Premier Sprint Championship 2014, Rd.10

Premier Sprint Heat One

Stephen Hicks won this one with comparative ease from Daz Teal and Chris Powell. Trevor Randall started alongside on the front row but finished second from last. There were some interesting views after the race.
Stephen Hicks
‘Trevor got alongside me at the beginning. I defended from him for a couple of corners and then just got my head down and went away. When I next looked behind about five laps in Daz was into second but there was quite a gap so it was just head down and don’t make any mistakes.’
He didn’t and took a dominant win.
Trevor Randall
‘As usual I was running a nice race, I was in second place from second on the grid, had the pace to stay with the leader, and someone lunged me at the hairpin and just missed me, tapped me a little bit and I lost some pace down the back strait and I was being pressured down the start and finish straight that lap and then into stadium Darren Teal just pushed me straight on, blatantly, and then everyone just came past me. I wondered if the clerks of the course had seen the battle for second place as there was nothing else going on but none of them saw it.’
To be fair Trevor there was quite a bit going on and Muttley isn’t as blind as he is ugly.
Not unnaturally Daz Teal saw it somewhat differently
‘He turned in on me. My Kart was better on top end. He went to the inside but gave me a Kart’s width. I took it and then the next thing I know he’s turning in on me. He turns in on me, I’m on the inside, he just bounces off. That’s what happened. He never went off did he?’
No he didn’t but over the course of the lap he fell from second to last as the whole field swallowed him up.
Teal remained in second with Chris Powell tailing him home. Alex Ring took fourth having dropped back in the fifth lap scramble followed by Pete O’Connor and Tim Clark. Good drives from these two, both making up five places. Ray Norris contrived to drop four places from grid 4 but did have the satisfaction of setting fastest lap two from home. A class record as well. Parm Nijjar finished ninth having started ninth. Not a great race for my Championship tip. The reporters curse! Jay Elliott rounded out the top ten.

Premier Sprint Heat Two

David Waters took this one from pole but it wasn’t straightforward. Scott Martin kept him honest all the way. Waters would claim later that his Kart kept bogging down out of the corners but Martin was never quite close enough to take advantage. Stuart Martin took third having initially dropped back a couple of places at the start behind Jay Elliott and Geoff Saunderson. Pete O’Connor took fourth with Chris Powell fifth. Star of the heat though was First heat winner Stephen Hicks who made up eight places to finish eighth. Ray Norris again set fastest lap whilst Parm Nijjar’s day wasn’t getting any better as he dropped two places from his grid slot to finish tenth.

Premier Sprint Final One

Reigning Champion Chris Powell on the pole then from Stephen Hicks. Next up, Pete O’Connor from Daz Teal followed by Scott Martin and David Waters. Parm Nijjar was back on row six.
Powell led away from pole but Hicks got mugged by both O’Connor and Teal at the exit of Stadium. Martin and Waters settled into fifth and sixth respectively. Down the order Nijjar put in great first lap to cross the line seventh. Stuart Martin, Tim Clark, Jay Elliott and Alex Ring were all first lap losers whilst Matt Brooks and Ray Norris both made gains. At the end of lap Powell still led from O’Connor, Teal, Hicks, Scott Martin, Waters and Nijjar. Powell and O’Connor though were pulling away as Teal appeared to be holding up the pack. Indeed, his fastest lap was the third slowest of the race. The leading pair were putting in a virtuoso performance. I watched them from the exit of the pit lane and lap after lap they shot passed me separated by a razors edge. Significantly though Powell was always just a little quicker out of Stadium with O’Connor gaining ground out of the last corner and down the main straight. With five to go Powell began to increase the lead. What had been inches became a full kart length as they passed my vantage point and two kart lengths into the hairpin. Was O’Connor sandbagging? As they entered the penultimate lap Powell had the gap out to a couple of tenths and looked to have it won. O’Connor wasn’t done yet though and set the fastest lap of the race but Powell was also on a flyer setting his own personal best. As they tore down the main straight for the final time Powell was still a couple of Kart lengths to the good but decided to go defensive into Stadium. O’Connor stuck to his line and gained. Out of Stadium Powell was still leading but again went defensive into the hairpin. O’Connor gained. On the run down to the second hairpin Powell was now seriously under threat and as they exited the corner O’Connor got the better drive to take the lead and the win. A fabulous performance from both men. But was Powell guilty of an error of judgement? It’s easy to be an expert when you’re standing in the pit lane. From my vantage point Chris looked to have had had the race won if he’d have stayed on his normal line.
Chris Powell ‘I could have risked it. I could have not defended at the first hairpin but if I’d have been in his shoes I’d have just stuck one up the inside, so…’
Pete O’Connor ‘Made him work for that didn’t I? I gave him a couple of laps off but then he defended too much didn’t he. It was a hard move but it was fair. If he hadn’t have defended he would have been alright but you’ve got to take what your given haven’t you?’
You certainly have. Great driving from two top blokes.
Teal came home third from Hicks; both drivers complaining that their Karts were a little off the pace. Scott Martin was next up from Parm Nijjar, Waters, Brooks Harding and Norris.

Premier Sprint Final 2

Ray Norris had the pole for this one. He’d been fast all day but with little thus far to show for it. Pete O’Connor sat alongside with Chris Powell third and Alex Ring fourth. Parm Nijjar was back on row seven with Daz Teal bringing up the rear. Norris got off to great start to lead the pack away but O’Connor was losing ground being passed by Powell and a very fast starting Scott Martin, up from grid seven. Hicks was another flyer, into fifth from grid nine. Teal was on a charge from the back moving up five spots but Nijjar was again in trouble falling to the back of the field. It was not a great day for Parm. At the front Norris continued to lead from Powell with Martin running third ahead of O’Connor, Hicks and Matt Brooks. Jay Elliott was recovering nicely after a bad start had dropped him from fifth to twelfth. As the field came down the main straight for the ninth time Powell was ever closer to Norris and as they approached the first hairpin he dived to the inside and through into the lead. Norris had no answer but was clear from Martin. The three of them circulated almost in formation through to the flag. Behind these three however O’Connor was coming under increasing pressure from Hicks and Brooks and it was Brooks who got the better of both of them to grab fourth on the eleventh tour. Tim Clark was also in the mix moving briefly ahead of O’Connor before the latter grabbed the place back. Clark immediately fell down the order and in his efforts to recover collected Teal at the hairpin bringing them both to a halt. Teal would eventually finish a very disgruntled last whilst Clark was excluded. Nijjar finished in tenth and although he and Ray Norris shared the fastest lap his championship aspirations had been dealt something of a blow.

Premiers

So, when the points were totalled up Chris Powell took the top step on the podium after a second and a win. Valuable points which have given him a chance, albeit probably a slim one, of retaining his championship. He needs to win both races at Buckmore with Ian Blake having his worst result of the season and Parm Nijjar having another off day. Pete O’Connor took second place with Scott Martin an excellent third.
Buckmore should be a real thriller.