Rob Newman Strikes 2nd Win of the Season, Holmes Controls Altima Super-Final Chase
After basking in record temperatures just seventy two hours earlier it was a disappointment to arrive at the twisty Rye venue and find it wet. And it stayed wet right through the morning and into the early afternoon for the third televised event of the year featuring round three of the Super Sprint Championship. A great venue with good facilities. Pity about the infield though. When it’s wet just dropping a wheel off the circuit can hire dire consequences. Particularly on the run to the first hairpin.
The Heats & The Road to the Finals
Rob Newman got his day off to a perfect start in his pursuit of the Lightweight Championship crown. Starting mid grid he took full advantage of the wet conditions to take the first heat win over second placed Ed Barrs who had also started mid grid. Nik Hoyle too came through to third from the back half of the grid.
Steve Hicks took the second heat. Starting from the second row he was into the lead by the end of the first lap although James Barnard kept him honest. A good drive this. After starting on grid seven he was second by the end of the first lap and then back in fourth a lap later. But he fought back again and he and Hicks then pulled well clear of third placed Allan Curtis. Tom Dix and Mike Coppin both gained valuable points coming up from grids eleven and twelve as did Louie Ross, up eight spots.
Heat Three went to the pole sitter Ben Frost. And by some margin too, taking the win by over six seconds. Thanassi Barnicoat came home second, up four, whilst Russell Endean really caught the eye in third place moving up fourteen places. Daz Teal was an early spinner, from mid grid, getting caught up with Peter Hargreaves and Andrew Ward who had started at the sharp end of the grid only to fall back.
Heat four went to Chris Alcock but he had to work hard for it after starting on grid fourteen. James Martin gained six places to finish second with Brazilian Kart Champion and Club 100 returnee Pete Jankowski third. A great effort this as he is well over the weight limit. The wet conditions clearly helped.
Heat five was a walkover for Tom Dix. Starting on the front row he was never headed taking the win from Pietro Pagano by over nine seconds. Pagano though had to battle his way up from grid twelve. Leo Stolyarov put in a solid drive to take third after starting fourth with Rob Langthorp putting in a shift moving up thirteen places to fourth.
Coppin took heat six. Starting on the second row he was quickly into the lead chased hard by Alcock from grid five. Ross was also on the move, up from grid seven, with Dan Brewer fourth from poleman Adam Wheeldon.
Heat seven went to Oliver Flashman on the still damp track. Superb drive from the fourteen year old romping away from some much more experienced competition. Starting from the front row with Jankowski he was down to third by the end of the first lap but soon made his way back to the front chased by David Longman with Dan Truman third. But they never got close and Flashman took the win almost four seconds clear. Longman looked set for second but was pushed into a spin at Stadium by Truman who was lucky to escape sanction. There little moment allowed Endean into second with Truman third from Jankowski. Teal took fifth after a strong drive up from grid eighteen.
Heat eight saw George Redstone on pole from Rob Newman. Newman made a poor start whilst Dixon got a flyer to lead. Newman was back down to fifth as the exited Stadium but came out of the first hairpin in second! Two laps later and he was in the lead. Thereafter he simply drove away to take his second win of the day by over six seconds from Dixon. Barrs took third after a storming drive up from grid seventeen with Harry Neale fourth and Barnicoat fifth.
Heat nine went to Pagano and secured him a place at near the front of the A Final. He started tenth but was into the lead by the end of the second lap chased hard by Curtis who had started from pole. Stephen Docker took third after fighting his way up from grid fourteen with Tom Fuller and Bailiey Morgan fourth and fifth.
Heat ten was probably the quietest race of the season so far with little in the way of overtaking once the first lap had gone by. Barrs won it from pole almost five seconds clear of Ross who had started from the second row. Christopher Powell took third after starting on the front row with Coppin next from Truman. In the eight lap race the top seven produced just two overtaking moves over seven laps!
Newman started the penultimate heat from grid fifteen but within two laps he was in the lead chased by Teal who had started on grid three. He couldn’t get on terms with the leader but second was good enough to get him into the A Final. Newman’s third win of the day secured him pole for the A Final. Hicks and Alcock were next up.
The final Lightweight heat of the day saw a comfortable win for James Martin by over five seconds from Harry Neale. Mays took third with Hussain Rashid fourth from Rob Dowsett.
