Belle Vue – March 21st 2010 Meeting Report

Good track conditions and enough cars made the first meeting of the season into a decent affair, with long distance traveller Mat Newson putting in a storming drive to take the first Final of the year. Unfortunately for Mat, the car died when he was in the places in the GN, denying him the chance of becoming the first driver to pick up the newly introduced five bonus points in the GN.

Photo Carl Hesketh

New driver Joshua Smith (191) got the season got off to a lively start when the green dropped for Heat One. Smith had looked quick and confident during his novice driver’s five lap trial, but with a big field of cars behind him it was a different proposition and he clattered several back straight fence posts before coming to a stop in the middle of the track and facing the wrong way. The 191 car was hit head on by Rob Bradsell (265) before being collected by Scott Davids (462), and the red flags came out. The restart was without Smith or Bradsell, with Ricky Wilson (502) the first away. The other white tops, John Frost (351), Lee Smith (76), and Mark Tittcomb (398) got in each other’s way and hit the fence, with the 76 car bouncing off being left sideways across the track. Tittcomb rejoined, only to get caught up with Dan Johnson (4) and Ed Neachell (321). Further back, Frankie Wainman Junior (515), driving a borrowed Tony Smith car, had Craig Finnikin all over his back bumper for a few laps before Finnikin nudged Wainman wide. Ryan Harrison clattered the fence, and had the dubious honour of being the first driver to shred a Good Year. Mark Poole (276) had a big lunge at Tony Smith (91), with the latter unable to keep it out of the fence. Poole then found himself on the receiving end when Johnson launched Matt Newson (16) into the 276 car, which span both. As the lap boards came out, Wilson had a big lead, and behind him, Wainman appeared to be coming to terms with the Smith car and caught and passed Finnikin. With a few laps left, Johnson retired from a high place when the car erupted in a cloud of smoke and flames.

Photo Carl Hesketh

Heat Two included Neil Shenton (35) and Scott Chambers (457), who had both missed Heat One. Chambers was away first, but Wilson was immediately on his back bumper. Chambers was far too fast into turn three and ran very wide, and was lucky not to put himself in the fence. This let Wilson through, but he lasted only as far as the next bend when he span out. This put Chambers back in the lead, and he gave an entertaining performance, throwing the car wildly into every bend. Although it great to watch, it’s not the quickest way to lap the tight Belle Vue track, and it didn’t take James Neachell (322) long to catch and pass the flying white top. But Neachell exited the lead, and the race, when he was baulked by spinning backmarker Paul Redfern (252). This gave Finnikin the lead, while after a strong start Wainman Junior started to drop back and eventually retired. Harrison was spun out by Bradsell before the yellows came out for Redfern, who had gone skywards after hitting a fence post on the home straight. On the restart, it was Finnikin, from Neachell (321) and Scriven (12), but the latter two managed to spin each other out as soon as the green dropped. Tony Smith (91) nudged Harrison wide for second place, and then survived a big last bend lunge from Scott Davids (462).

The Final started with Smith (91) driving over Chambers’ outside rear wheel and flipping the 91 car almost vertical. Frost led for a couple of laps before overcooking it around turn one, rejoining the race on the back straight and piling into the pack. Davids and Wainman got tangled up and crashed out in a freak accident. Wainman hit a fence post and span, which helped Davids to spin. Wainman’s impact had bent the fence post, which had slackened the wires enough for the 462 car to get between them and almost onto the dog track. The waved yellows came out to extricate the sorry-looking Davids car from the fence, and when the race resumed it was Wilson leading. Mat Newson, after looking rather subdued in the heats, had now got the borrowed Steve Lewin car dialled in to his liking, and scythed through the field like a man possessed. It didn’t take him long to hit the front, and once there the result looked to be a foregone conclusion. Third place was a three way battle between Neachell (322), Johnson, and Finnikin, before Johnson was bundled wide and fell back. As they passed the halfway mark, Newson was still increasing his lead over Wilson, who now had Neachell (322) right behind him. The 322 front bumper came into play as Neachell slotted into second, but as the lap boards came out he was the length of the straight behind Newson. Johnson landed a big last bend hit on Neachell (321) for fourth place, but he couldn’t make it count.

Photo Carl Hesketh

The GN saw Wilson lead them off, with Chambers passing all the other white tops on the home straight and moving into second place as soon as the race started. He span out after a couple of laps and was hit head on by Smith (91). Smith rejoined the race, only to be launched into the fence by Neachell (322), with Poole and Frost then crashing into the 91 machine. The race was brought under caution when Steve Boyd (369) hit the home straight fence in a big way, with Wilson leading them off for the restart. Behind him, the order read Johnson, Wainman, Neachell (321), Finnikin, and Scriven, with Johnson attacking Wilson from the off. Finnikin passed Wainman, who then smacked the 55 car wide. The two clashed as Wainman tried to go up the inside, and Wainman got it out of shape approaching turn three, and Scriven couldn’t avoid a heavy impact with the inside rear of the 515 car. Finnikin and Johnson had now passed Wilson, but Wilson wasn’t taking it lying down and threw the bumper in. Positions changed almost on every bend for the next few laps, before Johnson pulled clear at the front and Wilson lost out and dropped back down the order. The remaining laps passed without incident, leaving Johnson the winner.

Carl Hesketh

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