Belle Vue – 12th Oct 2008 Report

Action from Belle Vue 12th Oct. 2008

Action from Belle Vue 12th Oct. 2008

Running on a Sunday afternoon instead of a Monday evening boosted the car count at the October Belle Vue. The pits were filled with 52 F1 stock cars, including four who were making their first appearance of the season:- Dave Russo (49), Rudi Coleano (177), Steve Hattersley (69),and newcomer Graeme Robson (267) in his debut meeting. The track was slippery for the first few races, which led to some unpredictability, but overall the meeting didn’t quite seem to have the same sparkle that Belle Vue usually produces.

Heat One gridded 27 cars,15 of which were white tops, and quite a few of them piled up in the pit turn on the first lap. Hayley Parkinson (54) tried to avoid them, and took herself and Dave Russo into the turn one fence. There was then another pile up at the other end, followed by several laps of carange. With dead cars all over the raceway, Graham Wagstaff (330) emerged in the lead before the waved yellows came out to remove the 177 car from a precarious position on the racing line. Hattersley got it wrong on the restart and span in turn three, where Tim Warwick shredded his outside rear tyre on the 69 car’s front bumper. Lenny Smith (185) bundled Wagstaff into the parked Warwick car, and took up the lead. But it wasn’t long before Mal Brown (34) sailed past. Before the halfway, there were just 11 of the 27 starters still running, which meant the remaining laps were rather subdued.

Heat Two was the 2008 Grand National Championship, with the grid formed in points scored order, giving us Frankie Wainman (515) on pole and Stu Smith (390) alongside. On the second row was Daniel Wainman (212) and Joff Gibson (249), and when the green dropped these two found themselves squeezed into the fence on the first bend, with Tony Smith (91), Andy Ford (13), and John Lund (53) also getting caught up. Lund backed out and rejoined just in front of leader Wainman , who had Smith right behind him. Gibson had recovered from his opening lap skirmish and went past Paul Harrison (2) after a couple of increasingly big hits. Making a lot of early progress was Dave Willis (337), who from a row nine start was up to sixth place after a handful of laps. But the 337 car got caught up with Mat Newson (16) and Tom Harris (84), with the latter two bouncing off the fence, and Willis retiring a couple of laps later with rear axle damage. Wainman had pulled about two or three lengths clear of Smith at this point, but the 515 car was slowed by backmarker RObert Broome (41), allowing Smith to close up and take the lead. After that, Smith slowly pulled away and had little trouble in taking the flag and the title. Dan Johnson (4) and Mark Gilbank (21) swapped third place a couple of times in the second part of the race, before a late surge from Paul Harrison (2) moved the number 2 car into third on the last lap.

The Consolation fielded 26 cars, with Warwick leading for a couple of laps before Coleano made a meal of trying to pass and took both cars into the infield marker tyres. Warwick rejoined, only to get caught up with Gibson. Making an early charge were Daniel Wainman (212) and Mark Woodhull (335), who were in the top six after half a dozen laps. Also making progress was Michael Scriven (12), but he lost a place when he was fired wide by Russo, who had lost time in an opening lap skirmish with Colin Patten (292) and Tom Hamer (47). Meanwhile, Steve Jacklin (136) had moved to the front, and he lost a decent lead when the waved yellows came out to attend to the Ed Neachell car, which was on fire on the pit turn. Order for the restart was Jacklin, with a load of backmarkers behind, and then Geoff Nickolls (215), Wainman (212), and Woodhull. Scriven went past Russo as soon as the green dropped, while Nickolls crashed out of second place and into the fence with Davids and Warwick, rejoining in front of leader Jacklin. Nigel Whalley (198) and Gibson had now worked their way up to the places, with Russo dropping Scriven down the order a few places with a well timed hit. Russo then edged past Wainman just before the lap boards came out, but then ran wide and let Wainman back through. With five laps left, Jacklin now had a decent lead over Woodhull and Gibson, while Russo and Wainman were still dicing. It looked like Jacklin had it all sewn up, but with two laps left, Scriven and Broome piled heavily into the fence, and the 41 car came to a stop on the racing line and erupted in a cloud of steam. Nickolls put himself into a half spin while taking avoiding action, and Woodfull then fired the 215 car into Mike Heywood. The yellows came out and Jacklin lost a decent lead. There were now just seven cars left on the lead lap, but on the restart Jacklin drove away from Gibson and went on to take the win.

The final had some chaotic opening laps, with more than a few cars crashing out early on, with most rejoining a lap or two adrift. Yellow tops Poole, Russo, and Gibson stormed through the pack hitting anything in front of them. Russo got it sideways while spinning Wainman (212) before a big hit from Harrison (2) put the 49 car into another half spin. Mike Heywood (424) led intitially, but he came to a stop after n laps, leaving Poole in the lead. But this didn’t last long, as Gibson piled in with the bumper at the earliest opportunity and T-boned the 276 car wide into the bend. This didn’t really gain Gibson anything, but let Gilbank close up. The 21 car was soon past Gibson for second, and as they reached the halfway the top six were in close contention; race order reading 276, 21, 249, 515, 53, and 390, although Gilbank then started to drop back. Just as the pack had started to spread out, the waved yellows were out for Tom Harris (84) in the fence. On the restart, it was still Poole leading, from Gibson now back up to second, backmarker Russo, Wainman (515), Lund, and Smith (390). Lund appeared to nod off during the caution, as on the green Smith sailed straight past him. Lund did edge inside the 390 car down the home straight, but Smith then seemed to find a little extra and pulled away. Wainman took second from Gibson before the lapboards, with the 249 car then floundering and dropping back. Poole lasted until the 5 lap board, when, with Wainman sat right behind him, he ran wide and from that point there was no stopping the 515 car. Poole managed to hold Smith at bay until the penultimate lap, when he was relegated to third.

Gibson made a flying start to the 24 car GN, and he was in the lead after the first lap. From the lap handicap, Wainman (515) wasn’t hanging around either, and he was amongst the back of the pack after just a few laps. Gibson did well to hold off a challenge when Poole fired Davids into the 249 car, and after that Gibson had no problems in racing off to take the win. Wainman got himself into the top ten when he passed Lund on the last lap.

Ht1: 34,33,185,330,54,502,276,267,30,463
Ht2: 390,515,2,21,4,259,55,322,84,53
Cons: 136,249,198,335,49,16,212,12,424,142
Final: 515,390,276,53,16,249,2,12,4,55
GN: 249,84,54,34,4,276,16,390,2,515

Carl Hesketh. (originally published on Carl’s Hard-And-Fast website)

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