Joe Holmes Carves Out a Five Point Lead for the Finale(?)

November 5, 2020
Steve Gray

Big grids again for the trip to Rye House, the self styled home of British Karting. The circuit where Lewis Hamilton began his racing career. A long fast pit straight followed by the long, long right handed Stadium bend before rolling out into the fiddly bits. And don’t go off the circuit as it’s liable to be wet and dragging water onto the circuit won’t make you popular with your fellow drivers.

First out for what might be the final round this year had been the lightweights. And it was wet, but as the day went on the storm clouds remained but as the wind strengthened from the west the circuit began to slowly dry. But there were still areas of standing water to catch out the unwary.

The Road to the Finals

Oliver Moss claimed the opening heat of the afternoon winning from pole. But he was under pressure all the way heading a five Kart chain which pulled well clear of sixth place. Jack Bolton ran third for much of the race before demoting Alex Pritchard to third three from home. Sean Brierley and Championship leader Joe Holmes completed the top five.

Heat Two saw another lights to flag win, this time for Super-Heavyweight (SHW) Jonathan Elliott. A fine drive this taking the win by over three seconds from Lewis Ridd who had to fight his way up from grid ten. By the time he got up to second though Elliott was too far up the road to be challenged. Gary Miller came home third after running second for the first part of the race before Ridd slipped by. He held off a strong challenge from both Jordan Salter and Lennie Wood in fourth and fifth.

The still damp conditions were clearly helping the SHW runners as reigning Champion Richard Allen won Heat Three from the front row. He controlled the pace brilliantly to hold off Geoff Lamb and HW Championship contender Adam Wright, both of whom kept the leader under pressure for three quarters of the race. But Allen stayed resolute. The top three were almost ten seconds clear of the chasing pack. Paul Goddard came home fourth after working his way up from grid ten and holding off a determined challenge from David Longman who spun to the back of the seventeen strong grid before working his way back up the order and crossing the line fifth just 0.094 adrift of fourth placed Goddard.

Steve Downes got the better of pole man James Taylor at the start of Heat Four with a bold move round the outside of Stadium. Taylor kept his cool to remain second and then went into defensive mode allowing Downes to make a break. But with three laps run Taylor ran wide at Stadium. Dave Pethers too got out of shape and Anwar Beroual-Smith nipped by into second and began to chase down the leader. It would take three laps before he caught up and then he slipped by immediately pulling clear to take the win by over two seconds with Downes second from Pethers, Harrison Darvill and Taylor.

Heat Five resulted in another SHW win, this time by Richard Newton. It was a more interesting race than a look at the lap chart would suggest as Steve Bosley and Sean Brierley battled over second with Alex Pritchard and Nick Trafford in close attendance. Brierley looked to have got the spot but Bosley fought back and took second on the penultimate lap with Brierley third from Pritchard, Trafford and Chris Gristwood. The top six were covered by just over a second.

Matt Wileman took a great win in Heat Six. Starting from the second row he was into the lead at half distance and then had to hold off a very determined Anwar Beroual-Smith who had worked his way up from grid eight. Wileman took the flag just 0.077 ahead. Beroual-Smith however lost second place after an earlier incident at Pylon as he worked his way up the order and dropped to sixth. Jordan Salter was classified second from Lewis Ridd, Jonathan Elliott and Jack Bolton.

Heat Seven saw another lights to flag win this time for David Longman who took the win by over two seconds from Dave Pethers who had to work his way through from grid seven. Lennie Wood started third and finished third ahead of front row starter Paul Goddard and Steve Downes who started fifth and finished fifth.

Joe Holmes returned to winning ways in Heat Eight. He was made to work for it though having to work his way up the order from grid nine. He was up to second by half distance but Miguel Hall held him at bay for a couple of laps. Once by Hall the two of them moved clear. Matt Hale came home third with Adam Wright next from pole sitter Harrison Darvill.

Matt Wileman took his second win of the day in Heat Nine. Starting from the second row he was up to second after a couple of laps behind pole sitter Jack Bolton. He stayed second for a couple of laps before moving ahead and taking the win over two seconds clear of Bolton with Chris Gristwood third from David Longman and Paul Goddard.

