birelART UK Series 2017 Round 2 Shenington
Dry weather and cool temperatures greeted the entrants for this the second round of the Championships and everyone was looking forward to a great days racing. A great circuit Shenington but one for the drivers rather than spectators as viewing can be a little challenging.
Christian Lilley topped the order finally setting his best lap almost at the end of the session. In truth he’d looked pretty dominant. Freddie Tomlinson in second place set his best time midsession but was still behind Lilley. Thomas Harvey was third quickest followed by impressive Rookie Nathan Tye from Charlie Humphreys. Ella Stevens was next from Dylan Brierley with pre-season favourite Milo Pilfold down in eighth from Jamie Gurney and Kylen Ingram. It was close though in relative terms, the top eleven being covered by less than seven tenths of a second.
The biggest entry of the day and what a battle for supremacy we had for this one. Tyrone Stansfield finally came out on top but it was mightily close. He set his time midsession but he was being hunted down. Nicky Taylor left it until his second to last lap but just missed out on pole by 0.009. Skye Siddall returned to form with third quickest followed by Dillon Reed who left it until his final lap to spring up the order. The front four were covered by just 0.093. Harry Graham was next up just getting the better of Harry Barlow by 0.007. Toby Baldry was next up followed by Scott Huntley, leading Rookie Connor Brown and Thomas Massarella.
Richard Evans topped the order and by some margin too from a flying Ami Jerger who was on superb form but couldn’t match Evans. Still, she was mighty pleased with second spot. Mathew Pearce was third ahead of Sam Faulkner who was surprisingly struggling for pace. Steve Youle was next from Tom Snape with James Baldwin the leading Rookie next from Jake Welsby, Jonathan Collins and David Darling.
Once again we saw the quick times posted very early in the session. Indeed all bar two of the top twelve set their fastest times on their second laps. Ben Yeomans headed the field by just 0.003 from a flying Jim Rainbird (no pun intended Jim) followed by Neil Fisher, Michael Roots and Sam Dimelow. The top five covered by just 0.008 and Sam Fisher in sixth was only 0.021 behind Dimelow. Mark Lawrence was next up followed by Shaun Port, Carl Churchill and George Friday. The signs were all good for a very close event.
Cadet 60 Heat
Lilley led the field away but it was Tomlinson who led by the end of the first lap with Lilley behind. Tye was thirds ahead of Tye with Humphreys behind whilst Harvey dropped down to fifth. The leaders settled down for a few laps but then Lilley found a way by Tomlinson for the lead. Both Tomlinson and a following Tye got slightly held up allowing Humphreys to move into second. Down the order Brierley had come to halt and could not restart whilst Gurney was moving up to sixth. At the front though Lilley was driving beautifully and pulling away from the chasing Humphrey. He was never headed and crossed the line some seven tenths to the good, a big margin in the Cadets. Humphreys came home second after fending off a great late race charge from Tomlinson who had been running third for much of the race before falling briefly behind Harvey who promptly half spun. Eleventh was poor reward for a battling performance. Tye took fourth having run as high as third early on before dropping to sixth and fighting his way back. Stevens came home fifth ahead of Gurney with Pilfold seventh and off the pace. Ross, Ingram and Keighley completed the top ten.
Junior 100 heat
Stansfield led the pack away and was never headed on route to what was a pretty routine victory probably aided by the battle for second. Siddall got the better of Taylor at the start to slot into second but four laps in she had dropped to fourth behind Barlow and Taylor. Barlow was particularly aggressive in the opening laps. Hard but always fair. Siddall was quickly back in front of Taylor and chasing down Barlow who was in touch with the leader but never quite close enough to mount a serious challenge. Taylor meanwhile was only just hanging on to third and would soon find himself down to sixth behind Reed and Massarella. Stansfield then ran out the winner but it was Siddall who made it through into second two laps from home. A good battle between her and Barlow. Reed came home fourth whilst Taylor recovered to fifth ahead of Massarella who faded a little towards the end and was coming under pressure from Huntley and Graham. Brown and Baldry completed the top ten the former being the first Rookie home.
