Joe Holmes Makes A Statement…

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A lovely September morning greeted the competitors for the first of two rounds in consecutive weekends. Near perfect racing conditions. Two rounds which could be pivotal in the race for the various Championships. Matt Wileman was looking to make it a hat trick of wins in the Heavyweight division with Jack O’Neill looking to get back to winning ways in the Lights. And with no fear of rain everyone was looking forward to an exciting day’s clean racing. It certainly proved to be exciting. First up, the Heavyweight (HW)/SuperHeavyweight (SHW) brigade.

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The Road to the Finals

Adam Wright opened the day’s proceedings winning the first heat from pole. Anwar Beroual-Smith started from the second row and was up to second by the end of lap one. Thereafter the two of them pulled clear of the pack with Miguel Hall coming home a lonely fourth from Richard Newton and Rory Severn.

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Joe Holmes predicted before the event that he would win all three of his heats and the Final. That might sound boastful or arrogant but it wasn’t said in that vein, more the issuing of a challenge to the rest of the pack to up their game. It took a couple of laps for him to hit the front but thereafter he pulled away to take the win by over four seconds and set the fastest lap. Craig Brown claimed second. A great drive this as he fought his way up from grid six and holding off the challenge from Oliver Moss who drove superbly up from grid eleven with Jordan Salter next from pole sitter Jason Bear.

Mikey Nichols claimed the third heat aided in part by a ferocious fight for second between Stuart Symonds and Richard Allen which finally went to Symonds. Fran Volpe was a distant fourth with Mike Bodnar fifth.

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Jonathan Elliott took a fine win in Heat Four leading all the way from pole and heading home Chris Alcock who had started from the second row. Matt Wileman took valuable points with third place after working his way up from grid nine. He got stuck behind Chris Dixon for several laps before slipping by on the final tour. Steve Bosley was a distant fifth.

Heat Five was all set to be a thriller with Anwar Beroual-Smith starting from grid six and Joe Holmes on grid ten. Within a couple of laps Beroual-Smith was at the front with Holmes second. But that was how they stayed with Beroual-Smith taking the win over a second clear at the flag as Holmes settled for second having never really threatened. Darrell Lowe was third after starting from pole with Tom Fuller and Mikey Nicholls fourth and fifth.

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Matt Wileman took a comfortable win in Heat Six after starting from pole and never coming under threat. Oliver Moss ran second after starting from the front row but lost out on the final lap to Alex Pritchard who had started from row two. Chris Alcock was fourth with Miguel Hall fifth.

Heat Seven was arguably the best of the day thus far with Chris Dixon taking the win with a last gasp pass on Dave Pethers. Dixon started from fourth and was quickly up to third before getting involved in a battle for second with early leader Mike Bodnar. Once he got by he chased down Pethers for the win with Bodnar third. Steve Bosley was fourth after a strong drive up from grid nine with Richard Masterson fifth.

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Ridds to the fore in Heat Eight with Lewis and Anthony providing some great entertainment before Lewis took the win courtesy of a last lap pass on Anthony. Jonathan Elliot was third from Richard Allen and Stuart Symonds.

A Team Applewood one two in Heat Nine with Alex Pritchard taking the win from Chris Alcock. Pritchard started from grid five and took the lead two laps in with Alcock second after starting from grid nine. Thereafter they circulated together with Steve Lindley running third just over a second adrift. Alcock set the fastest lap on the penultimate tour and was just a Kart length adrift at the flag. Chris Dixon was fourth after another strong drive with Mike Bodnar fifth.

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Joe Holmes took his second win of the day in Heat Ten, a win which would ultimately secure him pole for the Final. He started from the front row but ran second to pole man Jack Bolton for a couple of laps before moving to the front and drawing clear. Adam Wright took a hard fought second after moving through the order from grid nine. He went second with two to go but could do nothing to cut the gap to Holmes. Lewis Ridd claimed third from Bolton with Steve Bosley fifth.

Fran Volpe quickly stamped his authority on Heat Eleven after starting from pole. One lap run and he was over a second clear of Miguel Hall. Hall remained second until the penultimate lap when he was caught and passed by Anwar Beroual-Smith who had had to work his way through the field from grid eight. But despite cutting the gap Volpe was too far ahead. Hall’s race got worse as Olive Moss swept by on the final lap whilst Dave Pethers took fifth.  

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Matt Wileman took his second win of the day in the final heat which would prove good enough to put him on the front row for the Final alongside Holmes. He started from grid seven but took pole sitter Jordan Salter for the lead second time around. He then controlled the place back to Salter to take the win with Salter a comfortable second from Richard Allen who displaced Craig Brown for the place on the final lap. Jonathan Elliott was fifth.

