Darri Simms Gets Over The Finish Line With Pre A Final Penalty For Cochrane, Consoling Himself With 8th Win

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It was great to see a large gathering for the afternoon event with a good number of Elites and Clubman drivers staying over to watch the series finale for the Lightweights and Heavyweights incorporating the EssexFlatPack.co.uk sponsored Super Heavyweights.


Jon Watkins first flying lap of seven, in session 1 was good enough to top the times from Championship leader Darri Simms by just 0.071. A superb effort. Steve Moody, having his first run of the season was a hugely impressive third quickest just 0.017 behind Simms. Indeed it was very tight amongst the field with the top fourteen covered by less than a second.

C100R12 1246All eyes on Championship contender Liam Cochrane, in session 2, to see whether he could grab pole on his home track. He couldn’t. Chris Woodger set the pace beating Cochrane by just 0.013. But even his effort was only good enough for the third row in the pre A Final. With Cochrane on row four he was leaving himself with a lot of hard work to overtake Simms in the Championship.

Pre B Final

Four to qualify for the B Final from fifteen. Tom Mackenzie on pole from Adam Wheeldon with Andrew Green and Mike Noon. Mackenzie led away and held onto the lead for the first lap before Wheeldon decided he’d rather be at the front taking a lead which he would never relinquish. He steadily pulled away to take the win by nearly four seconds.

C100R12 1256Mackenzie held second with Noon close behind whilst Green fell back to fourth. Andrew Mather got shuffled down the order from fifth whilst Andrew Marshall moved up from grid eight to fifth and into a battle with Lovis Wentworth and Keith Segal. Segal though spun out of contention whilst Wentworth moved into fourth at the expense of Green and Marshall. But Masrshall fought back to run fourth before Wentworth re-passed him chased hard now by Oliver Rowlands. But the latter couldn’t quite make it to fourth despite setting fastest lap on the final tour. Wheeldon, Noon, Mackenzie and Wentworth the four qualifiers for the B Final.

Pre A Final

Watkins on pole from Simms with Moody and Snelling on row two. Mathew Bell and Woodger next with Cochrane and Green on row four and Venables and Martin completing the top ten. After qualifying the calculators had been busy and a win for Simms would see him with an unasailable lead in the Championship. Cochrane needed to win or if Simms didn’t win he needed to be right behind him to take the Championship to the final race.

C100R12 1444The front row got away cleanly with Simms tucking in behind Watkins as they rounded the first turn and ran down to the first hairpin. Behind though it all got a bit untidy with several drivers getting forced wide and others taking full advantage. Cue much arm waving. Moody, Snelling and Mathew Bell all lost out whilst Green and Venables kept out of trouble and moved up. Ben Atkinson had moved up well at the start but was on the outside of the first hairpin and lost out before lunging back up the inside at the next hairpin and almost collecting Woodger in the process. It did though leave him ideally placed to witness a lucky escape at Paddock Bend as Darren Martin tried a move on Bobby Dawes. There wasn’t room and in a heartbeat Martin was airborne with the back of his Kart landing on Dawes shoulder sending them both off the road and collecting an innocent Andrew Ward. All three got going with Martin ultimately penalised nine places and classified last. Watkins continued to lead with Simms right on his bumper but unable to find a way past. Green and Venables were next pursued by Freddie Fincham who had taken full advantage of the scruffy first lap to move up from grid sixteen. Cochrane was running sixth. Watkins and Simms continued to pull clear from Green whilst Fincham briefly held fourth before Venables fought back. For three laps it was as you were before Fincham again relieved Venables of fourth taking Cochrane with him. The two of them then set about chasing down Green. With twelve laps run Green finally succumbed dropping to seventh in the space of a lap as Fincham took over in third with Cochrane right on his bumper just ahead of Venables and Woodger.

C100R12 1424With two to go we had yet more drama as a penalty flashed up for number 2, Simms. Cone abuse. Now he really did need to win. He set the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate tour and closed in on Watkins. Over the line for the final time and he was pulling alongside. But it wasn’t enough and a one place deduction would see him classified third promoting Fincham into a remarkable second with Cochrane third and still in the hunt. Or was he? Suddenly came the news that Cochrane had been penalised two places for exceeding track limits twice. He appealed which meant a lengthy and agonising wait for all concerned. Finally the decision came down and his appeal had been turned down. Simms was Champion. An emotional moment for everyone connected with Darri and his family.

