Tariq Almou Takes Narrow Round 1 Win, Anwar Beroual-Smith Takes Championship Lead, Phil Ingram Stakes Claim.
The Story So Far. Tim Clark won round 1 overall and his Race 1 win at Buckmore Park giving him a narrow lead over Anwar Beroual-Smith and Tarik Almou. In Super Heavyweights (SHW), Richard Allen and Alex Pritchard were present for Shenington but Damien Holmes would miss the restart of 2020 an opportunity for Richard Newton, as 3 of no less than 14 SHWs in a field of 35. SP60 continuing to be the most in demand entry on Club100’s championship calendar outside of Sunday Sprints.
Not surprisingly with his eye in from the morning, with perhaps a point to prove to himself, and eye on the championship, Tarik Almou topped the time sheets in practice early on with Stuart Osborn, 2015 Premier Sprint champion Anwar Beroual-Smith and Jaguar Formula E engineer and another Premier Sprint Champion (2008) Phil Ingram, all sharing time at the top of the practice timing screen. When qualifying went green Alex Pritchard and Richard Allen renewed their rivalry in SHW with Alex nailing one to briefly top the overall times with 52.544 from Beroual-Smith and Almou, then Almou moved it to 52.475, on next lap Osborn moved it on to 52.456, taken on by Carl Bannister with 52.449, then on lap 4 Osborn showing real consistency edged in another at 52.406. On the penultimate lap Stuart could not move his mark, but Bannister could, and put it on with 52.196, which would’ve been good for 6th in LW class, ahead of Osborn, Almou, Phil Hoodless, Alex Pritchard, Anwar. Richard Allen landed his late reply to Pritchard to put himself go on to the 3rd row directly behind fellow SHW Pritchard. Ingram, Stephen Jennings and Tim Clark made up the top ten, as the track or the tyres went off optimum on the 6th and final lap of qualifying, and changed nothing.
Bannister lost out to Stuart Osborn off the start and Almou, Beroual-Smith, before settling into 5th ahead of, Hoodless and Ingram, while a fast starting Richard Allen was 7th after getting by Clark and Pritchard in the inevitable fist lap shuffle/kerfuffle. Almou wasted no time taking Osborn for lead and they were joined by Beroual-Smith as the trio high tailed it clear and into a race long duel of their own, dropping Bannister, who had the field queuing up behind. Anwar Beroual-Smith moved to 2nd place on the next lap, Ingram pushed through Bannister for 4th place but was 2.5s off Osborn in 3rd place, with work to do.
Almou and Beroual-Smith traded fastest laps as the tyres came back up to optimum, and Osborn joined in riding the slipstream from the pair ahead to set his fastest lap and stay in touch. Ingram was struggling for drafting partners, champion leader Tim Clark went by for 4th, the scoreboard states Stuart Martin picked up an ABC bump and pass penalty to add to an early cone penalty somewhere around his move for 6th place on Bannister. Martin then moved to 4th 6secs off the leading trio who by had a whole straight whichever one of the 4 Shenington straights you chose, as they continued to trade fast laps around the 52.5 to 52.7 mark. In the battle for SHW honours, Pritchard and Allen were together but not alone in a pack karts fighting over P8 led by Wayne Lidgbird and including, in a changing order, Tim Hill, Stu Symonds, Phil Hoodless, Matt Horgan and Alex Lammin.
By half distance Osborn had moved into 2nd although Almou ahead and Beroual-Smith behind could still be reached with just an outstretched arm. Stuart Martin held off Tim Clark 7secs behind, while Bannister held Ingram for 6th, Hill held off Pritchard for 8th with a similar margin behind. Into traffic to lap the slower runners, a tow gave Almou a new fastest lap 52.138, but then Osborn set his fastest lap of the race with 52.362, to keep the gap at 1sec, but Almou would eventually get a lapped kart in betwen them for a corner or so and his lead pushed out to 1.2secs and the elastic was broken. It was 1.5secs with 8mins to go.
The battle was really over 2nd place, with Anwar Beroual-Smith now looking to get by Osborn, and prepared to take advantage of traffic if it appeared. Stuart Martin had 0.75secs on Tim Clark in 5th, Phil Ingram 4.5secs behind was joining Bannister on running to the finish, Hill on the other hand was holding off Alex Pritchard as leading SHW, Horgan in a battle over 8th. Into the last 5mins, and as expected Anwar struck for 2nd place, Martin and Clark exchanged 4th place before Martin took it back. Ring rusty Club100 royalty Stu Symonds fell off.
