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Newman Battles Through To Take Title With Another Whilton Triumph

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The penultimate round then and with Joe Holmes having wrapped up the HW Championship at Ellough attention turned to the battle for the Lightweight Championship between Rob Newman and Dante Dhillon, the fight for the SHW crown between reigning Champion Bill Taylor and Lee Henderson plus C2 and C3 in both the Heavies and the Lights.

Without the necessary floodlights on the International circuit the Zulu configuration was pressed into service. A tricky off camber selection of corners turning sharp right at the otherwise flat Inkermans and then coming down the hill through Zulus’ one two and three to rejoin the International circuit at the exit of Osiers’s on the short back straight. Little known fact, Zulu configuration was named after the owner’s dog.

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Heats

Andrew Mcwilliam opened the proceedings winning the first race of the day heading home   Chris Woodger by over six seconds. Polesitter Greg Smith ran second for much of the race doggedly holding off repeated attacks from Woodger, Callum Martin, Justin Draper, Samuel Essery and Joshua Sangster. Smith held on until the final lap when Woodger and Draper went by for second and third leaving Smith fourth from Martin.

Heat two saw Rob Newman take a runaway victory after starting from pole. He led all the way winning by over nine seconds from fellow front row sitter James Whitaker with Dante Dhillon third after working his way up from grid nine. Matt Ellis was fourth from Kym Eley.

Heat three produced a superb fight for the win between Ashley White and Christopher Powell. Starting from the second row Powell took the lead on the first lap with front row sitter White tucking into second. 

These two pulled clear of the pack before White took over at the front mid-race. Sam Lovelace was running third but over two seconds back before White took Powell for the lead slowing them both. Lovelace began to cut the gap and then three from home Powell went back to the front. Lovelace edged closer but was never quite close enough to challenge and found himself defending third from Dan Seager.

White tried desperately to get by Powell on the final lap but Powell held on to win by just 0,095. Seager grabbed third two from home with Lawlor fifth but then came the controversy as the Clerk of the Course reeled off a list of drivers penalised for speeding under a yellow.

Seager, Lovelace, George Lawlor and Ed Barrs lost their hard fought places to Thomas Barrett and James Scanlon. In all, twelve drivers from the eighteen strong field were hit with two place deductions for speeding under a yellow sending a clear message to the rest of the entrants. Long overdue.

Harrison Kirkham started the fourth heat from pole and was never headed leading home Rana Menon by over three seconds with Menon taking second after a last lap pass on Aaron Clarke. Andrew Ward was next followed by Yousuf Bin-Suhayl but he lost fifth after receiving a penalty for forcing Bryn Alban off the track. Courtesy of the fastest lap time Harrison Kirkham had a narrow advantage in the race for pole.

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Ed Barrs started the fifth heat from pole and led all the way to the flag with second row starter Dante Dhillon second from James Whitaker, Ben Lambeth and James Martin.

Heat six saw the Clerk of the Course again clamping down on drivers speeding under yellow flags. Andrew Ward crossed the line seven seconds clear of Dan Seager but found himself demoted to third.  Andrew Rabbage crossed the line third but dropped to fifth promoting Andrew Mcwilliam to third. Rhianna Purcocks was fifth but dropped to seventh lifting Chris Woodger to fourth. In total, twelve drivers were penalised for speeding under a yellow, some of them for the second time in the event.

Stef Theodorou claimed the eighth heat having led all the way from the green light. He looked to have the race won easily leading from Yousuf Bin Suhayl in second by over a second. But Rob Newman was on a charge working his way up from grid eight. Half distance and he was up to second and homing in on the leader.

Final lap and he was right on his bumper but third placed Bin-Suhayl had hung onto to Newman and was still in the hunt. Theodorou stayed to the right into Christmas with Newman to his left. Bin-Suhayl saw an opening and went for it. Newman’s line was badly compromised and he was off line through the next corners allowing Aaron Clarke to get by followed by Menon as they rounded the Boot. A tough break for the Championship leader.

Harrison Kirkham crossed the line first at the end of heat eight but an early race incident where he spun Jeremy Deeks to a halt cost him six places and the win. Ashley White crossed the line second but lost four places for overtaking under a yellow. A fate which also befell Ami Breacher who crossed the line fifth. Sam Lovelace moved up to second ahead of Joshua Sangster, Adam Sheargold and White.

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Rhianna Purcocks and George Lawlor started heat nine in first and second and ten laps later that was where they finished separated by half a second, three seconds clear of third placed Callum Martin who took third from Dan Seager on the final Lap.  Aaron Clarke also went by Seager on the final lap for fourth.

Yousuf Bin-Suhayl led the tenth heat for much of the race but over the closing laps Ed Barrs began to close him down. But Barrs lost out at the flag by just 0.091 as they crossed the line. Harrison Kirkham continued his good form with third from Bryn Alban and Andrew Mcwilliam.

The penultimate heat went to Sam Lovelace who took the lead on the first lap after starting on the second row. Ben Lambeth kept him company throughout the race finishing a couple of tenths behind. These two finished over eleven seconds clear of Justin Draper who then lost places to a penalty promoting Stephen Westwood to third and Samuel Essery to fourth.

