by Jamie Wesson
Clockwise Championship Round 6 Race Review
The grid for the top group looked a little like this: Jon Pethick on pole followed by Luke Hornsby who put in a stunning lap on his guest return to Sutton-Elms. Bryan White and Jam Wesson were just behind them and an appearance from Oliver Warner peaked interest as he lined up fifth. Paul Whiffin qualified ahead of an unusual sub-par performance from Andy Summers and Lee Hammond rounded out the top group.
Paul Whiffin had an eventful start to the race, having a great battle with Lee once Andy had gotten past. There was a moment where he was pushed wide at the Lightbulb corner but kept it together to make a repass into the hairpin. Luke meanwhile was not having the best of times in the tricky number 2 kart, he was passed by Bryan into T1 on the second lap and then again by Jamie at the pin a lap later. Oliver tried following Jamie through on this move, but got caught on the outside round the loop and had to tuck in behind Luke instead.
Oliver eventually did get by at "one of the corners" (his words) but the three leaders were pretty far up the road by this point. Oliver however, wasn't going to give up. Andy then cold called Luke at T1 and sold him a dummy, switching from left to right to throw it down the inside as Luke moved onto the racing line. Despite a fantastic qualifying, the wayward kart had stifled Luke's performance and gave him little chance to fight for a good position. He would make amends though in race two.
Jamie was the fastest man on track at this point, notching the days fastest lap in Bryan's wake of a 39.628. He made a clean move into T1 on the former champion to take second and then set his sights on the leader Jon. Despite gaining each lap for the latter third of the race, Jon was just too far ahead to be caught. One man that did get caught though was Bryan. Oliver's persistence had paid off. On the last lap, Oliver thrust his nose up the inside into the final corner, pushing Bryan wide allowing Ollie to take the shorter route and steal third place. A dramatic end to a good race.
Fastest Lap: Jamie - 39.628
I will touch on group two briefly here as well.
Alex Haydon Williams started on pole and drove a textbook race to lead from light to flag. Terry O'Keefe tried an undercut on Henry Smith early on at the hairpin, and while the move didn't succeed, Henry later made a mistake into T1 and got mugged by 3 karts.
Henry and Ben Lymiv then had a lively battle, switching places several times during the course of the race. Terry, Steve Langford, Sam Proud and Ross Tomlinson were also involved in a neck and neck battle, but somewhere Terry made a mistake and lost 3 places! It was a fun race and the final finishing positions were:
astest Lap: Alex - 40.199
In reverse order from the finishing positions of the first, the second race got underway. The action started immediately, with Jon Pethick trying a move on Jam Wesson in front of him at the hairpin, but he was left on the outside on the exit, and forced to yield the attempt at the Loop. Lee Hammond then went immeasurably wide at the final corner resulting in the whole field passing him, although he later told me he moved aside to let everyone by.
Toward the front, Andy Summers and Bryan White moved ahead of Paul Whiffin. shortly before, Bryan had to fight to regain his lost place to Oliver Warner which he executed by getting the inside out of the final turn, and nailing the pass into T1.
In pursuit of the others, Ollie then tried a pass on Paul himself at the pin, but couldn't quite stick it and got left on the outside at the exit. This would signal the start of nearly an entire lap of wheel to wheel action for Ollie, who held on alongside Paul all the way around the loop, then went Wheel to wheel with him down the back straight before losing out at the final corner. However, as Paul slipped ahead at the last turn his space on the inside line was then taken up by Jamie, preventing Ollie from slotting back onto a tighter route. Jamie left room on the exit as the two went side by side out of the final corner, then pegged each other down the main straight.
Conscious of Paul just ahead though, and not wanting to collide with him under braking as he turned in for the apex at T1, Jamie broke early. He made the apex without crossing Paul's line, but the early braking meant Ollie could stick it out around the outside. He tried to get the drive off the corner, and the two once again went wheel to wheel through the kink and into the Light bulb corner. In a near repeat of the final corner on the previous lap, as Jamie traced away on the faster inside line, the gap that Ollie would have quite liked to slot into was once again taken up, this time by Jon Pethick, who also moved firmly ahead on the exit of the switch. For the first time since Ollie had left the same corner the lap before, he no longer had a kart alongside as he approached the hairpin.
Shortly after, Jamie then passed Paul after he got a much better exit out of the Switch and completed the pass into the Pin. Jon and Ollie also made their way through, but I didn't get the details on how or where. They were too busy embroiled in their own battle anyway, after Jon had gotten in front of Ollie earlier he had to abandon any hope of catching anyone else ahead as Ollie fought to gain his place back. This was just as well, because Jamie ahead of them in fourth place was struggling to extract any significant pace out his kart 7.
Ollie was once again showing the incredible pace he had displayed in qualifying and race one, and Jon was having to defend every corner to keep him behind. However, the battle would meet an unceremonious end when in the thick end of his attack, Ollie took the hairpin corner a little too tightly and brushed the orange cone. A drive through penalty was awarded. Jon breathed a sigh of relief.
At the sharp end, Luke Hornsby had been driving a cracking race, keeping his lap times consistent and prolonging the prospect of being caught for as long as possible. However, eventually he was caught. Bryan had slipped into second after he passed Andy at T1, getting on his inside out of the final corner. He was the fastest man on track, clocking a time only 2 hundredths away from Jamie's fastest in the first race. He chased down Luke, with Andy in toe. Once he had closed the gap, he attacked hard, looking for a way past. It nearly ended in disaster when he nosed his kart into the T1 apex, just as Luke had turned in to hit it. Thankfully, catastrophe was avoided when Bryan got the kart slowed down just enough and tried to squeeze into the tiny bit of space that was available, with Luke noticing the move late and allowing room on the exit, brushing the barriers as small contact resulted.
This had nothing on the epic finish which was about to unfold though. Next, Bryan tried an undercut out of the pin, as Luke got a bit scruffy mid-corner. Unfortunately for Bazza, Luke's exit was good enough to keep him alongside, leaving Bryan stranded on the outer line. He kept it hooked though and was level with Luke all the way up to the last corner, where Andy decided to join in the fun. They nearly went 3 abreast through the double apex right hander, with Andy emerging on Bryan's inside onto the main straight, with Luke scurrying ahead with a very narrow lead.
There was nothing Bryan could do to avoid relinquishing the position at T1, but it didn't help that he thought the flag had been waved. By the time he realised, Luke and Andy had pulled a couple of kart lengths on him and the chance for last lap redemption had vanished. Andy pushed Luke all the way to the flag, very nearly stealing victory with a great undercut style exit out of the final corner resulting in them both crossing the line side by side. Reminiscent of the 1971 Italian GP, Luke raised his arm in the belief that he had won, but it was a photo finish that needed to be confirmed by the clock. The timing sheets agreed with him. Luke had won with a fantastic drive.
Fastest Lap: Bryan - 39.649
In group two, Ross Proud and Sam Tomlinson were having good fun at the start, going wheel to wheel around the loop on two consecutive laps. Ross eventually made his way up to second after Vaughan went wide and lost out at T1. Alex Haydon Williams was having a good race, collecting three places in one swoop at one point, and then pressured Steve Langford hard for the final podium spot. Sam and Henry Smith had a great fight for fifth place, going wheel to wheel down into T1 at one point, but nobody could touch Terry O'Keefe who drove home from a fourth place start to take the win in the final race of the day.