Club 2000 | Round 5 | 6 May 2023
With 119 entrants and heavy rain, it definitely wasn't a round to forget. The morning was almost entirely dry with occasional spats of very light drizzle to remind us of what was coming. During lunch, it bucketed it down and it never relented. In terms of driving, we were all pleasantly surprised at how few incidents there were despite the packed grids and treacherous conditions.
Honda Cadet 160s
Yet another impressive round for the 160s. These young drivers had some clean racing even though the conditions were very much against them. It was Lewis Riley (90) who took away the most points with a clean sweep of 4 1st-place finishes, extending his championship lead to over 123pts.
It was a great day to be Connor J Winfield (27). Although he was spread thin as he'd entered into both 160 and 200, he managed to pull off 4 2nd-place finishes in 160. After qualifying 4th, he'd passed a couple of drivers on the start but Beau Winslade (28) had snuck past him. Lap after lap, he was just a tenth behind Beau (28) until lap 3 where Connor (27) made the move to take 2nd. For the following heats, he remained unchallenged for his position thanks to some good pace in the wet. In the final, he'd dropped down to 5th in the early stages. Nevertheless, he put his head down and, with a couple of good moves and some fortune, he'd made it back up to 2nd.
Ricky Junior Mackintosh (14) experienced a day of highs and lows. After a solid qualifying and a strong start in heat 1, it all seemed to be going well. That was until he suffered a spin on lap 3. Despite this setback, Ricky didn't give up and pushed himself to pass a couple of drivers on the last lap, ultimately finishing in 12th place. In heat 2, he had a rapid start. From 12th, he was up to 7th by the end of the first lap. After an overtake, he ended up in 6th. Now in heat 3, Ricky (14) lost a position on the start to Zac Hunt (17). He was still in a great position until lap 4 when another unfortunate mistake lost him a bunch of positions. Ricky (14) was set on redeeming himself in the final, and he definitely did. His opening 2 laps were blistering. He'd made his way past 6 drivers and sat in 4th until a lap later when Connor (27) regained a position from Ricky (14). A retirement further up the field promoted him back to 4th, scoring him his best-ever result in 160.
Connor J Winfield (27) | Heat 1 | 47.336s
1st – Lewis Riley (90)
2nd – Connor J Winfield (27)
3rd – Alfie Clark (48)
4th – Ricky Junior Mackintosh (14)
5th – George Johnston (23)
Honda Cadet 200s
There was some very close and competitive racing in the 200s. so much so that we had 3 different race winners throughout the day. Fred Firmin (17) still leads the championship but Ethan Okoro (34) narrowed the gap down to just 2pts.
Racing at Club2000 for the first time, Freddie Wall (21) brought a challenge to the front runners that they likely were not expecting. After qualifying, Freddie (21) placed 7th on the grid. Within the first lap, he'd made his way up to 5th and settled in for the rest of the heat. The track was absolutely sodden for heat 2 and, on the first lap, it caught Freddie (21) out. This only seemed to spur him on, though. For the remainder of the race, he was pushing his way toward the front and setting the fastest laps as he did so. By the end, he was in 3rd thanks to a couple of penalties applied ahead of him.
A disastrous heat 2 caused Ethan (34) to start 5th for heat 3 but, thanks to a mega first-lap, he'd put himself back in the lead. On the 3rd lap, Jack Cope (85) retook the lead from Ethan (34) and Freddie (21) followed shortly after to take 2nd. Another couple of laps later, Freddie (21) took the lead from Jack (85) before he suffered a spin. With nowhere to go, Toby Farthing (35) whacked into the side of him which resulted in the red flags coming out. Thankfully, everyone was okay and as the result had been rolled back to the last completed lap, Freddie (21) kept his win.
In the final, Toby (35) had a great start, passing 4 drivers to place himself in 6th. On the other hand, Ethan (34) had a poor start and allowed Freddie (21) to slip past him for the lead. He wasn't going to get away that easy, though. Into 180, Ethan (34) lined himself up on the outside, got on the power early round the bend and cruised past Freddie (21) on the way to the Warren. Once he'd got ahead, Ethan (34) extended the gap to over 6.6s by the time the chequered flag came out.
