Indeed they did. Lydd was more waterworld than an island, “It’s the first time I’ve been karting where you got a slipstream effect from the kart in front clearing the standing water ahead. It was really noticeable down the back straight.” More taking advantage of the wakestream than slipstream. Although I would, in my old man’s hazy memory way, contend that there is English rain and it may have been the worst ever, but for anyone who has raced in Spa on several infamous occasions there is English but then there’s Belgium rain. Just saying.
The good news for Auditing Armageddon’s Aiston is their 2nd place in Clubman Class brings them into a straight up showdown with Conman Racing over 3rd place in the Clubman championship going into the final round of the season in 2 weeks at Bayford. This would not be the first time the pair have raced out the season like this, Ben Chapman, “yeah we’re looking forward to taking on Auditing for P3 – in 2019 we stole P3 off them at the last race – looking forward to see who takes home the trophy this time!” This hack’s reading of the championship table (still only counting 7 instead of 8 scores for an unknown reason) is Conman has a 5point (or 1place advantage) and whoever finishes ahead will take the championship. It’s a similar situation at the head of the class, another back flag day for JK Rowling leaves them 5points (1 position) behind Speedscreen for whom the Legend of Dickie Allen seems to have become firmly embedded across the championship, and is particularly prodigious in the wet, Kyle Young for JK, “Richard Allen was mega from start to finish in the wet he’s basically one of the best boys out there when it’s wet. I think he did an hour and 40 again and totally bossed it so fair play to him they/he deserves the title the way he’s driven the last few rounds… I left my helmet undone what can I say it was my birthday and I was to excited and just forgot (maybe slightly hung over too)… it’s now 6 black flags in the last 4 rounds and the battery failure at Llandow. You can’t win a championship like that!” I think Speedscreen will need to finish ahead of JK to be sure. The race for 5th in class sees Runtime Exception, All Torque and SMJK Racing still in play for the top 5.
In Intermediates, Brillio took the win at Lydd from their championship rivals The Three Swans to narrow James Johnstone & Co’s class lead to just 10points (2 positions) going into the last round, “we have to be properly on our game for Bayford and it’s still all to play for. I have strong faith in us after our last performance at the track, let’s just hope we can deliver on that!” And Brillio might need assistance from a couple of Wait This Isn’t A Simrig?, Formula None, J2D2, BIGSKY Racing and The Centurians to get in behind Brillio to put some positions into The Three Swans, a 3rd place would be enough to guarantee the title for The Swans even with a win for Brillio. Although thats my man maths (buyer beware – do your own sums) the race for 3rd through 5th is still all open, if the table counted 8 scores then the order is actually J2D2 3rd, Big Sky, The Centaurians, Wait This Isn’t A Simrig? and Formula None, however in reality any finish for the latter pair will count to their score as they currently only count 7 scores for they have only competed in 7 events, they have the opportunity to make the biggest gains and this makes them favourites for 3rd and 4th, as Matt Horgan for WTIAS says, “We’ve left it all to do for Bayford to try and secure third place in Inters”. All anyone should want is the matter to be in your own hands.
And Premier Class, well it goes without saying, and without any fanfare, Titan Motorsport polished off the season in imperious style with their 8th win of the season to total up to maximum points. 800. I’m not sure if this is unique, perhaps a statto can check, but Titan are in rarified company of a maximum points season for a top class runner solo or team. Team Applewood are now safely installed as runners up in the championship, they can’t be caught by my reading of the table, Captain Pritchard concurs, “There isn’t much to report as not much happened. The guys got on with the job, set amazing lap times and we brought home another 2nd place trophy. Very likely securing 2nd for this year and honestly I think we were the 2nd best team by a mile.” They have and they have been. Palatinate Racing will finish 5th in the table, cLunge Racing would need to win the last round as a minimum to make it even interesting, leaving the only unfinished business in the top class the battle for 3rd in the championship.
G3 Pro passed the baton to Joe Holmes on the anchor leg at Lydd and the reports are of some interstellar wet weather driving, Matt Hale, “When you’re on the back foot you can always rely on Joe to pull something special out of the bag which he did having a good battle with Palatinate Racing whilst keeping a decent gap to Bandito”. It brought them within a hairs breath of Applewood’s 2nd place, but Holmes ran out of laps, to leave them 10points (2 positions) down on Scuderia Bandito in the championship, after Bandito had a mediocre showing finishing 5th place that required a lot mitigation driving to avoid it being very costly. Matt Wileman, “Anwar started, got taken out on the first corner and dropped down to about 20th. He came in for the first stop and we had side pod damage so they had to fix that in the pit which cost us a couple of minutes, and had it not been for the side pod drama we were on for a podium for sure but that’s been our luck this year.” The Banditos need only follow G3 Pro home (presumably in the top 5) to secure 3rd in the championship, while G3 Pro need to be shooting for the win to turn up the pressure on the Scuderia, I think 4th place at Bayford Meadows for Wileman and Co would put it beyond doubt no matter what Matt Hale & Co can do for themselves.
