Owen Jenman could well finish in the SP60 Lightweight top 10 if he manages to repeat anything close to his double win at Lydd when the circus tour comes to a close at Bayford Meadows in a week’s time, despite only competing for half a season. He won Race 1 comfortably by 7.5secs and held off team mate Mike Philippou over the line in race 2, in a triumphant 1-2-3 with champion Jack O’Neill taking 3rd place. That 2nd place for Philippou is enough to clinch 2nd place in the championships as he is now 25points clear of Anthony Amato and there are only 19 left on the table for Bayford Meadows for the young charger. As trailed in the previous report Anthony needed a win and three 2nd places as an absolute minimum to pip Phillippou by a point, and Jenman denied Amato the win in Race 1, so that Anthony’s 4th place in Race 2 was not enough, and Philippou’s 2nd place improved his score to take runner up spot well out of reach.
Anthony Amato must console himself with 3rd in the championship in his first senior campaign to go with his runaway 2021 Young Driver’s title. Fraser Brunton skipped Lydd and he cannot now catch Amato in the championship. On the subject multiple championship success, it’s worth mentioning one last time that Jack O’Neill would quietly go on to secure the Lightweight Sprint Championship on Sunday making his roll of honours Sprint and Sprint 60 champion, and with Mike Philippou runner up in SP60, and with Jenman and Andy O’Neill, Titan Motorsport are Endurance Champions again, with what is reported to be another first of a maximum 800 score. Titan Motorsport have dominated Club100 in 2021.
Jack O’Neill led practice and into qualifying on a green track that was drying out after a monumental amount of rain had fallen in the morning. It would be Josh Adams setting the provisional pole with 48.158, which he’d improve the next lap to 47.992 with Owen Jenman replacing Darren Teal on the front row. Jack O’Neill dropped a statement on the next lap with 47.231, the statement being this track can go faster and would get faster still before the end of the session. Although that was all he had, as Martin O’Neill on the pit wall watching on saw, “he didn’t get another lap that wasn’t hampered by traffic, whereas the opposite for Owen, when his last lap was clear, and he jumped to pole, albeit by fractions.” But before that Stephen Westwood would move on to the front row, to be replaced by Adams, then Jenman got his clear lap in sight of the chequered flag to take pole position for Race 1 with 47.199secs. a shade over 3 hundredths quicker than O’Neill, in a flurry of quicker last laps. Adams would start on row 2 with the impressive again Jasper Chamberlain, Westwood with a 4place grid penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag dropping him to 9th place, so that Amato would be joined by Darren Teal, a winner again on Sunday, on row 3. Hardly a novice anymore Ami Breacher gets quicker and quicker, and was joined by Zac Cuff, Westwood and Graziano Malivindi made up the top 10. Philippou could only manage P11 on a grid of 34.
By the time the SP60 Heavies had completed their Race 1 the track, with the heavies assistance, had had 40mins to dry up. Jenman duly brought them through and O’Neill got in behind, holding off Adams, certain to be an avid reader of these reports Amato got ahead of Chamberlain on lap 1 to be on Adam’s bumper, knowing he needed at least 2nd place to keep his tilt at runner up going, better yet a win. Of course that would include finding a way passed not one but two Titan drivers. Perhaps sensing a little pressure Philippou made rapid opening lap progress to be running 7th behind Westwood in a hurry of his own to get back to where he qualified, this dropped Breacher to 8th, Cuff and Mac White made up the top 10 replacing Malivindi. Strong opening laps would see Josh Wood move up to 12th, David Joseph up to 17th and Udi Menon move up from 25th on the grid to 18th. Missing was Darren Teal off on lap 1 coming through in 28th place.
