All those 2nd places that had previously been seen as an advantage coming down the finishing stretch of the SP60 Heavyweight Championship ended up becoming Anwar Beroual-Smith’s undoing at the final round of the season at Bayford Meadows. Only 2 wins could keep Dan Brewer’s title hopes alive and as the SP60 front runners had been whittled down to the pair, by the pair, and particularly after Beroual-Smith’s relentless consistency, maximising whatever was on the table, and whatever kart was under him, had left Anwar with 7 wins and 11 second places meant he could only improve his score with a win, and he was just 1 point from retaining his title.
Coming into the final event, Dan Brewer also had 7 wins, trying to keep with Beroual-Smith but was 11 points down and only maximum scores in both races would do and doing so he could go level on points, and break the tie break his way by way of those newly acquired wins, 9 wins to 7. One race report writer headlined his Round 10 report, ‘its almost all over’, paraphrasing the famous Wolstenholme quote, ‘There’s some people on the pitch…” How wrong he was. The unlikeliest results, sometimes, very rarely happens, Hamilton-Massa Brazil 2008, Hunt-Lauda ’76… That sort of thing being the thing. He got the wins. Beroual-Smith managed a pair of 3rd places behind Taylor and Allen finishing the races in 2nd place, but it had been 1 win or nothing, and that only mattered if it was Brewer ahead and in those first places. Unfortunately for Beroual-Smith thats precisely what it was.
If you’re wondering if the question in the title was to Brewer, it was actually a message to Beroual-Smith, the reply, mature, and sanguine, and in retrospect I think perhaps born of 30mins of being unable to do anything but watch Brewer’s pace draw him away, and in truth that was the scenario in both races, afforded him the time to get used to the idea and accept it. He was the champion, didn’t deserve to be unable to compete but he also didn’t need to prove anything to anyone, it was just Dan Brewer’s day, and championship. And Anwar’s response to my question? “Exactly what I said could [happen] – Dan won both races. Well deserved. I was unlucky to get my 2 worst karts of the season but that’s our kind of karting – I can’t grumble really [after the run he has had and] I had two 2nd places I was dropping remember – so only wins would have got me more points today. Gutting, but Dan deserved it, he had a great season, but I’m proud I did another season 6kg over and was still at the front. That’s a good effort I feel.” If it had involved some controversial Senna-Prost Suzuka style incident, I might have been taking my FB messenger’s life in my hands, door stepping the vanquished, fresh from the fight and defeat with a question like that but we’re all getting older, and that is sometimes what racing does, you can only do what you can do. And sometimes thats not enough.
If you’re wondering if I sent a message to Dan Brewer as well, well of course I did, “I don’t mean to be a bit funny, but the final table in SP60 is showing you champion on the tie break 9 wins to 7?” Dan replying, “Haha yes! If I won both races today I took it on tie break. And thats what happened! The points did get bloody confusing, and I thought it wasn’t possible at one point at Lydd.”
A star is born. My guess, if you are the last driver standing after a season long duel and beat Anwar Beroual-Smith after needing 2 wins at the final round and manage that on the tie break, beating one of Club100’s best, in what looks like his preferred discipline, then you’re probably going to be running up the front and winning races for many seasons. Endurance teams beat a path to his door… A future Sprint champion? Is Dan The Man, the man to take on the big HW beast, Yorkshire’s finest?
Tim Clark confirmed his 3rd place in the championship that he had led early on in the season, his season more than most appeared to be effected by the loss of momentum with the calendar disruption. He would finish the event 5th behind Beroual-Smith, “I’m disappointed that I couldn’t keep the three-way title battle going for a bit longer; a couple of mistakes and having to miss the rescheduled round at Buckmore didn’t help, but overall it was a great season fighting with Dan and Anwar. Either of them would have been worthy champions this year, but big congratulations to Dan who just seemed to get stronger as the season went on!” There were no other surprises in the minor places Alex Pritchard ran out 11 points clear of Ryan Sandall for 4th and 5th in the table, Pritchard commenting on his season, “After being 7th last year 4th is a definite improvement, I think if both Anwar and myself had been at 86kg we would have (at least I would have) easily made the top 3 with Dan. I’ve now got the other half of my [extra] weight to lose to come back next year at 86kg. A good year, next year I’m coming for the top 3 and won’t be satisfied off the podium at any round.” And for Ryan? “I started really well first few rounds had podiums, pole position, but after a strong result at Ellough and a solid race at [the first] Bayford, I struggled to break the top 5 each time. Hoping to have the form to carry it throughout the season next year.”
In the Super Heavyweight category, well once again Richard Allen took the honours in the event, in a different class in every sense given the pace to weight equation he is subject to and as predicted it was enough to overhaul Richard Newton to 2nd in the class, after a 2nd place in Race 2. Allen with only 12 of the 18 scores he could have posted if had competed in 9 rounds instead 6, the title mathematics were already beyond him after Lydd. So to our champion, his 2nd title of the season, indeed of the day, after morning Intermediate Championship win, James Johnstone, “I knew it would be virtually impossible for me to be overhauled so I just wanted to make sure I went out with a bang and finished both races well! My girlfriend and her family had all come to watch which was nice as they’d never been before so I wanted to make sure I put a show on. [In Race 2] I crossed the line pumping my fist in the air, so much I nearly got overtaken by Ryan Sandall, the gap was 6 thousandths, but who cares, I’m champion baby! I achieved everything I set out to do this year, one of the big winners trophies would have been nice, but I get the biggest one of them all on the 22nd January.” And then he filled his sweaty race boot with champagne. Disgusting.
Beroual-Smith had finished practice fastest 0.222secs ahead of Brewer, Allen, Stuart Osborn and Matt Horgan, but it would be Brewer setting the mark for pole position with 54.634. Daniel Taylor, Allen, Clark, Garrett O’Connor and Ian Perkins making up the provisional top 6 half a second behind Brewer. Beroual-Smith moved on the front, but Dan moved the bar to 54.594 then 54.208 where no one else could reach it. Anwar returned with his best 54.566 but that was all.
The first stage of a monumental peak to scale was achieved Dan Brewer would start Race 1 on pole position 3/10ths clear on the stopwatch but with his title rival beside him in a straight up head to head, another 0.3sec ahead of Daniel Taylor and Matt Horgan making up row 2, Richard Allen, of course as leading Super Heavy (SHW) and Claudio La Rosa on the 3rd row. O’Connor and Clark on row 4, and Tim Williams and Perkins making up the top 10 on 35 kart grid, P3 to P16 Ryan Sandall covered by 0.5secs, “Qually was fine I was 0.3 off being 3rd I think which turns out to be 16th!” P13 to P26 Chris Heath covered by 1 second.
Oh the awkward grid 2 spot at Bayford! It did it’s thing for Anwar, not helped by Allen coming hard off row 2 to be 2nd at the end of lap 1, Brewer commenting, “Dickie got up the inside of me at turn 2/3, but I hung it round the outside and held the position down to the hairpin.” Anwar would be back through on Allen on lap 2, ideally anyone would want a win in race 1 to put the championship beyond Brewer and the duo, looking like the class of the ’21 field, duly broke clear as they’d done in qualifying, as Allen was caught and passed by Taylor. O’Connor ran clear in 5th place, as did George Watson behind, and then the pack began with Philip Hoodless, Clark, Pritchard and Horgan in 10th. Beyond Horgan’s endurance team mate Steve Lindley brought through the next pack with SHW elect Johnstone, Jason Bear, and Stuart Osborn 14th.
Five minutes in and Brewer had driven off Beroual-Smith’s nose, but maybe Anwar thought the inevitable traffic might offer opportunities later, although Taylor was to picking up his tow behind. As Allen faded to 3secs off in 4th place. Anwar couldn’t stay clear of Taylor and he drafted in to become a complication around the 12min mark.
By the halfway mark Dan Brewer’s lead was up to 5secs. Taylor was making Beroual-Smith work for 2nd place. Allen had fallen to 12secs off the lead and into Clark, O’Connor, Pritchard and Horgan, Matt commenting, “I was on the dreaded outside for the start and went from 4th to 8th on lap 1, and shuffled down to 10th then slowly back to 8th where I worked with Alex to catch Garrett.” Pritchard goes on, “Matt helped me hunt down Garrett, which really shows his racing maturity coming in. He’s grown a lot this year.“ Matt again, “Alex and Garrett were dicing before Garrett tried to re-overtake Alex but made a bit of contact. He let Alex go passed and I snuck through the gap he left. Garrett dropped back leaving Alex and I in a good scrap to the line.” Pritchard took 5th place.
