King of Premier Class Anwar Beroual-Smith Wraps Up Premier Class

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Parmveer Nijjar had drawn pole position for  but Steve Brown would take the win. Parmveer was clear of Stuart Martin off grid 3 into hairpin 1 while the grid 2 man, returning 3-time champion, Chris Powell was run out of 3rd by Pete O’Connor and Jonathan Elliott to his inside although the trio all ran wide enough off to allow Steve Brown off grid 7 a free run into hairpin 2 and 3rd place ahead of the pack squeezed into 10yards of track behind O’Connor and Brooks. Scott Martin held off Jonathan Elliott, Jonathan Lisseter and Dave Robinson for 5th, while (rusty) legend Powell was relegated to 13th behind, protege and newly crowned Clubman Champion, James Small, Jay Elliott and returning Simon Young. Amiable Jay Elliott, possibly wound up for a big finish to the season, took a run down inside of Robinson into hairpin 1 about the same time as Dave was making contact with Small, this left James parked ‘welcome to Prems’ and Jay hotly contesting a 17c (advantage by contact – which results in another driver coming to a halt) exclusion post race, which would only serve to wind him up a bit more, fortunately in a positive way for the rest of the day.

C100Buck11a-8340Brown moved first with a run inside Nijjar up to turn 1 which Parmveer countered with a block pass in hairpin 2 that allowed Martin through to 2nd into the Esses. Elliott’s trouble had given  “Lissichella” a free run clear in 6th, behind Brooks and O’Connor who could now feel they were in touch of a top 3 finish if thats the way the trio up front wanted to play. Brown got through inside of Martin at hairpin 2 for 2nd and that ushered in Matt and Pete  to make it 5 for the win. Brown had looked most racy, he drafted through to the lead into turn 1, covered into hairpin one, only to leave a kart width to the inside of hairpin 2 into which Nijjar could insert himself back on point. The next lap he covered up allowing Brooks to squeeze inside Martin for 3rd at hairpin 1 in the concertina. Brown changed his point of attack for somewhere more decisive and struck on the brakes into Paddock on lap 8 that left him Garda, Senna and Cafe Curve to nail to pull a winning gap on Nijjar up to turn 1 on to the last lap, the arrival of Brooks would also help preoccupy Parmveer just enough to make it a winning move.

C100Buck11a-8458Heat 2 gave Tom Dix pole position, ahead of Ray Norris, Steve Bartlett and Justin Buck. Dix nailed it and grid 2, as they do, lost out to grid 3 Bartlett into hairpin 1, Blake coming through from 5th with his rival Anwar on his bumper. Off hairpin 2 there was the whir up of a two stroke engine that could only ever be a thrown (or in this case snapped) chain and championship leader Beroual-Smith coasted passed into the Esses and trundled into pit lane. Where a man in charge of manure readied an electrical fan.

Ending lap 1 Dix led Bartlett, Norris, quids in Blake clear of Jay Elliott, Brooks, Young, Brown, gap to Lisseter bringing through the field. Blake jumped Norris into hairpin 2 for 3rd. By the end of lap 3 Dix had just about broken Bartlett from his tow, close but not quite, it would take Blake’s move for 2nd to do that but it wouldn’t be decisive. Elliott had towed Brooks and Brown in to make a chasing group of 6 and it was chasing and it was set on on running Dix down. Blake was moving closer with Bartlett in train at 0.3secs per lap, as soon as the gap reduced to under 0.5secs the draft would kick in and it would be game on to the finish. It was back to 4 chasing on to lap 8, Elliott dropped inside of Bartlett at Paddock for 3rd, he needed every point after his exclusion, not that it would make any difference as he was starting at the back but maybe it felt like progress. On to the final lap, Dix covered up for the first 3 corners as you do on a last lap at Buckmore when it’s close, and so long as you got into the Esses first you could take a breath and prepare for an assault into Paddock and Garda. But Tom was clear into Paddock as it was Elliott repeating his move there on Blake. So Dix was indeed clear to the finish as Jay was in no mood to give Ian an inch into Garda, Bartlett, Brown and Brooks made up the top 6.

C100Buck11b-7711So the Pre Final grid. Steve Brown had pole position. He’d have probably preferred Brooks not to be on grid 2 or Blake on grid 3, but Jay Elliott was grid 20 and Ian would be happy to see Anwar back on grid 14 although that probably wasn’t far enough! Not a great race but an intriguing one and one that decided the championship. Brown got the hole shot helped in large part by Blake, Ian was on Steve’s bumper through turn 1 which made it impossible for Brooks to turn in to hairpin 1 before Ian, then Blake was sluggish off hairpin 2 which is probably where Ian realised his championship might be in trouble. An ill wind and all that, Steve was half a dozen kart lengths clear into the Esses. Blake was flattered with an easy 2nd by Nijjar and Dix forcing their way by Brooks. Bartlett, Lisseter, Robinson, Martin, O’Connor, then Chris Powell brought the field passed pit in. End of lap 1 Brown was stretching clear, Nijjar was getting in position to draft by Blake. His rival Beroual Smith was mired in the rear with the gear unable to make progress a chink of light opened and he saw a way inside James Small into hairpin 1. Jonny Elliott got a run off the corner and looked to Anwar’s inside as Anwar was presented with a possible move on Jay Elliott coming in wide into hairpin 2, but Jonny still had Small on his inside. Everyone turned in, someone turned in on someone else. Contact. Anwar half spun to a halt. I can only imagine how sick he must have felt as the field drove away. I’m not sure if Ian would’ve known Anwar was off the road, he had his hands full as Nijjar ran inside into turn 1 and deep enough for Dix to come through to 2nd into hairpin 1. Nijjar stuffed it up the inside of hairpin 2 on Tom, lost momentum, Dix took the spot back and Ian squeezed inside of Parmveer into the Esses. Suffice to say this exchange handed a race winning margin to Brown. But the championship breeze for all his problems was blowing back towards Anwar. Blake was swamped by Bartlett, Lisseter, Brooks and Martin at the bottom of the circuit and at the end of lap 3 Blake was 6th and that wouldn’t be good enough. More good news for Anwar, his chum Jonathan Elliott had dropped off the back of the group and was slowing down with the intention of picking up Anwar to go for a time, friendship, altruism, guilt or self interest, who knows but he was slowing down. If it was still going to the last race of the season, towed or bump drafted to a fast time by Jonny, Anwar would have a good grid position.

