Belle Vue – June 26th 2011 Meeting Report

It was a hot and sticky day in Manchester for Belle Vue’s staging of the final World Qualifying Round, and in scorching heat Stu Smith gave a determined drive to take the final. Top scorer on the day was Andy Smith, returning after a few weeks lay-off due to sore ribs after a heavy crash at Skegness. Frankie Wainman Junior had a miserable day, with a heat sixth place being his only finish of the day, but he still finished the WCQ rounds as top point scorer. It had been widely rumoured that Frankie would select the Belle Vue semi-final, but perhaps this meeting was enough to make him change his mind.

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers Andy Smith 1 and Frankie Wainman Jnr 515 in their heat. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Dylan Williams Maynard 51 gets in some shale practice at Belle Vue. Photo Paul Tully

BSCDA British Champion 2011 Paul Harrison 2 takes to the track at Belle Vue. Photo Paul Tully

Joint runners up in the points stakes on the day were Stu Smith and rare visitor Paul Harrison. These two almost recreated that classic British Championship race from a couple of weeks ago, with Harrison gradually closing on Smith in the Final as the laps went by. But with the track reduced to hot bedrock, grip was minimal, and any form of challenge would almost certainly turn into a kamikaze attack, so a safe second place finish seemed preferable to piling both cars into the fence and hoping for the best.

Popular BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Mal Brown 34 heads the blues. Photo Colin Casserley

Smith was in the lead early on, after some hectic opening laps which saw cars going in all directions on the wet and slippery track. Garry Fox (48) led early on, but he span out and was clattered by the chasing pack. Wainman (515) exited with a failed diff just before the halfway, with Smith now starting to slow. Occasional visitor Mark Gilbank was behind, possibly a lap in arrears after the early carnage, but that didn’t stop him having a fairly optimistic lunge at the 390 car. Gilbank went wide, which let Craig Finnikin (55) through.

BriSCA F1 father and son team Ryan 197 and Murray Harrison 97 tangle. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car father and son racing team of Ryan and Murray Harrison. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Andy Smith 1 and Murray Harrison 97. Photo Paul Tully

Finnikin reeled Smith in, and as the lap boards appeared the 55 car nerfed Smith wide to take up the running. But it was short-lived; Finnikin got it sideways a lap later and Smith was back ahead. Harrison (2) nudged Andy Smith (1) wide to take third place, and but with discretion being the better part of valour, Smith (390) was left to take the chequered unchallenged.

BriSCA F1 stock car Final winner Stu Smith jnr 390. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 Final winner Stu Smith jnr 390 alongside Matt Newson 16. Photo Paul Tully

As for the rest of the meeting, the soggy opening heat was won by Neil Shenton, who took the lead on the second lap, with Smith (1) coming home second.

BriSCA F1 stock car driver Heat one winner Neil Shenton 35. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stockcar Heat 1 winner Neil Shenton 35. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stock car lower graders Nigel Harrhy 45 and Luke Dennis 192. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stockcar drivers come to grief at Belle Vue. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Nigel Harrhy 45 loses control. Photo Paul Tully

Heat Two was brought under caution after four laps due to a massive pile up on the home straight and turn one, which started when race leader Nigel Harrhy (45) was caught out by the loose shale and hit a fence post on the home straight. The 45 car bounced out of the wires across the track, and was collected by most of the field, resulting in some bent cars. Paul Harrison cruised to victory, with nobody seemingly able to match the pace of the British Champion.

BriSCA F1 stock car drivers Paul Harrison 2 and Tom Harris 84 side by side. Photo Paul Tully

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Luke Dennis 192 leading heat two. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Will Yarrow 22. Photo Colin Casserley

A big push from the rest of the pack put front row starters Chris Clare (394) and Mike Heywood (424) into the turn three wires at the start of the Consolation, leaving Gary Fox leading. After taking each other out in their heat, Tom Harris (84) and Smith (390) had another altercation; Harris passed Smith cleanly, and Smith smacked the 84 car into a spin.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver John Lund 53 in action. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Mark Gilbank 21 also qualified via the consolation. Photo Colin Casserley

Also on the receiving end was Danny Wainman (212), who was spun into the fence by an on-form John Lund, with the 212 car then getting hit by Mike Heywood (424) and Craig Finnikin (55) when Finnikin crashed out of second place. Lund caught and passed Harris at the halfway, while up front Ryan Harrison (197) was gradually catching leader Fox. With a few laps remaining, Fox was baulked by Finnikin, now a backmarker, allowing Harrison to ease past. Fox’s frustration was evident, as he went in hard on the luckless Wainman (212), who just happened to be in front of him. Smith (390) took second place from Mat Newson (16) on the final bend.

BriSCA F1 stock car GN first bend trauma. Photo Colin Casserley

BriSCA F1 stockcar GN first bend trauma as the Lundy elbow comes into play. Photo Colin Casserley

Carnage at the start of the 23 car GN, which saw the cars of 48, 84, 16, 55, 212, and 53 in the back straight fence and the waved yellows out to repair the fence. The grid was reformed as per race order on the last completed lap, which put Fox back at the front, but he was soon passed by the dayglo orange themed car of Chris Clare – which Fox promptly launched into the wires. Equally keen on use of the bumper was Mal Brown, who bumpered the 48 car aside to take over at the front. But Brown met the same fate as Clare, although he did well to keep it out of the fence, rejoining a few places down the order.

BriSCA F1 stockcar driver Mal Brown alongside John Lund 53. Photo Colin Casserley

While Fox had no shortage of aggression, he lacked a little in terms of outright speed, and by the halfway he had Dan Johnson and Frankie Wainman breathing down his neck. As the starter waved the Union Flag, Johnson nudged Fox wide, the 48 car slotting back onto the racing line a few places back.

A massive hit by Brown launched Fox into Wainman, who span on impact and was unable to restart. Smith (1) moved Brown wide to take second place as the lap boards came out, and started to close on Johnson. Perhaps feeling the pressure, Johnson piled backmarkers Heywood and Dennis into the turn one fence in his haste to keep ahead of Smith. Joe Booth moved up to third place with a massive hit to move Brown and Lund. With less than half the field now still mobile, the remaining few laps passed without further incident with Johnson taking the win.

Carl Hesketh

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