It’s Ingram for the Round Win, as Beroual-Smith has Disc Trouble.
It would be business as usual in Heavyweight Sprint 60 practice as Beroual-Smith led the way into qualifying with a 43.365 after 10mins of practice, from Wayne Lidgbird, Phil Ingram, and Tarik Almou, as your usual suspects, you might say. Although Jeff Chapman was a new name to SP60 and he was 5th. When the slate was wiped clean for qualifying and it was Richard Newton from the Super Heavyweight Class who broke the beam to start the 5min qualification and his 44.65 would last about 5secs on the top of timing before Almou and Lindley replaced him at the top, then Beroual-Smith’s 43.891 with what looked like a banker a lap for him took P1. Phil Ingram went briefly 3rd before Chapman replaced Tarik in P2. Alex Pritchard placed his SHW marker on P3, ahead of Phil Kendall, Stephen Jennings and Gerard Moore.
Lap 2 and Almou moved to the pole with 43.837, then Ingram hit it with a fast time of 43.356, Buckmore winner Wayne Lidgbird moved into P2, Chapman to P4, Daniel Taylor moved up to P6 behind Beroual-Smith, before Anwar responded to go pole with 43.314. So Ingram hit it again with 43.28. And with 4 laps in the books it was starting to look settled – Ingram, Beroual-Smith, Lidgbird, Almou, Chapman, Taylor, Pritchard leading SHW, Jennings, Lindley and Wayne Edwards, 2nd SHW, in 10th. With 30secs to go George Watson slotted in ahead of Pritchard for P7, then Beroual-Smith moved pole position to 43.157. Ingram had shot his bolt, Wayne Edwards moved up ahead Taylor into P6.
Everything was in the right place again by the chequered flag – Beroual-Smith on pole, Ingram, Lidgbird and Almou on row 2, same names slightly different order, Chapman and Edwards, as leading SHW, on row 3, Taylor and Watson, Pritchard not leading SHW, and Jennings making up the top 10.
It was a busy lap 1, save for Beroual-Smith, he’d be handed a 1.8secs lead, and unless he had a bad kart, he’d be difficult to catch. And so it was. Anwar reporting, “I ran away with [it, at] about 3 tenths a lap quicker than anyone else”. So after a few laps to content himself with the kart over, he would relax into a rhythm. Chapman emerged in 2nd place ahead of Almou, then a fast starting Daniel Taylor, with Ingram, much of the position changes were at his expense, with most of the field lined up behind starting with Pritchard and Lindley also in hurry mode.
Almou moved passed Chapman pulled into a clear 2nd place, Pritchard demoted Ingram to 7th, and moved on to Taylor’s bumper, Daniel, who was heading a 4 kart chasing group, before Ingram was ejected from it the next lap.
At the 5min mark the race was taking shape, Beroual-Smith would chip out a few tenths every time Almou made a small mistake. His lead edging up to 3secs, as the pair were generally both half a second quicker than Chapman on his own in 3rd. Jeff doubtless hoping he would not fall into the combative chasing group still led by Taylor, although not for long, Pritchard, Gerard Moore and Lidgbird. Alex Lammin was trying to get on this train and Steve Lindley was trying to stay on it, and hold off Stephen Jennings in 10th at the same time. A couple seconds behind George Watson brought through the main field 14secs off the leader through which Ingram, having lost 7secs early on, before the field spread compounded that loss, was working his way back through.
Over the 10min mark, Beroual-Smith had chipped out another half a second on Almou, although not without drama, Anwar again, “I did get an ABC on a back marker but I’d get that penalty overturned and win reinstated”. 8.5secs behind Chapman’s advantage was no longer over Pritchard but Moore. Gerard, who’d escaped the contact warnings, including his own, in the chasing group after Pritchard, had pace and caught and passed him. The Super Heavyweight (SHW) though was comfortably leading the class, by 15secs initially ahead of Wayne Edwards, but he’d been caught and passed by Richard Allen before half way, Dickie in 14th overall. A little later than Moore, Alexander Lammin had driven through and out of the group and was also coming forward. It left Lindley leading the chasing group still containing Jennings, Lidgbird and Taylor, but again not for long. Ingram was up to 12th, hitting mid 43s, while those around him were posting low 44secs laps. How far Phil could get 20secs off the lead was an open question but Chapman 3rd was only 8secs up the road, and Phil was then in the tow of Lindley group. Moore, if he wasn’t quick would be joined by Pritchard and Lammin in a Chapman group over 3rd place. But that group never got a chance, as Moore pushed straight through, and Lammin, got by Chapman and Pritchard, at the same time.
So the race had sort of found a level, a long way behind Beroual-Smith and Almou, it had broken into pairs, Moore and Lammin, then Chapman and Pritchard, not in that order for long, then Lidgbird and Jennings, then Lindley, with briefly, Ingram, the latter hacking his way through to the top 10 and not stopping there. Phil passed Chapman going the other way (metaphorically) before the 20min mark, over 8th place, around the time Lidgbird picked his contact penalty.
Into the final quarter, Alexander Lammin, who’d spent a good 7mins following and trying to find a move for 3rd on Moore, managed to find a way by, for a lap or at least. 4secs behind Pritchard had SHW wrapped up, but not necessarily 5th on the road as 1.5secs behind Ingram was homing in on Jennings, with Lidgbird on Phil’s bumper. Then Moore was back in 3rd and Lammin lost 7secs, contact? A spin? He was 7th, down behind Jennings.
Closing stages then, Ingram had dropped Lidgbird, picked up Pritchard to pass him for 4th, he was 4secs down on Moore in 3rd, and that was a bit of an ask with 6 laps to go. Instead he would tow Pritchard, Lidgbird, Jennings and Lammin at pace to the chequered flag. Late gaffe’s Lammin picked up a cone penalty, then in sight of the flag Almou picked up an unnecessary position penalty on a back marker, and 4 position penalty. Beroual-Smith cruised to the win by 3.5secs on the road, but by 19secs over Moore promoted to 2nd when Almou’s penalty was applied. So Ingram got 3rd, Pritchard was comfortably top SHW 4th, with Richard Allen on the tail of the lead lap in 14th, with Wayne Edwards just off in 15th. Jeff Chapman’s 9th on the road turned into 5th with penalties to Almou 6th, Lammin 7th, Lidgbird – multiple contacts penalty demoted to 8th, and Jennings – forcing a driver wide, demoted to 11th, leaving Lindley and Taylor to make up the top 10.
A tale of 2 races, indeed the championship may come down to who deals with adversity and ekes out a half decent result when things have gone wrong, as they regularly seem to. So it might come down to the one bad result you wish you could drop score but can’t that might decide the champion. We will see.
New race, different kart, and after a false start, and a break for 10mins, Beroual-Smith led them away in finishing order from race 1, in a race shortened to 25mins. To demonstrate how important race 1 results I was going to point Alex Pritchard started as leading Super Heavy in P4, while Richard Allen started P14. And even with a great first lap, Allen was up to 7th, 1.5secs behind Alex in 4th, a lap later, Richard was 6th, and Alex 7th. Anwar had discovered he had no pace, no top end, no bottom end, not even any middle… end. Mid range, Anwar reporting, “I later found out [my kart’s lack of pace was] a bent brake disc from the previous driver smashing a kerbs, resulting in it rubbing on the pads and was losing me around 1 sec a lap!” Phil Ingram had grabbed 2nd place from Gerard Moore off the start, and Anwar’s disadvantage was turned by Phil into the lead on the next lap, Moore got by as well, as Beroual-Smith was staging a rearguard action trying to hold off the field bunching behind him. Almou was the next to slip by into 3rd, then the next lap Lidgbird. Anywhere you could find the room, Beroual-Smith was a sitting duck, although Rye House doesn’t have a lot of room, but Pritchard would be next, a couple of laps later Allen, then Daniel Taylor, another couple of laps it was Stephen Jennings. Steve Lindley and Jeff Chapman closed in and maybe Anwar had steadied the ship, before dropping out of the top 10. 1 second off Ingram’s race leading 43.4 pace might keep him in the top 10, and perhaps salvation might come from the heaven’s as it was cloudier than before.
Anwar had been a filter that let the top 10 through one at a time. Ingram was out in a 1.2secs lead, initially from Moore but 9mins in, he’d be run down, caught and passed by Almou, 2secs behind Lidgbird was a comfortable 4th, 6secs behind him Allen had repassed Pritchard, in their own SHW battle to bring in Taylor and Jennings to that fight. Anwar was learning how to extract everything his off kart had and had got down to 44.2secs, but that was everything he and it had, Lindley and Chapman were pushing track limits, like Anwar in fairness, looking for a way by. Chapman was replaced by George Watson, in what could be described as Beroual-Smith Blockade Group, as it was joined by Leo Stolyarov, Lammin, and Phil Hoodless. Taylor moved passed Pritchard for 5th, only 8.5secs behind Lidgbird in 4th, as the top 4, that had been spreading out, contracted over just 2.5secs of track, with slow laps from Ingram and Almou filtering through traffic. Any time they cleared traffic it would expand again. Jennings spun at turn 1 and lost 10secs, came through in 16th, 2.5secs ahead Carl Bannister had joined the tail of Beroual-Smith Blockade Group, Anwar was up to 8th, vut trying to hold off George Watson for a change from Lindley. And George would have more success, demoting Beroual-Smith back to 9th before pulling clear.
With 7mins to go, traffic might be Tarik’s chance, back on Ingram’s bumper, with Moore hanging on to the tow, with more traffic looming. Moore got involved in an incident in the last corner, and was gone from what looked like a big finish for the top 3, at the same time, Almou lost ground on Ingram as well, but just a half a second, Moore had lost a lap. But replacing Moore, for the last 5mins, as the new factor in the result was the weather, it was trying to rain, but it only made the last couple of minutes ‘interesting’. Fortunately it was too close to the finish to offer anyone much assistance, although Pritchard passed Allen for the final time for 5th on the road. Ingram is accustomed to rain around Rye House, I think he clinched his Heavyweight sprint championship in the wet here, and he stretched out his lead to over 1secs at the finish. Almou took 2nd, no penalties this time. Lidgbird was 3rd 7.5secs off the Ingram, Taylor at 15secs, then Pritchard and Allen, Beroual-Smith was grabbed 7th place from Watson on the last lap, he would have had it anyway due to an 6 place penalty for Watson for an ABC take out, behind Anwar, Jeff Chapman, Phil Hoodless and Stephen Jennings made up the top 10.
Race 2 was Phil Ingram’s 3rd win of the season, he took the round win, whether his Jaguar Formula E commitments allow, he looks like Anwar’s main challenger, if not then Tarik Almou is 19points behind, Wayne Lidgbird a further 23.
In Super Heavyweights, Alex Pritchard took the round, and leads Richard Allen by 17points. Feels like it should be more, and that might yet play into Allen’s hands at the end of the year.
WORDS: Chris Simpson
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson