Belle Vue – May 31st 2010 Meeting Report

Another Bank Holiday Monday and another Belle Vue, and it was business as usual for the Manchester venue with another no-holds-barred bumper fest of stock car racing.

Photo Colin Casserley

Top man on the night as far as the results went was Craig Finnikin, who gave a virtuoso performance to take the Final. The 55 car never put a wheel out of place over the whole race, with Finnikin’s measured and precise driving in stark contrast to that of practically every other driver on track. This was his third Final of the year, and with this kind of form, it seems likely that it won’t be his last.

Photo Colin Casserley

Also being consistent, albeit for the wrong reasons, was Frankie Wainman Junior, who for the second Belle Vue in a row was fired into the turn one fence whilst leading. On May Day it was Andy Smith in the Final, this time it was Tom Harris in the GN. Harris had driven a blinder, and charged his way to the front with liberal use of the bumper. However, as the race neared it’s conclusion, Harris got held up with backmarkers, which allowed Wainman to squeeze past. But his lead lasted only the length of the home straight, as a massive hit from Harris saw the 515 car impact the fence with some force. The 84 car was still accelerating right up until the moment contact was mad; quite how Tom managed not to end up in the fence next to Frankie almost defies belief.

Photo Colin Casserley

Wainman was also in the thick of it in the Final, engaging in three-way battle for second place with Nigel Whalley and Andy Smith for the middle part of the race, which culminated in Smith passing Whalley, and Whalley then smacking the World Champion wide. Perhaps spurred on by the “Catch me if you can…. Smithy!” message on the rear of the 198 car, Smith then seemed to turn it up a notch and powered his way up to second place by the flag. This would be the World Champion’s best result of the night, as despite looking very fast in the heats, he looked to be prone to hanging the rear end out rather too much in the turns and was spun out several times in both heats by the train of cars behind him.

Photo Colin Casserley

James Morris, who is starting to get a reputation for being something of a bumper merchant, won the opening heat. After demolishing half the field in the Consolation at Scunthorpe the week before, Morris offered a similar performance, hitting everything in front of him. Scott Davids was also putting his front bumper to use, up until he bumpered Morris wide, as Morris then fired the 462 car straight into the fence. The race should really have gone to Lee Smith, until an unforced error with a few laps to run saw the number 76 car spin out.

Photo Colin Casserley

The second heat was the only tame race, with not much worthy of mention. Joe Booth took the win, from John Lund. Lund had also placed second in the first heat, and looked like a possible contender for the Final. But after a strong start, the 53 car tripped over an out of control Booth and dropped down the order. It was a similar story in the GN, when Lund went heavily into the back straight fence backwards.

In a meeting of big hits, the biggest by some margin came on the last lap of the Final, and was delivered in kamikaze style by Garry Fox. On the receiving end was Mark Helliwell, who was braking for turn one when he was hit flat out by Fox. The 170 car went backwards into a fence post at pretty much full race speed; the impact bending the back bumper through 45 degrees and into the outside rear tyre. As for Fox, he bounced off and went through the wires and up a fence post.

Photo Colin Casserley

Carl Hesketh

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