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Joe Holmes Rolls the Kart Change Dice, Throws Double Six, 42 Points Clear

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The wonderful Clay, one of the oldest venues in the country.  

First away in the morning were the lightweights. Cool temperatures and a stiff breeze blowing over the circuit with a threat of rain. But whilst the clouds rolled on by and we were spared the rain right through the day even through the Heavyweights. 

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Heats 

Callan Sigafoos crossed the line first after working his way up from grid eleven and taking the lead from Darren Townsley three laps from home. But he’d spun Josh Pettit to a halt third time around incurring a six place deduction and promoting Townsley back to first from Miguel Hall, Tom Stalker, Mike Bodnar and Glen Orford. 

Kyle Walker made the most of pole position to take a lights to flag victory in heat two. But it was a close run thing. Tim Penny was almost two seconds behind after two laps but he chipped away at Walkers lead. He ran out of laps though and had to settle for second just 0.092 adrift.  

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Reigning HW Champion Anwar Beroual-Smith was having his first Sunday sprint of the season and opened his account with a third place finish ahead of Stephen Netting and Darrell Lowe. 

Steve Lindley led the opening laps of the third heat from pole before Curt Holmes took over at the front. Lindley stayed with the leader for a couple of laps before retiring when his engine cut out. Accidentally turned off Steve? Alex Pritchard took over in second and stayed half a second back from the leader till the end of the heat with Jacob Harris third from Edward Gordon and Samuel Bensley. 

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Joe Holmes started his first heat of the day from grid six and took two thirds of the race before getting into the lead. He set his best lap on the final tour giving him a slight edge in the race for pole. Kai Crawford was second with Adam Wright third after working his way up from grid nine. James Radovic and Lee Henderson completed the top five.   

A clearly on form Callan Sigafoos saw the chequered flag first for the second time in two races in heat five. And this time he did it without penalty leading home Edward Gordon by almost two seconds. Tim Hill claimed third after a strong drive up from grid nine followed by Tom Stalker and Scott Parker. 

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Anwar Beroual-Smith started on the second row for heat six but was quickly into second behind polesitter Mikey Nichols. But Nichols is no pushover and he held the advantage at the front until three from home when Beroual-Smith finally prised open a chance and went by for the lead. Nichols remained a comfortable second whilst Curt Holmes jumped from fifth to third on the final lap taking valuable points ahead of Tim Penny and Alex Pritchard. Joe Holmes could only manage eighth putting a severe dent in his hopes of pole. 

Heat seven saw Kyle Walker take his second win of the day. Starting from grid seven he worked his way up the order taking over at the front from Alexander Lammin three from home. Lammin took second a couple of tenths ahead of Darrell Lowe with Miguel Hall third from Bill Taylor.  

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Adam Wright was a comfortable winner of heat eight. Starting from the front row he was quickly into the lead and never headed. Tim Williams chased him home in second with Joe Wright third from Heinrich Watson-Miller and Aidan Kitchener. 

Heat nine saw a win for Alex Pritchard. Starting from the front row he fell to third before taking over at the front from early leader Jordan Hawkins who chased Pritchard all the way to the line but was unable to get close enough to offer a challenge. Stephen Netting took third with Kyle Walker fourth after a strong drive up from grid eleven. 

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Anwar Beroual-Smith made no mistakes in heat ten comfortably winning by over four seconds from Matt Horgan with Miguel Hall third from Mikey Nichols and Lennie Wood. 

Steve Bosley took the penultimate heat with a lights to flag demonstration run ahead of Lee Henderson who beat his nemesis Bill Taylor by over a second for a physiological boost! Tim Penny was fourth behind Taylor with Alexander Lammin fifth. 

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Joe Holmes claimed the final heat of the day leading Adam Wright home by over five seconds. But Wright had had to work his way up from grid eight whilst Holmes was on the second row alongside brother Curt who came home third. Scott Parker and Aidan Kitchener completed the top five. 

Anwar Beroual-Smith’s two heat wins were enough to secure himself pole ahead of Kyle Walker. A strong effort this from Walker. Adam Wright was third on the grid from Joe Holmes.    

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C Final 

(All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted) 

C2 Luke Elliott on pole from SHW Lennie Wood. Rupert Rixon and C2 Tom Angier shared the second row followed on row three by Kristian Huus and C2 Adrian Wray. Row four saw Jonathan Wilson alongside Cody Richards with Patrick Sekinger and Antonio Gizzonio on the fifth row. Jack Giles and SHW Vinod Hirani shared row six with Simon Fuller and C2 Mathew Batter on row seven. Jamie Buchan and Nick Leuci shared row eight followed by SHW Olavo Castro and Charlie James bringing up the rear. Top four to qualify for the B Final and a trophy for the winner. 

