‘Feels Good’ Dan Brewer in Touching Distance of Championship Lead

untitled shoot 2004 scaled

“I feel good, and the gap is now very small. Just got to keep the form going” is the message from Dan Brewer after a double win at Rye House. The reigning champion Anwar Beroual-Smith is using race craft to keep racking up big points and hold on to his lead, but its really tight now, the lead is down to just 2 points and as Dan says he is the man in form. Retaining his title is a question mark for Anwar had left Buckmore Park reporting he was 6kg overweight, “I’ve lost 1kg though, so that’s something. Only 5 more to go! That’s the theory. In practice, I’ll probably go slower! Basically, I’m the Jack O’Neill of finishing 2nd place at the moment”

untitled shoot 812 1
Mr Feel Good, Winner Dan Brewer

In Super Heavyweights James Johnstone won the class with his Race 1 performance, and confirmed it with his 2nd place in race 2 to Richard Newton, who remains his rival. However James’ chief rival might be the full entry and whether or not he can get enough rounds in to secure a championship winning score, he misses the next round at Ellough Park. 

untitled shoot 780
There’s something of the Hannibal Lecter about that mask. Super Heavy Winner – James Johnstone

Qualifying

Alex Pritchard had headed Anwar Beroual-Smith, Matt Horgan and Dan Brewer in practice with 42.612 being his target time by the finish, in a kart he would describe as ‘ballastic’.

untitled shoot 2822

Into the 5min qualifying, Matthew Jones had broken the first beam, before James Johnstone went briefly to the head, Kai Crawford replaced him with 43.389, by no means a pole time, but he was not slouching around, only Brewer went quicker with 42.969, Daryl Snelling had gone P3, Daniel Taylor, Jason Bear, Stephen Jennings, Tim Williams, Beroual-Smith, Philip Hoodless and Pritchard at this early stage making up the top ten, but there was ample room in the 4 tenths between Brewer and Crawford for drivers to move into and beyond. So it was, Brewer edged down to 42.922 then Pritchard went pole with 42.902, joined by Beroual-Smith on the front row, while Horgan matched Brewer’s time to join him on row 2. Ryan Sandall, Jeremy Deeks and Stuart Osborn, shifted Crawford out to P8, Steve Lindley and Ian Perkins moved into the top 10.

untitled shoot 2779

Over halfway Tim Clark moved on to P5 and ahead of Sandall, Crawford went faster and was joined by Tim Williams on row 4. Beroual-Smith for a split second moved to pole with 42.842, only for Pritchard on his bumper to post 42.644, Steve Lindley pushed Sandall off row 3, before Perkins pushed Lindley off row 3. Chequered flag, Williams moved up to P9, only to be pushed back to P10  by Stuart Osborn, the last lap changed nothing else. Alex Pritchard secured pole position from Anwar Beroual-Smith, Brewer, Horgan on row 2, Clark, Perkins on row 3, Lindley, Sandall on row 4. 

untitled shoot 1981

P6 to P23, Super Heavy James Johnstone, were covered by less than half a second, but James had not secured class pole that was with Chris Heath on grid 21, and Johnstone’s main championship rival Richard Newton was on the row behind him, grid 25.

Race 1

After a false start, Pritchard brought them through, he’d make a good start with Beroual-Smith on his bumper at the end of lap 1, and Brewer had stayed in touch despite what felt like a cold engine. It needed to warm up quick Tim Clark had moved on to his bumper and ahead of Horgan, Perkins, Lindley, Osborn, Williams and Hoodless. Where was Ryan Sandall? “After being briefed about forcing people into the tyres before the race I was hopeful to have some room exiting hairpin 1 but nope I got completely shoved into the tyres losing me a bunch of positions down to 17th.” To be fair, having seen the video, there appears to be such a crowd to the drivers left, I’m not sure the driver helping him into the tyres was entirely able to go left, I’m not even sure steering left would’ve worked. It’s Rye House.

untitled shoot 2697

Beroual-Smith moved by Pritchard for the lead, Brewer moved in, “I picked off Alex on lap 2 at the first hairpin”, moving on to Beroual-Smith’s bumper, looking for a way by for 6 laps, making his move into Stadium, “A favour which Anwar repaid the following lap. The next lap I completed the same move, and from there I managed to edge out enough of a gap to stay comfortable.” By this point, 6mins in, the leading duo had broken clear, of Tim Clark, who stretching Matt Horgan, all at the expense of Pritchard who was not caring for his motor much. Then there was a gap to the main pack led by Ian Perkins with Steve Lindley, Stuart Osborn, Tim Williams and Daniel Taylor in 10th in a line behind him. 

