Lucky 13 Saves the Best ’til Last! Newman Wins Once More, Bin-Suhayl Impresses, Lee Takes C3!

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The final round then and back where it all began in February. Buckmore Park in November is always cold and damp plus the older part of the circuit shaded by the trees never properly dries out, presenting a unique challenge.

But it’s a great venue and always produces some great racing and whilst some of the Championships had already been settled there was still much drama left to unfold.

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Heats

The first heat in the afternoon went to Sam Lovelace. The track was still damp but beginning to dry out and the lap times were beginning to fall but we still had the threat of rain. Lovelace started from pole but his win wasn’t that straightforward as first Aaron Clarke kept him under pressure and then Andrew Ward having taken over in second from Clarke with a couple of laps to go. Oliver Johnson and George Lawlor completed the top five.

The second heat went to Harrison Kirkham. Starting on the second row he went to the front two laps in and stayed there. Luke Philips ran second for the majority of the race ahead of Stef Theodorou, Samuel Essery and Christopher Powell. Theodorou nipped by Philips on the final lap for second.

Ashley White ruined his chances of a win in the third heat by carelessly breaking formation on the run up to start and costing himself a two place penalty. Dan Seager started the heat from the second row and took a couple of laps to get by polesitter Josh Wood for the lead.

From then on the race became a procession with Seager leading home Ben Lambeth, Yousuf Bin-suhayl, the penalised White, Charlie Summers and Josh Wood, the latter two being promoted to fourth and fifth after White’s penalty was applied.

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After the processional previous heat the fourth heat was a cracker. Miles Wrightman led away from pole but fellow front row sitter Rob Newman was down to fourth by the end of the lap behind Bryn Alban and Ed Barrs who started from the second row.

Second time around and Wrightman still led from Alban but Barrs had got shuffled down to sixth with Newman third, Dante Dhillon fourth, up from grid seven, and Christian Laner.

Third time around and an inspired Alban was into the lead with Dhillon second from Newman and the deposed Wrightman. Barrs was back up to fifth with Hussain Rashid joining the party ahead of Laner. Less than two seconds covered the top eight and it was anyone’s guess who would eventually be victorious.

Fourth time around and the race settled with Alban still out front and Newman back up to second. Fifth time around and there were for the first time no changes throughout the whole field but a lap later whilst Alban still led Dhillon was back up to second with Newman back to fifth behind Wrightman and Barrs.

Into the first turn seventh time around and Alban remained at the front whilst Dhillon was coming under attack from a swarm of Karts. Within a couple of corners he was down to sixth as Wrightman took over in second from Newman, Barrs and Rashid. Wrightmans second place lasted just a lap as Barrs took over with Newman third from Rashid.  And that was it. Alban took the win, certainly one of his best ever performances, with Barrs second from Newman, Rashid, Wrightman and Dhillon.

After such a frantic race you might have imagined that there would be a long list of contact penalties. There was just one. Dan Seager was in front in the race for pole.

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Oliver Johnson took a fine win in the fifth heat leading almost all the way from the start with Michael Reader second for much of the race. Dan Seager started eighth but was up to third a couple of laps in but trailing Reader by over two seconds. But over the course of the next laps he whittled away at the gap catching Reader with two laps left.

But catching and passing were two different challenges. Reader held him off but Seager was not to be denied and went by for second on the final lap. Matt Ellis and Samuel Essery completed the top five.

Andrew Mcwilliam led heat six for two thirds of the race pursued by James Martin and Ed Barrs. But with a couple of laps to go Martin went by taking Barrs with him. Mcwilliam lost momentum and also lost out to Yousuf Bin Suhayl and Bryn Alban. Martin took the win with Barrs almost alongside as they crossed the line. Alban went over the line third but he’d hit Bin-Suhayl as he went by and lost four places when the resulting penalty was applied. Mcwilliam, Bin-Suhayl and Lovelace completed the top five.

Polesitter Ami Breacher and second row starter Chris Woodger both fell victim to an overaggressive Dean Everest on the opening lap of the seventh heat and fell to the back of the pack whilst Everest ran fourth.

Stephen Westwood led all the way to the flag followed by Greg Smith, Miles Wrightman, the penalised Everest who was classified tenth, Liam Nolan and Curtis Mitchell who put in a great drive moving up from sixteenth.

Rob Newman claimed the eighth heat but he had to work for it. Starting sixth he didn’t get to the front until after the fifth tour. Hussain Rashid trailed him home after leading the early laps with Harrison Kirkham third, Callum Martin fourth and Josh Wood fifth.

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Polesitter Kym Eley blew her chances of a win with a first lap spin allowing Justin Draper to take over at the front pursued by Andrew Ward, Bryn Alban, Ashley White, Andrew Rabbage and Tommy Lee who would suffer a rare mechanical failure and retire. Running sixth he would be awarded points for sixth.

Ward took over at the front from Draper with Alban running third but coming under pressure from Oliver Johnson who was already carrying a four place penalty after an incident with Rabbage. Whilst going by Alban for third he again failed to complete the move cleanly and suffered his second penalty of the heat and exclusion from the results. Rabbage was promoted to third ahead of Alban and Stephen Westwood.

