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Mike Coppin Wins! Fraser Brunton, Dante Dhillon & Harrison Kirkham are Crowned!

The season finale and the traditional end of season round at ‘’Buckers.’’ Love this track even though it’s almost always cold and damp when we visit. Great facilities from my point of view too as I can see all of the top part of the circuit from race control where there is a multiple camera feed allowing me to see the bottom part of the circuit too.

The heavies had to contend with an early morning mist before the sun came out whilst the lights had to race for most of the afternoon under the lights. With most Championships settled it was the Heavyweights who took centre stage with a well deserved Championship for Anwar Beroual-Smith ending Joe Holmes run of five consecutive Championships’. And it was great to hear both drivers praising each other’s efforts over the season. Two very fine drivers and sportsmanHere’s how the day unfolded. There was bright sunshine into the afternoon for the Lights before the fog began to descend again. But fortunately as it got darker and the floodlights came on the fog lifted.

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The Road to the Finals.

The new slim line Adam Wright claimed a comfortable win in the first heat. Starting from the front row he fell back to third at the start before working his way into the lead by half distance. Dan Seager gave chase but couldn’t quite get on terms and had to settle for second. Martin Theodorou was third from James Martin and Christopher Powell. Chris Woodger would have been fifth after a hard fought race but a two place penalty for gaining an advantage whilst off track dropped him to seventh.

Fraser Brunton started the second heat from the front row and took a comfortable win in a race which saw very few overtakes. Stef Theodorou came home second after starting from the second row with pole sitter Josh Wood third. Greg Smith started fourth and finished there with Callum Martin fifth.

Aidan Kitchener won the third heat after starting from pole and leading all the way. Reece Pope chased him home after starting from grid seven and working his way forward but he couldn’t get on terms with the leader. Samuel Essery was next over the line but a four place penalty for loading into the first turn at the start saw him drop to seventh and promote Sam Slater to third from Bryn Alban and Rob Langthorp.

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Pole sitter James Wattis led the fourth heat for much of the way but it was Andrew Ward who took the win after starting on the second row and biding his time before moving up over the latter stages. Wattis remained second from Luke Philips, Ben Lambeth and Charlie Summers. Ward set the fastest lap in the first round of heats giving a slight advantage in the quest for the A Final pole.

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Dante Dhillon claimed the fifth heat after starting on pole and leading all the way. But he was made to work for it. His lead most laps over the line was less than a tenth as he was challenged by both Kevin Schofield and Reece Pope the latter crossing the line second but suffering exclusion after three bump and passes. It would cost him dear. Schofield was next but a cone penalty dropped him to third behind Samuel Essery whilst Fraser Brunton could only manage fourth after a fraught race saw drop from eighth to twelfth before working his way back up the order. Josh Wood was fifth.

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Yousuf Bin-Suhayl took a fine win in the sixth heat. Starting from grid seven he took the lead two laps in and was never headed leading home Joshua Sangster by over two seconds. Adam Wright was third from Harrison Kirkham who was the star of the race apart from the winner as he came through the field from sixteenth and last. Mike Coppin was fifth.

Garrett Berry won the seventh heat with Liam Nolan second. They had started from the front row with Berry taking over at the front two laps and leading the rest of the way. James Wattis was next over the line but penalties dropped him to twelfth and promoted Aaron Stillwell to third from Ben Lambeth and Christopher Powell.

At this point JV halted the proceedings and gave the drivers a bit of counselling. It clearly had the desired effect as there were no penalties in the eighth heat which resulted in a second win of the day for Andrew Ward giving him a clear advantage in the race for pole. Aidan Kitchener gave him a run for his money before losing out over the final laps and slipping to third behind Charlie Summers. Dan Seager was fourth ahead of Mathew Cockerham.

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Mike Coppin badly needed a win in his final heat and he duly delivered converting pole to a win by just over two seconds from Fraser Brunton who took a couple of laps to work his way into second from grid eight. But he couldn’t catch Coppin. These two were the class of the field. Third placed Christopher Powell was almost eight seconds back from Brunton with Stef Theodorou fourth from Kevin Schofield.

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Liam Nolan climbed up from grid seven to the lead on the first lap of the tenth heat with Greg Smith right behind, both drivers taking advantage of those at the front falling over each other. Andrew Ward started from the second row and stayed out of trouble taking Smith for second, second time around. He then chased down Nolan taking him for the lead three from home for his third win of the day a second and a half clear of Nolan. But it was not to be. A cone penalty dropped him to second but it was still enough for him to secure his first ever A Final pole. James Wattis was third over the line but yet more penalties for him dropped him to ninth. Adam Wright should have benefitted but a two place penalty saw him drop to fifth with Dean Everest third and Greg Smith fourth.

