Jay Elliott – A Long Shot On Runner Up? Anwar Beroual-Smith On The Brink…

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It was a slightly disappointing 13 on the grid for the Premier Class, it would be easy to suggest this shows that the class has run it’s course and is in need of revamp into the new Elite championship when it folds into Clubman Class for 2016, when truth was, a few late withdrawals was more accurate, life getting in the way karting. No, really. But the new format for 2016 was generally well received. So from out of the old arises the new. Better, stronger, faster and hopefully more room for Heavies and Lights.

C100Rye-8009Jonathan Lisseter drew pole position for Heat 1 but it would be Anwar from grid 2 taking the spoils with maximum points towards the Pre Final grid. Lisseter had had to cover up into the hairpin on lap 1 and a trio of Lisseter, Beroual Smith, and Steve Brown had got away as Matt Brooks’, assisted by Stephen Hicks, moved on Steve Bartlett behind. Anwar made his move for the lead in Stadium on lap 2 and never looked back, Brown pushed through at the hairpin to go 2nd to sit just off his bumper. The race settling down to a leading group of 6, gap to Tom Dix demoting Jay Elliott to bring the other half of the field through in 7th, although Jay would go back through. Lisseter continued to bleed positions before falling out of the leading group and into Elliott and Co. Brown waited for a rare Anwar mistake, Matt Brooks moved into 3rd still with his shadow Hicks and into the closing stages even Anwar was going narrow into the hairpins to discourage an attack. It was tight and the group were slowing down before Matt Brooks pulled the trigger into the hairpin on Brown. Matt ran out wide but managed to hold on to his new found 2nd place, Hicks moving into 3rd and even though Brown and Hicks would swap 3rd place in the hairpins before agreeing that it was Hicks’ position it was also enough to release Anwar to the win.

On the reverse grid of Heat 2, Jay Elliott continued his run of poor grid 2 starts, asleep as usual, as Tom Dix got the drop on him out of the last corner at the start, a fast starting Darren Teal off grid 4 emerged from Stadium in 2nd place, Scott Martin 3rd and Jay Elliott, holding off new boy Jonathan Elliott, our Heavyweight Champion on his debut in the top class, for 4th place at the first hairpin. Dix had got the break by Pylon and Teal would settle into and behind for the remaining 8 laps, Martin however was under pressure in 3rd initially by Jonny Elliott, only to be sliced inside by Jay Elliott (this could get confusing) into the 2nd apex in Pylon, over the patio slabs to take 3rd on lap 2. Dix pulled clear of Teal, before Jay Elliott going inside Martin at the hairpin on lap 5. Jonny was looking comfortable on his own in 5th. Scott struggled to hang on to Jay, who was looking the quickest kart on the circuit and Teal looked vulnerable on his pace for 2nd. Sure enough on to the penultimate lap Jay Elliot ran down the inside of Teal at the hairpin to pick up the point he needed to take pole position on the Pre Final grid ahead of Dix, who was some way up the road. Jay also backed Darren Teal up off the 2nd hairpin to give Scott a hand in taking 3rd place to the finish.

C100Rye-8144Nothing wrong with Jay Elliott’s starts from pole position, I have to say, in the Pre Final, although he emerged from Stadium about a kart width off the inside so that the field came into the first hair pin two by two, just not in the order they had lined up for the start. Anwar Beroual-Smith was on his outside in the grid 3 spot having started 5th, Matt Brooks was still on Jay’s bumper on grid 3, Jonny Elliott, starting grid 7, was trying to run around the outside of Stephen Hicks to have the inside for the 2nd hairpin to go 4th, but Hicks would have it as Jonny got schooled all the way through to Pylon to start lap 2 two places back from his grid 7 slot in 9th. Back to school. There’s no doubting Jonny’s pace as he would set the grid 2 time for the trophy final in the closing stages of this 14 lap Pre Final. Of course students of Club100 and lap times across the classes would tell you speed/lap time was not the issue, the question was ‘does Jonny like it up ‘em?’ The answer to which is (well nobody does, but) the jury is out. We’d all like to know, and now hopefully he can show us. I’m optimistic. Up front Brooks remained faithfully on Jay’s bumper and struck on the brakes into the hairpin on lap 2 for the lead. Jay could let him go by safe in the knowledge that he could drop in on his bumper with no chance of interference from Anwar as he was busy holding off Hicks and Dix. By lap 4 Beroual-Smith had added Teal, Ray Norris and Martin to make a 6 kart train dicing over 3rd, Anwar looking far from convincing. While Steve Bartlett and Stuart Martin had got progressively more fractious over the preceding lap and contrived to take each other out at the hairpin like it was stag night rather than Premier Class. Very poor. Brooks pulled clear into his eventual win, Elliott was happy with 2nd it appeared, Beroual-Smith as expected was shuffled down the pack. Stephen Hicks moved into 3rd place, but had Tom Dix on his bumper and initially Tom looked for a mistake before he lost touch as Stephen picked up pace on his way to fastest lap of the race even though it would not be pole position for the Final. No that honour would fall to Ray Norris running in the pack fighting for 4th place behind Darren Teal, with Anwar and Scott Martin. Ray using his fastest lap from the heats to take pole. Off the back Jonny Elliott was setting his fastest lap on his own for grid 2. Lap 12 Hicks emerged from Stadium in 2nd place but he’d picked a 4 place penalty for advantage by contact earlier and was ultimately going to be demoted to 6th, promoting Jay Elliott back to 2nd behind a comfortable win for Matt Brooks and ahead of Tom Dix 3rd, Darren Teal and Scott Martin.

C100Rye-8196Under floodlights for the Final, given the clocks had fallen back an hour, to banish Summer Time (boo-hoo) and probably the best race of the day, possibly due to the growing Ray Norris fan club and his developing Chris Amon-like (ask your dad younger readers) nearly man/not quite winning persona, especially as he’s not letting it spoil his fun in a rather chilled out about it vibe. Shades of Dan Gore sans beard… Off pole position he’d got a huge lead on the first start as Jonny Elliott had been dumped hard on the exit of Stadium. Kart change, and from what I hear he’d been told he could warm his tyres, but he chose to do that through the infield rather than on the oval. And they went without him, as I expected they would, on the restart. Norris got the hole shot, not as substantial this time and Jay Elliott also got cleanly into 2nd place behind Ray at the hairpin, Brooks slotted inside of Steve Brown into 3rd, Hicks running Steve out wide beyond the track limits and down the escape shoot to regain the track in 5th with Steve Bartlett on his bumper for lap 2. Norris was holding his own but not pulling clear, that raised doubts and by lap 4, with a line of 4 in behind Norris, Elliott was looking for a way by. Other classes might afford a wait, Premier Class offers no such luxury, Elliott would make a hole if one didn’t present itself. Hicks pushed into Brooks at Pylon but couldn’t make it stick and fell back behind Brown replacing him in 4th. Lap 6 Elliott block passed Norris for the lead into the hairpin, putting Brooks on Ray’s bumper off the corner. It gave Jay a kart length but put Ray with Brooks, Brown, Hicks,Bartlett and Scott Martin in line behind him. Ray tried to get back in touch Elliott but the win was gone again, he was holding up Brooks and boxed in behind Brown had sneaked inside into the 2nd hairpin. Compromised off the corner Brooks arrived over the left hand kerb into Pylon side by side with Hicks on his right, Stephen trying to go around the outside into Pylon to get inside for the 2nd right handed return to the pits. He never got the chance, upset over the kerbs, Brooks lent into Hicks and Stephen slammed in sideways into the infield barrier much to his annoyance and I suspect to the cause of Brooks’ exclusion. Elliott stretched clear, Brown repeated his hairpin 2 manoeuvre to go 2nd ahead of Norris. On the penultimate lap Brooks dived inside at the hairpin to go 3rd on the road, possibly as much to get away from Hicks who had restarted and circulated with the leading group, in a belligerent way suggesting he was weighing up firing Brooks off. Some good sense prevailed, Norris took back 3rd, Scott Martin moved into 4th. At the finish Jay Elliott’s winning margin was 2secs, Brown a few kart lengths clear of Norris, who had a similar margin ahead of Martin. The win by Elliott puts him in with a chance of 2nd in the championship, a distant chance to be fair, but is now favoured for 3rd in the championship ahead Brown and Brooks, finishing 5th Anwar Beroual-Smith has moved to the brink of winning the Premier Class title.

Next stop Buckmore Park on 21 November.