Welcome to Lydd, the most remote of all the venues we visit. But what a great circuit. Fast and flowing, made for racers. A warm dry day too but with a stiff breeze blowing off the nearby Channel. Here’s how the day unfolded.
The Road to the Finals
Dan Seager got his day off to the perfect start by claiming the first heat of the afternoon. Starting from the second row he was into the lead after three laps and never headed. Martin Theodorou stayed with him but had to give best on the penultimate lap to Yousuf Bin –Suhayl. Stef Theodorou snatched fourth from George Lawlor on the last lap.
Daz Teal opened his account for the day with a fine win in the second heat. Starting from grid six he was second by the end of the first lap and then took over at the front from pole sitter Hussain Rashid third time around. Rashid chased him home but had to give best. These two were well clear of Bryn Alban and Samuel Essery. The two of them enjoyed a real fight over the closing laps swapping places several times. Andrew Rabbage came home fifth.
Championship leader Fraser Brunton claimed a comfortable win in the third heat. Starting from the third row he took over at the front two laps in and took the win just over two seconds clear of Ashley White who led briefly but ran second for most of the race and held off a late race challenge from Mathew Cockerham ahead of Ed Barrs and Ramunas Cerkauskas.
Heat Four saw Mike Coppin take a comfortable win over five seconds clear of second placed George Line with Ned Douglas third from Tyler Mays and Jeremy Deeks.
Garrett Berry won Heat Five from pole chased home by Samuel Essery who was two seconds adrift at the flag but comfortably ahead of Justin Draper. Sam Slater and Callum Martin took fourth and fifth.
The sixth heat produced a great fight for the win. Ashley White led for most of the way with Tyler Mays and Tim Penny dogging his every move. Penny took second from Mays on the penultimate lap and then deposed White final time around to take the win. Sadly for White he lost four places after an early race bump and pass. Mays inherited second with Harrison Kirkham third from Gareth Biddle and Andrew Rabbage.
Reece Pope and Andrew Ward started from the front row in Heat Seven and quickly established a comfortable gap back to third placed Bryn Alban. Fraser Brunton worked his way quickly up to third from grid nine but could not match the pace of the two front runners. Pope took the win from Ward with Brunton third some four seconds back. George Line and Hussain Rashid were fourth and fifth.
Ed Barrs finally saw the chequered flag first at the end of Heat Eight heading home Mike CoppinE by over two seconds. Coppin had to hold off a spirited challenge from early leader Joshua Sansgter. Ramunas Cerkauskas was fourth from Ben Lambert.
Fraser Brunton started the ninth heat from pole and simply drove off into the distance taking the win over six seconds clear of Tyler Mays who had started from the second row. Andrew Rabbage started alongside Brunton and chased him for over half the race before Mays slipped by. Sam Slater and Tim Penny were fourth and fifth.
Ed Barrs barely had time to draw breath before coming out for the tenth heat. Starting eighth he was up to second three laps in behind front row starter Yousuf Bin-Suhayl. Half distance and Barrs slipped ahead to take the win. But it was not enough to take pole for the A final. Brunton pipped him by just a point. Mike Coppin took third and it would put him third on the grid for the A Final. He was level on points with Barrs but the latter had a faster lap time in his locker. Stef Theodorou and Charlie were fourth and fifth in the heat.
Christopher Powell won the penultimate heat holding off a late race charge from Reece Pope who ran out of laps before he could catch the leader. Dan Seager took third from Ben Lambeth and Andrew Ward.
George Line won the final heat after a spirited battle with pole sitter Callum Martin. It was enough to give Line a spot on the second row of the A Final. Ramunas Cerkauskas ran with the leaders and finished third ahead of Russell Cooper and Samuel Essery.
(All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted.)
C2 Jeremy Deeks on pole from C2 Jed Toole with C2 Russell Cooper and Louis Stagg on row two. Row three saw Andy Berry alongside Aaron Stillwell with David Francis and Zac Stout on row four. Dan Grocott and Keith Segal shared the fifth row from Jo Ratcliffe and Nikolas Lakasas on row six. Michael Reader started at the rear. Remember this. Top four to qualify and a trophy for the winner.
Deeks led away from the line but Cooper jumped ahead of Toole to run second. Stagg spun away his chances and Berry moved into fourth. Second time around and Deeks still led but Toole was back into second with Berry fourth from Stillwell. Toole would hold second for a lap before Cooper went by back into second whilst Berry dropped to fifth behind Stillwell. Quarter distance and the top ten were covered by just over three seconds. One of the closest C Finals for some time with no one making a break at the front. Fifth time around and Deeks still led but Toole dropped to fifth behind Cooper, Stillwell and Berry. Behind these was a fierce scrap for sixth. Segal had battled his way up to the position but was then punted out by Grocott. Stout too went out. Grocott would be penalised six places post race. Reader benefitted moving into the top six.