In SuperHeavies it was James Johnstone leading the way, “Rye House, undoubtedly my least favourite track on the calendar, but fortunately it appeared to be the least favourite track for all SHWs. I had nothing to worry about. I got Chris [Heath] on lap one and never looked back, arguably it was my strongest race of the year, storming through the field and if I hadn’t been just looking for the SHW win I would’ve been more aggressive at the end with the main class.

untitled shoot 2719

The race settled in, Anwar riding Brewer’s coattails ostensibly I’m sure to stay clear of championship rival Clark. Lindley replaced Perkins in 6th in the chasing group and it all looked pretty much baked in, save for Lindley and Perkins who would dice race long swapping back and forth over 6th, while Dan Taylor, Kai Crawford, Williams, Osborn, Stephen Jennings, Claudio La Rosa and disappointed Sandall sat in a line behind them.

untitled shoot 2816

At 20mins, Brewer had finally broken the tow he’d politely created for Beroual-Smith, and Clark started to close to under a second, Horgan still surfing in behind Tim, Matt reporting, “I’d managed to get past Alex Pritchard in the first 5mins and spent the race glued to Tim. In the last few laps he started reeling Anwar in and dropped me a bit.” Clark moved through, but Anwar would go back through with 2 laps to go and hold on. Dan Brewer won by 1.7secs, Beroual-Smith, Clark and Horgan made up the top 4, as Pritchard couldn’t live with their pace, 9secs behind. Steve Lindley had finally seen off Ian Perkins, who came somewhat unfairly in 10th, Dan Taylor, Tim Williams and Stuart Osborn all moved by him late in the race.

untitled shoot 2969

SuperHeavies was very clearly James Johnstone’s race, classified P13 overall, the only one in his class on the lead lap, nearly 10secs clear of Peter Gillett, Stig Elboth, Chris Heath and Richard Newton.

Race 2

Off pole position, Dan Brewer swept into Stadium, and “I even managed to build a bit of a gap”, half second at the end of lap 1 turned into nearly a second the next lap, Anwar Beroual-Smith feeling those extra kilos, perhaps on his mind already, “Race 2 was pretty boring to be honest, but was happy to secure the overall win of course!” He’d peg Brewer at 0.8secs, while edging clear of Tim Clark, eventually shaking him loose.

untitled shoot 3530

Behind Alex Pritchard was happier with his latest steed, closing and by 6mins in looking for a way by to 3rd place, with Dan Taylor in tow, and Ryan Sandall moving forward dispatching Horgan for 6th, Ryan, “I had a bit more acceleration in the second race and it showed. I’d quickly made moves up from grid 11 I could see I was catching everyone and I was excited to see how far I could get.” Pritchard made his move on Clark but could not throw him off, until Sandall arrived to replace Clark, Ryan again, “I made a move on Alex for 3rd, going into the corner after pylon, this was the first time I’d seen his line and didn’t realise it was so wide until after I’d committed so it was a small gap to get through and although I managed it, I did get penalised (it happens) we’ve all seen the video, it’s seems harsh (but yeah, okay). Still, I was setting off after Anwar.” Matt Horgan, “Ryan was flying but made a potentially questionable overtake on Alex Pritchard and got a penalty for it”. Alex again, “I think I’ll be settling for 4th this year unfortunately. Anwar, and the 3 guys at the weight I can’t compete with, Brewer and Clark especially, but also Ryan, although with so many penalties I figure his season will unwind.” 

untitled shoot 3541

At halfway Dan Brewer’s lead was a comfortable 2secs, Beroual-Smith was over 2.5secs ahead Sandall who had dropped Clark into pressure from Pritchard, Taylor and Horgan. Tim Williams, Kai Crawford and Stephen Jennings made up the top 10. In the SuperHeavies, Richard Newton had made the strongest start, but James Johnstone had made his way out of the SHW pack, and was closing in on the class lead, as the pair raced for 18th overall, James again,” Race 2 should have gone the same way as Race 1, unfortunately I got taken out on lap one, and then just as I was cruising up to the back of Richard I got taken out again!” That was around the 20min mark, James would settle to P2 in class, but also the round win, “I was happy to extend my championship lead but disappointed that I couldn’t capitalise on it in race 2, a top 10 overall was firmly on the cards. I’m currently not at Ellough Park so that will be an opportunity for the chasing pack to claw back some ground.”

untitled shoot 2830

The top 3 looked settled in to their finishing positions and in terms of the round result Brewer and Beroual-Smith would be finishing the same, the interest was 3rd place for the round, Clark had been passed by Pritchard, but with Dan Taylor still very much joined in in their battle, and Horgan still looking on, in the hopes of getting back into it, that 3rd step was still very much in the air, Matt Horgan, “The second half of the race was just me stuck to Alex’s bumper.” Taylor moved to the front of the four and managed to hold off Clark, Pritchard fell away into Horgan, Matt again, “In both races it was quite tight at the front and the main factor I found [affecting the outcome] was back marker traffic on a track that’s not the easiest to overtake on.”

With 2 laps to go, Taylor lost 4th place to Tim Clark, securing 3rd place for the round, Sandall gave Beroual-Smith a scare getting on to his bumper at the same time, Ryan again, “I had a lot more speed than him, but Anwar was clever defending”, champions usually are. “There was a few close moments but I never made the pass.”

untitled shoot 818
Top 3, and probably Top 3 in the championship after dropped scores, Winner Brewer, Beroual-Smith and Clark

At the finish, Brewer cruised over the line, the gap dropping from over 7secs, as Beroual-Smith was forced to race to the line, Sandall, fastest lap, but that penalty would demote him to 7th place. Tim Clark secured 3rd for the round, Dan Taylor, Pritchard, Horgan, Sandall, were joined by Tim Williams, Kai Crawford and Stephen Jennings in the top 10.

untitled shoot 790
SuperHeavyweight Podium – Winner Johnstone, Richard Newton and Peter Gillett

In Super Heavyweight, Richard Newton took the race win, Johnstone the round win from Newton and Peter Gillett made up the podium finishers.

Words: Chris Simpson

Photography: John Patterson