Charlie Summers should have started the penultimate heat from pole but inexplicably he managed to turn up for the race after everyone else had taken their places on the rolling up lap! He would cross the start line almost ten seconds behind the rest of the field which almost certainly cost him a place in the A Final. All of which left Reece Pope a clear run into the first turns. He quickly stamped his authority on proceedings leading all the way and crossing the finish line just shy of four seconds clear of James Martin. Ben Lambeth was third from Bryn Alban with Rob Langthorp fifth. Pope was left to rue his earlier exclusion which cost him a place on the front row for the A Final. He would start near the back of the B Final. A harsh end to what has been another good season for him.

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The final heat saw Garrett Berry take his second win of the day outpacing Dan Seager. Berry came through from grid seven with Seager up from nine. Ned Douglas chased Seager hard but couldn’t get by. Bin-Suhayl was next with Sam Slater fifth over the line but demoted to sixth behind Luke Philips after a cone penalty.

The Finals

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C Final

(All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted)

C2 Sam Morris on pole with Chris Hancox alongside. Row two had C2 Jeremy Deeks alongside C1 Chris Woodger followed by Dan Grocott and Oliver Bailey on row three. C2 Corey Smith shared row four with Isiah Egwuagu. Aaron Clarke and Toby Smith occupied row five followed by Louis Stagg and Yusuf Soeharjano on row six. Row seven had Andy Berry alongside C2 Keith Segal followed by Nikolas Lakasas and Zac Stout on row eight. Clifton Malcolm shared row nine with Joel Nichols with Penny Millman and Patrick Millman sharing row ten. Row eleven saw Alexandre Benoit alongside James Browning with Evan Craig and Jo Ratcliffe on the penultimate row with Prash Alphonsus and Jagjeet Singh on the final row. Top four to progress to the B Final and a trophy for the winner.

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Morris led the pack away but inevitably it all got a bit messy into hairpin one. Hancox lost out badly slipping back to sixth. Egwuagu, Toby Smith and Clifton Malcolm all got delayed. Down the hill and Morris had pulled clear. Up into Garda Clark put a move on Deeks for second whilst further back Stout spun away his chances of progression. Over the line at the end of the lap and Morris was half a second up on Clarke with Deeks third from Grocott. Woodger was next from Hancox whilst further down the order Singh had moved up from the back of the grid to an astonishing tenth. Two in and Morris still led from Clarke and Deeks whilst Woodger took over in fourth as the pack came up the hill. Grocott was next from Berry but his hopes were over after spinning Hancox to a halt. Fourth time around and Clarke went by Morris as they rounded hairpin two whilst Woodger’s chances of progression took a knock as he clipped a cone resulting in a one place deduction post race. A lap later and he negated the effect of the penalty as he slipped by Deeks in the hairpins. Leader Clarke then also managed to clip a cone.

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Half distance and Clarke was over three seconds clear at the front and despite his cone penalty qualifying comfortable for the B Final. Morris was running second from Woodger, Deeks, Grocott and Corey Smith. Tenth time around and Woodger went by Morris for second at hairpin two and with regard to overtakes amongst the top six that was it. Clark crossed the line over six seconds clear but the cone penalty cost him the win and the trophy. But he was progressing to the B Final. Woodger was next but his penalty dropped him to third behind Clark and promoted Morris to first and the trophy with Deeks the final qualifier.

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C Final Winner – Sam Morris

B Final

(All drivers in C2 unless otherwise noted)

C3 Championship leader Harrison Kirkham on pole from Luke Philips followed by C1 Martin Theodorou and Sam Slater on row two. James Wattis and Charlie Summers shared row three with Ami Breacher and Mathew Cockerham on row four. Row five saw Jed Toole alongside Michael Preston followed by Andrew Rabbage and Aaron Stillwell on row six. Russell Cooper and C3 Adam Sheargold were on row seven followed by Ned Douglas and Ramunas Cerkauskas on row eight. Four C3’s occupied the next two rows, George Lawlor and Michael Reeder on nine and Jack Hartley-Walsh with Matt Ellis on ten. Row eleven had C1 Reece Pope alongside Kym Eley followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Morris, Clark, Woodger and Deeks. Top two to progress to the A Final and trophy for the winner.

