Yes It’s Him Again This Time On The Costa Del Kent

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Timed Qualifying was fairly ominous as Elliott topped the time charts as the only driver dipping under 47secs, 0.3secs ahead of Mike Townley in his group, and 0.6secs ahead of a different Dave Price than what we’d seen earlier in season, something had clicked and he headed Group 2 ahead Martin Gurnett.

Outside of the top 20 qualifiers the Pre B Final got off to a shambling first start. Poleman Dan French looked to be on the wrong grid yet fluffed the restart again, Michael Jungling slightly ahead at the line, but back in 2nd as he couldn’t make the outside line work. Well you can’t in the dry. Everyone more or less made it through the infield this time. Roger Mullen dived up the inside into hairpin 2 for 2nd place fortunately it was 4 to qualify, I say that as I knew French and Mullen would quickly pull clear. Nicholas Reynolds beat Jungling into the Esses and Michael went for a bounce down the geoblock on the exit nearly putting Tim Williams, who also got a run on him on the exit, into the tyre barrier. Not quite. Michael Dendy and a quick starting Michael Ballinger, off grid 10, moved into the top 5 instead. After a false start at getting away Reynolds was caught and passed by Ballinger, who is no slouch, which meant everyone was racing for 4th and the last qualifying spot even as early as lap 6. Reynolds was resident in 4th, then Dendy, gap to Jungling, who had somehow held off the collective attentions of Nick Breadner, Daren Townsley, Billy Clarke, Paul Goddard, Tim Williams and James English spread out in the 5secs behind Reynolds. They were joined by Sam Jones in taking lumps out of each other. IT was fun to watch. By half distance the top 4 had settled into a sub 48secs pace, in room of their own while Dendy in 5th and those behind we’re either unable to go quicker or were too busy having “fun”. So the fighting was over the minor places and setting a good lap time for the B Final grid, while the leaders tried to go quick enough but not fall off. They didn’t. The race ran out with entertaining & a little erratic Jungling and Breadner’s attempt to pass him for 6th, and Tim Williams’ race long ding dong with James English over 10th. French won by 3secs from Roger Mullen, Ballinger 5secs off the leader, Reynolds comfortable 4th nearly 10secs behind.

C100Buck-3100Much like the Pre B Final, a pile of karts were left parked at turn 2 on the initial Pre A Final start so we won’t waste time on it here, but it was a break for Darrell Lowe and Simon Lloyd caught up in it, for sure. Jonathan Elliott converted the restart as he had the first and again Mike Townley on grid 2 could drop in on his bumper for turn 1. Dave Price went 3rd as Eric Mignon struggled to go with the leaders off the inside of row 2. A lot of loading in the midfield (it happens) left Roger Davis dropping like a stone off hairpin 2. So it was Elliott, gap to Townley, Price, gap to Mignon, gap to James Hattersley, Martin Gurnett under pressure James Canham. Price and Townley exchanged 2nd place, before it went Mike’s way, while Elliott was doing his thing, and in the usual fashion he was out front and pulling clear. Julian Clist demoted James Hatterley from 7th down at turn 1. Then on lap 9 Martin Gurnett who’d been on Eric Mignon’s bumper for a while eventually got by. This left most of the the “fun” to be provided by Mark Turner, Darrell Lowe, James Hattersley, Simon Lloyd, Paul Williams and Tim Hill fighting their way up and sometimes back down again from the top 10. It was entertaining to watch (and video). The race ran out as expected, Elliott cruised to (win #9) 1.1secs clear of Townley, who in turn was 1.6secs clear of Price, Martin was Gurnett a long way off in 4th after the attention of Eric Mignon all the way to the finish.

C100Buck-6761I do find B Finals, and this is a sweeping generalisation, a little underwhelming for their length as a rule, not always, there have been exceptions. A few. This wasn’t one of them. Two to qualify, so you need a good start, even if you’re on pole it helps, Ben Daly flooring it as soon as he could helped himself so Nick Breadner too, was able to drop on his bumper from grid 2, even before the start line. No cone, no change lane penalty. It strung the field out which made for a clean start. Daly led down to Garda, Breadner sliding up the inside for lead, and playing into the leading duo’s hands, Michael Jungling had held off James English all the way down there as well though James was through to 3rd. Then Daren Townsley moved into 3rd at hairpin 1 before James English inexplicably spun his, and Michael Dendy’s, chances away at hairpin 2, in a most peculiar self inflicted spin. Moving up in the fall out Jonathan McLeod went 4th place, and maybe there was hope as Daly moved back to the lead and he and Breadner tried to the race alive, when the should have buried by following one or the other, but not the pair started racing. Townsley pegged them at 1.8secs but that wouldn’t be good enough he needed to go quicker. Furthermore McLeod had picked up his slipstream so he was likely to be busy behind, even Jungling was closing back in. McLeod emerged around Cafe Curve in 3rd on lap 7, he was 2.3secs off qualification. Lap 9 Breadner moved back in front, so McLeod could take 0.6secs out of the pair, but at least Nick pulled clear, McLeod took another 0.5secs out of Daly. With 3 laps to go Breadner was on his way, Daly had 0.7secs on McLeod, who was edging closer, that was the race for the second qualification spot. Behind Jungling was dicing with Townsley, it was then 7secs back to Paul Goddard, Billy Clarke, Tim Williams at it again as they were in the Pre B Final, joined by Andrew Cherry and Ben Benneyworth in the top 10. Could McLeod catch Daly? Well he was coming at a 1/10th of a second per lap, so probably not. It was still 0.5secs on to the final lap, but Jonathan was on his bumper into Paddock for the last time and put one down the inside. I’ve only seen the end of the move, it looks clean, but somewhere Jonathan had clipped a cone (tyre bundle) and picked up a 1 place penalty and under rule 17d and that put Daly back on the back of the A final with Breadner and McLeod missing on a rare A Final run. Ouch.

