Club 2000 | Round 4 | 1 April 2023
The changeable weather made it a round of unpredictability and challenge, with victory going to those with the right tyres and the right skills. As usual, we love seeing the tyre gambles and we always admire the bravery of those who dare to try a different set than everyone else.
Honda Cadet 160s
For the first time, we trialled rolling starts for the Cadets and I'd say it was a success. We'd also made the decision to split up the 160s & 200s which gave everyone a bit of room to breathe.
Lewis Riley (90) was dominant in the heats, he'd taken first place in all of them and extended his championship lead. It all went wrong for him in the final, though. Being the only driver to opt for the slick tyres, the rain came down and he'd slipped down the order to 8th. As a result, Theo Hamilton (30) inherited the lead early and took his first-ever win at Club2000 with an impressive 12.1s gap to the rest of the field.
Since the beginning of the year, Beau Winslade (28) has come along leaps and bounds. In round 1, he averaged 13th throughout the day and in round 4, he achieved an impressive three 3rd-places. Beau (28) took 6th place in qualifying and after a hectic first few laps, he moved up to 5th. Unfortunately, with a couple of penalties applied, he was dropped to 6th. In the second heat, he had another good start and moved up into 4th place. Thanks to a penalty further up the field, he was promoted to 3rd. Even with the chaos in heat 3, it was straightforward for Beau (28) - he just cruised to the finish. In the final, he had to work hard to keep his well-earned spot on the podium, though.
Lewis Riley | Heat 3 | 47.718s
1st –Theo Hamilton (30)
2nd – Alfie Clark (48)
3rd – Beau Winslade (28)
4th – Riley Murthwaite (19)
5th – Finley Beales (86)
Honda Cadet 200s
Out of the 12 entries this round, it was 3 novices who'd taken 1st, 2nd and 3rd after qualifying. Archie-Lee Bullock (4) was the only Micro Max this round so, no matter where he finished, he'd score maximum points.
Ethan Okoro (34) shrunk the gap to the championship leader, Fred Firmin (17), to just 30 points thanks to three wins and a 3rd-place. The fourth win went to Toby Farthing (35) in the first heat; he'd qualified for pole position and was unchallenged throughout the race. In the second heat, he lost the lead in the first lap, letting Ethan (34) through. In every race thereafter, Ethan (34) started pole, had no pressure from behind and took the chequered flag many seconds ahead.
After starting the first heat in 8th, Freddie Houseago (69) had a good push through the field. For the first three laps, he was passing another driver every lap. A couple of laps later, a driver ahead made a mistake, promoting Freddie (69) to 4th. In the second heat, he momentarily held 2nd place after a strong first lap. Ayrton Rai (18) had a stronger lap though and came from 5th to take 2nd from Freddie (69). In heat 3, he took 2nd in the first lap again but, this time, he kept it. For the final, he'd done enough to earn 2nd on the grid. Unfortunately, all the hard work he'd done throughout the day was thrown away as he seemed to lack pace. After his struggle, he'd finished 5th.
Ethan Okoro (34) | Heat 3 | 47.045s
1st – Ethan Okoro (34)
2nd – Alfie Irvine (7)
3rd – Toby Farthing (35)
4th – Harry Grant (45)
5th – Freddie Houseago (69)
There were no Inter Max drivers so it was just the five Minis who had the circuit. Out of the bunch, it was George Phillips (62) who secured pole position and he went on to set the pace for the first heat. Everybody kept in position for the entire heat apart from 4th place being closely contested between Herbie Wiggins (58) and Oscar Waters (4); just 0.7s separated them across the line after 10 laps.
At the start of the second heat, Louie Millington (52) took the inside into Senna, pinching the lead from George (62). He then built up a comfortable 4s lead before George (62) started reeling him in. After setting personal bests, it wasn't long before he caught him. It was too late though. The chequered flag came out and he was only 0.075s shy of Louie (52).
In the third heat, it was close between the leaders again. Louie (52) defended his lead and George (62) was stuck staring at his bumper until the very end of the heat. The tensions were high as the gap was never more than half a second between the pair.
After sitting behind him since heat 2, George (62) made the move which gave him the win 6-laps into the final. Since the move, he pulled away by around 1.5s a lap from Louie (52) to confirm it.
George Phillips | Heat 2 | 42.794s
Mini Max Results
1st – George Phillips (62)
2nd – Louie Millington (52)
3rd – Riley Mason-Lewis (95)
4th – Oscar Waters (4)
5th – Herbie Wiggins (58)
Seamus Cox (33) and Liam Phillips (3) both put in strong performances, each claiming two first-place finishes. While Seamus (33) looked untouchable in the first heat, he began to get a little uncomfortable toward the second heat. Liam (3) lunged to the inside of Seamus (33) before exiting the Esses. Seamus (33) strongly defended and kept his lead. Liam (3) then demonstrated some skill in the wet conditions during heat 3, taking the lead from Seamus (33) as the rain started to pour down. In the final, half the grid opted for dry tyres and the other half for wet. Liam (3) had gambled on dry tyres, and it paid off. Within just two laps, he took the lead and began to pull away.
