Mother Nature tried her best to put a dampener on the opening points scoring meeting of the BriSCA F1 season, but the Manchester track provided a thrilling feature final, culminating on a last bend pass by Nigel Green over Stuart Smith Jr to claim the victory.
Heavy rains during the afternoon and heat races made track conditions a little treacherous, Stuart Smith won the opening heat with some aggressive driving but it was a case of keeping the car in the right direction rather than anything else, and Smith managed to spin his machine less than the competition, Karl Roberts was unstoppable in heat two driving to a comfortable victory.
Roberts made light of the conditions and opened up a sizable lead over the chasing pack. Further back Smith was making his way through the field but at the halfway point of the race he was still six car lengths behind the leader. As the race entered the closing stages a yellow flag bunched the field. On the ensuing restart, Roberts drove deep into turn three allowing Smith to capture the lead. With five to go, Green moved into second. With three to go Smith’s off side rear tyre began to deflate but he still held the lead until the final turn when Green barged his way into the top spot.
“I could see Smith’s tyre going down with three to go, but I couldn’t believe how fast he was still going. I wasn’t sure if I was going to catch him, but when the track is like this you just have to circulate and see where you end up at the end of the race,” said Green.
“It just didn’t hold on long enough,” said a disappointed Smith as he looked at his rear tyre.
Roberts held on for third. “I am a bit disappointed, I might have won that if the yellow didn’t come out. On the restart I got a bit too eager to get away from the pack I went too wide.” Roberts made amends by winning the Grand National.
Prior to the meeting Rob Plant and Chris Alderson did their 5 laps and handled the conditions well both will be ones to watch in the future. Ben Riley debuted his new Tom Harris machine and, although conditions were against him, I am sure that he will be able to show its true potential when the season gets into full swing.
Words and photos: Colin Casserley