The Big Mo’ Cometh For James Small. Just Like 2014?

C100Llandow 6980 scaled

James Small won Heat 1 from the front row ahead of Andrew Cowell coming through from grid 6 and pole sitter Russell Endean. On the first start Russell had got the hole shot, if not into turn 1 then James decided he was coming over to take the left through The Hook, but that got waved off and on the 2nd start Small was all the way along side turning in, and claimed the left handed kerb and the lead. James covered up into Surtees but left a kart width turning into McWhirters into which Russell inserted himself but then felt obliged to point James back through. Hindsight? Maybe should’ve argued it later? As James aced The Dell and pulled 3 kart lengths into Raymonds and clear and away. Cowell brought the field through to start lap 2 in 3rd after getting ahead of Mike Bodnar and Myles Sharman, before dropping Bodnar and Co, James Haslehurst fired one down the inside of Raymonds to 5th, and showed Tyler Mays the way to pass Sam Fisher for 7th, David Longman bringing the end of the leading line through in 9th. Mays dispatched Sharman the next lap at the hairpin, Cowell closed on to Endean’s bumper before running down the inside into Raymonds again preventing Russell from turning and demoting him to 3rd. And that was the top 3 set, all Cowell could do was peg James at 1.7secs. Behind Longman put one down the inside of Mays in the Bodnar group and clipped Haslehurst in 5th into a spin that nearly collected Mays. That got Longman excluded it secured Bodnar’s 4th place, ill wind and all that.

C100Llandow-4481Stephen Jennings returned to Club100 action, dropping down from Premier Class, as he described Prems as a bit too full on to be fun anymore, to win Heat 2 from pole by a massive 9.3secs from Danny Hurlock holding off Rhianna Purcocks. He’d been joined on the front row by been away, but needed to scratch it again Paul Crawford. Before the green light Stephen got on it out of the hairpin and was clear into Raymonds, Paul acting as rear gunner holding off Purcocks and Barr off row 2. Rhianna did not force the issue. Jennings had 1.5secs lead and was pulling away. Into McWhirters Purcocks tried to punch through on the exit, and was pushed through inside of Chandlers by Barrs. Keith Mizen took his shot at Ed into Raymonds took 4th but ran wide off McWhirters to give Barrs the spot back and also lost out to Danny Hurlock. Knights drilled Daniel Truman into Raymonds, he might have been helped in from behind, not sure, no names. Endean sneaked up the inside of Mays and Small, pod rubbing through the chicane to go 11th into the hairpin, lent on Tyler into Surtees and squeezed him out on the exit for 10th, Russell had started 19th. Danny Hurlock moved in to pick up places, first from Crawford, then Barrs when Ed went narrow into Raymonds but carried too much speed in, ran wide off an early apex, handing Danny 3rd on the cheap on the exit. Three into McWhirters doesn’t, and Mizen trying to hold on to 7th after just losing 6th to Stuart Osborn kept hugging the inside kerb, Cowell on his outside determined not to lift off, the pair intersecting with Stuart on the Jackie Stewart line (that’s ‘wide in fast out’ for the under 40s), Stuart got biffed and bounced off the tyres behind the sausage. To be fair he kept running but ended the lap 14th. Ouch. Mizen had recovered 6th only to be firmly in the crosshairs of James Small running up from 18th with Endean in tow from 19th. On to the penultimate  lap Jennings was 9secs clear of Purcocks, Endean, Barrs and Crawford. Purcocks went narrow into the last corner, maybe too narrow and Hurlock had room to come in wide, cross behind her after the apex and out drag her to the line. By the time they returned for the finish Barrs had got passed but Rhianna was having none of that and despite coming in narrow himself Ed could not prevent Rhianna shoving it inside at Raymonds to finish 3rd.

C100Llandow-4627After the points were tabulated James Small had pole position for the Pre-Final ahead of Stephen Jennings and with conditions continuing to improve to fully dry, it was Stephen blinking and turning into The Hook to let pole man James lead the run through., Cowell was never going to let Endean move over to Jennings’ bumper, so he ran out 3rd, Endean squeezing Hurlock into a lift or go grass tracking on the exit. Andy immediately tried… something up the inside, that was never even close to happening, into Chandlers but it moved Jennings wide, forced a lift and one of his own and Endean pushed him into 2nd and himself into 3rd into the Dell. It was an ABC but perhaps too difficult to see. Endean ran Andy deep and wide into Raymonds and took over 2nd, it all helped James Small to a 1.6secs lead he was gone. Jennings was ‘coming through’ on Cowell into McWhirters and they were square. Only to continuing arguing. Endean didn’t know but he was clear to the finish in 2nd just 3 laps in as a consequence. Hurlock tried to join in but got sent to the back of the line. Oliver Knights turn to find a way passed Cowell, Barrs and Mizen joining a quintet to take a pop at 3rd if Oli could not get it done, exiting McWhirters. Oli edging clear as Barrs then Mizen fronted up to Andy. Closing stages James Small had comfortably been allowed to drives away to win by 7secs ahead of Russell Endean and Oliver Knights coming through the 19 driver field from grid 14 to finish 3rd. Cowell went narrow into Raymonds as you have to, Barrs was ready, wide in narrow out and beat Andy to the line.

C100Llandow-4865Unfortunately the weather closed in with the Fire Brigade to further dampen down whatever was ablaze and filling the sky over the industrial estate, I’m almost pleased there’s no video from Llandow it was hardly picture postcard for the Final. Stephen Jennings was making JV’s agreement to drop down a class look like a mistake on pole position by dint of fastest lap time but he had to contend with James Small on the front row. Jennings got the hole shot and threaded his way around the Hook ahead Hurlock, Knights and Cowell disputing 4th in front Endean after Russell had lent on Andy into the complex, creating a trio up front, the rest of the field queuing behind the trio behind. Small got better traction out of the Dell and was able to nip inside Jennings for the lead on the entrance to the chicane which would prove to be the winning move. While Hurlock, who’d pushed hard on the opening lap, could not find away around the outside of Raymonds or inside Jennings on the subsequent drag race to the Hook. James was gone again. Danny Hurlock had the look of a frustrated (lightweight) man, he appeared not to have the mass that Jennings could lever around in the kart and consequently he had neither the traction, the cornering grip, or perversely even the stopping power to be able to pass Jennings, even though he looked quicker, he was quicker in all the wrong places. Endean went deep into Raymonds, Danny missing his apex by a kart width, a kart width Russell could occupy 3rd. If that was not galling enough Danny was sat in the backseat as Russell ran up behind Steve off Raymonds, and when Steve took a wide turn in to McWhirters, Russell had the grip to take a tighter line running out of the corner. It looked as easy as Danny had made it hard. Russell forcing Steve to lift into Chandlers or be run out into the grass for 2nd place. It was half distance, James Small led by 3.5secs, Jennings had nothing but hanging on pace for Endean and the determination of Hurlock behind. Cowell was 2.5secs further behind holding off Truman. Lap 7 after Hurlock had made about as much heavy weather of a pass as you could without passing repeated Endean’s McWhirter pass, make Steve lift into Chandlers, by which time Endean was safe and Small was barely in sight through the spray. Small won comfortably by nearly 5secs from Endean, Hurlock, Jennings, Truman and after all the hard work, running deep off the last corner and only to out dragged to the line by Barrs again, Andy Cowell was 7th.

Next stop Club100 returns to one of it’s spiritual home from homes – Lydd, on the Kent coast on 20 September.