Polesitter Ben Lambeth led for much of the tenth heat pursued by Yousuf Bin-Suhayl. Three from home Dan Seager joined them at the front after starting from ninth and creeping steadily up the order was Rob Newman who had started eleventh. Seventh time around and Seager put a move on Lambeth for the lead at the bottom of the circuit.

He failed to make a clean pass and although he emerged in the lead the inevitable penalty would drop him down the order and cost him a place on the front row of the grid for the A final. His lead lasted just a lap as Newman took second on the penultimate lap from Lambeth and then went by Seager on the last lap for the win.

Good enough for him to secure pole for the A Final. With Seager penalised it was Sam Lovelace who took second after working his way forward from twelfth. He would also replace Seager on the front row of the grid. Lambeth, Bin Suhayl and Stef Theodorou completed the top ten.

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Andrew Mcwilliam was a comfortable winner of the penultimate heat leading home Charlie Summers by over seven seconds. Ed Barrs was third after a hard drive up from tenth with Sam Morris fourth from early leader Ramunas Cerkauskas.

Dante Dhillon took the final heat of the day. Starting from pole he was never headed. Fellow front row starter Andy Orford spun away his chances through the first turns. Adam Brittain took over in second and there he stayed running just over a second back and holding off Hussain Rashid in third. Joshua Sangster was fourth from Aaron Clarke.

C Final

All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted.

C2 Andy Orford on pole with Rich Jones alongside followed by Lewis Marchant and Keir Hobson. Row three had Thanos Tzevelekakis alongside Isaiah Egwuagu with C2 Tony Philbin alongside Yusuf Soeharjano on row four. Next up, C2 Chris Woodger and Nikolas Lakasas on row five followed on the sixth row by Joao Pinto and Owen Camber.

C2 James Dunnett and Chris Hancox shared row seven. Patrick Millman and C2 Ami Breacher occupied row eight followed by Kym Eley and Joe Craddock on row nine and James Browning and Martyn Goddard on the tenth row. The penultimate row had James Brittain alongside Mark Hensler with Penny Millman and Clifton Malcolm on the final row. Top four to qualify for the B Final and a trophy for the winner.

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Orford led the pack away but Jones on the outside of turn one found himself shuffled down the order. Hobson and Tzevelekakis both spun to the back of the pack. Woodger and Dunnett both made up places rapidly crossing the line at the end of the lap third and fourth behind Orford and Marchant.

A lap later and Woodger was in the lead with Marchant still second from Orford and Soeharjano. Philbin was up to fifth but a spin dropped him to the back of the field. Once at the head of the pack Woodger immediately began to pull clear of Marchant whilst Orford was being dropped as he came under pressure from Soeharjano.

By half distance the top four was set provided none of them got too feisty. Woodger took the flag just shy of five seconds clear of second placed Marchant with Orford six seconds adrift in third having held Soeharjano at bay for much of the race. Eley was fifth after a storming drive up from grid seventeen. She might have been well back from the qualifiers but she was arguably the star of the race. 

Egwuagu was next over the line but a penalty dropped him out of the top ten and promoted Pinto to sixth. Craddock was next over the line but a two place penalty for multiple contacts dropped him to ninth and promoted Lakasas and Dunnet to seven and eighth whilst James Brittain completed the top ten.   

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B Final

All drivers in C2 unless otherwise noted.

Greg Smith on pole with C1 Ashley White alongside and Andrew Rabbage alongside Charlie Summers on row two. Ramunas Cerkauskas shared the third row with C3 Tommy Lee followed on row four by Liam Nolan and Luke Philips. Next up Curtis Mitchell and Dean Everest followed by Joshua Sangster and C1 Christopher Powell on rows five and six.

Row seven had Oliver Johnson alongside Thomas Barrett whilst Toby Smith shared row eight with Adam Brittain. C3 Harrison Earl occupied row nine with Adam Sheargold with two C3’s,  Jack Woodward and Mortaza Hassan on row ten. Row eleven had Sam Morris alongside Christian Laner followed by the qualifiers from the C Final Woodger, Marchant, Orford and Soeharjano. Top two to qualify for the A Final and a trophy for the winner.

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Smith led the field away but it was Cerkauskas who caught the eye climbing quickly to fifth. Summers chances evaporated with a spin, a fate which also befell Everest and Powell. Over the line at the end of the lap and the top order was Cerkauskas, Smith, White, Rabbage, Nolan and Lee.

Johnson was on a charge making up five places to eighth. Second time around and he was up to fifth. A lap later he had made no further progress but he was lapping quicker than those in front of him apart from Cerkauskas who was pulling clear of second placed Smith.

Fourth time around and White went by Smith for second and set about cutting the gap to the leader. Johnson was up to fourth and clearly had the pace to catch third placed Smith. But could he climb up to the two leaders.