Connor J Winfield (27) | Qualifying | 46.905s
1st – Ethan Okoro (34)
2nd – Freddie Wall (21)
3rd – Connor J Winfield (27)
4th – Alfie Irvine (7)
5th – Toby Farthing (35)
Of the 8 Mini Max entrants, two of which were 950s. Although the grid is small relative to the others, we still witnessed some good racing. George Phillips (62) extended his championship lead over Riley Mason-Lewis (95) by just 2pts to now be clear by 43pts.
George (62) set a 43.147 in qualifying, almost a whole second quicker than the next-best driver, Louie Millington (52). He then went on to lead from lights to flag in heat 1 with a big gap to 2nd. In heat 2, Riley (95) took his maiden victory after he had a great start in the wet conditions and shot into the lead in the first lap. After chasing lap after lap, Louie (52) made his way past George (62), too, on the penultimate lap.
For heat 3, Louie (52) started in 2nd and got ahead of Riley (95) before the end of the first lap. It was short-lived, though, as he retired from the heat just a lap later. An unfortunate exclusion for a technical infringement in heat 2 caused Herbie (58) to start at the back in heat 3. It didn't take long before he was back in 4th and, with Louie's (52) retirement, he was promoted to 3rd; an all-time best result for him.
It was Riley (95) starting ahead of George (62) in the final, however, they didn't stay in that order for long. Into Senna for the first lap, George (62) stuck his kart down the inside of Riley (95) and took the lead. Louie (52) managed to squeeze through shortly after to push Riley (95) another position back. A few laps in, Oscar Waters (4) moved up to inherit 3rd place from Riley (95). He only held it for one lap though, as Riley (95) put his foot down in an effort to catch the leaders. George (62) was flying though, so the gap was still 13.3s from Riley (95) to George (62) when the chequered flag came out.
George Phillips (62) | Heat 1 | 42.760s
1st – George Phillips (62)
2nd – Louie Millington (52)
3rd – Riley Mason-Lewis (95)
4th – Oscar Waters (4)
5th – Herbie Wiggins (58)
For the first time in recent history, we had a fully sold-out junior grid. 17 of which were members so we can expect big grids for the rest of the year. Seamus Cox (33) finished up the day with the most points, getting 4pts closer to the championship leader, Liam Phillips (3).
Adam White (13) grabbed pole by 2 tenths in qualifying and he looked like he had a good chance of taking his first win since the very first heat back in round 1. Unfortunately for him, Seamus (33) pinched the lead in the first lap. Liam (3) worked his way through the field after starting 8th and, on the penultimate lap, he also passed Adam (13) to take 2nd place. For the rest of the day, he couldn't quite bring the challenge to the top three and settled into 4th.
Newcomer, Aston Munday (100) showed some great pace throughout the day. He'd managed to qualify 10th but an incident at the start of heat 1 dropped him to the back. He'd made a bit of a comeback to finish 17th and he continued cutting through the pack in heat 2. Rory Pickles (52) joined him on his push through the field and the pair both made up an impressive 8 places by the end of the heat. A good couple of opening laps in heat 3 gained him two extra positions, resulting in him lining up 9th in the final. Again, a good start in the final gained him a few more positions and he settled into a 6th place finish.
It was a rollercoaster day for Noah Osbaldeston (24). He had a great start in the first heat but an issue with his kart prematurely ended his race. In heat 2, he started from 22nd on the grid. Thanks to some rapid opening laps, he gained 9 positions and cruised to the end in 13th. The third heat went all wrong for Noah (24). The hard work he'd done to get up to 13th was thrown away due to an unfortunate mechanical issue. In the final, He lined up 21st on the grid with a lot of work cut out for him. In the first two laps alone, he'd cut through the field and took 14th. The pace kept coming to him and. after a few more overtakes, he ended up in 10th.
Joel Dixon-Coen (167) | Heat 1 | 41.012s
1st – Seamus Cox (33)
2nd – Liam Phillips (3)
3rd – Joel Dixon-Coen (167)
4th – Adam White (13)
5th - Harry Clogger (72)
It's ridiculously close between the top three in the championship now, with 10pts splitting them. In comparison, the gap to 4th is huge at exactly 100pts. Alfie Campbell (40) took away the most points despite arriving late to the grid and having a spin in heat 3. Jenson Weston (34) took his first win of the year and came very close to his second in the final, when he was chasing Alfie (40) for the win.