My maths maybe dodgy so do your own sums, and it will all come out in the wash anyway, figuratively, metaphorically and, possibly literally depending on the weather, at Bayford Meadows before becoming part of Club100 history, folklore and memories in a little under 2 weeks times. History? Well 2022 will be Club100’s 30th season, don’t you know? Where did that time go?
It seems a little pointless talking about lap times given the conditions but when the session was green flagged with Titan Motorsport passing start finish they would be first to return to set the mark with Jack O’Neill at 60.203 (there I did it anyway) with Speedscreen’s Dickie Allen, going P2 1.5secs behind him, Tim Hill, “Dickie had done his rain dance, phoned me the night before & had the race won!” So you know who to blame. Although that left a gap to be filled by Palatinate Racing’s Will Van Es, G3 Pro’s Joe Holmes, TD Racing, Andy Hall for JK Rowling, Conman Racing, Chris Alcock for Applewood, before Titan came around again. O’Neill would be first to break the 60secs mark, and Allen would move forward again to be the first team to be within one second of O’Neill’s provisional pole, Allen replaced by Holmes but only briefly as Speedscreen moved back onto the front row. The track was not speeding up however and from halfway in the session there would be no improvement in the top 3.
As the session ended O’Neill was on pole for Titan Motorsport, Speedscreen would start Allen on the front row, Joe Holmes would stay in to start G3 Pro, Van Es starting on row 2 for Palatinate. TD Racing was a new team on row 3 with Alex Pritchard taking over from Chris Alcock to start Applewood. G3 Farecla on row 4 with Beroual Smith starting Scuderia Bandito, leading Inters team Brillio and Conman rounded row 5. 30 teams taking the start.
Wet races offer the biggest snakes and some of the biggest ladders and when the field came back around at the end of lap 1 the top 4 were still in order but they were already sliding apart. No point pushing too hard too soon and annoying your team mates, by falling off trying to be a hero. Farecla had moved up to 5th place as TD Racing had tumbled off the first page of timing, Slickspeed had moved in behind Applewood in 7th place. All Torque had made an excellent start for their championship aspirations to be 8th with Brillio moving forward with Clubmans’ Runtime Exception moving up to the top 10. The other snakes? Bandito’s were down to 13th, Wileman reporting Anwar Beroual Smith being taken out at the first corner and resulting damage to their sidepod making for a long 2 hours digging, or perhaps bailing water out their hole. And The Three Swans title challenge was also off the first page of timing, James Johnstone,” I discovered how karts worked in bark on lap one, I was lucky not to get stuck, I then put in an almighty recovery to not be too far off Brillio (Inters championship rival) by the first pit.
O’Neill set off at his own pace, which is to say, one that no one could keep up with, while Allen edged into G3 Pro’s spray, ‘slipstream’ sounding a little redundant. Pritchard moved Applewood passed Farecla for 5th and behind Palatinate. The top 6 moving clear of All Torque with Brillio and Bandito before their visit to pit lane for repairs. Holmes had played his part, qualifying well, getting G3 Pro started and made way for over Matt Hale, “I had a total nightmare and a short lived stint as when the heavens open up about 10 minutes into the race I lost the ability to see, rain had got inside my visor and straight onto my glasses making it a little dangerous, I radioed the team to get me in early, unfortunately we had to wait until the pit window open which by that point I’d dropped the team down to 12th.”
Out front Titan stretched away to 6secs, as the heavens did indeed start to unzip on the circuit, Titan pitted and returned O’Neill returning in 19th, then Speedscreen, Allen staying in and returning 7secs behind Titan, Beroual-Smith pitted Bandito for a long stop that included that side pod repair. Palatinate led then pitted shy of 20mins, by which time most of the field had been in and returned in the space of 5mins, leaving only Intermediates Munk in the lead from Ragazzi Racing left to pit before the window closed.
