Its Looks Like Blake vs Brown For The Title, After A 3rd Blake Win Of The Season.

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C100R7-081324 entrants for an old school 3 Heats and a Final, and a typically old school Heat 1, restarted after an unsatisfactory start that saw Tyler Mays deposited backwards off Surtees. At the second attempt the Elite class couldn’t make it that far as Harry Neale got turned around by Ed Barrs behind him on row 4, but possibly he was as much a passenger to the incident as he was lent on by Teal, lent on by Yarwood, yadda yadda yadda. Hattersley joined Harry and Ed and Dave Longman in various states of un-trackedness. But the race kept going. Myles Sharman had been jumped by Dan Truman and Justin Buck for 3rd ahead of the ruckus and by the time they came back into sight from the Dell Parmveer Nijjar had replaced poleman Ray Norris in the lead and the field had been cleaved into 1st to 7th (Darren Teal) then a gap to James Small bringing through, the rest of none fallers, 8th to 20th. Teal worked his way up the line to go 3rd by halfway, end of lap 6, and Small had crossed the gap and was busy munching through to 5th, with Ian Blake 0.6secs behind after starting 18th. Blake would put a marker down when he passed Small into the final quarter, and there’d be time to catch Truman for 4th, but Nijjar, Norris and Teal were long gone.

C100R7-0041He’s been away, but it comes back quickly for “Dangerous Dave” Waters, in Heat 2, although to be fair Darrell Lowe did the pole man Healey, a huge favour at the start stacking up Ben Yarwood, Waters and Tyler Mays behind him. Brutal through the Hook saw Healey clear, Lowe 2nd and Waters back into his groove, slicing through to 3rd at Yarwood’s expense. By the time they ran back towards the pits Waters was set to fire, or as it was block pass? Darrell at the hairpin, It was the latter. Teal dived inside of Yarwood for 4th, and squeezed Ben out into the Hook, then it was a foot race after Healey 1.1secs up the road. Teal pulled a great move on Lowe in MacWhirters changing lines it appeared mid corner to slide under him on the exit to go 3rd, Darrell doing Waters a favour to let him go clear, but also Yarwood and Mays, by running wide and over the kerb, by the time he reached Chandlers Darrell was 14th. Mays eased inside of Yarwood into Raymonds and put it to bed in The Hook for 4th. I say 4th but mean 5th as Stephen Hicks, after failing into Raymonds, drilled him into MacWhirters on lap 6. After a false start at Raymonds Waters emerged back into view with the lead, this time he covered up into Raymonds, he needn’t have worried Teal had joined the pair to preoccupy Healey over 2nd with the combined effort of Hicks. Further back Blake and Small were once again together, with this round going to James finishing 6th from 19th, Blake finishing 10th from 14th, after they’d parted company around Young, Docker and Neale, in the closing stages.

C100R7-0052For Heat 3 championship leader Brown started pole position with Jack Harding on his left, and his championship rival Blake on his bumper, the former champion’s dark arts saw him ease his way passed Harding in the Hook in the first lap shuffle with Hicks, once again riding as his shotgun in 3rd. Stephen broke from his bit part to push into 2nd place and a train formed with Brown, a little laboured as the locomotive, Hicks, Blake, Harding, Small and Docker fighting over the top points. It all kicked off on lap 8 and when it sort of settled, Blake was standing tall for the run to the flag ahead Harding, Hicks, the latter losing out to Small and the recovering Brown on the last lap.

C100R7-0801Off the start of the Final, Hicks settled on following Blake through the Hook, and indeed it might have been the smart play, getting a clean exit and run to Surtees, while Nijjar off grid 3 had tried and failed to prevent James Small beside him on row 2 turning the outside for the ‘in’ to the inside and 3rd position when The Hook hooked long to the left, Parmveer forcing the apex on the exit and paying (perhaps a little in kind) back to Teal to leave him with a (half) kart width at the track out, Darren threw it down the inside into Surtees and Nijjar let him have it, save Brown and Dave Waters, lump one in on him at MacWhirters (aka The Sausage). Instead Brown dodged a sausage sandwich (see what I did there) between Dave and Stephen Docker by running in deep occupying the centre of the track around the corner all the way around to make the slices of bread hesitate. It was effective. But Blake, Hicks and Small were a second up the road until they reached Raymonds where James ran in hot and deep and fairly wide on the exit, forcing Hicks to give up on 2nd. It was non negotiable, Small was going to have it and so was Teal, if James wanted to catch the leader, it had to be ruthless and above quick, so it had to be now. Hicks opened up for the racing line into Surtees, Darren ran up the inside squared it off, and had 2nd. At least Hicks had found his level, hanging on to Teal’s slipstream. Nijjar was closing but not quick enough, and not as quick as Brown he’d run in deep again to MacWhirters, this time inside of Parmveer in an offensive (but clinically clean) move this time to take 5th. Very much Once & Done. A sloppy end to the lap saw Teal run wide, lose a little time to Small, and give Hicks a sniff, but rebuffed, it left Brown on the pair’s tail exiting the Hook and waiting for the next mistake. Stephen lost Daz’s tow, that was it, Brown dropped him on the brakes into Raymonds. By now the die was cast, Small had made no impression on leader Blake, Teal was looking over his shoulder hoping for Hicks, but seeing Brown.

C100R7-0961The top step was as good as settled, and as the coming (young) man of Elite, I’m not sure James Small 2nd was in doubt either but 3rd? Brown is the man of the moment, or was, Teal was right to look over his shoulder, consistency rather outright blistering pace is Darren’s forte and he’d have to be perfect. A slightly narrow line into Raymonds and a poor release off the corner lost him a kart length, a run through the Hook and Brown closed to a kart length. I suspect Darren could hear Steve behind him, a kart width narrow into Surtees, but Steve closed no further until another run through the Hook, put him back into the strike zone and from a good way back into MacWhirters he dived, squaring it off mid corner for a late apex and covered up along the Lancaster Curve. End of lap 7, Blake was relaxed and in control still 1.6secs clear of Small, who’d made no impression since he’d been given clear space to pursue by Hicks and Teal. Brown was a further 1.6secs behind with 9 laps to try and make an impression, although the margin, was the distance from the start line to the entry to the Hook, made that very unlikely, especially with Teal sailing divebombs down the inside in Raymonds. This kept Docker in touch and he passed Hicks for 5th, Dave Waters was in the same mix and he’d be soon by Hicks, but Nijjar had fallen through and out of the top ten to be replaced by Simon Young, Ray Norris and Jack Harding. Hicks still had a ways to fall through Norris, through a battling Nijjar and Jack Harding and through Elite’s other young guns, Messrs Healey, Mays (a truly awful opening lap) and Harry Neale, to finish 14th. After Young moved into 7th behind Waters, when he passed Hicks on halfway the positions for the top 7 remained static. Teal had hung had gone toe to toe for a few laps, but once that broke, and it felt like it would break Brown’s way, Darren was left making sure Stephen Docker got no closer than his bumper to 4th place. Into the final quarter of the race, Stephen himself lost the tow, and the race was as good as settled, the current man of the moment Ian Blake had edged out to 2secs, Brown had only chipped out 2/10ths on Small in 6laps with all Darren’s attention, there was nothing left on but staying on the podium, staying clear of Teal, running cleanly to the finish and limiting the damage to his title aspirations.

Round 8 will be at Red Lodge on 18 September.