The Tide Turns Again & the Heavens Open. Beroual Smith Opens a 6point Lead
From a 1 point deficit leaving Whilton Mill, Anwar Beroual Smith ran out at the end of Round 8 a comfortable winner over SuperHeavyweight Richard Allen, the Race 1 winner, with a win in Race 2, taking the round win ahead of championship rival Phil Ingram, in uncomfortably wet conditions throughout the event. Race 1 levelled up the championship points, then Anwar’s Race 2 win, with the same conditions, just with sunshine, left Phil needing a big win at what will be the last round, with the country in lockdown for the rest of November, at Whilton Mill on December 5, and perhaps needing some help to take points off Beroual-Smith, as Anwar could now just sit on Phil’s bumper for both races, weather permitting… Tarik Almou looks set for a nervous last round to secure 3rd 7 points clear of Wayne Lidgbird, that race might come down to penalties or at least keeping them to the minimum. Stuart Martin and Tim Clark have a winner take all fight over the final championship trophy.
And Super-Heavyweights well… A great day for Dickie Allen, with the Race 1 win, putting him into the championship lead, in the worst of the day’s conditions, and while Alex Pritchard’s 3rd place in Race 2 levelled up the points and up and until seeing the result I would’ve leaned to Pritchard for the championship. But with that win if it’s all square on Saturday evening on December 5, it could be the tie breaker for Allen to retain his crown. Not one to bet on. Richard Newton will be a distant 3rd, while Gillett, Alford, Garside and Elboth are in a run off for the SHW top 5.
Ingram was quickest in practice from early on, and as conditions improved slightly he remained at the top of timing, setting the early provisional pole position with 60.85secs, with James Taylor guesting in the Super Heavy class, Richard Allen then replaced Jeff Chapman on grid 3, before Anwar Beroual-Smith moved Jeff off the 2nd row. Closing out the session Allen showed his first time was no fluke, putting it on pole position with 60.379, half a second ahead of Ingram, Taylor, Beroual-Smith, Chapman, Stuart Martin, Wayne Lidgbird, Gerard Moore, Alex Pritchard and Garret O’Connor making up the top 10, in a field of 35 karts.
Not sure if the extra weight matters, but Allen on a pole was a first of the year, and then Taylor moved by Ingram to go 2nd on the opening lap. Having got to 2nd place, Taylor put his famous ‘Gandalf You Shall Not Pass’ defensive talents, a Hammers fan, he parked the bus in front of his goal. Fairly. But slowly Ingram, Beroual-Smith stacked up on his bumper, while jumped out into 5.5secs lead, in less laps, Beroual-Smith passed Ingram to see if he could break through. He could not, but James picked up his pace and the pair started to drop Ingram. 3secs behind Martin and Almou diced over 5th, another healthy 4secs gap to Stephen Jennings, gaps between Chapman, Carl Bannister, Moore moving forward as Lidgbird and O’Connor slipped out of the top ten.
With the event having already been suspended to pump out the drains, the races had been shortened 20mins to allow the event to be completed, and coming up to the half way mark lap times, already pretty slow, with standing water, rain and heavy spray, were starting to climb again. Almou moved ahead of Ingram and dropped him as the leaders started carving through the back of the field to lap them, Martin closed in to make it a trio and passed Ingram for 5th. Up front Allen was out to nearly 7secs, while Taylor continued to dice with Beroual-Smith presumably driving not to risk going off, or pick up a penalty to get by Taylor, with the championship swinging back his way. Ingram stopped the bleeding repassing Martin.
Into the final quarter Allen must have realised the win was coming his way, Taylor brought his lead back under 5secs, and for his own reasons Anwar appeared to let him go. Ingram passed Almou for 4th place, to keep the damage to a minimum, behind Pritchard moved into the top ten for the first time with Lidgbird fighting to pass Gerard Moore ahead of him, all displacing Chapman. Last lap Moore was dumped out of the top ten, and Wayne Lidgbird finished the race with +6 position penalty advantage by contact, as did Stephen Jennings, not sure if the former is connected with Moore. That left the result Allen, Taylor, Beroual-Smith, Ingram, Almou, Martin, Pritchard promoted helpfully to 7th in the SHW championship circumstances, Bannister and Ian Perkins coming into the top 10.
This time Anwar Beroual-Smith didn’t make the same mistake getting passed Taylor on lap 1, with Ingram on his bumper again. Pritchard appears to have made a blistering start, and it was good, but both poleman Allen and Almou had been dumped to the back of the field, leaving themselves a watery slide to try and climb back up. For Allen, his shiny new SHW championship lead not lasting a lap of the next race. And only 20mins to try and fix the damage. Ditto Almou with his eyes on 3rd in the championship, all with the knowledge that you might find the championship is over with the government press conference on the drive home.
Taylor pushed back into the lead, he’d changed his kart during the pre race, a habit of James’, almost like a nervous tick, and he was acquiring an 8 place penalty as the kart was being tested and was judged race-able. The damned rules & regs. That would lead to a long post conversation with John Vigor. Behind him on the road, Ingram had closed in to join Anwar, just off Pritchard was battling with Jennings moving ahead Chapman, Perkins, Taylor, Lidgbird just passing Martin. Ingram went off, possibly handing the championship to Beroual-Smith, dropped to 12th with everyone moving up one. Beroual-Smith settled into 2nd place, clear of Pritchard, the field spreading out in the spra. Lidgbird moved to the head of the chasing group into 4th, and perhaps the field spread was helping Ingram already back to 7th place, only to fall off again and down to 19th, to meet Richard Allen working his way up to 16th from 30th place. Lidgbird passed to Pritchard to go 3rd.
On halfway, Beroual-Smith moved passed Taylor to the lead, for a lap at least, the pair were 4secs clear of Wayne Lidgbird who had passed Pritchard, and dropped him by 3 secs in as many laps, Alex coming under pressure from Stuart Martin. Another 4.5secs gap to Stephen Jennings, Jeff Chapman, Ian Perkins and Gerard Moore. In 10th place Alex Lammin was another 4secs behind and soon to be passed by, by Phil Ingram on another tear, after briefly replacing Stuart Osborn.
Into the final 5mins Taylor was back in front, and his dicing with Anwar was allowing Lidgbird to close to under 2secs, then it looked like Beroual-Smith settled for 2nd, allowing James to clear into a 2secs lead. With 2 laps to go Lidgbird was on to Anwar’s bumper, but Anwar was alive to the risk. At the flag, Taylor was 3.8secs clear for an on the track win, but it would be handed to Beroual-Smith. 8secs behind Alex Pritchard won Super-Heavy 4th on the road, 3rd in the classificatio, Phil Ingram passed Stephen Jennings on the last lap to become 4th, then Stuart Martin, holding off Richard Allen finishing strongly. Ian Perkins, James Taylor and Gerard Moore rounded out the top ten. All of which gave Anwar Beroual Smith the round win from Ingram and Stuart Martin. In Super-Heavyweight Richard Allen won the round, ahead of Taylor and Pritchard.
On to Whilton Mill on December 5. Hopefully… Probably…
WORDS: Chris Simpson
PHOTOGRAPHY: John Patterson