James Small Books His Place For The Championship Showdown

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Myles Sharman had pole position for Heat 1 and he went side by side with James Small through Crook, but that allowed Justin Buck to cross from grid 3 to the inside on the exit with the momentum into the braking zone at Xmas. That left James badly placed for the run across the top and he’d be shuffled down the line behind Myles, Ed Barrs and David Longman exiting Zulu. The next lap into Inkermans Sharman moved back to the lead while Truman who’d picked up Small’s tow made it a group of 6 fighting for the lead. Well I say 6, but Buck appeared to lose control on the brakes into The Boot, exit stage right Buck, the collected Barrs and Longman. Peculiar. This was probably worst for Sharman in front, as without the interference of that trio, Small could immediately judge if he had pace to run Myles down. And he did. Truman couldn’t go with him and he’d have Russell Endean to contend with soon enough breaking clear in 4th place from Tyler Mays bring through the main field. James set up Sharman into Crook, Myles defending all the way to the bottom of Zulu, perhaps Truman and Endean could render assistance after all closing in. But Small was coming through at Xmas on the next lap. Truman had to check up through the kink but managed to cling on to the 3rd ahead of Endean and on Sharman’s bumper down the hill. Tyler Mays was in the tow to make it 5 again, irregular guest Sam Fisher would make it 6 if they hung about any longer. And in his way Sharman did, becoming rear gunner for Small just long enough (about half a lap) for him to break the tow and without that draft Truman ran down the inside of Myles at Xmas and Endean dived in late on the brakes for 3rd before the apex. The damage was done with Small over a 1secs clear and would not be caught, helped in no small measure by Truman trying to hold off the four in line behind. Sharman got shuffled down the line as far 5th but managed to hold off Fisher for the last lap and a half, Rhianna Purcocks probably also wished it was more than 10 laps chasing Myles and Sam over the line.

C100Whilton2-7252Heat 2 or rather the restarted Heat 2 after Keith Mizen’s heavy one on lap 2. Testament to the front end protection of the modern Club100 kart I say, it’s substantial and it worked, it’s very quick on the run up to Xmas, right front corner to right front corner with a spun David Longman, both Mizen the unstoppable force met Longman the recently immobilised object and both walked away to take the restart.
On the reverse grid, now reduced to 7laps due to the delay., James Haslehurst and Andy Cowell once again had the front row, James making a great start to be clear into Xmas, Rhianna Purcocks had seen off Stephen Townsend to be 3rd into Inkermans, and Stephen Jennings made it 4 clear of the pack brough through by Danny Hurlock on the exit of Zulu. It wasn’t the best exit by James on to the back straight and what little breathing space he had on Cowell was gone and they were side by side into the Boot but James toughed it out and that was Andy’s chance gone. Whilton Mill expert Purcocks drove Andy deep into Xmas, so deep, Jennings could try to nip by on momentum into Inkermans if Cowell could not stop him. Danny Hurlock emerged 4th. Purcocks set off in pursuit of Haslehurst, Cowell on her bumper. Purcocks took 0.5secs out of James’ lead, she was down the inside into Xmas the next lap and as is so often the case, James’ momentum was so compromised on the exit, he couldn’t get the door closed on Cowell quick enough off the kink, Andy pushing through into Inkermans. Jennings was back and was looking for 3rd, a run around the Boot and into turn 1, and it would be a 2 horse race as Haslehurst, Jennings, Endean, and Hurlock had a sort out. Rhianna and Andy were gone, and if Andy could follow then he could pass, but he couldn’t as Rhianna is quick, and quick around Whilton Mill. Oh he pushed hard to try force a mistake, but she made none. And that’s how it finished.

