Jack O’Neill’s Bulging Trophy Cabinet!
A beautiful sunny day for Round six at Lydd. A lovely place when the sun is shining but pretty desolate when it’s not. And the new Clubhouse looks like a great addition to the facility. Such a pity that in these Covid times we can’t make more use of it but at least with CLUB100’s superb organisation we are able to go racing. Hopefully without any further interventions.
The Road to the Finals
Dan Healey opened his account for the day with a dominant win in the first heat. Starting from grid nine he worked his way steadily up the order before taking second placed Chris Alcock and long time leader Reece Pope in the space of a lap. Thereafter he drove away to win by over two seconds and set the fastest lap of the race establishing a class record. Alcock came home second but was hit with a four place penalty for a bump and pass on Pope. Fraser Brunton was promoted to second with Dan Truman next after working his way up from grid twelve. Andrea Fioravanti took fourth after starting from grid four with Pope promoted to fifth ahead of the penalised Alcock.
Heat Two went to Pietro Pagano. He led for all bar two laps but it was no easy run. Jason Bradbury led away from pole with Pagano second, Jack O’Neill third and Christopher Powell fourth. Pagano quickly got by Bradbury for the lead whilst O’Neill had to wait till half distance before he moved into second. Powell remained fourth and that was how the order remained. Powell lost fourth place post race after toppling a cone handing vital points to Championship leader Ed Barrs who had had to work his way up from grid ten. Despite setting the fastest lap final time around he had never been a threat to the front four.
Stephen Westwood sat on pole for Heat Three alongside Owen Jenman. Jenman was smartly away but he’d been a bit too smart and had jumped the start. Wherever he finished he would be penalised two places. He led the way for three laps whilst Oliver Flashman and Mike Coppin fought over second. Coppin slipped by and immediately closed in on the leader. For several laps Jenman and fought hard for the lead separated by less than a tenth as they crossed the finish line but gradually Coppin pulled clear as Jenman came under pressure from Flashman and Alisdair Irvine who had run fourth for much of the race. Coppin took the win with Jenman next over the line but penalised to fourth handing second to Irvine who got by Flashman on the final lap. Andrew Ward took fifth.
Ashley White led all the way to win to win the fourth heat. And the lead was clearly the safest place to be. Stef Theodorou powered through from grid five to run second but behind it was all a bit scrappy as Sebastian Bloch attempted to make progress from grid six. He got by Hussain Rashid on the second lap but not without contact. Rashid was in the wars again a couple of laps later when Martin Theodourou went by after making contact. Then Rashid himself transgressed as he clipped Andrew Rabbage on the way by. Meanwhile White continued on his merry way whilst the already penalised Bloch homed in on Stef Theodorou for second. Briefly he got ahead but again it was not without contact and he would be excluded from the results. Theodorou hit back and Bloch was sent spinning resulting in a penalty for Theodorou. Then Dan Brewer got his name on the shame sheet as he clipped Rhianna Purcocks and finally Ned Douglas got by Rashid illegally and then clipped a cone. White crossed the line to win with James Wattis second after a sensible drive up from grid eight. Martin Theodorou was next across the line but his penalty dropped him to seventh. Stef Theodorou was next across the line but his six place deduction dropped him to tenth. Dan Brewer was next across the line but penalised down to eighth. Purcocks was next. An eventful drive for her after dropping from grid three to twelfth on the opening lap. She would be promoted from sixth to third. Tom Eastwood was promoted from seventh to fourth with Bailey Morgan promoted from ninth to fifth. Not a great advert for some drivers skills. One of the worst heats I have ever witnessed. Clearly some drivers need to take a long hard look at themselves.
Ed Barrs made no mistake in Heat Five taking a lights to flag win with Dan Healey second. He’d run third behind Dan Truman before getting by but he could make no impression on the gap to the leader. Truman also lost out on the final lap slipping behind Josh Adams with Owen Jenman fifth.
Daz Teal showed his class in Heat Six taking the lead from the front row into the first corner and then controlling the pace throughout the rest of the race. Pietro Pagano kept him honest but Teal always had something in hand to keep himself clear at the front. His cause was helped by Pagano coming under pressure from poleman Dan Seager who snatched second final time around. Martin Theodorou took fourth running there for most of the race but just not quite able to mount a challenge. Christopher Powell came home fifth.
