James Small – Big Win

C100 Clay 6561 scaled

Clubman Class rotated back to the afternoon session. Stuart Osborn converted pole position in Heat 1 after Tyler Mays missed his prompt to go and probably upset the outside line behind him, David Longman came off turn 1 side by side with Andy Cowell who was outside for Billy’s Blind so inside and into 2nd position into Turn 2 but such is the way Turn 2 works with it’s weird curve and camber Andy ran deep, and James Small was able to rotate from outside to inside and through into the chicane to go 2nd. That all gave Stuart a useful break in front but it would not last long. While Longman and Cowell swapped between 2nd and 3rd at the head of the pack, Small needed little more than a lap to get up on Stuart’s bumper into the Horseshoe and to repeat his outside to inside move through turn 2 for the lead into the chicane. Longman had got a gap on Cowell and was around the outside of Osborn off Top Bend, presumably a mistake from Stuart and he continued to slide through Cowell, into Mike Bodnar, which gave Endean chance to get by Mike, and Stuart and Russell headed off after Cowell. Only Russell caught up with Andy into Turn 2 to go in side by side and Andy was always going to lose on the long route on the outside so let Russell take the line into chicane. And thats how it finished. If Longman closed up toward James’ bumper towards the finish it was too late to attempt a pass. David needed another lap at least. A good race though.

Pole Position for Heat 2 was Russell Endean he’d made rapid progress in Heat 1 from last on the grid so it was no surprise to see him convert the hole shot Ed Barrs on grid 2 and Danny Hurlock on grid 3 settled in for another 10 laps, James Haslehurst would’ve been happy to be clear and ahead of the pack Bodnar at it’s head before it strung out into a line behind – Daniel Truman, James Small, Andy Cowell after passing Amala Ejikeme into the Horseshoe. Truman took too much kerb in the Esses and Small was passed him before the braking zone into the hairpin for 6th, Andy repeated his move into the Horseshoe even if it was from a little further back it was good move and served to punish Daniel further for his chicane mistake. Up front Endean lost the lead to Barrs into the chicane, Russell sensibly lifting to let Ed have it rather than attempt a time sapping side by side dispute with Hurlock and Haslehurst hovering close behind instead he dived in deep at the hairpin and it was on for the lead between the four of them. Barrs tried inside Billy’s but Endean left him hanging outside into Turn 2 again. Ed knew the score and let Russell have the chicane and after some good side by side action in the infield we were 6 upfront as first Small then Bodnar joined the group with Andy Cowell looking like he had the pace to make it 7. Into the Horseshoe and out Bodnar and Cowell were side by side which served to detach them again from the front line, Endean was not too quick but was driving a very tidy race to hold off Barrs. Behind Cowell went up the inside into the chicane and reappeared into my camera’s view with Mike appearing to push Andy off the track to bounce him off and along the plastic barrier. Mike got excluded for “Gaining an advantage by contact which results in and is responsible for a driver(s) coming to a halt”. Cowell spun to halt and looked at me as if to say “Did you see that?!”. Most of it, yes I did. I hope Mike gave him an apology.

Into the closing stages it was still 5 for the win but Russell was hanging on to the lead, Hurlock got passed Barrs into Turn 2 but Ed would be back after his inside Billy’s outside Turn 2 move failed again with a good move inside of the hairpin with to go. There was just time left for Small to pass Haslehurst out of the infield for 4th place.

C100_Clay-2227No surprise to see Russell Endean and James Small on the front row for the Pre Final, nor indeed the new improved Ed Barrs slotting into 3rd place, Tyler Mays and David Longman went side by side into Turn 2 before Tyler gave up on the road to nowhere on the outside and lifted to let David take the apexes into the chicane, Hurlock, Truman, Haslehurst, Osborn and Cowell in 10th, but moving on Stuart into the hairpin and finished into the Horseshoe to go 9th. Endean signalled to Small, presumably lets work together and sort this out later in the 15 lapper but James had other ideas he nailed his turn in wide, cross lanes behind come out of Turn 2 inside into the chicane to an expert degree. Mays did the same on Longman, Hurlock got through David into the chicane. Now the game had changed and I think Russell knew it immediately trying inside into the Horseshoe to get the lead back, no dice, but it put Barrs back in the tow. Hurlock nipped inside of Mays and stopped on the apex of Turn 2, so to speak, turning tightly to prevent Mays coming under into the chicane, checking up Mays, who in turn got contact from Longman behind. Longman dove inside at the Horseshoe on Mays, Truman hooked the exit kerb, Cowell moved by for 7th. Cowell was down the inside of Mays into Turn 2, Tyler giving up on the exit to stay ahead of Truman into the chicane. I missed Hurlock’s move into 3rd and caught Danny passing Ed into Turn 2 for 2nd place, James was 3secs up the road and 4/10ths of a second quicker than everyone else. So win had been decided inside of half distance.

