Heavyweight Sprint Championship, 2014 – Rd.2

C’mon, I need some pushers!!

Surprisingly sunny weather greeted the Prems and Fa, sorry, Heavyweights for Round 2 at Bayford Meadows, a layout which appears to provoke love and loathing in equal measure amongst drivers.
A technical track it also offers great viewing for the spectators and it was good to see a healthy number of ‘fans’ trackside.

Heavyweight Qualifying

Steven Bartlett was the star of qualifying putting in a stunning 54.479 on lap 4 of the first session almost two tenths up on next fastest Josh O’Hagan. With only six drivers out of an entry of forty nine posting a time under the 55’s this was a stunning margin boding well for a good afternoon to get his championship aspirations on track after missing round 1. Third up in Group 1 was Sam Fisher, followed by Liam Hitchen and Keith Mizen. Tim Hill was a disappointed seventh with Paul Crawford just missing out by five hundredths of a second. Shane Hill headed Group 2 by just two hundredths of a second from Adam Nakar with Pete Mills’s third and championship leader Francesco Volpe in fourth. Of those outside the top ten Glen Beard was a disappointing fourteenth. Lennie Wood headed the somewhat thin on the ground super heavyweights. Pun intended.

B Final 1

With the top four drivers looking to progress to the A final this could have been a scruffy affair but Paul Crawford led the pack away with Laurent Lesourd keeping him honest. Sam Brice and Nick Pollicot got a little too involved allowing Daniel French to take good advantage. Glen Beard was keeping a watching brief but the men on the move were Paul Williams, working his way beautifully through the field from Grid 14, and Roger Jenkins putting in a storming drive from Grid 25. Darrell Lowe had a disaster of a race falling from Grid 7 to the back of the field along with Joe Walsh. At the front however Crawford settled into a consistent rhythm with Lesourd following just a second behind. Meanwhile French put a move on Brice for third at turn 4 and set off in pursuit of Lesourd for second eventually catching him on the final tour. I think Daniel might do well to reflect that with the top four qualifying for the A final there was no need other than pride to put a move on Lesourd for second through turns six, seven and eight. It could have ended in tears for both. Crawford crossed the line in first, Lesourd second with French third and fastest lap to his name. James English crossed the line in a lonely fourth some six seconds behind.

B final 2

Despite a disastrous B final 1 James Canham had the pole for B2 with Glen Beard alongside. With just two to qualify the scene was set for some argy bargy but it never materialised. Canham was quickly away from pole but Beard was soon into his stride and quickly past for first. Roger Jenkins ruined his first race efforts with a spin. Tim Williams put on a real charge taking Paul Williams for third but was still some three seconds away from Canham at the flag. Lennie Wood headed the super heavyweights with a fine drive into fifth thus cementing his position at the top of the class. After his exclusion from B1 Roger Davis salvaged something from the day as he climbed from the back of the grid to eleventh, setting fastest lap along the way. Beard and Canham it was then to go through to A1

A Final 1

Steven Bartlett sat on pole with Shane O’Neill alongside, Josh O’Hagan and Adam Nakar next up, Sam Fisher and Peter Mills and Liam Hitchen with championship leader Francesco Volpe alongside and needing a strong result to maintain his early season advantage. The front of the grid made a good getaway but towards the back confusion reigned as Oliver Knight bogged down forcing Christopher Dean on to the grass. Ed White appeared to fear a penalty and backed off. Cue much waving arms in attempt to force a restart but it didn’t happen. The clerks will only give what they see and all in all do great job but like football referees they won’t get all the decisions right every time. At the front Bartlett pulled a slight advantage as O’Neill dropped back behind a fast starting Nakar. O’Hagan and Mills Settled into position but it was Sam Fisher who made up the most ground moving cleverly into second. Try as he might though he could not mount a serious challenge on Bartlett. Volpe was struggling to find a rhythm and was thankful to only drop one place. Down the order Ed White was a man on a mission moving up eight places for a top ten finish whilst Christopher Dean suffered the ignominy of exclusion having driven like a nob. Bartlett crossed the line just clear of the charging Fisher with Nakar, O’Hagan and Mills in close attendance. Crucially however Mills had set fastest lap claiming pole for A Final 2 ahead of Nakar and Dave Price who, despite being classified last, put in his best lap of the day on the final tour to promote himself to third on the grid for A2. Laurent Lesourd was another who put in a quick lap and despite finishing almost a lap adrift would start in the top eight in A2.

A Final 2

Peter Mills led the field away with Adam Nakar, Sam Fisher, Josh O’Hagan, Steven Bartlett, Dave Price, and Laurent Lasourd all in close attendance. Liam Hitchen and Shane O’Neill were already beginning to fall away and then Lasourd threw away all his hard work with a spin at turn four. A very fast starting Daniel French was forced on to the grass in avoidance and fell backwards as quickly as he had come forwards. Francesco Volpe, starting from Grid 20 was also on the move. Fisher moved ahead of Nakar for second with O’Hagan moving ahead of Bartlett. Tim Hill was an early retirement with a broken exhaust the result of being assaulted up the rear by an over ambitious Ed White into turn 6. Not good being rear ended for a man of Mr. Hill’s years. Ed suffered exclusion. Thereafter the action centred on Volpe and some fierce racing in the back half of the field. French was quickly back into his stride and looking to make a move on Christopher Dean but as Dean got the benefit of the breaks in traffic so French fell away to do battle with Jonathan Wort, the two of them trading places with French eventually getting the place on the second to last lap. And all this over nineteenth place. Despite pressure from Fisher, Mills kept his nerve to take the win with Nakar third, O’Hagan fourth and Bartlett fifth. Volpe’s great drive saw him take sixth and keep himself well in the championship mix. Christopher Dean produced his best drive of the season moving up twelve places to twelfth and record a sub 55 second lap. After two seasons of Club 100 and a dominant Rookie Endurance Championship win last season I expect him to be closer to the frontrunners for the remainder of the campaign. Glen Beard’s campaign suffered a blow when he suffered a fuel pick up problem. He ran out! Despite Mill’s win it was Fisher who took the overall spoils. A model of consistency he was also my driver of the day. Bartlett took second from Mills by virtue of a faster lap. But Josh O’Hagan came away with the championship lead just three points ahead of Fisher and Mills with Volpe just two points adrift of them. These four have pulled out an early gap on the rest of the field but it’s early days.