Q. What’s Not To Like About Sam Fisher? A. You Can’t Catch Him

Clubman podium 1Fisher 2Hurlock 3Bonjour scaled

Sunny skies for the morning session at Whilton Mill. Summer is, in karting terms, genuinely here even if there was still a nip in the air, the sunblock was out and on with a slap. I start this copy on Monday morning and the club’s social media is humming with debate on driving standards after the clerks were given the headache (physically) from the volume of radio chatter on contact warnings and penalties – the club prides itself on close, hard, fair racing, and there’s (the metaphorical brain-ache) in calling and enforcing penalties. I’m looking at a sheet of penalties and warnings, mostly for contact, in a robust days driving around a faster than ever circuit. Ultimately it comes down to how you think the game should be played and the drivers themselves but every class drove Whilton Mill hard and gave little or no quarter at all. It’s concerning with Clay Pigeon next, another track not lacking in quick corners and needing respect, an improvement would be welcome.

C100_Whilton4-6038Simon Young dropped down from Premier Class and was placed in pole position as we do with every “newb” (I looked up the correct spelling) for Heat 1, getting the drop on Ed Barrs, Sam Browning not letting go of Simon’s bumper off grid 3 into Crook, Rhianna Purcocks tipped in Xmas ahead of Tyler Mays and Stuart Osborn, Sam Fisher, Miguel Hall and James Small with a clear gap to Andy Cowell in 9th with the rest of the field behind him into Chapmans. Purcocks threw one up the inside of Barrs into Xmas to go 3rd, while Miguel Hall got left behind at Xmas and I notice James Small was an exclusion on the result sheet. Just saying. Meanwhile behind Russell Endean, David Longman, Daniel Truman, Oliver Knights and Myles Sharman were sharing a few position penalties between some of them in the midfield. In all that fun I missed Purcocks’ move on Browning and it finished Young, Purcocks, Browning, Mays, Fisher, Osborn, oh and Andy Cowell 7th and he was excluded and he’s a Clerk…

Another pole man and debutant Andrew Bonjour got the drop on front running regular Just Buck on the reverse grid for Heat 2 both Chris Brown and Danny Hurlock out sprinting Justin into Crook. Brown dived inside Bonjour at Xmas and Hurlock got him outside of the kink, Steve Townsend couldn’t even get to Parker this time before being pushed on to the grass at Ashby. As the race unfolded Brown pulled clear, helped by Bonjour repassing Hurlock and holding him off, Buck was on his own in 4th. Behind Purcocks and Fisher were making some progress through the field but could get no further than Mays in 10th. James Browning in 4th, after Buck went missing, brought the best of the rest home ahead of Endean. The last lap was most notable for Young’s pass on Sam Browning coming into Ashby that drilled Cowell already turning in. Excluded.

Clubmans PURCOCKS wins pre-finalThe Pre-Final was probably the better final, Brown got the jump on Russell Endean off the start, Tyler Mays jumped into 2nd, Rhianna Purcocks getting Endean on the exit of Crook and when Brown locked up into Xmas, then Mays was in front and this quartet with James Browning, Oliver Knights and Sam Fisher just off, broke clear of the squabbling pack. Up to Xmas the next time Mays went down the middle of the road, Brown still went down the inside, down the white line, both went in deep, daring each to brake later. Rhianna Purcocks, on home soil if memory serves, took the proper racing line timing it perfectly so as the boys left the corner on their compromised lines, she was arriving at the optimum apex and into the hole they had just left off the corner. Superb and it was clear she was not letting go come hell or high water. Brown tried but she would not be shifted from the lead, arm waving at her, his failure punished by Mays and Fisher coming through and that gave her a mid race breather and Mays wasn’t going to catch her either. And he tried. The battle for 2nd ran on into the Boot for the last time Mays coming out ahead of Fisher, Endean and the arm waving Brown.

Clubmans FISHER leads startThe Final was an anti climax of sorts. After recognising it was Fisher was in pole position it was not inevitable but when Brown failed to go with him up to the line, the die was probably already cast Bonjour and Hurlock from Fisher’s line were through even before turning into turn 1. Bonjour pegged Sam for a few laps, held his bumper then Andrew watched him edge clear. Hurlock moved in for 2nd mid race by which time Fisher had just over a 1.5secs lead that the championship leader could make no impression on. Hurlock holding off Bonjour (sounds French but the family name is Italian, I know we are so cosmopolitan), a less animated Brown and James Small to the finish. The consolation for Danny was extending his lead from 7 to 16 points still over Oliver Knights who could manage no better than 6th in the Pre Final.

Next stop is Clay Pigeon on 7 June 2015.