Steve Brown moved quickly up from the second row to lead the first lap in Heat Seven from Dan Brewer and Steve Alcock with Jack O’Neill fourth. O’Neill wasted little time in getting up to second and chasing down the leader. Brown kept him at bay until half distance when O’Neill got ahead. Brown came back at him but it was not to be and O’Neill took the win a couple of tenths clear. Alcock claimed third comfortably ahead of Fraser Brunton who was then penalised for a bump and pass on bailey Morgan which dropped him to eighth and promoted Morgan to fifth.
James Wattis claimed a fine win in the eighth heat. Starting from the second row he was into the lead by the end of the lap and never headed. Poleman Anthony Amato ran second for much of the race chased by Rob Dowsett, Rhianna Purcocks and Oliver Flashman. Four from home and Purcocks slipped by Dowsett and then took Amato a lap later. Overtaking Amato cost her time and although she closed the gap by a couple of tenths Wattis was too far up the road. Flashman got by Dowsett to take third and more valuable points with Rob Langthorp taking fifth.
Jack O’Neill took his second win of the day in Heat Nine which would prove to be enough to secure him pole in the A Final. Starting from grid eight he moved steadily up the order to take the lead at half distance. Thereafter he drove away from the pack setting the fastest lap on the penultimate tour. Dan Brewer took second with poleman Chris Woodger third from Dan Truman and Mikey Nichols.
The opening laps of the tenth heat were a little fraught. Front row sitter Cameron Williams jumped the start to lead the first lap before falling back behind Stef Theodorou and then falling rapidly down the order as Ed Barrs came through from grid seven. He took the lead fourth time around and was never headed claiming his second win of the day to put himself on the front row of the A final alongside O’Neill. Bailey Morgan took second after a great drive up from grid eight with Stef Theodorou third from Rob Langthorp and Andrew Ward.
The penultimate heat fell to Steve Brown but he had to work for it. Mike Coppin took the lead on the opening lap from poleman Alisdair Irvine and lead for much of the race before succumbing to Brown on the penultimate lap. He then fell behind Owen Jenman on the final lap, Jenman having worked his way up from grid ten, setting fastest lap and establishing a new class record. Irvine came home fourth with Daz Teal fifth.
The final heat went to Christopher Powell. A very controlled drive too although he had to with stand late race pressure from Martin Theodorou. Poleman Sebastian Bloch held the lead for a couple of laps before Powell got by. Bloch then came under pressure from Theodorou but kept him behind until three from home. Sadly for Bloch he was also picked up a penalty for cone abuse and dropped to fourth behind Oliver Flashman with Dan Healey fifth.
George Lawlor sat on pole for the first Final of the day with Jack Goble alongside. Gareth Pritchard and John Ball shared row two. Row three saw Felipe Nardo alongside Cameron Moss with Keith Segal and Peter Langford on row four. James Browning and Cameron Williams occupied row five with Sebastian Bloch, after a torrid time in the heats, alongside Rogeiro Mendes on the final row. Top four to qualify for the B Final.
Lawlor led the field away but down the order Bloch had broken formation in his haste to move up the order and crossed the line ninth. A clear infringement costing him two places and making his race to qualify for the B Final that much harder. Two laps run and he was up to fourth but he’d made contact with Williams on his way through. A four place penalty this time meaning he had no chance of qualification. But he wasn’t done racing.
By half distance he was at the front with Lawlor and Goble second and third. The three of them had pulled themselves well clear of fourth placed Nardo who had Mendes rapidly closing. A solid drive this picking his moments to overtake with care and working his way steadily up the order. Within a couple of laps he was into the top four whilst Nardo now had Moss in his wheel tracks. Ball was running seventh but over three seconds adrift. Bloch continued to lead and to emphasise his talent he posted the fastest lap tenth time around. Lawlor was content in second, well adrift of the leader but clear of third placed Goble. Mendes remained fourth but was making little impression on the top three whilst Moss had found a way by Nardo for fifth. And that was how it remained all the way to the flag. Bloch crossed the line first over three seconds clear but dropped six places in classification. A day to forget or a day of learning for the young driver? Time will tell. Lawlor was a comfortable second which became first after Bloch’s penalty with Goble next from Mendes and Moss all qualifying comfortably. But Goble was then found to underweight promoting Nardo into the final qualifying spot.