The race for the minor places moved in Parmveers favour with a move into hairpin 2 which placed Bartlett ready to go inside of Tom at Paddock which in turn left him vulnerable to Lisseter into Garda. Nijjar checked out to 2nd, Brooks joined in to keep it a group of 4 only fighting over 3rd place. It a few laps to clear Martin but Elliott caught Blake decisively into turn 1. Bartlett  left Brooks, Lisseter and Dix to 4th place and was making progress into Nijjar in the closing laps. The trio were having so much fun they forgot that they were slowing each other down, Elliott towing Blake (could he yet finish top 4? No!) arrived in short order and when Brooks made it as narrow as humanly possible into hairpin 1 on the penultimate lap to dissuade, only it didn’t, Lisseter pressing home a pass for 4th, Jay just turned inside the pair tracking out wide to mug them off! Nijjar resisted Bartlett down at Garda and defended the inside of every corner like it was the last lap of a Prem Pre Final. Bartlett would have to settle for 3rd. Untroubled Brown probably took the easiest win ever…

And the Final… All about 3rd in the championship with a remote chance that Blake could lose the runner up spot maybe. But unlikely.

C100Buck11a-8684The first surprise was Jonathan Elliott had poled it. But we knew he was quick, so it’s not really a surprise working together with Anwar on grid 2 in a draft-fest in the Pre, while everyone struggled to get around Blake or each other, save maybe Brown. But it was never a question of if Jonny was quick enough for Prems but ‘does he like it up ‘im’, is he a racer? And Jay Elliott, Steve Brown and Matt Brooks on grids 3, 4 and 5 had the size of their championship trophies to decide!

Unsurprisingly Anwar didn’t contest P2 particularly hard, Jay excited turn 1 inside and underneath Jonny for the lead. Brooks dived for the apex of hairpin 1, perhaps Jonny and Anwar had decided to let the trio go. Or maybe not. Jonny fended off Brown into hairpin 2, and squeezed inside Brooks into the Esses, only for Steve and Matt to force themselves through on the exit. Jay had 6-7 kart lengths on a chasing line headed by Brown and Brooks and running all the way back to Scott Martin in 10th, and thats how they’d snake up and down Buckmore Park for the next few laps with Brown edging a kart length closer each lap until lap 5 when Brown closed to 0.4secs and the draft switched on to start the real race. Jonny Elliott repassed Brooks into Garda and Brown pulled out from behind Jay Elliott to lead into turn 1 on lap 6, Brooks edged out Jonny into hairpin 1 again for 3rd, Teal demoted O’Connor from 5th. Pete never really on the pace had Anwar dive in at Paddock, Bartlett ran side by side with O’Connor off Garda and someone needed to lift around Cafe Curve and Steve was through, but with Blake and Martin. Teal and Jonny Elliott had clashed off turn 1 as their lines intersected and Darren turned left into the barrier, Jonny managed to keep going but rejoined behind Martin in 8th. Jay Elliott repeated his favourite move into Paddock but had gone in too deep and Steve was able to cross behind him  to go back into the lead into Garda. This put the 3 protagonists contesting the championship top 5 positions  nose to tail on to lap 8 with Anwar running 0.5secs off them in 4th cruising to the end of season. Brown was not pulling away, Brooks moved on Elliott into hairpin 2 and Beroual Smith, Bartlett and Blake edged a little closer as a result

On to lap 10, Anwar hooked up to make it a quartet and he slid under Jay to 4th into Garda, Brooks was perfectly placed to draft in, pulling out late to go inside into turn 1 to lead the final, by now Bartlett had joined to make it 5, going inside Elliott into hairpin 2. Blake, even O’Connor and Powell might yet have a chance at a podium finish with 2 laps to go. Bartlett passed Anwar to get on the podium.

On to the final lap Brown was not close enough to slipstream passed into turn 1, Brooks covered up through the hairpins, it wasn’t the very quickest way around Buckmore but it worked perfectly for Bartlett to be on Brown’s bumper into Paddock side by side he had the high ground of the inside across to Garda and Steve was left pinned to the outside into the corner. Brooks was clear, Bartlett, Brown, a few kart lengths clear of Elliott, Blake, Beroual Smith holding off Powell and O’Connor in 9th.

Next stop the Elite Sprint Championship at Buckmore Park on 28 February 2016