Reigning Champion Ed Barrs is Making His Move.
Whenever we visit Buckmore it’s either freezing or hot. And it was seriously hot at the weekend. Lightweights out first for the morning session and with three different winners over the first three rounds would a fourth driver stand on the top step when the day was done?
The Road to the Finals
Pietro Pagano took the first heat of the day. Starting from the front row he took a lap to overhaul poleman Alistair Irvine before pulling away to record a comfortable win. James Wattis took second after starting from the second row and deposing Irvine to third mid race. Connor Brown took fourth. He ran there for much of the race before a flying Chris Alcock took him for the spot. A great drive this up from grid thirteen which also saw him set the fastest lap on the penultimate tour. Last time around though and Brown chased him down the hill and then dived for the inside into the paddock hairpin to retake fourth. A fine, fair, opportunistic move.
Jay Elliott’s first race of the season saw him take a comfortable win in Heat 2 after starting from the second row. Dan Healey came home second heading a very entertaining battle between himself and Martin Theodorou which Jason Bradbury joined over the final laps after battling his way up from grid thirteen and setting the fastest lap of the race one from home. The three of them were separated by just a couple of tenths. Hard, fair racing.
Heat 3 fell to Dan Truman who led almost from lights to flag. Starting from the second row he was in front through the hairpins and took a comfortable win with Hussain Rashid second from Joshua Craft, James Martin and Stephen Westwood.
Reigning Champion Ed Barrs opened his account for the day with a Heat 4 win. Starting from grid seven gave him some work to do but he hit the front just after half distance and took the win just over two seconds clear of pole sitter Tom Eastwood and setting the fastest lap as he did so. Mike Coppin came home a comfortable third with Daz Teal fourth after an eventful drive. Starting from grid eight he was back to tenth at the end of the lap before making his way back up the order. But he’d left himself too much to do and was never going to catch Coppin. Rhianna Purcocks opened her account for the day with a solid fifth after working her way steadily up from grid ten. .
Heat 5 resulted in a fine win for Jason Bradbury. Probably his best drive of the season so far. He was into the lead quickly from his front row starting position and led all the way setting the fastest lap in the process. Dan Truman chased him home in second but was almost four seconds adrift of the leader but comfortable in second. He’d started from grid eight and moved into second mid race. Ben Atkinson tailed him home. He’d run second for a couple of laps after starting from the third row. Hussain Rashid took fourth. He had to work for the spot too after starting from grid ten and dropping to eleventh. Up to fifth three laps in he had a hard fight with Connor Brown which saw them change places a few times before Rashid got clear. Brown lost out badly over the final lap dropping to eighth with Oscar Lancaster taking fifth.
Alistair Irvine took the win in Heat 6. Starting from grid seven he worked his way to the front after three laps and took the win just over two seconds clear of Mike Coppin who had had to fight his way up the order from grid nine before taking poleman Tom Fuller for second. Another strong performance. Thereafter Fuller harried him all the way to the flag but Coppin kept him at bay crossing the line a Kart length clear. Ed Barrs took fourth after starting from grid twelve with Daz Teal fifth. Solid points for them both.
Heat 7 resulted in another comfortable win for Jay Elliot. Into the lead after two laps after working his way up from grid eight he was never challenged taking the win almost four seconds clear of Fraser Brunton who had started from the second row behind Euan Johnson, having his first outing for quite some time, and then taking second with a lap to run from pole sitter Callum Brewell who would take fourth behind Christopher Powell, the latter having to work hard for his fourth place. Mikey Nichols took fifth ahead of Johnson.
An on form Pietro Pagano took his second win of the day in Heat 8 but he was made to work for it. Starting from the third row he was up to third by the end of the first lap behind front row starter Chris Alcock and second row starter Ashley White. Over the course of the next couple of laps he worked his way into the lead chased by White and Alcock whilst Dan Healey closed in from his grid eleven starting spot. Martin Theodorou too was climbing through the field. Pagano crossed the line just a tenth up on White with Healey an excellent third after taking Alcock on the penultimate lap. Theodorou hung on to fifth just holding off Dan Brewer on the line by 0.096. Brewer had been really flying over the latter stages setting the fastest lap on the penultimate tour.
Andrew Ward took an easy lights to flag win in Heat 9 heading home Rob Langthorp by over four seconds. Langthorp had a tough race working his way up from grid seven to run third behind third row starter Euan Johnson. Johnson was driving superbly and holding Langthorp at bay but the latter’s greater experience of a CLUB100 Kart paid dividends as he slipped by to take second on the penultimate lap. Oscar Lancaster came home fourth after working his way up from grid nine with Keith Segal an excellent fifth after starting on the second row.
Josh Adams started Heat 10 from pole and led the first three laps before coming under pressure from grid five starter Chris Alcock who took over at the front at half distance. But Adams didn’t let him get clear despite the close attentions of Martin Theodorou. And Bailey Morgan wasn’t out of the frame either running in fourth from Joshua Craft and Ashley White whilst Jay Elliott was reeling them all in, setting the fastest lap fifth time around. With two to go he was sixth whilst at the front Alcock was holding off repeated attacks from Adams. Penultimate lap and Alcock was hanging on at the front whilst Elliott was up to third and homing in on the leaders. Final time around and he joined the battle for the lead forcing his way by Adams briefly and unfairly. Adams was quick to recover and set about Alcock taking him brilliantly and holding on to take the win. Elliott crossed the line third but was demoted to seventh whilst Hussain Rashid inherited third after finishing fourth. Another strong drive this. Perhaps needs to work on his starts after starting from the second row and slipping back to eighth before working his way back up the order. Craft was placed fourth with Theodorou fifth after losing a place for cone abuse.
The penultimate heat resulted in a lights to flag win for Ed Barrs, his second of the day. Not as comfortable as the sentence suggest though as Josh Williams kept him under pressure all the way. Jason Bradbury ran third but just off the pace whilst Alasdair Irvine was making his way up the order from grid eleven moving ahead of Bradbury just after half distance and chasing down the leaders. He got by Adams on the penultimate lap and closed in on the leader but Barrs held him at bay winning by just a Karts length. Christopher Powell came home fifth.
Mike Coppin took a well judged win in the final heat after starting from grid ten. Eric Mignon led the early stages from pole with Daz Teal sitting in second for a couple of laps before edging Mignon out in the hairpins. A move which also allowed Coppin by. Teals lead lasted but a lap as Coppin powered by whilst Mignon was hanging on brilliantly in third with Dan Brewer in his wheel tracks. Teal kept Coppin under pressure but couldn’t find a way by and had to settle for second with Mignon just a few lengths back after an excellent drive. Brewer was fourth with Pietro Pagano next but penalised a place for cone abuse promoting James Wattis into fifth.
Stuart Hubbard on pole from C3 driver Niall Tuohy with Lloyd McGeoch-Williams and Russell Cooper on row two. Row three saw Jack McIntyre alongside Ben Daley followed by George Lawlor and Jed Toole on row four. Row five, Sam Morris and Ross Dunston whilst row six saw Tommy Welsh alongside Rogerio Mendes. Cameron Moss and Cameron Williams shared row seven with James Browning and Robert Smart on row eight. Jack Goble and Luke Dunnett occupied row nine with Pete Crompton and James Cook followed by Luke Branch taking the final spots on the grid. Top four to qualify for the back of the B Final.
Hubbard led the pack away whilst Tuohy did well to hang on round the outside and by the time the front runners exited the second hairpin he was at the front chased by Hubbard and McGeoch-Williams. Cooper fell back to sixth with Daly up to fourth ahead of Toole who had made a great start from eighth. McIntyre got shuffled down the order to ninth whilst Dunston and Welsh spun down the order creating space for Moss to jump up to seventh. Two laps in and impressive Tuohy was beginning to stretch his advantage at the front from Hubbard who was himself pulling clear of McGeoch-Williams, Toole, Cooper and Moss. However McGeoch-Williams settled himself down and picked up the pace, quickly reeling in Hubbard and taking second place. Toole too was intent on moving up the order quickly getting by Hubbard for third chased hard by Moss as Cooper began to fall back. Half distance and Tuohy was almost three seconds clear of what was now a four kart battle for the final three qualifying places. Sixth placed Cooper was by this time some four seconds adrift and coming under pressure from a recovering McIntyre followed by Lawlor, Morris and Daly. For several laps it was as you were as Tuohy continued to pull clear with the next four on the road pulling themselves well clear of the battle for sixth now headed by Lawlor. But he was in trouble having forced Mendes wide earlier in the race. With Tuohy continuing to pull clear McGeoch-Williams was coming under pressure for second from Toole. Given that Toole was third and looking to have enough in hand to keep Moss and Hubbard at bay it did seem a little reckless if McGeoch-Williams decided to defend from any attack. Sure enough Toole decided not to settle for third and it would prove to be his undoing. McGeoch-Williams defended, Toole couldn’t make the move stick and with two to go found himself down to fifth. No way back. Despite closing the gap he was fifth and barring any penalties out of the qualifying spots.
