While Golding’s Away Pietro Will Play. All Square 4 Wins Each.

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C100R4-1314Frankie Hedges converted pole position into a win, despite knocking over a cone, in the Pre B Final although not before Bobby Dawes off grid 3 had had a go on the front, but Dawes lasted only to lap 4, Hedges and Ward moving back to the front joined by Darri Simms. Darri would push through and chase Hedges right through to the finish, but was carrying a 4 place penalty for contact earlier which precluded him from qualification and that put Hedges back on top still ahead of Andrew Ward, Ben Atkinson and Daniel Becker making up the top 4 and the qualifiers.

C100R4-1976Pagano had got off to a quiet start only 6th quickest overall in Timed Qualifying, and 2nd in  Group 1 behind Theodorou who started 4th for the Pre A Final. Taking the pole honour was Christopher Powell who continues to have the pace, if only he could stay out of trouble or perhaps if only trouble would avoid him. Oliver Rowlands joined him on the front row with Jon Gooch on grid 3. Into turn 1 Rowlands, who was ahead at the start of Powell, and would be pinged later 2 places for the transgression post race, went side by side, Chris on the left, Oli on the right, of course the 2nd part of Crook is a long(er) right hander and Oli still with his advantage would lead uphill. While pinned on the outside Powell would also have to give way to Martin Theodorou in Xmas. The field filtered through The Kink, Inkermans and sorted itself out into Ashby, Pagano was 4th with Whitelock coming down inside Dominic Green into the corner only to have to let Dominic and Alex Lammin have the inside into the left hander at Parker. After a lunge into The Boot by Martin, that required squaring off to make the exit, Rowlands, Martin, Chris and Pietro charged on to lap 2, Pagano driving around Powell into turn 1, making Chris lift and vulnerable to Green. Theodorou lunged in way too hot and deep for the lead again at Xmas which gifted Pietro 2nd place. Martin had lost so much momentum in his latest passing attempt that he was hanging on ahead Lammin down at Ashby. Into the Boot Pagano made his move on the lead, taking a kart length on Oliver into turn 1 and over a 1.5secs advantage on Theodorou and Powell side by side into Crook again. It would be Powell emerging in 3rd on the other side although that only lasted until Ashby as Whitelock squirmed under full brake to get it hauled up and turned ahead of Chris, still side by side, William didn’t give Chris him enough room on the exit, on the outside. At least that was my take away from the exploding plastic barrier and flailing Powell arm.

C100R4-0562Whitelock (obviously), Lammin, Chris Penny running well up front for a change, and Green all got by, and only the steam from Powell’s helmet held off Theodorou and Jon Gooch. By Parker the gap was opening up as Rowlands lost the tow from Pietro pulling away at 0.1 up to 0.3secs a lap later on. It would be Whitelock first to escape the pack and set off after Oli who was fading more as the race went on. With something to chase William was by now the fastest driver on track and caught up with Oliver with 2 laps to go, passing him into Xmas. Behind after an aborted breakaway with Theodorou, Dominic Green was able to gap Martin and the pack to go 4th, which would have been promotion to 3rd a long way behind Pagano and the by now rapid Whitelock but he had his regular 4 place contact penalty. So Theodorou was 3rd ahead Rowlands, Powell and a season’s best from Chris Penny passing and holding off Alex Lammin and Gooch.

C100R4-1496Once again grid 2 jumped the start which ought to have cost Lee Norris any chance of qualification from the B Final with a 2 place penalty, with only 2 remaining spots left on the back of the main A Final. Still anything can happen in Lights. James Venning led uphill after and Jon Watkins a run inside of Venning into Xmas but Jon backed and got squeezed out the Kink by Darri Simms for his circumspection, probably Darri’s first penalty. Watkins got swallowed and nearly driven over by James Martin and from looking for the lead at Xmas, Jon would looking out of it after being rugby tackled by Andrew Hunt for 9th place at Ashby. Up to Xmas the next time Venning covered the inside so Norris went for the big heave ho up and around the outside just failing to get it done into the Kink, opening it up for Simms and Chris Dixon to come though ahead of him. It looked very much like perm 2 from these 4 as Hunt, while fighting through to 5th, was 1.5secs behind, with Andrea Fioravanti, Watkins and Martin all set to trip each other up. Simms put one down the inside of Venning into Parker that was another one place penalty for contact that put Venning off the back of the group. Perm 2 from 3.

Of course the leader Simms was carrying a 2 place, and Norris a 1 place penalty. Dixon, if he read his rules like an anorak, and had read the penalty boards, would win the race and qualify if did nothing more than follow them in 3rd place. And essentially it played out that way until the last lap (as they didn’t really stop racing). Norris had to win to make it through, be demoted to 2nd while Simms would miss out regardless. On to the last lap Simms tried to lap Joseph Liddiard, Joseph seeing him late moved right to let Darri have the inside for Chapman, only it was too late and instead squeezed Simms on to the grass. Norris and Dixon went through.

C100R4-1968Odd thing about the A Final was Pagano started on the wrong (right) side of the grid, but Whitelock was not bothered and it gave Pietro the perfect entry line for turn 1, and he’d half a dozen kart lengths on the exit and never looked back. Whitelock was joined by Martin Theodorou and initially they’d have a gap on Chris Powell, a kart length or so ahead of Rowlands under pressure from Dominic Green. And it would be Green leading the pack through chasing Powell and Theodorou for 3rd place. Chris got alongside going into Ashby sensed Martin turning in anyway then couldn’t get back out of it quick enough. Between them and the contact they had only succeeded in inviting Green in with Rowlands. Dominic had the pair passed before the apex of Parker, running Martin (fairly it was Dom’s corner) out wide to put Powell back on his bumper. Chris pressed in to pass through the Boot section and they all lost time on the leading pair clearing off up the road.

C100R4-1958Pagano put a tenth of a second into Whitelock every lap up to lap 6 before moving away again at 0.3secs a lap as William settled in for a comfortable 2nd place. Behind Green, Theodorou and Powell continued to fight, to an “Objection(able)!” degree for Chris’ liking. I haven’t seen every camera angle (yet) so I’m not so sure about that. Theodorou pressed and passed cleanly inside into Chapmans on lap 9, and in going in deep he held up Dominic, looking over the wrong (right) shoulder, to give Chris a run into 4th place before the The Boot. A lap later out of Xmas Powell was suddenly knee deep in James Williams, Alex Lammin, Chris Penny, Oli Rowlands and co. Green and Theodorou ran nose to tail to the finish. Perhaps something to incense the affable Powell had occurred off the ball, and it so far appears to be off camera and out of view of the officials, as there was no penalty for Green and stunned everyone into a typically English, faintly embarrassed silence, by raising his objection at the podium. No one had ever seen that before so just carried on with the trophies. Green had finished 7.7secs behind Whitelock and 9.5secs behind Pagano.

Round 5 is at Glan-y-Gors on  26 June 2016.

Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography