Joe Holmes Barely Breaks Sweat As He Finishes Off Elite Class In Style

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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

Sad to see Daz Teal missing from the entry after a nasty incident in Saturday’s Endurance meeting had seen him requiring medical treatment after hitting the new F1 style safety barriers. More energy absorbing and safer than tyres. Fortunately his injuries were confined to a sore shoulder and he was an interested spectator for the Sprints. He assured me that there was no truth in the rumour put about by his fellow competitors that he had had a head scan and that something other than an empty space had been found. Pete O’Connor was on pole from Dan Healey with Ian Blake and Steve Brown, both chasing second in the standings, starting ninth and tenth and Champion elect Joe Holmes just behind. Healey got the drop on O’Connor at the start whilst Brandon Williams was up a place from fourth courtesy of a great move on Ray Norris down the hill. Stuart Martin and Tom Dix were early spinners. One gone and Healey was pulling clear at the front as O’Connor came under pressure from Williams with Jonathan Lisseter close at hand. Ian Blake was up to fifth.

C100R12 0440With three laps run Healey continued to pull clear at the front from O’Connor who still had Williams right on his bumper and trying desperately to find a way by. Blake was now up to fourth at the expense of Lisseter with Norris sixth. Brown was also on the move. Having been static in tenth from the start he started to get the hammer down moving up to seventh by mid distance and closing in on Norris. Williams finally found a way by O’Connor taking Blake with him but Healey was way up the road and would run out the winner by just over three seconds from Williams. Having been deposed to fourth O’Connor fought back and engaged in great battle with Blake which saw him briefly take the place back before Blake finally broke clear and set about closing the gap to second. He didn’t make it but did set the fastest lap of the race on the final tour. Brown grabbed fifth from Norris on the final lap with Lisseter seventh whilst Edward Barrs, Marc Craddock and Jay Elliott completed the top ten.

Heat 2

Blake on pole from Brown from Craddock and Holmes. One to get the heart beating with expectation. Blake led the field away with Brown behind but ahead of Craddock whilst Holmes got pushed wide falling behind a fast starting Edward Barrs as Truman spun out of fifth to the rear of the field. With four laps run the order at the front remained static but Craddock was dropping back. Not by much but enough not to be a threat to the two leaders. In any event he now had Holmes for company the latter having fought his way back past Barrs. Healey was closing in on this battle and just beyond half distance he was ahead of Barrs. At the front Brown got by Blake for the lead and remained there for a couple of laps. C100R12 0520

But Blake was right on his bumper and with three to run he was back ahead. But Brown wasn’t giving up the fight and made repeated efforts to get by. Up the hill for the final time and he got a decent tow. Blake left room but Brown didn’t quite have the momentum losing out by just 0.083 with Holmes just over a tenth adrift in third having got by Craddock on the penultimate lap. Healey took fourth having also deposed Craddock on the penultimate lap. And it got worse for the latter as he was penalised a place for cone abuse dropping to sixth behind Barrs. O’Connor took seventh from Lisseter with Williams and Dix completing the top ten and Dix setting the fastest lap on the final tour.

Heat 3

Dix on pole from Martin with Barrs and Lisseter behind. And what a tough first lap it was. Dix got away cleanly enough but by the end of the lap the rest of the field had almost turned upside down. Barrs was up to second from fourth with Holmes third from eighth and Craddock fourth from tenth. Elliot was up two spots from seventh whilst Lisseter dropped to sixth. Martin dropped from second to tenth whilst Truman spun out yet again to the back of the field along with Williams. Two laps run and Dix remained at the front from Barrs who had Holmes right on his bumper whilst Elliott moved ahead of Craddock for fourth. C100R12 0531Brown was down in seventh just a couple of places ahead of his rival Blake. At the front Holmes was quickly ahead of Barrs for second and chasing down the leader. Dix and Holmes began to pull clear of the chasing pack. Barrs remained a comfortable third just a couple of tenths back whilst the rest of the pack fought over fourth and consequently began to drop back from the leading trio. Holmes took Dix for the lead in the hairpins and eked out a small gap eventually taking the flag half a second to the good. Barrs came home third by a huge margin from fourth only to be deducted a place for cone abuse. Behind these three Brown had briefly got ahead of Elliott for fourth only for the latter to grab the place back a lap later. Craddock also took advantage to move into fifth as Brown fell back badly over the remaining three laps to finally finish a disappointed ninth. Blake had been running seventh but over the final three laps he made up ground rapidly to cross the line fourth which then became third with Barrs penalty. Craddock hung onto fifth ahead of Elliott whilst Healey was next over the line but penalised a place for cone abuse handing the place to Lisseter. O’Connor rounded out the top ten.

Final

Blake on pole from Healey and a good many in the paddock wanting to see a Healey win after his cruel luck at Red Lodge earlier in the season. And it was his birthday too. Second row, Holmes and Brown with Barrs and Craddock on three. O’Connor and Lisseter on four with Williams and Dix completing the top ten. I was standing for the final in the paddock just on the exit of Symes sweep which is the right hand downhill bend. I nearly ducked.

C100R12 0878It seemed like the whole field was compressed into a few yards and running four abreast. And the noise! I fully expected to see a monumental accident but I should know by now just how good some of our drivers are. Yes there was some rubbing but everyone arrived at the bottom corner unscathed and still running. Awesome skill. By the end of the lap Holmes was out front with Blake second from Brown. Craddock was next from O’Connor whilst Healey had dropped to sixth. Williams ran seventh with Barrs down to eighth from Elliott and Lisseter. But after the excitement of the first lap the race settled.

C100R12 0908First to fifth ran in the same order all the way to the flag with Holmes crowning his Championship with yet another final win over two seconds clear of Blake who was almost three seconds clear of outgoing Champion Brown. He had former Champion Craddock on his bumper for the whole race but the latter just couldn’t find a way by. O’Connor took a lonely fifth from Williams. Then we had the real battle of the final which finally went the way of Lisseter from Barrs, Healey and Dix, the four of them covered by less than half a second. Truman was next from Martin who then got docked a place for cone abuse promoting Norris whilst Elliott came home last. Truman didn’t have a great day at Buckmore but he did set the fastest lap of the final and established a class record.

Championship

There is no better way to round off the year than with a win and Joe Holmes did so in style. Once he got into his stride there was no stopping him and he took his second Club 100 Championship with a round to spare having won the Heavyweight division last year. Second in the race Ian Blake leapfrogged reigning Champion Steve Brown for second in the Championship. The margin was just six points.

C100R12 3322Reflections

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

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