Seventh time around and the top three had made a break. No need to fight each other now, just work together and increase the gap back to fourth and make sure of qualifying for the B final. Easy. But no, Stillwell put a move on the leader that didn’t come off and the leader spun to a halt. A clear penalty. Stillwell led but he would not be qualifying or collecting any silverware. Cooper was back up to second on the road from Toole with Berry fourth from Reader. Remember him? Started dead last. Worked his way up the order by staying out of trouble and picking his moments. Three quarter distance and the penalised Stillwell still led with Toole second from Cooper and Berry. Reader was fifth but barring incident was going to get another race. Grocott was right behind but not a factor whilst Lakasas was some two seconds back in seventh. Thirteenth time around and Toole took over at the front and that was almost how they remained.
Toole took the win and the trophy. Stillwell crossed the line next but his penalty dropped him to eighth and promoted Copper to second. Berry crossed the line fourth but lost four positions for overtaking under a yellow and fell to seventh. Grocott finally got the better of Reader but his penalty dropped him to eleventh. That was three drivers out of the top five carrying penalties. All of which promoted Reader to third along with Lakasas. A just reward for clean racing. Deeks was classified fifth from Segal with Stagg and Ratcliffe completing the top ten.
All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted
Harrison Kirkham on pole on pole from four C2’s. Charlie Summers shared the front row followed by Stef Theodorou and Ben Lambeth and the second row with Justin Draper alongside Oliver Johnson on row three. Two more C2’s on row four, Joshua Sangster and David Hamer. Gareth Biddle shared row five with C2 Garrett Berry followed by Adam Brittain and Elliot Alt on the sixth row. Row seven saw Jagjeet Singh alongside C2 Liam Nolan followed by Tim Russell and Yusuf Soeharjono on row eight. C2 Aidan Kitchener occupied row nine with Rob Lofting with George Oxford and Matt Ellis on row ten. James Browning and Toby Smith were on row eleven followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Toole, Cooper, Reader and Lakasas. Two to qualify for the back of the A Final and a trophy for the winner.
Kirkham led the field up to the line and was quickly away but Summers got caught napping and was jumped by Theodorou. By the end of the lap he would be down to fifth. Second time around and Kirkham was setting a blistering pace chased by Theodorou. Lambeth was third but almost three seconds adrift and just a tenth up Draper. Hamer was up to fifth at the head of a train of Karts, fifth to fifteenth covered by a fraction over three seconds. Kirkham continued to set the pace at the front but Theodorou was losing ground and Lambeth was beginning to close him down. Then Hamer and Singh got together round the final turn. Hamer got beached whilst Singh would suffer the inevitable penalty. More disturbing was that with Hamer struggling to regain the track on the outside of the turn the rest of the field failed to acknowledge the waved yellow flags by raising an arm and some failed to slow by any significant amount.
Half distance and Kirkham had the gap at the front out to over two seconds whilst Theodorou was now only half a second up on Lambeth. Lambeth quickly closed what remained of the gap and tenth time around slipped by into second. Theodorou lost time defending and now had to contend with Draper, Berry and Brittain. Lap twelve would prove significant. Draper made a move on Theodorou and as they battled Brittain took advantage to sweep by them both. Berry too nipped by the fast fading Theodorou.
No one could catch the flying Kirkham who took the flag almost three seconds clear with Lambeth second from Brittain whose third place would ensure him of third in C3 on the day. Berry was fourth with Draper next over the line but penalised four places after a bump and pass. Johnson was promoted to fifth with Theodorou sixth from Alt, the latter benefitting from a four place penalty to Nolan who dropped out of the top ten. Singh lost seven positions handing ninth to Draper with Biddle completing the top ten.
(All drivers in C1 unless otherwise noted)
Championship leader Fraser Brunton on pole from former Champion Ed Barrs the latter looking to put a dreadful time at Bayford the previous round behind him. Mike Coppin and C2 George Line shared the second row. A returning Tyler Mays was on the third row alongside the sensational Samuel Essery putting in his best ever best ever qualifying performance. Reece Pope and C2 Dan Seager were on the fourth row with two C2’s on row five, Tim Penny and Yousuf Bin-Suhayl. C2 Ramunas Cerkauskas shared the sixth row with Andrew Ward followed on row seven by C2’s Andrew Rabbage and Hussain Rashid. C2’s Callum Martin and Bryn Alban were on row eight ahead of Christopher Powell and Daz Teal. Martin Theodorou and C2 Ned Douglas shared the tenth row ahead of C2 Mathew Cockerham and Ashley White. The penultimate row had C2 Sam Slater alongside C3 George Lawlor followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Kirkham and Lambeth.
A good clean start for the front rows with pole sitter Brunton out in front followed by Barrs and Coppin from Line, Essery and Mays. Pope ran seventh whilst Seager and Penny both lost places. Brunton, Barrs and Coppin quickly began to break clear of the battle for fourth between Line, Essery and Mays. Pope remained seventh but was a second back. Brunton was already defending his position at the front and effectively slowing both Barrs and Coppin and allowing Line to get closer. Mays put a move on Essery for fifth but lost a little time as he went by which allowed Pope to close the gap. Martin was next from Bin-Suhayl, Rabbage and Teal. Brunton continued to hold the advantage at the front just a tenth clear of Barrs and Coppin who were a tenth apart. Line was still in touch but coming under pressure from Mays. Martin and Bin-Suhayl had both made it by Pope whilst Essery had slipped down the order to ninth.
Sixth time around and Barrs made a move into the final turn. Brunton defended hard. Coppin took advantage and slipped by Barrs at the second apex and almost got Brunton too across the line but the leader held on. Line remained fourth but Mays was putting him under severe pressure and went by at the first chicane. Half distance and Brunton set his fastest lap thus far and got the gap back to Coppin out to a couple of tenths who was himself a couple of tenths up on Barrs who now had Mays right in his wheeltracks. Line was half a second back followed by Martin. Pope was back up to seventh ahead of Bin-Suhayl, Teal and Essery. Brunton’s breathing space at the front was short lived as Coppin, Barrs and Mays all began to close in. But Brunton held them at bay courtesy of some very stout, and astute, defending.
But then came a red flag. I missed what happened as I was looking the other way. I just caught out of my eye corner Theodorou spinning into the barrier opposite race control fortunately without injury but back towards the exit of the final turn Bin-Suhayl was backwards into the barrier and clearly in some distress. Cerkauskas too was out. With officials and medical staff on the track the field was brought to a halt line astern on the back straight. Bin-Suhayl was treated at the scene before being moved in the medical car. Fortunately he suffered no more than a few bruises and a severe shaking but I am happy to report that he is on the mend and looking forward to the next round. With the track clear the field headed off line astern for a full lap before the action resumed with a line astern rolling start. Brunton made the most of it chased by Coppin with Barrs third from Mays. Three to go and Brunton was a tenth clear of Coppin with Barrs three tenths back and a second clear of Mays. Pope was up to fifth from Line and Teal.
Two to go and Brunton was still a tenth clear and still defending hard but it was Barrs who was now on his tail having slipped by Coppin at the bottom of the circuit. Penultimate lap and Barrs got a better exit out of the Horseshoe as Brunton defended. Brunton moved well to the right as they approached the final turn. But Barrs was edging up the inside and had very little room to manoeuvre. Unless he braked hard. They rounded the first apex and Barrs brushed the right hand pod of Brunton’s machine. Brunton gave him room and both lost momentum. Brunton almost held on but Barrs had the better line. Barrs edged ahead over the start and finish line just 0.039 ahead. But it was enough to give him the advantage into the first chicane. Out of the second chicane and Brunton again went very narrow to stave off the threat from Coppin. Coppin looked as though he might make the move stick but a closely following Mays tried his luck and briefly locked bumpers with Coppin slowing them both and allowing Brunton to break clear. Barrs meanwhile had pulled well clear and crossed the line almost half a second clear of Brunton for what looked like a hard fought and well deserved win.
Brunton crossed the line second with Coppin third from Mays and Pope with the top five separated by a second. Teal took a hard earned sixth with Martin seventh and the C2 winner. Line was eighth and second in C2 with Alban ninth and third in C2. Rabbage completed the top ten. Lawlor took the C3 honours with Kirkham second after finishing seventeenth and twenty third respectively.
But then, very late in the proceedings, came the news that Barrs had been given a penalty for his brush with Brunton on the penultimate lap. And by the time Ed got news of the penalty it was too late to appeal. I thought the penalty harsh but then I’m not an official. The penalty dropped Barrs to fifth and promoted Brunton onto the top step from Coppin and Mays.
The Championship Round Up
Fraser Brunton’s fourth A Final win of the season keeps him well in front in the Championship. He’s performing beautifully at the moment. Racing hard and defending hard. Certainly the man to beat at the moment. Mike Coppin lies second with the luckless Ed Barrs third from Daz Teal and Reece Pope. Dante Dhillon missed Lydd but still leads C2 from Garrett Berry and Ben Lambeth whilst George Lawlor heads C3 from Harrison Kirkham and Adam Brittain.
A great days racing at Lydd. Great marshalling too and how lucky we are to have such a dedicated medical team. We don’t need them often but when we do they are always ready. Thankfully, the injuries to Yousuf Bin-Suhayl were slight but the medical team acted very rapidly and quickly got him treated. Take a bow, we don’t thank you enough.
I was a touch dismayed to see drivers failing to raise their arms and slow down when yellow flags were being waived. It might be you one day that gets stranded in a dangerous position. Every driver knows the rules on yellow flags. Lets adhere to them.
I’ve noticed recently that more and more drivers appear to enjoy braking hard and locking up after the chequered flag? Why? It makes no sense. It puts extra wear on the tyres and can flat spot them. Would you want to drive a Kart with a rear axle vibration? Perhaps drivers who do this at race end should collect a penalty? That should put a stop to it.
Words: Steve Gray
Photography: John Patterson