Owen Jenman Makes Easy Work, Brunton Sets Up C2 Decider.
Big grids again for the trip to Rye House, the self styled home of British Karting. The circuit where Lewis Hamilton began his racing career. A long fast pit straight followed by the long, long right handed Stadium bend before rolling out into the fiddly bits. And don’t go off the circuit as it’s liable to be wet and dragging water onto the circuit won’t make you popular with your fellow drivers.
First out for what might be the final round this year the lightweights. And it was wet. The dark clouds were blowing in from the west but fortunately the rain held off although the circuit remained damp and slippery throughout the morning.
The Road to the Finals
Jack O’Neill took a dominant win in the opening heat. Starting from grid five he was into the lead by the end of the lap and then drove away winning by over six seconds from former Elite Champion Chris Powell. Powell started from grid nine and worked his way through the pack taking Dan Truman for second at half distance. He then pulled away setting the fastest lap of the race final time around. Truman fell away but crossed the line comfortably ahead of fourth placed Ned Douglas. But Truman had exceeded track limits once too often, the victim of the final slippery turn which caught out several drivers throughout the morning, and fell to fifth promoting Douglas to third and Callum Brewell to fourth.
Heat Two resulted in a brilliantly judged win for Sprint newcomer Jonah Barker. Pole sitter Daz Teal led for the majority of the race pursued by Chris Alcock and Barker both of whom had started from the second row. Penultimate lap and Barker swept by to take the win with Teal second from Alcock. Tom Fuller claimed fifth after a race long battle with Peter Knight. Just a tenth separated them at the flag.
The highly experience Owen Jenman took an easy win in Heat Three. Starting from grid eight he was second by the end of lap one behind grid three starter Lee Hackett, another welcome returnee, before slipping by along with third placed Mike Coppin. Thereafter Jenman drove away to take the win by over six seconds from Coppin and Hackett with Rhianna Purcocks fourth from Dan Brewer. Further down the order Championship contender Dan Healey had the worst possible start to the day with a spin at hairpin one. Fifteenth was the best he could manage.
Ed Barrs had fortune on his side in the fourth heat. Starting from grid ten he was in the lead by the end of the lap with Fraser Brunton second. Barrs couldn’t get away though and Brunton stuck with him all the way as the two of them pulled clear of the battle for third. Final lap and Brunton made a move round Pylon. Barrs couldn’t hold him off and Brunton crossed the line first only to be penalised down to second after knocking over a cone. Champions luck for Barrs? Oliver Flashman took third after a tough battle with Ben Atkinson, another welcome returnee, who had to settle for fourth with Rob Langthorp some distance back in fifth.
Dan Healey got his day back on track taking a lights to flag win in the fifth heat. Pietro Pagano ran second for all but the final lap. But it was a frantic fight for the place between himself, Chris Alcock and Peter Knight. And Max Read, Jack O’Neil and Rhianna Purcocks were lurking just a few Kart lengths back ready to capitalise on any errors. Final lap and Knight nipped by Pagano to take second at Stadium. Read took advantage too to move up to fourth in the bunched finish with Alcock fifth.
Heat Six resulted in a second win of the day for Ed Barrs. No fortune involved in this one either as he led from start to finish. Owen Jenman chased him home for another valuable points haul after starting from grid eleven. He was up to second mid race but couldn’t get on terms with Barrs despite being the quickest man on the track. Christopher Powell claimed third after starting from the front row with Mike Coppin fifth from Martin Theodorou.
Fraser Brunton made up for his earlier disappointment with a faultless drive in Heat Seven. Starting from grid five he was into the lead by the end of lap one and never headed. Oliver Flashman trailed him home a couple of seconds adrift after starting from the front row. James Barnard came home third but was deducted four places after gaining a place through contact handing third place to Daz Teal who was involved in a spirited battle between himself, Andrew Ward, Ben Atkinson and Stephen Westwood.
Chris Powell used all his slippery rally driving experience to win Heat Eight. Starting from the second row he took over at the front from pole sitter Jason Bradbury at half distance and then eased away from the pack. Dan Brewer came home second after working his way up from grid seven. Bradbury claimed third from Rob Dowsett and Callum Brewell.
