Jack Bolton Clinches Runner Up To Champion Harry Neale At Buckmore Park

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First though came the morning session for the Elites and the Clubman’s and a typical Buckmore November day. Cold and damp with a wind blowing across the circuit which would leave the bottom of the circuit dry but the hairpin sections under the trees a touch moist. Not for nothing is Buckmore compared with Spa.

Heat 1

Pole for Luke Hornsby from Darrell Lowe with Jack Bolton in sixth and Rob Moore at the back of the grid. These two fighting for second in the Championship. Hornsby got a great start to lead followed by Lowe and Frankie Hedges whilst Stuart Osborn got shuffled down the order as the pack entered hairpin one. Drama though for Champion elect Harry Neale who spun to a halt. It was his first spin of the season too and brought a wry smile from his watching Dad. C100R12 0127One lap gone and Hornsby still led but Lowe got a good tow up the hill with Hedges in his wheeltracks and closed up under braking into hairpin one. Hornsby ran wide but had better traction off the corner only to find Hedges coming up the inside into hairpin two as Lowe slithered the long way round. Hedges came out ahead but Lowe found better grip and was ahead of them both as they headed down the hill. Hornsby fought briefly back ahead of Hedges but not for long. Bolton moved up to fourth at the expense of Osborn and David Whitehouse. Pietro Pagano was soon up to fifth ahead of a flying James Hattersley who had driven a barnstorming first lap moving from grid fourteen to eighth. Moore meanwhile was struggling. Having moved up from the back of the grid in the first lap scramble to sixteenth he was failing to make any further worthwhile progress. He would eventually finish thirteenth. Meanwhile Lowe continued to stretch his advantage at the front from Hedges who was now coming under pressure from Bolton and Pagano who had both dispatched Hornsby on the same lap. Hattersley, in sixth, was making no impression on the front five but was far enough ahead of the battle for seventh between Chris Dixon, Whitehouse and Stefan Scully. At the front Lowe was being caught by the chasing pack led now by Bolton from Hedges and Pagano. Penultimate lap and Pagano was ahead of Hedges. Last lap and Pagano dug deep setting the fastest lap and demoting Bolton to third but he couldn’t catch Lowe who took the win just under a second to the good. C100R12 0194Bolton came home third ahead of Hedges who then found himself penalised two places down to sixth. A fate which also befell Hattersley. All this left Hornsby fourth from Dixon fifth and then the two penalised drivers ahead of Scully, Whitehouse and Stephen Docker.

Heat 2

Pole for Christopher Powell with Hattersley just behind from Docker and Simon Lloyd. Moore down in eleventh and Bolton seventeenth. Hattersley was smartest away from the line and found better grip round the outside of turn one to lead down, into, and through the hairpins ahead of poleman Powell. Lloyd got the better of Docker whilst James Martin slotted into fifth ahead of Scully who would find himself down to seventh by the end of the lap as Moore scorched up through the field from his mid grid starting spot into sixth. Hattersley rapidly increased his advantage at the front but Docker was into second now having deposed Powell and Lloyd in the space of a lap. The latter pair now had a very racey Moore for company. At the front Hattersley remained roughly a second ahead of Docker for three laps and looking to be in complete control. But then the gap rapidly came down as Docker upped his pace. Through the hairpins he made his move and Hattersley had no response. C100R12 0411Docker really pressed home his advantage over the final couple of laps setting the fastest lap on the final tour and the only driver to get into the 48’s. He was just over two seconds clear of Hattersley at the flag who was in turn well clear of third placed Moore. A good drive this judging his moves to perfection. Powell came home fourth ahead of Lloyd and then a trio of Karts led by Martin from Lowe and Bolton. Scully and Theodorou completed the top ten.

Heat 3

The final heat for the Clubman’s and Peter Harris on pole from Moore. Neale and Theodorou on row two. Harris made no mistake off the line but Moore had to go the long way round as the field rounded the first turn shuffling him down to ninth by the end of the lap. Neale was into second from Theodorou and Jamie Pender with Dixon next from Mike Townley. Harrison Darvill was next but his seventh place became twenty second as he spun to the rear of the field. With three laps run the order remained the same at the front but Dixon was into third whilst Pender remained fourth as Theodorou lost out dropping to fifth.

C100R12 0619Down the order as the field came up the hill for the fourth time Hornsby took a look down the inside of Whitehouse at the first turn. Unfortunately he lost front end grip on the still slightly damp surface and made contact. In a heartbeat Whitehouse was backwards into the barrier whilst a distraught Hornsby headed for the pits and retirement full of remorse and seriously concerned for his friend as the race was stopped. It took some minutes to sort David (Whitehouse) out and it was a great relief to all to see him walking back to the pits accompanied by the excellent paramedics.

C100R12 0794The race resumed with Harris still leading but not for long as Neale took over at the front with Dixon third from Pender, Theodorou, Townley and Bolton who had climbed up from grid thirteen. And that was largely how they stayed till the flag with Neale crossing the line a second ahead of Harris. But the drama wasn’t over as Neale was found to be underweight and excluded from the results leaving Harris the winner from Dixon, Pender and Theodorou who had crossed the line third only to be deducted a place for cone abuse. Bolton took Townley for fifth on the final lap with Lloyd seventh from Pagano. Scully and Hattersley completed the top ten whilst Harris set the fastest lap.

Final

Bolton on pole from Hattersley with Docker and Lowe on row two. Dixon and Scully on three from Pagano and Lloyd with Harris and Moore completing the top ten. Bolton made the best of pole to lead round the top corner and down into the first hairpin. Docker followed him through whilst Hattersley did manage to hold on round the outside but had to bow to the inevitable into the hairpin managing to emerge in third.

C100R12 0740Lowe dropped to sixth behind Dixon and Pagano with Scully down to eighth behind Harris. Lloyd dropped to ninth with Theodorou up to tenth and Moore dropping to eleventh his chances of finishing second in the standings diminishing with every turn of the wheel. Bolton continued to lead from Docker and Hattersley, the three of them pulling out a small gap from Dixon chased now by Lowe. For several laps the order remained static but Bolton was beginning to pull well clear of Docker whilst he in turn was pulling clear of Hattersley. With three to run Bolton was clearly going to win barring a mistake and Docker was comfortable in second. Third though was still up for grabs as Hattersley fell back into the clutches of the chasing pack. Dixon had a look but couldn’t make the move stick and Lowe pounced as they ran a little wide and lost momentum. Thereafter he began to pull away. On the penultimate lap Bolton underlined his superiority setting the fastest lap and establishing a class record.

C100R12 0840Docker followed him home just over two seconds adrift with Lowe taking the final podium spot. Hattersley took fourth just holding off a feisty Dixon. Scully was next almost three seconds back but just ahead of Pagano. Harris, Lloyd and Theodorou completed the top ten. Down the order Neale came home in fourteenth but happy nonetheless. Now he could celebrate the Championship. Down the order it was great to see both David Whitehouse and Luke Hornsby actually on the grid. Luke had been so upset after the incident with David for which he accepted full responsibility that he’d decided to quit for the day. But David, suffering from a sore neck talked him out of it. Great sportsmanship and a fine example of the camaraderie which exists in the Club.

Championship

A great win for Jack Bolton then cementing second in the Championship from Rob Moore who had a bad day at Buckmore. Nevertheless he can be very proud of his third placed finish.

C100R12 3321A fine second place finish for Stephen Docker clearly underlined his talent. He only completed in a few rounds. He would almost certainly been challenging for the top three this season had he been able to contest more races. And the final podium spot for Darrell Lowe was a great way to end his season. But its hats off to Harry Neale; Club 100 Clubman’s Champion for 2017. And thoroughly deserved too.

A good year then in both morning championships and congratulations to all the winners.

Reflections

There were three nasty incidents at Buckmore all caused by over ambitious overtaking attempts. It’s racing I know and accidents will happen although serious ones are thankfully rare. To aid driver protection we are seeing more and more the old tyre barriers being replaced by the super absorbent F1 type barriers. These came in for some criticism at Buckmore as they have a tendency to spit the Kart back out after absorbing the impact. But they are safer than the tyre barriers. They are higher and easier to put back into place. Hitting a tyre barrier will often cause a Kart to become airborne and that really is dangerous. I agree that the new barriers do spit the Kart back out which can cause a whiplash effect but there is a solution. Wear a neckbrace. I know that they can feel uncomfortable but they do work. In my everso humble opinion. You wouldn’t race without a crash helmet but you’re far more likely to have a neck injury than a fractured skull.

Normally after the final round of the season I like to do a season review but I’ve decided to wait until the run up to Christmas to write it. Firstly it will give me a little more time and secondly it something for you to look forward too. I hope!

I’m off now for a well earned few days break in that wonderful holiday mecca…Scunthorpe.

Catch you all soon.

Words: Steve Gray

Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography