Dante Dhillon Makes A Little Bit of Club100 History.

DSC 7667 scaled

Welcome to Rye House for Round seven. What a change. A newly resurfaced track, neatly mowed grass, new kerbs and run offs. But Karters can be a fickle lot. From moaning about the bumpy track to complaining that the new surface was too grippy! But at least no one complained about the weather which was dry and comfortably warm all day.

The Road to the Finals and the Fight for Pole

DSC 3920

Ashley White had a welcome return to form and a boost to his confidence by winning the first heat from pole. Mike Coppin chased him home but White probably had him covered as Coppin closed in over the final laps after working his way up from grid six. Stephen Westwood took third from Russell Cooper and Ross O’Brien.

Heat Two was a lively affair. Front row starters Justin Draper and George Line both led at times over the early laps chased by Andrew Ward and Sam Essery. Ward briefly took over from Line in second at one point before Line took the spot back. Past race control seventh time around and Line was in front, 0.078 up on Draper who was 0.032 up on Ward who was 0.077 up on Essery! But then it all got a bit messy. Draper and Line both ran wide at hairpin two allowing Ward and Essery to slip by. Line dropped to fifth and then lost four places after a bump and pass on Ward earlier. Ward reeled off the final couple of laps to take the win comfortably clear of Essery from Draper, Tim Penny and Adam Brittain.

DSC 4469

Liam Nolan took a comfortable win in the third heat. Starting from the second row he took the lead from pole sitter Peter Silva-Jankowski on lap two and then drove away as the pack battled behind him. Jankowski dropped to fifth after being forced wide by Daz Teal which would see Teal penalised from second to sixth at the flag. But on the bright side it was one place better than he started! Jankowski recovered to third which became second after Teal’s penalty followed by Christopher Powell, Ben Lambeth and Harrison Kirkham.

DSC 4637

Championship leader Fraser Brunton got his day off to a perfect start with a comfortable win in the fourth heat. Starting from the second row he was in the lead on lap one and then drove off into the distance winning by over five seconds from CLUB returnee David Longman. He’d started from grid six and battled his way up to second with four to go. But Brunton was too far away to get on terms. Andrew Rabbage came home third but lost the place to pole sitter James Dunnett after a cone penalty. The same fate befell Reece Pope promoting Jeremy Deeks to fifth.

DSC 4806

Heat Five saw a comfortable win for Sam Essery. Starting from the fourth row he took the lead with three laps run and then drove away from the squabbling pack. Ashley White came home second after an eventful run. Starting from grid six he was down to eighth by the end of the first lap before fighting his way back up to second with three to go. But Essery was too far gone to catch. With a win and a second place each at this stage both were on course for a high grid slot in the Finals with Essery having a slight edge in the race for pole by virtue of a faster lap time. Liam Nolan kept himself in the hunt too with a third place finish ahead of Aidan Kitchener and Rich Jones.

Daz Teal claimed a much needed win in Heat Six. Starting from the second row he took three laps to overhaul pole sitter Ami Breacher for the lead. Fraser Brunton followed him through. Breacher hung on though and drove very well to hang on to her more experienced rivals. She would be classified second ahead of Brunton who picked up a cone penalty dropping him to third and costing himself vital points in the fight for pole. Stephen Westwood was fourth with Mathew Cockerham promoted to fifth after Peter Jankowski dropped a spot after a cone penalty.

DSC 5148

Heat Seven saw a win for Mike Coppin. Starting from grid eight he was fourth by the end of the first tour. He settled for a couple of laps before moving into the lead over the next two laps and then putting air between himself and the chasing pack. Yousuf Bin-Suhayl claimed second after a penultimate lap pass on early leader Joshua Sangster. Good to see Yousuf back after his nasty incident at Lydd. Bryn Alban, Sangster and Justin Draper completed the top five.

Dante Dhillon rounded off the second round of heats with a pole to flag win by almost five seconds from second placed Andrew Ward. Andrew Rabbage, Tim Penny and Christopher Powell followed them home in a processional heat.

Mike Coppin took his second win of the day in Heat Nine, winning comfortably by over three seconds from Russell Cooper. The win put Coppin on provisional pole. Now he could only wait to see how the rest of the heats panned out. Ross O’Brien was third from Stephen Westwood. Another solid result for Westwood which would see him near the sharp end of the Grid for the A Final. Harrison Kirkham came home fifth but multiple penalties pushed him down to twelfth and promoted Jake Wilkins to fifth.

DSC 6000

Heat Ten resulted in a second win for Dante Dhillon. He had to work for it though moving up from grid six to take the lead with three to go edging out Mathew Cockerham, second ahead of Ramunas Cerkauskas. Ashley White completed his heats with a fourth placed finish. He ran fourth for the majority of the heat ahead of the battle for fifth between Daz Teal and Andrew Ward who started fifth and seventh respectively. For Dhillon and White it was now a wait to see how high up the grid they would end up.

All eyes on Fraser Brunton in the penultimate heat. He had to win. Starting from grid seven he was up to third after three laps but then got stuck. Worse still, he’d picked up a penalty for forcing Dean Everest wide as he went by. By this time Callum Martin was well clear at the front and on his way to a comfortable win. Brunton’s day got worse as he fell back to sixth and would be finally classified tenth putting him mid grid for the A final. Aaron Clarke was second from Christopher Powell, Dean Everest and David Longman.

DSC 6109

Provisional pole sitter Mike Coppin could only watch helplessly now to see where Sam Essery would finish. Essery had to win to draw level on points with Coppin. If he could then it was all down to fastest lap times. Ben Lambeth led the opening laps before Essery moved to the front pursued by Reece Pope. Fifth time around and Essery posted a 43.287. 0.015 quicker than Coppin’s best. Provided he won, pole was his. He then reeled off a succession of quick laps pulling himself clear of Pope and setting his best lap on the penultimate tour with a 43.218. A thrilling finale for the battle for pole. Essery’s first ever A Final pole and thoroughly deserved. Pope came home second from Ben Lambeth, Tim Penny and Andrew Rabbage.

The Finals

DSC 6388

C Final

(All drivers in Class 3)

Douglas Smith on pole from Isaiah Egwuagu with James Browning and George Lawlor on row two. Row three saw George Oxford alongside Clifton Malcolm with Michael Reader and Thanos Tzevelekakis on row four. Row five, Joel Nichols and Boyle Kir from Dan Grocott and Jo Ratcliffe on row six. Row seven saw Alex Rule alongside Wayne Smith followed on the penultimate row by Paul Cooke and Ryan Coombe with Antonio Peruzzu and Christopher Pautz completing the grid. Four to qualify and a trophy for the winner.

DSC 6419

Smith led the field up to the line but Egwuagu was just a bit too eager and led over the line and into the first turns. A clear jumped start and a two place penalty. Lawlor was quick away to slot into second ahead of Smith from Malcolm and Oxford. Two laps in and the order remained unchanged but Egwuagu was coming under pressure from Lawlor. Third time around and the latter was ahead. Egwuahu remained with him for a lap but a fourth lap spin dropped him out of contention and promoted Smith up to second. Once into the lead Lawlor immediately began to pull clear of Smith and Malcolm. Browning was a second back in fourth and coming under increasing pressure from Oxford and Grocott.

DSC 6564

Half distance and Lawlor and Smith looked to have qualification sown up as they edged clear of the pack. Malcolm remained third but Oxford was right with him and looking to move up to fourth to give himself a bit of a buffer to fifth placed Browning who was by no means out of the running to qualify for the B Final. Grocott too was well placed to profit from any errors. Reader was seventh but well back from the leaders. Two thirds distance and the leaders were well clear . Oxford had slipped by Malcolm and was pulling clear whilst the latter was holding off Browning and Grocott. And that was how they remained all the way to the finish. Lawlor crossed the line first only to lose the win to Smith after the application of a cone penalty. Oxford and Malcolm took the final qualifying spots as the threat from Browning faded over the final laps. Fastest lap went to Smith.

DSC 7449

B Final

(All drivers in C2 unless otherwise noted)

Callum Martin on pole from Dean Everest with Joshua Sangster and Aaron Stillwell on row two. Bryn Alban shared row three with Jeremy Deeks from C3 Chris Harris and Aidan Kitchener on row four. C3 Kim Eley was next, alongside George Line on row five. Line didn’t start leaving a gap. Two C’3’s on the sixth row, Adam Brittain and Harrison Kirkham followed by C3 Rob Lofting and Jake Wilkins on row seven. C3’s Nikolas Lakasas and Rich Jones were on row eight from C3’s Louis Stagg and Matt Ellis on row nine. Next up, Keith Segal and C3 Jagjeet Singh on row ten followed by Sam Morris and C3 Peter Sharpe. Row twelve had C3 Yusuf Soeharjono alongside James Dunnett who like Line failed to take the start. He’d popped a rib at Bayford and aggravated the injury. Sadly, with ribs, the only cure is rest. The final two rows were occupied by the qualifiers from the C Final. Smith, Lawlor, Oxford and Malcolm. Top two to qualify for the A Final and a trophy for the winner.

DSC 6737

Martin led the field away from the line but Everest lost out round the outside of Stadium and had to tuck in behind Sangster. Stillwell ran fourth from Alban and Deeks. Quarter distance and Sangster took over at the front whilst Stillwell went by Everest round Stadium. But it was not without contact and it would have consequences in the final standings. Once at the front Sangster immediately began to pull clear whilst Martin defended from the feisty Stillwell. Everest ran fourth from Alban, Deeks and Eley. Stillwell went by Martin for second. Martin didn’t make life too difficult. Half distance and Sangster had a comfortable gap back to the Stillwell with Martin falling back into the clutches of the chasing pack led by Alban from Everest, Eley, Kirkham and Deeks. Ten run and Alban went by Martin for third. They may not have been aware but this was the fight for second. Sangster was well clear at the front and Stillwell had a penalty.

