Team Captain Yousif Bin-Suhayl reported being “Overall really happy with the pace and result from the team. I wasnt too happy with qualifying and the race start went terribly. But Matt Horgan went out [for the finish] when I believe we were 2nd and he was able to pass Brillio for the lead fairly quickly and his pace was phenomenal, fastest driver on circuit at times. But we are hoping next time the Three Swans are present so we can finally laugh at them from the top step!”
It was another day of dominance from Premier Class champions elect Titan Motorsport, at least after halfway.
Intermediate Class leaders The Three Swans skipped Round 9 at Whilton Mill, spokesperson James Johnstone phoning in their apologies, “Tom’s in Spain, Jasper was on a F Type experience day in the morning. Very happy with Brillio only being third. [The gap] 20 points. Two rounds. Just gotta do our jobs.”
Unfortunately that’s not entirely an accurate reading of the situation. The online table as currently published shows Swans with a 20 point advantage, thats true, but it’s showing only the best 6 results (I have no idea why). But look closer. The regulations state ‘Each team’s best 8 results from 11 rounds will count towards the championship.’ Right now counting both teams best 8 results, it’s Swans 735 plays 730 for Brillio, Johnstone & Co lead the class by 1 position on track. Although in terms of the scores both teams will drop Swans will improve their score if they finish 6th place or better at Lydd, Brillio must place 4th or better. It’s a straight two horse race for the Intermediate Championship, Bin Suhayl’s WTIAS looks well placed to finish 3rd in the championship, although there’s work to be done and 2 decent scores required at Lydd and Bayford to be sure. J2D2, Formula None, The Centurians and BIGSKY Racing are in a too close to call category for 4th and 5th in the class.
In the Clubman Class, Tim Hill’s Speedscreen are leaning hard on Dickie Allen and off Tim’s ribs, “I had done my ribs in badly on Friday by doing 50 laps but 2nd quickest which I was very pleased about, and by Saturday morning even after 3 Tramadol I was still in pain… I went out at about 1hr 30min was immediately punted off by Brillio! Which was Brillo! This cost us 4th place, and my ribs hurt so much I asked Dickie to go back out at once and finish off. I guess Dickie going from dead last to 5th should be classed as good mitigation, but the reality is with that kart from the get go we would have scored more points than we did.” Meanwhile the class leaders are trying to stumble over the finish line in the lead, Kyle Young for JK Rolling, still maintaining a 20point lead, counting 8 scores, “James [Dixon] did the first 40 mins and got two black flags which very unlike him. They was both got abc bump and pass on back markers so James was not happy at all. We were 2 laps down when Andy went in to finish, hit the monster kerb twice and got a black flag. So 3 in total. We don’t deserve to win the championship if we are going to be making these silly mistakes. Take the 3 flags away and we would of won, same as Bayford and with no battery failures at Llandow we would have won. It is what it is though and we just have to get out heads down at Lydd and get the job done.” It remains in their own hands, and Tim’s ribs. There is a further 30point gap counting 8 scores to Conman Racing who now look a slight favourite for 3rd place, Ben Chapman, “Matt and Joe Conroy both did outstanding jobs after I had to pull out at the last minute. It seemed everyone was picking up multiple warnings and black flags, these guys didn’t pick up a single warning throughout the whole event. With JK and Speedscreen struggling, and Auditing missing this round, we are solidly in the fight for top 3 at the end of the year, and go into the last two rounds mathematically still in contention for the championship…” Improving existing scores by 50points in the last 2 rounds is a little optimistic but 3rd looks on. Auditing Armageddon, Runtime Exception Racing, All Torque Racing and SMJK Racing contest 4th and 5th, and possibly 3rd if Conman blow up, the maths is a little complicated, so lets meet back here after Lydd.
Which brings to the main class, we know Titan are champions but that’s not stopping the juggernaut Jack O’Neill and Mike Philippou doing what they’ve been doing all season running hard and running up front, Martin O’Neill, “A trouble free run, with Jack trading the lead with Joe Holmes (G3 Pro) for the first half, then handing over to Mike with a 20+ second advantage with 30 minutes to go. All very polished with no incidents, so nothing to report really.” They off loaded all their bad luck on to the B team, of Andy O’Neill and Owen Jenman, “Mitan team were plagued with starting issues at every pit stop costing time, with the amalgamated stop times being 40+ seconds longer than Titan over the race distance, denying Andy and Owen a battle for the runner up spot with G3. Frustrating, but just enough to see off Applewood for the final podium position. But it was great to have the full band back together and fun to watch the guys.”
