Almost halfway through the season and not only are the various Championships hotting up but so is the weather. Into the afternoon and it was getting even hotter
The Road to the Finals
Daz Teal got his day off to the best possible start with a brilliant drive in the first heat. Starting from grid eleven he was up to fifth by the end of the first lap and then steadily worked his way to second behind race long leader Stef Theodorou. Penultimate lap and he went by through the hairpins. Theodorou lost momentum and lost places to James Martin and Garrett Berry. And to compound the misery he clipped a cone. Teal crossed the line a second up on Martin for a well judged win with Russell Cooper benefiting from Theodorou’s demotion to fifth.
Jack O’Neil marked his return to CLUB100 with a win in Heat Two. He slipped back at the start but was back up to second by half distance. He then closed down leader Michael Preston hitting the front with one lap to go. Preston came home second well clear of Championship leader Fraser Brunton in third with Rob Langthorp and Chris Woodger fourth and fifth.
Ben Lambeth took a comfortable win in the third heat after hitting the front at half distance. Reece Pope claimed second courtesy of a last lap pass on Sam Slater with Mike Coppin fourth from Justin Draper.
Dante Dhillon was in a class of his own in Heat Four. Starting from pole he simply drove away from the rest of the field winning by over six seconds from Ned Douglas. Samuel Essery was third ahead of Mathew Cockerham and Ed Barrs.
Andrew Ward took a hard fought win in Heat Five. Starting from the front row he took the lead on the second lap from Liam Nolan. Garrett Berry followed him through and then the pair of them drove away from the pack. Ward took the win a mere three tenths up on Berry with Joshua Sangster third but some four seconds back ahead of Luke Philips and Nolan.
Daz Teal made it two from two in the sixth heat. Starting from pole he went into an immediate lead chased by Ed Barrs and Yousuf Bin-Suhayl. George Line was just a second back but he was carrying a penalty which would see him penalised down the order. Teal resisted the pressure and a last gasp lunge from Barrs to cross the line less than a tenth clear with Bin-Suhayl a tenth back in third. Then came Lines. His penalty handed fourth to Aaron Stillwell with Russell Cooper fifth.
Jack O’Neill was a comfortable winner of Heat Seven with Mike Coppin second after a duel with Stef Theodorou. Dante Dhillon was fourth after a last lap pass on Mathew Cockerham.
Fraser Brunton took his first win of the day in Heat Eight. But he had to work for it fighting his way up the order from grid ten to take over at the front at half distance from early leader Andrew Rabbage. Tim Penny was right with Brunton over the closing laps but had to be content with second with Rabbage third from Bryn Alban and Samuel Essery.
Dan Seager took the win in Heat Nine. Starting from the front row he led all the way to the flag with James Martin second after an eventful run. Dante Dhillon continued his run of good form with a strong drive up from grid eleven to third with Jed Toole fourth. Daz Teal came home fifth.
Fraser Brunton was back out again for Heat Ten but it looked like he was going to have to settle for second behind poleman Chris Woodger who led from the start before mechanical gremlins intervened, promoting Brunton into the lead. Bryn Alban was second with Russell Cooper third from Mathew Cockerham and Ed Barrs in what was something of a procession.
Reece Pope converted his pole position in the penultimate heat to a win with fellow front row sitter Ben Lambeth tailing him home in second. Third on the grid Luke Philips came home third with Mike Coppin fourth. Stef Theodorou crossed the line fifth but multiple penalties saw him excluded from the results and promoted Greg Smith back into fifth where he had run for much of the heat.
Jack O’Neill had it all to do in the final heat to knock Fraser Brunton off the A Final pole. Starting ninth he was back in eleventh after the first tour but he fought back picking up places steadily. Sadly for him fourth was the best he could do. Good enough for the front row but not pole. Ned Douglas took the win after starting from pole with Callum Martin, Tim Penny third and Charlie Summers fifth.
(All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted.)
Patrik Piscay on pole with Elliot Alt alongside and C2 Keith Segal sharing row two with Yusuf Soeharjono. C2 Stef Theodorou occupied row three alongside Dan Grocott. Row four saw Douglas Smith alongside Toby Smith ahead of Nikolas Lakasas and Clifton Malcolm on row five. James Browning and Chris Harris were on row six with George Oxford and Louis Stagg on row seven. Rich Jones and Harrison Kirkham shared the penultimate row whilst the final row had Brandon Barrett alongside Cory Smith and Boyle Kir bringing up the rear. Four to qualify for the B Final and a trophy for the winner.
