Simon Lloyd Takes A First Win (In Ages), Joe Holmes Has A Gap in His Trophy Collection

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Strange not see Paul Williams in the Pre B Final he broke with convention of maximising his track time by skipping this for a change and qualified in the top 10, but I won’t break convention by still mentioning him in Pre B report. Bid-dum-tish.

C100R6-0867A lot of penalties here (I’ll do my best). Daren Townsley converted pole position from Thomas Caen on grid 2, who tried a run around the outside of Daren in Top Bend, he’d still be trying to make it work through Billy’s then daring to brake later into the long right. Thomas ran wide, well he had to Daren was determined to have the apex, it opened the door for James Browning off row 2 to get on Daren’s bumper, but most all it set up Peter Harris off the inside of row 3 to time his run cleanly through the chicane to pass James on the exit and sail passed Daren for the lead before they were even half way down the straight for the lead. Browning launched one down the inside of the hairpin that ran Daren and himself wide, Mike Townley fast starting off grid 8, needed little more than  brake and turn at the correct point and run into 2nd place. When the exchange settled down into the infield, Harris, led Townley, Townsley and Browning, James Canham emerging to head the chasing peloton a second behind.

C100R6-1755Of course it’s 4 to qualify and you’d think they’d work together as much of the field were still side by side. Mike and Daren didn’t read the memo. Mike covered into the right hander, Daren pushed him wide off the apex, James slid under the pair, side by side into a yellow zone into the chicane and that bought him a 4place penalty under yellow. Perhaps a little harshly looking at the onboard footage now, but the clerks don’t, and I can see why it was given, James side by side raising his hand into the chicane… Harris looked comfortable pushing out his lead, but that was illusory Browning running him down in 2 laps into the hairpin after dropping Townsley and Townley. Mark Ridout, a surprise to be in the Pre B at all, had passed Canham and Alistair Mason, who now headed the chasing field, but they were all fading from the top 5. Browning had pace to burn, running out on the road 6secs clear but it would useless with the penalty he was carrying. As Browning edged away in front to cruise into the finish, Ridout was the first driver in the 41secs bracket as he accelerated towards the 3 ahead and quickly passed Townley, eventually passed Townsley down at the hairpin. His next target Harris was 1.5secs up the road but with 6 or the 17 laps remaining, it was more a question of how he would pass rather than if he would catch him. After following for 3 laps he pulled by to go 2nd on the penultimate, which became the win after Browning’s penalty was applied. By then Townley had long given up his pursuit of Townsley after a moment on the exit of the chicane. Stephen Townsend brought in the field 12secs off the lead, and 3.5secs off Mike Townley the last of the qualifiers.

C100R6-0280The standout moment from the Pre A Final was the slowest roll up to a start I think I;ve ever seen, remarkable that no one stalled, as it appeared pole man Joe Holmes had either it as a plan or had slipped his programming into a prokart (4 stroke) rolling start mode. If it were the former it worked when he went there was audible delay before anyone approached a power band. It left Jack Bolton fending off Tom Mackenzie into turn 1, then Tom fending off, Paul Williams, off grid 4 (he was just about last on the Pre B grid ay GYG), David Whitehouse, Luke Hornsby. At the end of lap 1, Holmes’ lead was 1.5secs, and it was in the bag, so long as the kart was up to it. And of course it was. Behind Bolton had formed a group with Williams and Mackenzie, and Simon Lloyd come through the chicane clear of Lovell, Hornsby, Whitehouse, Martin Gurnett and Ben Cottle. Lloyd off grid 8 was into his groove, moving straight on to the Mackenzie-Williams dice, Paul the big loser falling out and into through Whitehouse and Lovell. Tom put up a fight, giving the group behind hope to get back into fight themselves but the pair settled down, with simon surfing Tom’s slipstream waiting for a mistake, he’d draft through on the outside for inside of Billys and he was off chasing after Bolton 1.3secs up the road, who could let Holmes edge away 0.1secs.

C100R6-1317It would take until lap 13 for Simon to pick up Jack’s tow but would waste no time in getting the pass done, in the intervening period James Taylor had fought his way up from grid 20 to 9th, but his progress had reached increasingly stubborn, mostly in the shape of Ben Cottle, who’d gone full Gandalf, in letting him pass. Ahead Paul Williams, who had perhaps been a little flattered by grid 4, hadn’t given up on wresting 5th place from David Whitehouse, Luke Hornsby settling in for 7th place behind. Paul would pick up the tow again, force Whitehouse very narrow into the long right hander, before cutting back under Dave into the chicane on lap 10. Paul’s turn to defend. Taylor had cleared Martin Gurnett about the same time, and Williams and Whitehouse wanted to invite in Hornsby, James could get across to them before but he hadn’t accounted Cottle in between.

