Joe Holmes Breaks Club100 Winning Streak 8 Wins From 8 Starts. BOOM!

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C100R4-0599Holmes had topped qualifying Group 1 and qualifying overall with 54.19, he’d be joined on the front row of the Pre A final by Simon Lloyd topping Group 2 with the 2nd fastest time of 54.65. The scramble for the 4 qualifying spots to join the back of the top 20 Pre A grid were settled early in the Pre B Final as the front row of Jason Bradbury and Ben Benneyworth got off to strong starts to be clear of Anthony Harrington, off grid 5, under pressure from Thomas Caen at the end of lap 1. Ordinarily I would’ve expected Martin Gurnett to be pushing to qualify, although last season I’d have expected him to have qualified directly to the Pre A. Less of a surprise was Paul Williams in 6th 1sec behind and 2.5secs off the lead, Paul seems to revel in getting “his money’s worth” of extra racing by having to come through from the B. Caen, Harrington and Gurnett fought over the last 2 remaining qualifying spots. Ben Daly moved by Williams for 5th, towing in Peter Harris to that trio. Caen disappeared from the lap chart, Martin Gurnett got excluded for advantage by contact that sees another driver coming to a halt. It might be related. Although Daly had picked a 4 place penalty of his own earlier so he’d have to try again like Martin in the B Final. Although in the spirit of full disclosure Alistair Mason, Enzo Quirino and Philip Hoodless all picked up naughty step penalties. So running 6th place and losing ground on the leaders with Harris’ attentions Williams, so long as Paul could stay ahead of Peter he’d be one of the 4 qualifiers. And thats broadly how it stayed to the finish, yes Benneyworth won by 0.8secs, from Bradbury, Daly closing in towards the finish to no real end with his 4place penalty, so Harrington was promoted back to 3rd, Gurnett excluded, left Paul Williams over 11secs off the lead in 4th place. Again.

C100R4-0228There’s a danger of repetition in this report, so I won’t dwell too much on the Pre A Final, Holmes on pole position converted it to lead comfortably out of turn 1 by 0.8secs at the end of lap 1 from fellow front row sitter Simon Lloyd, Joe’s pace stretching the field from the green light. Tim Hill was 3rd clear of Chris Murray, Stuart Gough and Jack Bolton. Hill could make no headway and Murray towed up behind with Stuart and Jack, Chris passing Tim on lap 4, followed by Bolton and Gough. Jack and Stuart set off after Chris, as Hill fell back into the clutches of the pack headed by Luke Hornsby. Holmes would run out the winner by 7secs, Lloyd settling for the points for 2nd from mid race, Chris Murray 3secs behind in 3rd managed to hold off Bolton who was distracted by Gough for much of the secon half of the race. Behind this leading quintet David Whitehouse had a strong run up from 14th on the grid, taking opportunities as they presented themselves, ultimately to demote Hill from 6th on the last lap.

C100R4-1396Peter Harris would lead from pole position in the B Final but would be side by side with Ben Daly across the top of the circuit, but having the inside of Inkermans, he kept the lead, Daren Townsley on their heels in pursuit of one of the two remaining qualifying spots. Kieran Chidgzey would pick up the slack left by Andrew Cherry going off at Xmas and with James Canham nade up a loose group 5 in with a chance as with Paul Goddard fighting hard to remain at the head of the queue in 6th place there was just a hint that the qualification was already over for anyone not in the leading quintet. Daly moved on the lead and so it was, Goddard’s death grip saw off first Jack Hollingsworth to be replaced by Andrew Clarke, Riko Burrows was in the mix for a while, with Roger Mullen, Michael Jungling, Enzo Quirino, Thomas Caen and Theo Gereoudakis but they could all look up the line and beyond to see qualification was leaving the station without them. Canham disappeared from the stage and 5th. Chidgzey dropped Townsley and closed on Harris and at the end of lap 4 pulled off an audacious move into the last corner for 2nd place from which Harris never recovered. At half distance Goddard had finally been pushed off the pot by Clarke, Jungling, Hollingsworth, Mullen all pushing passed Goddard but they were all over 7secs down on the leader and qualification. The race for qualification was over, Harris was spent, the midfield will probably make entertaining viewing when the video is edited to together. Chidgzey challenged Daly for the lead but only to show he could, more than it was actually win the race while Daly put up a solid defence anyway.

C100R4-1104After a start that never was, Holmes on pole brought the field through for another go at the A Final, anticipating the green light, Holmes made his move across to the racing line, Murray his move to oust Lloyd from 2nd, Bolton changed lanes from behind Lloyd to go 3rd, former British Formula Ford champion Stuart Gough was side by side with the slightly stunned Lloyd with Tim Hill ready to drop them both up to Xmas Corner if stuck to side by side through Crook. They did. Out of the other side of the complex, Holmes had half a dozen kart lengths, Hill breezed passed Gough and into  Lloyd. Simon had to give himself room and giveaway the inside kerb to hold Hill off around Xmas. s Bolton took a look up the inside of Murray at Ashby that only slowed the pair enough for Lloyd to get on their tails in 4th. Behind Michael Ballinger, Ben Benneyworth, Harrison Darvill and Stuart Kirk tried to make it four wide into Ashby and Kirk on the outside found out it was not four wide on the exit. Indeed he found, or rather was shown to the grass, for a bounce and lost out to Mike Townley, Anthony Harrington and Jason Bradbury, before Harrington elected to throw one inside at Chapmans to make it four wide again, clumsily pushing the group wide and I suspect picking up his penalty for contact in the process. When the dust settled Holmes was 2.5secs clear of Bolton, who’d pass Murray in the Boot to be followed through by Lloyd, giving no quarter to Murray around the Toe, in old footballing parlance, getting the ball, well man and a bit of the ball, but if thats how Chris wanted to play he knew Simon could. Murray lifted into turn 1 giving way to Simon’s overlap and Chris was left open to Hill towing Gough through into Xmas. Murray clung on and the pair let David Whitehouse have run on them down into Ashby. Murray would not be moved. The race settled down to fast lappery. By halfway, Hornsby had moved through to head the main field, although Whitehouse, Gough, Harrison Darvill and Jason Bradbury who enjoy some battonage that would see Whitehouse back in 6th ahead of Stuart and Harrison and of course Luke Hornsby before they went at it again. Ben Cottle trying to get in on the action in 11th. Into the closing stages Holmes’ lead was unassailable, barring a mechanical. Bolton was quick at Whilton Mill in 2015 so it was no surprise to see him drop Simon Lloyd. Murray to this point had been unable to do anything about Hill in 4th place but was well clear of Whitehouse. David would be busy holding off Gough to the finish, while Hornsby, Darvill and Bradbury, Jason putting his shoulder into Stuart inside Ashby on the penultimate lap, about the time Murray passed Hill for 4th place.

C100R4-1907The final tour was a victory lap for Joe Holmes, Bolton tested his victory dance over line in 2nd (thats wrong!), Lloyd had long since settled in for the points in 3rd, Hill’s efforts to get 4th back from Murray allowed Whitehouse to get up and in amongst them for 5th.

Round 5 is at Glan Y Gors on 26 June 2016.

Photography: Jack Mitchell, JAM Motorsport Photography