Boringly Good Joe Holmes Ready To Carve His Name Into Club100 History

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Heat 1

Just thirteen runners in the Elites. Another small grid which is going to prompt an exciting change in the formats for next season. Ian Blake had pole from Pete O’Connor with new dad Jay Elliott on row two from Dan Truman. Blake led the field away but it was Elliott into second from O’Connor with Truman hanging on to fourth from reigning Champion Steve Brown whilst the perennially unlucky Dan Healey dropped from fifth to ninth. Red Lodge winner Jonathan Lisseter dropped from seventh to the back of the field as Brandon Williams, Tyler Mays and Championship leader Joe Holmes all made up ground. Blake continued to lead but only by a few Kart lengths from the frantic battle for second. Elliot’s second place lasted just a lap before O’Connor forced his way ahead followed by Brown as Elliott dropped dramatically down the order falling to eighth after just four laps.

C10017R10 0468Brown was looking particularly quick and was quickly ahead of O’Connor and closing down the leader. Within a lap he was onto the leader’s bumper with O’Connor close behind chased now by Williams. Half distance and Brown was into the lead. A lap later and Blake was down to third behind O’Connor. A lap later and he was down to fifth behind Williams and Holmes who had worked his way steadily forward from Grid eleven. Brown continued to stretch his advantage at the front chased by O’Connor the two of them gradually pulling clear of the battle for third still headed by Williams. Brown duly took the win by a comfortable margin from O’Connor the two of them well clear of the battle for third which finally went the way of Holmes. Healey took fourth having for once been in the right place at the right time taking full advantage of a last lap shuffle. Williams was next. At the start of the penultimate lap he was third. By the end of it he down to eighth but recovered to fifth. Tom Dix was sixth and set the fastest lap which also established a record. Mays was next but penalised down to eleventh thus promoting Elliott into seventh with a despondent Blake eighth from a returning Stephen Hicks ahead of Edward Barrs.

Heat 2

Williams on pole for this one with Barrs alongside from Mays and Holmes. Williams led the field away and from that moment on was never headed. Mays tucked in behind from Holmes with Barrs down to fourth. Hicks held fifth but not for long as Blake quickly made up ground as Dix fell back from Grid six. Within a couple of laps he would be at the back of the pack. Williams continued on his way but Holmes was intent on second and with four laps run he made it by Mays and set off in pursuit of the leader. Mays was now being pressed hard by Barrs and just after half way the latter made it by with Hicks following a lap later.

C10017R10 0309Blake was stuck in sixth and couldn’t quite get close enough to the battle in front to be a threat. Holmes meanwhile continued to close in on the leader but a win was not to be and Williams duly took the flag just under half a second to the good. The two of them were well clear of the battle for third place which went to Hicks after a last lap pass on Barrs. Blake took fifth having demoted Mays on the penultimate lap with Brown next having made steady progress up from Grid twelve and setting the fastest lap two from home. The lap also established a record. Mays had to settle for seventh but he was well clear off the battle for eighth which finally went to O’Connor who headed a chain of Karts covered by just over half a second. Truman was ninth from Healey, Elliott, Lisseter and Dix.

Heat 3

Lisseter on pole from Dix with Brown next from Hicks. Lisseter got away cleanly with Dix tucking in behind but Hicks was up to third at the expense of Brown who fell to fifth behind a fast starting Holmes whilst Healey also lost ground. Barrs made a storming start up from Grid ten to seventh whilst Blake was on the move from the back of the grid. Tenth by the end of lap one he was into ninth a lap later and challenging Barrs for eighth the latter having dropped back behind a recovering Truman. Unfortunately Blake got a little too feisty in his fight for ninth and he and Barrs made contact resulting in Barrs spinning to a halt and unable to resume. Blake was adjudged the aggressor and would be excluded from the results at the end of the race. Lisseter continued to lead but Holmes was up into second and challenging hard for the lead. It didn’t take him long to find away by and he quickly began to pull a gap as Lisseter defended from Hicks.

C10017R10 0254Hicks made it by at half distance but could make no impression on the gap to the leader. Healey moved into third with Brown fourth as Lisseter dropped back to fifth. Holmes continued to stretch his advantage whilst on the penultimate lap Healey forced his way into second. A lap later and Brown also moved ahead of Hicks and that was how they finished. Holmes took the win from Healey, Brown, Hicks and Lisseter. Elliott took sixth. After dropping a couple of spots to eleventh in the early stages he fought back finally finding a way by Truman on the final lap. Dix was next with Williams and O’Connor completing the top ten. Holmes set the fastest lap on the final tour just to underline his superiority.

Elite Final

Holmes on pole from Brown with Williams and Hicks on row two. Healey and O’Connor on three from Elliott and Barrs with Dix and Lisseter completing the top ten. Mays and Truman next with second in the Championship Blake on his own at the back. Holmes led the field way but it was a fast starting Williams who moved into second at the expense of Brown.

C10017R10 0721I thought Williams jumped the start but no penalty was called. Hicks and Healey remained fourth and fifth. Blake moved into the top ten by the end of the first lap. Holmes quickly stretched his advantage as Williams held off the challenge from Brown. Healey though had swapped places with Hicks. Hicks stayed with him and the two of them began to build a gap back to the rest of the field. Half distance and Brown was up to second and immediately set about trying to close the gap to the leader with Williams close behind. And both Healey and Hicks were both close enough behind to capitalise on any errors. It didn’t happen though.

C10017R10 0758Holmes crossed the line half a second up but never seriously threatened despite Brown setting the fastest lap on the penultimate tour. Williams remained in contention but had to settle for third with Healey and Hicks next up. Blake made it up to sixth with Dix, Barrs, Elliott and Lisseter completing the top ten.

Championship

Like Harry Neale in the Clubman’s Joe Holmes is now well clear of the pack. After a slow start he’s knuckled down and remained focused. Ian Blake has chased hard and kept himself in the hunt but his body language at Whilton suggested he’d all but given up the fight. Still, he’s bounced back before. Steve Brown started the year with two final wins but thereafter his good form deserted him. A recent run in the Birelart UK Championship saw him finish fourth in the final and just three tenths away from the top step on the podium. Another lap and he might well have won it. A great credit to himself and a good advert for the talent that exists in Club 100.

Reflections

Another great days racing at Whilton but it was a great shame that JV had to lay down the law after the first two Clubman’s races had to be restarted. Hearing drivers claiming that other drivers were deliberately turning into other drivers or driving people off the track is not good. All drivers have a responsibility to their fellow competitors. We want to see good clean racing with drivers showing each other respect. Take heed.
I must admit I struggle sometimes to understand the mindset of some drivers and not just with regard to driving standards.

C10017R10 0185I had harsh words for a couple of them in the paddock after they had retired healthy Karts. It’s true they weren’t going to win but I just don’t get why you would spend money testing, spend money on overnight accommodation and travelling, money on racing and then pull out with plenty of laps to run. Track time is important so why not take full advantage. You don’t learn anything stood in the pits. There are drivers racing who will probably never trouble the podium but they don’t just give up. They drive and race for the joy of it. I grew up in a sporting household. Football, Cricket, Snooker and Table tennis were the main games. And one thing I was taught was that that you never give in. Winners don’t quit and Champions don’t give in. Quitting displays a mental fragility. If I were competing I’d play on that. Or am I missing something?

See you at Bayford!!

Photography: Jack Mitchell Motorsport Photography