One more point in the heats would have seen Rob Dowsett qualify on the back row of the B Final but he had to settle for pole alongside Corey Smith with Emily Rogers and Loic Ditchburn on row two. Martin Auger and Peter Hargreaves shared row three with Claudio La Rosa on four and Robert Mailer and James Browning alongside Ben Frost on five. Row six saw Daniel Gamblin and Camillo Anania side by side with James Barnard and Andreas Demetriou on row seven. Maddy Withers shared row eight with the only C1 runner in the race Ben Yarwood who had had a torrid time in the heats which saw him excluded in the final heat. One to watch in the final. Sam Morris and Harry Jones shared row nine with Lee Woods and George Redstone on the penultimate row and Aymen Salih and Barry Williams bringing up the rear.
Thankfully the track had dried up for the Finals but pop a wheel off the circuit particularly on the short straight down to hairpin one and water would inevitably get dragged onto the track with the potential to caused mayhem at the next corner. And all four wheels off would be race ending. It just never seems to dry up. Dowsett led the field away whilst Rogers got off to a good start to move into second chased by Ditchburn and Hargreaves as Smith dropped to fifth ahead of La Rosa. At the front Rogers was right on Dowsett’s bumper and dived to the inside into hairpin two. Inevitably she ran wide but kept momentum as the sped down towards the left hander at Pylon. Dowsett sensibly didn’t dispute the issue and tucked into second with Ditchburn still third from La Rosa. Demetriou and Barnard were also coming into the picture whilst Yarwood was making progress from his lowly grid slot. One third distance and Barnard slipped into fifth but almost three seconds back from the final qualifying spot with Yarwood sixth from Demetriou, Smith and a fading Hargreaves. Rogers steadily eased away at the front with Dowsett looking safe in second and over a second clear of third placed Ditchburn. La Rosa though was being reeled in by Demetriou, Barnard and Yarwood. Half distance and Dowsett had upped his pace in second and cut the gap to Rogers with Ditchburn still third. La Rosa though was losing ground and falling back into the clutches of Barnard, Yarwood and Demetriou. Yarwood made a move on Barnard into hairpin two and they both ran wide allowing Demetriou to briefly nip by. The three of them were now pressing La Rosa hard for fourth. Yarwood was quickly through and Demetriou went with him but Barnard got out of shape in the final turn and spun into the pit lane barrier. An unfortunate end to his day. I thought La Rosa was slightly fortunate as Barnard had got by cleanly enough only for La Rosa to try to snatch the spot back as they turned onto the pit straight. Difficult to see from my vantage point if contact was made but certainly La Rosa was up the kerb on the inside and Barnard was suddenly spinning out. Rogers continued to lead but Dowsett was bit by bit cutting the gap. Ditchburn remained third but was by now some five seconds adrift of the leaders and coming under pressure from Yarwood. And Demetriou was still in the hunt having dropped La Rosa.
With three to go Dowsett had closed the gap to Rogers to just inches whilst Yarwood had slipped by Ditchburn for third. Ditchburn was now under serious pressure from Demitriou for the final qualifying spot. Penultimate lap and the leaders came up to a backmarker who didn’t move aside. Rogers slipped by on the pit straight but Dowsett was held up through stadium bend. Game over. Rogers took the win some three tenths clear of Dowsett. Yarwood took third, well clear of the battle for fourth which raged all round the final lap. Ditchburn held off repeated challenges from Demetriou but had to give best as they went through the final turns. But Demetriou was penalised for gaining a place through contact losing him four places and to add insult to personal injury he suffered a further two place deduction for multiple contacts which would see him classified tenth. He did at least have the satisfaction of setting the fastest lap in the C2 class. Rogers, Dowsett, Yarwood and Ditchburn then the qualifiers for the B final with La Rosa fifth from Frost and Hargreaves. Salih took eighth after a very strong drive from the back of the grid with Smith ninth and then the unfortunate Demetriou.
Four C1 runners in the top six meant it was going to be a tough ask for the leading C2 runners to take the two qualifying spots available. But reputations mean little on track. Stephen Docker on pole from C2 Runner Adrian Martens with Chris Dixon and Dan Truman on row two. David Longman shared row three with the second C2 driver Adam Wheeldon. From the fourth row down it was all C2 runners with Billy Robson alongside Andrew Ward on four and Leo Stolyarov and Bailey Morgan on five. Row six saw Richard Gander alongside Stef Theodorou with Stuart Hubbard alongside the ageless Keith Segal on row seven. Nik Hoyle and Josh Adams shared row eight with Charlie Folland and Stephen Westwood on nine. James Rose and Mathew Collier occupied row ten from Reece Pope and Ryan Owers and then the four qualifiers from the C Final, Rogers, Dowsett, Yarwood and Ditchburn. Top two to qualify for the A Final.