C100Buck-6780So on to the last A Final of the day, Darren Lowe’s fastest lap on the penultimate lap of the Pre Final gave him pole position, with Mike Townley, Jonathan Elliott on row 2 with Dave Price, and only the fastest 3 drivers in qualifying. Not surprisingly the quartet set off for possibly the cleanest start of the day, probably knowing they could sort out the trophies later. By the time Mike had let Jonathan and Simon Lloyd settle in ahead and Price behind, Lowe had a few kart lengths into Paddock. There appeared to a gentleman’s agreement to let Elliott tow the group back to the leader and more importantly drop the field behind. Where Daniel French, Julian Clist had moved up quickly off the start, and James Canham had moved to the head of main pack. It would probably have remained a long loose line for a good few laps, but Jeffrey Williams, a lap down recovering from an off, homed into view and while Lowe cleared him without any trouble, he baulked Elliott a little and then forced everyone else to drive around him through hairpins on lap 4 – it was poor form. But Elliott broke clear of the group and set off after Lowe. Price emerged 3rd, ahead of an aggrieved Lloyd, French and Townley coming off worst and only just holding off Julian Clist in 7th.

C100Buck-3406 Elliott edged into the leader at 0.2, 0.3secs a lap, and French in 5th was even quicker. Price closed and once again there was a battle for the lead, Lowe was looking over his shoulder at Elliott. Jonathan wobbled off Pullmans washed out wide to be very narrow into Paddock, a sitting duck into Garda for Price, Jonny trying to close the door on Dave 2/3rds of the way inside then complained on the exit, French ran around the outside of Price to go 3rd into Senna. Cheeky. Dan still had the momentum from Garda to go through on the inside of Elliott into Turn 1 while Townley ran side by side with Lloyd through the infield and the Esses until someone had to lift and it was Mike. So, the last 6 laps, this time it was French closing the gap to Lowe, towing with him Elliott and Price. Elliott fired the first shot with clean move down the inside of hairpin 2 that Dave borrowed to push through with him for 3rd before Esses. We’d have to wait a lap for gap to close on the leader. Darrell was slow out of Paddock with 3 laps to go, he covered off into Garda and Jonny wasn’t quite close enough. A pity as Price and French moved back into his bumper French repeating his Garda trick around the outside of Price for the inside of Senna for 3rd, but running the pair out wide. Perhaps Jonny would get Darrell all to himself after all. Darrell took a look over his shoulder at start finish, and so did Jonny. It was on. Dave went inside of hairpin 2 and Dan saw him coming and gave him some room but they lost more ground, Lloyd, Townley and Tim Hill, running up from 11th from the grid and more after bruising opening in the midfield (apologies for lack of coverage here) in with a last step of the podium chance. Downhill you could see Elliott pushing up like he was setting up for Paddock. French ran Lloyd all the way out to the geo block he wasn’t letting Simon get by down through Symes Sweep, Dan still wanted 3rd place from Price. Darrell came barrelling in hot into Paddock scrubbed all his momentum off at the apex to try track out on the right line, and Jonny who had backed off for Paddock early to drive as a clean a line as possible, maybe setting for turn 1 or later on the last lap, saw the opportunity and was going for it into Garda. Darrell knew what he had done, looked over his shoulder, moved to cover up across to Garda, he looked again over his left shoulder and saw Jonathan on his outside and held his line down the middle of the road. Jonny straight lined to an early apex for lead. Superb. Darrell was on his bumper into turn 1, but unable to pass, Price moved on to Darrell’s bumper, with French, Lloyd, and Co all in range of some last lap banditry. Darrell with perhaps thoughts of a banzai of his own on Jonathan down at the bottom ran deep into Paddock. The win was gone, now he had to show Dave the outside into Garda, at least Dan French couldn’t drive around him three wide could he? Price and Lowe were still side by side through Senna and thats not the quick way to climb the hill. Around Cafe Curve Elliott had win #10 of the season, Lowe half a kart length ahead of Price was forced to give him room on the inside Cafe Curve but was going to hold on for 2nd place as the track, with a light pod rubbing, was on his way to the finish line. French with the momentum stole 3rd on the line from Price, Townley, Lloyd and Hill hard up behind. A second or so behind James Canham, Julian Clist and Michael Ballinger rounded out the top ten, Lennie wood was leading super-heavyweight. Phew. A cracker.

Next stop is South Wales and the Llandow Circuit on Bank Holiday Weekend on 30th August, so Monday free with the family means you can make Sunday a raceday, no?