Fortune Favours Joe Holmes – It’s Not Like He Needs It!
Whenever we visit Buckmore it’s either freezing or hot. It was seriously hot at the weekend and into the afternoon we were sadly missing from the entrants was CLUB100 stalwart, the veteran that his Tim Hill who managed to fall off his bike during the week and broke his collarbone. We wish him a speedy recovery and offer the following advice, take more water with it next time.
The Road to the Finals
Adam Wright started the first heat on grid six but within two laps he was at the front and thereafter drove away to take a comfortable win. Chris Gristwood took second but almost got caught on the line by Oliver Moss after a race long duel. The gap at the flag? A mere 0.055. Harrison Darvill took valuable points with fourth ahead of Miguel Hall.
Heat 2 went to Tarik Almou. A well judged win this too as he was under pressure from Matt Wileman almost the whole of the race. Almou started from grid eight with Wileman starting on the front row. Almou was mighty over the first lap vaulting himself into the lead ahead of Stewart Madden, Wileman, Steve Lindley and Nick Trafford. Wileman took a lap to get by Madden but once there he chased Almou all the way to the flag with the two of them easily the class of the field finishing over seven seconds clear of third placed Lindley with Stuart Jones fourth after a strong drive up from grid fourteen. Jeff Chapman took fifth whilst the race was rather marred by a raft of driver penalties.
Alex Pritchard led the third heat from pole all the way to the last lap when Jack Noller completed a fine drive up from grid eleven to seize the top spot on the final lap after stalking the leader for a couple of laps. Lewis Ridd came home third. Another strong drive after starting from grid nine. He deposed Paul Williams a couple of laps from the end the latter having run second behind Pritchard for much of the race. Steven Downes came home fifth. A relatively quiet start to his day after starting fourth.
Joe Holmes took a comfortable win in Heat 4 after starting alongside Kieran Chidgzey on the front row. Holmes was in front through the first turns and then drove away into the distance. Chidgzey hung on to second for several laps before being caught and passed by Dave Pethers who ran second all the way to the flag. He then took a four place penalty having gained a place by contact early in the race. This promoted James Appleton into second. A strong drive up from grid eleven as was Anwar Beroual-Smith’s drive up from grid thirteen to third. Geoff Lamb and Bradley Shears completed the top five.
Heat 5 resulted in a comfortable win for Oliver Moss who took full advantage of some of the confusion caused by a spinning Vinod Harani to leap from grid five into the lead. Thereafter he was never threatened taking the win by over five seconds. Peter Clark ran second for most of the heat before being caught with couple of laps remaining and falling to fifth behind Matt Wileman, up from grid nine, and Bill Taylor, up from grid eleven. Wileman took a cone penalty dropping him to third behind Taylor. Sean Brierley made it up to fourth after an eventful run. Starting on grid four he fell to sixth, made his way back up to fourth before dropping to seventh and then doing it all again to get back up to fourth where he started in the first place!
Stuart Jones took a lights to flag win in Heat 6 but it was very close at the end. Jack Noller tucked into second at the start but Jones was clearly quicker and edged away whilst Noller had to contend with a rapidly closing Joe Holmes. Holmes started from grid ten but within a couple of laps he was up to third. He then set about closing the gap to Noller and at half distance he broke Noller’s defence to move into second almost two seconds adrift of the leader. He then steadily cut the gap but didn’t have enough laps left and Jones held him off at the flag taking the win by just a Karts length. Noller held onto third despite the close attentions of Harrison Darvill who just lost out by 0.080 at the flag. Chris Gristwood took fifth.
Heat 7 fell to Jeff Chapman. Starting from grid five he was into the lead after a couple of laps and never looked back. He was helped a touch by some of those in front of him getting over anxious at the start and tripping over each other. Miguel Hall came up from grid thirteen to second inside a couple of laps with Tarik Almou on his tail. Adam Wright was making steady progress up from grid twelve. With two to go Hall found himself shuffled down the order by Wright and Almou who took second and third whilst Lewis Ridd scored more valuable points deposing Hall for fourth on the last lap.
Anwar Beroual-Smith took his first win of the day in Heat 8. A very controlled win this leading from start to finish but not extending himself too much in the heat. Jordan Salter stayed within striking distance after jumping into second from the second row at the start with James Appleton third. Reigning SuperHeavyweight (SHW) Champion Richard Allen came home fourth after starting fifth with Curt Holmes fifth after starting sixth but he was hit with a four place penalty dropping him to ninth and promoting Geoff Lamb to fifth. Not one overtake among the top five on the track from lap two onwards.