Team Applewood may have seen off Scuderia Bandito, the latter finishing with a score that will be dropped, that may yet let in G3 Pro into a fight for 3rd in the championship, 725 plays 700 and 685 between the 3 teams with 2 more scoring opportunities, Applewood’s Alex Pritchard, “We felt very sorry for Anwar [Beroual-Smith] and Matt [Wileman], their kart just did not want to run out of the pits and it now makes their job very difficult to get 2nd [from us] for the year. Will Dendy had a tremendous crash on some wet grass.” Wileman, “Every pit stop, the kart wouldn’t start… so it was effectively like having a black flag every pit stop which meant we ended up nowhere very quickly.” Pritchard again, “G3 Pro are motivated to get 3rd, which could be theirs mathematically but Joe [Holmes] can’t do every stint, so the other guys will need to up their game to finish on the championship podium.” Palatinate Racing are certain to take the last championship trophy for 5th.
Chris Alcock for Team Applewood led the opening times in qualifying with 54.269 from Clubmans occasional entrant Red Hot Racing and G3 Farecla, then Mitan’s Andy O’Neill moved to provisional pole with 54.189, Red Hot (Steve Moody or Josh Adams?) went quicker to stay on the front row. Joe Holmes stopped practicing and went to the top with 54.057 with Team Jaws surprisingly joining him on the front row in a crush of fast times. Holmes edged closer to 54secs flat with 54.025, All Torque moved up to join him with 54.39. Holmes dipped under 54secs for the first time with 53.995, Mitan moved up on to the front row. At halfway into the session Joe Holmes made a statement, with 53.662 that no one would get close to again, not least because times then dropped off for a few laps, which I suspect might be the fog, or more likely a spate of yellow flags slowing the field, it would take until the dying moments of the session before the pace picked up again, only Red Hot going quicker than their previous time to put them on grid behind Holmes for G3 Pro and Dixon for Clubman leaders JK Rolling. Andy O’Neill would put Owen Jenman on grid 4 for Mitan, with the A team’s Mike Philippou putting Jack O’Neill on grid 5 with CKS Throatpunchers joining them on the 3rd row, All Torque Racing, Team JAWS, Team Applewood and Blue Flag Racing making up the top 10 on 35 team grid.
Slickspeed, Scuderia Bandito, Lucid Initiatives, Speedscreen would start at the back after kart changes, the latter piloted by Dickie Allen would make rapid early progress with Beroual-Smith for Bandito. Going the other way Bin-Suhayl had fallen off for Wait This Isn’t A Simrig? (WTIAS) going for a “gap into Turn 2 that was always going to close and got spun round and we dropped to last.” Up front Joe Holmes was doing what G3 Pro hired him to do – lead, from Josh Adams in Red Hot ahead of Dixon for JK Rolling before he exited and JK’s event went south with black flags. For the first 10mins Adams sat on Holmes’s bumper allowing him to tow Red Hot clear, behind Titan and Mitan were 3 and 5.5secs off the lead and a further 10secs clear of SMJK towing through the chasing pack of Brillio, Applewood, the rapid Allen in Speedscreen, TD Racing, the recovering Bin-Suhayl, a little flattered as the number of early pit stoppers was growing, including Scuderia Bandito who had discovered their recalcitrant race kart was worse than their qualifying machine. At least to restart from a fuel bay, which in a 5 stop endurance race is pretty important. SMJK pitted on 12mins to move Brillio into the Intermediate Class lead in 5th place overall and to head the chasing main field. Holmes peeled off the front for fuel, Adams led for Red Hot Racing, Titan went for service, followed by Adams, then Owen Jenman for Mitan.