Super Elites Heat
Evans made no mistake from pole to lead the field away but Jerger immediately lost ground to fast starting Pearce, Youle and Baldwin who vaulted from seventh to fourth ahead of Jerger and Faulkner. Carl Watt was seventh after a good start whilst Welsby had lost out badly and slipped back. With three laps gone Evans continued to lead pursued by Pearce and Youle whilst Jerger had fought her way back in front of Baldwin. Jerger was looking really quick at this point and set the fastest lap of the race at one third distance A lap later she moved into third and was harrying Pearce for second. Half distance and Welsby was a retiree having dropped almost to the back of the field. Evans continued to lead but it was Jerger into second with just four laps to run. Could she find a way by Evans? She gave it a good shot but in the end had to give best finishing just a couple of tenths adrift. Pearce came home third with Youle a distant fourth from Championship leader Faulkner who was definitely off the pace. Baldwin was sixth and first Rookie whilst Snape, Collins, Hudman and Corry completed the top ten.
Super Masters Heat
Yeomans hung on to the lead from pole but it was Fisher chasing him followed by a fast starting Dimelow whilst Rainbird dropped to fourth. Roots was in trouble falling to ninth behind Ken Churchill who had moved smartly up from thirteenth. At the front Yeomans was now coming under pressure from Dimelow who had swiftly dispensed with Fisher for second and with just three laps completed Dimelow was at the front as Yeomans dropped to third behind Fisher. Fisher was fighting back hard and then took over at the front but not for long. Or was it? For a couple of laps the two of them fought hard over the position with Yeomans just holding back and hoping to capitalise from any mistakes. It was Dimelow though who would finally get to the front and make a break as Fisher defended from Yeomans. It was hard racing but Dimelow began to pull steadily away and eventually took the win over a second in front from Fisher who had Yeomans in close proximity in third and fourth. Sam Fisher was fifth, close to the front runners but never quite close enough to the leaders to be a threat. Roots came home sixth finally getting the better of Lawrence on the final lap and setting the fastest lap of the race as he recovered from his poor start. Friday, Carl Churchill and Breadner completed the top ten.
Cadet 60 Pre Final
I was warned before I came to the event never to take my eyes off the Cadets in case of missing something. Humphreys got the better start to pull ahead of Lilley whilst Tomlinson dropped to fifth behind a fast staring Stevens and Tye who remained fourth. Gurney was sixth whilst Pilfold dropped badly from seventh to twelfth. Man on the move was Dylan Brierley.
Starting last he’d made up four places on the first lap. With three laps run Humphrey still led but it was Stevens on his tail now at the expense of Lilley whilst Tye continued to run in fourth. After a brief battle Tomlinson had moved back into fifth. Mid race and the order looked to have settled down but then Lilley made a move for second and a lap later he was at the front chased by Stevens with Humphreys down to fourth ahead of Tye in third, his first change of position. But not for long as Tomlinson fought back by him and he dropped to fifth. A lap later and it was Stevens at the front as Humphreys fought back by Tomlinson into third. And still the position changes weren’t finished. Stevens held on for the win but it was Humphreys who took second ahead of Lilley. Fourth place went to the leading Rookie Oakley Keightley. Where did he come from? It was his best finish in the Cadets and well judged. Starting tenth he’d made steady progress up to sixth before taking full advantage of others tripping each other up. This was no fluke though as he set fastest lap. Tye was fifth ahead of Tomlinson ahead of Ross whilst Brierley was the biggest climber in the race moving up seven places to finish eighth ahead of Gurney and Pilfold.