It was soon apparent that O’Neill was not waiting for his moment and was rather hanging on, Jenman edged clear, Adams was looking for a way by O’Neill for 2nd place, but Josh and Amato behind could not find a way by and in his way the longer O’Neill held up Adams and Amato the further Jenman could edge clear. It would take more than 10 laps for Josh to make a move stick and when he did Jenman had a 2secs lead and O’Neil was not done getting back passed around half distance. Behind Westwood was 8secs behind in 5th a couple of seconds ahead of Philippou and Chamberlain who’d exchanged 6th and 7th places. A returning Christopher Powell was up to 8th place well clear of Pietro Pagano and Jason Kirk making up the top 10.
When O’Neill repassed Adams it put Jenman beyond reach 3secs, he also set up Amato to move passed Adams a couple of laps later. Anthony set a new fastest lap at 44.385 before pushing too hard the next lap in trying to find a way by O’Neill. Into the final 10mins Amato would get 2nd place done, by then he was 4.155secs and Jenman would deny Amato a win he desperately needed. Owen stretched his lead to 7secs, O’Neill relaxed into 3rd place, as Adams faded.
With 5mins to go Stephen Westwood was closing in on Adams just 2secs ahead, while Chamberlain was pushing Westwood on just a second behind with Powell and Philippou in 8th. Eight seconds behind Jason Kirk was holding off Pietro Pagano in 10th. Josh Adams picked up his pace to finish safely in 4th place, but Chamberlain would catch and pass Westwood for 5th place on the last lap, another late pass by Pagano on Kirk was reversed post race by a +1 Position, rule 15e – Knocking over a cone penalty on Pietro. As it stood Amato had done just enough to keep his run at runner up at the championship alive.
Once again Jenman converted pole position to the lead but this time Anthony Amato was on his bumper from grid 2, Adams passed O’Neill for 3rd, and perhaps again conscious of not letting the runner up battle run on to Bayford Meadows, Philippou went straight on the attack coming through 5th from 8th on the grid at the end of lap 1. This was crucial to allow Mike to be on the bus as the top 5 broke clear of Stephen Westwood bringing through the main field with Teal, Chamberlain, Pagano, Ami Breacher, Christopher Powell, Kirk, Josh Sangster and Zac Cuff in 14th.
Jenman was able to stretch Amato and it was Anthony’s turn to struggle to stay in touch with the leader while having a trio on his bumper, and when Adams jumped by, and Anthony got shuffled behind O’Neill and Philippou, the runner up spot in the championship moved towards Mike. And then it kept going Philippou’s way as the race became a Titan 1-2-3 when Mike towed O’Neill by Adams and extended Jenman’s lead to nearly 2secs at the same time as the battle between the 4 raged on.
By halfway it was Jack O’Neill taking up the chase of Jenman, Amato dropping off the back of the trio still dicing over 2nd place. Philippou would move by again before the 10min mark. But at this point Darren Teal had moved by Stephen Westwood and moving clear to be 3secs off Amato in 5th. A little further back Pagano held off Powell while Chamberlain had faded 5.5secs off the pair in 10th place.
Coming down the finishing stretch Philippou closed on Jenman, while towing O’Neill and the pressure was off as Adams had fallen off the back of the duo. Watching Martin O’Neill again, “I honestly thought Mike would do spoil the Jenman double, or that some incident would see Jack reverse into a win, but Owen has much experience to draw upon. Mike’s parents were also on hand to witness the action, with this (incredibly) being the very first time his mum had ever watched him race! And Mike ended up the day happy with the race, and 2nd place in the championship secured. So I’m looking forward to the showdown to have both O’Neill brothers on a track they know well, and for Mike to be determined to be in on action.”
Jenman won the race by a few tenths and the round comfortably, Philippou held off O’Neill coasting into the finish, Josh Adams was nearly 4secs behind in 4th place, 2.5secs ahead of Amato. Teal clear of Westwood, Pagano and Powell, with Chris Powell taking 8th place on the last lap with Chamberlain rounding out the top 10. Amato took 2nd on the event on a tie breaker from O’Neill.
Words: Chris Simpson
Photography: John Patterson