Belle Vue – August 30th 2010 Meeting Report

After the rather lacklustre Sunday afternoon session in June, Belle Vue returned to top form in its traditional Bank Holiday Monday evening slot, and in front of a massive crowd, local boy Andy Smith raced to a heat and final double. No doubt some of those in attendance were there as a result of the excellent Gears And Tears programme on BBC1, and they can’t have failed to have been impressed with the racing action on show.

Tom Harris (84) took the opening heat, in what was a very lively race, with several bouts of waved yellows. The top entertainer in this one was Nigel Whalley (198), who was dishing out the bumper at every opportunity. The new car of Frankie Wainman (515) flew around the track very quickly in the early laps, and was soon up to third place. But just as he was closing in on the leaders, an unforced error saw the 515 car half spin onto the infield and drop back down the order. Wainman then fought his way back up to third, but he couldn’t make up any ground on the leading duo of Harris and Craig Finnikin (55).

BriSCA F1 stock cars Ricky Wilson 502 and James Clement 158. Photo Colin Casserley

Heat Two was a victory for Andy Smith, but he had his work cut out. When the green dropped, Smith powered around the outside of brother Stu (390), but rather too much right foot saw the number 1 car sideways by the exit of turn four, and he T-boned the 390 machine. This left Dan Johnson (4) with nowhere to go and he had no option but to spin Smith (1) around. Smith (390) then retired with a flat outside rear tyre, while Smith (1) rejoined almost half a lap behind the rest of the pack. Smith regained a lot of ground when the waved yellows came out after Phil Whittaker (88) snapped a fence post. Johnson was soon up through the field, taking second place when he potted James Clement (158) into the fence. Johnson then eased past long time leader Richard Bryan (238). But Bryan wasn’t having this, and fired Johnson wide on the next bend. This allowed Smith through for second, and he was soon past Bryan, going on to take the win after one of the worst possible starts to a race.

BriSCA F1 stock cars of Dan Johnson 4, Ricky Wilson 502 and Nigel Whalley 198. Photo Colin Casserley

Heat Three went to Finnikin, but the star of the race was the young man driving the 238 car. Bryan led the race from the off, and had defended his lead as though his life depended on it. He lost a decent lead when the yellows came out after Martin Southwell (277) had a heavy impact with the turn three fence, which left various parts of the 277 car strewn across the track. Bryan appeared to lose some momentum during the stoppage, and on the restart couldn’t pull away from Lee Smith (76). Wainman (515), now in a more determined mood than most of the season to date, smacked first Joe Booth (446) and then Smith (76) wide to move into second place. Into turn one, Bryan took a wider line into the bend and Wainman dived up the inside.

BriSCA F1 stock car Richard Bryan 238 with Frankie Wainman jnr 515 closing in. Photo Colin Casserley

Around the turn, as Wainman got within the length of the 238 car, Bryan took a tighter line and closed the door, knocking the 515 car slightly off line, and just the slightest nudge from Smith (76) was enough to send Wainman into a 360 degree spin and out of contention. Bryan still held the lead at this point, but Finnikin had now arrived on the scene. After a couple of attempts, the 55 car was into the lead, but this lasted just the length of the straight, as Bryan then landed a massive hit to retake the lead. But Finnikin soon caught up again, and he didn’t make the same mistake twice, this time making sure that Bryan went out wide enough not to be able to retaliate. The race came to a premature end with one or two laps remaining when Tony Smith (91) rolled it on the pit bend.

BriSCA F1 stock car Craig Finnikin 55 at Belle Vue. Photo Colin Casserley

The Final featured some frantic opening laps, with cars going in all directions, and whilst the rest of the field set about each other, the ever-improving white top Mike Williamson (111) drove away from the the rest of the pack. Williamson lost his advantage after four laps when the yellows came out for Martin Southwell (277), who bounced off a back straight fence post before being clattered by the chasing pack. Williamson raced off on the restart, but Harris and Smith (1) were making rapid progress. Smith passed Harris and was closing on Williamson, but the unlucky 111 driver came to a stop with a puncture in the all-important outside rear. As the laps ticked by, the race of attrition lessened, but by the chequered there were as many cars on the infield or in the fence as there were still racing.

BriSCA F1 stock cars Andy Smith (1) and Tom Harris (84) at Belle Vue. Photo Colin Casserley

The GN turned out to be the best race of the night, and was eventually a victory for the new car of Frankie Wainman Junior. Rob Whitaker was the only white top to line up, and he probably wished he’s stayed in the pits as he was stuffed into the home straight fence by Scott Joblin as soon as the race started. The 142 car bounced out of the wires and was hit by almost every other car on track. Joblin, Davids, and Finnikin all had turns at the front, before Harris and Wainman got to them. Harris led for two laps with Wainman more or less by his side, with Davids then bumping Wainman wide before Ricky Wilson (502) piled into the leaders. At one stage the leading three were three abreast around the bends, before Wainman made the decisive move and fired Harris and Wilson to the wires. The remaining five laps should have been a formality, but it appeared that the new 515 car still had some gremlins, as on the penultimate lap Wainman overcooked it coming off turn two. But with nobody close enough to have an effect, he recovered and went on to win.

BriSCA F1 stock car Frankie Wainman Jnr 515 at Belle Vue. Photo Colin Casserley

Carl Hesketh

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