Is Tim Clark Taking Over SP60 Heavy? Double Win at Whilton Mill
Three race wins in a row, and a 10 point lead, for Tim Clark. It does not make a championship, of course, but reigning champion Anwar Beroual-Smith had to admit Tim had his measure at least on this Saturday afternoon showing, “In Race 1, I had to settle for P2 once Tim got by, then in Race 2 I got by Tim and Dan [Brewer], then took the lead of Alex [Pritchard] only to get held up by back markers big time, some were defending! He just managed to get through me and traffic much easier than I did. Once I cleared them all I was reeling him in on average 0.5 a lap but was too late.” So this championship is still in it’s early days, and it is far from cut and dried. Indeed this looking like the stronger of the two SP60 championships right now. Dan Brewer is a player, along with the Incredible Reducing Man, Alex Pritchard, 10kg lighter and falling, “[Race 1] I was leading if not gapping [the field] and Anwar had a cone penalty, it was about as guaranteed a win as it could be. Then everyone else decided the smash the **** out of the final corner track limits and JV red flagged the race. The restart was in drier conditions and Tim did me and Anwar with his better pace for the conditions. The 2nd race started much wetter and I was again about fastest on track, I was cruising, following Tim in the wet conditions, and eventually took the lead. As it dried though I didn’t want to risk 100% confidence on the drying line so it cost me time and eventually finished 4th. So it could have been a lot better [and a different result]. My wet pace was winning but dry I wasn’t willing to take the chances others were.” Still it’s clear everyone is taking notice of Clark and the reigning champion, Alex again, “No podiums and (21 points off the lead is) a lot of work to catch Tim and Anwar now.”
Another bumper to bumper sold out 39 driver grid. Wet conditions, we may have started late in the year, but precipitation, if not the temperatures, could be March or April, right now. Beroual-Smith, Brewer, Pritchard and Ryan Sandall had set the pace in practice, and it was Alex again setting the pole mark, for the 5min qually that followed on, that was never going to stand at 77.5secs, with Alex Lammin, James Johnstone looking favourite in a 14 driver Super Heavyweight Class, Brewer and Beroual Smith, initially lined up behind Pritchard. Lap 2 saw Anwar take it down to 76.5, Pritchard demoted to P2, Clark moved into provisional P3, demoting Lammin, Brewer, Johnstone and Sandall. Richard Newton moved up to P8 to give Johnstone competition for SHW pole, Garrett O’Connor and Stuart Martin the top 10.
Beroual-Smith took the chequered flag first, moving pole position to 76.1secs, would it be enough? Brewer had just squeezed in between Anwar and Alex for P2, and Kai Crawford had replaced Lammin for the inside of row 3, everyone getting one more go to set a pole position, or a good grid slot, for the biggest grid of the weekend, and the biggest one this reporter can remember. They all missed, Ryan Sandall “Anwar and I we’re leagues ahead really in practice, but I couldn’t get a clean lap in qually,” he’d line up inside of Row 4 with James Johnstone, on the SHW pole, who reported, “Perfect conditions for me, I love the rain so was really confident heading into Race 1”. Behind Matt Horgan and Garrett O’Connor made up the top ten. Top 6 Beroual-Smith, Brewer, Pritchard, Clark, Crawford and Lammin.
Or rather the first race 1. Matt Horgan, “The whole event was lots of fun in mixed conditions, but the first start was brought to a red flag stop because too many people were running wide at the final corner”, Sandall, “the red flag spoiled my good start”, Pritchard, “Anwar and I got away and then I got passed, I had great pace and 3rd backwards were miles off! Anwar had already picked up a cone penalty on lap 1, it was about as guaranteed a win as it could be. Then JV red flagged the race. We got a b******ing and it was a complete restart, so Anwar’s penalty was reset.” Pritchard having run down a 2secs lead from the fast starting, but cone smashing, champion. Although to be fair on the recording of live timing, Alex was guilty (in a long list) of a track limit warning of his own, although it would have been tough to see in the long list of messages running through digi-board. He was on Anwar’s bumper going on to lap 3 and straight through to the lead, but by the end of lap 5, Race Control had had enough. Red flag. Dressing down.
On the restart 10mins later, for a shortened 15min race, the track had had some time to dry. Dry? No that’s not it, it was less wet, 5secs faster, but still wet, and a long way from dry lap times, but it was enough to tilt the table or so it appeared. Rapid out of the gate again, Beroual-Smith timed his run at the green to get the best run he could, he’d once again emerge around the final corner with over a 1secs lead, this time from Tim Clark, the sort out of sorts created spaces behind between the other leading runners Pritchard, Brewer, with Kai Crawford once again trying to hold off Lammin, Johnstone and Sandall, Ryan commenting, “The track drying up made overtaking a nightmare”. He still managed to work his way steadily through Johnstone, then Lammin, and then Crawford to go 5th at half distance. Behind a fast starting Jason Bear was in 9th place, getting the better of Richard Newton and Matt Horgan, reported “Unfortunately on the restart I got hit onto the grass”, going backwards, O’Connor losing out to Bear but holding on to his grid 10 position. Jason would eventually move up and through Alex Lammin, at half distance.
