The 16/5/2015 saw NatSKA attend the high speed Clay Pigeon Raceway with the typical small turn out we tend see this time of year (exam period). This however didn’t make the stakes any lower for the drivers attempting to challenge the top spots of their respected class championship tables. With drivers missing for some it came as an opportunity to take one final meeting victory before the impending Nationals weekend in July at Rowrah, but not all went as planned! The long straights and fast corners of Clay Pigeon always adds variety to our calendar and not to mention the good weather it typically provides! A blue, bright and warm day meant the the lap times were there for the taking but not everyone kept their head!
The Class 1 Cadets took to the circuit ready to get some serious dry running in after braving the down pour that graced them at Ellough Park 2 weeks ago. Again Ewan Sime of Tarporley ranked at the top but Josh Neve of Bexley was hot on his heels yet again coming within 0.44 of Ewans average time. Ewan showed a very consistent set of times in each of his heats, proving the old age saying of consistency is king! Josh had Daniel Kenny of Tarporley keeping his times honest behind him, Daniel rounded the day off with an average time of 30.70, another 1.19 sec behind.
The biggest shock of the day came from Jnr TKM Class 7. With Championship leader Lee Whittingham not in attendance it was a prime opportunity that Charlie Palmer and James Mills couldn’t miss out on….. The days TKM heats started out badly with Charlie getting tangled up with his brother Sam on the first lap of heat 1, equaling in a incident that required the red flag. After the restart both Charlie and James made poor starts with Reece Griffiths of Tarporley doing the same. Reece however recovered the fastest taking the lead by lap 2. Reece led from there with Charlie making a monster recovery taking 2nd by lap 5 while eyeing up Reece in 1st. Charlie slowly reeled him in but by around lap 10 a technical flag was brought out, signaling for his retirement to the pits. Charlie obliged giving up the chase and his 2nd place to James who also made a strong recovery from his bad start. In 3rd came 1165ATC driver Charlie Mooney who came from all the way back in 10th. Heat 2 saw more close competition between the championship leaders Charlie and James. Charlie started in 5th while James 2 positions ahead, they both pushed early with clean starts taking the fight instantly to first heat 3rd place man Charlie Mooney. Charlie managed to keep his nose ahead of the squabbling pair taking the victory by 1.16 sec to Charlie who fought James till the last lap. James made a mistake in the battle with Charlie putting him out of the race, not only handing over 2nd place but also 3rd to heat 1 winner Reece. Heat 3 saw a dramatic turn which pretty much concluded the days racing for two drivers. Reece Griffiths sat on pole leading convincingly from the first corner while Charlie Palmer did his best to make up early places from his starting position all the way back in 10th. Charlie shot up behind 5th place man James Mills by lap 3 challenging him into the first corner and taking the inside by the second. James However came back at him on the exit of the esses pushing him wide and leaving him no where to go. Charlie caught James and they both tangled putting James out of the race. Charlie attempted to carry on but had to retire because of the incident. Charlie Mooney avoided all this chaos and pushed all the way from 7th on the grid taking 2nd by the first lap. Mooney hunted down Reece taking him on the 6th lap to then pull out a comfortable 3 sec lead come the chequered flag. Behind Reece team mate Amy Duke performed in her own race getting ahead of Palmer and Mills and taking her time to pick off those in front to take a well earned 3rd place. The final heat followed a similar theme to the rest of the day for James and Charlie. Charlie lead comfortably from his pole position starting slot until lap 10 where he suffered yet another technical with his back bumper dropping off ending his race. James saw a strong start and a early challenge to Charlie until he retired on lap 7 with what also seemed to be a technical issue. With both of them out previous race winner Theo Hesketh stepped up to the plate battling with Charlie Mooney, swapping places early on to then come back at him on lap 9 and take not only 2nd but the lead shortly after as Palmer spun out. Theo took the victory by a whisker to 1165ATc driver Charlie Mooney, 2 tenths covered them on the line. Reece Griffiths continued his strong results by finishing the day off in 3rd. the final results saw double race winner Charlie Mooney of 1165ATC bring it home for his team in 1st, followed by Reece Griffiths of Tarporley and team mate Amy Duke who bagged her best result of the season so far with Palmer and Mills no where to be seen.