Heat Nine saw Owen Jenman take his second win of the day which would prove to be good enough to secure himself pole for the A Final. Starting from pole he was never threatened and took the win over nine seconds clear of second place which went to James Barnard. But only after Rhianna Purcocks was penalised four places after gaining a place through contact. She would be classified sixth with Dan Truman fourth from Chris Alcock.
Roger Davis got an awful start from pole in the tenth heat running very wide round Stadium and then pirouetting to a halt. Fellow front row sitter Ashley White fared little better spinning out at Pylon. All of which allowed Josh Adams into a lead he would never relinquish taking the flag over four seconds clear of Dan Brewer with Jason Bradbury third from Harry Nottage who was the star of the heat after starting from grid sixteen. He deposed Caterham refugee (Caterham as in racing car series not the place ) and CLUB100 returnee James Venning on the final lap. Oliver Flashman also took advantage taking fifth and deposing Venning to sixth.
Jack O’Neill took his second win of the day in the penultimate heat. Starting from grid three he took a couple of laps to get by early leader Dan Seager before pulling away. Seager worked hard for much of the race in second holding off Ed Barrs who had started from grid eight. But eventually the reigning Champion made his experience tell and slipped by into second. But he couldn’t catch O’Neill. Seager was third, well clear of fourth placed Pietro Pagano with Stef Theodorou fifth.
The final heat went to Peter Knight. Starting from the front row he was ahead off the line and never headed. Fraser Brunton chased him to the flag for much of the race after starting from grid twelve. These two Class 2 runners were in a race of their own completely overshadowing Class one driver Mike Coppin who was some eight seconds adrift in third. Chris Powell was next over the line but lost four places after a penalty handing fourth and much needed points to Dan Healey. Fifth went to Rob Dowsett.
Pole for new driver James Williams with Reece Pope alongside. Cameron Moss and George Lawlor shared row two with Garrett Berry and Dean Everest on row three. Jagjeet Singh and Keith Segal were on row four followed by Aymen Salih and Andrew Rabbage. Row six saw Russell Cooper alongside Luke Dunnett from Greg Smith and Jamie Mead. Row eight had Matthew Cockerham alongside Adam Sheppard with Rana Meno and Gareth Pritchard on row nine. Next up, Peter Hargreaves and Tommy Welsh with the penultimate row occupied by James Browning and Andreas Demetriou. The final row saw Pete Crompton alongside Thomas Holt. Four to qualify for the B Final.
Williams led the field away and considering the lack of massive experience amongst many of the C Finalists they all did well to slither their way through the opening corners. Across the line at the end of the lap and Williams still led with Berry up to second and Pope down to third. Everest was up to fourth with Moss down to fifth from Lawlor and Rabbage. Segal, the most experienced driver in the field, was an early spinner. Williams run at the front ended as Berry took him coming out of Pylon and Pope slipped by too at the final corner. Moss was next from Everest, Rabbage and Lawlor. Pope took over at the front courtesy of a run on the leader into hairpin one. Pope and Berry immediately began to edge clear of the chasing pack still headed by Williams with Everest holding the fourth qualifying spot having deposed Moss. Moss was putting him under severe pressure though and Rabbage couldn’t be discounted whilst Lawlor was beginning to fall away. Pope and Berry continued to pull clear at the front whilst the battle for fourth was allowing Williams to run clear in third. Half distance and Williams got a little out of shape at Stadium and lost ground allowing Everest and Moss to close in. With two to run Everest put a move on Williams into the second hairpin and moved up to third relieving himself of some pressure. Now it was Williams having to hold on to the fourth qualifying spot from Moss. Williams decided that the best place to be would be third and upped his pace to challenge Everest. Moss was still in the hunt but a few Kart lengths back.
Final lap and Williams went down the inside of Everest into the first hairpin. A risky move which could have ended in tears. But he was through. Everest came back at him which allowed Moss to close in as they went through Pylon. With Pope and Berry clear in first and second it was all eyes on the final corners to see who would emerge to claim the final spots. Williams was just about safe whilst Moss dived down the inside of Everest in the final turn. He went through but not without contact so despite crossing the line half a kart length ahead he would be demoted to eighth leaving Everest as the final qualifier behind Pope, Berry and Williams.