The Finals 

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C Final 

(All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted)

Marcus Naris on pole with SHW Vinod Harani alongside. Mathew Batter and Luke Philips occupied the second row with Jaedon Cadogan and Blake Temperley on row three. Bo Van Langeveld and Elliott Garner shared row four with David Wilson and Chris Solomon on row five. Row six saw Joel Arguelles alongside Jason Small followed by SHW Paul Jameson and Andrew Hicks on the penultimate row from Leon Du Preez and Martyn Robinson. Top four to qualify for the B Final and a trophy for the winner. 

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Naris led the pack away and it was good clean start right down the order. By the end of the lap Naris was still ahead with Batter second from Harani, Philips and Cadogan. Into the first turn for the second time and Philips moved to the inside and swept by Harani for third. Third time around and Naris still led from Batter but Philips was right on the latter’s bumper and tucked inside to move ahead on the run down to turn two. Harani remained fourth but Van Langeveld was closing in having deposed Cadogan for fifth. Naris continued to lead from Philips and Batter, the three of them looking comfortable as they pulled away from the battle for fourth. Fourth placed Harani was beginning to look decidedly uncomfortable as Van Langeveld and Cadogan began to increase the pressure. Cadogan slipped by Van Langeveld for fifth and immediately closed in on Harani taking him on the inside of the first turn. But he ran a shade wide and Harani came back through along with Van Langeveld. But Cadogan wasn’t giving in easily and fought back in the turn one two complex. But he made hard contact with Van Langeveld as he went by and would suffer the inevitable penalty. Van Langeveld too though was in trouble. He’d made contact with Harani as they sorted themselves out and he too would suffer a penalty.

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At the front Naris continued to lead from Philips with Batter third from the penalised pair Van Langeveld and Cadogan leaving Harani in the fourth qualifying spot. But he was coming under pressure from Hicks and Temperley the former having driven a storming race up from his lowly grid spot. At the front Naris continued to lead but Philips had decided that he wanted a trophy and slipped by for the lead into the second hairpin. Hicks meanwhile made a move on Harani and was briefly ahead but then ran wide allowing a following Temperley to take them both. A lap later and Hicks was back in front of Harani and closing in on Temperley who he caught and passed within a lap. Hicks immediately began to pull clear as Temperley defended from Harani. Penultimate lap and Temperley got out of shape in turn one, ran very wide and lost momentum allowing Harani, Arguelles and Wilson to slip by. Philips crossed the line for the win and the trophy comfortably clear of Naris with Batter third. Van Langeveld was next over the line but his four place penalty dropped him to eighth. Cadogan was next but penalised to ninth handing the fourth qualifying spot to Hicks who also set the fastest lap establishing a new C3 record. Arguelles crossed the line seventh but was promoted to fifth from SHW Harani. Wilson went from ninth to seventh with Temperley completing the top ten. 

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C Final Winner – Luke Phillips

B Final

(All drivers in C2 unless otherwise noted)

Anthony Ridd on pole with C1 Jack Bolton alongside. Jason Bear and Chris Kirk shared row two. Row three saw Rory Severn alongside SHW Andrew Cherry with Elliot Mewse and Richard Lavender on row four. SHW Richard Newton and C3 Russell Taylor were on row five with C3 Daniel Hollinshead on row six alongside Simon Kavanagh. Row seven was shared by two SHW’s, Lee Henderson and Bill Taylor. Row eight saw C3 Andy Berry alongside SHW Ben Benneyworth followed by C3 Max Jameson and SHW Kieran Chidgzey. Row ten had two C3’s Lawrence Cheah and Bradley Porter whilst Paul Williams and C3 Samuel Bensley shared row eleven followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Philips, Naris, Batter and Hicks. Top two to qualify for the A Final and a trophy for the winner.

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Ridd led the field away but Bolton found himself in the worst possible place and was forced to run wide out of the first turn. Bear made a great start from row two and led into the second turn. Cherry and Mewse were both early spinners. End of the lap and Bear led from Ridd, Severn, Bolton, Kirk, Newton, Kavanagh, Lavender and Chidgzey the latter having made up nine places. Bear’s lead was short lived however as Ridd got a run on him into the second hairpin. Bear defended but Ridd was ahead. Coming onto the short back straight it all got very untidy as the leaders tried to avoid tripping each other up. Ridd was unscathed and crossed the line at the end of the lap over a second clear of Severn from Kirk, Bear, Newton and Bolton. With three laps run Ridd was beginning to eke out a gap from Severn with Bear third from Kirk. Bolton was back up to fifth. Ridd continued to edge clear from Severn, Bear and Kirk. Bolton was back on the pace and slipped by Kirk for fourth. Kirk got off line and both Kavanagh and Newton took full advantage to slip by. Ridd continued to hold the advantage at the front with Severn still second from Bear who now had Bolton closing in.

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The top four were pulling clear as the pack squabbled over fifth place. Kavanagh held the spot with the next nine places covered by a little over two seconds. With three to go Ridd was over three seconds clear at the front and safely through to the A Final barring any incident. But second placed Severn was now coming under severe pressure from Bolton. Bolton had looked out of the hunt but Severn and Bear had almost tripped each other up as they fought over second allowing Bolton back into the hunt. He swiftly deposed Bear and set about taking Severn. Bear remained in the hunt running right on Bolton’s rear bumper ready to capitalise if Severn and Bolton fell over each other. Bolton went for the inside into turn one and looked to have the move done as Severn ran wide. But Severn had momentum and Bolton tried again into the second turn hitting Severn and slowing them both which allowed Bear up to second. But not for long. Down the short straight Bolton went on the attack and went by Bear round the mound. Bear went wide and Severn also slipped by. But Bolton had made contact and his number flashed up on the digi board over the start and finish line.  

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Penultimate lap and Bear dived down the inside of Severn into turn two. They brushed sidepod to sidepod but it was Bear who emerged ahead. And that was how they remained to the flag. Ridd crossed the line almost six seconds clear. A fabulous drive. Bolton crossed the line second but was demoted to sixth. Bear crossed the line third which became a hard earned second with Severn a couple of Kart lengths back in third. Kavanagh was some distance back but placed fourth ahead of Kirk and Bolton. Taylor was next and took the SHW Honours on the day. Russell Taylor was next and won C3 with Henderson ninth and second in SHW. Hollinshead completed the top ten and took second in C3.  Eleventh place overall and third in SHW went to Richard Newton whilst Cheah took third in C3 after finishing fifteenth overall. Fastest lap went to Paul Williams.      

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B Final Winner – Anthony Ridd

A Final

(All drivers in C1 unless otherwise noted)

Joe Holmes on pole alongside Matt Wileman with Anwar Beroual-Smith on row two. C2 Jonathan Elliott shared row three with Chris Dixon. C2 Alex Pritchard was on row four with Oliver Moss followed by Adam Wright and C2 Richard Allen. C2 Jordan Salter was on row six with Miguel Hall followed by two C2’s, birthday boy Fran Volpe and Mike Bodnar. C2’s Steve Bosley and Mikey Nichols shared row eight followed by Lewis Ridd and Craig Brown. C2 Darrell Lowe and Stuart Symonds were on row ten followed by C2’s Tom Fuller and Steve Lindley with the remaining rows made up of C2’s, Dave Pethers, Richard Masterson, Anthony Ridd and Jason Bear the latter pair having qualified from the B Final. 

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Joe Holmes dived into the pits during the warm up for his what seems now to be a customary kart change. As he brought the pack up to the line he was weaving frantically to get some heat into the tyres but as the lights changed he was smartly away. Into the first turn and Wileman ran wide as Beroual-Smith slotted into second. Down at turn two Elliott nipped by Alcock for third. It was all very messy behind with several drivers putting wheels off the track and kicking up dust. It was looking rough. Over the line at the end of the lap and Holmes led from Beroual-Smith. Elliott, Alcock, Wileman, Dixon and Pritchard. Wright had moved up a place ahead of Moss but Allen had suffered badly after a grassy moment dropped him down to nineteenth. Hall, Bodnar and Lewis Ridd had all been badly delayed.

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Second time around and Holmes was finding himself going defensive. His kart change had worked out badly. He was slow. Beroual-Smith was weaving right and left trying to unsettle Holmes as he stuck doggedly to his task. With Holmes slow at the front the rest of the pack were beginning to bunch up. Wileman slipped by Elliott for third at the mound. Briefly the front four pulled a gap as Pritchard and Dixon moved by Alcock for fifth and sixth respectively. But within a few corners they were back with the leading bunch. Over the line after four laps and Holmes remained at the front from Beroual-Smith, Wileman, Elliott, Pritchard, Dixon, Alcock, Wright and Moss. Less than two seconds separated the top nine. But the times were slow as drivers ducked and dived trying to make up places. But getting a clean run was looking impossible as the field continued to bunch and no one wanted to risk losing position by getting off line. Wileman managed to get inside Beroual-Smith at turn one but it was not without contact. A couple of corners later and Beroual-Smith nipped back into second.

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Wileman’s chances of a hat trick of wins was over as his number came up on the digi-board showing a penalty. Down the order as the field came round the mound fifth placed Pritchard was suddenly left with nowhere to go and took to the grass along with Wright. No one was giving an inch and it looked as though at any minute there would be a major incident. Pritchard fell to fifteenth with Wright dropping to thirteenth. Salter moved from eleventh to fifth in the space of a couple of corners. Moss made up a couple of spots to move into sixth whilst Symonds went from twelfth to seventh. Bosley was into the top ten along with a recovering Allen. All of which allowed the front four to open up a gap. But not for long.

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Holmes continued to back the pack up and in the space of a lap fifth placed Salter made up one and a half seconds to latch onto the back of the leading four. And the rest of the pack came with him. Salter put a move on Elliott for fourth but it didn’t work out and he went wide. Elliott defended and he too lost out to Symonds and Moss. Symonds was using all his experience and then some as he gatecrashed the party at the front deposing Wileman for third as they ran out of turn two. Moss too nipped by taking Elliott with him. Allen was up to seventh ahead of Salter Bosley, Brown, Volpe and Wright. Ninth time around and Wright went for a move on Volpe round the mound. Contact was made and Volpe ran wide collecting Brown who spun hard backwards into the tyres, fortunately without major damage. And Mr. Brown was relatively unscathed too! Volpe made it back onto the track but fell down the order whilst Wright would suffer the inevitable penalty. Penultimate lap and Wileman put a move on Symonds. Elliott too muscled his way by the unlucky Symonds who lost his line and rhythm and fell from third to eighth.

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Class 1 Podium – Winner Joe Holmes, flanked by Anwar Beroual-Smith and Lewis Ridd

Holmes crossed the line to take the win with a rueful Beroual-Smith in his wheel tracks. Wileman was next over the line but his four place deduction dropped him to seventh whilst fourth over the line Elliott was also hit with a four place deduction after his move on Symonds. All of which promoted Allen into third.

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C2 Class Winner – Richard ‘Dickie’ Allen

A remarkable performance and thoroughly deserved which also gave him the C2 honours. Salter was sixth over the line but promoted to fourth which gave him second in C2. He also set the fastest lap in the Class. Lewis Ridd was promoted from seventh to fifth which also gave him third in C1. A great effort. Symonds was promoted from eighth to sixth and made the fastest lap. Then came Wileman and Elliott. Wright was next but penalised out of the top ten with Pritchard promoted to ninth and Moss tenth. Elliott’s penalty cost him the C2 win but he still placed third. But what an outstanding drive from Joe Holmes. He was absolutely spent after the race. A defensive masterclass and Yorkshire grit at its finest. To put some perspective on it his overall race time would not have been good enough to win the C Final. He would have been tenth. His fastest lap, which he set second time around, was over a second slower than the fastest C3 driver in the C Final and over a second and a half slower than the fastest C3 driver on the day Daniel Hollinshead. I wonder how much of a psychological blow his win has dealt to his Championship rivals?

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Class 3 Podium – Winner Russell Taylor, flanked by Daniel Hollinshead and Lawrence Cheah

Round up

Joe Holmes win keeps him at the head of the standings and stopped Matt Wileman from making it three wins in a row. An important statement win from Joe as he is missing Llandow. Matt’s lowly showing and Anwar Beroual-Smith’s second place sees Anwar close the gap to just three points to Matt. Adam Wright is some way back in fourth after another luckless round. But he’ll bounce back. Jonathan Elliott lies fifth and leads the C2 runners from Alex Pritchard and Richard Allen both of whom are in the top ten overall. Had Joe not won the A Final ‘Dickie’ would surely have been the driver of the day.

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SuperHeavyweight Class – Winner Bill Taylor, flanked by Lee Henderson and Richard Newton

Bill Taylor leads the SuperHeavyweights from Lee Henderson and Richard Newton. Max Jameson leads C3 from Luke Philips and Daniel Hollinshead.

Reflections

One of those days at Bayford with way too many penalties. Hopefully some of those who got multiple penalties will learn from their errors. Learn to know when to yield and when to battle. Put your egos away and drive with your brain. Some drivers try to blame the officials. I was asked on Sunday, and it was not in a critical way, if our observers had any experience of racing. In Niki Richardson, Barney Pittingale and Sam Dimelow we have three observers who have raced and won at the highest levels of karting. The other observers have massive amounts of karting going back decades. They all know the sport inside out. They do not have favourites. Every drive in every heat, every drive in every Final is judged on its merits. The honesty and integrity of all our officials is beyond reproach. Remember that when you go storming around claiming you’re being victimised. No one is victimised. There is no enjoyment in issuing penalties. We want to see great fair racing throughout the field. I want to write about heroes not villains.

We move on. Llandow next and it’s only days away. Brush up on your Welsh!!   

Words: Steve Gray

Photography: John Patterson