Class 11 Jnr Honda held a strong grid with the last round podium challengers all in attendance. The day started out with previous meeting winner Joe Habershon of Barclay out in front in heat 1. He sat on the front row of the grid with Leo Crabtree of St Michael’s on pole, they swapped places on the first lap with Joe pulling out a 19 sec lead to the finish line. Leo finished behind in 2nd with Ryan Neve of Bexley making a brilliant start to his day starting in 10th on the grid to come through in 3rd. Heat 2 saw a chaotic yet clean start with heat 1 winner Joe coming through by the end of lap 2 to take the lead from 8th on the grid. Joe lead from there to the finish line but behind him the fight for the remaining places became an epic battle between a handful of drivers. 15+ places were exchanged between the 4 drivers behind Joe in the first 8 laps with Kian Ray doing the most damage after making a poor start. Kian of Tarporley pushed through to 2nd by lap 7 shrugging off Thomas Laws of Bexley, but he then also fell to the challenging Ryan Neve who made another great climb from back in 11th to take 3rd. Heat 3 played host to some drama between leader Joe Habershon and Kian Ray, with the later leading from his pole starting slot to find himself colliding with Joe after he climbed up to challenge for the lead. Joe saw himself disqualified from the heat after finishing in 1st ahead of Kian in 2nd. Behind the two another battle was happening for 3rd place with Thomas Laws of Bexley exchanging places with Leo Crabtree numerous times throughout the race. Thomas managed to better Leo come the line finishing a fraction in front of him. In the final heat Kian seemed to still have the fight in him from the previous race, charging from all the way back in 8th to take the lead by lap 3. Kian pulled out a healthy gap to 2nd place man Leo Crabtree of St Michael’s who followed Kian all the way from lap 1. Behind Leo came brother to Joe, James Habershon who had his best result of the day in 3rd coming within 4 tenths of Leo at the finish line. With Joe’s unfortunate penalty the meeting was won by Kian Ray of Tarporley who shone through taking his best result of the season, followed by Leo Crabtree of St Michael’s who also bagged his best result. On the third step of the podium came Thomas Laws also of Bexley who kept up the ‘personal best result of the season’ theme.
Class 12 Snr Honda saw a tightly competitive grid with all the championship challengers in attendance with joint leaders Harvey Hollick and Merrick Crook sitting on top of the pile. Heat 1 kicked off with a comfortable win for Harvey of Barclay, leading by a healthy 16 seconds come the chequered flag. Merrick of St Michael’s followed, climbing the order to find Connor Murril out of the race when it came to taking 2nd place. Connor exited on the 3rd lap, leaving Merrick to take 2nd and team mate William Clarke to take 3rd. Harvey However suffered a DQ from the race forfeiting his win to Merrick. Harvey made up for his unfortunate DQ by climbing the order in heat 2. Starting back in 6th he gained 5 places and took the lead from team mate Connor Murrill on the 6th lap. Connor was having a battle of his own with Merrick until Harvey interrupted knocking him off line and giving the advantage to Merrick who slipped past into 2nd. This was only temporary as Connor fought back to take 2nd from Merrick on the final lap. They both finished within a tenth of each other as they crossed the line with Harvey almost 5 seconds down the road. Heat 3 was greeted by a first corner collision which let Harvey romp away into the lead, Connor also made the most of the commotion by promoting himself to 2nd by the end of the lap all the way from the back of the grid. Merrick also followed the pair, closely chasing Connor until the flag where they finished nail bitingly close yet again. 4 tenths separated them this time with Connor in front while Harvey took another victory 11 seconds ahead. The trend carried on for Harvey in the final heat as he took Connor on the 2nd lap for the lead, knocking his team mate back all the way to second to last in the process. Connor did his best to claw his way back up the order but by the chequered flag Harvey was 21 seconds out in front with Merrick the closet anyone got to him all day in 2nd. Connor climbed all the way back up to take the final podium place valiantly taking James Harbot of St Michael’s on the second to last lap. With Harvey’s DQ early in the day it mean’t he was always going to struggle to take the meeting victory, but he did everything he could and got within 1 point of Merrick. This was also the case behind Harvey as his team mate Connor Murrill was a further point behind him in 3rd.