As the field reset after the first fuel window closed, G3 Pro’s Holmes led again with Jack O’Neill on the leader’s bumper for Titan, Jenman sat in behind, and Red Hot, probably not so slickly drilled 2secs behind off pit lane. 11secs behind the top 4 All Torque Racing were 5th as field spread apart in the lifting morning gloom from Conman Racing, Brillio, G3 Pro Farecla under pressure from Speedscreen while dicing with Alex Pritchard into his 2nd stint in Applewood in 10th place. Jenman slid back into Red Hot Racing as Jack O’Neill moved to the lead for Titan as Holmes took a breather on his bumper before moving back to the lead moving into the 2nd fuel window approaching half an hour. Adams was the first to pit this time, Red Hot swapping to Steve Moody as the sun poked through for the first time and the track dried properly. Moody returned 5th, O’Neill moved back to the lead, Holmes pitted G3 Pro returned 6secs ahead of Red Hot, Mitan pitted and discovered starting problems of their own, returning 20secs behind the leading stoppers and at the end of the window on 45mins, Jack O’Neill went again returning with a 5secs lead.
At the next window Titan and G3 Pro pitted together, O’Neill went again, Holmes departed for Barry Luetchford, that alone gave Titan a 4secs advantage in the handover. When the 3rd cycle was over on 70mins Titan’s lead was 26secs, G3 Pro were looking good, 8secs ahead of Red Hot Racing, a further 13secs ahead of Mitan struggling to get off pitlane. Clubman’s All Torque were a few seconds behind as the last kart on the lead lap. Just going off the lap, Conman Racing were looking a strong 3rd place in class, with Applewood’s Mike Coppin on their bumper, 12secs ahead of Speedscreen in Clubmans and another 13secs ahead of SMJK Racing also from Clubmans, with Intermediate class leader still Brillio in 10th overall. Scuderia Bandito was the first team 2laps down in 11th, with WTIAS, Slickspeed, a recovering (from black flags) JK Rolling, and cLunge Racing making up the top 15.
Andy O’Neill then into Mitan soon caught and passed Red Hot Racing for 3rd place, then G3 Pro pitted to put Jack O’Neill into a 50secs lead running up to Titan’s next pit stop and driver change to Mike Philippou, he’d return with a 23secs lead which with 35mins to go would be more than enough to secure the overall and Premier Class race win from G3 Pro, even if they chose to send Holmes back into finish. G3 Pro were looking secure in 2nd place, and an excellent result, 21secs clear of Red Hot Racing who were just beginning to look over their shoulders at Speedscreen 6secs behind chasing the Clubman Class win and valuable points in the championship as Mitan pitted again from 3rd place.
Into the final 30mins, Speedscreen Tim Hill came in got tangled up with Brillio and left. Titan briefly handed over the lead to G3 Pro with their last fuel stop, but everyone knew it was coming back, when G3 Pro pitted, Philippou holding a 17secs lead going into the final 15mins. Chris Alcock by then in Applewood was pushing hard, and was up to 3rd place overall approaching their last fuel stop, and were briefly the leading team 1 lap down 18secs clear of Andy O’Neill in Mitan, and a further 16secs clear All Torque Racing who had solidly stayed out of trouble and was leading the Clubman Class but had Red Hot Racing looking for the class win closing to pass. Dickie Allen back in Speedscreen was 22secs further behind but ahead of their Clubman Class rivals Conman Racing 8secs behind, well clear SMJK Racing and JK Rolling trying to salvage something in P10 overall. Speedscreen’s final fuel stop closed the window with 10mins to go. All Torque had no answer for Red Hot Racing and then the race was settled and ran out to the finish.
Titan Motorsport took another win they need one more win in the last two races to take a maximum championship score of 800points, they won at Whilton Mill by 7.7secs from G3 Pro who have dealt themselves into the championship battle for 3rd place with Scuderia Bandito who would trail in in 16th place. Team Applewood’s 4th place overall and in class moved them away from Bandito in the battle for runner up in Premier Class, its no a shoe in, but it will be tough for Bandito from here. Red Hot Racing are not players in the Clubman Class Championship so although they won Clubmans with 5th overall, it’s All Torque and Conman Racing coming away with good points for their championships. In the Intermediate Class well this might have been a round The Three Swans should have done as Wait This Isn’t A Simrig? could fall off and recover to win the class a long 2 laps down, in 11th place overall, from Scuderia Electro-Quality and Brillio. Will it matter? Who knows.
Next a 2nd visit to Lydd. I wonder what the weather will be like on the south coast in late October? Nothing like June.
Words: Chris Simpson
Photography: John Patterson