Belle Vue – 27th June 2010 Meeting Report

Not for the first time, Belle Vue fell foul of the weather, but for once it was blistering heat that affected the racing, rather than the usual cold Manchester rain. A sterling effort from the track preparation crew kept the dust to a reasonable level without the surface being reduced to a muddy bog. However, the blazing sunshine meant that the track was either wet and slippery, or hot and dry, both of which seemed to cause traction problems.

Following Heavy Damage at Saturday's Kings Lynn, Daniel used his Tar Car at the last WQR of 2010. Photo Colin Casserley

Mike Heywood (424) was first away when the green dropped for the first heat, and as he gingerly entered the first turn he held up the rest of the pack. The over-cautious 424 car was bundled out of the way, with Steve Jacklin (136) and James Clement (158) both leading briefly before James Morris (463) took over. Nigel Whalley (198) was the first to put his bumper to some serious use as he piled several cars into the fence in one go. Morris exited the lead when he tripped over backmarker Phil Whittaker (88), now in his own car after a few outings in borrowed machinery. Morris had just about regained his composure when Clement arrived and thumped the 463 car out of the way to retake the lead. As the track began to dry, the race really came alive with increased speeds and increased contact. Whalley found himself on the receiving end of a big revenge hit from Andy Smith, that had the 198 car bouncing off the fence. As the 5-lap board was shown, Smith launched Morris into the turn one fence to take third place. It was now Clement, from Matt Newson and Andy Smith in close contention. Clement gained some breathing space when Newson got the back end out just a bit too far around turn one, and Smith span the 16 car out of contention. Shortly before the flat, Ed Neachell (321) went in hard on Craig Finnikin (55), with Paul Hines (259) then planting Neachell firmly into Finnikin to take third place. Clement took the win.

Photo Colin Casserley

The first part of the second heat was carnage, with the wet track giving almost no grip, leading to a lot of low speed spinning and crashing. The track was almost dry by the half way, with Mark Poole (276) established in the lead, from Scott Davids (462), Joe Booth (446) and Dan Johnson (4). Johnson hit Booth into a half spin to take third place, but then collided with the stalled Martin Southwell (277) car on turn four. Fortunately, the impact knocked the 277 car out of the way, but it was left stranded on the racing line, making for a very tight line around out of the turn. Johnson was now rapidly closing on Poole, and was within striking distance when the last last board was shown. Poole looked to be expecting Johnson to attack, and threw the car wide and fast into the pit turn, only for Johnson to dive for the inside line and emerge from the bend in the lead. Poole was right behind him, but the cornering speed of the number 4 car meant that a last bend hit was risky. Johnson just missed the stricken 277 car as he rounded the turn, with Poole following him over the line.

Photo Colin Casserely

Heywood led the Consolation, and gained some breathing space when Steve Jacklin (136) span on the first bend and most of the following pack piled in. Paul Harrison (2) made light work of charging through the field, and moved into second place when he shoved rare visitor Rob Cowley (73) wide, and then deposed Heywood for the lead.

Andy Ford led the Final after a sort out in the early laps, and as the track started to dry, the number 13 car was flying around the track and increasing his lead every lap. But after quite a few laps at the front, an unforced error saw Ford spin and go backwards into the parked 91 car. This brought Joe Booth to the fore, and he had an untroubled run to the chequered flag. Behind him, Craig Finnikin (55) reeled in Mark Woodhull (335), and once he was passed the 335 car seemed to lose some pace and gradually slipped down the order. When the lap boards came out, Booth was still way out in front, with Finnikin slowed by heavy traffic which allowed Andy Smith to close up. But Finnikin then pulled clear, and finished a distant second.

Photo Colin Casserley

Lee Smith (76) led the 15 car GN for much of the race, but he had to give way in the closing stages. Matt Newson, driving the borrowed Steve Lewin car rather than his much prettier new one that was also in the pits, made a lightning start to the race and was in the high places before running wide and dropping down the places. Smith (1) took the lead just before the end, taking the win.

Photo Colin Casserley

Carl Hesketh

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