Sam Fisher Lap Record For Pole, Winning For Fun.

Clubman podium Fisher Endean scaled

Heat 1 was won by grid 8 by Miguel Hall coming through the field in fine style, despite a sleepless night in the local Premier Inn due to a noisy boiler (the heating variety) with flashes of the speed he shows from time to time ahead of Ed Barrs and fancied championship contender Russell Endean.

Poleman Andrew Ferguson took a look over his shoulder off turn 1 he might have thought it was his birthday, gifted 8 kart lengths as P2 Harry Landy and the field struggled to make it through cleanly. They sorted themselves out through 2-3-4. Ed Barrs emerging 2nd, Landy slapped all the way back to the low teens before picking it up. James Browning brought the pack through in 3rd ahead of Danny Hurlock, Russell Endean, Miguel Hall, Andy Cowell – showed Tyler Mays to the exit plastic tech barrier, that Andy would spend much of the afternoon programme moving back into position, it stuffed Tyler’s progress and he was soon subsumed by the midfield, Stuart Osborn and Oscar Cooke made it a chasing pack of 8. Ferguson was slow off turn 1 and Barrs needed no further invitation into turn 2. The only thing keeping Browning clear in 3rd, ahead of Endean, Hall, Hurlock, Cowell, was Endean, Hall, etc, etc. James too deep into the turn 7 pit in complex, resulting in a poor exit, and Russell was inside at the paddock hairpin. Hall took him on the exit of turn 1. Sam Browning, Harry Landy, Mike Bodnar, Oliver Knights and Keith Mizen crashed through the pit in plastic barriers like cardboard boxes down a New York alleyway in an episode of Starsky & Hutch. Am I showing my age? Hall got the run on Endean off turn 1, and was stuck in the no mans land on outside of the line between 2 & 3, Miguel was showing his flashes of speed again. He dropped Endean and sliced decisively at the first opportunity on Ferguson into the paddock hairpin. Barrs was a second up the road, it was half distance, he immediately looked vulnerable. Hall repeated the very same move a lap later, Ed to his credit got the lead back into the last corner, but that just gave Miguel momentum to be side by side and inside in a braking contest for turn 1. Ed gamely stuck his nose inside turn 2, but Hall was having none of that and squeezed the door to, to go clear. Taking his pointers from Hall, Endean took advantage of Ferguson sloppily deep into the pit in complex to get a run on inside at the paddock hairpin, it was the last lap. Hall, Barrs, Endean. While quietly off the back of the field Sam Fisher set what was a new Clubman lap record. More of him later.

C100_Ellough-8031Justin Buck ran down poleman Paul Crawford for the Heat 2 win after Paul had got off to a great start, gaining half a dozen kart lengths off turn 1, but Paul would also lose out to Mr Martini, Keith Mizen coming off grid 5, executing a classic combination turn 1 fakey for a better exit and pass inside of turn 2 on the last lap. It left Crawford puzzling “Is it me or is that kart slow?”

Off the start Crawford made the hole shot into turn 1, Sam Browning on his bumper on grid 3 had got the better, as so often happens, of the outside front row starter, Justin Buck who was forced to slot in behind Sam off the corner to hold off Rhianna Purcocks. But it would not be for long. Paul had what looked like a comfortable half a dozen kart lengths ending lap 1, but it was over Justin, who had wasted no time diving down the inside of Sam at the paddock hairpin. Browning would prove the filter through which the front runners would need to pass, sliding back to finish 14th, on the reverse of heat 1’s random grid. Although the field were already strung out in short order, before that began, with 7 karts in the chasing pack, led by Buck, Daniel Truman demoting Keith Mizen to 6th, Oliver Knights and Gerard Moore, Buck was clearly dropping them. Ten kart lengths further back Miguel Hall brought through the rump of the 23 kart field. Lap 2 Moore muscled his way passed Knights at the back of the pack after Purcocks went too deep into the pit entrance complex behind Browning and she stacked up the chasing pack, bringing Hall back into play for a while. Plastic barriers and tyre bundles were rearranged. Again by the midfield. Daniel Truman slid inside between the apexes of turn 2 and 3 forcing Rhianna to take a piece out of the exit kerb tyre bundle, so Daniel and Keith set off after Browning, Buck now closing in on Crawford up front. Moore and Knights messed each other up, Purcocks stayed clear in 6th. Truman ran in behind Sam into turn 1 realising too late that Browning had also run in too deep ahead of him, Mizen cut back and leaving Daniel pinned in behind Browning, as Keith went side by side down to turn 2, he was through and clear. At halfway 2 seconds up the road Buck had closed the last few kart lengths and set about Crawford for lead. Truman got passed Browning at the paddock hairpin, Moore passed but could not dislodge Purcocks from his bumper. After a false start getting all crossed up in the last corner Buck nailed the last tight left to go down the inside on the brakes into turn 1 for lead, there was no counter from Paul into turn 2, and he was down 3 kart lengths back at the line. Mizen smelled blood in the water and was closing in 3rd. Into the closing stages, it was two groups of 3, Buck in control, Crawford holding off Mizen, gap to Truman under pressure from Purcocks, and possibly run out of steam, Gerard Moore. Miguel Hall bringing through the rest of the field which had by now filtered Sam Browning out of the top 10. On to the last lap Mizen looked to the inside of turn 1 for 2nd, maybe it was a fakey, Crawford went narrow and was slow off, Mizen finished off with determination inside of turn 2, a classic Ellough 1-2 combination punch, faint with a left, hit him with the right. Purcocks threw one up the inside of Truman into the last corner, it worked beautifully and the top 6 was set.