He quickly cleared Smith but was over a second adrift of the more experienced White who was closing in on the Cerkauskas for the lead. Then it all went wrong for the leader as under pressure from White he spun all on his own resuming dead last.

Christmas come early then for White and Johnson who now had the qualifying spots. But would they squabble over the win? Third placed Smith was almost two seconds back and clearly didn’t have the pace to challenge but Johnson wanted the win and was quick to challenge White for the lead.

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White defended but Johnson went by and White lost time letting Smith back up to second. For several laps White got stuck behind the obdurate Smith allowing Johnson to drive away at the front. Fourth placed Rabbage was now becoming factor too. Brittain was fifth albeit almost three seconds back.

With three to go White finally managed to break Smith’s defence and went by for second. Johnson was long gone, over eight seconds clear. White’s chances were helped as Rabbage, now up to third, exceeded track limits once too often and was hit with a two place deduction ending his slim chances of qualification.

Johnson took the win over ten seconds clear with White a comfortable second. Rabbage crossed the line third but his penalty dropped him to fifth and promoted Smith to third from Sangster. Brittain was sixth from Lee who clinched the C3 Championship with his nearest rival Sheargold down in fifteenth. Nolan, Mitchell and Marchant completed the top ten.

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A Final

All drivers in C1 unless otherwise noted.

The final race of the season then with the about to be crowned Rob Newman on pole from Sam Lovelace followed by Dan Seager and Ed Barrs. Andrew Ward shared the third row with C2 Andrew Mcwilliam followed by C2 Hussain Rashid and Bryn Alban on row four and Dante Dhillon alongside Yousuf Bin-Suhayl on row five.

Stephen Westwood shared row six with the about to be crowned C2 Champion Harrison Kirkham followed by James Martin and C2 Stef Theodorou. C2’s Justin Draper and Michael Reader were on the eighth row followed by Ben Lambeth and Samuel Essery on row nine and Miles Wrightman with C2 George Lawlor on the tenth row.

Four C2’s on the next two rows, Josh Wood and Aaron Clarke on eleven, Callum Martin and Matt Ellis on twelve followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Johnson and White.

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There have been times this season when Newman hasn’t made the greatest of starts and made life difficult for himself (to say nothing of his Dad Barry ) but Sunday wasn’t one of them. By the end of the first tour he was over a second clear of Lovelace in second with Seager third from Ward.

Dhillon was up to fifth ahead of Kirkham and Barrs. Dhillon quickly moved up to third behind Seager whilst Newman continued to extend his lead at the front. Half distance and Newman was over three seconds clear as Dhillon moved ahead of Seager for second.

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Seager immediately lost ground bur was still well over two seconds clear of Lovelace who had Bin-Suhayl for company. Kirkham was sixth but coming under pressure from Barrs. With Newman and Dhillon well up the road it was all eyes on the battle for third. Seager still held the spot but Bin-Suhayl was closing in tailed by Lovelace, Kirkham and Barrs.

With three to run Bin-Suhayl went by Seager for the final spot on the podium. Penultimate lap and Kirkham took Seager for fourth. Newman took the win over five seconds clear of Dhillon with Bin-suhayl taking third for his first ever A Final podium and taking the C2 honours on the day. Kirkham was fourth and second in C2 with Seager fifth from Lovelace. Barrs was seventh with Theodorou eighth and third in C2 whilst Martin and Alban completed the top ten.

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Championship Round up

Early season and it looked like Dante Dhillon was going to be the man to beat winning the opening two rounds with Rob Newman second but at rounds three and four Rob hit back with back to back wins whilst Dante was runner up at round three and then sixth at round four.

Rob made it a hat trick of wins at round five and then missed round six to support Dad Barry in his Twenty four hour challenge. But Dante failed to capitalise. He then missed a round whilst Rob finished second to Ed Barrs. Rob had a poor round at Ellough before recording back to back wins to clinch the title fifty points clear of Dante.

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Sam Lovelace was third with Ed Barrs fourth. Ed missed two rounds and might well have been a factor but for a poor, by his standards, start to the year. Dan Seager was sixth overall and fifth in C1.

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C2 Honours went to Harrison Kirkham who frequently looked like challenging for an overall win. A very, very good season. He’ll be a factor in C1 next season for sure. He was a comfortable winner in his class beating second placed Yousuf Bin-Suhayl by over one hundred points with Stef Theodorou third.

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C3 went to Tommy Lee with Adam Sheargold second. A great battle for the Championship between these two only be decided at the final round. James Brittain was third.      

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Reflections

They say all good things come to an end and this is sadly my final report. I’ve been involved with CLUB100 since 1999 and the time has gone in the blink of an eye.

If I thanked everyone I want to this Reflections would take pages. So many good people I’ve had the fortune to meet and I am going to miss the series loads but I have a new adventure which at this moment I can’t share. It has nothing to do with sport.

One of the strap lines we’ve use in the past is ‘’it’s just racing’’. It isn’t, CLUB100 is so much more than that.

Bless you all.

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Words by Steve Gray

Photos by John Patterson

Arrangement by Double Dash Motorsport Media