Docker got smartly away to lead with Dixon and Mertens side by side. As they exited Stadium and turned onto the short straight leading to the first hairpin Mertens dropped his nearside front into a puddle. Water flew up, Mertens spun through three hundred and sixty degrees but kept going whilst behind Wheeldon took evasive action and spun through the mud and water on the right hand side of the straight. The wettest and worst place to go off. Game over for him. Into the hairpin there was further drama as Stolyorov and Morgan both spun. By the end of the lap Docker still led with Dixon second from Longman and Truman. Incredibly, Mertens was only down to fifth ahead of Robson, C2 Championship leader Ward and Theodorou. Dixon wasted no time in taking over the front but didn’t get away from the fight for the second qualifying spot headed by Docker from Longman and Truman. Mertens was gradually being dropped and getting caught by Robson and Ward. Dowsett was having a strong run climbing to eighth after starting on grid twenty four.
Two thirds distance and Longman made a move on Docker for second. It was badly judged and the two made contact forcing Docker wide. Longman immediately waved Docker back through thus avoiding a penalty whilst a following Truman almost took advantage to nip into second. But his tighter line compromised his momentum and Docker hung on to second with Longman down to fourth. All of which allowed Dixon to extend his lead. Docker pulled away by a few lengths but Truman and Longman were quickly back up to his rear bumper. And fifth placed Mertens was closing in ready to capitalise on any incident.
Last lap and Dixon was well clear at the front. Round Stadium for the last time and Docker ran slightly wide. Truman immediately dived down the inside. Contact was made but it was side pod to side pod and no more than a racing incident. Both held it together as Longman tried to capitalise. Into hairpin two and Longman tried round the outside. He got better traction out of the corner and was up to third but Truman held his line through the final corners to hold second with Longman next from Docker and Mertens fifth a mere 0.095 adrift of fourth. Robson took sixth with Ward next from the flying Dowsett whilst Hoyle and Gander completed the top ten. Yarwood, fourteenth, set the fastest lap in the C1 class whilst C2 runner Wheeldon set the fastest lap of the race and established a record. Twenty third and a soaking was scant reward for his day’s efforts.
Rob Newman on pole after his three heat wins with Ed Barrs alongside. Chris Alcock and Steve Hicks shared row two with James Martin and Pietro Pagano on three. Mike Coppin and Harry Neale occupied row four with Oliver Flashman and Russell Endean behind on five. Row six, Thanassi Barnicoat and Allan Curtis. Louie Ross and Christopher Powell shared row seven whilst Tyler Mays and Dan Brewer occupied row eight. Row nine featured Tom Dix and Peter Jankowski. Rob Langthorp and Ben Atkinson shared row ten with Daz Teal and Tom Fuller on row eleven and Hussain Rashid and James Wattis on row twelve followed by the two qualifiers from the B Final, Dixon and Truman. Newman was smartly away from pole but Barrs lost out round Stadium as Alcock forced his way through on the inside to move into second. Hicks got a run on Barrs into hairpin one but couldn’t make the move stick. Martin and Pagano ran fifth and sixth but not for long as Pagano moved ahead through Stadium. Newman continued to stretch his advantage at the front with Alcock second and hanging on gamely. Down the order Coppin’s chances of a decent points haul took a dive as he got spun out by Mays. Mays would suffer the inevitable post race exclusion.
Coppin got going again down in nineteenth and fought back to eleventh. But it was not without incident and penalties would push him back down to eighteenth. Whilst Newman and Alcock continued to run clear Hicks got down the inside of Barrs at Stadium to move into third. Pagano also went by Barrs at hairpin one. Once clear both Hicks and Pagano got their heads down and set about closing the gap to the leaders whilst Barrs was now coming under pressure from Barnicoat, Martin, Endean and Ross the latter having a great day to make up for his horrendous day at Buckmore. Further down the order Teal was on the move, desperate to make the top twelve and keep his one hundred per cent record of qualifying for the Super Final. Hicks was gradually reeling in Alcock in second but Pagano was right on his bumper and moved ahead of Hicks into hairpin one. Half distance and Newman had the gap out to over two seconds from Alcock with Pagano third from Hicks and Barnicoat. Barrs was a fading sixth ahead of Martin, Endean, Ross and Curtis. Newman continued to pull away at the front with Alcock second. But he was carrying a penalty for exceeding track limits and now had Pagano closing in whilst Hicks was defending from the flying Barnicoat.
With four to go he was into fourth and rapidly closing in on Alcock and Pagano. Penultimate lap and Pagano was right with Alcock as they swept around Stadium and into hairpin one. Pagano tracked Alcock round the corner and then swooped to the inside as they entered hairpin two. He let the Kart run wide and with greater momentum held the better line for the left hander at Pylon. Job done. Barnicoat was now right on Alcock’s rear bumper. Clearly he wasn’t aware of Alcock’s penalty and on the final lap he rudely forced his way through into third on the road at Pylon. It would cost him a place on the podium. Newman crossed the line almost five seconds clear. An utterly brilliant performance going a long way to make up for his Buckmore debacle where he managed to turn off his engine whilst leading. Three heat wins and the A Final trophy plus pole for the Super Sprint. You can’t get more dominant than that. Pagano took second. A welcome return to form.
Barnicoat crossed the line next only to be docked four places for his move on Alcock on the last lap. If only he’d waited. But he did at least have the satisfaction of setting fastest lap and establishing a class record. Alcock was next across the line but penalised, all of which saw Hicks take the third podium spot with Barrs fourth, Alcock fifth and Martin sixth ahead of Barnicoat. Endean was next and first in the C2 class with Curtis ninth, Ross tenth and runner up in the C2 class. Langthorp and Neale completed the qualifiers for the Super Final with Langthorp taking third in class 2 and setting the fastest lap C2 lap too.
Altima Academy Super Final
An all Yorkshire front row with Rob Newman on pole from Joe Holmes. Pietro Pagano and Bobby Trundley shared row two with Steve Hicks and Steve Holmes on row three. Ed Barrs and Jack Bolton shared row four with Chris Alcock and Matt Hale on five. Row six, James Martin and Peter Harris and Thanassi Barnicoat alongside Steve Bosley on seven. Russell Endean and Lee Witney shared row eight with Alan Curtis and Anwar Beroual-Smith on nine, Louie Ross and Miguel Hall on ten, Rob Langthorp and Adam Wright on eleven and Harry Neale with Mike Bodnar on the back row. Newman was smartly away and yet again those on the pole side got the better start with Pagano getting the better of Holmes to slot into second. Hicks too was quickly away deposing Trundley for fourth.
Into the second lap and Pagano pulled to the inside of Newman as they entered Stadium. Newman gave him room and Holmes nipped by as well! Behind these Trundley got by Hicks as did Brown. Holmes had a couple of looks at the lead but couldn’t quite make a move stick and he had to be careful as Newman was right on his rear bumper. The front three had broken clear of the battle for fourth, headed by Trundley from Brown, Alcock and Barrs. Holmes then tried an ambitious move on Pagano at the last corner but ran out of room. He clattered across the inside kerb and lost valuable momentum allowing Newman to get round the outside and into second.
Emboldened by this Newman then shot up the inside of Pagano at hairpin two. He got the position but both he and Pagano ran wide and Holmes took them both as they exited the corner. All of which allowed Trundley, Brown and Alcock to close up. Pagano then slipped by Newman and back into second. Initially Holmes began to pull clear but those behind were running line astern and by not falling over each other they were keeping in touch with the leader. But Holmes was in control. Newman had a couple of looks at Pagano but couldn’t get by and Holmes ultimately took the win just over a second clear of Pagano with Newman taking the final podium spot. Trundley took fourth with Brown fifth from Alcock and Barrs. The top seven covered by less than two seconds. Barrs dropped to ninth after a penalty promoting Barnicoat to seventh with Hicks eighth and Endean tenth.
Daz Teal remains top of the Lightweights despite a bad day at Rye. Pietro Pagano is second. It was great to see him back on form at Rye whilst Harry Neale is third from Chris Dixon and Stephen Docker. Rob Langthorp heads the C2 class from Andrew Ward. But dropped scores will soon come into play and Rob Newman will surely be a contender.
Altima Academy Super Cup
At the half way stage of the Super Sprints Championship only eight drivers have qualified for all three rounds. Joe Holmes heads the standings from Rob Newman with Steve Brown third from Steve Hicks. Chris Alcock is next from Anwar Beroual-Smith, Thanassi Barnicoat and Ed Barrs. There are no dropped scores in the series so every point matters. With two wins from three Joe Holmes looks to be the favourite but rumour has it he will miss one round due to family commitments.
Words: Steve Gray
Photography: John Patterson