Jonny’s Priorities: 1. Double Win At Whilton, Then 2. Monaco GP – Bosh!

HW podium 1Elliott 2Docker 3Lloyd scaled

Sunny skies for the morning session at Whilton Mill summer is, in karting terms, genuinely here even if there was still a nip to the air, the sunblock was out and on with a slap. I start this copy on Monday morning and the club’s social media is humming with debate on driving standards after the clerks were given the headache (physically), from the volume of radio chatter on contact warnings and penalties – the club prides itself on close, hard, fair racing, and (metaphorically) from calling and enforcing those penalties. Ultimately it comes down to how you think the game should be played and the drivers themselves but every class drove Whilton Mill hard and gave little or no quarter at all. It’s concerning with Clay Pigeon next, another track not lacking in quick corners and needing respect. An improvement would be welcome.

The Pre B Final is all about escape and being one of the 4 escapees to the back of the Pre A if you’re in this final it’s because you were just not quick enough in the 10mins or so of the timed qualifying. For probably the only time all day, for reasons I’m not quite sure, the front row of Lennie Wood and Dave Price went side by side into Crook, it was Stuart Kirk and Josh Walsh getting in line behind out of Lennie’s pole side line as Nick Pollicott on grid 3 stacked up the even number line to the frustration of James Attfield on grid 6 and Paul Williams on grid 8. Being the first race of the day, it was probably the only and the last clean lap 1 of the day. As ever in what is the bottom rung of our ladder of talent the field spread quickly. Price clear of Wood, and Kirk, and Walsh, Alistair Mason and Pollicott. This has it’s advantages though for people with pace. Room to race, to take the fast line. Lennie Wood went missing, Price and Kirk were away inside of 4 laps, this left Walsh and Pollicott sitting in front of Attfield then Roger Mullen. Pollicott went down the inside into the Boot with Walsh, side by side into the toe and Josh ran off to the grass, James into 4th, Roger to 5th and passed Nick in the last corner. That looked like the 4 to qualify for me. But James English was coming up fast and as 3rd & 4th fought Walsh, Nick Breadner, Mason, Tim Williams and Paul Williams joined the fray. Tim pulled an impressive double pass into Xmas on halfway for 6th that looked like a precursor to running up the line but he would ultimately stall in his progress. Mullen had pulled clear and looked a cert, James English moved to 4th with Attfield, and the Williams’ were all vying for that one last qualifying berth. James was slow out Crook and got done by the Williams pair before Xmas. That wasn’t right. Indeed he appeared to pull out of the fight. He was a bit off and couldn’t understand it later. Tim Willams ran wide out of Crook into the final quarter and grass tracking so Paul was through to 5th but it looked like he would come up short. However somewhere earlier Mullen had picked up a 4 place penalty. Boom – Price, Kirk comfortably, Stuart later ending the day as SuperHeavyweight Class winner with a 5th place in the A final, then English and Paul Williams, after a bit of work, were in the Pre A.

HW gridThe Pre A Final saw Stephen Docker, fastest in TQ, lead from Simon Lloyd and Josh Pettitt after the dust settled at the end of lap 1. That was the second start. First time Chris Murray had ridden up on Darrell Lowe’s rear bumper and had been lucky to avoid spinning to collect the mid pack off Crook, Rob Adlam appeared to lose it on his own at Xmas to face the pack three-four wide bearing down on him. He lifted both arms high and I imagine closed his eyes. They missed him. But five wide through the kink was a mess. We would have to try all over again. Grid 2 Mike Townley had missed both starts, the second so badly that Josh Pettitt, Simon Lloyd and very nearly Jonny Elliott from grid 7 did him into turn 1 and it was Lloyd edging onto Docker’s bumper after a great late braking manoeuvre into Xmas on Pettitt. Elliott passed Josh O’Hagan into Ashby on his return to racing, Dave Pethers another returnee, tried to go with Jonny Elliott but Josh got to Parker first and Dave had to yield the track out to O’Hagan. Elliott moved through Townley and Pettitt to get on Lloyd’s bumper around lap 3 then Lloyd tried to go through Docker for the lead into Xmas, messy on the exit, Lloyd was forced to the grass and Jonny was 2nd. Simon came back and they exchanged positions before Jonny block passed Simon into Chapmans about lap 5 to take 2nd and give Pettitt 3rd into the Boot. Elliott put one down the inside of Docker into Ashby, getting to the apex first and the Pre A Final was decided inside of half of the 12laps. It seemed like a fierce battle was carrying on behind Docker, Pettitt, Lloyd, Pethers and O’Hagan with Daniel French and James Hattersley trying to get across though Townley couldn’t live with this crowd in 9th. Pettitt pushed Docker into going deep into the Boot and was through out of the last corner setting up Lloyd to go 3rd. Hattersley moved up and through to catch Docker for 4th getting him at the second attempt into Chapmans on the last lap. It was finished – Elliott-Pettitt-Lloyd the top 3.

Tim Williams and Roger Mullen had looked fast enough to qualify in the Pre B Final and their lap times confirmed it, and it gave them the front row of the B Final. It will come as no surprise to you, indeed I could imagine them discussing it on the grid, that when they went, they got in line through turn 1, and by the time they got down to Chapmans Pollicott was hanging to their slipstream just, Lennie Wood, Nick Breadner, Nicholas Reynolds and Alistair Mason had a lot to do to catch them while everyone else appeared to be racing for fun. Only Mullen made a mistake and was given a scare by Nick and battle was joined behind Roger by Lennie and those guys for a few laps, it fizzled for a bit without it really catching fire. Wood and Pollicott sitting on Mullen’s bumper. Most of the entertainment was being provided by Karolis Koncikas making his way up from grid 10, coming up and into play. Pollicott made a clumsy attempt to pass Wood into Xmas thats hard to describe, ran wide on to the grass, and Koncikas was through to 4th after just passing Breadner. He then set about harrying Wood, while holding off Breadner who wasn’t quite finished. Wood got, sort of put off, but not baulked by a pedestrian David Stirling looming up ahead waiting to be lapped for the second time into Parker, Koncikas needed no further invitation into Chapmans, Stirling still playing his part into the Boot spinning out being lapped. A bit more practice needed there I think. It helped Paul Lloyd get under and inside into turn 1 on Breadner on to the final and we were done. Williams and Mullen were well up the road by then but Koncikas had a consolation 3rd from Wood, Lloyd and Breadner.

HW Elliott leadsThe first A Final start was waved off after Dave Price chose the tyres rather than hitting a spinning Martin Gurnett off Crook. Chris Murray on grid 2 missed Elliott’s take off at the restart, James Hattersley was into 2nd and Chris was forced into side by side through Crook to hold off O’Hagan. By the time they had got down to Chapmans Elliott had a 1 secs lead and was gone again, it’s awful to say but it was true, no one looked like catching him, leaving a fight on for 2nd to Hattersley and Murray, joined by Pettitt, O’Hagan, Daly, Docker and Simon Lloyd. Lap 4 would be pivotal, Murray slipped under Hattersley into the toe giving Pettitt a run on the pair down into the last corner, Hattersley recovered to be side be side going into Crook with Pettitt, Josh on the outside of the circuit had the first apex on the left, James would have the right hand apex for the second part of Crook. Behind O’Hagan had out dragged Murray off the last corner to tip into turn 1 on the racing line, the fast line compared to Pettitt and Hattersley. Passing the second apex O’Hagan got a slight tap from Murray sending him, into the slow Hattersley and both he and Pettitt were hard into the tyres. Wait. There’s more. Up to Xmas Murray now back in 2nd after being waved at by O’Hagan as the culprit, went defensive and tried to drive Daly on his right to the grass, only Daly had nowhere to go because Docker was on his right going for 2nd down the inside white line. You’d hang back wouldn’t if you were behind but Lloyd fancied joining in! Simon approaching the corner from the racing line, four into one doesn’t go, biff-boff-bish and Josh O’Hagan comes out of Xmas in 2nd place. Pretty shocking. All still running mind you, but into an ensuing 10 kart throng. Elliott was over 3.5secs up the road. Stephen Docker and Simon Lloyd emerged joining Jonny Elliott somewhere in the distance on the podium. Elliott appears to be in a different class right now and you can probably take that more than one way.

But ay’up chuck enjoy the French Riviera.

Next stop is Clay Pigeon on 7 June 2015.