Class 13 Modified Honda saw the return of championship leader Cameron Kingham of Thomas Alleyne and he was here to show the new boy Harvey Hollick of Barclay a thing or to after his romp to victory in his first race in the class last time out. With Harvey riding high it seemed like it was going to be a tough battle for Cameron and so it began in heat 1 with Harvey doing what he does best, winning. He started 2nd on the grid and led from there, pulling out almost a 4 sec lead to Cameron and bagging the fastest lap by almost 2 tenths. Cameron kept him honest the entire race in 2nd while Barclay man Ryan Newcomb came over the line in 3rd. Heat 2 saw an early climb and lead from Cameron by tackling Callum Bowden, Georgie Haslam and Max Shaughnessy by lap 4. Harvey did his best to mirror his emerging rival, sitting in 2nd place shortly after Cameron bagged the lead. From there Harvey slowly reeled Cameron in proving he had the out right pace to topple the veteran class 13 driver. The veteran however did enough come the finish line, Harvey followed 2 secs behind and Max Shaugnessy rounded up the podium after recovering from his poor start. Heat 3 was primed to be the show down between the two with Cameron on pole and Harvey in 2nd on the starting grid. Harvey keen to show his heat 2 race pace was enough to beat Cameron outright took the initiative on the first lap, taking the lead only to pull out a gap of almost 5 seconds and again take the fastest lap by 3 tenths. The pair were a further 20 secs in front of 3rd place man Max Shaughnessy as their battle concluded at the finishing line. With Harvey on 2 wins and Cameron on 1 come heat 4 it was all on Cameron to bring it home and bring it home did he. Starting next to Harvey on the grid he leap frogged not just him but the 2 other drivers in front to take the lead by the end of lap 1. Cameron’s experience seemed to play it’s part as he kept it in front of the pressuring Harvey by stepping up his game to come within 0.01 sec of Harvey’s fastest lap of the race. Cameron’s fast and consistent lap times translated into a race victory, as he finished almost 4 seconds in front of Harvey with Ryan Newcomb of Barclay in 3rd. It seemed the meeting would end with Cameron and Harvey chalking in identical results but it wasn’t to be. Harvey suffered another DQ in the final heat putting another class meeting win in jeopardy. This put Cameron way out in front as the points were toted up but Harvey however did finish 2nd yet again, ironically 1 point in front of team mate Ryan Newcomb just as it happened in class 12.
The 9th round of the championship for Robbie White of Tarporley proved successful once again as he took another Class 14 Raket meeting victory. It didn’t quite play that way in heat 1 though as Josh Fish of St Michael’s made a great start to take the lead early on. Robbie however came from 2 places further back than Josh to challenge him shortly after. Josh lost the place to Robbie on lap 7 sitting behind him until his moment came in the second to last lap taking Robbie and leading to the line. Robbie finished close behind with Katie Pritchard also of Tarporley who started on pole come in 3rd. Heat 2 saw a slight hiccup for Robbie as the race got underway, losing out to Sam Bailey-Saltmarsh on the first lap only to come back at him the lap after reclaiming the position. Robbie lead from here leaving Sam to tumble down the order as Josh also came through taking 2nd 6 laps in. Josh went to work doing his best to reel in Robbie but by the chequered flag he was around 4 seconds off him. For 3rd place the battle was still on though as Sam found himself falling even further with team mate Katie Pritchard eyeing him up and eventually snatching 3rd on the 2nd to last lap, her second of the day. Heat 3 was a close competition between the two meeting front runners as Josh started on pole and Robbie in 4th. Josh led from the green light only to find Robbie right up behind him by the end of lap 2. Shortly after Robbie took the lead from Josh leaving him to sit behind him for the duration of the race much like heat 1. Come lap 9 Josh made one of his moves stick taking Robbie but only briefly as he reinstated his lead the lap after. Josh came within 3 tenths on the line but Robbie did just enough to take the heat win, while Jake Bailey-Saltmarsh of Tarporley followed up in 3rd. The last heat was simple enough for Robbie, starting near the front he took the lead early from Sam Bailey-Saltmarsh taking it all the way to the chequered flag with an impressive gap to 2nd place man Josh. Josh did his best to mirror Robbies progress through the field but starting much further back than him on the grid meant he didn’t stand much chance. Behind Josh came Sam Bailey-Saltmarsh who did his best to recover from front row start taking 3rd. With Robbie’s three victories he took the meeting win comfortably with josh fitting the days theme in second along with Jake Bailey-Saltmarsh in 3rd.
