The Coup de Grace… Wins 14 & 15, Joe Holmes Puts Heavyweights Out Of Their Misery

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c100r9-1948In keeping with a theme strong at Whilton Mill especially on the Zulu layout, but also true of the International circuit, pole position might be more important here than anywhere else. The short, fast run up to the turn 1-2 combination seems to favour the pole man like no other. While you ponder that. It was just as true in the Pre B Final as it would be in the A Final later on. Anthony Harrington had it and converted it to a useful 1.5secs lead, as Martin Gurnett, Peter Harris, Ben Cottle, Daniel French and Tom MacKenzie had a sort out at the expense of Michael Ballinger, Mark Ridout, Alistair Mason, Steve Bosley and Jonathan McLeod. French, Cottle and MacKenzie started P13, P11 and P15 respectively, coming through 5th, 4th and 6th at the end of lap 1, over 2secs off the Gurnett and Harris dice. It was nice work if you could get it, I’m sure. It makes securing a top 4 finish so much easier, if 3/4 is done on the first lap.

c100r9-1821Harris soon moved to head the chase, Cottle benefiting from the move, that put Martin back to 4th place and he would ultimately fade out of contention losing ground on the drivers ahead as French edged in to threaten his precious 4th place. Harrington’s lead became much more secure as Cottle and Harris started to dice and trip each other up, giving Gurnett hope but that would be dashed with the arrival French around halfway. Daniel did the pair and set off after Cottle up the road, it didn’t take long and when he got by with 2 laps to go there was nothing to be done about Harrington 6secs up the road. Leaving only who would have to come back again in the B Final for 2 more spots in the A Final, Gurnett had slipped from the leading group to be replaced by Thomas Caen fighting his way through to be French’s bumper with Cottle in behind, it looked like Harris would miss out as he was losing the tow from the group ahead. It finished on the road Harrington by a country mile, French, Cottle and Caen, although French was given the win as Anthony had picked up a 1place cone penalty. Harris had missed out, fellow superheavy Lennie Wood had recovered to finish 7th on the road after a poor start, but was promoted to 6th, after Ben Benneyworth was demoted 4places for overtaking under yellow. Like French and Cottle Ben had started down the field in 18th place, but hadn’t had quite the same stellar first lap and first lap progress counts more than anything from back there, due to ‘Field Spread’ – which sounds vulgar, but is major cause of lack of progress in racing. It’s a technical term.

c100r9-2043The Pre A Final has already been trailed in the introduction but I’ll try to add to it. There is just a distinct advantage to not starting grid 2, lining up on the inside of the circuit, as it clockwise, but the first corner is a left hander into, then right out of, Oblivion – no I don’t call it that, it’s a tad overblown for a corner name, more like a fairground ride name, although its original name, Crook, almost belied its fearsome, if now a little blunted by concrete run off, nature. Holmes, yes him again, had qualified pole, by just a tenth ahead of Simon Lloyd in his group, Simon lined up 3rd, a much better proposition, to Stuart Gough who had comfortably out qualified Darrell Lowe by 0.3secs in Group 2. Pole position dictates the pace, Gough laughingly tried to crowd Joe around Paddock, and was left dangling out front through the tramlines, approaching the line, he was on a hiding to nothing, unable to pull over to Joe’s side by a JV dictat on respecting the tramlines, when Joe dropped the hammer he’d pull ahead sweep over to the right with Lloyd on his bumper and the pair would comfortably beat Gough to the first apex, but you couldn’t blame Stuart for trying to be different as nothing else seemed to work. The first 5 emerged in line, with Luke Hornsby, behind Paul Williams, Kieran Chidgzey and Jack Bolton argued across the top and through Zulu about the order of the line to move forward. On to lap 2 Holmes was helping the field settle by stretching Lloyd and the line behind for now they seemed settled on riding the draft from the kart ahead just to keep in touch with the kart ahead and ultimately in touch with Holmes’ scorching pace. Bolton picked off Williams then Chidgzey, although Kieran pestered him to have 6th back, before he expired on the exit of Oblivion on lap 3. Lloyd pegged Holmes at or under 0.75secs-ish for the next 8 laps, behind the only progress was being made by Bolton. Although that was relatively speaking, Jack was still falling away from the leading duo to the tune of 4.5secs, but after picking the line off, when he finally cleared Darrell Lowe for 3rd place. By then the race was settled, Lloyd knew it, and the lead popped out 1.5secs, then Holmes knew it and cruised into the finish, 4 laps later. Darrell Lowe finished 2.2secs behind Bolton in 4th, Gough on his bumper, Hornsby just off his. Paul Williams had settled into a comfortable 7th, Harrison Darvill, James Browning (getting by on the last lap) towed David Whitehouse through in 10th.

