Belle Vue – May 4th 2009 Meeting Report

Frankie Wainman jnr (515) at Belle Vue

Frankie Wainman jnr (515) at Belle Vue

Racing at Belle Vue is usually either brilliant or ruined by the weather, and after two decent heats, sadly it was the latter on May Day Monday.

Richard Bryan (238) and Mike Heywood (424) led for a few laps each in the opening heat, but flying yellow top and Belle Vue specialist Mark Poole (276) was ahead on the fifth lap. World Champion Andy Smith (391) was flying, and was up to second place before the halfway stage. Smith and Poole seemed to be evenly matched, with the 391 car unable to close the gap. But as the lap boards came out, Smith seemed to find a little extra and slowly reeled in the 276 car. With just two laps to go, Smith eased up the inside of Poole as they entered the pit turn, and the two cars raced side by side down the back straight. Smith then took a late and wide entry into turn three, forcing Poole wide onto the loose shale. A clever piece of track craft, but it allowed Dan Johnson (4) to close right up and make contact with the 391 back bumper. The two cars momentarily hooked bumpers, before Smith pulled away to lead to the flag.

The ever-improving James Clement took the lead on the first lap of the second heat, and led until the last bend. Behind him, the trio of James Neachell (322), John Lund (53), and Frankie Wainman (515) rocketed up the order and were in third, fourth, and fifth place respectively after just a handful of laps. These three seemed to be having their own private battle, with the bumpers going in almost every bend. Wainman eventually got the upper hand and had passed both of them by the halfway, leaving Neachell and Lund to fight it out between themselves. Neachell sent Lund wide into turn one and went by, only for Lund to repay the compliment in a big way on the next bend, and Neachell had no answer. Wainman had got within striking distance of Clement by the last lap, and under pressure Clement went just a bit wide into turn one. Wainman went for the inside, but Clement closed the door. Bumper to bumper, they raced down the back straight for the last time, and Clement found backmarker Graeme Robson (267) in front of him. Clement hesitated, Wainman didn’t, and a perfectly timed and weighted him saw the 158 car bounce off the Robson back bumper and come to a stop in the fence.

The heavens then opened, and by the time the Consolation came on track, conditions were awful. The racing spectacle was reduced to a lot of brown cars slipping and sliding around the track at not much more than rolling lap speed. Only Dave Willis seemed able to cope with the conditions, and he won the Consolation with ease, lapping the entire field in the process.

Before the Final, the heavy rain had given way to a monsoon, and this time it was Frankie Wainman that coped the best to take the win. It might have been different, had Willis not spent two laps in the fence with Dave Russo (49) at the start. Despite this, the 337 car still made up enough ground for a sixth place finish.

The GN was cancelled due to the weather, no doubt to everybody’s relief.

C Hesketh

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