Clubman pre-final formation lapPoints from the heats decided the Pre Final grid, Miguel Hall brought the field through at an even clip, Justin Buck would once again be marooned on grid 2, unable to get back in the line going down his inside until turn 3, by then Gerard Moore, Oscar Cooke, Paul Crawford and Andy Cowell had passed him, he got Andy inside of turn 4, was prepared to go hard or go home into turn 5 with Crawford. He was back in 4th however he’d lost touch with the leading trio but was clear of Crawford, Cowell and Endean.Tyler Mays rode up over Stuart Osborn’s rear bumper and he trailered the pair out into pit lane. Moore took a lunge into turn 7 on Hall, in letting Miguel back through, Cooke and Buck were through, Buck got his elbows out in the last corner (possibly for his penalty) which gave Cowell a chance to pass Gerard over start finish. Endean picked off Crawford for 6th. Hall had a growing lead, Justin Buck edged passed Cooke at the end of the lap to go 2nd leading a crocodile of 2nd through to Purcocks in 10th. Russell was on a mission picking off Moore into turn 1 and Cowell into turn 7 for 4th. The race was half over before it had settled and while the pack had been fighting Hall had kept leading, now turn pace was showing. It was clear Moore had none, Harry Landy moved into 7th, going Cowell and Crawford in a detached battle for 5th. It would be only 4 contesting the big points. Four laps to go Buck had reached Hall’s bumper and was looking for a way by, Cooke was hanging on, and Endean wasn’t going to get there. It was Buck’s for the taking, he took a look inside of the paddock hairpin but couldn’t get it done, over start finish Buck slowed for a flashing driver warning signal he cruised out of turn 1, Cooke and Endean powered passed, Justin thought he’d seen a chequered flag. Doh! He woke up in turn 2. Hall was comfortable again and was heading for victory Endean made the most Justin’s gaffe to push passed Oscar between the 2-3 apexes to finish 2nd. Cooke and Buck had picked up penalties which meant, 3 laps later, Landy was promoted to 3rd.

Keith Mizen (Baby Clubman winner)Sam Fisher played his Clubman lap record from Heat 1 to get pole position for the trophy Final, he’s concentrating his efforts on Easykart, so had the luxury of not caring for championship points in the preceding races just going for times. It worked. Justin Buck would try to make P2 work for a 3rd time. Fisher got into turn 1 first, Buck got on his bumper, ahead of Mizen, Landy and Hall. And that’s basically the last that was seen of Sam Fisher. He just drive off. a 1 sec lead ending lap 1 was 6secs by the finish and another Clubman lap record. Mizen opened the door for Landy into turn 4, and he set off after Justin Buck and 2nd place, towing Mizen, Turlock and Endean into five way fight for 2nd place, leaving Oscar Cooke, Andy Cowell, Oliver Knights, Gerard Moore and Ed Barrs to fight over the minor placings. Turlock half spun away his chances in the last corner, Landy ran down Buck, coming out of  turn 7 in 2nd. He couldn’t hold 3rd Russell Endean moved by. And thats the top 6 set even before halfway, it leaves only the bottom of the top 10 to discuss. Once Ed Barrs had cleared Moore and Knights, he clearly was quick, it was just matter of whether he would catch Oscar Cooke soon enough to have a chance to pass and catch Andy Cowell in 7th before the flag. Barrs out turned Cooke off turn 2 to pass through turn 3. Cowell was soon run down and a tough nut to crack. Andy turned in over the top of Ed into turn 1, he was narrow everywhere else you’d want to be, Cooke was coming back to them, Andy showed Ed the outside of turn 2 and 3 he drove the inside white line into 4, Cooke closed with Knights and Moore, then Oscar took a lunge into the last corner, locked up and took a swipe at Barrs, Ed spun to a halt, Cooke carried on to an exclusion. He still sat there as Sam Fisher drove by to the win 2 laps later. Keith Mizen picked up the Baby Prem price with 5th place.

Heading into Red Lodge Russell Endean has moved into a narrow 4 point lead over Oliver Knights.

Pictures: Alex Roache Photography