c100r9-2276The B Final proved to be surprisingly entertaining, it happens, as change from a snoozefest, Peter Harris was pole position, Michael Ballinger and Martin Gurnett on grids 3 and 5 respectively would bounce grid 2 (see again) Lennie Wood and make his task so much harder, to secure 1 of 2 qualifying spots for the A, in turn 1 at the start. Ballinger got a good tow from Harris a couple of kart lengths out front, and slid inside into the braking zone for Xmas. Go big or go home, but Michael got it turned and emerged from Zulu with a lead on to the backstraight he never looked like losing. Over the line Ballinger led, Harris, Gurnett and Wood, gap to Paul Goddard (often the only fun in a B Final), Daljeet Bahia, Ben Benneyworth and Mark Ridout, Mark Reynolds just off, and Steve Bosley off grid 18 coming through in 10th. Another lap saw Ridout pass Bahia and then Goddard into paddock for 5th, only to spin out into the Boot section while pushing on, behind Bosley had cleared Reynolds at Xmas for 9th. Big lad (superheavy) Harris was making small mistakes, or perhaps pushing harder as a function of making up for his extra weight, in holding off Gurnett and Wood. Lennie, also on the limit, as another bulky person, used the opportunity to dive inside of Martin at Xmas for 3rd as Bahia pulled the same on Goddard for 5th.

c100r9-2293Taking up Goddard’s entertainment slack, Steve Bosley was gathering momentum, passing Goddard in the Boot, then Wood got caught up behind a backmarker into turn 1 and turned around, off turn 2, I think by Martin Gurnett from my vantage point, but I fear attributed to Bosley, although my eyes ain’t what they used to be, I probably won’t see the brick bat, Martin throws my way, but ‘whatevs’ it launched Bahia through to 3rd. A lap later Bosley was through Gurnett for 4th, before Martin span out into the Boot. Into the 2nd half, Bahia picked up the slipstream from Harris, and was running him down, but then so was Bosley on the pair of them, Benneyworth was still in touch a second behind, and the quartet would dispute the last qualifying spot to the finish. Bahia block passed Harris into Xmas, Bosley pulled a great late braker into Xmas to take over 3rd place from Harris a lap later. Then from perhaps a tiny bit further back, Steve tried to repeat the move on Daljeet into Xmas, only to slide roughly down the side of Bahia, getting the move down, but collecting his 2nd contact penalty, at least I think it was. It would remain tight between the quartet, but thats how it would finish on the road, except for Bosley’s  2 x -4 place penalties for contact and Bahia had -1 place penalty for knocking over a cone, so Harris got promoted back to 2nd place, 4.5secs behind race winner Michael Ballinger.

c100r9-2900Into the A Final the start breaking Holmes’ way again, Bolton coming through from grid 3, and Gough off 5, taking advantage of Lloyd on grid 2, by being in the left hand line into the first left hander Stuart coming out ahead of Hornsby and Darvill. Stuart’s run around the outside of Lowe, as everyone went narrow, into Xmas corner was a great move, really racers instinct. Bolton I’m sure felt he’d covered up into Inkermans to get around the corner with at least a reasonable amount momentum to take down the hill, but you can’t drive down the right hand white line, and Simon saw space enough to thrust through only to find he had nothing off the corner if he gave Jack any room at track out. Others might not have and run Jack into the grass, but Simon did not, and Bolton would be back through into Zulu and Gough was prepared to rub pods and salt into Simon’s wound, for being sporting, to get down inside into Chapman to go 3rd. Into the Boot the chasing group settled into line but the damage was well and truly done, Holmes’ lead was 2.2secs, and like the Pre Final, indeed the whole season has proved, you can’t give him an inch, never mind 30-40metres.

c100r9-3015Gough pushed Bolton deep into Xmas, but was slow squaring off the exit, and it allowed Lloyd to get back on with Lowe, then Hornsby. Lloyd’s body/kart language suggested he wanted to be back through, but it would be Lowe after an aborted look inside into Paddock, pulling a pass on Lloyd in the Toe.

After that the group circulated loosely together mostly as Bolton was forced to cover up into Xmas and Inkermans, from Gough. When Jack edged clear enough to have the confidence to take the fast line he pulled a margin, first to drag Gough clear and then managed to keep Stuart just out of range for the remainder of the final. Lowe held off Lloyd looking for a mistake, while Hornsby surfed their slipstream, always looking like he might get on with it, but never pulling the trigger. Luke’s qualifying pace is good, but I’m not sure I can remember an overtaking manoeuvre from him, and if I could it would be on the fingers of 1 hand. But look where he is. He eventually dropped off Lloyds bumper and the top 6 raced on to the finish. 6secs behind James Browning beating Darvill, holding off Paul Williams to the finish. David Whitehouse rounded out the top 10 to keep the trio (not Paul) in the hunt with Hornsby and the absent Tim Hill for the championship top 5.

c100r9-2969Rob Moore won the SuperHeavyweight Class finishing where he started in 13th place, an easy class win is all I can say, his only competition, Peter Harris had started on the back row in 26th and made only a little progress, but Rob was pleased.

Round 10 is at Whilton Mill (Zulu) on 9 October 2016.

Photography: Jack Mitchell Motorsport Photography