Stephen Westwood on pole from Rob Langthorp with Ned Douglas and Jonah Barker on row two. Row three saw Dan Seager alongside Max Read with Alisdair Irvine and Tom Fuller on row four. Christopher Powell shared row three with Stef Christoforou who was also the highest qualifying C3 runner. Rob Dowsett was alongside Andrew Ward on row six with Ashley White and Callan Sigafoos on row seven. Next up, James Venning and Jed Toole from Eric Mignon and Matt Collier. Rogeirio Mendes and Roger Davis occupied row ten with Ramunas Cerkauskas and Adam Harding next up and heading the four qualifiers from the C Final, Pope, Berry, Williams and Everest. A trophy for the winner and the top two to qualify for the A Final.
Westwood led the field away and everyone made it through the first turns safely and ran down towards the first hairpin. Out of the corner and Douglas got forced wide colliding the tyre wall before coming back at walking pace onto the circuit. Read spun in avoidance and was lucky not to get collected as he failed to put his foot on the brake and rolled backwards but at least he was still on the tarmac which was more than could be said for Venning who took to the grass in avoidance and then had to battle with nature to get back on track. End of the lap and Langthorp was at the front from Barker, Westwood and Irvine. White had vaulted up from grid twelve to fifth. Two down and the top four remained the same but on the run down to the first hairpin Westwood was a little too late on the brakes and spun dropping himself to seventh. Irvine went for second at Pylon and kept his nose in front of Barker as they rounded the final turn. But his line was compromised and he lost momentum letting Barker back into second. All of which allowed Christoforou and Powell to close in. Langthorp wasn’t getting away at the front and it was quickly developing into a five kart battle for the lead.
Four laps run and Irvine went for second into hairpin one. This time he made it through and set about the leader. Langthorp defended hard down the start and finish straight but it compromised his line round Stadium and he was forced to yield to Irvine as they ran down to the hairpin one. Irvine was through as Langthorp ran wide allowing Barker into second. But not for long. Langthorp went up the inside into hairpin two and ran Barker wide on the apex. Hard but fair and he was back up to second whilst Powell slipped by Christoforou for fourth. Next time around and Barker went wide into hairpin two and Powell was up to third. For a couple of laps the top five ran line astern but Langthorp was being forced to defend from the advancing Powell which was allowing Irvine to pull out a small gap. Four from home and Powell got badly out of shape into the first hairpin and ran wide allowing Barker back up to third. Next time around and Barker went super defensive in to the second hairpin hugging the inside entry into the corner. Inevitably he ran wide on the exit and Powell nipped back into third. Christoforou was still running with them but he’d picked up a cone penalty leaving him with a mountain to climb to qualify.
Penultimate lap and Irvine was safe at the front and barring incidents qualifying for the A Final. Down into hairpin one and Powell dived down the inside. Langthorp gave him plenty of racing room and ran wide but gained good traction off the turn. But Powell was through. And that was how they remained to the flag. Irvine took the win and the trophy with Powell second from Langthorp and Barker. Christoforou crossed the line fifth but dropped to sixth after his penalty promoting Ward to fifth with Dowsett seventh From Westwood Fuller and Harding.
Owen Jenman on pole from Championship leader Ed Barrs. With Barrs knowing that his main rival Dan Healey was starting from grid twenty his task was just to outscore his rival by as many points possible. Keep it clean, tidy and stay out of trouble. Jenman wasn’t a factor in the Championship so no need for anything rash. The two youngsters Fraser Brunton and Peter Knight occupied row two. Mike Coppin and Dan Brewer shared the third row followed by Oliver Flashman and Chris Powell. Next up, Chris Alcock and Pietro Pagano followed by Jack O’Neill and Daz Teal. Row seven saw Josh Adams alongside Rhianna Purcocks with Dan Truman and Callum Brewell on row eight. Row nine, Martin Theodorou and Stef Theodorou. Row ten, Jason Bradbury and Dan Healey followed by James Barnard and Lee Hackett. Ben Atkinson and Harry Nottage shared the penultimate row with Nottage making CLUB100 history as the first C3 entrant to make an A Final ever. Well done Harry and guaranteed to win the C3 honours on the day. The final two spots were taken up by the two B Final qualifiers, Irvine and Powell.
