Belle Vue, 12th October 2014 – meeting report and photo gallery

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Mick Sworder, Stu Smith, and Nigel Green on the podium.

The Belle Vue round of the National Points Shoot Out was dominated by a driver who isn’t in it. Stu Smith made short work of a heat and final double at his local track. Of the Shoot Out contenders, Tom Harris won a heat, while Mick Sworder won the Consolation and Grand National.

The opening heat was led by impressive white-top PJ Lemons until after the halfway when the very rapid Smith (390) barged past. Smith went on to win comfortably, while behind him Dan Johnson and Paul Harrison spent the last part of the race almost side by side, swapping places a number of times. Johnson got the verdict with a perfectly timed hit on the Harrison nerf rail in the last bend.

Craig Finnikin made light work of the second heat but towards the end of the race the 55 car seemed to lose pace, allowing Tom Harris to catch and pass with a few laps to spare.

After relatively quiet heats, the Consolation race descended into carnage as soon as the green dropped, and could possibly be described as a race of three fence posts… It wasn’t long before the inevitable waved yellows, this time for John Brown (134), who was wedged in the back straight fence. After delaying Frankie Wainman (515) in the heat, Roger Bailey (165) again steadfastly held his line and made it difficult for the red tops behind him.

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Chris Fort took the Ricky Wilson car for a spin. Dave Willis was responsible for a broken fence post and a couple of bent cars in the Consolation.

Steve Reedman (361) gave the starter (and probably himself) a bit of a scare when he caught the home straight fence and took out a fence post, and nearly the starter’s rostrum.

Dave Willis was the man responsible for breaking the third fence post of the race, with a typically-Willis hit that put Mark Sargeant (326) into Nigel Green (445), and both collided heavily with the turn 3 fence.

While all this was going on, Sworder kept his head down and worked his way to the front for the first of two wins on the day. Also qualifying was Nigel Harrhy; a great result considering he’d spun out and been battered by the pack at the start of the race.

A bigger grid for the Final, and there were problems immediately for lone white top Roger Bailey, who hesitated when the green dropped and was fired straight into the fence by Ben Hurdman.

Early problems for some of the Shoot Out contenders too; Tom Harris retired to the infield almost immediately, while Dan Johnson was lucky to land back on his wheels after going skywards over Nigel Harrhy.

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Nigel Green did most of the Grand National with rear end damage. Sparks from the driveline and smoke from the outside rear tyre rubbing on the chassis. It is testament to the American Racer tyre that it lasted the whole race.

From an admittedly advantageous starting position in front of the Shoot Out drivers, Smith stormed through the field, with only Sworder able to get anywhere close to matching the pace of the 390 car. Sworder moved up to second place after dumping Steve Whittle (183) and Ben Hurdman into the fence, but try as he might, there was no catching Smith.

The last bend saw Nigel Green snatch the final place on the podium by planting James Morris (463) into a parked car.

The GN had the biggest field of the night, and turned out to be a proper stock car race in every sense of the phrase. It was Mick Sworder who again took the chequered but that was largely incidental to those watching from the terraces, as every lap saw the bumpers going in somewhere and there were incidents aplenty.

This was the last Belle Vue meeting of the season and it certainly went out with a bang.

Photos: Colin Casserley
Words: Carl Hesketh

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Nigel Harrhy and Billy Johnson take in the view of the sunset over Manchester.

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It was that kind of meeting! One of many bent or broken bumpers.

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Shoot Out contenders Paul Harrison and Dan Johnson.

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Daniel van Spijker once again made the long trip from The Netherlands.

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Steve Reedman made a rare visit to Manchester.

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PJ Lemons continues to impress. Will Hunter had issues keeping his front wheels on the ground.

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F1 newcomer Nigel Green put in some great drives, including a podium finish in the Final.

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Will Hunter’s novel solution to keeping the inside front wheel on the track had mixed results.

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The Shoot Out drivers prepare for battle.

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Mick Sworder after an emphatic drive to win the Grand National.

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Although he scored in every race he started, Rob Speak had a fairly quiet meeting by his standards.

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A chip off the block… John Brown, son of Mal, putting the front bumper to good use.

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Stu Smith made light work of the big grids and carved his way through the field in every race.

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A rare shot of Will Hunter with all four wheels on the track!

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