Junior 100 Pre Final
Could anyone stop Stansfield? He led the pack away but it was Barlow up to second from Taylor and Reed as Siddall got shuffled back down to ninth. Massarella was fifth but a lap later was by Reed into fourth. As the leaders settled down the order Graham was out courtesy of bumper damage possibly as a result of brush with a recovering Siddall. Stansfield continued at the front with Barlow right on his bumper but unable to find a way past. Great driving from them both as Stansfield kept his head down and wouldn’t allow Barlow to fluster him. And Taylor, Massarella and Brown were still in close attendance with Siddall, Huntley and Reed not far adrift. Then it all got a bit messy in the fight for fifth. Opinions varied as to what happened but both Reed and Brown were into an early retirement whilst Siddall dropped to fifteenth. Parkinson, Cole, and Baldry all got held up allowing Martin, Whitehouse, Cunliffe and Mooij to make up several places. Fraught stuff. Stansfield eventually won by just over a tenth from Barlow with Taylor third from Massarella. Then a big gap back to fifth to Martin as a result of the Brown, Reed, and Siddall incident. Martin had made up fifteen places. Yes there was fortune but it wasn’t his fault others tripped up. Whitehouse was next from Huntley who did well to avoid the melee and not lose too much ground. Cunliffe and Mooij were eighth and ninth with Parkinson in tenth. A good drive from him which owed nothing to fortune.
Super Elites Pre Final
A bit of rubbing at the start saw the poleman Evans and second placed Jerger fall back to third and fourth promoting Pearce into the lead followed by Faulkner whilst Youle dropped to fourth. The order didn’t last long. By the end of the second lap Evans was back into the lead harried by Faulkner. A lap later and Jerger swept by Pearce for third and set about relieving Faulkner of second. Youle continued in fifth. Mid race and the front three remained static and were gradually dropping Pearce in their wake. Suddenly Evans had a couple of lengths lead and then Jerger swept by Faulkner for the lead. Immediately the Championship leaders pace began to fall off and Pearce and Youle began to close in. Then in successive laps Youle pulled ahead of Pearce and Faulkner for third but was too far adrift of the leaders to challenge for the lead. At the front with a couple of laps to run Jerger moved to the front but could she hold on for a famous win? Not quite, last lap and Evans moved back ahead to take the win by just over a tenth. Youle finished third on the road but then suffered a post race exclusion for a technical non compliance promoting Pearce up to third. With only a lap to go he’d dropped as low as seventh. Hudman finished fourth, up six spots whilst Baldwin was the leading Rookie. Collins took sixth ahead of Bradbury Rainbow and Banks. Faulkner took tenth after dropping six places on the final lap with mechanical woes.
Super Masters Pre-Final
Sam Dimelow made no mistake with this one leading from lights to flag to take the win by over three seconds. It was something of a demonstration run. Behind him Neil Fisher and Yeomans had real tussle at the start with Yeomans getting the better off the line to take second only for Fisher to move back ahead a lap later. And that was how the front three remained all the way to the flag and in the same order as the Heat with Rainbird again fourth but after a somewhat more eventful race having been passed by Roots in the early stages. Roots set fastest lap on his fourth tour but harried by Rainbird he could never quite break free to challenge for third or second. Sam Fisher took sixth. Next up might well have been Lawrence and Friday but the two tripped over each other and dropped to rear of the field. Second to eighth was covered by just over a second but so evenly matched was the field that there was no chance for any overtaking. Ken Churchill came home seventh ahead of Breadner with Carl Churchill and Port completing the top ten.
Cadet 60 Final
These Cadets certainly know how to put on a show. Stevens lewd the field away from pole with Humphreys slotting in behind from Lilley, Keightley and Tye. Tomlinson was sixth heading a secondary group of drivers. With one lap run Humphreys moved ahead of Stevens for the lead whilst the remaining runners in the top five remained static. Tomlinson meanwhile lost sixth to Brierley, briefly got a back and then dropped down the order to twelfth with Ross moving into sixth ahead of Brierley and Pilfold. But could any of them get into the top five? Half distance and after a static few laps it was all change at the front as Stevens took over at the front and Keighley moved into second ahead of Lilley and Tye whilst the former leader Humphreys dropped to fifth. A lap later and it was Lilley back into second but now with Humphreys up into third. It was still anyone’s race. With four to go Humphreys was back into second and with two to go he into the lead. Tye was now up to third ahead of Lilley and Keightley but it didn’t last as right at the finish Keightley moved himself into second. But no one could get by Humphreys and he crossed the line for a jubilant win followed by Stevens. Unfortunately she received a two place penalty for advantage by contact dropping her to fourth and promoting Keightley up to second and leading Rookie with Lilley third. Tye finished fifth and set fastest lap. Sixth went to Tomlinson after a topsy turvey race had seen him drop to twelfth before battling back to where he had started. Ross and Pilfold were next up with Gurney and Brierley completing the top ten.