The final heat was effectively a showdown for pole. Dante Dhillon took the advantage early in the race taking the lead after two laps after starting from grid six. Rob Newman started on grid eleven and it took him half the race to work his way up to second. By that time Dhillon was over two seconds clear.

Newman hunted him down setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate tour and setting a new lap record in the process. Over the line for the start of the final lap and Newman was right on the leader’s bumper as they went up the hill. Dhillon defended the inside forcing Newman to go the long way round.

Dhillon held on and kept his head, holding his line and not making any mistakes through the rest of the lap to secure pole for the A Final. The stage was set for an epic finale.

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Lightweights C Final

All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted.

C2 Nikolas Lakasas on pole with C2 Ami Breacher followed by Curtis Mitchell and Michael Miao on the second row. Mortaza Hassan shared row three with C2 Tony Philbin.

C2 Jeremy Deeks occupied row four with Jake Hicklin followed on row five by two C2’s, James Dunnett and Sam Morris.

Row six had Isaiah Egwuagu alongside Ryan Williams with Charles Palmer and C2 Toby Smith on row seven. Chris Hancox shared row eight with C2 Dean Everest followed by the Millman’s, Patrick and Penny on row nine. Row ten had James Browning alongside C2 Jake Wilkins followed by Mark Hensler and Chris Swannell on row eleven.

Benjamin Sproat and Ricky Goodwin shared the penultimate row with Alex Rule and Clifton Malcolm on the back row. Top four to qualify for the B Final and a trophy for the winner.

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Lakasas led the field away for the second time after the first attempt resulted in a false start as several drivers got over excited as they rounded Christmas corner. Breacher slotted into second but Mitchell lost out to Miao with Hassan fifth. With two laps run Lakasas, Breacher and Miao were pulling clear of fourth placed Mitchell whilst fifth placed Hassan was coming under pressure from Philbin.

Fourth time around and Lakasas got a touch wide coming out of the first turns and Breacher breezed by as they entered Christmas. Lakasas found his line a touch compromised and Miao took advantage to move into second at the hairpin. Deeks meanwhile was on a bit of a charge slipping by Philbin and Hassan on consecutive laps and homing in on fourth placed Mitchell.

But then came the race defining moment. Malcolm, running well last after an early spin and responding to the waved blue flags, ran well wide at the final corner in his efforts to get out of the way of the rest of the field. Coming back onto the circuit he kept well to the left but climbed the kerb into the first turn and lost control sliding across the circuit and taking out Palmer, Patrick Millman and Smith.

With the tyres round the floodlight well dislodged the Clerk of the Course neutralised the race with a full course yellow. By the time the tyre wall was re-built there was no time to restart the race so Breacher cruised across the line to take the win, the second time this year she’s won a Final under a full course yellow, Miao was second from Lakasas and Mitchell with a frustrated Deeks fifth. He did have the consolation of fastest lap.

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C Final Winner – Ami Breacher

B Final

All drivers in C2 unless otherwise noted.

Callum Martin on pole from Michael Reader followed on row two by C1 James Martin and Luke Philips. Row three saw Matt Ellis alongside C3 Adam Sheargold followed by Kym Eley and Thomas Barrett on row four. Row five had Stephen Westwood alongside Andrew Rabbage with C1 Bryn Alban alongside Christian Laner on Row six.

Andy Orford and Russell Cooper shared row seven followed by C3’s Tommy Lee and James Scanlon on row eight. Two more C3’s shared row nine, Douglas Smith and Harrison Earl. Row ten had Liam Nolan alongside C3 Thanos Tzevelekakis followed by C3 ‘s James Brittain Yusuf Soeharjano on row eleven and then the final two rows made up of the four qualifiers Breacher, Miao, Lakasas and Mitchell. Top two to qualify for the A Final and a trophy for the winner.

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Callum Martin was swiftly away at the start with James Martin also a fast starter moving quickly into second. Reader was third from Ellis whilst further back Alban was making up ground quickly along with Lee. Two laps in and Callum and James were over a second and a half clear and looking very comfortable for the two qualifying spots.

Reader, Ellis and Philips were next whilst Alban’s early charge had seemingly stalled as he got stuck behind Philips. Lee was up to seventh but over a second back from Alban. Quarter distance and the two leaders were circulating a couple of tenths apart and pulling clear of the pack. Alban finally found a way by Philips for fifth whilst Lee had cut the gap but remained seventh.

Half distance and it was as you were at the front. Reader remained third but well back from the leaders. Alban was up to fourth and closing in on Reader whilst Philips remained fifth from Lee. Once up to fourth Alban wasted no time in getting by Reader for third but he was over three seconds back from the leaders. Did he have the pace to get on terms and challenge for a qualifying spot?

He certainly gave it a good go but it was not to be. Callum Martin took the win with James Martin still in his wheel tracks in second. Alban was just over a second back in third with Philips fourth from Lee who was a comfortable winner on the day in C3. He also set the fastest overall lap.