Heat 9 saw Lewis Ridd take the win from James Workman. Both started from the front row with Ridd making the better start. They then drove away from the rest of the pack. Steve Bosley came home a distant third after climbing up from the fourth row over the first two laps but never getting in touch with the leaders whilst Matt Wileman had to work hard for his fourth place after starting from grid eleven with Rory Severn taking fifth.
Heat 10 was a rather more exciting affair. Dave Pethers led away from the start with fellow front row sitter Geoff Lamb tucking into second ahead of Lennie Wood and Jeff Chapman. Second time around and Lamb was in front but before half distance he half spun and dropped to sixth. Pethers was back in the lead but Wood closed him down and took over at the front with two to go. Pethers lost out over the remaining two laps as Chris Gristwood and Harrison Darvill both slipped by whilst Lamb salvaged some points taking Jeff Chapman for fifth on the penultimate lap.
Adam Wright romped home in Heat 11 after taking the lead from row two in the first turns. He was never headed whilst Joe Holmes scored valuable points with a second place. Starting from grid eleven he was up to sixth by the end of the first lap but found himself stuck for a lap behind Richard Allen and Sean Brierley who were disputing fourth. But Holmes found a way by and then closed in on Miguel Hall. But again he got held up for a couple of laps before nipping by Hall and Tarik Almou in consecutive laps. But Wright was too far away to be challenged. Almou came home third whilst Brierley took Hall on the final lap for fourth.
The final heat of the day went to Anwar Beroual-Smith. David Longman led the opening lap from pole with Ben Benneyworth in second. Paul Goddard was tipped into a spin at the bottom of the hill after starting from the second row. Cruel luck. Longman continued to lead but Beroual-Smith was up to second and shadowing his every move. Longman looked to have the race under control but in the space of a lap Beroual-Smith and Stuart Jones both slipped by. Final lap and Longman lost out again, this time to a very on form Jordan Salter. Beroual-Smith held off Jones to take the win whilst Jones was hit with a four place deduction for an early race infringement promoting Salter to second, Longman to third and Benneyworth to fourth. Steven Downes came home fifth after a tough drive up from grid eleven.
Darren De Mattia on pole from Roy Grassie with Peter Clark and Anthony Ridd on row two. Luke Charman and Sunny Kundi shared row three with Gary Miller and Mark Appleton on row four. Row Five saw Mark Appleton alongside Dan Giles with Chris Kirk and Vinod Harani next up followed by Wayne Dunham and James Dunnett. Dmitry Zeldin sat alongside Mathew Batter with Blake Temperley and Lee Woods next from Chris Warton and Lewis Allen. Jaedon Cadogan sat alongside Karolis Jaudzemis followed by Lewis McKinnon and Martyn Robinson. Top four to qualify for the back of the B Final.
De Mattia led the pack away but Clark got the better start and was ahead out of the hairpins with Grassie down to third ahead of Charman and Appleton whilst Ridd fell back to seventh. Down the order Hirani was an early spinner. Second time around and De Mattia went for the lead into the first turn as they began the third tour. Clark held him at bay and De Mattia got off line allowing Grassie to jump him for second. Appleton moved up to fourth as Charman pulled off into retirement. Once into second Grassie began to pressure Clark for the lead and duly slipped ahead at one third distance. De Mattia remained third from Appleton followed by Ridd, Dunham and Kundi. Ridd managed to find a way by Appleton who then found himself deposed by Dunham. He fought back but made contact spinning Dunham to a halt and allowing a following Giles to leap frog up to fourth. Clark took over at the front and then promptly spun into retirement allowing De Mattia to take over at the front with Ridd second from Grassie. These two fought hard over second which allowed De Mattia a bit of a breather at the front. Ridd and Grassie swapped places a couple of times before Ridd finally made a break and began to cut into the gap to the leader. But he didn’t have enough laps left so the win went to C3 driver De Mattia with C2 driver Ridd second from SuperHeavyweight (SHW) Grassie with Giles fourth and the final qualifier.
Thankfully none of the top four were affected by penalties of which there were many. Too many. Appleton crossed the line fifth but was docked six places for his coming together with Dunham. Kundi moved up to fifth ahead of Zeldin. Dunham was next across the line after a strong comeback after being nerfed out by Appleton. But he too was subject to penalties. Two four place deductions dropping him to sixteenth. Miller was next over the line but he too was slapped with a four place penalty promoting Dunnett from tenth to seventh. Kirk moved up from eleventh only to find himself docked a place for cone abuse and with all the penalties applied Batter found himself promoted from twelfth to eighth. Temperley completed the top ten whilst Jaudzemis completed the roll of penalties by being excluded for rejoining the track unsafely. A novice error from the C3 driver which I’m sure he won’t repeat.