Pole for Lloyd McGeoch-Williams with Fraser Brunton alongside. Jason Bradbury and Rob Dowsett shared row two with Stef Theodorou and Tom Fuller on row three. Reece Pope sat on row four alongside Jacopo Fioravanti with Stephen Westwood and Andrea Fioravanti on row five. Mikey Nichols shared row six with Tom Eastwood ahead of Hussain Rashid and Anthony Amato on row seven. Andrew Rabbage shared row eight with Eric Mignon with Ned Douglas and Jed Toole on row nine. Row ten saw Greg Smith alongside Tommy Welsh ahead of Ramunas Cerkauskas and Luke Dunnett on row eleven followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Lawlor, Mendes, Moss and Nardo. Top two to qualify for the A Final. Unfortunately, due to an admin error, Goble’s penalty had not been communicated to Nardo and in the confusion he missed the start. Having travelled all the way from Poland for the race it was an unfortunate outcome. But did he make a fuss? Nope, he took it on the chin and accepted it as just one of those things. A top bloke setting a fine example.
McGeoch-Williams was smartly away at the front with Brunton a touch tawdry away and dropping behind Bradbury. Dowsett lost out badly and would be down to tenth by the end of the lap. McGeoch-Williams continued to lead by a couple of Kart lengths from Bradbury whilst Brunton was defending from repeated attacks by Theodorou. Pope was fifth ready to pounce on any mistakes. Westwood was next up ahead of Fuller. As the leaders kept themselves half a second clear the battle for third raged on. Theodorou was into third but only for a lap as both Pope and Westwood slipped by. Brunton was slipping back but still in touch whilst Fuller remained seventh. Amato was next but coming under pressure from both the Fioravanti’s. Andrea put a move on Amato spinning him out of the race. Unfortunately Amato pulled back on in front of the leaders and would be excluded from the results for rejoining in an unsafe manner.
At the front McGeoch-Williams continued to lead Pope was now up to second with Bradbury third. Westwood ran fourth for a couple of laps with Theodorou fifth from Brunton and Fuller. Half distance and McGeoch-Williams was coming under serious pressure for the lead with just over a tenth covering the top five as they crossed the line to start the ninth tour. Somehow they all made it through the first chicane unscathed with the leader pulling a second clear by then of the lap as the others lost time sorting themselves out. Bradbury was back into second ahead of Pope who had Westwood alongside as they crossed the start and finish line. Theodorou was a few lengths back ahead of Brunton with Fuller still seventh from Andrea Fioravanti, Rashid and Jacopo Fioravanti. For several laps it was as you were at the front. McGeoch-Williams set his fastest lap eleventh time around but Bradbury was quicker and cutting the gap to the leader. Pope and Westwood were still fighting hard over third separated by less than a tenth with Theodorou half a second back. Four to go and McGeoch-Williams was beginning to feel the pressure and making tiny errors costing him time. Of the top ten only Andrea Fioravanti was lapping slower. Thirteenth time around and he set his fastest lap but he was still slower than the rest of the top ten. He got a poor run out of the Horseshoe fourteenth time around and Bradbury was with. He defended into the final turn but Bradbury had the better line and pace. McGeoch-Williams tried to hang on but it cost him dear. He lost momentum and fell to fifth. Westwood suffered also running wide and dropping to tenth. Theodorou kept himself clear of the fun and moved into second.
Bradbury took the win by just a kart length from Theodorou with Pope just missing out in third. Brunton was next across the line but was penalised four places for forcing a driver wide early in the race. Andrea Fioravanti was next across the line but he was excluded from the results for multiple penalties which ironically handed fourth to son Jacopo. The things dads will do for their kids. McGeoch-Williams crossed the line seventh but was promoted to fifth with Fuller next from Westwood, Brunton and Dowsett. Jed Toole completed the top ten. Bradbury set the fastest lap of the race with Westwood quickest of the C2 runners and Smith the quickest in C3.
Jack O’Neill on pole from Championship leader Ed Barrs with Dan Healey and Steve Brown on row two. C2 driver Oliver Flashman shared the third row with Mike Coppin the latter needing a strong result to reignite his Championship chances. Pietro Pagano and James Wattis shared the fourth row with Christopher Powell and Owen Jenman on row five. Row six saw Dan Truman alongside Alasdair Irvine with Bailey Morgan and Martin Theodorou on row seven ahead of Daniel Brewer and Rhianna Purcocks on row eight. Daz Teal was on row nine, his worst qualifying spot for a long time, with Rob Langthorp alongside. Chris Alcock too was well down from his usual spot near the front of the grid with Ashley White alongside. Josh Adams and Andrew Ward shared row eleven with Dan Seager and Chris Woodger on the penultimate row ahead of the two qualifiers from the B Final, Bradbury and Theodorou.
O’Neill led the pack away whilst Healey got a great start to get his nose ahead of Barrs as they ran into the first chicane. Barrs had the inside line but gave Healey plenty of room and it was the latter who emerged in second. At the back of the pack as the field streamed out of the second chicane and outside of the restart zone Teal. Langthorp and Ward tangled putting all three off the road and bringing out a full course yellow. All three resumed but Teal and Ward both pulled into retirement the former wanting to put a bad day behind him whilst Ward had been badly winded. Thankfully that was all his injury was. Langthorp stayed on track but two laps down. O’Neill continued to lead from Healey and Barrs whilst Brown ran fourth but with Coppin close at hand. With four laps down Coppin made it by but his joy would only last a couple of laps before Brown was back in front. Half distance and O’Neill continued to lead by a couple of tenths from Healey with Barrs another couple of tenths back. Brown was next but falling back tailed by Coppin and Pagano with Jenman a couple of seconds back.
The leaders continued to set almost identical times as the watching crowd waited with baited breath for someone to make a move. But none came with the only thing stopping the crowd from falling asleep the sound of the engines. O’Neill steadily increased the pace at the front to take the win just over a second clear of second placed Healey. Valuable points though. Barrs remained third and set the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap. Brown took fourth some four seconds adrift of Barrs and half a second up on Pagano who demoted Coppin on the penultimate lap. Jenman was seventh from Brewer whilst Truman and Purcocks completed the top ten. Flashman took the C2 honours with an eleventh placed finish whilst second in the class went to Martin Theodorou and third going to White. Not the most exciting of finals.
So who took home the pots apart from the C Final winner George Lawlor and B Final winner Jason Bradbury? Jed Toole took the win in C3 after a fine tenth placed finish in the B Final with Tommy Welsh second and Ramunas Cerkauskas third after finishing sixteenth and seventeenth in the B Final. Oliver Flashman claimed the C2 honours after finishing eleventh in the A Final with Martin Theodorou second and third after finishing thirteenth and fifteenth respectively whilst O’Neill, Healey and Barrs took the trophies in C1.
Ed Barrs remains at the top of the Lightweight standings with Dan Healey second. He’s cut the gap a little over the last two rounds. Mike Coppin is third but needs to start repeating his early season form if he’s to stand any chance of challenging for the Championship. Chris Alcock had a poor day at Lydd but remains fifth whilst Daz Teal probably had a day he’ll want to forget. He’s down to fifth.
Fraser Brunton leads the C2 class from Bailey Morgan and Ashley White. This is shaping up to be an absorbing battle for the honours as they run line astern in the overall standings.
Ramunas Cerkauskas heads the C3 runners followed by Greg Smith and Jed Toole.
A great day in these strange times. Thankfully we did not see any mass ”bollockings” as we have had in some of the previous rounds although a couple of drivers did find themselves on the naughty step. What did surprise me was the amount of jumped starts. One driver crossed the line almost three tenths clear of the poleman and the proceeded to drive away without giving any thought to the consequences. And then he was gesticulating at race control as he went by clearly having taken umbrage at being caught out! The computer doesn’t lie. Jumped starts are easy to call. He could have given the place back immediately which generally leads to the officials showing leniency but no, he kept his foot down and raced on. He wasn’t the only one either. Another driver jumped several places and then complained about unfair it was. Utter madness. And appeals aren’t allowed in the heats so it’s a waste of energy. Hopefully lessons will have been learnt.
Onwards to Whilton Mill. Stay safe and don’t forget to wear a mask!
WORDS: Steve Gray
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson