Belle Vue – October 14th 2012 Meeting Report

After the previous few meetings being spoiled by rain, the October Belle Vue session was run on a clear Autumn afternoon, with Dylan Williams-Maynard taking a career-first shale final win.

In addition to a tribute to Aycliffe Stadium, which had a large heritage display in the pits, the meeting also marked the last ever F1 outing for Ian Higgins (29), who felt that old age and common sense had finally caught up with Captain Chaos. After a parade around the track, Ian had a chat with Peter York on the mic, which culminated with Ian proposing to girlfriend Christina – she said yes!

Heat 1 saw Dylan Williams-Maynard barge through to the front, and he lasted until the halfway, when he went backwards into the fence after failing to negotiate backmarker Tim Warwick (307). This let Lee Smith (76) take over, and he led to the flag. The highlight was the race long battle between Frankie Wainman (515) and Mick Sworder (150).

A battling Mick Sworder 150 and Frankie Wainman Jnr 515. Photo Colin Casserley

Despite it being his first ever visit to Belle Vue, Sworder attacked the track with vigour, although his sideways style caught him out at one point and he was forced into a detour over the infield. With Sworder right behind him, Wainman was in defensive mode on the last lap and blocked the 150 car in the pit bend, only to then throw it too wide into the last turn and let Sworder and Craig Finnikin through.

Lee Smith 76 won Heat 1. Photo Colin Casserley

The biggest hit of the second heat was Paul Harrison (2) launching Josh Smith (191) into Finnikin, who landed in the wires. Paul Redfern (252) led early on before Mal Brown (34) took over, but with every lap the lime green car of John Lund (53) was getting closer. Lund waited until the last bend and lunged at Brown, the two then raced side by side to the flag. It looked a dead heat from opposite the start line, where your trusty scribe was standing, but the transponders gave Brown the verdict by a tiny margin. However, the 34 car failed post-race scrutineering, giving the win to Lund.

John Lund 53 getting closer to Mal Brown 34. Photo Colin Casserley

A lively start to the third heat, which was then brought under yellows as Joe Booth (446) had been left stranded on the racing line. Smith (76) led early on but Ed Neachell (321) made rapid progress. Wainman (515) was spun out by Dan Johnson (4), while Mat Newson (16), now back in his older purple car was the only one able to match Neachell’s pace. Newson attempted a massive dive at Neachell on the last bend and missed by about a mile, and he did well to keep out of the fence.

Ed Neachell 321 winner of Heat 3. Photo Colin Casserley

Tom Harris started the Final at a rapid pace, only to get caught up with Ian Higgins and take both cars to the home straight fence. The turn three fence was also under attack, when Wainman (515) launched Johnson (4) into Harrison (2) and Hayley Parkinson (54); the number 4 car going skywards on impact. Smith (76) led the opening laps but he was overhauled by the rapidly improving Dylan Williams-Maynard (51), while further back Sworder and Lund were swapping places most laps. Williams-Maynard overcooked it on the last bend, but he was straightened up by backmarker Wainman (515), and went on to take the chequered and a first-ever F1 final victory.

Dylan Williams Maynard 51 takes his first shale final win. Photo Colin Casserley

More problems for Frankie Wainman in the all-comers “Helter-Skelter” race, when he had a coming together with Tom Harris (84) at the start of the GN. Smith (76) and Brown (34) both had spells at the front, but neither could contain Finnikin.

Craig Finnikin 55 won the GN. Photo Colin Casserley

the Grand National Championship grid. Photo Colin Casserley

The final race of the day was the Grand National Championship, which gridded Neil Shenton (35) on pole, with Finnikin alongside. On the first bend, Wainman launched Mark Woodhull (335) into Finnikin, and both went heavily into the fence. But before Wainman could get around the bend, the rest of the pack piled into the 515 car.

the Grand National Championship first bend. Photo Colin Casserley

Harris was quickly through and after spinning Shenton out, he was through. Sworder briefly got past when Harris went wide, but once Harris was back in front he raced away, slowing only on the penultimate lap when he decided to follow backmarkers Shenton and Wainman around, rather than pass them. So it was Harris at the chequered, and he seemed quite pleased with his latest championship win.

Carl Hesketh

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