Clark lopped half a second off Beroual-Smith’s lead on his first clear lap, on lap 2, and after a lap in the leaders wheel track’s, Tim was through. Lap times had started falling faster around him, than his own, Anwar was not entirely happy, “I lacked bottom end so settled for P2 once Tim got by, it was a fairly boring race in the end,” but he did hang on to Clark long enough to pull away from Pritchard, who in turn had initially broken clear of Brewer. That wouldn’t last, a cone penalty, and at the same time Brewer moved through to 3rd. Alex would spend the rest of the race looking over his shoulder, and holding off Ryan Sandall, and being hard to pass.
Closing stages, saw the track drying to 57secs, Clark making the most of it to pull into a race winning lead of 3secs over Beroual-Smith. Ten seconds behind Dan Brewer pulled a couple of seconds on Pritchard, and even though Sandall did not know it, he’d already passed Alex in the results by dint of the latter’s cone penalty. Jason Bear topped off an impressive run from 12th on the grid to pass Kai Crawford a few laps from the finish for 6th, Alex Lammin finished 8th. While the result was 9th and 10th in the results page, it was a comfortable SHW win for James Johnstone, 15secs clear of Richard Newton. Richard bringing through a line of karts, of George Watson, O’Connor, Stephen Jennings, Matt Horgan, Daniel Taylor, Steve Lindley (+1 penalty), a quiet Stuart Martin and Stuart Kirk, 3rd in SHW, Claudio La Rosa and Daryl Snelling rounded out the top 20.
Back to full wet again to start this one. Alex Pritchard made a cracking start off grid 5 to be P2 at the end of lap 1, half a second off Clark, as Beroual-Smith briefly slid back to P6 before working his way forward again. Making the most of the start Steve Lindley off grid 17, would be up to 7th place, with Stuart Martin grid 16, and Daniel Taylor grid 14 in tow. Brewer, in 3rd, 1.5secs behind Pritchard, with Sandall, Jennings and Beroual Smith, in the first group, then a gap to Lindley’s chasing group. Going out the other way was Lammin dropping to 13th from P8, George Watson down to 16th from grid 10, and Jason Bear behind him from grid 7.
Clark with the track in it’s fully wet state was setting the pace, perhaps a safe pace, being first into every braking zone and corner, Pritchard initially had him to himself but Brewer was pushing and closing in to make it a leading trio, then Beroual-Smith had moved to the front of his group, and then dropped Jennings and Sandall. But the track was drying again and by the 10min mark, the track was starting to come to Clark, down to 70secs laps, his lead was out 1.7secs, then the gap was down to 0.5secs, one good lap one bad lap was the order of the day. Alex again “I was cruising to follow Tim in the wet conditions and eventually took the lead”, not before Dan Brewer passed and closed to Clark’s bumper. At 13mins in race 2 had reached it’s first crucial point, Dan taking the lead briefly watching in behind, Beroual-Smith, “[Despite the poor start] I had good pace, and got by Tim and Dan after they tangled at Ashby and went onto the grass, I then took the lead off Alex.”
At half distance Anwar’s lead was 1.5secs from Pritchard, Clark and Brewer, but the next pivotal, more moments really, it was the changing state of the track. Lap times were falling again to sub 60secs laps, and while not dry by any means, these drying conditions seemed to favour Clark, and he moved through and on to Beroual-Smith’s bumper, who waste deep in unhelpful back markers, commented, “That put Tim back on to me and he just managed to get through me and the traffic much easier than I did”, that would put Tim into a 3.5secs lead with only 4mins to go. It was too much for Anwar to close, and it was enough Tim. Pritchard had been just off Beroual-Smith’s bumper going into the closing stages, but had been cautious on the changing track, Dan Brewer was by then 3.5secs behind, but that would change, Alex again, “I gave the Applewood (team mates) boys a thumbs up thinking “Am I ok guys? Tell me” they saw my thumbs up, didn’t know what the **** I was talking about, and gave me a thumbs up back, “so [on to the final lap] I didn’t bother defending the straight and got done by Dan, and the boys laughed. They then gave me a thumbs up for the rest of the weekend asking if I was ok.” That’s team mates for you.
Ten seconds behind Ryan Sandall picked off Daniel Taylor, already carrying a penalty for a cone, from a long list of race 2 penalties, for 5th place, Ryan reported, “I really struggled with the conditions, constantly stuck in battles, because overtaking was so tough no matter how much quicker than the kart in front. But no penalties for me for a change”, with cone penalties for Stephen Jennings and James Johnstone, and 6 place take out penalty for Matt Horgan, “The circuit ended up mostly dry but was still wet on the inside of Chapmans, as an unfortunate back marker found out when I slid into the side of him”, contrived to promote Daryl Snelling from excellent 12th on the road from grid 20 to a final position of 6th. Richard Newton moved up to 9th with James Johnstone’s latest penalty to take the SHW win in race 2, and the round win, James again, “I was bitterly disappointed not to win but upon reflection I didn’t deserve it after that second race, Richard drove cleanly and deserved to come home first in the end so we just gotta take it on the chin and move on to Lydd.”
In terms of the event. Clark took the win (2wins) from Beroual-Smith (2 x 2nd places) and Dan Brewer (2 x 3rd places). Newton took SHW’s on the tie break, from Johnstone, Stuart Kirk was a distant 3rd in the event, seeing off Christopher Heath.
Words: Chris Simpson
Photography: John Patterson