Birthday Boy Casey Baughan Takes First Win of the Season. Munro (just) Outscores Championship Leader (sort of) King

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Okay the headline is a little long and a little convoluted, and will take a little unpacking, so bare with me. But let’s start with the obvious, as we all read this this morning it is Casey Baughan’s birthday, and I can imagine (because I am now that old that I have to) no better present than a winner’s trophy on your birthday from your favourite, best-est karting championship in the whole wide world. So happy birthday race winner Casey Baughan from Club100 Racing, and all that after Casey reported an inauspicious beginning to the day, “The day started off pretty bad I qualified P10, although Ralph (King) was P14, but all the main contenders were further forward. The Pre-Final I overtook Dillon Davis and Beau Sullivan on the way to finish 5th. And in the main final after Ralph sent one down the inside Dylan (Brierley) for the lead at turn 3, that put Dan (Munro) and Dylan wide, I tucked in behind Ralph with Dillon. Going on to lap 5, I got a run on Ralph into turn 1, dummied to the inside which he covered, so sent it (the proverbial licked postage stamp) up the inside of turn 4 for the lead and and then just kept it flat chat.” You’ve got to love it when a race win comes together.

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The SuperLight Podium – Winner Casey Baughan, flanked by Ralph King and Daniel Munro

The win is well timed and keeps Casey firmly in the championship hunt as we complete Round 4 of 7, even though Munro and King both managed to outscore him over the two races. We’ve turned the corner on the season and begin to the run into the finish of the championship, in what continues to be the closest of all 2021 Club100 championships, which is almost guaranteed to go to the final round. Just to make things even closer, your host John Vigor has already applied the 6 dropped scores (best 10 of 14 scores count) to the championship table, to ring all the worst scores out of the driver’s championship sponge. This ties Ralph King and Dan Munro on points, and the tie break goes as far as most 2nd places to give Ralph the championship lead, and it would realistically bring the top 8 within striking distance of the title, with King and Munro being joined by Davis, Michael Burrows, Baughan, Max Papworth, Sullivan and even Brierley into the hunt. But not all drivers will be able count all of the last 6 finals (3 rounds) as their best scores, and more of the scores posted in the first 4 rounds will be counted for sure. 

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So genuinely being realistic, let’s count the best 6 scores so far, knowing they may have to drop 1 or 2 final scores in the last 3 rounds, and this (sort of) gives Ralph King a 2 point lead over Dan Munro, Dillon Davis is 13points off the lead, Michael Burrows -18, Casey -19, Max Papworth -21, and it will be hard, and need a perfect run from Beau Sullivan and Dylan Brierley to find 28 points (and a lot of wins) to catch King or Munro from where they are. Possible, but with the championship is so evenly matched, a bit hard to see. Although it is worth remembering John Vigor does a really lovely championship trophy and a Club100 Championship trophy line usually goes down the top 5, so that Beau and Dylan are firmly in the fight for one, and even William Taylor and Kasper Marriott cannot be counted out just yet.   

Qualifying 

I see Dillon Davis, Dan Munro, Beau Sullivan and Baughan had headed the test session times prior to the event sharpening themselves for the event, and in official practice it was Dillon again joined Dylan Brierley returning from his Danny Ricciardo Series duties, newcomer Liam O’Sullivan, Munro and King making up the top 6. 

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When session went green on the 5min qualifying, it was Phillip Baboolal setting the pace with 54.918 from Munro and Brierley. Munro moved to provisional pole with 54.972 on his next lap, Dillon Davis moved on to the front row with him. Then Munro hooked up a sweet lap to take pole position beyond anyone else with 54.368 with Davis, with Brierley joined by Tom Haffenden coming on to the 2nd row, he’d be pushed down to a still superb grid 5 in the closing stages by Beau Sullivan. Tom would be joined by Archie Johnson, Philip Baboolal would be joined by Liam O’Sullivan, Max Papworth and at this point disappointed Baughan rounded out the top 10. Absent from this chat was championship leader Ralph King down in the midfield of P14 as his main rival, Munro, started the Pre Final on pole position. A grid of 26, from which you could say P5 to P16 being covered by just 0.5secs shows the strength in depth just behind a good tow, or a near perfect lap, set by the top 5.

Pre Final

Lap 1 was a typical Bayford affair, always better to be close to the front, but especially at Bayford Meadows. Or perhaps it’s everywhere. Stefan Kaczmarczyk pushed on by Ralph King, had put one down the inside Papworth from the inside of row 6 that forced Max wide and consequently put Liam O’Sullivan even wider, opening a lane for Baughan to move forward, it would remain two by two from about 4th and 5th back until they were running around the hill to end the lap. Munro had brought the field through for the start at a good pace, and he’d turned that into a good lead of 0.8secs to start lap 2. Brierley was in clear air in 2nd, ahead of the main field brought through by the fast starting Haffenden and Baboolal, Davis, on a mission Kaczmarczyk, all at the expense of Beau Sullivan and Archie Johnson, and then King in hurry mode and Baughan making up the top 10. King went straight down the inside of Johnson at turn 1, inside of Sullivan at turn 4, and in putting up a fight Sullivan opened himself up for a move into the long left of of turn 6 by Johnson, that left him badly position for turns 7 and 8 and Baughan moved through into 9th. 

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Up front Munro was beginning to stretch clear of Brierley, his manager Stuart, reporting later, “He got into a comfortable 2nd but he didn’t have the pace to keep it.” Baboolal had replaced Haffenden in the pursuit, Davis moving up, King then up to 6th place after another good lap. Haffenden was run out wide on to the rumble strip and grass at the end of lap 3 and Johnson and Baughan took advantage as Tom lost momentum to slip under him into the famously fast, and fearsome turn 9. This battling at the front of the chasing pack had released Baboolal, and King’s next attempt on Davis over 4th place was rebuffed at turn 1, bringing Kaczmarczyk, Johnson, Baughan, Sullivan (in 10th), O’Sullivan, Papworth and Nathan Crowley all back into the long line fighting over 4th place. King got through at turn 2 by the end of the lap he’d escaped as Kaczmarczyk, Davis, Johnson, and Baughan fought over who should lead the pursuit from 5th place. Archie Johnson’s attempt into turn 6 on Davis only opened him up for Baughan to go P7. Davis tried to get back on terms with Kaczmarczyk, or at the very least use his tow to pull him forward, Baughan on the other hand was defending trying to discourage Haffenden from taking his 7th place.

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By halfway, the race was in the bag for Dan Munro, Brierley was over 4secs behind, but was holding Phillip Baboolal at 1.3secs, what Dylan couldn’t see was King chipping 2-3-4-5 tenths out of him and Philip. Ralph picked up Philip’s slipstream on lap 8 and wasted no time moving through to 3rd place to find himself only 0.7secs behind Brierley in 2nd place, who’s early pace had fallen off. Again King was taking no prisoners and with 4 laps remaining he was 2nd. Ralph had minimised the damage to his championship lead, in qualifying 14th, to just 2 points, but that was it, there was no way he would catch Munro, who was flying up front, 6.5secs clear. Behind Baughan had been edging into Dillon Davis for a few laps and closing on the brakes into the bus stop, Dillon was forced into a hard defence, then being slow out of turn 2, Casey had the momentum to go down the inside into turn 3 for 6th place, covering up into turn 4, and then he was off after Kaczmarczyk. Davis falling into Max Papworth to take P7 from him.

On to the last lap Daniel Munro kept his low 54secs pace to the line, maybe he was making a statement, King had made no impression 6.3secs behind. Baboolal found a place to pass the fading Dylan Brierley, Kaczmarczyk, Baughan, Papworth, Davis, Nathan Crowley and Tom Haffenden rounded out the top 10.

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But… The penalties. The hard charging Kaczmarczyk had a 4place penalty (Contact driving by forcing a driver wide), as did Beau Sullivan. Baboolal had a 1 place cone penalty, and Crowley a 4place penalty (Gaining a single place through contact), making the final classification, Munro, King, Brierley now 3rd again, Baboolal, Baughan moving up to 5th, Papworth, Davis, Haffenden, Kaczmarczyk and Kasper Marriott making up the top 10. And an honourable mention for great midfield progress from Oliver Barnes finishing 16th from 23rd on the grid.

