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Richard Allen Takes Superb Win, Eventually.

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A lovely bright sunny morning for a second visit of the year to the principality of Wales. Shame more drivers didn’t make the journey to what is for many their favourite track. Away from the start line the track heads right left right through the infamous Hook, the scene of many an overtaking move and incident. From there it is a short straight up to the left handed Surtees followed by the right handed Mac Whirters with its big sausage kerb on the exit. Then it’s on through the Lancaster curve and into the sharp right at Chandlers followed by the Spitfire straight and then the right left right chicane at the Dell. Then it’s almost immediately into Diggers which leads onto the Hanger straight, broken by the flat out NGK chicane, and then on into the one eighty degree right handed Raymonds before crossing the line at the end of the lap.

Fifty three or fifty four seconds of driving joy. Here’s how the day unfolded.

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The Road to the Finals

CLUB100 returnee Phil Ingram got his day off to the perfect start with a comfortable win from pole in the first heat. Curt Holmes chased him home but could not get on terms with the flying Ingram. Chris Alcock started from grid eleven and put a in a strong drive to haul himself up to third and only missing out on second by 0.037. Darrell Lowe claimed fourth after working his way up from grid thirteen and pipping Samuel Bensley on the line by just 0.039. A great heat to start the day.

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Richard Allen started the second heat from pole and led almost all the way pursued by Anwar Beroual-Smith who started from row two. But the win went to the latter courtesy of a penultimate lap overtake. These two were well clear of third placed Steve Lindley who nevertheless claimed valuable points for third after starting from the front row. Steve Bosley and Andrew Cherry completed the top five.

Joe Holmes took a comfortable win in the third heat by over four seconds from Mikey Nichols. Holmes started one place ahead of Nichols but made short work of getting to the front whilst Nichols had to work really hard only climbing to second on the penultimate lap. Stephen Netting, Dan Hollinshead and Adrian Wray completed the top five.

With the first round of heats done Beroual-Smith held the advantage over his Championship rival Joe Holmes in the fight for pole by just 0.032.

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The fourth heat saw Richard Allen take full advantage of a chaotic first lap to move up from grid seven and into the lead. Thereafter he drove away from the pack to win by almost four seconds from Darrell Lowe who held off a late challenge from Ben Street. Alex Pritchard was fourth from Andrew Cherry.

Chris Alcock started the fifth heat from the second row and moved to the front with two laps run. Steve Bosley chased him hard over the first few laps but had to give best to Curt Holmes at half distance. Alcock though was too far up the road for Holmes to challenge for the lead. Further back Joe Holmes was struggling to make headway. Seventh after the first tour after starting from eleventh he got stuck behind Steve Lindley. By the time he got by the frontrunners were too far gone for him make an impression and he had to settle for fifth behind Matt Horgan and Bosley.

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Anwar Beroual-Smith took his second win of the day in the sixth heat setting him on course for the A Final pole. But it took a last lap pass on long time leader Miguel Hall to achieve the win. These two were some seven seconds clear of the pack headed by Mikey Nichols who then lost third after a cone penalty dropping him behind Mike Bodnar. Lee Henderson was fifth.

Joe Holmes took his second win of the day in the seventh heat but it was far from easy as pole sitter Tim Penny kept him honest all the way to the flag. Darrell Lowe claimed another good points haul with third from Andrew Cherry and Steve Bosley.

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The penultimate heat fell to the pole sitter Mikey Nichols who led all the way chased in the latter stages by Matt Horgan and Anwar Beroual-Smith. But Beroual-Smith was hit by a two place penalty for gaining an advantage after going off track. He now had the same number of points as Joe Holmes but was just on provisional pole by virtue of a better lap time. Joe Bailey and Phil Ingram completed the top five.

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Chris Alcock needed to win the final heat to take pole for the A final. And he delivered. Starting from grid seven he took over at the front from pole sitter Paul Williams three laps in and thereafter pulled away for his second win of the day and secure his first ever HW pole. Dan Hollinshead was a distant third from Miguel Hall, Alex Pritchard and Paul Williams.

The Finals

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B Final

(All drivers in C3 unless otherwise noted)

SHW Lee Henderson lined up on pole having missed out on the final spot on the A Final grid by just less than half a second. C2 Simon Kavanagh lined up alongside. C2 Paul Williams was on the second row alongside SHW Stuart Kirk. Row three saw C2 Tim Hill alongside SHW Jacques Bridges followed by SHW Nikolas Walker from Tom Angier. Patrick Sekinger shared row five with SHW Adrian Wray. Toby Sutton and Andrew Hicks were on row six followed by Richard Neale and Tom Stalker on row seven. Cody Richards and Scott Parker shared row eight with SHW Damian Smith and Mo Hassan on row nine. Row ten had Riccardo Vitale alongside SHW James Fremont with C2 Josh Pettit on row eleven alongside James Radovic. The penultimate row had Philip Anders alongside SHW Lee Barrow with Richard Melton and C2 Jason Mummery on the final row. Top two to qualify for the A Final and a trophy for the winner.

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Henderson led the field away but Kavanagh was a touch slow getting off the line and Williams moved inside into the Hook to claim second. Hill lost out as he got tapped into a spin and fell to the back of the field. His day would get worse as he climbed back up the field only to be the innocent victim of a lunge from Radovic which also saw Richards coming to a halt. Hills race ended there and then. His third incident of the day and in all of them he was the innocent victim. He’s not having much luck at the moment. If he were a butcher everyone would be turning vegan. He did however set the fastest lap of the race. Scant reward. Over the line at the end of the lap and Henderson was a few lengths clear of Williams. Kavanagh was already a second back and coming under pressure from Bridges who duly slipped by into the Hook second time around. Kirk was next but well adrift and coming under pressure from Angier, Walker and Wray.

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Three laps run and Henderson still led but Williams cut the gap by a tenth after becoming the first driver in the field to break the fifty four second barrier. Kavanagh nipped by Bridges for third but this fight was slowing them both and allowing the front pair to get clear. Fourth time around and Henderson responded to Williams by setting his fastest lap thus far. But Williams went quicker still to edge slightly closer. Behind the two leaders Bridges slipped by Kavanagh again but the fight continued to slow them both. Walker was lurking just a second back and holding off Angier who had two SHW’s in his wake, Kirk and Wray. Half distance and Henderson had managed to stabilise the gap back to Williams at around seventh tenths. Bridges remained third but was over four seconds back and surely out of the hunt for a qualifying berth. Walker was fifth whilst Angier was up to sixth and putting daylight between himself and eighth placed Hassan in the battle for C3 honours. Kirk separated them in seventh. With ten laps run Henderson was beginning to extend the lead at the front as Williams realised he was not going to get on terms. He was safe in second as third placed Bridges was over four seconds back. He was running well clear of the pack now headed by Kavanagh from Walker. Angier was sixth, and leading C3 from Hassan in seventh. Two to go and Henderson was well clear of Williams at the front with Bridges a lonely third. Walker was back up to fourth from Kavanagh and the two scrapping C3’s, Angier and Hassan.

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B Final Winner – Lee Henderson

Over the final couple of laps Henderson pulled over three seconds clear of Williams. He had the trophy but both were through to the A Final. Bridges comfortable third place would also see him third overall in the SHW’s. Walker was fourth. Hassan claimed the C3 honours. He nipped by long time class leader Angier on the penultimate lap and then they both displaced the more experienced Kavanagh final time around. Sutton was eighth and third in C3 with Kirk and Pettit rounding out the top ten. Henderson set the fastest lap in the SHW’s with Hill fastest in C2 and quickest overall whilst Richards set the fastest lap in C3 and establishing a class record despite finishing down in twenty third spot.

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Class 3 Podium – Winner Mo Hassan, flanked by Tom Angier and Toby Sutton

A Final

(All drivers in C1 unless otherwise noted)

Chris Alcock on pole from Anwar Beroual-Smith with Joe Holmes on row two alongside C2 Mikey Nichols. Row three had Richard Allen alongside C2 Darrell Lowe, the latter having one of his best days in sometime. C2’s Curt Holmes and Matt Horgan were on row four followed by C2’s Steve Bosley and Tim Perry. Four more C2’s were on rows six and seven, Andrew Cherry, Dan Hollinshead, the super impressive Phil Ingram and Steve Lindley. Rye winner Alex Pritchard was next alongside Miguel Hall on row eight followed by C2’s Ben Street and Jacob Harris. SHW Lennie Wood shared row ten with C2 Samuel Bensley with C2’s Stephen Netting and Vijay Patel on row eleven. C2’s Mike Bodnar and Joe Bailey occupied the penultimate row followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Lee Henderson and Paul Williams.