Super Heavyweight Bill Taylor on pole from Steve Bosley with C1 driver Sean Brierley and Harry Melvin on the second row. Steve Lindley and Rory Severn occupied row three followed by Lennie Wood and Paul Goddard with C1 runner and Clay winner Steven Downes alongside Matt Kendall on row five. Row six was shared by two SHW’s, Kieran Chidgzey and Nick Trafford followed by Richard Newton and Justin Shaw. Row eight, Richard Neale and Bradley Shears with Simon Kavanagh and Nick Pollicott on nine from Lee Henderson and Elliot Mewse on ten. Jonathan Elliot was alongside C Final winner De Mattia followed by the other qualifiers from the C Final, Ridd, Grassie and Giles. Top two to advance to the back of the A Final.
Taylor led the field away with Brierley tucking into second from Lindley and a fast starting Downes who appeared to make contact with Bosley on the way by. Taylor began to stretch the gap back to Brierley whilst Lindley had Downes right on his bumper with Bosley next from Wood. Melvin was next but being dropped. Quarter distance and Brierley began to mount a challenge on the leader whilst Downes had found a way by Lindley for third. Further down the order Trafford was on a charge and closing in on Melvin. Taylor remained at the front but Brierley was closing in whilst Downes was getting closer to them both. Lindley was falling back whilst Wood had got past Bosley for fifth. Trafford had slipped by Melvin but was two seconds adrift of Bosley. Half distance and Taylor was still hanging on at the front whilst Downes moved ahead of Brierley for second. Lindley clawed back a little of the gap whilst Wood was easing away from Bosley. Trafford was next but not making any impression on the gap to Bosley. Melvin remained eighth from Severn and Goddard. Once Downes caught the leader he made short work of getting by into the lead whilst down the order Wood put a move on Lindley for fourth. It failed. Both spun to halt. Wood was quickest away but had fallen to ninth with Lindley back in eleventh. In the confusion Bosley took over in fourth with Trafford next but still over two seconds adrift. Melvin was next followed by Severn and Goddard. Downes continued to pull clear at the front whilst SHW Taylor was driving superbly to hold off C1 driver Brierley. Brierley tried several times to get by but Taylor rebuffed him and with three to go it looked as though he had given up the fight dropping back by a couple of tenths. Downes crossed the line first but he had a penalty for his first lap pass on Bosley.
Sportingly Bosley supported Downes appeal and the win stood with Taylor a hard earned and deserved second. Rather wryly Mr. Bosley remarked that the move by Downes was acceptable given some of the appalling driving he had witnessed from others throughout the day. Brierley remained third with Bosley next across the line but demoted a spot for cone abuse thus handing fourth to SHW Trafford who also set the fastest lap in the class. Severn came home sixth from Melvin, Goddard and Wood. But Wood dropped to fifteenth after his penalty promoting Shaw to ninth from the luckless Lindley.
Adam Wright on pole with Anwar Beroual-Smith alongside. Joe Holmes shared row two with Tarik Almou. Row three saw Lewis Ridd alongside Matt Wileman followed by the first two C2 runners, Chris Gristwood and Jack Noller. Stuart Jones and Oliver Moss shared row five with Jordan Salter and Harrison Darvill on row six. Jeff Chapman and James Appleton occupied row seven followed by Geoff Lamb and Miguel Hall. Row nine saw Dave Pethers alongside James Workman with Alex Pritchard and Paul Williams on row ten. Next up, Curt Holmes and Richard Allen whilst the penultimate row had Ben Benneyworth alongside David Longman followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Taylor and Brierley.
The grid took some time to form up as several drivers brought their Karts into the pits to change having been dissatisfied in the warm up. Adam Wright was particularly late and came out of the pits as the field was forming up through Symes Sweep. He formed up as the field went up the hill towards Cafe corner. He was smartly away from pole but on colder tyres than the rest of the field he went very defensive into the first turn as was his right. Holmes was tapping him into the corner and found himself suddenly attached to Wrights rear bumper. As he shook himself off he spun and the whole field went by before he got going. Disaster for the gritty Yorkshireman. But it’s said that Yorkshire folk are lucky and a big slice was heading Joe’s way. As the field came out of the second hairpin and swept towards the chicane several of them tried to go through the first part of the chicane side by side with the inevitable result. Five Karts were into the barrier in a very big way. One driver was hit full in the face by one of the heavy plastic retaining blocks. He was very fortunate to escape injury. A testament to the strength and quality of his helmet. By the time the field reached Garda the restart flag was being shown followed by a red on the start finish line. Despite criticism from some post race this was the correct procedure. Red flags are never shown in haste. The track was as good as blocked in the chicane with drivers milling around and debris all over the circuit so the grid was reformed on the Symes Sweep allowing Holmes to retake his place on the second row and the crashed drivers to take a replacement Kart.