DSC 6932

Two thirds distance and barring incident Sangster had the race sown up. Alban was some four seconds adrift of the leader, third on the road and just a second up on Eley who had found a way past Martin. For several laps Eley appeared to be able to do nothing to get on terms with Alban but over the final laps she pulled out all the stops and slashed the gap. But she ran out of laps finishing just half a second adrift. A brave effort.

DSC 7465

Sangster took the win with Stillwell second over the line but penalised down to sixth and promoting Alban into the second qualifying spot. Kirkham was fourth from Martin with Everest seventh from Ellis, Lakasas and Brittain.

A Final

(All drivers in Class 1 unless otherwise noted)

DSC 7506

Class 3 Winner – Aaron Clarke

Current C3 Champion C2’s Sam Essery on pole. A brilliant qualifying performance resulting in his first CLUB100 A Final pole alongside Championship front runner Mike Coppin. Ashley White started third. Good to see him near the sharp end. C2 Dante Dhillon started alongside. Row three saw Andrew Ward alongside C2 Liam Nolan with Christopher Powell and C2 Stephen Westwood on row four. Row five had Daz Teal alongside C2 Russell Cooper. C2’s Andrew Rabbage and Ben Lambeth shared row six with Championship leader Fraser Brunton alongside Reece Pope on seven. C2 Mathew Cockerham was alongside David Longman on row eight followed by C2’s Tim Penny and Justin Draper on row nine and two more C2’s Yousuf Bin Suhayl and Ramunas Cerkauskas. Next up, Brazilian Champ racer Peter Silva-Jankowski entered in C2 alongside the only C3 driver Aaron Clarke. C2 Ami Breacher, continuing her good run of form was alongside fellow C2 driver Ross O’Brien on the penultimate row followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Sangster and Alban.

DSC 7035

Essery led the field away and Coppin wisely moved to the inside to prevent being forced out wide in the first turn. White lost out dropping back behind Dhillon, a very fast starting Teal and Ward. Pope caught the eye too climbing from fourteenth to eighth first time around. Two laps in and the order at the top remained unchanged but Coppin was coming under pressure from Dhillon who got alongside at the start of the third tour and slipped ahead out of Stadium. Teal too was closing in rapidly but Coppin held him off. Dhillon quickly overhauled Essery and slipped by into the lead. Five down and Teal finally found a way past Coppin for third. Ward remained in contention as did White and Pope with the top seven covered by around three seconds. Once by Coppin Teal immediately began to close in on Essery for second and duly slipped by sixth time around. A lap later and Coppin also went by Essery.

DSC 7299

Half Distance and Dhillon still led but Teal had slashed the gap and was only a Kart length adrift. Coppin was over a second back with Essery fourth from Ward, White and Pope. Powell was eighth from Nolan and Westwood in what had become a long Kart train with Coppin at the front. For lap after lap the top ten remained unchanged. Dhillon still led but Teal was matching him crossing the line 0.096 back and then 0.094 back. Teal almost made it by on both occasions into Stadium but Dhillon held him off. Coming out of Stadium thirteenth time around and Dhillon almost lost control getting very wide and onto the concrete apron on the exit. It was heart in the mouth time as he wrestled his machine back onto the circuit before the quick left hander onto the short straight. Teal was just not quite close enough to take advantage as Dhillon defended into the first hairpin. At that point Teal knew it was going to take a desperate lunge to get by and reasoned that second and valuable points was better than risking a penalty so he settled back. He was just 0.096 adrift at the flag. But what fine win for Dhillon. His first A Final win and thoroughly deserved. The first time a C2 driver has ever won an A Final. A bit of Club history that can never be taken away.

DSC 7377

Coppin claimed third, over two seconds back but happy with his day’s efforts. Essery was fourth. Perhaps unlucky to miss out on the overall podium but second in class was a great reward. Ward was fifth and third in C1 with White sixth just a tenth behind. Great drives from them both. Powell was seventh with Westwood ninth and third in C2. He also set the fastest lap of the race. Nolan completed the top ten.

DSC 7582

Class 2 Podium – Winner Dante Dhillon, flanked by Samuel Essery and Stephen Westwood

Championship Round Up

Championship leader Fraser Brunton had a bad day at Rye but with Ed Barrs no longer competing this season it hasn’t damaged his Championship aspirations too badly. Mike Coppin has moved into second place but it’s going to take a huge effort for either him or fourth placed Daz Teal to overhaul Fraser. But a few days like Rye for Fraser and Mike or Daz to win the final rounds? Unlikely perhaps but then so was Daz winning the three final rounds in 2021.

DSC 7656
Class 1 Podium – Winner Darren Teal, flanked by Mike Coppin and Andrew Ward

Dante Dhillon heads the C2 runners and lies fifth overall in the standings. A fantastic result for him at Rye. Garrett Berry remains second from Ben Lambeth and Sam Essery whilst in C3 Harrison Kirkham leads the way from George Lawlor and Adam Brittain.

Reflections

A great days racing at Rye with a number of firsts in both the lightweights and the Heavyweights. We have some great young drivers coming to the fore. Does anyone else think like me that we are seeing the beginnings of a change in the established order?

See you at Llandow.

Words: Steve Gray
Photography: John Patterson