C100Whilton2-7302Perhaps she was saving her mistakes for the Pre Final, Rhianna’s heat points nearly converted to pole position, but they didn’t and Russell Endean got the drop on Rhianna to such an extent that Danny Hurlock on grid 3 got an almost as easy run through Crook. The Pre Final essentially decided there and then as Andy Cowell’s efforts to hold off Tyler Mays only served to give Andy 4th place temporarily but gave the leading trio a head start. Rhianna clouted the kerbs at the bottom of Zulu to lose the tow. Cowell’s defence cost Mays 5th to the fast starting James Small, who in turn would out drag Andy up to Xmas on the next lap. Six laps in and the top 6 had split into 3 pairs. Hurlock looking grateful for the tow from Endean out front, Small had picked up Purcock’s tow and would move by. Andy Cowell was under pressure from Simon Young, Tyler Mays was on his own in 7th, Myles Sharman held off Daniel Truman, the returning Harry Landy and Justin Buck in 10th. Small had looked mighty through Crook and on the brakes into Xmas and Purcocks was not going to hold him off for 3rd. She’d struggle to stay in the draft as much as Hurlock was with race leader Endean. 3/10ths of a second or 3 or so kart lengths any more than that and the elastic could easily snap on the draft. Which would break first? Behind Young passed Cowell into Inkermans in what would become there own personal dice to the finish, Mays had a similar one going with Sharman, Landy and Buck over 7th.

In answer to the question, probably Rhianna lost the tow first, but she remained on Endean’s pace, not so fortunate Hurlock had lost it and lost a little lap time, Danny spending the last 5 laps racing James and later Rhianna like his championship depended on finishing ahead of James, which to be fair it did. Russell Endean picked up his first Final win of the season and wins is what he needs now to win the championship. Looking over their shoulders to see Small then read that James had used Danny to draft his way to pole position for the Final would have taken a little of the shine off 1st and 2nd. Simon Young pulled clear into 5th place ahead of Andy Cowell 6th.

C100Whilton2-6768I’d like to report a cracking Final, but as trailed it was something of an anti climax. With Endean on grid 5 and Hurlock only 9th, the last thing they needed was pole man James Small to make a good start but Justin Buck gave him a clear run into turn 1 on both starts. On the first Purcocks, Fisher, Endean and Co piled into Xmas looking for 2nd, Endean emerged 2nd not bad from grid 5, but Mizen and Cowell were off the road after the Kink bringing out the false start flag. Bad for Russell, but maybe also good because James couldn’t get another easy run like that again could he?

Well actually it was arguably an even better start, although Fisher had been ready for it on his bumper and got a clean run up to Xmas himself, even Small had dropped him through Crook. Small, Buck and Young formed up into a trio, then Longman, gap to Hurlock clear of the pack at the bottom of Zulu. Poor Russell front and centre of the pack charging into the Boot, losing out to Ed Barrs for 7th, 2nd was a long way off. Small’s lead started at 1secs and the stepped out from there. Fast lappery saw Longman close and eventually pass Simon Young on lap 8 into Xmas of final reduced to 13 lapper (another blow for Endean) in what became a loose 4 kart group fighting over 2nd and it was over 2nd, Small was 3secs up the road, just being neat and tidy on the way to win #7 before the chasers split into 2 pairs.

Endean passed Hurlock for 6th and was closing on the Longman-Young battle, just as David was easing away from Simon. Russell struck into Xmas on lap 10 for 5th. He still really needed to catch a break with Small up front. Buck had moved into 2nd and there was just enough time for Russell pick up precious positions as a new group of 4 coalesced over 2nd again, Buck, Fisher, Longman and Endean. Longman went for 3rd at Xmas, missed and Endean took 4th from David into Inkermans. No time to lose Russell went down the inside into The Boot on Sam but would be still on the outside at the toe as Longman swept under the pair. So back to 5th for Russell and on to the last lap. Fisher duly supplied a bit of a break spinning off into The Boot on the last lap not unlike Buck had in Heat 1. Still peculiar. Russell squeezed through to finish 4th, behind George and Zippy, Buck and Longman. Or it might be Zippy and George. It was probably not enough for Russell. The Championship chase is in truth down to 3 drivers Small, Endean, Hurlock going into Rye House on the 25 October. Oh it could mathematically be more, but it’s really 3. It will probably be down to 2 for Buckmore Park.

James Small has already booked his spot for the finale. Danny Hurlock must go all in (poker term) and balls out (karting term) at Rye House for wins. Russell Endean could do with wins but must outscore Small.