Tarik Almou took his first win of the season by 3secs, ahead of Anwar Beroual-Smith and Stuart Osborn, Martin held off Clark, but was of course Martin was sitting on 2 penalties that would demote him to 9th place, Ingram held off Bannister and a fast finishing Hill. Alex Pritchard took SHW honours promoted to 8th overall, ahead of Stuart Martin, Matt Horgan made up the top 10. Lidgbird, Lammin, Allen 2nd in SHW, Dan Taylor demoted Hoodless who finished 15th. Richard Newton 3rd in SHW finishing 22nd overall. 24 drivers on the lead lap.
This time it was Tarik Almou and Anwar Beroual-Smith on the front row, but again with the charge to the first hairpin, it was Stuart Osborn coming through up front at the end of lap 1, Ingram getting the best of Clark, passing Osborn, as Anwar moved for the lead, and the top 4 had pulled clear of Tim Clark, Tim Hill, Stuart Martin, and Phil Hoodless. Pritchard, Wayne Lidgbird, Stu Symonds, Matt Horgan, Richard Allen, Dan Taylor and Steve Lindley made up the top 15. Phil Ingram warming to the task moved by Almou for 2nd on the 5min mark, it would be Premier Sprint Champion vs Premier Sprint Champion for Race 2 of 2020 SP60 Heavies. By lap 8 Ingram had drafted into Beroual-Smith to be looking for a way by, and getting it done, the pair were 1.5secs clear of Almou, who in turn was then dealing with Osborn’s threat again. The queue and some elbows were out from P5 backwards.
By half distance Ingram and Beroual-Smith had been locked together for about 7mins, no quarter, no pushovers. Martin ahead of Osborn, after Almou succumbed to Osborn, then Hoodless looked to be lining him up for 5th. Symonds in 7th had pushed through to the front of the chasing pack pulling Horgan along, with Clark, Hill and Pritchard engaged over 9th place.
Into the last third of the race it was broadly as you were, a full 12mins together, before Ingram edged out to a 0.5secs as traffic in quantity appeared in the leaders way, which way would it break? Stuart Martin static (relatively) in 3rd 2.6s off, Almou steadied his ship to go back through Osborn for 4th place, 3secs further back, Hoodless 6th was looking comfortable ahead Symonds under pressure from Horgan, Hill 9th still shadowed by Clark. Alex Pritchard was 13th 10secs clear of SHW rival Richard Allen and 15secs clear of Richard Newton in 20th.
Anwar Beroual-Smith wasn’t finished but Ingram’s lead remained around 0.5s, with 6mins to run and a clear track again, it was time to put up or shut up for Anwar. Out to .7s the elastic stretched to max… back to 0.4, to 0.2 game on for the last 5 laps. Horgan passed Osborn for 6th. The leaders were neck and neck over start finish, to start another lap but Ingram came through again and again with the lead. Yikes more traffic. On to the penultimate lap Ingram had seen 0.3s go down to 0.1s, one bad corner and the lead could change, Peter Gillett being lined up for lapping, it could go either way on the last lap. It went to Ingram, by just 0.09 of second getting into Wilkins, the last corner complex first and covering up, and certainly coming out first, it’s a tough pass to make on a short drag race to the line to the line. Anwar tried. So it was, Phil Ingram on our return to action with the win, Anwar Beroual-Smith’s 2nd was enough to score equal round points with Almou, and make him the new championship leader, but Tarik’s win in Race 1 was enough to install him as Round winner, Stuart Martin a quiet 3rd 4.2s behind, Tarik Almou became the round winner on the virtual podium for 4th ahead a strong finishers Matt Horgan, Philip Hoodless, Stu Symonds on his Club100 return, Stuart Osborn, Tim Hill, Daniel Taylor your top ten. Alex Pritchard comfortably saw off Richard Allen and Richard Newton 14th, 18th and 20th on the road.
Anwar Beroual-Smith has 1 point lead over Tarik Almou, and a 7point lead over new 3rd place Phil Ingram, former championship leader Tim Clark is 11points off the lead. But this looks too hard to call. Super Heavyweights is almost as tight, the top 2 swap places with Alex Pritchard taking a 3 point lead over Richard Allen, Richard Newton is a comfortable 3rd but 30points off the lead.
LIBRARY PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson