Fantastic Action at Full BriSCA Session
The BriSCA F1 Stock Cars paid their first visit of 2011 to the Norfolk Arena on Saturday evening when the National MiniStox and the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars were also in action to make it a single-seater spectacular of stock car action. The Formula One fraternity still regard the first Saturday night of April at Coventry stadium to be the true beginning of a new season and the entry of 20 cars at Lynn reflected this view although the action served up on the shale proved to be far better than could have reasonably been expected and should not have left anybody disappointed.
The first Lynn F1 race of the year was the white and yellow grade only race and whilst the entry of just four drivers looked pointless, the race actually produced a decent crash and a last bend conclusion. The crash came in the early stages when John Weldon (Leeds) climbed onto the back bumper of Tim Warwick (Bedford) whilst fighting for places in the bend. The cars failed to separate but Warwick knew exactly how to get rid of his unwanted passenger and drove closely past one of the big marker tyres at the inner edge of the track which stopped Weldon in his tracks and allowed Warwick to continue unhindered. The time lost by Warwick allowed the other two drivers to go clear with Garry Townsend (Rugby) leading all the way to the last bend when Les Spencer (Atherstone) nudged him wide to steal the win.
A smart new F1 Stock Car was debuted by 464 Luke Davidson
The first full heat saw Townsend pull clear at the start whilst Weldon continued to be in the wars getting buried into the plating by Ed Neachell (Sutton Coldfield) sending sparks flying. Weldon headed for the infield to retire from the race but was struck by World Champion Andy Smith (Rochdale) who span out of contention. Townsend still looked set for victory in the closing stages of the race when a slight mistake saw him cut the entry to Turn One too tight and slam into the marker tyre. This allowed Frankie Wainman Jnr (Silsden) to catch and pass Neachell to win the race.
One of the big highlights of the night were the race long battles between 1 Andy Smith and 515 Frankie Wainma
The second heat featured the first appearance of the night of Graeme Robson (Darlington) whose team had been busy changing the gearbox in the car. Robson managed to gain quite a significant lead in the early laps of the race, helped when Spencer span Townsend into a marker tyre holding up the rest of the field. However, Robson was reeled in and passed just before half way by Neachell who held on to the lead until the last bend when two taps from Andy Smith saw the World Champion take his first Lynn victory of the year.
By the time the Final was staged, most of the loose shale had been thrown from the top of the track generating a harder smoother racing surface which the Wainman car did not seem to like as he slid into the wall in the opening couple of laps and then buried Smith to the plating but the car twitched violently on impact with the back of the car in front and was hit from behind by Daniel Johnson (Chesterfield) which nearly took Wainman out. Other notable action saw Joe Booth (Huddersfield) climb onto the side rail of Johnson with both cars sliding hard into the wall making a big mess of the bonnet and new graphics on the Johnson car. Townsend and Neachell both took turns at the front but the clear winner was Craig Finnikin (Leek) who stormed through the field chased hard by Paul Harrison (Rotherham) who came home ahead of Neachell in third. The chequered flag came just in time for Finnikin who had a puncture on the final lap with the rapidly deflating tyre only just getting the Leek ace home.
55 Craig Finnikin only just lasted the distance in the final with this flat tyre
Numbers had dwindled to 13 cars for the Grand National where Wainman once again buried Smith although this time the World Champion would not continue in the race. Joshua Smith (Loughborough) made a good start and a strong challenge to win the event but couldn’t quite outpace Harrison over the full distance.
Top three in the F1 Final wiith 55 Craig Finnikin (centre) taking the win from 2 Paul Harrison (Right) and 321 Ed Neachell (Left)
The BriSCA F2 Stock Car entry was a very impressive 62 drivers which was ideal for a two-heat full format. The first heat was a classic with the first four drivers all getting involved in the same crash a few laps into the race when John Wright (Chesterfield) and the leading Ian Mallinson (Chester) clashed and both hit a Turn Three marker tyre with third-placed Jason Clarke (Swadlincote) then stuffing Gordon Moodie (Fife) into them allowing Dave Bale (Stoke on Trent) to pass them all and take the lead although Clarke also rejoined without losing too many places before the race was brought under a caution because of a loose wheel torn from Mallinson’s car. Bale lost the lead to Steve Wycherley (Spalding) on the restart but the latter span out almost instantly with Clarke taking the lead again until he got caught up behind the backmarking Darren Bingley (Carnforth) allowing Danny Ford (Sheffield) to move to the front of the race. Ford’s car failed two laps from the end and it was Wycherley who had made up the lost ground to take the lead again but he was pushed wide a lap from home by Micky Branston (Leicester). The last bend was a scramble between three drivers and it was Anthony Winters (Wisbech) who came out on top to win the race ahead of Wycherley and Branston, the win being most notable because Winters had been involved in a lap one tangle which had almost seen him roll the car.
Heat Two wasn’t quite on the same level as the first with form-man Matthew Clayton (Boston) leading for a considerable distance until he was caught and passed by Brian Shadbolt (Evesham) who would race on to the victory. Andrew Palmer (Peterborough) just beat Barry Goldin (Bolton) to second place in a very competitive battle between the red tops. The consolation race saw white top Tom Neat (Ely) produce an excellent drive to lead a number of laps and he even fought back to spin out Barry Clow (Spalding) when the latter driver passed him to take the lead. Neat wasn’t helped by a race stoppage when Chris Morley (Boston) suffered a stalled car on the racing line and with the rest of the drivers allowed to start just behind him, both Mallinson and Simon Farrington (Coventry) passed him on the restart. Neat once again staged a comeback to spin Mallinson but this allowed Farrington to get away and take the victory with Neat ending up in a very creditable third place behind Clow.
The first half of the Final saw Jack Thompson (Ely) bounce back from massive damage sustained at the first meeting of the year to lead for a number of laps until Clayton passed him. However, Clayton made a rare mistake and span out on the back straight with Thompson then running into him putting John Cayzer (Saffron Walden) into the lead half way through the race. The situation remained the same until the late stages of the race saw Cayzer slow with car problems and Clow moved to the head of the pack although he was slightly delayed as Cayzer slowed allowing the very rapid Andrew Palmer to grab the lead and take the win. Clow continued his strong start to the 2011 season by finishing as runner-up and Allen Cooper (Huntingdon) came home in third which was remarkable because he had clashed with another driver and spun out before the race fully started and had hence been the last car on track on the first lap.
Top three in the F2 Stock Car Final which was won by 606 Andrew Palmer (centre) from 597 Barry Clow (left) and 702 Allen Cooper (Right)
The Grand National had a chaotic start with a number of drivers spinning or breaking down and Clow losing a wheel although he parked his car by the loose wheel so it was safe and couldn’t be hit by another car. Daz Shaw (Castleford) quickly came through from the blue grade to lead the race but he was steadily reeled in and overtaken by Cooper. However, Cooper then became briefly involved in a crash between Winters and Wycherley who went into the fence taking Cooper with them. Shaw went back through to win the event with Cooper picking up the pieces to finish in second.
The National MiniStox were the third formula on show with a grid of 24 youngsters aged between 10 and 16 being in action. The first race started in dramatic fashion with Alex Wass (Lutterworth) clipping a marker tyre and launching his car into a full roll with Austin Moore (Blackburn) crashing into the rolling car as it headed back towards landing on its wheels. The race was immediately brought under a caution and medics scrambled to check on Wass who was unharmed but Phoebe Wainman (Silsden) had suffered a banged knee in a separate incident which would give her some discomfort for the rest of the night although it didn’t stop her from racing! The restart saw Olly Spencer (Tamworth) lead the way with some cracking battles taking place behind him as Faye Smith (Macclesfield) pushed Shannon Ellis (Barnsley) wide to gain a place although Hayley Williams (Long Eaton) had a harder time passing Ellis who fought back well and needed a second hit before Williams was able to pull ahead of her. Spencer crashed out a few laps from the chequered flag leaving George Streather at the head of the pack although National Champion Bradley Harrison (Rotherham) sensed a possible victory and went for a last bend hit on Streather. Both cars were forced wide and it was Faye Smith who slipped through on the tighter line to take the victory, Harrison coming across the line second but being penalised two positions in the result for jumping the restart meaning Streather took second and Williams placed third.
The MiniStox Started with a big rollover for 283 Alex Wass
Smith had a much rougher time of it in the second heat with Holly Gould (Loughborough) spinning her out at the beginning of the race. Olly Spencer once again took the lead but span out when he crashed into novice driver Josh Emmett (Sheffield). This put Streather in charge of the race which he led all the way to the last lap when he cut the first corner a little and glanced off the marker tyre which slowed him down a little. Phoebe Wainman had enjoyed a good battle for second place with Max Hertzog (Buxton) a few laps earlier where they had traded hits and the position on a couple of occasions until Hertzog managed to get a bit of clear air behind his car. However, Hertzog was slowed by Streather hitting the tyre and Wainman was able to hurl her car down the inside of the two leaders in the last bend. They were both knocked off line but Hertzog managed to win the scramble to the line by a matter of inches with Wainman having to settle for second and Streather taking third place.
The Final started with another bang as Sam Jacklin (Denton) and Tom Spencer (Atherstone) piled into the spun Olly Spencer with Frankie Wainman Jnr Jnr (Silsden) then firing into the back of Tom Spencer hard before the yellow flags came out to rescue Olly Spencer who was shaken up. Shannon Ellis led the restart but was barged wide by Hertzog and then Karl Hawkins (Towcester) who moved into the top two spots. Meantime, Harrison challenged and won third place from Ellis who launched a counter-attack on Harrison but it was all in vain as a further stoppage for Mitchell Peall (Alford) whose car had become stranded on the racing line in the closing stages gave rise to the race result being declared a couple of laps early leaving Harrison in third place.
Racing action returns to the Norfolk Arena on Saturday 2nd April when the main attraction is the 2 Litre National Saloon Stock Cars English Championship which has a big entry of drivers. Also racing are the 1300cc Stock Cars in the third round of their 2011 track championship and the 2 Litre Bangers in a Shale World Championship qualifying round.
Pics: Colin Casserley