It took some time for the barriers to be repaired and the track swept clean resulting in the inevitable shortening of the race duration but eventually the race got underway. This time Wright got away at the front with Holmes being a little more circumspect. He was up to second out of the hairpins whilst mid grid we had yet more carnage with Moss, Chapman and Appleton all spinning down the order. No restart this time. The rules state just one chance. Wright led over the line at the end of the first lap but Holmes took him through the hairpins to lead. Beroual-Smith remained third with Almou next from Ridd. The front three were however already beginning to pull clear of the chasing pack. Almou’s strong start was undone as he spun down the order but he was quickly away albeit down in twelfth. Holmes began to edge clear as Beroual-Smith closed in on Wright, nipping by at the second chicane in what Wright described as a good clean move. Holmes was almost a second clear but once into second Beroual-Smith began to cut the gap whilst Wright was falling back in third but over five seconds clear of fourth placed Ridd.
The race for the lead was heading for an exciting climax but then came the incident that decided the outcome. Gristwood tried to take Hall into the first part of the chicane. A risky move. He tagged Hall and climbed up over Hall’s rear wheel hitting the barrier on the inside, launching himself into the air and then landing on a following Downes who had nowhere to go resulting in them both hitting the outside barriers hard. Both were quickly out of their Karts but Downes was clearly in great distress so wisely the Clerk of the course red flagged the race. This time there would be no restart with the results being recorded after eight laps. Holmes took what he admitted was a fortuitous win with Beroual-Smith second from Wright.
Must confess I would love to see Adam Wright take an A Final win and rid himself of the statistic of being the only HW Champion in the history of CLUB100 not to stand on the top step of the podium. Ridd came home fourth and took the C2 honours ahead of Stuart Jones with Matt Wileman sixth. Miguel Hall was seventh and second in C2 Gristwood eighth and second in C2. Steven Downes WAS classified ninth ahead of Geoff Lamb in tenth. Third in the C2 class went to Curt Holmes, brother of Joe.
Richard Allen took another Super Heavyweight class win from Bill Taylor and Ben Benneyworth whilst the C3 honours were decided in the B Final. Darren De Mattia taking the trophy heading home Richard Neale by a couple of tenths with Nick Pollicott third.
Anwar Beroual-Smith has a healthy lead in the HW class but Joe Holmes has missed a round so despite winning twice he is down in tenth. Stuart Jones is second in the standings with Geoff Lamb third from Steven Downes whilst Chris Gristwood is an impressive fifth and heading the C2 class. Like Joe Holmes Adam Wright has also missed a round but expect him to be near the pointy end by the end of the season. Alex Pritchard is second in the C2 class from Lewis Ridd whilst Richard Allen heads the SHW division from Bill Taylor and Ben Benneyworth.
In the more than two decades that I have known JV I have never seen him as angry as he was on Sunday evening. All afternoon drivers were complaining about driving standards which culminated in eight karts ending the day badly damaged and one driver hurt although thankfully not too badly and he is well on the way to recovery. I think it inevitable that there will be some changes in the rules which are likely to see more severe penalties applied. Too often on Sunday drivers would not yield when they had lost a corner. There is no place for big egos on the track. Leave it in the paddock and race hard but fairly. Have respect for your fellow drivers and be aware of what is happening around you. Some drivers actually complained that the chicane at Buckmore is dangerous. The chicane is not dangerous. Drivers who fail to drive sensibly are the danger. It is a chicane. It is meant to be taken in single file not three, four and five abreast. Yes, I’ve seen drivers go through two abreast but these have been drivers with bags of experience, bags of talent and the nous to give each other racing room not the stupidity of trying to intimidate another driver or squeeze a fellow driver off the track. CLUB100 Karts are not indoor dodgem karts. These are fast thoroughbred racing machines and they deserve to be treated with respect not used as weapons. I would hope that drivers will see sense and sort things out amongst yourselves for rest assured, if you don’t, JV will. He has never been afraid to make big decisions. And when I read drivers adverse comments about the application of rules and regulations and then see them admit that they have never read the said rules and regulations I seriously wonder about their intelligence.
On a happier note it was great to see former Clerk of the Course and CLUB100 icon Russ Pittingale spectating at Buckmore Park. As many of you know Russ suffered a stroke a few years ago impairing his mobility. But he is not a man to complain. And his sense of humour is still intact. I’m not going to repeat the conversations several of us had with him save to say it was very, very funny. A lovely, lovely man.
Onward to Bayford!
Words: Steve Gray
Photography: John Patterson