwar Beroual Smith, “Phil had too much pace for Mike and I, so we just had an epic battle for 2nd instead.” Ingram went straight through to the lead, stretched Anwar for 5 or 6 laps at 0.7-0.8 secs and then the elastic went and the gap jumped to a second then 1.2secs, then a steady 1/10th per lap from there, driving clear and to leave Anwar and Mike to get down to, “Proper racing – side by side, hard but fair, and all while trying to get round back markers” although the latter would come later. Behind it would take Carl Bannister a few laps to work out Almou by then the gap was over a second to the pair ahead, and unless they got silly, he’d struggle to get back into the group he also had Almou for a while, Clark, Jennings and O’Connor to contend with for much longer. Tariq slid down the group, while O’Connor worked his way up to 4th, on the leaders pace, but from 5secs behind.
By half distance Ingram’s lead was 2secs, Beroual-Smith and Coppin continued to dice, the chasing group Clark, O’Connor, Bannister and, Moore, Jennings slipped off into his own space, as had Almou beyond him, Stuart Martin made up the top 10.
In SuperHeavyweights they were at it again, locked together Alex Pritchard towing Richard Allen, most of the time around Lydd in 14th and 15th, Jamie Garside and Rob Bennett were a couple of seconds behind in the same line. It wouldn’t stay that way Bennett and Garside worked their way through before some poor driving took Allen out, and left Garside as Pritchard’s only competition in that same line, led by Leo Stolyarov in 14th.
Into the final quarter, Ingram was maintaining his gap for now to Coppin, O’Connor was heading Clark and stretching Bannister and Moore, Stuart Martin had moved through to 8th. Perhaps thinking of his championship rival 3.5secs out front, Beroual Smith took 2nd back, only for Mike to come back by, Clark took 4th back from O’Connor, Anwar might need this 2nd place for the round and the championship he took 2nd for good on the penultimate lap. The winning margin was 3.8secs, Clark headed Garrett O’Connor in the fight for 4th, 9secs off the winner, Gerard Moore had caught up with them too late to take any positions, Carl Bannister and Stuart Martin still in tow. Stephen Jennings and Billy Watts made up the top 10. A comfortable but not easy second half of the race in Stolyarov group for Super Alex Pritchard saw him finish 16th overall just under a second clear of Jamie Garside, Richard Newton was 3rd.
The round win in SuperHeavyweights for Alex Pritchard but with dropped scores now applied he has an 8 point lead over Richard Allen, the gaps now seem close but they become harder to close.
In the main class, another round win for Anwar Beroual Smith, but just a 2 point lead over Ingram, 5 points over Almou, 14 over Lidgbird, okay perhaps unlikely 24 over Tim Clark, but we will see. My feeling it’s a straight up fight for the crown with Phil Ingram, “At the moment yes, should be able to make all the remaining rounds.” for Anwar, who is up for it, “I hope he is! I enjoy racing him!”
And is what it is really all about. Not the slight differences between karts. But we’ll do our best.
WORDS: Chris Simpson
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson