King Of Buckmore Park! A Bump In The Road For Ready…

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Close to a sell out with 49 taking to qualifying before high noon and the sun was high and temperature almost stiflingly warm when the breeze dropped. Fortunately it did not for long. Lots of fluid needed even for sprints it helps the concentration.

Luke Hornsby & Daniel Healey set the benchmark in Timed Qualifying 1 with 46.586 – equal to 1/1000th of a second, a better 2nd lap from Luke put him on the front row for the Pre A Final, but not pole position. Pole Position and top of the top 20 came from group 2 and Christopher Powell with 46.461secs mid session. Thom King’s 46.590 was only good for 4th behind Hornsby and Healey. 2nd in the championship Sean Brierley posted 5th fastest, former Premier Class front runner Graeme Coombes returned for his “I’ve still got it” run on grid 6. Greg Aaron, leader Neale, leader elect Ready inside the top 12. No White though, 12th in Group 2, 0.05secs – off Ben Atkinson but he took the last automatic qualifier.

C100Buck-2758James Munro was the unlucky driver to miss out on qualifying in the top 20 and was handed pole position from Chris Penny for the Pre B Final, Pietro Pagano and Alexander Lammin on row 2, Adam White and Jack Bolton on row 3, 29 karts and their drivers charging into Conways. Penny made a good start on Munro’s outside, so did Lammin, but both had further to travel and were powerless to stop Pagano, Bolton, White and Dimitri Zaporozhets, changing lanes behind if necessary, sweeping under them on the exit of turn 1 and inside into turn 2. James Williams spun away his chances at Garda and a leading group of 16 emerged in a loose line to start lap 2. Dimitri dived inside of White at Garda on lap 2 to move into the 4th, the last qualifying spot, then Jack Richards edged out White at turn 1 for 5th. By lap 5 the group contesting qualification to the back of the Pre A Final was whittled down to 8, White struggling to get back passed Richards, or even keep up, then Lammin and Penny even more unlikely to make headway behind him. With nothing much else to do as qualification was out of sight Jack Hollingsworth, Sean Tomsett, Tom Lee, Craig Summers, Jacob Heyne-Ford and Lee Norris, amongst other, busied themselves sharing paint (any colour so long as it’s black) as if we were touring cars, over an entirely inconsequential 13th place. Bolton had made his way to the front and there was a clear 4 away Pagano, Munro, Zaparozhets, with Richards a second or so off and making no impression. At half distance I figured well thats sorted only for Pagano to lean on Bolton off Garda to close the group up. Pagano went for the lead into hairpin 1, Dimitri passed Munro for 3rd, and Richards took half a second out of the quartet in a lap. Munro looked vulnerable and he was pushed off his turn 1 line by Richards by being too slow to cover it. Richards moved into the Pre A, White repeated the move on James the next lap. Unfortunately for Adam this leading quartet had the good sense not to kick off again, at least not until a back marker or two fell in their way. Quite why you’d want 2nd or 3rd in a Pre B (1st I get), when it’s really 22nd or 23rd or 24th for the Pre A or risk falling off I don’t know, but no harm. White and Richards were nowhere close enough to affect Pagano, Bolton, Zaparozhets and their Paddock-Garda last lap semi-dig at each other. Richards made up the four going forward.

C100Buck-2936Christopher Powell timed his run from pole to lead out of turn 1 in the Pre A Final, Luke Hornsby on grid 2 was left out side for Dan Healey, Sean Brierley, Thom King to come through under him, the latter in turn 2. Luke gamely used the inside for the next left handed hairpin to hold off Greg Aaron, and that caused Greg to lose out to Graeme Coombes in the Esses. Healey habitually backed out moves inside for the lead into turn 2 for much of the race, but on lap 2 Brierley punished him for the hesitation into the very next corner and the pair set off after Powell but as a trio with the arrival of Thom King. Powell’s lead was a few kart lengths and the field settled into a loose line all the way back to Alexander Ready in 12th place, which became 11th as Harrison Darvill’s pass on Harry Neale into Garda ended with the tyre bundle, nominally on the inside kerb of Senna, across the track, as the criss cross by Harry appeared to leave Harrison no other option than the tyre bundle as they came off Garda and dropped into Senna. Another lap was ticked off, then the racing began between the front 4. Brierley appeared around Cafe Curve just ahead of Powell, Healey and King, two karts wide, two karts deep up to turn 1. Dan moved inside into turn 1, Thom on his bumper and Chris was shuffled into 4th place. Half a second behind Coombes had moved passed Hornsby while Neale had passed Aaron for 7th back at Garda, Tom Powell in that mix, then a gap to Fraser Line in 10th, Alex Ready in 11th. Healey fainted inside again into turn 2 and Brierley defended, so King and Powell were back on Dan’s case Coombes joining in to make it 5. Hornsby had slid further back into Neale and Tom Powell. I don’t think Luke was enjoying his kart. Coombes popped out from behind Chris Powell at Paddock to move inside to 4th, all this messing about, Coombes could’ve won it. As it was Brierley slipped his bonds and the run to the flag was over the minor places Healey increasingly looking over his shoulder at King, Coombes and Powell. Dan was only safe when Graeme repeated his Paddock dive (not dive bomb) to get on to the apex ahead of King. And like Sean before him the move behind released Healey to a comfortable-ish, if not clear, run into the finish. Harry Neale had continued his progress to be a distant 6th behind the leading quintet and ahead of Tom Powell, Luke Hornsby, Greg Aaron and Adrian Richardson rounding out the top ten.

C100Buck-2447James Williams and Lovis Wentworth were front row for the B Final but Adam White was  expected to be and Sean Tomsett looked the part (Rotax patch, custom lid = maybe some owner driver experience?) to be the real power. Though I’m sure Jacob Heyne-Ford and James Munro might have disagreed on row 3. A strong start was needed regardless. Not get away well? Not in the leading group end of lap 1 and you’re stuffed. Detached from the two remaining qualifying positions, or at the very least the group containing 2nd place and you are just racing for fun. Williams got the hole shot, Wentworth surprisingly got over to his bumper, Tomsett and White were side by side through the infield before Adam pressed home the inside into hairpin 2 as much as Sean let him have it. They could see those 2 qualifying spots in train pulling 5 kart lengths clear into the Esses. Heads down, hunch down behind the nassau, then Wentworth spun into hairpin 1. Silly. White was closing in anyhow, and new race leader James Williams was only going to get a brief moment to wear the term, just the rest of hairpin 1 as White moved to the front on the exit and Tomsett, Heyne-Ford, Munro, Aidan Kichener and possibly Alexander Lammin, if he could get across, were very much back in the running for the 1 remaining spot. In part that depended on how long Williams could hang in White’s slipstream as Adam was 0.3secs per lap quicker than anyone else in the field. Tom Lee in 8th place, a few kart lengths behind Lammin, would need some self destructive help ahead to see an A Final. Everyone else was already enjoying a tear up in the sunshine, even if they didn’t think about it that way. After a lap Williams lost the leader’s tow and he was fair game – Tomsett had a kart length or so on Heyne-Ford, so he just needed one cleanly executed opportunity, he came late straight-lining to the apex of hairpin 1 to beat Williams to it and he was clear. Heyne-Ford cleared Williams on the exit, so not quite perfect for Sean. However with that move and only just over 5 laps into a 16 lapper everyone from 4th backwards we’re effectively done for the day. White was 2secs clear, the other spot would be decided by Tomsett and Heyne-Ford. Lap after lap Heyne-Ford tried to close the kart length or so that Tomsett managed to hold him at, tug-tow, push-pull, depending on where they were on track. Closing stages Jacob began to press closing up into turn 1 but was on the wrong side for hairpin 2, trying to force a move inside of the exit of turn 1, but damn on the wrong side again for hairpin 2! Inside of of turn 1-2-3 all covered off. It’s frustrating! And damn it was over… White and Tomsett moved to the back of the A Final.

C100Buck-6583In the A Final Christopher Powell had pole position again and managed to hold off Thom King on the front row as far as Garda. By the time they returned to the stripe a trio completed by grid 3 Harry Neale were clear of Tom Powell and Adrian Richardson, the latter had started grid 3, Tom off the third row. Neale dived in for 2nd on Christopher at hairpin 1, and although Christopher wasn’t going to pushed around – he took a shot into the Esses, he missed. And that effectively allowed the moment Thom needed to break clear and not leave anyone a tow to ride. He knows Buckmore Park, you could see it in February, he races regular in Buckmore Park’s Elite Series on the Club100 karts. Thom checked out for the win. Behind Powell’s aborted move let Richardson check in to set up an entertaining 3 way dice for the lower podium steps for the rest of the race while Tom Powell fell away, allowing club favourite, former Premier Class race winner and all round entertainer Graeme Coombes into the top 5 just like the Pre A Final showing he’s lost none of his class but fortunately that beard on his once a year run out. A robust opening lap had done for Alexander Ready and Sean Brierley a bout of kart ping pong in the opening had left them out of the leading group both fighting hard with Fraser Line, Ben Atkinson, Luke Bolton, Luke Hornsby, Greg Aaron, Pietro Pagano – I can feel my elbows going out as I type, and at best flirting with the top ten. Dan Healey found some space and solid points for 6th place but never threatened the podium. Not to knock them – the championship points were distributed in such a fashion, and with Alex Ready looking a little vulnerable around Buckmore Park, it sets up an intriguing 5 round championship for the six drivers I highlighted at the head of this piece. They have strengths and they have weaknesses, some are good everywhere, some great at some circuits and not so great at others.

Game On!

Next stop is Llandow, South Wales on 30 August 2015.