Jenman led the pack up to the line but Barrs made the better start to lead into Stadium. Then, to the astonishment of everyone he dropped it and was heading backwards into the tyres. Did he fall or was he pushed? No penalty was called and it was Brunton into the lead as the field headed into the first hairpin. Over the line at the end of the lap and Brunton led from Jenman, Knight, Coppin, Flashman and O’Neill whilst Barrs was back in the race in twenty first. One place ahead of Healey. Second time around and Jenman made a move for the lead into Hairpin one. He was through although Brunton came back at him and in doing so almost lost second to Knight. But he held on. Down the order Barrs and Healey had moved up with Barrs up to seventeenth and Healey two places back. Damage limitation had become the order of the day. Jenman continued to lead. It was interesting watching his approach to hairpin one as he flicked the Kart one way and then the other. On the limit of adhesion but he always held it. Half distance and he’d pulled out over a second on Brunton who was having to defend at times from Knight. Coppin was falling away but staying out of attack range from O’Neill who had Flashman close at hand. Powell, Alcock and Teal were next but a little spread out with Purcocks tenth. For several laps it was as you were with Jenman comfortable at the front. Brunton had widened the gap to Knight whilst O’Neill had slipped by Coppin for fourth. And that was how they finished with Jenman taking the win and fastest lap.
Brunton’s second place saw him take the C2 honours with Knights’s third place giving him the runner up spot in C2. A fantastic result for these two young drivers mastering the difficult conditions. O’Neill took the C1 runners up with fifth placed Coppin taking third in C1. Flashman took third in C2 with his sixth place. A fantastic effort from him too. Chris Powell took seventh from Purcocks, Teal and Alcock. Barrs came home thirteenth. It could have been so much worse whilst Healey was a disappointed eighteenth. Not his day. Harry Nottage finished nineteenth and took the C3 honours. Most definitely a great day for him.
Championship Round Up.
A long time since neither Ed Barrs nor Dan Healey have been off the podium but in terms of the Championship Ed remains top seven points clear of Dan. Mike Coppin is third. Can’t help but feel he should be closer to the top two. Perhaps a bit more application and a little less arm waving? Chris Alcock is fourth with Steve Brown next but out of the hunt after missing Rye. In the C2 class Martin Theodorou leads the way but Fraser Brunton has closed the gap to just two points. Alisdair Irvine is third. Greg Smith heads the C3 class from Ramunas Cerkauskas and Jed Toole.
As I write this the Prime Minister has just confirmed the lockdown which means that the next round at Buckmore will not take place. He has stated that the lockdown will end on December 2nd but this will depend on infection rates coming down so the final round at Whilton Mill is still in the balance. It will be a great shame after all the hard work that has been put in by the CLUB if we are unable to stage the final round.
Considering the conditions I thought there was some very good driving at Rye. Certainly the penalty count was not particularly excessive. I was surprised however that couple of drivers cost themselves solid results after being found to be underweight.
On a lighter note the left handed kink after Stadium corner now has a name. By his own admission our mush loved and respected Clerk of the Course and ace Kart tester Niki Richardson got a little greedy on Saturday as he rounded the corner and caught out by the standing water round the apex. He spun off onto all the wet muddy stretch on the right of the short straight much to the amusement of all who saw it. Even the very best occasionally make mistakes. Sadly there do not appear to be any pictures of the moment but in race control on Sunday there was a little debate as to how the moment should be preserved so for evermore in CLUB100 folklore the corner is now Richardson’s Rest. A fitting tribute.
Stay safe, keep your distance, wash your hands etc and lets all do our bit to get the infection rate down so that we can have a proper finale to the season.
WORDS: Steve Gray
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson
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