Final

So our main championship protagonists were together again on the front row, Munro eased in the pace after the pace kart pulled off the field tucked into each other tight and narrow, into turn 1, each line nose to tail and rubbing sidepods. The momentary hesitation of King on P2, at the green light, or rather Munro going on the gas, which is inevitable, and was worth the a kart length and a half going into turn 1, even though Dan was going narrow, it allowed Dylan Brierley on grid 3, pushed on by Baughan on grid 5, to get inside the P2 man. Dylan was into 2nd and it left King boxed in behind him and Baughan alongside going into turn 2. Munro took a long look over his shoulder, Casey made 3rd place his, or so he thought, going into the toe of the turn 2 boot shaped complex. Munro felt obliged to leave Brierley a little room at the turn 2 apex, and Dylan took the racing line on the exit, giving Dan no room, both Dan and Casey hesitating on the throttle, allowing King to come back through, and coming in hot into turn 3 and alongside Munro in the braking zone. Turning into the apex of the corner King clipped Dylan into a half spin briefly, before kindly straightening him up again. The trio of King, Munro and Baughan checked up, Brierley was trying to pick up his revs, Dillon Davis perfectly placed to use his momentum to grab the lead briefly before King emerging in 2nd place at least until the next corner where Ralph had the inside and took the line and the lead from Davis and Baughan. No penalties there, which did not go down well in Camp Brierley, Stuart again, “Leading the final and (Dylan) got taken off! The karts behind were three-wide, steamed in, caught his rear bumper and pushed him sideways and then, fortunately, straight again. Dylan managed to recover and joined the group racing for 3rd place.” 

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King led. At the end of the lap Dillon Davis signalled to Baughan behind, well what exactly? Was it follow me? Or go by? If it was the former Casey was having none of it and put the manners on down the inside into turn 1, to go 2nd. Max Papworth had moved up 4th place. In the line behind Munro had work to do from P5, Nathan Crowley had had a great start from grid 13 to be 6th, the luckless Brierley, Kasper Marriott, Liam O’Sullivan and Phillip Baboolal made up the top 10. Then there was a gap to Beau Sullivan and George Gait making rapid starts from the bottom of the top 20. Stefan Kaczmarczyk was parked at the side of the road around the back of the hill between turns 8 & 9, and his kart would remain parked up against the barrier for the rest of the race.

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A run through the switchback of turns 3-4-5 showed Baughan had more pace than King, and the again on the brakes into the bus stop coming back on to the main straight, Casey picked up a strong tow that put Ralph on the defensive into turn 1, and wary for the rest of the lap. Coming on to lap 4 it was a repeat of the previous lap, a great run off the bus stop forcing a strong defence from King, and again into turn 3, but this time it was as Casey described in the introduction. The stamp and the letter got sent inside at turn 4. Casey went narrow into turn 5, and made it clear on the back straight he wasn’t going to give the inside away into turn 6 and then returned to the racing line. He was away. King was busy anyway with Dillon Davis, Munro, Papworth, Baboolal, Brierley, Marriott, Crowley and O’Sullivan in line behind him.

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At halfway mark, Baughan’s lead was 1.6secs, and he was lapping 0.4secs quicker than King, who a similar margin ahead of Davis. Dillon under pressure from Munro and the line of the chasing pack behind. Not unexpectedly Munro would move through to 3rd place to be 2.6secs off King with 3 laps to go, and was stretching Davis and Papworth, Brierley and Baboolal were having a great dice over 6th place, Beau Sullivan had caught and was working his way up the top 11, he’d pick off Brierley for 7th with a lap to go.

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Final lap Casey Baughan ran out the winner of the main final by nearly 4secs. Munro had made no impression on King in 2nd place, Dillon Davis held off Max Papworth, who had had a race to the finish line with Phil Baboolal and the charging Beau Sullivan. Dylan Brierley, Kasper Marriott and Nathan Crowley rounded out the top 10. This time there were no penalties to effect the top 10, although Dylan Brierley, who can’t catch a break, might want pick holes in that statement.

Words: Chris Simpson

Photography: John Patterson