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B Final Winner – Callum Martin

A Final 

All drivers in C1 unless otherwise noted.

Dante Dhillon on pole from Rob Newman. Game on! C2 Andrew Mcwilliam was on row two alongside Sam Lovelace with C2 Champion elect Harrison Kirkham sharing row three with  Ed Barrs. Row four had Dan Seager alongside C2 Yousuf Bin Suhayl followed by C2 Aaron Clarke and Ashley White on row five.

James Whitaker and Chris Woodger shared the sixth row from C2 Rana Meno and Andrew Ward on row seven. Row eight had C2 Stef Theodorou alongside Ben Lambeth followed by C2 Justin Draper alongside Samuel Essery on row nine and C2’s Charlie Summers and George Lawlor on row ten.

C2 Joshua Sangster shared row eleven with Christopher Powell with Rhianna Purcocks and C2 Greg Smith on the penultimate row followed by the two qualifiers from the B final Callum Martin and James Martin.

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Dhillon brought the pack up to the line with Newman looking across trying to second guess when Dhillon would hit the loud pedal. Second on the grid is not the worst place in the world at Whilton. Get away well and you have the inside line as the field turns to go up the hill. But Dhillon got away quickest and Newman moved left to cover off Mcwlliam. But it left the door open for Lovelace who drew alongside up the hill and into second.

Dhillon was flying at the front and was over a second clear at the end of the first tour. Lovelace had Newman right on his bumper was but was holding him off whilst Barrs ran fourth from Seager and Kirkham the latter on his way to clinching the C2 crown.

Three laps in and Newman moved inside Lovelace for second at the top of the hill. Both he and Lovelace had compromised lines allowing Barrs to dive under them both at Inkermans. But Newman fought back and ran round the outside of the left hander. Barrs gave him just enough room and Newman was into second.

However the fight had cost all three of them time and Dhillon was almost two seconds up the road. His lap times though were a touch inconsistent. Newman was flying taking four tenths out of the leader per lap.

Half distance and Dhillon lead by a couple of tenths Barrs was third but almost a second back with Lovelace fourth from Seager whilst Kirkham was sixth and heading for a Championship clinching result.

Ninth time around and Dhillon made a mistake out of the first turn. Newman didn’t need a second invitation and pulled alongside as they dived into the corner. Clean as you like he was through into the lead. Both drivers lost time. For Newman it was just a tenth but for Dhillon it was nigh on a second and Barrs was now right with him and setting the fastest lap of the race.

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A lap later and Newman set the fastest lap dipping under forty four seconds but seconds later Barrs struck back eclipsing Newman by 0.027. Into the Inkermans and Barrs went by Dhillon for second. Newman was half a second clear and again dipped under forty four seconds but Barrs had the bit between his teeth and went quicker again.

Dhillon remained third but looked out of the hunt. He now needed Barrs to do him a favour and take Newman for the win. Penultimate lap and Barrs set the fastest lap of the race and closed in on the Championship leader. Would he go for the win and give Dhillon a lifeline or would he settle for second? But why would he? A race win is a race win.

Into Inkermans for the final time and he dived up the inside. Sensibly Newman gave him room. Barrs went by but overshot and Newman switched back under him and was back in front down the hill. And there he stayed, crossing the line a Kart length clear of Barrs and claiming the Championship.

A very popular winner and with Joe Holmes already confirmed as HW Champion it was a double triumph for Yorkshire. Dhillon remained third with Lovelace fourth from Seager with Kirkham sixth, first in C2 and clinching the C2 Championship. Whitaker was seventh and second in C2 on the day with Clark eighth and third in C2. Menon and White completed the top ten.  

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A Final Winner – Rob Newman

Championship round up.

A hard earned Championship win for Rob Newman. No wonder dad Barry has a dodgy ticker ( his words) as Rob certainly likes to put his fans through the ringer. But he invariably comes good when it matters. Dante Dhillon has run Rob close at times this year and opened up his season with two A Final wins in the first two runs. But he’s not managed a win since but he’s almost always been a front runner.

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C2 Podium – l to r – James Whitaker, Harrison Kirkham, Aaron Clark

Sam Lovelace is just four points in front of Ed Barrs and eight up on the impressive Harrison Kirkham who clinched the C2 crown at Whilton. Don’t rule him out of vaulting Lovelace and Barrs to take third overall. Stef Theodorou lies second in C2 just three points up on Yousuf Bin-Suhayl.  Too close to call. C3 is tight too with Adam Sheargold just four points clear of Tommy Lee. James Brittain looks safe in third.

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C3 Podium – l to r – Curtis Mitchell, Tommy Lee, Harrison Earl

Reflections

I’ve been banging the drum for months about drivers not slowing under yellows and not raising their arms when a yellow is waved. Once upon a time drivers raised their arms high like a football referee indicating offside not just a cursory wave of the hand. So for me it was good to see the Clerk of the Course clamping down on drivers who fail to heed the flags.

One round to go and the customary end of season where it all started in February at Buckmore.

See you there !