A lesson learnt perhaps? Tuohy took the win over six seconds clear of McGeoch-Williams, Moss and Hubbard. A fine drive from the C3 driver to beat the three C2 drivers behind. Toole took fifth. Despite failing to qualify it was fine drive from the C3 driver. He also set the fastest lap of the race in both classes. One to watch. Morris was next across the line almost ten seconds back and a second up on Mcintye who had an eventful last lap. Cooper made to get by forcing him off the circuit at the bottom of the hill. McIntyre fought back but the incident had been noted and Cooper took a four place penalty dropping him out of the top ten. Lawlor’s earlier penalty dropped him down from eighth promoting Mendes to eighth from Dunston and Daly.
A couple of C2 drivers on the front row for this one with Rob Dowsett on pole from Tom Eastwood. Rob Langthorp and Euan Johnson shared the second row with Daniel Brewer and Connor Brown on row three. Josh Williams sat alongside Eric Mignon on row four with Josh Adams and Tom Fuller on row five. Row six saw Bailey Morgan alongside Callum Brewell with Stephen Westwood and James Barnard behind on seven. Row eight, Claudio La rosa with Ned Douglas and behind these two Ramunas Cerkauskas and Reece Pope followed by Aymen Salih and Keith Segal. Next up Matt Collier and Greg Smith followed by the four qualifiers from the C Final, Tuohy, McGeoch-Williams, Moss and Hubbard. Top two qualify for the A Final.
Dowsett led the field away with third placed Langthorp right on his bumper leaving Eastwood with no choice but to go the long way round the first turn. He did well to remain third. Johnson however was not so lucky and found himself run out wide and down to tenth by the end of the lap. Brewer was up to fourth ahead of Williams whilst Mignon fell back. With two laps run and the race settling down Dowsett was a few lengths clear of Langthorp with Eastwood third but falling back as he defended from the feisty Brewer. Quarter distance and Brewer was up to third with Adams fourth from Eastwood, Fuller, Williams, Brown, Morgan and Mignon. Dowsett and Langthorp continued to pull clear at the front but Langthorp looked to have the edge on the leader for pace and was looking for away by. Half distance and he was at the front. Brewer was coming under pressure from Adams and as they crossed the line at the end of the lap Adams was ahead and then gone from the time sheets as he pulled into the pits to retire.
Langthorp continued to lead but Dowsett clearly wanted the place back and wouldn’t give the leader any respite. Williams was next from Eastwood who had Fuller snapping at his rear bumper. Brown was next up. He and Morgan were having a decent fight. Morgan got ahead only for Brown to hit back. Sadly he clipped Morgan on the way by and would be hit with a four place penalty. With four laps to run the two leaders were comfortably clear at the front and certain to qualify for the A Final but Dowsett wanted first and spun away his chances attempting to pass the leader. A lot of hard work gone in a wisp of tyre smoke. Adams took over in second and immediately started to push reducing the gap to the leader. But not by enough. Langthorp took the win just under a second clear with Adams clear in second from Williams. Eastwood was fourth followed by Fuller with Brown next across the line but penalised to tenth thus promoting Morgan, Brewell, Westwood and Dowsett. Langthorp set the fastest lap of the C1 runners with Fuller the quickest of the C2 runners and beating the time set by Langthorp. Another one to watch.
Ed Barrs on pole from C2 runner Alisdair Irvine. A great performance this from Alisdair. Mike Coppin and Pietro Pagano shared row two with Jay Elliott and Jason Bradbury on row three. Hussain Rashid and Chris Alcock occupied row four with Daz Teal and Dan Truman on five. Martin Theodorou and Christopher Powell sat alongside each other on six with Dan Healey and James Wattis on seven and Oscar Lancaster with Ben Atkinson on eight. Next up Mikey Nichols and Joshua Craft. Row ten, Ashley White and Andrew Ward whilst Fraser Brunton shared row eleven with Rhianna Purcocks. James Martin and Daniel Cohen shared the penultimate row with the two qualifiers from the B Final, Langthorp and Adams on the final row.