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There was some discussion in race control about the fact that with only two progressing to the A Final it makes for far too much of a frenetic race at the front which in turn leads to far too many penalties. This race shot that theory to pieces.

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Kirkham led the pack away and all bar Stillwell and Rabbage made it safely through the first two turns whilst Wattis made it through to second by the end of the lap ahead of Philips, Theodorou, Summers, Slater, Breacher, Toole and Cockerham. Two laps in and the order remained the same apart from Toole getting by Breacher. And for lap after lap that was how the top nine circulated. Kirkham and Wattis had broken clear at the front and looked safe bets to qualify whilst down the order Morris went ahead of Reader for tenth. Pope had made good progress up from the rear of the grid to twelfth. Tenth time around and Theodorou went by Philips for third in the hairpins. Summers then got better traction out of hairpin two and out dragged Philips as they went out of my sight down the hill.

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B Final Winner – Harrison Kirkham

Kirkham crossed the line a couple of tenths clear of Wattis to seal the C3 Championship in style. Theodorou was third some three seconds back from Wattis with Summers fourth from Philips. Slater, Toole, Cockerham and Breacher were next with Pope tenth and setting the fastest lap of the race.

A Final

(All drivers in C1 unless otherwise noted)

The final race of the season then with Andrew Ward on pole from Fraser Brunton followed by C2 Dan Seager and Adam Wright. C2 Aidan Kitchener shared row three with C2 Liam Nolan followed by C2’s Ben Lambeth and Stef Theodorou on row four. Christopher Powell and Mike Coppin were on row five followed by C2 Yousuf Bin-Suhayl and James Martin on row six. C2’s Garrett Berry and Samuel Essery were on row seven followed by C2’s Joshua Sangster and Greg Smith on row eight. Row nine had C2 Champion elect Dante Dhillon alongside C2 Bryn Alban with C2’s Josh Wood and Callum Martin on row ten. Rob Langthorp and C2 Kevin Schofield occupied row eleven with Ashley White and C2 Dean Everest on the penultimate row from the two qualifiers from the B Final, Kirkham and Wattis.

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Ward led away from the line and successfully defended from Brunton round the first turn and into the hairpins. Seager too held the pack at bay whilst Coppin muscled his way through to fourth. Wright fell to fifth ahead of Lambeth and Kitchener. Second time around and Coppin went up the inside of hairpin two to take Seager for third. Wright went with him as Seager tried to defend a tighter line on the exit. Over the line at the end of the lap and Ward was having to go defensive round turn one but Brunton had the momentum and moved ahead at hairpin one. Three in and Brunton was beginning to edge clear as Ward was beginning to go defensive against Coppin. Wright ran fourth but over a second back from the battle for second with Lambeth next from Seager and Kitchener. Fourth time around and Coppin went ahead of Ward at hairpin one whilst back down the order Dhillon didn’t come round at all his Championship year ending as he lost a wheel at the top of the hill. Once up to second Coppin immediately began to push hard and cut the gap to Brunton taking tenths out of him and setting fastest laps. Brunton responded and kept himself just out of reach whilst Ward was falling back and coming under pressure from Wright. Seager headed the rest of the pack but was almost three seconds back.

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Ninth time around and Coppin caught Brunton off guard and dived up the inside into Garda. Brunton fought back on the exit but Coppin had better traction and kept ahead. Brunton tucked in behind and was right on the leaders bumper as they crossed the line. But Coppin kept his head and defended superbly through the following corners and not giving Brunton a hint of a gap. Coppin continued to lead with Brunton right on his bumper and lapping quicker. Ward was still over a second back with Wright just a tenth behind but moving clear of fifth placed Seager. Twelfth time around and Brunton finally prised the door open getting alongside Coppin into Hairpin one and exiting the turn in front. Same lap and Wright slipped up the inside of Ward at Garda to take third. Brunton was now having to defend from Coppin who was intent on grabbing the lead back. The fight was slowing them both and Wright was beginning to close the gap dragging Ward along with him. Down the hill and Brunton was making his Kart as wide as he could. Up into Garda he moved well to the right compromising his line. Coppin was wise to the move and stayed out wide before cutting back on the exit. He almost made it but had to tuck back in as they went up the hill. Across the line and Brunton again stayed well to the right with Coppin taking the more conventional line into the corner. Brunton defended the apex and gave Coppin little room. It slowed them both and Wright and Ward were right with them. Brunton led into the turn whilst Wright chanced his arm and went up the inside of Coppin. He almost made the move stick but Coppin kept his line and Wright’s exit was compromised allowing Ward to slip up the inside into hairpin two. Brunton’s defensive lines also slowed him and as they exited hairpin two Coppin pulled alongside as they swept into the Esses. Brunton gave him just enough room and Coppin went by. Behind, Ward found his exit off hairpin two compromised and Wright kept his foot hard down edging back ahead and then getting a run on Brunton into the Esses. As they passed from my sight Wright was well to the left as they crested the top of the hill. It looked like a monumental trip to the wall was about to happen but Wright kept his foot in and emerged at the bottom of the hill in second place.