Anwar Beroual-Smith took Heat Ten after a great battle with Matt Hale. Hale started alongside Beroual-Smith on the second row but got the better start and was up to second after the first lap whilst Beroual-Smith ran fourth. Hale took over at the front from Bill Taylor who dropped to third behind Beroual-Smith a lap later. Once in second Beroual-Smith closed in on Hale for the lead but Hale was driving superbly and staying at the front. But into Stadium for the final time Beroual-Smith stayed wide. Hale defended the inside but ran wide and Beroual-Smith immediately tightened his arc and moved ahead. Alex Pritchard took third with Taylor fourth from Oliver Moss and Lewis Ridd.

Adam Wright made no mistakes in the penultimate heat to take a lights to flag win over four seconds clear of second placed Steve Bosley who was in turn some four seconds clear of third placed Miguel Hall. But he had a bit of good fortune. Chris Solomons, running down the order ran off the circuit out of the left hander after Stadium. It’s always wet there and water got splashed over the track. Bosley made it by but third placed Hall picked up water on his tyres as did Lee Henderson and Steve Lindley. All three spun but got going. But it did secure Bosley’s second place. Next time around Henderson managed to spin again at hairpin one and lost fifth to James Taylor. Hall took third with Lindley fourth.

The final heat resulted in a second win of the day for Joe Holmes. Starting from the second row he was into the lead by the end of the lap and then drove clear to take a comfortable win almost five seconds clear of second placed Nick Trafford who ran in second for much of the race accompanied by Jordan Salter who remained third. Mathew Lambert came home fourth ahead of Geoff Lamb.

The Finals

C Final

Darren De Mattia on pole for the first Final of the afternoon with Daren Towsnley alongside. Row two saw Bradley Shears alongside Jonathan McAdie. Sunny Kundi shared row three with SHW Blake Temperley followed by Richard Neale and Wayne Dunham. Thys Paine and Lewis Mckinnon shared row five followed by Chris Kirk and Dmitri Zeldin. The seventh row had Dan Smith alongside Chris Warton with James Fremont and Jaeden Cadogan on row eight. Jack Fowler and James Dunnett were on row nine whilst the penultimate row had Martyn Robinson alongside Redford James with the final row occupied by Chris Solomon and Joel Barnett. A trophy for the winner and the top four to qualify for another race in the B Final.

By the time the C Finalists came out the track was dry but there were still puddles in some awkward spots to catch out the unwary. And as the light began to fade the floodlights were turned on. De Mattia led the field away but Townsley ran very wide at Stadium and dropped back quickly down the order. Shears was up to second as they ran down to hairpin one. Temperley spun and McKinnon and Fremont both got held up. Over the line at the end of the lap and De Mattia led from Shears, Neale and Kundi. The top four had pulled out a gap of almost two seconds over fifth placed McAdie. Smith was next having made up seven places. Dunham was seventh. For several laps the order remained static but Shears was piling the pressure on the leader and duly swept by on the entrance to Stadium at the start of lap five. For once, the top four were driving like they wanted to qualify for the B Final rather than win the race with no one making any ambitious moves.

Shears was steadily pulling clear at the front and by the halfway stage was over three seconds clear of De Mattia in second. Neale was third with Kundi fourth. McAdie was fifth but carrying a penalty which would prevent him from qualifying. After his bright start Smith was falling back but still running clear of Dunham who was fending off attacks from Kirk. Shears continued to extend his lead but McAdie in fifth was putting serious pressure on fourth placed Kundi. Kundi could have let him go but probably wasn’t aware that McAdie had a penalty and even had he known there was no guarantee that McAdie wouldn’t appeal the penalty. So he defended. But with three and half laps to go McAdie got better drive out of the second hairpin and slipped by into fourth at Pylon. Shears reeled off the laps to take the win by over eleven seconds. De Mattia came home second with Neale third. Both drivers were badly held up by backmarkers over the final lap which allowed McAdie and Kundi to close up. Out of the final corner Kundi got better traction and pulled alongside McAdie down the straight. They crossed the line side by side and were separated by absolutely nothing. A dead heat. I can’t remember one of those in all my years with CLUB100. McAdie’s penalty though dropped him to eleventh and Kundi was safely through to the B Final. Dan Smith took fifth with Townsley sixth from Paine, Cadogan, Dunham and Zeldin. Shears set the fastest lap.

C Final Winner – Bradley Shears

B Final

A front row dominated by SHW’s with Bill Taylor on pole from Richard Newton. Harrison Wedgebury shared the second row with James Taylor. Paul Williams and Matthew Lambert were on row three with Steve Lindley and Andrew Cherry on row four. Matt Kendall was alongside Jason Bear on row five followed by Gary Miller and Lee Henderson. Tim Williams and Bradley Perrett shared row seven from Vinod Harani and Simon Kavanagh on row eight. Andy Berry and James Workman occupied row nine with Richard Masterton and Frankie Bennet on row ten. Wayne Edwards and Luke Philips shared row eleven followed by the four qualifiers from the B Final, Shears, De Mattia, Neale and Kundi. A trophy for the winner and the top two to qualify for the A Final.

Bill Taylor led the field away followed by Wedgebury, Taylor and Newton. Down the order Harani and Berry both got delayed. Final corner, first lap, and Wedgebury went down the inside of Bill Taylor. It was a bold move but he made contact with leader. Despite taking over at the front he had effectively put himself out of the running for a place in the A Final. Behind the two front runners James Taylor made a move on Newton at Pylon. Contact was made and Newton spun. Taylor immediately headed for the pits knowing that a penalty was coming his way and he had no chance of moving up to the A Final. Williams was up to third but coming under attack from Lambert followed by Lindley, Kendall, Bear and Cherry. Lambert put a spectacular move around the outside of Williams at Stadium to move into third but Williams immediately struck back moving cleanly by at Hairpin one. But he was in front for just a lap as both Lambert and Lindley took advantage of Williams losing momentum as he defended into hairpin two. Wedgebury and Taylor were pulling clear at the front as the battle for third on the road developed into a six kart scrap with Lambert at the head from Lindley, Williams, Kendall, Bear and Cherry. And behind these Edwards was making extraordinary progress up from grid twenty one. Two thirds distance and he went by both Kendall and Williams making contact with them both as he did so. Wedgebury was still out front with Taylor close behind but being sensible enough not to make a move. Lambert was next some seven seconds adrift but five seconds clear of Lindley with Bear next and defending from the flying Edwards. Bear went very wide at Stadium and Edwards was up to fifth and chasing down Lindley with Bear, Kendall and Williams lines astern behind. Penultimate lap and Williams nipped by Kendall for seventh with Parrett seventh from Kendall.

SurperHeavyweight Winner & B Final Winner – Bill Taylor

Final lap and there was no doubt who would cross the line in first and second with Wedgebury and Taylor almost ten seconds clear. Lambert looked safe in third but it was a battle royal behind. Edwards got ahead of Lindley for fourth but then pulled into the pits. He would explain later that he didn’t want to ruin anyone’s Championship points. He had picked up a penalty and would have dropped down the results in any case. Lindley moved back ahead and crossed the line fourth followed by Williams, Bear who had Parrett and Shears alongside but just behind with Kendall and Shears completing the top ten. But the drama wasn’t over. Wedgebury was demoted to fifth leaving Taylor the winner and Lambert second but then Lambert was found to be underweight and excluded promoting Lindley to second and Williams to third with Bear fourth. Parrett was classified sixth from Shears and Cherry with Miller promoted into the top ten.

C3 Class Winner – Jason Bear

A Final

Joe Holmes on pole with Anwar Beroual-Smith alongside and Adam Wright with Jordan Salter on row two. Top effort from Salter to record his highest A Final qualifying spot. Jack Bolton and David Longman shared row three with Alex Pritchard and Matt Hale occupying row four. Lewis Ridd and Steve Bosley were on row five ahead of Miguel Hall and Matt Wileman on row six and Oliver Moss and Steve Downes on row seven. Row eight, Paul Goddard and Richard Allen. Jonathan Elliott and Sean Brierley occupied row nine with Lennie Wood and Geoff Lamb on row ten. Harrison Darvill and Chris Gristwood shared row eleven with Dave Pethers and Nick Trafford on the penultimate row followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Taylor and Lindley.

Holmes led the pack away with Wright following him through but Holmes had got away too quickly for the officials liking and a false start was called which was fortunate for Brierley who spun at the first hairpin. Holmes brought the field up to the line for the restart much more slowly but the result was just the same. He got away well, Wright followed him through and Beroual-Smith lost out as did Salter. Over the line at the end of the lap and Holmes was a couple of lengths clear of Wright followed by Beroual-Smith, Bolton, Pritchard and Ridd. Second time around and one of the midfield runners got a wheel off the circuit on the run to the first chicane and dragged water onto the straight. Hale, Goddard and Elliott all got caught out and were on the grass at hairpin one losing ground badly. As the leaders started their third lap the flag’s were out at Stadium warning that the track was slippery. Holmes made it through but got sideways. A closely following Wright took avoiding action to avoid collecting the leader and shot across the wet grass and into the barrier. He was quickly out but had to struggle to get the kart out of the mud. It took a full lap. His race was done as he pulled into the pits soaked through to the skin and very muddy. He would later say that he felt he had the pace to beat Holmes. He remains the only Champion in the history of CLUB100 who has never won an A Final. His day will surely come.

Holmes continued to lead with Beroual-Smith second. Bolton was up to third but being challenged by Pritchard and Hall. A lap later and Pritchard was up to third courtesy of a run on Bolton into, and out of, hairpin two. The lap times went up considerably as drivers went carefully through the water on the run down to hairpin one. With five laps run Hall made a move on Bolton at Stadium. Bolton defended but both appeared to get caught out by the standing water on the outside of the turn. Hall hit the barriers hard and was out. Fortunately he appeared to be just badly winded but his day was done. Bolton got going but was down at the rear of the field. Half distance and Holmes was just over a second clear of Beroual-Smith with Pritchard a solid third, lapping consistently and keeping himself clear of fourth placed Moss. Ridd was next and being pressured hard by Allen with Brierley up to seventh making the most of his good fortune after spinning at the first start. Salter was next followed by Bosley and the second SHW runner Trafford in tenth. As the track dried the lap times began to come down. Holmes still led from Beroual-Smith, Pritchard and Moss whilst a great battle for fifth was beginning to heat up between Ridd, Allen, Salter, Brierley, Bosley and Trafford. In the space of a lap Brierley went by both Allen and Ridd to move up to fifth. Salter went with him into sixth but they were a long way back from Moss in fourth and the laps were running out.

At the front Beroual-Smith was chipping away at Holmes lead setting fastest lap after fastest lap but it wasn’t enough. He set the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate tour but had to give best yet again to Holmes who claimed his fifth A Final win of the season with Beroual-Smith second for the sixth time this season. Alex Pritchard was a long way back in third but it was a superb effort from him, comfortably clear of fourth placed Moss and taking the C2 honours. His best ever finish in CLUB100. Moss too recorded his best finish in fourth and third in the C1 class.

A Final / C1 Winner – Joe Holmes

Brierley came home fifth with Salter sixth and taking the runner up spot in C2 well clear of seventh placed Ridd who took the third spot in C2. Allen was next and the first SHW to cross the line. But he’d tipped Wileman into a spin early in the race and dropped to fourteenth in the classification. Bosley and Longman took ninth and tenth the latter with a strong comeback drive after an early spin. With Allen penalised Trafford, in twelfth, should have been promoted to a win in the SHW’s but he was found to be underweight. He was excluded handing the win to Bill Taylor with Allen second from Jonathan Elliott.

C2 Winner – Alex Pritchard

Championship Round Up

Joe Holmes remains at the top of the order just five points clear of Anwar Beroual-Smith with Adam Wright third whilst in C2 Miguel Hall leads from Lewis Ridd and Jordan Salter whilst the SHW’s are led by defending Champion Richard Allen from Bill Taylor and Jonathan Elliott. [UPDATE/CORRECTION] In C3 Wayne Dunham leads the way from Simon Kavanagh, Sunny Kundi and Chris Kirk.

Reflections

As I write this the Prime Minister has just confirmed the lockdown which means that the next round at Buckmore will not take place. He has stated that the lockdown will end on December 2nd but this will depend on infection rates coming down so the final round at Whilton Mill is still in the balance. It will be a great shame after all the hard work that has been put in by the club if we are unable to stage the final round.

Considering the conditions I thought there was some very good driving at Rye. Certainly the penalty count was not particularly excessive. I was surprised however that couple of drivers cost themselves solid results after being found to be underweight.

On a lighter note the left handed kink after Stadium corner now has a name. By his own admission our mush loved and respected Clerk of the Course and ace kart tester Niki Richardson got a little greedy on Saturday as he rounded the corner and caught out by the standing water round the apex. He spun off onto all the wet muddy stretch on the right of the short straight much to the amusement of all who saw it. Even the very best occasionally make mistakes. Sadly there do not appear to be any pictures of the moment but in race control on Sunday there was a little debate as to how the moment should be preserved so for evermore in CLUB100 folklore the corner is now Richardson’s Rest. A fitting tribute.

Stay safe, keep your distance, wash your hands etc and lets all do our bit to get the infection rate down so that we can have a proper finale to the season.

WORDS: Steve Gray
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson

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