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Alcock brought the field steadily round to the start line and then made a sharp getaway. But Beroual-Smith wasn’t caught out and the two of them headed down to the first turn side by side. But then both were on the grass. From my position at the top of the control tower and looking from behind it was unclear what had occurred. Both were back on the track having missed the apex of the Hook but their momentum was badly compromised and by the end of the lap Beroual-Smith was down to fourth with Alcock sixth. Allen led from Nichols and Joe Holmes with Curt Holmes fifth. But the dig-board flashed up a penalty for Allen for loading into the first turn. Controversy was brewing. Two laps in and Allen still led by exactly a second from Nichols and Joe Holmes. Curt Holmes did his brother a favour and nipped by Beroual-Smith for fourth with Alcock a disgruntled sixth. Over the next few laps Allen kept his head together and edged away from Nichols who now had Joe Holmes in his wheeltracks. Curt Holmes was half a second back and holding Beroual-Smith and Alcock at bay. Bosley was seventh but over a second back and holding off Penny with Lowe next from Ingram.

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Five laps in and Alcock slipped by Beroual-Smith for fifth whilst a lap later Joe Holmes went by Nichols for second. Allen was a second and a half up the road setting the fastest lap fifth time around. Half distance and Allen had pulled away at the front from Joe Holmes with Curt Holmes now third from Nichols who was under serious pressure from Alcock. Into the Hook for the eighth time and Alcock slipped by taking Beroual-Smith with him. Bosley remained seventh just over a second back with Penny next from Ingram whilst Pritchard had climbed to tenth. Allen continued to lead from Joe Holmes, keeping the gap at just over two seconds whilst Alcock set about removing Curt Holmes from third which he achieved ninth time around. Two laps to run and Allen remained two seconds clear of Joe Holmes with Alcock now on his own in third. Curt Holmes was coming under pressure from Beroual-Smith who nipped by into the Hook on the penultimate lap. Allen crossed the line a little under two seconds clear of Joe Holmes but there was no celebration as he crossed the line as he would be penalised down to fifth handing a vital win to Joe Holmes. But an appeal was in the offing.

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Class 1 Podium – Winner Richard Allen, flanked bby Joe Holmes and Chris Alcock

After much deliberation and views of onboard footage it became clear that Allen was innocent. He’d been hit from behind as had Joe Holmes whose machine actually leapt into the air as he was collected from behind and pushed into Allen who then hit Beroual-Smith and Alcock. Allen was re-instated as the winner. It was a glorious drive too. Joe Holmes was second with Alcock third for his second podium in a row. He also set the fastest lap of the race. Whilst not disappointed with third he felt a win had been taken from him with the first lap incident. He was probably right but let’s not take anything away from Allen’s superb drive. Beroual-Smith was next over the line but a cone penalty dropped him to fifth behind Curt Holmes who took the C2 honours. Nichols was sixth and second in C2 with Penny seventh and third in C2. He also set the fastest lap in the class. Bosley, Ingram and Pritchard completed the top ten.

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SuperHeavyweight Podium – Winner Lennie Wood, flanked by Lee Henderson and Jacques Bridges

SHW honours went to Lennie Wood. The first time in sometime that he’s stood on the top step. Even he couldn’t remember how long! Henderson was second in the class. He’d felt a win was on at Llandow in the absence of championship leader Bill Taylor but it was not to be.

Championship Round Up

Despite not having the greatest of days at Llandow the results did little to dent Anwar Beroual-Smiths title aspirations. One thing that is clear is that second placed Joe Holmes can’t win as many A Finals this year as Anwar. But the gap is just eight points with three rounds left and I’m sure Joe will be fighting right to the end. Richard Allen’s superb win at Llandow was his first in the HW class. Richly deserved. He lies third in the standings from Chris Alcock who was desperately unlucky at Llandow. But it was his second podium in a row and a win surely can’t be far off.

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Class 2 Podium – Winner Curt Holmes, flanked by Mikey Nichols and Tim Penny

Curt Holmes is fifth overall and leading C2 from Mikey Nichols who lies seventh overall. Steve Bosley is third from Steve Lindley, ninth and tenth respectively.

Bill Taylor missed Llandow but is comfortably ahead of Lee Henderson in the SHW’s with Nickolas Walker third.

Richard Neale Heads C3 from Andrew Hicks and Tom Stalker.

Reflections

A great days racing at Llandow in both the heavies and the Lights with the lightweight A Final a proper thriller.
The two minute silence for our late Queen Elizabeth was impeccably observed. Made me proud to be associated with such a great group of people.

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See you all at Whilton!

Words: Steve Gray

Photography: John Patterson