Hurlock kept Endean, Longman and Barrs at arms length, Cowell towing Mays and Truman back into the 7 kart race for 2nd place. Lap 11 after 2 or 3 failed attempts by Longman on Barrs for 4th place, Truman got inside Cowell coming out of Turn 2, what happens next is a matter of opinion and a lot of depends on your viewing angle even as an outside observer, Daniel went for the first apex of the chicane, Andy turned in for it, on the outside Andy’s front wheels are level with the front of Daniel’s kart, at the point of contact both karts can’t occupy the same space at the apex, so Andy bounced off and went to the grass, into the hole inside of the 2nd apex launched back on to the track, corkscrewed to face the traffic in mid air and ran backwards into the barrier. That is what I saw. And that pretty much that Small was 7.4secs to the good up front, Endean kept Hurlock honest over 2nd until the last lap, gap to Longman, who passed Barrs for 4th into the hairpin with 2 to go. Mays dropped Truman to finish 6th.

Lap times decide pole for the trophy Final, James Small got the jump on both Longman on the outside and Barrs behind, David squeezing Ed to the inside kerb to make 2nd his but Ed got off the corner well enough to side by side through Billy’s and into 2nd into Turn 2. As they filtered through the chicane they’d already lost leader Small’s bumper and his precious tow, still Barrs filtered in ahead of Longman, Endean, Mays, Truman, Cowell, Osborn, Hurlock and Bodnar on the exit. Behind Haslehurst was ahead of Keith Mizen and Steve Townsend both having ordinary days and Amala Ejikeme who was giving Clubmans a go, I suspect just so he could race Clay with it being banged out in Heavies as well as Lights, so fair play there.

In 3 laps Small was over 2secs clear and the race was over the smaller trophies, Barrs at the head of the queue did not have the pace to drop Endean but provided a handy tow in the battle between the drivers behind him. Mays and Cowell had got passed Longman and Danny Hurlock to make it a four ball over 4th. Cowell got by Mays on the exit Turn 2 into the chicane, Longman intent on coming through on Andy’s bumper but Mays managed to make the second apex, also slowing Longman, giving Hurlock a run on 5th before the hairpin and giving Cowell an immediate gap ahead. Mays also got shuffled back behind Osborn off the that corner.

Endean pressed on inside Barrs into Turn 2 for 2nd with Cowell closing in. Andy pushing Ed off the line exiting Top Bend I presume for an ABC. Hurlock and Longman went side by side up to Billys, Hurlock inside of Turn 2, Longman on his bumper was not giving an inch, then Ed Barrs decided to make it three wide into chicane behind Hurlock putting his nose inside Longman who already had Cowell on his outside. The trio all went to turn in for the first apex of the chicane, Longman had nowhere to go, and there was nothing he could do, and I’m not sure if Andy realised Ed Barrs was on David’s right. But three wide is almost always bad! And the man on the outside usually comes off worst. Cowell went into the hole again, launching back on (at “Cowell’s Leap”?) to the track, this time Barrs broke his fall but spun him in the other direction, and he still to came to a stop facing backwards. It had been a bad day for Andy Cowell. It was lap 6. Small was out of sight, Endean well clear.

The battle was over the last podium step started with Longman in Hurlock’s tow, it was just a case if Mays would complicate matters before David got passed. He got passed and then Tyler complicated Danny’s counter attack enough to let David stay clear, and the gaps just eased out all over toward the finish. The race was settled into driver’s race pace although Mays and Truman disputed who was faster and Barrs tried and tried to find a way passed Stuart Osborn finishing 7th. Small won by 6secs from Endean, a further 3secs clear of Longman and another 2secs to Hurlock, Mays, Truman.

Next stop is Buckmore Park on 9 August 2015.