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Penultimate lap and all the drama behind had allowed Coppin to break clear. Final lap and he was half a second clear of second placed Wright with Brunton harassing Wright for second and Ward keeping a watching brief. Wright edged a little closer and was probably concentrating too much on getting up to first. He left the door open into Hairpin two and Brunton gratefully accepted the invitation and went by. All of which allowed Coppin to break clear. Down the hill and Wright was right on Brunton’s rear bumper. Into Garda he went for the pass but Brunton cut back across and Wright’s line was compromised on the exit allowing Ward to nip by on the inside. He almost got Brunton round the outside of the following left hander but Brunton had decent traction off the bend and although Ward remained alongside Brunton had the better line round Cafe to stay ahead.

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Meanwhile Coppin was crossing the line for the win. From inside Race Control we could hear his emotional scream as he exited the final turn and crossed the line waving his arm in delight. And then he promptly spun fortunately off the racing line. (Told you before about waving your arms Mike! But I can forgive you this time). Brunton crossed the line second with Ward a tenth back and Wright just missing out on the podium a mere 0.036 adrift of ward. Brilliant drives from the all but an epic, thoroughly deserved, and much needed, win for Coppin.

Fifth place went to Seager. He ran fifth for much of the majority of the race chased by the rest of the pack headed by Lambeth who desperately needed the points to overhaul Essery in the Championship standings. But it was not to be. He closed in at the end but had to settle for sixth which would see him finish just one point adrift of Essery in the standings. Nolan was seventh from Berry, Powell and Stef Theodorou.

Championship Round Up

Fraser Brunton took six A Final wins and drove brilliantly all year. He had a bit of good fortune notably at Lydd and Ellough where penalty calls went his way but overall no one can take away the fact that he has been consistently at the top of his game all year. Mike Coppin won’t be satisfied with second in the Championship but he too has raised his game this year and I expect him to raise the bar even higher next season.

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A Final Podium – Winner Mike Coppin & family, flanked by champion Fraser Brunton & Andrew Ward

Dante Dhillon finished third overall and was the C2 winner by a countrymile. No disrespect to the other C2 runners is intended but the gap back to second placed Dan Seager is huge. And Dan too has driven very well this year. Fifth overall and in any other year he would have been C2 Champion. Expect both these drivers to be challenging for wins next year. Splitting them in the standings was Reece Pope. Third in C1 and fourth overall. A brilliant season. He continues to come on in leaps and bounds and he too will be a force to be reckoned with next year. Sixth place went to Andrew Ward, fourth in C1. Another driver who should be there or thereabouts next year. Garrett Berry was seventh overall and third in C2. Just reward for some very consistent performances. A year ago Samuel Essery was being crowned C3 Champion. This year he’s managed fourth in C2 and eighth overall. That is a stunning effort and if he carries on with his upward trajectory he could be one to watch next season. Ben Lambeth too can be delighted with his year. Ninth overall, fifth in class and just a point behind Essery. Bryn Alban completed the top ten after a consistent season.

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Class 2 Podium – Winner Dan Seager, flanked by Ben Lambeth & Liam Nolan

Harrison Kirkham dominated C3 but he had to wait till the final round to seal the deal. He’ll go well next year in C2. George Lawlor kept in touch with Kirkham all year but couldn’t quite catch. But he should be delighted with second whilst Adam Brittain took third despite missing the first and final rounds. All these drivers made good progress this year.

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Class 3 Podium – Winner & Champion Harrison Kirkham, flanked by Michael Reader & Aaron Clark

Reflections.

And there it was, done. Two brilliant A Finals to round off the season and they will live long in the memory. It only remains for me to thank all the CLUB100 team, our brilliant medics who are always on hand should anything untoward occur, the marshals’ at all the tracks without whom we couldn’t go racing, JV and Chris Simpson for keeping me straight and to Chris again for the great headlines and lastly to all the drivers for the entertainment!

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The Scribler Himself – Steve Gray.

Have a great off season, a Happy Christmas and a great New Year!

Words: Steve Gray
Pictures: John Patterson