Humphreys win sees him heading the Championship standings from Stevens and Lilley.
Junior 100 Final
Stansfield led the field away from pole with Barlow second but coming under pressure from Taylor and Massarella. Stansfield though was into his stride and pulling away for what looked like a certain win. Then suddenly the wheels came off, quite literally. Well one anyway but the result was the same. He was out. Cruel luck. So Taylor took over at the front from Masarella with Barlow fourth. Massarella though was clearly on form and after five laps he was at the front leaving Taylor and Barlow to fight over second. And what a fight it was with first one and then the other holding the place. And Huntley and Parkinson in fourth and fifth weren’t out of the hunt either although Parkinson dropped away in the latter stages. No one was going to beat Massarella though on this day although Taylor ran him mightily close over the closing stages, setting fastest time on the penultimate lap and finishing just 0.093 adrift in a true grandstand finish. Another lap and it might have been a very different podium celebration. Barlow was third only just ahead of a flying Huntley at the flag. Then there was quite a gap to Parkinson who faded a little towards the end but was ahead of Siddall. Next up was Graham. A stellar drive this moving up thirteen places after starting from a lowly grid spot. Mooij was eight and first Rookie with Reed and Cole completing the top ten.
Barlow’s third place puts him at the top of the Championship standings followed by Huntley and Taylor.
Super Elites Final
Evans led away from pole but was Pearce into second at the expense of Jerger whilst Hudman settled into fourth. All eyes though appeared to be on Championship leader Faulkner. Had he put his engine woes behind him and could he make it to the podium at least? Evans got his foot down over the opening laps to pull a significant gap whilst Jerger and Pearce squabbled over second. With four laps completed Jerger found away by Pearce and began to hunt down the leader. Hudman and Baldwin were fourth and fifth with Faulkner sixth but stuck and not looking like he could get any further. Jerger continued to edge ever closer to Evans. It was going to be an absorbing final few laps. With two to go she3 hit the front but Evans wasn’t about to give up and with a lap to go he back in front. But this was Jergers race. She hit the front at just the right moment and held off a determined Evans as he fought back in the last corner. But victory was hers, her first at this level, and by just 0.063. A hugely popular win. These two were the class of the field. Pearce came home a lonely third, well clear of Hudman in fourth whilst Faulkner was fifth ahead of Collins whilst Baldwin was seventh and took the Rookie honours. Rainbow, Bradbury and Snape completed the top ten.
Evans second spot moves him to the head of the Championship ahead of Faulkner whilst Jergers maiden win sees her third.
Super Masters Final
Dimelow led the field away but for fellow front row sitter Neil Fisher it was a disastrous start. Under pressure from the pack he lost control and spun to the back of the field. Not his day. Dimelow led the field around the first lap pursued by Yeomans with Roots up to third ahead of Rainbird and Sam Fisher. Roots was looking really hooked up and was soon ahead of Yeomans and chasing down the leader. With five completed he hit the front and was never headed. Dimelow gave chase but never threatened and had Yeomans in close company before the latter began to drop back into the clutches of Rainbird and Sam Fisher. Roots ran out the winner shadowed by Dimelow. The two of them were well clear of Rainbird who finished an excellent third a couple of tenths up on Sam Fisher with Yeomans fifth having struggled at the end with a down on power motor. The top five though were well clear of the pack with Breadner sixth from Port, Ken Churchill, Friday and Howe, the latter being the leading Rookie. A good battle this for sixth with the five places covered by a little under a second.
Dimelow’s second place sees him retain the lead in the Championship from Roots and Rainbird.
The next round is at the Welsh circuit, Glan-Y-Gors.