Piskay led the pack up to the line but it was Elt who led round the first turn with a fast starting Theodorou tucking in behind. Lakasas too was a quick starter moving up from ninth to fourth. Segal ran fifth ahead of Jones and Kirkham, up from grid fifteen and sixteen respectively. Three laps in and Elt continued to lead from Theodorou, Piskay and Lakasas. Segal remained fifth, doggedly determined to stay there but over two seconds adrift of the front four. Kirkham managed to get by Segal the following lap but was over three seconds back from the final qualifying place.
Half distance and Theodorou decided he’d had enough of staring at Alt’s back and slipped by on the short straight. Piskay and Lakasas remained third and fourth with Kirkham fifth but still well adrift of fourth. Segal remained sixth defending resolutely but dropping back from Kirkham. Two thirds distance and Piskay slipped by Alt for second. Lakasas remained fourth but Kirkham had found some extra speed setting his fastest lap to date eighth time around and cutting the gap to Lakasas. Segal remained sixth and barring incidents at the front clearly out of the running for a qualification spot. Behind him the pack was getting frustrated as Segal held on to his place with grim determination. Theodorou continued to lead from Piskay. Lakasas was up to third as Alt struggled to regain his rhythm and was now having to defend from Kirkham.
Segal continued to lead the ‘’D’’ final despite the close attentions of Jones, Soeharjono and Browning. Three to go and Theodorou, Piskay and Lakasas all looked to be safely through to the B. But Alt was far from safe, dropping away from the leading trio as he was forced to defend from Kirkham. But defend he did and once back into his rhythm he began to close back up to the leaders pulling Kirkham along with him.
Final lap and Lakasas put a needless move on Piskay for second. Piskay let him go mindful of not taking them both off. Alt was too far back to profit but remained fourth pipping Kirkham by just over a tenth. Segal came home sixth over eight seconds behind Kirkham. In its own way a remarkable drive. Jones followed him across the line followed by Grocott, Harris, Soeharjono and Browning. Sixth to eleventh covered by a fraction over a second. Kirkham may have missed out on qualifying but he did have the consolation of fastest lap. And there were no penalties. Not a single one.
(All drivers in C2 unless otherwise noted)
Sam Slater on pole with Yousuf Bin-Suhayl alongside. Row two had Callum Martin alongside C1 Christopher Powell. Justin Draper and Greg Smith shared row three with George Line alongside C3 George Lawlor on row four. Row five had Charlie Summers alongside Liam Nolan followed by Aaron Stillwell and David Hamer on row six. Dean Everest and James Dunnett shared row seven with two C3’s on row eight, Jagjeet Singh and Matt Ellis. Sam Morris and Kevin Schofield occupied row nine with two C3’s on row ten, Kim Eley and Andy Berry. Jed Toole and C3 Adam Brittain were on row eleven followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Theodorou, Lakasas, Piskay and Alt. Top two to qualify for the A Final and a trophy for the winner.
Another clean start with poleman Slater getting the better start to lead the first lap from Bin-Suhayl. Line made a great start moving from seventh to fourth. Two laps in and Bin-Suhayl slipped by Slater for the lead whilst Line went by Martin for third. Summers then put a move on Martin but it didn’t come off. Contact was made and Martin spun to a halt. Penalty for Summers. Draper lost places in avoidance. Summers benefited moving up to fourth. Once into the lead Bin-Suhayl immediately upped his pace setting the best lap of the race fourth time around and pulling clear aided by Line and Slater slowing each other as they fought over second. Line made it through but he was out of the hunt having picked up an early race penalty which would drop him four places in the results.
Half distance and Bin-Suhayl was over four seconds clear at the front with the penalised Line still second from Slater. Summers was a second back in fourth and having to keep an eye on Smith, Powell and Lawlor just a few lengths behind. Singh was next, leading the remaining runners some four seconds behind. With four to go Bin Suhayl was over five seconds clear of Line who had pulled a gap on Slater who now had Summers edging ever closer. Powell nipped by Smith for fifth but would need a miracle to get up to second. Final lap and Summers went by Slater for third. But it was all in vain.
Bin-Suhayl took the flag almost seven seconds clear of Line who dropped to sixth after his penalty was applied. So too Summers in third who was penalised down to ninth. All of which saw fourth placed Slater promoted to second and into the A final. Powell was classified third with Smith fourth from Lawlor who claimed the C3 honours. Singh was seventh, and second in C3, from Stillwell, third in C3, with Theodorou tenth after a strong drive up from the back of the grid. Bin-Suhayl also set the fastest lap and was the only driver to post a sub fifty five second lap.