Further forward Clark had schemed a way passed Allen for 4th place, Tim reporting, “I’d started on the outside row and got pretty stuffed through turn 1 and 2, and by the time it settled down I was pretty far behind so it turned into a bit of a recovery drive. I got passed Richard for 4th with about 10 minutes to go but the top 3 had a pretty big gap. Brewer had cut through the back markers holding a 6.5secs lead on 24mins, and it would only extend as he was untouchable, 7.5, 9, 10secs ahead coming on to the final lap.
Beroual-Smith was doing what he does when 2nd was all he could secure, holding off Daniel Taylor with all his skill and experience, and Bayford Meadows lends itself to expert defence. Daniel could not get by on the track but he would inherit 2nd place after Anwar had picked up a +1 Position penalty [Rule 15 e – Knocking over a cone] in holding him off for the majority of the race. Allen was leading SHW, Pritchard, Horgan, Ryan Sandall turned 9th to 8th as O’Connor suffered a similar cone penalty, Steve Lindley made up the top 10.
Brewer halfway there, but still Beroual-Smith just had to finish ahead of him in Race 2. More or less winner take all, and perhaps starting inside of row 2 was not a bad place to start from for Beroual-Smith, at least if you can’t be on pole like Brewer was.
If Race 1 had been a disappointment, the immediate deja vu of the 2nd race for Beroual-Smith must have come early and quite the body blow, as half a second became 0.7secs ending lap 2, Anwar giving it all to hang on to the edge of the slipstream while pulling clear of Taylor. But the elastic snapped approaching the 5min mark and so, in its way, barring a clash with a back marker, and unlikely mechanical, Dan Brewer had a firm grip on the championship. While the field spread and would bring lappery into the equation from around 10mins, until then though Brewer pulled 0.3-0.5secs clear per lap. Perhaps at this point ‘it’s probably not going to be my day’ became a reality for Beroual-Smith.
Behind Taylor had slipped back a second or so, Clark was recovering from another bad start, “Starting on the outside again in 4th this time, but the outside line got off to a terrible start and I ended up going into turn 1 in about 8th and getting stuffed on the outside again. I spent the second half of the race in 4th working with Richard Allen to catch Anwar and Dan Taylor in 2nd and 3rd.”
By the 10min mark, Taylor was back in Beroual-Smith’s wheel tracks, 2secs behind Clark was towing Allen, a similar margin to George Watson and Matt Horgan again, “I was battling with George – we were off the back of the front 5 by then but ahead of Alex and the chasing back behind. I was trying to signal to George to not fight but I don’t think he saw. Luckily the pack didn’t catch us.” Pritchard was trying to get across, Daryl Snelling brought through the main field in 9th place with Steve Lindley, Garrett O’Connor, and Super Heavy champion James Johnstone, “There’s been chaos on lap 1 but I was in the right place at the right time, inside line for the fast right hander as you go behind the hill, I must have overtaken 5 or 6 drivers in one, things you love to bloody see! I dispatched Jason Bear within a few laps, and I didn’t realise that was a move that secured the championship for me.”
Into the last 10mins Brewer was 3secs clear and working his way up the tail of the field, it would be Beroual-Smith working harder to hold off Taylor and pass back markers, trying to chase the pair down 2secs back, Tim Clark, “We [with Allen] caught them with about 5 minutes to go and had a good four way fight for 2nd place in the last few laps. I somehow ended up in 5th after all that though, so probably should have done a bit better after spending so long catching up!” Taylor moved through to 2nd with 3 laps to go, Anwar dropping to 3rd, the force of nature that is Dickie Allen moved through to 2nd place, Beroual-Smith grabbing 3rd on the last lap from Taylor.
The championship had been decided with Dan Brewer winning the race by 5.2secs, and by the points tie breaker of 9 wins to 7 for Anwar Beroual-Smith. George Watson had an excellent day finishing 6th holding off Matt Horgan. Alex Pritchard, Steve Lindley and James Johnstone rounded out the top 10. It was probably the most dominant win of the season in SP60 Heavy, and it had come when Dan Brewer most needed it, and in one sense it was unlike any other round of the season, with the class probably the most competitive of the whole senior roster in 2021. Daniel Taylor took an excellent 2nd place on the podium for Round 11, Richard Allen took 3rd overall and 1st in SuperHeavyweight. James Johnstone took 2nd place on the Super Heavy podium and Richard Newton 3rd on the event and 3rd in the SHW Championship 2021.
Words: Chris Simpson
Photography: John Patterson