Elliot Reed-Hughes (95) had a problematic morning which he managed to turn around once the rain came down. In heat 1, he got spun around (pictured) in the first-lap chaos at Senna and dropped to the back of the pack. He kept his head down and gained some positions but he was forced to retire on the last lap when a wheel left his kart. Within the first lap of heat 2, Elliot (95) shot past 6 drivers and took 11th place. After another few laps, he took 7th and began putting the pressure on Josh Twitchen (25). On the very last lap, he made the move which secured an impressive 6th place. The rest of the day went in his favour too, as he finished up heat 3 in 3rd and took 5th place in the final.
In heat 2, the downpour of rain shuffled the order and made for some great racing. In the first lap, Bryn Evans (77) pinched 2nd place from Matthew Copsey (97). On the following lap, Matthew (97) dropped to the back due to an unfortunate issue with his kart. As a result, Jenson W (34) inherited 3rd and set his sights on Bryn (77). Consistently, there was a gap of around 1s between the pair but the margins shrunk on the last lap. Coming out of the last corner, Bryn (77) was held up by lapped traffic while Jenson (34) had a clear run. Up to the line, they were neck and neck but Jenson W (34) edged ahead by just 0.012s.
After missing out last month, Charlie Flux (86) returned strong. He'd taken 7th after qualifying but thanks to the aforementioned first-lap chaos, he'd inherited 4th. For the remainder of the heat, Jenson W (34) sat on his bumper but couldn't find a way past. In the opening lap of heat 2, Charlie (86) was passed by Jenson W (34) but Matthew's (97) early retirement meant he remained in 4th. With Alfie (40) starting from the back of heat 3, Charlie (86) was bumped up to 3rd. It was all going well for him until a mechanical issue ended his almost guaranteed podium just two laps from the end. He'd still bagged 6th on the grid for the final and thanks to a great first lap, he moved back into 4th. Elliot (95) kept some pressure on him throughout the race but Charlie (86) didn't crack once. Unfortunately for him, a drop-down penalty pushed him back to 5th post-race.
Alfie Campbell (40) | Heat 2 | 40.328s
1st – Alfie Campbell (40)
2nd – Jenson Weston (34)
3rd – Bryn Evans (77)
4th – Elliot Reed-Hughes (95)
5th - Charlie Flux (86)
Senior Rotax 177
We're not sure where all of these drivers are coming from, but thanks to the number of entries, we ran 5 heats and 2 finals to give them all a fair share of racing. Out of the 33 entrants, Stuart Smith (92) came out on top with the most points. He'd also managed to have the highest scoring round out of everyone in 177s so far this year - 138pts.
Another driver took their first win this round. This time it was Stavros Athanasopoulos (55). In the rather wet 3rd heat, he lined up in 16th and almost immediately got to work. Halfway through the race, he'd already made it up to 3rd. After some rapid opening laps, Steve Steward (155) began catching the leader, Lydon Newitt (71) at an impressive rate. He was set to catch him on the last lap until he had an untimely spin through the warren which handed the job down to Stavros (55). Although Stavros (55) hadn't caught him once the chequered flag came out, Lydon (71) was excluded for (I believe) his rear track width being too wide. It was a stellar drive from the top three but it was Stavros (55) who secured the win.
It wasn't the best day for Lloyd Bell (100). Despite taking a win and a 2nd place, he'd dealt with 2 uncharacteristic spins throughout the day; the first of which came in his second heat. Lloyd (100) began making a steady push towards the front from his random backward grid slot, 14th. It went wrong on lap 6, dropping from 8th to 17th within the space of a lap. After some last-minute moves, he minimised the damage to bring it home in 14th place. He'd still done well enough to place himself 5th on the grid for the A final, though. However, on the first lap, he'd crushed his chances of a win with his second spin of the day. From last, he still made his way through the pack and up to a respectable 11th.
In the B final, there was some contention for 4th place - the last spot to make it to the A final. Lydon (71) had started in 13th but it was only a few laps until he came up to the top 4. Harry Cobbett (5) had made his way past Kyle Walker (88) to take 3rd and just a lap later, Lydon (71) found his way past him, too. Then, when Harry (5) defended from Lydon (71), contact was made. Seemingly, Harry (5) felt guilty enough to let him through. He hadn't foreseen Kyle Walker (88) cruising past the pair of them and, just like that, Harry (5) diminished his chances of being in the A final.
Lloyd Bell (100) | Heat 2 | 40.857s
1st – Stuart Smith (92)
2nd – Nick Skelton (127)
3rd – George Friday (52)
4th – Tom Thompson (32)
5th - Sam Yaxley (97)
All photos are courtesy of Sprocket Photography.
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