(All drivers in C1 unless otherwise noted.)
Championship leader Fraser Brunton on pole from reigning Champion Jack O’Neill who can’t win this year having missed too many rounds. Daz Teal and C2 Dante Dhillon shared row two ahead of C2 Ben Lambeth and James Martin on row three. Mike Coppin occupied row four with C2 Ned Douglas. C2 Garrett Berry was on row five alongside former Champion and Clay winner Ed Barrs. C2 Russell Cooper shared row six with Andrew Ward followed by Reece Pope and C2 Luke Philips on row seven. C2 Mathew Cockerham was on row eight alongside Chris Woodger followed by four C2’s on rows nine and ten, Tim Penny, Bryn Alban, Samuel Essery and Dan Seager. C2 Joshua Sangster and Rob Langthorp shared row eleven with the penultimate row occupied by C2’s Michael Preston and Andrew Rabbage followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Bin Suhayl and Slater.
The final race of a long hot day and it was another clean one with Brunton getting ahead of O’Neill. Teal lost out dropping behind Lambeth and Coppin. Dhillon lost out badly dropping to eighth behind Martin and Barrs. Second time around and Brunton was a few lengths up on O’Neill with Coppin third. Down the order Dhillon had got by Barrs. Three run and it was as you were at the top of the order but Teal had now slipped ahead of Lambeth. Martin remained sixth from Dhillon whilst Berry had gone by Barrs who was struggling for pace.
Half distance and Brunton remained at the front from O’Neill the two of them setting almost identical laps. Coppin was just a few lengths back and well in the hunt but Teal was dropping back in fourth, unable to match the leaders pace but keeping himself clear of fifth placed Lambeth. Dhillon was sixth ahead of Martin Ward, Berry and Pope whilst Barrs continued to fall back. He would ultimately finish down in thirteenth. His worst finish for some time. He’ll be back.
With the front four clear attention was focused on the fight for fifth. Lambeth held the place but had Dhillon, Martin, Ward, Berry, Pope and Woodger line astern behind. Dhillon slipped by but it was the only overtake among the top eight over the second half of the race. The leaders reeled off the laps with Brunton keeping the gap to O’Neill at half a second with Coppin third a similar amount back from O’Neill. Teal was a comfortable fourth but some six seconds adrift of Coppin in third.
Dhillon took fifth and first in C2 ahead of Lambeth who was sixth and second in C2. Martin and Ward were seventh and eighth with Berry ninth and third in C2 whilst Woodger completed the top ten.
The Championship Round Up
Fraser Brunton has been on the podium at all five rounds winning three of them. He is going to take some stopping on this form but you can rest assured that the chasing pack won’t be surrendering anytime soon. Mike Coppin lies second. Bayford was a welcome return to the podium. When he’s totally focussed he’s very good. When not, he’s not. Daz Teal finished the 2021 season in the form of his life taking a hat trick of wins. Sadly that form has not carried over to this season and he has only troubled the podium once. He’s not had the best of luck though and I suspect both he and Mike Coppin to feature strongly over the second half of the season. Reece Pope lies fourth. Not his greatest round at Bayford but he continues to be a revelation. He’s certainly not overawed running with vastly more experienced company.
Former Champion Ed Barrs lies fifth. After a run of indifferent results I thought he’d turned a corner with his win at Clay but the fates seemed to conspire against him at Bayford. But never underestimate his ability to bounce back.
Next in the standings are a gaggle of C2 runners. Garrett Berry heads the Championship from Dante Dhillon, Ben Lambeth and Dan Seager. All four of these raced hard and well at Bayford and the Championship is warming up nicely. C3 is headed by Harrison Kirkham from Matt Ellis and Jagjeet Singh. They all showed some flashes of real pace at Bayford and are improving all the time.
Just like to say a big thank you to everyone who inquired about my health. Thankfully I am now returned to full fitness and looking forward to the rest of the season. I think it’s fair to say that Bayford wasn’t the most exciting round we’ve had in CLUB100. I’m sure the heat played its part with drivers concentrating on staying cool both on and off the track. Good to see smiles all round on the podiums after some of the tensions of previous rounds.
See you all at Lydd !!
Words: Steve Gray
Photography: John Patterson