Finley Jones (23) had a strong afternoon, showing resilience after a disastrous first lap in heat 3. Starting from 8th and then dropping to 14th, he was able to claw his way back up to 4th, only to be penalized with a drop-down that put him back in 7th. Starting 6th in the final, Finley (23) made the bold decision to go with slicks. He'd found some pace, quickly moving up to 4th and finally inheriting 3rd place just two laps from the end of the race after a driver ahead had spun out.
In the first couple of heats, Alexander Guirguis (15) had a firm grip on 4th position and was pushing for 3rd in heat 2. It all started to go south for him in the last two races, though. A mistake in heat 3 had dropped him to 10th but, determined, he gained a few positions back in the difficult track conditions. In the final, his wet tyres worked against him. After starting 5th, he'd lost three positions to the dry runners and finished 8th.
Liam Phillips (3) | Heat 2 | 41.288s
1st – Liam Phillips (3)
2nd – Adam White (13)
3rd – Finley Jones (23)
4th – Ben Thompson (30)
5th - Cameron Pottle (17)
This round, we opted for the junior-style qualifying format instead of random grids. Considering the (at times) treacherous track conditions, I think it was a good decision.
The seniors were the last class to start their first heat and the track had dried a little. Just as karts arrived on the grid, the tyre choice was declared open. Everyone stuck with their wet tyres except Bryn Evans (77) and Josh Twitchen (25). In the first lap, the pair were driving on ice, dropping position after position. But then, to my surprise, the tyres started working. After working his way up to 3rd, Bryn (77) made an overoptimistic lunge onto the two leaders and locked up. He was quite lucky not to lose any positions. Josh's (25) race had ended in disaster. Just 5-laps in, he was forced to retire.
It was Matthew Copsey (97) who took away the most championship points even though he'd had a retirement. After making his way into first-place, Bryn's (77) lunge sent Matthew (97) wide which handed the win to Jenson (3). In heat 2, he pinched the position back from Jenson (3) within the first lap and sealed it by extending his lead to 3.8s. He then led every single lap until lap 10 of the final. Out of nowhere, he suffered a mechanical issue and was forced to retire, giving Jenson (3) the win again.
YoungStarz driver and Rotax novice, Jack Twilley (14) had a rather successful round despite the perilous weather. With no practice, he'd managed to qualify 9th. After some ups and downs, he finished up his day with a great battle with Anthony Ward (72) in the final. Coming out of Paddock, Anthony (72) got on the power early and cruised past Jack (14) along the straight. Just a lap later, around the Warren, Jack (14) retook the position with a switchback. After a couple more laps of tension, Anthony's (72) opportunity came as Jack (14) struggled with a backmarker; Anthony (72) took to the inside of both of them into the Esses and extended the gap to 1.4s.
Matthew Copsey (97) | Heat 2 | 40.087s
1st – Jenson Holloway (3)
2nd – Alfie Campbell (40)
3rd – Elliot Reed-Hughes (95)
4th – Jake Boydell (88)
5th - Jeremy Lock (22)
Senior Rotax 177
Yet again, we held 4 heats and an A and B final since we had a full house of entries. Out of the 4 heats, a driver would race in only 3, allowing all 32 drivers to enjoy 3 heats and a final despite the 24-grid limit.
After a few years of racing with us, Phil Patience (46) finally had his first win. In his second heat, he lined up in pole position. Almost immediately, George Friday (52) put him under pressure. Although Scott Smith (37) managed to pass George (52) a few laps in, he continued to apply pressure on Phil (46), staying within 0.2 seconds of him lap after lap. However, Phil (46) drove faultlessly and, as a result, he took the win. His luck totally flipped for his next heat, though. He managed only 4 laps before he was forced to retire.
Sam Yaxley (97) extended his championship lead by taking away the most points of everyone - 132 out of a maximum of 144. In his first heat, he skillfully avoided the first-lap chaos at Senna and gained 7-positions in doing so. His good performance in the heats earned him pole position in the A final. It was Scott (37), and then George (52) who were behind Sam (97) in the A final and they were both relentlessly desperate for Sam's (97) position. There wasn't a moment where he got a chance to breathe. Nevertheless, he kept his composure and he secured the win, all while making it look effortless.
Jake Baker (96) had an absolute rollercoaster of a day filled with impressive overtakes and devastating setbacks. Starting off, he'd made some good moves which earned him 3rd place in his first heat. Starting toward the back in the next heat, he couldn't make it toward the front and settled for 18th. Heat 3, he'd started 2nd but then held 3rd with nobody to keep him company ahead or behind. He'd then made it into the A final. Only 3 laps in, he had contact with Tom Thompson (32) which dropped him to last.
Lloyd Bell (100) | A Final | 40.728s
1st – Sam Yaxley (97)
2nd – Lloyd Bell (100)
3rd – George Friday (52)
4th – Stuart Smith (92)
5th - Nick Skelton (127)
All photos are courtesy of Keith, on behalf of Sprocket Photography.
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