With the form of Jack Ward in recent Class 15 Jnr Rotax races it was hard to see anyone beating him this weekend. But the fast nature of the track seemed to bring a few bubbling drivers to the surface. One of these was Tom Taylor of Tarporley who rose to the occasion taking his best result of the year come the end of the day. In heat 1 Connor Bailey of Tarporley after starting on pole showed his experience and led early but Jack wasn’t far behind. Jack challenged Connor shortly after he took the lead pushing him back down the order as he worked himself past into 1st place. Connor then reluctantly succumbed to the rest of the pack as they swarmed around him with Fraser Sime and Tom Taylor winning over their team mate. Jack comfortably took the chequered in 1st with Fraser and Tom behind. Heat 2 began with Jack climbing the order from back in 9th, he made steady progress and found himself in the lead with Tom Taylor and Fraser Sime in pursuit. Tom showed he was on the pace by coming within 0.03 of Jack’s fastest lap with Fraser not far behind either. The 3 excelled in the heat of the day finishing 1, 2, 3 and almost 5-7 seconds in front of the rest of the field. Heat 3 seemed a simple affair at the front as Jack took Fraser on the first lap for the lead, both pulling out a larger gap to the rest of the field as the laps went on. Connor Bailey of Tarporley however had the bit between his teeth, looking to improve on his earlier performances. He battled through the field from 5th doing all his work early on enabling himself time to catch Fraser. Fraser however had the pace in hand, making the most of the free track ahead of him. Jack Finished 1st yet again and a strong 7 seconds ahead of 2nd place Fraser who did enough to keep it in front of team mate Connor in 3rd. The final heat played host to a terrific race with quite an intense mid field battle and unsurprisingly Jack was at the centre of it. He started 9th and did his best early on to make his way through the fray. While this was happening Tom Taylor romped into the lead making the most of the clear track ahead to put as much space between him and the pack. Jack saw this happening and stepped on the gas working is way up to 2nd by the 7th lap, leaving himself half the race to reel Tom in. With a fastest lap time almost half a second quicker than Tom he came close but not close enough as the chequered flag dropped. Coming within 9 tenths Jack failed to get the 4 straight wins he seemed destined to take while Tom took his first of the day. In 3rd place James Scanlon of St Michael’s recovered from his start clambering back past Jordan Brown of AMS who made a great start but fell off the pace later in the race. With Jacks 3 wins he took the win hands down, 5 points ahead of Tom in 2nd and and a further two to Fraser Sime in 3rd.
The full meeting photo album can be found here
1. (11) Charlie Mooney – 1165ATC
2. (48) Reece Griffiths – Tarporley
3. (12) Amy Duke – Tarporley
1. (74) Shaun Jarvis – Bexley
1. (79) Kian Ray – Tarporley
2. (45) Leo Crabtree – St Michael’s
3. (85) Thomas Laws – Bexley
1. (15) Merrick Crook – St Michael’s
2. (20) Harvey Hollick – Barclay
3. (2) Connor Murrill – Barclay
1. (69) Cameron Kingham – Thomas Alleyne
2. (68) Harvey Hollick – Barclay
3. (63) Ryan Newcomb – Barclay
1. (4) Robbie White – Tarporley
2. (16) Josh Fish – St Michael’s
3. (11) Jake Bailey Saltmarsh – Tarporley
1. (3) Jack Ward – Barclay
2. (29) Tom Taylor – Tarporley
3. (32) Fraser Sime – Tarporley