Holmes cruised into the win, by 3.6secs, Lloyd had started too far back to be able to challenge for the win, and Bolton had to fight his way back passed Tom Mackenzie, as Tom had never quite lost touch with Simon.

C100R6-0462The B Final initially started out looking like a 3 horse race for the 2 remaining qualifying spots, with the front row of poleman James Browning, Thomas Caen and grid 3 man Ben Benneyworth getting out to a sensible start and gap that suggested they could work it out later. Browning looked the quickest of the 3 and Caen was not letting his bumper go, Benneyworth couldn’t hang on to the slipstream, and the pair up front were clear. Only Caen had to pressurise Browning to keep him from galloping off and that kept Ben close enough. Behind Steve Townsend didn’t have the pace to close but he’d broken the tow to Rob Moore and Rob would be soon caught and passed by Kieran Chidgzey on halfway, Kieran coming up from grid 8. By then James had broken clear up front. Probably after a mistake from Caen, but half a second, was enough to break the tow and James was out of reach. Benneyworth had slid back into Townsend, only it was not Townsendm it was Chidgzey and their battle through to lap 12, when Kieran passed eventually into the chicane, gave Thomas a chance to build 0.7secs margin he carried to the end of the race and into qualification with Browning. Benneyworth held off Townsend for 4th to the finish.

C100R6-1426Another painful (slow)run up in the A Final, hell you know the story from the intro, gave Holmes a clear run into turn 1, it wouldn’t last and with Simon Lloyd looking marginally more on it than Jack Bolton, he’d push back passed the grid 3 man and run down Holmes in short order. Behind the trio Paul Williams was proving the Pre A was no fluke, but he could not match the trio ahead for pace, and was immediately pulled back into a fight, and acting as a obstacle to those behind, with David Whitehouse, Ben Cottle, Tom Mackenzie, Martin Gurnett, Luke Hodges, about to pushed out of position by the warring James Taylor and Jim Lovell. Whitehouse returned the favour from the Pre A with the exact same move on Williams as Williams had done to him, only this time it was for David to go 4th into the chicane. Cottle pounced on Paul on the brakes into the hairpin, losing out to Mackenzie who then tried to demote Cottle into the Horseshoe and as Ben ran Tom out wide coming out of the infield, Paul was back in 6th, Tom was shuffled down the line outside of Gurnett, Lovell and Taylor and back to 10th place. Classic Club100 Snakes and Ladders.

C100R6-0453Lloyd made his move for lead on lap 3, Bolton and Holmes tripped each other up behind giving Whitehouse a sniff of the podium, he hitched his trailer to the pair. Williams tried to hold on to 6th from the two headed beast that was the Taylor-Lovell dice pushing into him and through him if he didn’t give as good as he got. Lovell got through, Taylor got run out of the hairpin by Mackenzie, only to be given the spot back by Tom. But that was all Jim Lovell needed to escape James and James would run out just short of Bolton for 3rd place at the finish while Lovell would go on to catch and pass Bolton for 2nd place, after Holmes had been biffed and boshed out of contention for the podium.

C100R6-2172But back at halfway Lloyd had 1.7secs lead over Holmes, Bolton, Whitehouse, Cottle – about to lose out to Lovell, while Williams had lost their tow in 7th place and would fall prey to the recovering Taylor again at the hairpin on lap 9. James would force a pass on Cottle, in the Horseshoe, a lap later to go 6th. Lovell had passed Whitehouse and moved on to the Holmes-Bolton battle, Williams passed Cottle, Taylor pushed Whitehouse into all kind of weird lines and shapes looking for 5th. Down the order passed Mackenzie in 9th, Harrison Darvill had moved into the top 10 at the expense of Hornsby and Gurnett although they’d remain joined in battle through to the finish.

C100R6-2201Lap 15, Bolton tried a move deep into the long right hander on Holmes, it looked like someone, knowing they didn’t quite have the pace, but if he didn’t have a go now, and force it, that he’d probably be following to the finish. So inside and yes, too hot to hold the line he ran wide, the camber falls away on the outside of that corner and Lovell seeing this all happening in front of him maybe took a wide line in to have options to be able to run inside around the end of the corner and through to 2nd place into chicane. Probably Jim’s easiest pass of the day, given the company of James Taylor, he’d been keeping, and before Joe could set about working his way back passed Taylor arrived inside into the Horseshoe, then took another bite out of Joe into Top Bend for a position that even James felt he had to give back. Whitehouse cheekily went through, and between the 3 of them, they released Bolton to the podium, which I don’t think he’d have won on pace alone. But Taylor and Whitehouse were up for “it”, perhaps more than Holmes. Joe didn’t need a 4th place that badly.

Round 7 is at Llandow in South Wales on 28 August.