Titan were then back in front, out to 11secs, Speedscreen 10secs clear of Pritchard in Applewood, with Palatinate a couple of seconds off. Farecla moved passed team mates G3 Pro as Matt Hale used ‘The Force’ to reach out with his feelings to find his way around the circuit, soon to be demoted further by All Torque, Conman, Brillio and CKS Throatpunchers in 10th. Allen was making some progress into Titan’s lead getting it down to 9secs when he pitted on 32mins. Five minutes later O’Neill beat him off pit lane after their 2nd stop to be still 9secs clear. Pritchard peeled off the front his race done to be replaced by Mike Coppin for Applewood, Palatinate following them in. All Torque from Clubmans got a lap on the front before Bandito led by 7secs for a lap before pitting again this time for Matt Wileman and slipping off the lead lap and down to 9th place. If there was good news for Scuderia it was G3 Pro were just ahead of them on the road, thinking championship here, with All Torque, Farecla and beyond them Brillio in 5th place with 10secs or so, and even Palatinate still on the lead lap were only 20secs beyond. Upfront it was Titan, 11secs ahead of Speedscreen, 25secs ahead of Applewood at the 45min mark.
When Jack O’Neill departed the show on 55mins his lead was 17secs, Coppin had only been able to hold station behind Allen, and Palatinate had slipped off the lead lap. In the Clubman battle behind Speedscreen’s domination, it had all gone wrong for JK Rolling down and looking out in 28th place, misfiring again trying to wrap up the championship, Kyle Young, “Andy got a black flag for a bump and pass on a back marker early on inside 15 mins”. And then there was that chin strap for another. Tim Hill for rivals Speedscreen, “I’d had a bet [with Dickie] earlier on that JK Rowling would just rack up black flags and sure enough they did”, so it looked like Runtime Exception Racing 7th, Auditing Armageddon 9th, Slickspeed 10th, All Torque 12th, Conman 13th, Slowcoach Racing 14th and Ramunas Cerkauskas 15th would race out the 2nd hour for the other podium steps in the class. In Inters Brillio ran 5th overall, surprise packet Munk were 8th, and Swans were 11th, Johnstone again, “Before my 2nd stop I found out what getting caught in the bark really meant. Lost a lot of time and was gutted. Tom went out though and that’s where things got better. His pace was beautifully consistent and after an awful pit stop for Brillio and Munk we were back in the game. Brillio’s pace was such that we thought catching them was achievable.” Indeed they were as Brillio returned on 62mins, in 7th place, Swans were in 2nd in class less than a minute behind in 10th.
Up front, after the 3rd stops were done, it was an all too familiar look, Jenman was 12.5secs clear of Allen, 15secs ahead of Coppin into his 2nd stint, off the lead lap Palatinate were now only 10secs clear of G3 Pro, 9secs ahead of Bandito’s Wileman. The worst of the weather, of which there had been much, had passed, times started to slowly pick up and Titan accelerated away, Coppin closing in on Tim Hill, “I agreed to only do a short stint again to save my ribs & let Richard finish”, Mike would pit for Chris Alcock before he could close the last few seconds to pass Speedscreen.
When the penultimate fuel window had closed with 25mins to go, Mike Philippou had been passed a 32secs lead for Titan Motorsport to finish off, Allen was back in the chair for Speedscreen, 6.5secs clear of Applewood, G3 Pro had sent Holmes back in 28secs behind to see if Applewood could be run down, and some precious points put into Scuderia Bandito in the hands of Will Dendy, preparing the ground for the final round battle for 3rd in the Premier Class championship.
Final fuel stops came and went without incident, Philippou eased Titan home, letting Allen close, safe in the knowledge he would not catch him, Joe Holmes did his best to scare Applewood’s pit wall but Alcock had that covered, although another lap – maybe not. Alcock may have done Bandito a favour if Bayford is a close finish for G3 Pro and Scuderia Bandito. Clubmans was all Speedscreen although even Tim Hill will acknowledge it’s all Dickie Allen save the team name. Auditing Armageddon coming in 5secs ahead of Conman Racing in 7th and 8th setting up their own private championship battle for 3rd at Bayford, JJ Aiston, “Jon Buck took over for the 2nd hour from me, I’d been plugging away and not making any mistakes, and that seemed to work for us. This felt like a win for us as Dickie Allen is really a prem driver in the wet.” Ben Chapman for Conman Racing, “So with JK’s run of bad results continuing, Speedscreen are now favourites heading to Bayford. The one crumb of consolation for JK is whilst either us or Auditing could beat them to 2nd in the class, there’s no combination of results now which would allow us both to jump them, so JK are at least guaranteed top 3.” I’m not sure that will be any consolation for Kyle Young.
In the Inters Class, Brillio took an important win, with 11th overall, The Three Swans were 14th but 2nd in class, setting up that showdown for Bayford as well. Formula None led home the Inter pack in 20th place to take the last trophy.
There is really quite a lot to play for going into the final round. As it should be.
Words: Chris Simpson
Photography: John Patterson