Barrs led the pack away with Coppin right on his rear bumper and not allowing Irvine to tuck in behind Barrs. Elliott, from fifth place, was tight behind Coppin but Irvine held his nerve and tucked into fourth as the field streamed out of the second hairpin. Pagano and Bradbury both fell down the order whilst Alcock moved up to fifth ahead of Teal, Theodorou and Rashid. Two laps down and Barrs was beginning to edge clear as Coppin came under threat from Elliott. Irvine remained fourth from Alcock whilst Teal was beginning to look at getting ahead of Alcock. A lap later and Elliott deposed Coppin for second with Teal getting ahead of Alcock and reeling in Irvine. Fourth time around and Barrs was holding the gap back to Elliott whilst Irvine was up to third as Coppin began to fall back. Teal slipped by for fourth with Coppin now coming under pressure from Alcock. Healey was up to seventh but over a second back and not making an impression on the gap to sixth. Half distance and Barrs had increased the gap back to Elliott as Elliott defended from the impressive Irvine. Teal was next with Alcock fifth and beginning to pull clear of Coppin who had Healey closing in. Pagano was next up with Rashid next followed by Christopher Powell. Over the next few laps the order remained static but with three to run Teal found a way by Irvine for the final podium spot. Once by Irvine he immediately began to reel in Elliott in second and on the penultimate lap he was through. But Barrs was out of sight and duly reeled off the remaining laps to take another win. Teal kept Elliott at bay for a welcome second place after a couple of lack lustre rounds following his first round triumph. Elliott was just a Kart length adrift at the flag. A good result for a ‘’rusty’’ driver. Irvine’s fine fourth place saw him take the C2 honours with Alcock fifth from Coppin. Both these drivers are well in the Championship fight.
Coppin has won one already this season and they are always up near the sharp end. Coppin fell away towards the end and was almost caught by Healey but he did just enough to hang on and gain valuable points. Christopher Powell is making good progress this year and was closing down Healey towards the end and keeping Pagano at bay in ninth whilst tenth and second in the C2 class went to Hussain Rashid. Martin Theodorou took third in the C2 Class finishing in thirteenth. Daz Teal set the fastest lap of the race as he tried to chase down Barrs whilst Irvine was the quickest C2 runner. In Class three Greg Smith took the honours after finishing twelfth in the B final with Neil Tuohy second, fifteenth in the B and Ramunas Cerkauskas third and eighteenth in the B.
Ed Barrs second A Final win in a row sees him remain at the top of the standings with Mike Coppin second from Dan Healey, Chris Alcock and Daz Teal. Whilst Barrs has a useful lead over Coppin and the latter nineteen points clear of Healey, Alcock and Teal who are covered by just three points, it is of course early days.
Fraser Brunton leads the C2 class from Ashley White and Hussain Rashid whilst in the C3 class Niall Tuohy leads from Greg Smith and Ramunas Cerkauskas.
In the more than two decades that I have known JV I have never seen him as angry as he was on Sunday evening. All afternoon drivers were complaining about driving standards which culminated in eight karts ending the day badly damaged and one driver hurt although thankfully not too badly and he is well on the way to recovery. I think it inevitable that there will be some changes in the rules which are likely to see more severe penalties applied. Too often on Sunday drivers would not yield when they had lost a corner. There is no place for big egos on the track. Leave it in the paddock and race hard but fairly. Have respect for your fellow drivers and be aware of what is happening around you. Some drivers actually complained that the chicane at Buckmore is dangerous. The chicane is not dangerous. Drivers who fail to drive sensibly are the danger. It is a chicane. It is meant to be taken in single file not three, four and five abreast. Yes, I’ve seen drivers go through two abreast but these have been drivers with bags of experience, bags of talent and the nous to give each other racing room not the stupidity of trying to intimidate another driver or squeeze a fellow driver off the track. CLUB100 Karts are not indoor dodgem karts. These are fast thoroughbred racing machines and they deserve to be treated with respect not used as weapons. I would hope that drivers will see sense and sort things out amongst yourselves for rest assured, if you don’t, JV will. He has never been afraid to make big decisions. And when I read drivers adverse comments about the application of rules and regulations and then see them admit that they have never read the said rules and regulations I seriously wonder about their intelligence.
On a happier note it was great to see former Clerk of the Course and CLUB100 icon Russ Pittingale spectating at Buckmore Park. As many of you know Russ suffered a stroke a few years ago impairing his mobility. But he is not a man to complain. And his sense of humour is still intact. I’m not going to repeat the conversations several of us had with him save to say it was very, very funny. A lovely, lovely man.
Onward to Bayford!
Words: Steve Gray
Photography: John Patterson