Belle Vue – March 17th 2013 Meeting Report

The 2013 season got underway on a cold afternoon at Belle Vue, and although there wasn’t a massive turnout of cars, the ones that did turn up served up some good racing.

A new season always brings a selection of new drivers, new cars, and new paint, and there were quite a few of each.

New drivers were Karl Mosley (303), Steve Fisher (256), Roger Bailey (165), and Jamie Jackson (377) in last year’s 212 shale car.

Karl Mosley 303. Photo Colin Casserley

Karl Mosley 303. Photo Colin Casserley

Ricky Wilson (502) returned to the tracks after a lay-off with a superb looking new FWJ car, fitted with a fabricated front axle and an inboard front suspension system. Unfortunately Ricky suffered bad luck all meeting.

Ricky Wilson 502 - back on track. Photo Colin Casserley

Ricky Wilson 502 – back on track. Photo Colin Casserley

World Champion Lee Fairhurst’s recently acquired shale car looked stunning, and high finishes in all four races made Lee the top point scorer on the night.

Lee Fairhurst 1/217. Photo Colin Casserley

Lee Fairhurst 1/217. Photo Colin Casserley

Carl Swift (245), Nigel Harrhy (45) and Frankie Wainman (515) all had very smartly refurbished and repainted cars; the 515 car being finished off on the morning of the meeting.

Carl Swift 245. Photo Colin Casserley

Carl Swift 245. Photo Colin Casserley

Conversely, the Craig Finnikin car appeared unchanged and still had visible battle scars of the previous season, although closer inspection revealed a new, beefier, outside nerf rail and a revised front axle setup. The 55 car went on to record a hat-trick of wins, taking both heats and the final. However, it has to be said that it wasn’t quite the walkover that the results suggest.

Craig Finnikin 55 with beefier outside nerf rail. Photo Colin Casserley

Craig Finnikin 55 with beefier outside nerf rail. Photo Colin Casserley

The first heat was the easiest of Finnikin’s wins. Tony Smith (91) led much of the race, with promising newcomer Carl Swift the early leader. Swift’s flamboyant driving style was in stark contrast to the smooth and measured approach of Finnikin, who worked his way up the field with the minimum of fuss, the only drama coming when he fired backmarker Jamie Jackson (377) into James Neachell (322), putting both into the wires.

Frankie Wainman Jnr 515 runs into Nigel Harrhy 45. Photo Colin Casserley

Frankie Wainman Jnr 515 runs into Nigel Harrhy 45. Photo Colin Casserley

The second heat saw the 55 car a distant second to leader Josh Smith (191) when the last lap board came out, and despite backmarker Karl Mosley (303) being in the way, Finnikin went for a do-or-die last bend lunge. Smith did well to hold it but had the car out of shape exiting the turn, which allowed Finnikin to spin him out on the home straight, yards from the finish line.

Josh Smith 191. Photo Colin Casserley

Josh Smith 191. Photo Colin Casserley

The final emerged as a three way battle between Smith (191), Fairhurst, and Finnikin, and they were the top three at the halfway stage. Fairhurst eased his way past Smith but his lead lasted just the length of the straight as Finnikin then planted Smith into the number 1 car.

Josh Smith 191 and Lee Fairhurst 1/217 battle for the lead. Photo Colin Casserley

Josh Smith 191 and Lee Fairhurst 1/217 battle for the lead. Photo Colin Casserley

Within a couple of laps, Fairhurst was on the Finnikin rear bumper, and after a bit of dicing, the World Champion made his move and firmly bumpered Finnikin wide. But again, Fairhurst’s lead was short-lived, with Finnikin again putting the bumper in, and this time that hefty outside nerf rail also came into play and knocked Fairhurst off-line, letting Smith through for second place.

Final winner Craig Finnikin 55. Photo Colin Casserley

Final winner Craig Finnikin 55. Photo Colin Casserley

Finnikin managed only a handful of laps in the GN, leaving Fairhurst to slug it out with Frankie Wainman Junior. Wainman had had a relatively quiet meeting up to that point, being spun early on in both heats and then retiring from the final with a puncture. There was nothing to separate the 515 and number 1 cars for most of the race, as they shoved and blocked each other in equal measure; at one point Fairhurst had two wheels on the infield as he went past Wainman. The two cars circulated the track almost as one, until they closed up to race leader James Morris (463). Without the slightest hesitation, Wainman planted the 463 car straight into the fence, and after that he simply drove away from Fairhurst.

Nothing to separate Lee Fairhurst 1/217 and Frankie Wainman Jnr 515. Photo Colin Casserley

Nothing to separate Lee Fairhurst 1/217 and Frankie Wainman Jnr 515. Photo Colin Casserley

The later stages of the race saw Mosley trading places with Danny Wainman, and on the last lap went for a massive lunge that rattled the 212 car along the fence. It was a big one alright, but nothing compared to the size of the one that Wainman gave him back on the next bend – the net result was two DNFs and a broken fence!

Daniel Wainman 212 in the fence courtesy of Karl Mosley 303. Photo Colin Casserley

Daniel Wainman 212 in the fence courtesy of Karl Mosley 303. Photo Colin Casserley

An explosive end to what had been a good start to the season.

Carl Hesketh

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