B Final

Rowlands on pole from Marshall with Green and Wood on row two from Mather and Horton on row three. Just two to qualify for the A final from eleven runners. C100R12 1281Rowlands led the field away but Green got a little too feisty and ran Marshall wide dropping him to tenth and out of contention. Wood too found himself shuffled down to seventh. Rowlands simply ran away with the race winning by over nine seconds from Mather who took second on the final lap.

C100R12 3325 1He had however already qualified as Green had been penalised four places. Wood came home third but some ten seconds off second. There was a lively little battle towards the rear of the field between Ben Jones, in his first race at the Club and indeed his first time in a two stroke Kart, and Ryan Horton, also in his first race. The two of them swapped places a few times before Jones put on a spurt to pull clear. Lets hope they both enjoyed themselves enough to return next season. Always good to see new blood.

A final

Championship winner Simms on pole for the final Lightweight’s race of the season with Atkinson alongside. Pre A final winner Watkins and Chris Bell on row two from Venables and Cochrane. Moody and Snelling on four with Hussain Rashid and Wheeldon completing the top ten. Simms got away cleanly with Atkinson tucking in behind from Watkins whilst Cochrane got the better of Bell and Venables to slot into fourth. With two laps run he was into third and a lap later second. But could he catch Simms who had established a decent lead? Atkinson tried to hang on but he was coming under pressure from Snelling, Bell, Watkins and Venables. And Fincham wasn’t too far adrift. Having moved up from grid eleven to eighth he dropped back briefly behind Moody before reclaiming the place and closing down Venables. At the front Simms still led but Cochrane was closing in. Mid race and as they crossed the line he was right on the leaders bumper. Into the hairpins he made his move and as they came into view at the top of the hill he was in the lead. Simms responded but couldn’t get close enough to make a move and over the closing laps he dropped his pace a little. Cochrane took the flag over two seconds up for a well deserved win after a fine drive.

C100R12 1466Whilst Cochrane had been passing Simms for the lead it had been all change in the battle for third. Bell and Atkinson traded places for a couple of laps whilst Fincham got the better of Venables and Watkins and quickly closed in on Atkinson. Having dispatched him he set about trying to close the gap to Bell but couldn’t quite make it. Down the order Dawes pulled off into retirement in some pain after the incident in the pre-final. A visit to Hospital on Monday revealed a fractured clavicle, sprained rest and a large amount of soft tissue damage. He actually drove home one handed. All the way to Cornwall. They breed them tough in the far south west. Bell took third holding off the challenge from Fincham by a tenth with Atkinson fifth from Watkins. Woodger took seventh after an eventful race. He started on grid twelve, dropped to eighteenth before making steady progress and snatching a couple of places on the final two laps. Venables took eighth with Noon and Mathew Bell completing the top ten.


A superb Final win for Liam Cochrane was some consolation for losing out in the Championship but it’s been a great season for particularly having missed three rounds. But the world is full of what if’s. Second in the race but top of the standings for Darri Simms. Good enough. Chris Bell took third in the race and third in the standings. He can be well pleased with his season.

C100R12 3336Reflections

There were three nasty incidents at Buckmore all caused by over ambitious overtaking attempts. It’s racing I know and accidents will happen although serious ones are thankfully rare. To aid driver protection we are seeing more and more the old tyre barriers being replaced by the super absorbent F1 type barriers. These came in for some criticism at Buckmore as they have a tendency to spit the Kart back out after absorbing the impact. But they are safer than the tyre barriers. They are higher and easier to put back into place. Hitting a tyre barrier will often cause a Kart to become airborne and that really is dangerous. I agree that the new barriers do spit the Kart back out which can cause a whiplash effect but there is a solution. Wear a neckbrace. I know that they can feel uncomfortable but they do work. In my everso humble opinion. You wouldn’t race without a crash helmet but you’re far more likely to have a neck injury than a fractured skull.

Normally after the final round of the season I like to do a season review but I’ve decided to wait until the run up to Christmas to write it. Firstly it will give me a little more time and secondly it something for you to look forward too. I hope!

I’m off now for a well earned few days break in that wonderful holiday mecca…Scunthorpe.

Catch you all soon.

Words: Steve Gray

Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography