Belle Vue, 4th May 2015 – Meeting Report and Photo Gallery

A two-thirds format was the order of the day for this World Championship qualifying meeting and 22 cars gridded for Heat 1, which featured an absorbing battle for the lead between Neil Scothern (152) and Lee Fairhurst (217) from around the half way point. Scothern led, Fairhurst took over, only for the 152 driver to not only stay in touch, but even had the cheek to regain the lead. While these two disputed the front spot, Finnikin (55) and Johnson (4) argued over third place before the Gold Top pulled clear overtook both 152 and 217. Finn entered the last bend rather quicker than he planned, courtesy of the 217 front bumper and went wide, only for Fairhurst to spin on the dusty track surface and hand victory to the Leek man, with Johnson second and a late charge by Danny Wainman (212) netting third.

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217 and 152 both lost out to World Champ Finnikin in Heat 1.

17 cars for Heat 2, with lone white top, Jack France (216), leading them away. There was some spinning from Bonner (105) and little battles between Newson (16), Fairhurst and Finnikin. Impressive early leader, France, went around in turn 2, and Frankie Wainman Junior (515) also went for a spin while trying to avoid the stricken 216 car. Rob Speak took command, establishing a clear lead, which he held to the flag, crossing the line ahead of Harris and Finnikin.

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Rob Speak dominated races in both F1 and F2 at Belle Vue.

Heat 3 appeared to lack white tops, with Ben Riley (422) leading them away and then taking the early lead, ahead of Karl Roberts (313) and Richard Bryan (238). Tony Smith (91) dropped to the back of the grid, just behind a battling 212 and 51. Once again, Rob Speak was making quick progress, with Stuart Smith Junior behind him, trying to keep up.

238 made his move for second place, but 422 had already established a good lead. Further back, Harris nipped up the inside of 390, but Smith was not giving up the place easily. They continued to swap positions for the rest of the race but none of the higher-graded drivers had an answer for the yellow-topped Ben Riley as he followed up his Whites and Yellows victory at King’s Lynn a couple of weeks back with another fine victory.

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Climbing the grades? Yellow top Ben Riley, Heat 3 winner.

The 27 car Final started with trouble for Mark Adkins (24) on his first outing of the day, as he was forced wide by 502 and the chasing yellow tops. 216 took the lead in the opening laps, while 94 and 217 tangled in the fence on the pits bend. Wilson went wide in his super new car and spun, Nigel Green gnashed the fence and Williams-Maynard (51) lapped a marker tyre and carried on. Frankie Wainman Junior (515) seemed to spin on almost every turn, receiving a hefty whack on the pit bend and retiring shortly after.

The caution flags flew for a loose wheel before the action continued, with Chris Brocksopp (338) holding the lead. Finnikin moved swiftly into third place pursued by Johnson (4) while John Lund did an ‘about face’ on the home straight.

Johnson hit the front as the flag came out, indicating half distance. The second half of the race was dominated by some swapping of positions between 318, 84 and 55, before smoke from the Gold Top car spelled trouble for Finnikin, allowing Danny Wainman through. Wainman also made his way past Speaky and set his sights on the 84 machine.

Johnson was having trouble negotiating backmarkers, allowing Harris and Wainman chance to catch up. After punting Harris wide on turn three, Wainman entered the last lap in second place, perfectly potted a back-marking Johnson (169) into the leader Johnson (4) on the pit bend, forcing the 4 car into a spin and powered away for the flag ahead of Tom Harris and Rob Speak.

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After a last lap move on Johnson (4), victory in the Final went to Danny Wainman (212), ahead of Harris (84) and Speak (318).

The 26 car Grand National featured another last bend decider and a cracking end to the F1 section of the meeting. John Dowson Junior (94) took the lead, Speak passed him, Dowson fought back to regain the top spot on the penultimate lap, with hindsight maybe a lap too early, for entering the last bend, Speak gave it the big one, both cars went wide, Dowson colliding with a parked car and Speak scraping by him, only to be passed by Brocksopp as 318 struggled for forward motion. 338 first (with a flat tyre), 318 second and 4 third. What of Dowson? He crossed the line in ninth place but, judging by the noise from the grandstand patrons, he was a winner wherever he finished!

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Despite an excellent race for both, Speak and Dowson lost out on the GN victory.

Words: Mick and Rhosanna Jenkins
Photos: Colin Casserley

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