Belle Vue, 25th June 2017 – Meeting Report and Photos

First race up, as per the last Belle Vue meeting, was a whites and yellows race; run as a pre-meeting F1 race. 364 Robert Plant took the lead from the green and, in a very controlled drive, was never challenged to the chequered. A very controlled drive on a watered track while many others were slipping and sliding.

Results: 364 215 502 192 276 216 337 57 175 45 NOF

A flag to flag victory in the Whites & Yellows Race for Rob Plant

Heat one proper gridded up 17 cars. Early on, Neil Scothern (152), Nigel Harrhy (45) and John Wright all span on turns 1/2 and, not wanting to disappoint the crowds, Richard Bryan and Chris Brocksopp did the same on the next lap; all managing to get going.

Up front was Robert Plant again but not for long as Scott Davids moved the 364 car aside on the turn 1 bend and, at halfway, it was Davids from Craig Finnikin and Lee Fairhurst in third.

Davids had a healthy lead up front but with the track now dry the 55 machine was now into overdrive. It was good to see the return of 446 Joe Booth back to racing F1 again and it was not long before his front and rear bumpers were renewing their friendship with the bumpers of Danny Wainman; the two exchanging some hefty hits. Once Nigel Harrhy got into the mix, all three got delayed on the turn 3, allowing Finnikin to sneak up the inside.

Down the back straight Davids went for a lunge on the 55 machine which backfired, with Davids hitting the infield marker tyre. Finnikin drifted wide but held the hit for the win.

Results: 55 217 462 335 259 446 212 364 238 175 45 57 – first 10 to final.

Finnikin took the lead in Heat 1 with three laps to go

Heat two had a slightly greater number of cars including the 137 car of Sam Jacklin, starting from yellow but at the back of the grid. A good looking, down tube car with a Smith style wing. Sam is from the well-known Jacklin racing family and it’s hard to believe that the car is actually a 1991 chassis re-built that was originally and last used by Dave Berresford.

Nineteen cars were out for the race. With a watered – and on the troublesome turn 3 bend, graded -track, the conditions were slippery and it wasn’t long before chaos ensued with Billy Johnson, Mark Poole and Luke Dennis all piling into the scoreboard bend fence, and 555 Frankie Jnr Jnr also hitting the pit fence gate. All managed to get going but the yellows were out on lap 3 for the stranded 220 car of William Hunter; sideways on turn 2 and not managing to get going.

During the lively first few laps, Dan Johnson, Nigel Green and Frankie Wainman had charged through the pack and at the restart it was these 3 behind the lead car of Joff Gibson. At the drop of the green, the star men soon got past Gibson and going into turn one Wainman decided to have a go at Johnson, unfortunately behind was Green and he was helped in no uncertain terms by Gibson’s bumper on the back of the train.

All four headed fencewards, with Green sneaking through for the lead, Johnson spinning but getting going behind Wainman and Gibson down the back straight. Johnson got his revenge at the next bend; planting a huge hit on Wainman, firing him into Gibson, then setting off in pursuit of Green.

On a by now very dusty and dry track, the Johnson car was gaining slightly on the car of Nigel Green but was not close enough for a lunge, Green coming home for the win from Johnson.

Results: 445 4 166 21 422 192 249 463 215 1(515) 73 169 – first ten to final.

Sam Jacklin makes his first 2017 appearance

The consolation saw the first appearance of 84 Tom Harris who was unable to get out for the heats. The car had managed to reverse out of the wagon with little problem but didn’t want to go forward at all (not good for Stock Car racing, it has to be said), the team needing to change the gearbox in the pits.

Seventeen of the non-qualifiers made it out and it wasn’t long before 338 Chris Brocksopp hit the front with a very healthy lead from Mat Newson in second and Tom Harris in third. Harris was closing in on Newson and on turn 2 pushed the Newson car aside and went up the inside but, going into the last bend, Newson rather than settle for a ‘final qualifying’ third spot planted a hit on the Harris back bumper to come home second from Harris third.

Results: 338 16 84 348 216 45 169 308 138 268 73 307 – first 10 to final.

Consolation winner Chris Brocksopp

In the final, a huge pile up on the turn 3/4 bend with the lower graders led to the star men having to barge through the stranded cars. The charge was led by Dan Johnson with Tom Harris and Nigel Green not far behind. Craig Finnikin then fired the Green and 169 Billy Johnson cars aside. Tom Harris then fired the Johnson car wide on turn 3; Johnson getting back going before the yellows were out for the stranded cars of Joff Gibson and Nigel Green on turns 1/2 and 175 Karl Hawkins also there facing the wrong way.

After the early skirmishes, Tom Harris was lead man at the restart from Chris Brocksopp, Dan Johnson and Craig Finnikin fourth. It wasn’t long before Johnson was spun by Brocksopp being pushed by Finnikin on turn 2, with Johnson recovering but well down the field. Soon, the yellows were out again for the stranded car of 216 Jack France sideways on turn 2.

Harris was still the lead car from Brocksopp second, Finnikin third and Frankie Wainman now up to fourth, the lead car of Tom Harris with a catching OSF bumper against the tyre. It wasn’t long before the lead men were past Brocksopp and at halfway it was Harris from Finnikin, Frankie Wainman, Danny Wainman and Johnson now back up to fifth.

The positions then remained the same with the front cars being equally matched on pace. Going into the last bend the car of Finnikin looked to be too far back but Craig had other ideas, as the 84 car went out sideways for the bend, Craig launched the 55 machine tight up the inside of turn 3 hitting the side rail of Harris and forcing him wide, allowing the 55 car to come home for the win, Harris recovering to come in third with Frankie Wainman in second spot.

It was one of those moves that looked almost impossible from the distance involved but as the final had the incentive of a £1000 prize fund on offer this no doubt may have influenced Craig’s thought process going into the last bend.

Results: 55 1(515) 84 4 212 338 335 169 215 – NOF

55 got the better of 84 in the meeting final, with Harris finishing third

The Grand National ended up with 25 surviving to take part. The yellows were out soon for the car of 348 John Wright, stationary on the back straight fence courtesy of Joe Booth who had been forced wide by John on the previous corner.

Lead car at the restart was 192 Luke Dennis but it wasn’t long before a fast moving Tom Harris had hit the front and at halfway it was Harris from Nigel Green, Scott Davids, Dan Johnson and Craig Finnikin up to fifth from the lap handicap – but not for long, with the 55 car retiring to the centre green with mechanical gremlins. Harris remained up front and extended his lead to the chequered flag from Green in second.

Results: 84 445 462 4 1(515) 463 169 335 166 422 175 268 – NOF

Grand National winner, Tom Harris

Words: Andy Armer
Photos: Colin Casserley

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