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Elliott led the pack away but Wood lost out round Billy’s and ran out of room causing him to spin. He has to be the unluckiest driver around at the moment. Angier moved up to second ahead of Rixon. Wilson had made a great start to move up from seventh to fourth. Elliott continued to lead but Angier was putting him under pressure and was soon into the lead. Third placed Wilson was also putting the more experienced Elliott under pressure. A couple of times he almost got alongside but Elliott held him off. Seventh time around and Wilson got another run on Elliott as they came down the main straight. Elliott moved across to discourage the move but Wilson was committed and Elliott left him with no room. Wilson hit the barrier very hard and rolled over the line clearly in considerable distress but he was moving about in his seat. The Clerk of the course immediately ordered a full course yellow whilst Wilson collected himself together. Fortunately he wasn’t seriously injured but it was a very nasty and avoidable incident.  

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When the race resumed Angier kept his composure and continued to lead. Wray kept him under pressure and went into the lead was three laps to go. Wray took the win and the Trophy with Angier second. Elliott crossed the line third but was penalised down to ninth. Batter was next but a penalty dropped him to seventh leaving Rixon and Gizzonio as the final two qualifiers. Fifth place went to Lennie Wood after a great recovery drive from his first lap spin.    

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C Final Winner Adrian Wray

B Final 

(All drivers in C2 unless otherwise noted.)

Jacob Harris on pole from Heinrich Watson-Miller with Aidan Kitchener and Scott Parker on the second row. James Radovic shared row three with SHW Richard Newton followed by Joe Wright and SHW Mike Bodnar on row four. Josh Pettit and Tim Hill occupied the fifth row with C3 Marcus Gilbey and SHW Matt Salmon behind on row six. Row seven saw Ben Cottle alongside SHW Stuart Kirk followed by Mathew Griffiths and C3 Jason Kirkham on row eight and Glen Orford alongside Vijay Patel on row nine. C1 Steve Lindley shared row ten with SHW Graham Ward with Lawrence Cheah alongside Tom Edwards on row eleven and then the four qualifiers from the C Final, Wray, Angier, Rixon and Gizzonio. 

Top two to qualify for the A Final and a trophy for the winner. 

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Harris brought the field up to the start but Watson-Miller went early. A clear jumped start and the resulting two place penalty ending his hopes of progressing to the A Final. Harris tucked in behind in second from Radovic, Kitchener and a quick starting Wright. Watson-Miller began to ease away from the pack with Harris second ahead of Pettit, Parker and Kitchener. Steve Lindley was making up ground and looking like he would be a threat in the later stages. Over the next few laps he began to pick up places but then got stuck for a couple of laps behind third placed Pettit. Down the end of the back straight eighth time around and he dived up the inside of Pettit for third. But he made contact and it would cost him dear. Watson-Miller continued to lead almost two seconds clear of Harris who was in turn over two seconds clear of Lindley and Pettit.

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B Final Winner Josh Pettitt

Over the next few laps Watson-Miller began to increase his lead over Harris who now had Lindley closing him down. Twelfth time around and Lindley was right with Harris as they crossed the line at the start of the thirteenth tour. Pettit too was in the mix having been pulled along by Lindley. Parker was fifth but barring incidents or penalties out of the hunt for a top two finish. Watson-Miller was by this time over three seconds clear at the front. Pettit slipped by Harris for third with three laps to go. And that was how they remained to the flag. Watson Miller crossed the line first but his jump start penalty dropped him to third. Lindley was next over the line but his penalty dropped him to sixth. All of which promoted Pettit to first and the trophy with Harris second and qualifying along with Pettit for another race off the back of the A final.  

Parker was fourth from Kitchener with Cheah seventh from Radovic, Kirkham and Patel. 

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Class 3 Podium – Winner Jason Kirkham, flanked by Tom Edwards and
Rupert Rixon

A Final  

Reigning Champion Anwar Beroual-Smith on pole from C2 Kyle Walker followed by Adam Wright and Championship leader Joe Holmes on the second row. Alex Pritchard and Curt Holmes shared row three with C2’s Miguel Hall and Tim Penny on row four. Steve Bosley was alongside Mikey Nichols on row five with SHW Bill Taylor and C2 Darrell Lowe on row six. C2’S Alexander Lammin and Edward Gordon shared the eighth row ahead of Tim Williams and C2 Kai Crawford on row eight. Next up, C2’s Matt Horgan and Jordan Hawkins on row nine followed by SHW Championship leader Lee Henderson and C2 Callan Sigafoos on row eleven. C2’s made up the rest of the grid. Darren Townsley and Samuel Bensley on row eleven, Stephen Netting and Tom Stalker on the penultimate row followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Pettit and Harris. 

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(Once again for ease of identification I have used the Holmes brother’s forenames.)  

Beroual-Smith brought the field up to the line but the Clerk of the Course judged the start to be too slow and waived them off for another warm up lap resulting in the race length being shortened. Second time around and everyone got away cleanly. Pritchard was lightening quick and moved up to second with Joe third from Wright, Curt, Hall and Walker who lost out badly over the first few corners. Two laps run and Beroual-Smith led Pritchard by almost a second with Joe third and almost alongside Pritchard as they began lap three. Pritchard couldn’t hold Joe off and once into second Joe immediately began to carve into the gap to the leader. Curt was up to fourth ahead of Wright, Hall, Penny, Walker and Nichols. Into the Hook for the fourth time and Joe moved to the inside of Beroual-Smith for the lead. Beroual-Smith didn’t defend as he was aware that Joe, who changed his kart during the three lap warm up, had a much faster machine. A fact that Joe himself acknowledged. Curt moved up to third ahead of Pritchard who then lost out to Wright a lap later.   

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Half distance and Joe was almost two seconds clear of Beroual-Smith who was in turn almost two seconds clear of Curt. Wright was next half a second back from Curt but keeping the latter under pressure. Pritchard was next from Penny and Hall followed by Nichols, having the drive of his life (not really but he reckons he never gets a mention) Bosley and Walker. Joe continued to stretch his lead at the front whilst further back Gordon and Harris both moved into the top ten. With two to go Joe had moved almost five seconds clear of Beroual-Smith who was nearly two seconds up on Curt with Wright right on Curt’s bumper. Apart from Harris moving ahead of Gordon for ninth there were no changes in the top ten until the final lap. Joe crossed the line over five seconds clear. Yes, he may have had a rocket but you still have to know how to use and he clearly does. Beroual-Smith was second but it was Wright who took the final podium spot courtesy of a last lap pass on Curt. Penny was fifth after a last lap pass on Pritchard with Nichols next but over three seconds back from Pritchard. Hall, Taylor and Gordon completed the top ten with just one penalty in the whole race. Good, clean racing.   

Tim Penny’s fine fifth place saw him take the C2 honours with eighth placed Miguel Hall second in the class and tenth placed Edward Gordon third. 

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Class 2 Podium Winner Tim Penny, flanked by Miguel Hall and Edward Gordon

Bill Taylor’s ninth place netted him first in the SHW’s. Good to see him back on form whilst Lee Henderson down in twentieth took second in class and strengthened his grip on the Championship. He’s driving very consistently this year and taking a long term view with his eyes fixed firmly on winning the Championship. 

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SuperHeavyweight Podium, Winner Bill Taylor, flanked by Lee Henderson and Mike Bodnar

C3 honours went to Jason Kirkham after his ninth place in the B Final with Tom Edwards second and Rupert Rixon third.   

Championship Round Up 

Joe Holmes has now opened up a forty two point gap at the top of the standings over his brother Curt with Alex Pritchard third a massive eighty points behind Curt. Tim Penny is just a point shy of Alex and leading C2 from Kyle Walker who had a great day at Clay.   Callan Sigafoos is third in the class whilst Lee Henderson strengthened his grip on the SHW Championship. Consistency is really paying off. Mike Bodnar is second in SHW with reigning Champion Bill Taylor third. Marcus Gilbey heads C3 from Jason Kirkham and Kristian Huus.    

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Class 1 Podium, Winner Joe Holmes, flanked b y Anwar Beroual-Smith and Adam Wright

Reflections 

RACE CONTROL IS OUT OF BOUNDS. And race control has no jurisdiction over penalties. Only the Clerk of the Course can override a penalty. For sure there will be times when our observers make an error. But they are always honest errors. No driver is treated differently to any other. Stay out of race control. It’s hard enough for the officials to concentrate at times with multiple calls coming over the radios and noisy karts going by just outside. And the marshals are not observers. Might be a good idea to learn how the races are run, and who is responsible for what. 

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There was much talk in the paddock about driving standards on Sunday. Every few seasons we seem to have this discussion. Races aren’t won on the first corner but they can be lost. These karts aren’t heavy duty indoor Karts. They are thoroughbred racing machines and should be treated with respect as should every single driver. I witnessed one nasty race ending incident on Sunday which was wholly avoidable. I also witnessed on three occasions drivers being forced into taking to the grass down the main straight. Sort yourselves out and race with respect for each other. 

Lydd next, don’t forget your passports in case you overshoot. France isn’t far away. 

See you there! 

Words: Steve Gray 

Photography: John Patterson